Friday, 14 July 2017

Hammers & Nails


I caught a link to a YouTube video, which I happened to have time to watch, which is not normally the case, where it ended by asking the following question:

"At what point do you want to become an advocate and a demo person for the game, for very little to no benefit?"

It's a good question, been there and done that too.  My answer is–it depends.

What interested me about the future of Wargaming Demo Teams piece was that any answer will also depend on where you come from.  Clearly the person who is discussing this comes from a different place from me, as do a large number of the commentators who left their opinions on the video

My impression is that most think one should be paid for hours demonstrating a manufacturers game, with the details of the payment being up to the company.  Ultimately, it's a decision the demonstrators makes if they agree to the company's offer.

A separate question of does this make the person who is demonstrating a game an employee,  is probably subject to what classes as employment under the law of the land.

My question is, when did it become an expectation to be paid to do a hobby?  Because for the life of me a hobby is something you do for fun rather than it being work, because work is not spelt F.U.N. Call me an old fogey.  And yes I've been a demo agent and got perks for demoing games for the company, but I did it not for the perks, but because I loved the game I was demoing.

And as for the perks, quite frankly not worth the time and effort I put into preparing the games, and at one level were a total insult since the terms and conditions of said perks meant I largely had nothing I wanted to use them on.

I consoled myself that it encouraged me to do something I already enjoyed.  And the the company decided that they didn't want me to demo games with the miniatures I had, I stopped.  No regrets, despite some gnashing of teeth over what I see as the shortsightedness of the decision.

But you know, not once did it even cross my mind that I was an employee of the company.


  1. As I see it, it's mostly a matter of paying for the demonstrator's inconvenience.

    I may well go to a show and run some games using a particular company's product, because I like it.

    If you want me to guarantee I'll turn up at a specific time, and to sit behind a table for hours doing nothing else, so that I don't see the show or at least have very limited time to do so, yeah, I want some degree of recompense for that. It probably won't be enough to pay my hotel bill but it's some help.

    A company that has a very popular game can rely on having volunteers: lots of people want to share their love of the game. (And some proportion of those volunteers will be reliable, competent, presentable, etc.) If they're trying to launch something new, or boost a game that isn't already a wild success, they may well not get enough volunteers who can do the job, and so they'll have to offer some amount of reward other than simply playing the game.

    The companies that pay better tend, in my experience, to get better demo people. But that's "better", which isn't the same as "more" - I'm talking about the companies that happily hand out cash (or product) on the spot at the end of the day rather than going through administrative twists.

    1. But do you feel you're an employee of the company?

  2. I "feel" like an employee, if they "hire" me. If they hire me, then there is a pay check. Demonstrating a game does not make me an employee, even if there are perks, awards, rewards, incentives, etc. I may agree to a contractual association as a part of the process, but I am still not an employee.

    1. Excuse me, 'feel' was the wrong word to use because feeling are always true. Perhaps I should have said 'think'?

  3. This article is probably partly referring to the whole incident with MtG and they lawsuit because they were not being compensated to judge events the us pretty much said that a company can't use volunteers at cons some old obscure us regulation. I will try and find an article.

    1. Just as (until last year's moral collapse) there was pressure to stop using unpaid "interns" to do the duties of actual employees, there's been some pressure to pay game demonstrators in accordance with the value of the work they do. I can't really regard that as a bad thing; if the company gets a benefit from the demos, why not share it with the people who are doing the work?

  4. We run TFL games at Swedish shows for several reasons:
    1, we want more people to play with.
    2, we want to keep Mrs Clarke in Manolo Blahniks (or maybe just keep TFL running so Clarke can write more rules).
    3, we enjoy doing it.
    4, we get free entry to the shows.

    TFL gave us official Polo shirts and a roll-up. This is in fact more than we expected. This is how we choose to spend our hobby time, no-one pays us for any other hobby time so why should this be different?

    1. I think the trick may be: who's in charge? Do you decide what you want to run (and when and for how long), or does the company tell you "we're promoting New Hotness this month so we want you to run that"? That may be a useful dividing line between hobby and unpaid work.

    2. That would indeed be the line. When someone starts telling me what I have to do it becomes work and for that I expect to be compensated.

  5. I did a quick search to check for updates on your blog and found this imposter! :) Check out the name of his blog!

    1. Good on him. This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine. ;-)

    2. I suppose that phrase about imitation and flattery applies too! :)


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