Hi Rulers ^^ It’s Maxime Vanhee
I will take a little bit of your time so thank you a lot in advance for taking the time to read this article. In this article, I will talk about my story with Force of Will and how I ended up building an LGS and a community in my home town in France.
My story with Force of Will began when I was a young, 19-year-old student. I was at the boarding school and one of my friends came with a small poster. It was the Seven Kings Poster and I was like “It’s an awesome picture ! What is it? “. He told me there was a shop in Creil that sold card games and so I discovered Force of Will. We went to this shop and began to buy some boosters. With time we started building our own decks and played our first Grand Prix in Lille, France.
It was a very impressive experience for me to visit GPs because there were a lot of players! The GPs made me get to know people like Jef, Jeremy, and other great players. I met team Top Duck and was very happy to see they are such great guys. I loved my Ayu, Lunar Swordswoman (ADK-060) deck and my Gill Lapis, Conqueror of Attoractia (RDE-061) (with the removed mechanism) back in those days!
But… I was only a student …. And my income was just 0 €. I decided to pause Force of Will until I could afford the hobby on my own and not always ask my parents to buy cards (which are just a bunch of cardboard …). I stopped buying Force of Will after the 4th expansion of Reiya Cluster and replaced it with other things like painting Warhammer miniatures or playing Hearthstone online.
But one day Force of Will found a way to make me fall in love with the game again!
In my little town of Albert (it’s near Amiens in France) a shop opened and the owner was SELLING CARDS! More than that, he also bought some old displays of Force of Will! We began discussing the game together and I proposed a deal to him: he would sell Force of Will and I would handle the community and more. I had a great chance because two other Force of Will players were in the next town. And I KNEW them (we just never discussed Force of Will)!
So we created the “Top DVD” LGS and at the same time, we assembled the Association “Le Royaume d’Aimul” to help us have a location to play. I took the name of Aimul, Princess of Despair (TSW-022J) because I love this character (even if I couldn’t play with this Ruler because I paused Force of Will just before her release …). To start something like this in France is very easy because we have a law about the 1901 Association which helps us create this. I made contact with the Force of Will community again and Jef and DStrib helped us a lot with the launching of this little community. We ended up having a great room every Saturday from 2 pm to 3 am to play Force of Will.
So my return to Force of Will took place during the Alice Origin 3 set (which is good because I had some of the reprint cards ^^). I built a Rezzard (AO3-BaB-3) and an Arla (AO3-BaB-1) deck (which were quite fun). We started to be able to drop promos for the players and we also initiated our first communication. But communication needs achievement and I was very lucky.
In the Saga Cluster, there were GPs in France and I was like “Let’s go tempt these guys ! GPs are fun and maybe we could win”. So I brought my two friends into the GP with different decks (Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030), Belial (TST-073) & Carlina (TST-075) for me and Wolfgang, Guide of the Demonic World (ADW-075)), and at the GP of Cergy, I ACHIEVED Top 8 !!! And even won the Wanderer Side Event !!! It was a big return for me after never being IN the top 8 (during my final Grand Prix before my pause, I was in reach of the top 8) myself. And, in the 2nd GP at Poissy, I got into top 8 during the main event, decided to drop and win the side event in Wanderer (which gave me my invite to Worlds !!!) These achievements made possible some articles in “Le Courrier Picard” and helped me organize a bigger place for an Ultimate Players Tournament (UPT).
So I just organized my first big tournament and …. it didn’t end as I would …. fewer people than I hoped for, a lot of costs …. BUT it was fun and everyone won a special playmat. So I just took this as a lesson for future tournaments. I went into many tournaments and always got good results, so we created a team with other French players: The Counter Guards. And this project is just finished (now some sponsors wait for our results).
I was very happy to be able to build a community with my own tournaments in 2-3 years and I could never imagine that Force of Will would let me travel around the world. We flew to Chicago for FowFest (thanks again Jeremy for this event and you can be sure I will fly over for the 3rd one later this year!), we will travel to Japan for Worlds, and next month we will visit Germany and Italy to meet many players.
For me, this adventure is just beginning and I hope I will be able to continue as much as possible because Force of Will Players are no longer just players for me: certain players became my friends and some are like members of my family. Force of Will has brought me so much happiness during these years and made me become more confident in so many points (like launching my YouTube channel to talk about Force of Will).
In the end, if I can give one piece of advice (and not from Dexia xD), if there is no community around you, create one! It’s not important if you can’t organize tournaments with 6 or 12 players. It will take time to grow a community, but when you have a small group of dedicated players it will be possible to grow step by step.
This was Maxime Vanhee, President of Le Royaume d’Aimul, a small collector of Force of Will.
Have a nice time and thanks again for reading this article.