It’s been a while since I’ve last shown some loving to my English speaking readers around here on “The Painting Frog”. I’ll try to make amends today.
I’ve just gotten home from a 3.714 kilometers journey to attend Latin America’s biggest Roleplaying Game’s convention: The 16th EIRPG (International Role Playing Game Encounter) held in São Paulo on the 5th and 6th of July.
No I’m not changing the blog’s subject. I was once a roleplayer but this is still a wargaming blog. The reason I took the time to visit the 16th EIRPG is because it was there Games-Workshop made its debut to the gaming community in Brazil.
No, we don’t have GW stores around the country yet. GW’s games are going to be distributed in Brazil by Hobby Depot a Brazilian company whose focus so far had been the radio controlled models and whose owner, Mr. Djalma Araújo, believing in the potential of the market has decided to take up wargaming in its catalogue and thus selected the biggest company out there.
To handle business down here Hobby Depot has selected a personal friend of mine, Silvio Martins, whose years of expertise on the gaming and roleplaying game editorial market and knowledge of the wargaming hobby will surely prove useful in the years ahead. They couldn’t have chosen a more able person.
It just goes to prove it was a right choice that Silvio has delivered the most successful stand of this year’s EIRPG. Hobby Depot/GW’s booth was by far the biggest hit around. Crowded everyday round on the two days of the event people were literally elbowing each other for a chance of playing a demo game or two on one of the tables which showcase the three main games currently carried by GW: Lord of The Rings, Warhammer and Warhammer 40.000.
The demo tables:
The painting table:
Another popular choice amongst visitors was the painting table, transformed in two tables on day two to accommodate the eager attendees which kept coming back for more, that presented everyone with a chance to paint his very own model and as an added bonus take it home as a gift.
At the end of the day the booth proved to be a huge success and delivered its objective which was to showcase GW’s games to an enormous public of potential hobbyists.
There were two international guests at the event. The first of them, Mr. Joaquim Meier from Argentina owns Warzone and is the exact counterpart in that country of Mr. Araújo and the Brazilian Hobby Depot, being in charge of representing and distributing Games Workshop’s products for gamers and retailers in the neighboring country.
The second of them was Mr. Ricard Fortun Martinez, a GW UK employee who is part of the retail team being in charge of Latin American markets the likes of Portugal and the aforementioned Brazil and Argentina. There was a huge hype going around when people first heard we were going to get a GW representative down here for the event. People where expecting the likes of GW’s employees who attend international events like Games Day and who would be willing to share on the future releases and showcase some models. None of that happened. Somehow Mr. Martinez seemed unwilling to divulge or discuss future releases for the hobby leaning on pre-made phrases when inquired about the future. “We don’t tell you what you want to know. We tell you what you need to know”. I understand he might not have been allowed to discuss anything down here but even the man himself, Jervis Johnson, is known to throw a bone around. Too bad he wasn’t here.
To make matters worse Mr. Martinez made it clear that the established fanbase in Brazil was not Games Workshop’s biggest concern, the company’s focus being bringing new hobbyists into the fold.
As disappointing as GW’s employee might have been it was still nice to see Mr. Martinez around. It shows GW is serious about doing business in Latin America and proves that we can expect solid support from the company, or it’s distributor down here, sometime soon. And it’s not all bad news for the established wargaming community as the Hobby Depot team made it clear that no matter what company policies dictate they do not intend to leave veterans forgotten.
Their support was clear during the event as they also held, concomitantly to the demonstration booth, tournaments for the Warhammer, Warhammer 40.000 and Lord of the Rings games all of which were a huge success.
Bear in mind Brazil is a huge country and travelling around it costs as much (or more) as it would cost for an American to attend Games Day UK or for someone to travel a round European countries. Add that to the fact that the gaming community here is scattered all over the country and you get the big picture: it’s not often we get to see each other down here. You can see how big an event like that is on the local scene.
Having said that I must mention it was a blast to meet old friends and make new acquaintances amongst the members of the Brazilian community (which gathers on the national forum devoted to GW’s games: Warhammerbrasil) who attended the event. That’s a big part of taking part in events and tournaments like this.
Not only did we have a gaming tournament but a painting competition was also held during the event, in which we had some tough entrants. I was amazed at the quality of the paintjobs displayed especially because good painting supplies are not readily available in Brazil. I entered the painting competition with a model in each of the three existing categories (Lotr, Warhammer and Warhammer 40.000 models). I didn’t have high hopes of winning, as I didn’t have much time to finish my entries so I was gladly surprised when I managed to win silver in the LoTR and Warhammer 40K categories and a gold in the Warhammer one. I was really happy when a longtime internet friend who I had met “in the flesh” for the first time there and who was in turn attending his first gaming event ever snatched gold in the LoTR category with a marvelous Rohirrim Standard bearer.
The painting competition entries:
All in all the booth was a huge success being talked about by every single person who attended the 16th EIRPG. It showcased the true potential for the wargaming hobby in Brazil and can surely be interpreted as a sign of things to come. One can dream about having a Games Day –Brazil someday.
See you around soon.
* UPDATE: To check more photos of the event make sure to check the hot topic about it on Warhammerbrasil.