There are, I am reliably informed only 24 hours in the day. Despite the fact that of late it has felt paradoxically like there were too few hours in the day, yet it felt like there were far more than only 24 in a day. It has certainly felt that way at the end of many days recently. I'm not too sure whether that is a full on complaint or indeed just merely an observation. Simply put I've not enough time to ponder on where such thoughts come from nowadays. They pop into my head briefly, and I shrug my shoulders and just get on with whatever it was I was getting on with. Time it seems is a very scant resource round my house at the moment. Which in some ways is an entirely ridiculous state of affairs, but also given the state of daily flux in my routine isn't altogether unsurprising. In short I quite often don't know whether I'm coming or going.
This, as I'm sure you are all aware, is an absolute nightmare for our hobby. I can't just figure out that I might have a spare 3 hours this afternoon, and call up some friends for a game of Infinity or HoMachine. They too have lives, and more annoyingly their own routines. So you need to plan things more than that. Getting to play a wargame requires planning, dates, times and quite often I am unable to give firm answers, it seems, to many of those questions in advance, or more accurately enough in advance to ensure I have an opponent. As such my hobby has suffered horrendously of late. Just picking up a miniature to clean the mould lines and flash off of them has been all I've been able to manage recently. Seriously, I've cleaned five miniatures in 4 weeks. That has to be a new record in tardiness even for me.
I hadn't previously realised just how demanding our hobby actually was. Neither did I realise just how much preparation has to go into arranging games to be played. With a full-time job and a set routine you can sort things out. Odd though that may seem. You know what is your time, and what is works time. What happens when those distinctions disappear is that you are left with the odd hour here and there. Some people might like this sort of thing, the chaos of it all, the variety if you will. I, it seems, do not. At heart I must be a bureaucrat, or some form of planner. I like order. I like knowing what's going on. More importantly I like being in charge and control of, at the very least, my own life. With things seemingly in a perpetual state of flux the 'hobby' is appearing to be a thoroughly unreasonable mistress. I just can't find the time!
Devoting half an hour here, or ten minutes there isn't really enough. You have to commit far more of yourself than that if you are to get the most out of the hobby. So I've been feeling a bit like a 'hobby refugee' of late. I've been living vicariously through others by reading their Blogs, or nipping into clubs at the last minute to catch a glimpse of games being played. Perhaps a 'hobby junky' looking for a quick 'fix' is a more accurate analogy. I've been left therefore with a really unsatisfactory feeling where my hobby is concerned... and more worryingly I'm not even sure how I turn that around, without completely changing my life. Not that I'm not willing you understand, after all I'll be moving to Scandinavia soon enough. But it is a big ask, and I guess I'm only now starting to realise what some of you have been facing for years.
I've often, in my responses to many of your comments, spoken about making time to play games. To just set time aside to go out and play games. Like it was easy. Like it shouldn't be a struggle, and it's only a struggle if you make it a struggle. That was incredibly naïve of me I concede now. Life often gets in the way, and I have started to resent the demands the hobby places on me somewhat. People often talk about the cost of the hobby being the biggest barrier. Buying all those toy soldiers, paint, glue and other bits and bobs you require to get your armies to the tabletop. And yes, the expense is actually as an outlay quite steep, and often the level of outlay required in one go to have some sort of gaming fix is actually eye wateringly expensive at times. But you take or leave that, it's your money and it's your call. I've never really felt like this hobby was overly expensive actually.
But time? How do you buy more time? Where the hell do you get that from? Do Privateer Press sell it? I've already moved to more skirmish based games for obvious reasons. Games like Freebooter's Fate and Infinity offer me an in-depth tactical gaming experience at a fraction of the time required to get forces on the table, that some more mainstream games require of me. They're also significantly cheaper, which is a bonus. But still they require me assemble, paint, and play them. It's not just flipping a switch either, you have to be prepared to do these activities. You have to be in the mood or even in the vicinity of the equipment to do them, and when you are and you sit down to do some painting only to discover that you're out of primer... well... it puts a dampener on things.This has happened to me twice of late, getting psyched up to do something to find you don't have the required 'stuff' to bloody do it.
It's pathetic really. I mean, I have my own hobby room, with an 8' by 4' gaming table. I have a painting desk with painting station and equipment ready to go. I have everything I need, yet I am still struggling. This has got me to thinking that there is either a problem at the core of this hobby, that might cause it some issues in the future, or that maybe, just maybe I'm not able to do this hobby anymore. Truth is those of us who do have the time to devote to the hobby to get the most out of it don't necessarily (because they actually have the time), have the money to do so. Conversely those who have the money are often afflicted with things called jobs that take up a significant proportion of their time. Many more of those with jobs will have a family life to deal with too, these unreasonable sorts expect you to spend bloody time with them.
So are we really looking at a very narrow marketplace of spoiled rich kids and retired bankers? There's certainly a case to be made that perhaps we are. Many of my friends 'retreat' from the hobby when family life starts. Is this something that companies should be thinking about, or is it something we as hobbyists have to deal with? Is it a cycle of life thing? My gut instincts tend to lead me towards the later, but perhaps it'd be wise for companies to consider the former. I've already spoken about how little time other forms of gaming require. And on a recent holiday with friends we did manage to get some serious board gaming in. But there's only so much accommodating this hobby can do before it becomes something entirely different, and I'm not sure I'd want that. So what do you lot think? Is this hobby as demanding as it appears to be? And how do you all find the time? Or do you? Peace out!