How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Poodle attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Philosophical Rumination: "Project Focus" or "An approach to the hobby"

"Of course you will consider an ECW gaming project - 
you are a servant of his Majesty are you not?"  

Since the subjects of this blog, my two as-yet-unnamed colonels, were philosophical people with a certain amount of education mandated by their class, it seems suitable to put in interludes about the "how?" of this project.

After a number of moves caused by 'real life issues' it was clear that I had too much gaming stuff.  It wasn't just the acts of moving it, but I was forgetting I even owned some of the items and had contemplated some of the projects!  32 years of miniature wargaming haunted me.

Then there were some lengthy times with hardly gaming at all and it was clearly time for a reckoning.  Additionally, as a practicing Christian who was becoming more serious about the actual practice of the faith, it was clear that my wargaming stuff was possessing me as much as I possessed it.  Imagine, being held hostage by little army men who had no life of their own!  It's like they'd won their victory just by being on the field (or in the basement, under the bed, in the closet and preying upon my mind...).  The steps I took:

  1. Payback. At an especially tight financial time I was reviewing my credit card for tax filing and kept running into wargaming expenses from the previous year.  Some of the expenses were over $100!  I totaled it all up and was appalled at the year's total.  So sales of wargaming stuff had to "reimburse" my credit card.  Also, I needed a...
  2. New Rule. No money spent on gaming items unless it was funded by the sale of gaming items.  This included books for inspiration or research of a gaming project.
  3. New Account. Easy to say but complicated to do off one account.  I therefore opened up a new account solely for gaming purposes.  Proud to say that I paid off 2011 - 2012 gaming expenses and in 2013 have spent zero "new money" on gaming.
  4. Painful Decisions. Things had to go.  I made lists and was shocked at how many projects there were!  In my definition, building an army was usually a project, or working in a new period / scale might be, etc.  First consideration was time - was I going to get to this project in the next year or so?  If not then...
    • If the figures could be replaced easily (multiple manufacturors, not OOP, etc) then they had to go.  Bye-bye to 25mm tricorne era stuff (FIW, 7YW, AmRev), 25mm Trojan War (both sides), 28mm heroic sci-fi skirmish, 
    • If the figures couldn't be replaced [OOP] then are there other figures just as appealing?  If yes, then bye-bye.  Lots of 5th-6th edition GW stuff went, including Dwarfs, Wood Elves, Chaos Dwarfs, and Empire items.
    • If I had forgotten I owned them and didn't see any near-future use for them, or I didn't like the scale/figs any more, then bye-bye.  Two divisions of painted ACW went (despite sentimenal value - they were some of my earliest successful painting projects), along with all the stuff I was going to finish painting to complete them.
    • If I'd given up on the rules or the period, then bye-bye.  Battlefleet Gothic is sitting on eBay right now because despite the excellent rules it's too hard to get in a game.  Also, I've concluded I prefer to re-enact history than fight even a great sci-fi game.  It's just too artificial for me otherwise.  Having great success with 1/700 WWII using GQIII made me realize that no one imagines technological challenges and issues that are as interesting as the real ones those guys faced around Guadalcanal.
    • If the project was only one side and the other side was hard to find a gamer for, and I wasn't about to finish the second side to present / host my own games, then bye-bye!  So Flames of War 15mm WWII survived b/c I KNOW I can get in a game of that at some point or another.  25mm ECW not so much - bye-bye!  On eBay now, and much of the painted stuff sold but there's some mint metal still there - cheap!
  5. eBay / Bartertown.  I got more skilled in doing both, often with great results.
  6. Fun Decisions!  With a growing account of 'gaming bucks', despite giving "extra" back to my regular expenses, I began considering what I wanted to do.  40mm had been on my mind for a while - years, actually.  Mainly seeing Sash and Saber displayed at Chris' Lancaster 'con booths.  I also nearly did it in 2009 with medievals, but it just seemed like too much work, too expensive, and there was already too much gaming stuff around.  With many projects sold, for sale, or being lined up for sale, I felt more free to just start a project with both sides.  As I'm sympathetic to both Cavaliers (wouldn't we all enjoy being Lord so-and-so for a bit?) and Roundheads (I'm a congregationalist so love the Levelers and their Leveling) it's fun to play both sides, so paint both sides also.
  7. The ECW has it all - enough figs for variety, plenty of interesting units and weapons, loads of eccentric personalities, and archaic terminology which makes it all more exotic!  No friend, that's not a drill stance it's a "posture".  Plus they misspell tons of words and that makes it fun, also.  The Pike/Shotte/Horse/Gun balance provides plenty of challenges for the armchair general.  There's tons of research material and I even had most of what I needed.  Finally, the units look like they'll be colorful to paint and look good painted.
  8. Blogging!  Finally, Tidders blog made me realize how much fun the blogging could also be.  Thank you Allen!
There's the story in a nutshell.  Is there a "12-step program" to mastering your gaming habit?  No, but following several I've mentioned may help you approach it more responsibly. 

