By: Alexander Kenny
On March 31, over 40 wargaming fans turned up for the 2018 Toss Yer Cabers tournament at the Croatian Cultural Centre, an event held in support of local charity the Lookout Society. 30 people participated in the popular Warhammer 40,000 event, while 12 players attended the tournament for The Hobbit/The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game.
Event founder and head organizer Findlay Craig could not be more enthused with the turnout and results of his event. He said that the event was first held in 2014 when he decided to learn how to host an event, using a style of tournament which he was not sure the community would enjoy. Despite its “haphazard” first year, the tournament became a for-charity event in its second year. Craig said that each year has seen the event grow in size, and become more proficiently run, with this year’s event practically doubling in size from the previous two and selling out.
Previously, the event averaged 21–22 Warhammer 40,000 players, but with the hype surrounding the game’s eighth edition, there were 30 this year, and an additional 12 Hobbit players in a second tournament held as part of the event for the first time. Craig mentioned that “If the Hobbit players hadn’t joined the event, we’d have sold out just on [Warhammer 40,000] players,” pointing to a long waitlist for spaces in the event. Craig shows no signs of slowing down, hinting at a larger event in the future to accommodate the demand for spaces in the tournament.
Craig said, “The biggest thing I would like to really explain to people is just the sense of community we have. You say ‘wargamer’ and people say, ‘that’s like Dungeons and Dragons, people did that when I was 15, my brother did that, and it was kind of weird.’ You look at an event like today, we had 42 players in the room. We had 12–15 people just show up to hang out and have fun. This room was full of people who were joking, laughing, genuinely having fun and enjoying the community spirit. It’s not rare nowadays to have that, but it’s great when you see it. ”
Regarding sponsors, Craig says he’s been lucky that his employer (who is not in the gaming industry) paid nearly half of the room cost. He emphasized the importance of the sponsors’ contributions, some of which were international, with companies pitching in from California, and as far away as the UK and Spain. One such sponsor was Relic Entertainment, the makers of Dawn of War, one of the most successful video games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. He went on to explain that most of his sponsors are small companies that contributed free of charge, which is a big effort for small businesses. The contributions made by his sponsors mostly came in the form of prize support for raffles, and Craig is grateful for the help they have given his event. In return, he attempts to create exposure for these small businesses however he can.
Craig also sees painting miniatures as an often integral part of the community. While he understands that not everyone loves to paint their miniatures, and often want to simply paint them quickly and get to playing or don’t have time to paint, he sees it as a major aspect of the togetherness for a lot of the players. He said, “I just think it’s awesome when you go somewhere and you see the amount of effort people have put in. That’s part of that thing that you get when you’re at the event, seeing the amount of effort and work people have put into their armies . . . You walk around this room . . . you see so many people stopping, just going to people they’ve never met, [and saying,] ‘that is awesome work’ and people just going ‘thanks man, I really appreciate that,’ and [they have] a little smile on their faces as they turn away. That makes it worth it.”
Craig was ecstatic about the results of the event, saying that last year, the event raised somewhere around $1,500. When he spoke with The Peak, he estimated that this year’s event had raised about $3,000, but when the final total was counted, they had raised $3,503.52, of which 100% goes to charity.
According to Craig, the funds, as they have for the last few years, go to the Lookout Society. “They were recommended to me by someone who worked with vulnerable adults as a very proactive, forward-thinking, very positive charity,” he said. He went on to say that the charity has grown to absorb other non-profits and do great work, stating, “We all know just how vulnerable a community we have in Vancouver with homelessness. They’re doing absolutely amazing work.” He also touted the charity’s multi-faceted focus on everything from mental health services to addiction services, sheltered housing, and emergency shelters, and that’s why he chooses them.