Focus

Jeff recently posted an entry on his blog listing the many unfinished gaming projects he has currently.  It’s a long list even without the Napoleonics entries.    I used to have a list just like it, and probably just as long at one time.  Over the years I have sold off pretty much all of my unpainted lead, leaving me with figures for just a few periods.   I rather liked this, since it gave me a chance to concentrate on one or two forces at a time, rather than wasting effort and resources on a wide variety of projects similar to what Jeff is describing (and what I used to have).

I’ve been experiencing more squirelly moments over the last few weeks.  I think I can tie it right back to the SYW game I attended on the 26th of October.   (aside: the term ‘squirrel’ harkens back to my days as a caster at GHQ, when we poor, downtrodden casters would make fun of some of the gamers who would call up and place insane orders for Jagdtigers, more than 1 pack of Maus’es, the fantasy Panther with the 88mm gun, and other wierd things.  “Squirrels looking to gather more nuts” we’d say.  Gamers buying for the hell of it rather than with any sort of rational plan.)

Anyhow, I’d been starting to read more online and thinking of more great things to play.  28mm Ancients, 15mm Ancients, 28mm WWI, Fantasy Naval, etc.   I read more and more things, started building more & more purchasing lists in my brain.   After a while I stepped back and actually starting thinking about what I was irrationally planning, and that gave me the pause I needed to settle back down.   Right now I’m working on 15mm Napoleonics and am about to start a few 15mm SYW troops.  I also have some neglected WarMachine jacks that need to be finished.  At the rate I paint at, that is probably enough lead to keep me happy until Christmastime with everything else I’ve got going on.  So why the rush to buy more and more stuff?   Especially for new periods?

In my last go-around with miniatures, I literally spent thousands of dollars on lead, rulebooks and paint, and in the end usually had little to show for it beyond the 15mm Napoleonic and ACW armies I’d started when I was a teenager.   The rest was a jumble of small units for different periods and a lot of tarnished lead languishing in plastic baggies.    It got to the point where I saw that as a reminder of financial & hobby indiscipline rather than a gamer’s stash of future projects.   Recently I started down that path again before I had one of those WTF moments that made me stop for a bit and recover my sanity.

I enjoy the hobby of miniatures gaming, but I have limited resources (both money and time) that I can put into it.  How far afield do I really want to scatter those resources?    

One of the main knocks about certain game systems (any GW game and Flames of War for starters) is that they can be huge money pits.   The steady churn of rulebooks & figures required to keep up with the game has turned off many more gamers than me.   After a time, the money one spends on the hobby adds up, right?   There are plenty of folks out there, though, who play 40K or Warhammer Fantasy or another game regularly (sometimes exclusively), and they don’t mind periodically spending the cash for a new set of rules.  It’s what they do, and it works for them.   

Now consider a historical miniatures gamer who may eschew the GW or FOW “hobby” mindset, but ends up building one or more armies for ten different periods, with rules for each of them.   By doing so, Joe Gamer could easily have spent more money than he would have if he just kept up with FOW or WHFB or 40K, only he’s now diluted his resources into more periods, so he has less to show at any one time. 

I only have so much time and money to put into a hobby right now, and am doing what I can to try and limit the number of periods I get involved in.   Other gamers will feel differently, and rightly so.  Each of our situations is different.  For me, keeping as narrow a focus as possible is the way to go… at least for now.

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