"Pray the Lord's strength empower you to master that demon - wargaming.
And keep your powder dry!"


  1. Your reasons for wanting to do the ECW echo my own . . . but I've had to select the 28mm scale even though I lust over the 40s . . . but shipping costs to Canada put them out-of-reach.

    A gaming friend who lives less than an hour from me has a bunch of old figures and was interested in the ECW as well . . . so we are making it a sort of "joint project".

    I'll be doing Royalists while he does Roundheads . . . (of course all it really needs is a change of flags to switch from one army to the other).

    My focus for now is to concentrate on the early war . . . particularly in the southwest . . . but my friend also has a lot of Scots so who knows where this will eventually go.

    -- Jeff

  2. If it wasn't ECW, I'd say "beware a joint project" b/c it's hard to depend on someone else to play a game. Fortunately, there's so little difference between the two sides appearance that it really matters very little. If you are very particular, you can always enable your stands to switch flags.

    When I switched from a "cost-per-project" mentality to a "cost-of-hobby" mentality, I realized it matters little what scale or cost something is. What matters at the moment is that I'm paying for my hobby WITH my hobby money and ZERO new money [paycheck or other money]. So when my BFG items finish selling, I'll have quite a bunch of money for the hobby [the auctions are over $400 now with 2-3 days left]. Ergo, it doesn't matter than 40mm cost more - they make me happy, I want to do them, I'm excited about it, and the net 'cost' to my real income is zero.

    For $200 you get free shipping from S&S in the USA. [For Canada shipping is 25% for a $200 order, so it's $250 per order.] I've already figured out that I need about 20-25% fewer figures for the same table space in 40mm, so that's a savings. The S&S large bags are $2.25 a fig ($3 to Canada). Net is more expensive to Canada than Renegade even, but still not bad. My regiments will be 12 shotte and 6 Pike average, plus a 3-fig command stand.

    Anyway, I made one $200 purchase, which is half assembled [32 of 72]. When they are assembled and being painted on their bases, I'll place the next $200 order. I'll still be at least $200 ahead on my "hobby". If I'm short on bill money, I'll use that and then my hobby is paying for real life, which is what is should do for now, anyway.

    Anyway, I feel good about the project, and about the pace and finances. I'm dying to see how impressive these figures will be compared to my 25mm when painted! Not to dissuade you from your Warlord Project, but perhaps to show others that it isn't always an obvious situation to determine the next cost of an entire project/army.

  3. I take it back, it's $2.80 / fig to Canada, 55 cents more a figure. not a whole lot more and if you end up using a few less figs than in 25mm, the _project_ cost is probably similar. I think 25mm look best in larger batches so was inclined to 32-fig regiments for my 25mm Old Glory figs. Those are very nice figs, hate to sell them off.

  4. Remember that part of my problem is that my opponent has a large number of 25/28mm ECW figures already (and he can't afford to start over with 40mm).

    Also I was seduced by the Warlord "free shipping" and got 80 foot and 24 cav for $96, which gives an excellent start . . . particularly when I got a real good deal on some unpainted Perry ECW figs from another gamer.

    Now all that I have to do is to eventually assemble and paint around 300 foot and 150 mounted . . . Ouch! That sounds like a lot. Fortunately I'm satisfied with block painting.

    Okay, it is still a lot of figures . . . but at least I'm starting.

    -- Jeff

  5. Many eminently sensible and practical ideas in your program, some of which I have already put into effect - though in my case it has been more a question of rationalising my military history library and sets of wargame rules that I now realise I shall never use.
    My ECW project, however, will be 10mm because I have neither the space nor the money for larger figures, and if I did, my painting skill (or lack thereof) could never do them justice.
    My nextdoor neighbour is a great admirer of Cromwell, so I shall have to compromise with my principles to play the Royalists, but I shall not want for an occasional opponent.
    I wish you good fortune and a successful outcome!

  6. A good program to get your hobby habits under control
    I was looking at my hobby spend recently and was glad I was sitting down :). I try to keep to a budget but usually overflow - having a separate account is a good idea.

    I recently cleared out all my model railway stuff and used the money obtained to buy new rolling stock for my Garden railway -now I feel better knowing that somone will be enjoying playing with my old stuff instead of it sitting in boxes in the garage

    happy gaming

    -- Allan