Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Sermon: Finding the time

    
   

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!

48 comments:

  1. Don't get overly anxious on time, what you need will come. BTW, I haven't gamed much in the last year or so, and have really slowed down painting, but I do either only when I feel the urge. Seems to work. Best wishes, Dean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not anxious about it, more frustrated I guess. I enjoy playing with toy soldiers, and having so many kicking around my house, with the facilities I have on hand has been nothing short of frustrating this past year. Just that my diary and other peoples diaries never seems to match up at all. Now I'm moving to a new country I'll need to make new contacts and start all over again with rebuilding my hobby... I know I live in an area where there are feck loads of gaming nerds, I'm not so sure I'll find as lively a community wherever else I end up.

      Delete
    2. This is a valid concern, best to start looking for clubs and groups where you are thinking you'll end up (or can get to easily). The Meetup website was useful for me in Canada when looking for board-gaming groups and they do have some coverage in Sweden and Denmark. Don't end up like I have on my return, having to drive anywhere between 45 and 90mins to get a game of anything.

      Delete
    3. I think I have more pressing concerns right now... but finding a friendly bunch of gamers is important to me.

      :)

      I'm not too worried if it means I can only realistically game once or twice a month. I'll have plenty of other things to preoccupy my time... like learning Swedish.

      Delete
    4. From my own experience, finding a good bunch of gamers was one of the most important things to do, because it helped with the other things - people helped me before I had a car when I needed to move furniture and gave good local advice. On top of which, having to game in Swedish will make you learn it faster, lycka till! :)

      Delete
  2. You and me both, brother. You and me both...

    I find myself adjusting priorities: No more beautiful masterpieces, just assembly line. Probably drifted into Flames of War for that very reason (and it's huge in my town). You can pull off the 30 min paint sessions every day or two when it's all laid out like a factory, but sadly it does get a bit mechanical and not artistic. But...it gets you prepped for that long-awaited day you carved out of your schedule when you can roll the dice. I stash a lot of stuff in the garage, as well, and work on scenery and such under the guise of doing housework and general "guy stuff" in the garage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, perhaps sweeping the decks and moving to the land of Vikings might give me a new perspective on my hobby. I hope so. Because right now apart from cleaning the odd mold line and pinning the odd arm on a mini I'm not up to a whole lot more. Meh... it is what it is I guess.

      Delete
    2. Blogger just ate my reply! Wtf!!!

      Well I guess I'll wait and see if its on a delay...

      Delete
    3. Sorry it's not on delay, nor is it in my spam filter. The new comments box has bizarrely got a 'sign-out' function, which makes little to no sense to me, so watch out for that.

      Delete
  3. I haven't actually played a game of anything miniatures-based in weeks, not since a bit of Warmachine in August; the "if time, not money, if money, not time" effect has long been a burden I've had to bear, and doubly so since the local club options run to either 'expensive' or 'on a night I'm working and a bit too competitive for me'. It's gotten to the stage where the Necrons have been deemed 'too much crap to store for a game I play three times a year in other parts of the country'; they're lined up for the great god Liquidity to claim so I can actually have an army to take to SmogCon.

    To be honest, though, I wonder if miniatures gaming and I aren't entering into that kind of 'once a month at the Clapham club and maybe a few games on holiday' territory - something that might happen less than twenty times a year, rather than once or twice a week as was the case in days of yore. Makes it quite hard to keep up with the Joneses (with Warmachine it's not just what you do but what you know can be done to you, after all), but I suppose that's what blogs are for, and I'm becoming much less churlish about having other people test my pieces out for me, as it were.

    It's certainly a lot easier to sit down and play some Magic with either of the housemates who are into that, even than it is to get out Hark's Lord of the Rings stuff and have a quick knockabout with that. That said, it's about time we sorted out some Dwarves for her Goblins to bounce off, so maybe that'll help get the old hobby juices flowing again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's actually quite depressing, I've been trying to review the Bushido rulebook since forever... well... that might be an exaggeration for dramatic effect. But, since it was launched any way. I've witnessed a few games now in my own home, being the polite host... but haven't thrown own in anger myself. What the hell is wrong with me. I was so desperate I nearly asked the other half if she wanted in intro game of 40k... I'm sick... and I need help.

