Just over a week ago I turned 60. Now I'm not one to worry about age or birthdays (except at 25 when I felt old!) but there is something about hitting this new decade that seems to have brought on a period of hobby reflection. Now speaking to other friends in a similar situation, I know I'm not alone in this. What have I been musing upon and if anything, what will this mean for my hobby?
The Lead Pile
As touched upon briefly at the end of a previous post, I finally got around to getting everything out of the attic and other parts of the house to have a good look at actually what I've got. Simply put far too much! Heresy I know for many, but I'm being utterly realistic about what I'm likely to be able to achieve in making a dent on this. Like other gamers, some were bought for projects that never saw the light of day, for retail therapy during stressful times at work or for projects that are still in the pipeline.
Projects & Periods
Looking through the above, some of the bags contained figures that I honestly struggled to remember why I bought them, but most I knew about when I saw them, even if I had forgotten they were there. So a few hours of sorting them into labelled boxes allowed me to take stock of all that was laid out in front of me.
I was confronted with the harsh realisation that given my current painting output, in front of my were well over a decades worth of projects, assuming my eyes and hands could carry on painting 10mm figures. Also it brought into sharp focus that would I in all honesty paint and play with 3 Seven Years War armies, given that these days the ImagiNations route is much more to my liking? Then what of the two Hundred Years War armies, the Baltic Crusades or the 19thC 'Big Game' armies?
In all likelyhood most of this stuff will be sold on to allow me to focus on those core periods I enjoy, namely 18thC, 19thC and WWII. The start has been very cathartic already and I hope to be able to shift most of the stuff in the New Year, maybe before, but with the post being somewhat unreliable in the run up to Xmas, most likely after that.
Over the years I've bought into so many different and new rulesets that promised so much and in most cases, sadly failed to deliver. Luckily over the past 5 years or so I've really settled on core sets that I enjoy and play often, namely BKCII, Honours of War and the Black Pwder stable. Alongside these I would include Bloody Big Battles and Dan Mersey's 'Rampant' series, although these rarely get an outing.
Some other rules will be kept back as they might have some nice ideas in them, for nostalgia value etc, but everything else will go. As other friends have found lately, it is pretty hard to sell old rules and given the cost of postage, it's not really worth the effort, so it will be off to a charity shop if I can't sell them locally. I know I won't miss them and will greatly appreciate the extra space on the bookshelves that this will free up.
This year has been a challenging one in which to find time to game, as it's been a busy on on the parent/carer front and I can't see much changing next year. My 2' x 2' games have been a lifeline, with the odd 3' x 2' and 4' x 4' thrown in for good measure. Anything larger is hard to find in around family duties or even to leave set up, as much as I would like to. So this has also driven what I plan to keep and what is surplus to requirments.
Type Of Games
When I first got back into gaming it was via skirmish games, which were prefect for the situation at that time with a young family and little time for anything larger. As time moved on my ideas out grew what I could realistically achieve, such as Brigade level games of BKCII played at home solo that would last all day or more! Currently a reinforced Battalion or Regiment per side is what I can easily achieve and play through at home and played to conclusion in a few hours, with something slightly larger with a bit of planning and approval from SWMBO due to the disruption of leaving the game set up. Again this means that those large army ideas from the early days have led to lots of surplus figures.
One off games whilst OK and a good way to keep you hand in, test new ideas, scenarios and rules out etc, really don't float my boat anymore. I much prefer a narrative driven campaign, no matter the period being played. Sadly this is not always possible but I have reams of paper full of ideas that one day I might even get around to playing. Hopefully next year I might even get to run a few, which would be nice.
I think that this is the hardest part of the hobby to find motivation to do. Certainly after the deadline for the Cotswold Wargames Day, my mojo has waned significantly for a variety of reasons. Not having a dedicated painting area doesn't help, plus after some 30+ years in the design and modelmaking industry, it can feel like a busman's holiday at times. Don't get me wrong, when the muse is upon me, I love to paint, but as each year progresses her visits seem to lessen.
Whilst I struggle to find the mojo to paint, the complete reverse is true of scratch building terrain for my games. Again I have loads of sketches for ideas dotted about all over the place, but finding the time to make them become reality is my biggest issue. Hopefully with the figure cull and focusing on core periods again, I can get back into the garage to make stuff.
A perennial issue but after getting everything into one place, I have at least been able to make a start on organising stuff better, whether it be finished armies or part of the lead pile or terrain. SWMBO did mention that when our son eventually moves out, I might be able to have that as my man cave-cumgames room! Whilst small it is at least a start!
Less Is More
So I'm hoping that with the above fresh in my mind, I can actually make a 'fresh start' to this new decade once I've had a good clear out and re-organisation. As mentioned earlier the start has been cathartic and I hope to maintain the momentum to that I can have less projects moving forward, but ones that I really want to play and enjoy playing them.