Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Reassessing Your Hobby Life

There comes a time for all of us who have been involved with the wonderful hobby of miniatures wargaming that we get to a point where we need to just sit back, reflect, and reassess our hobby life. Perhaps this comes about after some stressful involvement in a game, or perhaps just feeling over-whelmed with the hobby in general. Perhaps it comes about in our free time after a really good - or bad - game session. Who knows really. But it is something that strikes us all at one point or another.

Am I really in to this?!

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the goodies available today is no surprise. Like no other time in the history of wargaming can we find so many new toys to collect and play with: rules, miniatures, terrain pieces, oh my! It is easy to lose ourselves in what seems a massive candy shop of delights. Perhaps reassessing our hobby is exactly what we need to do - at least once anyway.

For myself, I have faced this situation a number of times in my 35+ years of involvement in the hobby. Each time it is as a result of trying to take on more than I should - too many projects, collecting too many miniatures that will never see a splash of paint, amassing book after book on topics no longer of any interest. Of course, the countless board games on top of all these! You can see how easy it is to become overwhelmed, confused, and frustrated. What should be a pleasurable experience becomes more like a job!

So many interesting periods to read about.
I have written many times over the years about "keeping your focus" on what really interests you, not become distracted by all the flashy new toys that arrive on the market, and how to avoid being lost in a mountain of un-painted lead. However, perhaps something else needs to be discussed here. What happens when it is too late? What does an "overwhelmed" wargamer do to get back in control?!?

Here are some things to consider.

  • First off, get a grip! Pull yourself away from the hobby and take a break from it all. Trust me on this one. When a hobby becomes like a job it's time to take a break. How about spending time with friends and family? Perhaps catching up on some good reading? I know that taking some time off to read historical books is quite reaxing - especially those on topics I have never really looked much in to, but always wanted to. How about a good read about a period that interests you, but you seldom wargame? Now there is a thought! The important thing is to just get away from thinking about wargaming as a whole. Remember, historical gaming is all about... HISTORY! Imagine that! Ahhh... the other side of historical wargaming.

  • Take some time to think about the history you do love so much. What periods really draw your attention. Take note of those periods that drew you in to historical wargaming in the past. Do they still draw your attention as much as they use to? If not, why? What has changed? It may be a good idea to actually get out a pen and paper and jot down some notes here, paying attention to what grabs you the most. You might be surprised to find that very little of your wargaming has anything to do with the rich history that you are most attracted to!

  • Set some new priorities! It may sound odd, but it really isn't. Again, keep in mind that in the hobby today there are way too many new flashy bits that surround us. Keeping to our wargaming priorities is very important. It is probably the one thing that keeps us more focused than anything. If you need to write this out, DO IT! So what are your priorities? I am talking periods here mainly. "Oh, I love the ancient wars of early Rome. I also love Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Oh wait a second, the Normandy invasion was ace too!". This list goes on, right? That's all fine and dandy; nothing wrong with being interested in all those wonderful topics. But, you have to remember that the hobby of miniatures wargaming has a lot of demands we seem to forget: money and time! Set yourself one priority at a time and you can't go wrong here. Everything else must take a back seat. Go ahead, play some ancient Roman battles. Go ahead, collect and paint up the odd French Guard Grenadier. But keep in mind, the Normandy invasion is tops at the moment, and that is what this hobby is all about for you. This of course is just an example. Keep your focus.
It takes a lot of focus to build large armies that look good as well.

Above all, take advantage of this break from the hobby. Reassess your current situation. Are you happy with your progress? Do you really enjoy the games you play? Could you enjoy them more?

I have a few friends in the hobby who I truly admire. They seem to have so much knowledge on a specific period. They also have very wonderfully painted - and large - armies they bring to the table. Often, they also have specially crafted bit of terrain which replicate specific battles of the period they seem so focused on. Yes, I do envy these guys. How many of want to be like that; to have that sort of collection and knowledge on a topic in wargaming. I know I do. The one thing that these guys seem to have is, you guessed it, focus!

A growing mass of French Napoleonics.
No one can focus on everything that interests them Sometimes we need to step away from all the cool new toys and periods just so we can keep some focus. This is not a bad thing at all. Every moment in history has something wonderful to offer - through gaming or otherwise. Don't feel as if you need to explore everything in detail.

Anyway, just my ideas on how to come out of a rut in the hobby. When you are feeling stressed over things, it may indeed be time to have a good look at what you are doing. Take a break, re-think your hobby and get things back to where you want them to be. Pretty cool really.

Till next time...


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