Sunday, May 25, 2014

So Many Games, So little Time (Or, Me Whining About a Common Problem)

For me, miniatures gaming is a strange creature that brings together a huge range of interests under a single umbrella.  Interests in history, science, art, botany, sociology, etc., etc. all come together in "the game".  

My first few years of gaming were limited primarily to World War II and the American Civil War.  The scope of my gaming exploded in my late teens, adding fantasy, science fiction and a range of historical periods.  Though limited by money, I had lots of time and radically managed to expand the scope of my hobby.

A decade later, as I was staring at the onset of my thirties, I realized that I simply wouldn't live long enough to develop all of my gaming interests.  I separated gaming periods into primary and secondary interests.  This resulted in eliminating most periods prior to, and including World War I, and elimination of some redundant scales in primary periods of interest.  More than a dozen periods, and portions of about 30 armies were sold, traded, or given away. 

At heart, I am a "tread-head".  Whether it is a fantastical steam driven Victorian land-ship produced by fiction, when history and science could not, or the hard edged sleekness of an M1 bounding through the desert, I embrace the beauty of the beast.  Additionally, I love diversity on the battlefield, so a great variety of troop and equipment types are preferred.

The result is that the scope of my current gaming interests span a very narrow window of history, well, two narrow windows of history and a bit of the future, too.  A portion of the Victorian era from about 1860-1910, most of the age of the tank, about 1936- present, and  a little near future/post-apoc/sci-fi make up the current scope of the hobby for me.

Like many of us, In recent years free time has taken a big hit, as has the pocket book.  This has resulted in my accomplishing very little on the gaming front.  I've gone from gaming weekly with a group to gaming mostly solo a few times per year, from attending a dozen conventions per year to one every other, and from painting or building almost daily to sometimes not finding 20 minutes in a month for the game.

Given my limitations, I find myself making no noticeable  progress on my projects, and during my ailment earlier this year, I even considered leaving the hobby.  Didn't take long to realize that wasn't happening.

So here I am, accomplishing little, even with a greatly reduced range of periods and projects, and realizing that another purge is on the horizon...and it is killing me.

A few dwarfs making their "last stand" on my table.

I tried to do this the same way that I did in my late twenties, just looking at the shelves of stuff in the basement and pulling those things for which I no longer felt the fire.  On their way out are the 15mm ACW, the last of my fantasy figs, and my 28mm ancients.  But that is where it stopped, and that is not nearly enough.
ACW figs that never saw the table top.

I sat down this morning, put pencil to paper, and was shocked at how huge my narrow scope really is.  After eliminating the periods mentioned above, I am left with eight basic periods/conflicts/subjects.  But, that number "eight" is very misleading.  For example, 15mm World War II is one "period", but it breaks down into early and late war eastern front, 1940 France, late war western front and North Africa.  So, WWII is really five historical sub-periods, demanding three different sets of base terrain and 36 armies (many in two scales). Oh my.

Anyway, here is what I have or need to complete all of my current projects:
 8 Basic Periods (Modern, Cold War, Arab-Israeli, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, Colonial, Sci-fi*)
48 Sub-Periods
7 Scales (28mm, 20mm, 15mm, 1/144, 6mm, 1/2400, and whatever the old SFB miniatures are) 
5 Basic modular terrain sets
59 Specialized terrain sets
209 armies (209 armies!!!, ranging from about 40 figs to as many as 700 each)

Some periods I do in more than one scale to allow for games of different scope and feel, so some things are counted twice.  

The sad part is that I have some significant portion of each interest completed, either troops, miniatures masters, terrain, etc.  And, I still feel the fire for all of it.

One of several boxes of 28mm Celts.

I ran the idea past my wife of her getting two full times jobs, so that I could stay home and work on my hobbies all of the time.  When I regained consciousness, she assured me, that my idea was not a solution to my problem.

I guess I need to isolate my real core interests even further, identify which subjects require the most work with the least utility, and continue chopping.  This would be so much easier if I had just been born rich and immortal. Gotta go, much to do.

More dwarfs waiting to be imprisoned in shipping boxes.

* Yes, I play Star Fleet Battles (SFB), the First boxed version circa 1981 with the three soft-pack expansions.

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