Monday, September 16, 2013

The Cult of the Build

One of the things that we don't really talk about in the community is why the only thing we ever discuss is the question, "What have you built lately?"  The driving impetus with the majority of the people that interact on the Hangar, the FB page, or the G+  group is showing off the frames we've created for the game.  We only talk about the rules when someone new to the game asks a question, and there's not really much talk about the setting even though that's new to everyone.

Is this because it's easier to share a photo online than it is to type a handful of sentences?  Is this a holdover from the general Lego community that seems to prize creation above all else?  Or does it relate to our need for attention and praise?

I realize I'm just as guilty of this as the next person.  It's very easy to throw together a quick blog post with a handful of pictures and some, "Ooh, lookit that" text and be done with it.  Also, like a fair amount of other builders, I tend to build a lot of one-off designs.  Now this is a great way to express creativity but it doesn't really make for a deep and abiding interest in the game itself.  I also realize it's the easiest way for people new to the game to express themselves in a meaningful manner.  "Look what I built!"  is usually the second post on one of the message boards/social media sites after, "My name is..."  I don't begrudge people this.  It is a time-honored way of introducing yourself.

How do we change this?  Is it up to the bloggers to point the community in another direction?  Do we take the hard tack and start writing things that are more than puff pieces?  (And be "we" I mean "I".)  Or is this just the way it is with the MFZ community and it's really not going to change?

You tell me.

Note:  I've been thinking about this for several weeks now.  The discussion over what MittenNinja's return to blogdom should look like provided the final push for me to finish this piece.


  1. I think one of the biggest things contributing to this Is the fact that a lot of people don't have enough others in their area to play an actual game. When you don't have the resources to sit down and play a few games its hard to talk tactics or company load out. But the one thing that is easy to do is build and share with the inline community. I know that as I begin building a MFZ following here in my area I will be posting more about gameplay and tactics, but until I have games to document and show, that's a bit difficult.

  2. I think that the way to move past the Build centric community aspect is to start with it. While players may not be able to join in games, the story and background to MFZ are still a largely untapped section of MFZ. I think a simple forum event where each member builds one bot, and then "trades" with another member, who then needs to make a back-story to that frame. By integrating it into the communities current activities will help to promote it.

  3. I want some officially sanctioned fiction to build the universe! I like the blurbs given in the rulebook, but we need some stories to flesh out the setting. Once I have an idea of what the setting is like, then I plan on writing stories for it.

  4. There have been a number of excellent responses -- from MittenNinja, Dukayn, and others -- that I'm still processing and seeing if they need a response or rebuttal. Several things to keep in mind. One, I wrote this over the space over several weeks so I'm not sure I articulated my point very well. Two, at this point I'm not sure what my point is. Three, when I say "How do we change this?", I'm not sure there needs to be a change.