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Reclaiming my Hobby

June 12, 2017

I have a love/hate relationship with miniature wargaming. It’s expensive, time consuming, and exhausting, but also creative, inspiring, and downright fun. There is a certain joy that accompanies the usual tedium that comes with building models, but for the most part I find myself questioning why I do the hobby at all. I can spend days tinkering with model poses and paint schemes only to have my fickle thoughts abducted by another project or to burn out on the minutia of it all. My shelves are a mausoleum of unbuilt and unpainted models unfairly interred before their chance at earning glory on the miniature battlefields they were cast for…

I’ve no great love of painting. To my shame I’ve never had a fully painted army for any game system. I’ve never even got close. I had a decent sized Ork army for Warhammer 40k a few years ago with two mobs of Chaos Black undercoated Boyz. Of my 200 model plus WWII Reinforced Soviet Rifle Company, I painted exactly one squad and a commissar, though I did paint a random T-34/85 to accompany them. The rest have all been grey masses of undaubed plastic and with a few gangs of shining tin mixed in. At the end of it all, it is easy to feel like I’ve wasted my time, money, and brainpower.

There is one thing that keeps me from pitching the whole lot into the garbage; the organic, vibrant stories that spring out of crafting, organizing, and marshalling wee plastic soldiers into a fictional fighting force. For me, the games are all about the context of the miniature struggle and why these tiny men, women, robots, and/or creatures are fighting it. Why are they fighting, and why now? What are the stakes involved? Where are they, and why did they choose *insert scenery here* as a battleground? These are some of the questions that I want answered if I’m going to fully suspend my disbelief and commit to the somewhat absurd notion of miniature wargaming.

With that in mind, I’m going to make a dangerous gambit with myself: buckle down and start enjoying this hobby, or ditch it and spend my time doing something else. The goal is to play with a fully painted, narrative-driven warband against equally well thought out forces, in games that feel like they have proper weight, actual stakes, and narrative context beyond basic mechanical victory conditions.

If this is going to be a last stand of sorts, then I’m going to give it my all. I will focus on one contiguous warband as my main hobby project, with only minor forays into other systems. I will paint everything that I build in a timely fashion. I will play games with the force regularly. This blog will serve as a chronicle of the project, an accountability tool, and a place to vent my highs and lows throughout. I’ll regularly post building and painting updates, unit and character backstories, battle reports, and maybe even a short story or two inspired by the models or setting. Hopefully this will be a great opportunity to watch a narrative-focused army recruited, trained, equipped, and fielded. Now to reveal the setting I have in mind…

  1. jdtier permalink

    Must be something in the water – I’m doing something similar but late 13th C. !

    Good gaming!

    • Indeed! I would be excited to see your project in print someday. Are you planning on chronicling your efforts? There can never be enough narrative driven projects out there, in my opinion.

      I had dallied with doing something later, but I balked at the restrictions of religion and lack of social mobility in the high to late medieval ages. The earlier medieval and dark ages were more of a wild card in that aspect, if more restrictive in other ways.

      In any case, I wish you well in your endeavors!

      • jdtier permalink

        It was partly the reason for the blog actually, detailing either an accurate 12th-13th C. portrayal or an alternative history timeline (more likely to be alt. history) around the reign of Edward I (High Middle Ages),but things are flexible!

        I’m primarily a fantasy gamer but going back to my wargaming roots for this. Looking forward to reading more about your project in the months to come.

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