What I want from miniatures gaming

It’s recently been brought to my attention (by my partner, who was getting a bit sick of hearing about it) that I change my mind a lot about the games I play.  Fickleness mental flexibility is a deep-seated trait of mine, and it can be a blessing or a curse depending on the situation. In the case of miniatures gaming, the investment in time and money and the slow preparation required means that changing your mind all the time can be disastrous, financially and in terms of wasted hours. Plus you can feel committed to a game by the physical models you own, and feel guilty for not playing enough, like you’re wasting the time and money.  In my case things are complicated by my long and ambivalent relationship with certain games.

So she suggested that I sit down and really consider what it is that I want from my gaming.  This is not a bad idea, and I’m really glad that I did.  Maybe some of you have similar issues.  I thought I’d share below what I came up with after a few days of mulling it over.

Infinity:  What I want from Infinity is to paint the gorgeous models, (using the army list rules as a vague sort of collection guide) and at some unspecified point pop down to my local club and meet some new people and play some games.  I love the models and the setting, and the idea of playing, but I’m slow to get anything done. I need to stop feeling bad about not playing, and instead just enjoy the painting and collecting.  I’ll play eventually when I’m ready, right?  And if I don’t, so what?

SAGA:  I want a historical fix from these models: to paint dirty dark ages people and really go to town on the research and history. I also want to get my two starter armies done, so I can play with my brother as we agreed.  It’ll be a fun thing for us to do. Then, maybe play at a club if I ever feel like it? The local historical club plays SAGA and they’ve been going since the 70s so I don’t think they’re going anywhere.

Warhammer 40,000:  This is the hard one. The skull-encrusted elephant in the room.  It’s just so widely played in my area and social circle, and I still own quite a few models. But I just don’t wanna. After lots of consideration, I know I’m bored with the 40k setting, and I don’t like the aesthetic of the newer models.  I will forever associate Games Workshop’s worlds with the hand-made look, so the new CAD-looking stuff just doesn’t do it for me.  And the setting is a zombie as far as I’m concerned and leaves me totally cold.

However… I may not want to play 40k regularly, but I do want to be able to throw down with a mate if necessary as a one-off activity, like playing the X-Box or a board game.  Saying never is not a good idea when you have a personality like mine – I’ve learned it’s always better for me to keep my options open.

The one thing I really don’t want to do though is buy and paint any more blocky, soul-less, extravagantly expensive models.  Unfortunately, I have half-sold my old Imperial Guard army, so this is going to be tricky.  I’m thinking of trying a painting service.  Maybe buy a superheavy tank, send it to them to build and paint three colours, and then detail and weather it myself.  Time to think outside the box.

So what’s the result of this introspection in a nutshell?  I’m not really all that keen on miniatures gaming at the moment as it turns out.  I just want to paint models I like, and pretend I’m going to play at some point.  This is obvious in retrospect because it’s what I’ve been doing for about two years now.

Right.  Now that’s all cleared up, I actually feel pretty fresh.  Like some negativity has lifted.  Back to cleaning my Asura for priming…

8 thoughts on “What I want from miniatures gaming

  1. sinsynn says:

    ‘Mentally flexible.’
    That’s -exactly- how I would describe you, buddeh.

    Ach, man- life is way too short to be messin’ with stuffs you don’t really enjoy. Especially when it comes to hobby stuffs. Life is too short AND there isn’t enough friggin’ time!
    Infinity is my poison of choice as well.
    Funny how I have the exact opposite opinion of 40k ‘now as compared to then’ kinda thing, but I only started playin’ it in mid 4th Edition.
    I’m still looking fer a 3rd game. I was looking at Dystopian Wars again, cuz I REALLY want something where you can fight super-large scale battles. The ‘Shooting Buildings With Machine Guns’ game looks interesting too…
    But I might check out Planet Fall, cuz sci fi and 6 mm.

    I’ll hold onto my FoW stuffs, in case they ever fix that game or I find a set of 15 mm rules that A) has missions I like and B) can make infantry and armor work and not be boring.
    Oh gawd infantry is boring in FoW.
    See? I regret all that time, effort and money I spent on FoW right now.

    • beat ronin says:

      Hey Sinsynn, it’s not even like I think 40k used to be better. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. All I know is I’m bored of it. I guess it’s been a part of my life for so long I don’t feel like there’s any part of it I still want to explore, background-wise. My Guard army in 5th edition was my dream army, slowly built and painted and including exactly what I wanted. All my 40k ideas now are interesting to me mainly because they’re not very 40k in spirit. Like, my recent ideas are for inter-species mercenary armies. 40k just doesn’t have much space for that. Each of the factions are so closed and xenophobic. It’s not a Star Wars sort of setting where different species interact and you get Humans and Ithorians and those Admiral Akbar prawn dudes all on the same team. In 40k when species meet THERE IS ONLY WAR. I’m over it.

      Infinity is exciting to me. Even if I never play another game, at least I enjoy painting the models and dreaming about playing. Every time I imagine painting a GW model or writing a list I just feel this huge weight and think, why bother?

      ‘Life is too short AND there isn’t enough friggin’ time!’ Ain’t that the truth.

  2. Kelly Kim says:

    Infinity models look amazing, no doubt there. It’s just that the miniatures are so fiddly and Kate Moss skinny that I find them challenging to paint. I love the look and theme, but can’t see myself actually enjoying the painting process with them.

    GW stuff, on the other hand, has a really nice chunky and meaty feel to it. The models have room enough for me to really work on. They are just pleasurable to paint, and whole armies look amazing.

    As for your comment about inter-species armies, GW games seem to be trending towards allowing armies composed of elements from multiple armies. Even way back when, I used to field an “Inquisition” army that had Sisters of Battle at its core, Imperial agents of all sorts (assassins, Inquisitors, and some Arbites), allied units of Guard, and a Deathwatch marine unit just for kicks. It suited my ADD painting whims… I simply painted random units I liked, and tried to find ways to legally field them altogether.

    In the end though, every game system is just a set of recommendations, so long as you aren’t playing tournament rules. Play whatever you like, however you like, so long as your opponent is fine with it, and you enjoy your painting time too.

    • kaptainvon says:

      “Play whatever you like, however you like, so long as your opponent is fine with it…”

      … and that’s the detail in which the devil lies. I think we’re generally very lucky if we can find two or three people with whom we share a common set of house rules and, more importantly, priorities.

    • beat ronin says:

      Hi Kelly, thanks for taking the time to comment.

      You’re right, GW has set up recent editions to encourage mixed armies – if you’re only interested in flavours of Imperials. It’s still very restrictive if you want to do, say, what I was thinking: some Imperial Guard Militarum and Orks. A sense of hatred and lack of co-operation between the species of the galaxy is just so entrenched in the background, they can’t let people free-for-all without losing all connection between the setting and the game. I mean, it’s the tagline of the main book: there is only war. So while I can imagine (with some difficulty) a desperate force of mercenaries made up of ex-guardsmen and orks, in-game they’ll be stepping on each other’s toes and generally not working well together.

      I guess I’m just bored with the basic tropes of the setting: the xenophobia and relentless conflict. I know that technically you can do anything in 40k, but why would I spend countless hours and dollars forcing a round idea into a square hole because I’m bored with all the squares? That’s basically how I feel.

  3. kaptainvon says:

    “Maybe buy a superheavy tank, send it to them to build and paint three colours, and then detail and weather it myself. Time to think outside the box.”

    Or, y’know, chuck me some money, I’ll buy you a superheavy tank/build it/basecoat it/ship it. Keep me off the streets. You know you want to, etc. etc. etc.

    (I’m not very good at this self-promotion thing).

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