Wednesday, November 01, 2017

On the doubts one has

Some days I question my involvement in this hobby; whether it is worth the time I put in.

Assembling six Warlord Games Orcs (nee Wargames Factory models) last night brought on the latest existential crisis.
A previous set of the little bastards
Let me go on record now as saying I've concluded these are horrible models, the seven or so pieces needed for each figure require so much effort to assemble, and come with no indication of which parts assemble different basic poses.  Ninety minutes of effort to assemble six models is not my idea of fun or a useful investment of time.

But the real question was, 'why am I even doing this?'

Certainly, it's not as if I need the extra models.  I have thousands, painted and unpainted.  Moreover, Jesus Christ, I'm a grown man with thousands of toy soldiers.  Some days I have doubts about what I'm choosing to do with my time.  Why is that?

I've talked about the dilemma of hobbies before, Wargaming is not the most expensive thing I do, but it is the one that causes me most doubt, despite being the one that with its' associated activities - board games, assembling and painting models - takes up the most of my time.  I'm old enough to be from a time when this sort of activity simply wasn't cool in any form, and I think I'm scarred by that.  However overall I think I just go through phases of, well...

Disliking my hobby.

Which is weird, as it has definitely helped keep me sane.  And I really mean, sane.

There's been long periods of pretty shitty times in my past where the only escape was burying myself in a 12 hour painting session of impossible Napoleonic uniforms, day-long games with friends, solo-games at home, reading up on background/history; it was always something that could block the awful side of the brain from getting a word in edge-ways.

But other days; when you are surrounded by your tribe at its' most ugly, least charitable, and see the rest of the world going about its' business; the days when you don't feel you are personally fighting off the grasping spirits of beyond.  Those occasions at the end of a dreadful three hour game of torture with a pedantic, win-at-any-costs, netlist, rules-as-written, neckbeard whose unpainted army of scarcely assembled broken-rules filth has permitted him the entire time to gloat in an orgy of destruction of your own thematically/historically crafted force; before proceeding to tell you in the most patronising way possible how you could've done better.  Those days when you've given yourself a bad back and a dozen cuts from assembling shitty plastic figures, dizzy on the fumes of a chemical lab's-worth of noxious glues, only to realise you now have the paint the little sods as well.

On those days, I want out.

But I don't, I sell a few things, go quiet for a while, find other things to do.  It isn't quite an addiction, but eventually like an old friend it is there for you when you need it.  And you pick up where you left off somehow.

Despite how much I can hate my hobby.  It has a place in my life.

I still need it.

It is just difficult to see why sometimes.

Normal service will resume next time people....


  1. I know the feeling - about the hobby keeping me sane. It's helped me through some extremely dark times although I'm quite open about it being an addiction. My best friend of 25 years recently saw my lead and plastic mountain shortly after I'd moved house and exclaimed, without missing a beat: 'Fuck me, mate - you've got a problem!'

    I think that feelings of hatred go hand in hand with addiction - when we're lucid that is. Still. It doesn't really matter in the end. Or does it? Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time (Mark Twain - I think) so it sounds like you just need to get rid of the abominable orcs and build something more cathartic :)

  2. I suspect many people will recognise your feelings about the hobby. With time and age I hope most people can reach a state of balance. Like any addiction wargaming is bad when it negatively impacts other aspects of our lives. My suggestion is try to do what you is good for you.

  3. I don't really go though ha hate, more of a "why?". I do love the hobby and it is great to keep me sane - especially for me I find it in the rules writing and tinkering. But every now and then, especially it seems after a sequence of reading some great books (fiction or non) I go though a "why do I bother?" when other things seem more enjoyable. But I always come back :-)

  4. I think there is the simple pleasure of play on one hand (that probably gave us the bug in the first place) and then everything else, which includes modelling, research, painting, wasting time on the internet, worrying about what scale, what system, a lead mountain, storage space etc etc etc. The important thing seems to be to keep the former (actual gaming) in balance with all the other activities that are actually supposed to support the gaming .... not take over from it.

    I find that sometimes just re-connecting with my actual gaming is something that needs positive action and a discipline. In a wargaming world of fantastic choice, the dangers of procrastination seem ready to rob us of our precious quality gaming time.

    I am just entering one of my periods of reflection and determining direction, which in truth is no more than a de-cluttering of the mind and the gaming shelf and spending an hour less each day on the internet. Part of that is that I want to reclaim some quality reading time, something that I seem to have surrendered without even noticing.

  5. I can't say I hate it, I guess I game with people I know who have a similar outlook to me and are compatible. I find the figure painting , certainly,and to an extent the assembly of figures and vehicles therapeutic and relaxing. I would agree with Norm that my reading of fiction has been pretty much anihalated by the hobby and related research, I now only read non fiction and almost exclusively related to projects various. Everything goes through peaks and troughs but if anything I'd say this hobby helps keep me happy (unless I'm assembling victrix napoleonic french which is why the caveat about assembling! )
    Best Iain

  6. An echo of similar sentiments here Dean. A long layoff from actual playing of games and an enforced absence from the paint table, nearly made me give up. Returning to the paint table though was all the more enjoyable for the absence. however, I've still not returned to regular gaming and a recent excursion did not convince me that everyone I meet is someone I want to play a game with. I could feel tension building within myself that, had I played in a game I saw recently, i would either have walked away feeling angry or worse said something that would have evolved into a bitter argument. Neither option were appealing. Having said that the hobby has helped with rehabilitation and counselling recently so it isn't all bad.