      Delete
  4. I struggle with finding the time to do anything - generally other than the weekends I don't feel like I have the time to paint anything - and then the weekends come and I'm busy, or not in the mood to paint. Not surprisingly other than August (when I got a lot done due to vacation) I've managed to paint like 1-2 minis a month. (Seriously - we're in month 10 of the year - and I have to date painted 46 minis this year - which of course, is fewer than I've purchased).

    And I think you hit the nail on the head there. I could paint on the weekdays - but I feel like I need at least 2 uninterrupted hours for a painting session to be worth it (3 would be better). And that's very hard to come by on the weekdays. I get home from work - I make supper, I eat supper, I unwind and digest a bit, I try to catch up on the few TV shows I watch anymore, I try to work an exercise session in (which requires a shower afterwards) etc etc.

    If I only have an hour to paint - by the time I get out all my stuff, prepare, remember what I'm doing, mix paint, etc - I get to paint for 20 minutes then I need to start cleaning my brushes and packing it all away.

    Conversely - I have a ton of stuff (more specifically Freebooter's Fate minis) assembled and primed (literally 2 dozen+ -- I just sprang for the Cult starter, and now I have all 6 factions at least starters + a few extras - 72 FF minis in all) precisely because I can mindlessly work on filing mold lines and whatnot over the course of an hour while watching/listening to television. But painting requires too much time/focus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funnily enough I've become a pinning and filling monster lately. I've assembled so many metal miniatures it is insane. I get them to the point of priming and move on. Hell I've actually got a lot of miniatures primed and ready to go now. I'm just going to have to try and shut the world out for an hour or two perhaps and get some painting done. I need to get things back on track.

      Delete
  5. As with everything else in life it's all about priorities.

    Take an average week and I spend:
    37-50 hours working*
    10 hours travelling to/from work.
    I attempt to spend 56+ hours sleeping!
    5 hours killing time at lunch at work.
    7-10 hours sitting down to meals the rest of the time.
    say another 7 hours showring, getting dresses/going to bed etc.
    Total: about 122 hours (that's really taking the min on each)

    *It should be noted that there can occassionally be blurring of the definition of work time and 'time spent surfing the net' but officially I'll class it as work time!

    So those are more or less the 'sunk time' I spend doing 'essential' stuff every week. That is out of a total 168 hours in a week. So I've got 46 hours to do what I want to.

    For me that includes spending time with my partner, my child, doing chores round the house, garden, some exercise and finally doing this wonderful hobby.

    Realistically I'll spend less than 7 hours a week on the hobby at most, so what do I want to achieve with that time is what I ask myself. At the moment it's mostly churning out painting, I find it relaxing and it destresses me so is just a nice way to unwind in the evening after everyone else has gone to bed (note of caution, don't ignore your partner to paint every night, it doesn't go down well!). Time actually spent playing games has fallen through the floor for me, I used to live 5 mins drive from my nearest games club, then I moved house and I have to travel straight from work (and it's probably 20 mins+ each way added to my travel time) in order to get a weekly game, combine that with spending a lot of my work time away from home means I've basically given up regular games and just play tournaments now instead. So once every 2 months or so I get 2 days out to play toy soldiers and I try to make the most of them as a social weekend away. Note that I'm doing this instead of other weekends off, I don't follow any sports particuarly and I've more or less given up going out drinking (kids) so it's now my time off treat and that's fine with the mrs.

    So time is definitely my limiting factor and as a result the sacrifice I've made is around my painting standard. I've steadily moved more and more to production lining warhammer armies rather than giving them best effort. I enjoy the game so I don't want to drop it for a skirmish one and also I always wanted to own every single army and have been steadily working my way towards that. I'm prefectly happy to take the long view on it too, gaming will still be an option when I'm older, hopefully my eyes will hold up and my hands won't shake too badly that I'll still be able to paint for the next 30 year and if that's the case then I'll be getting everything I want from 'the hobby'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, but what you've just described is a sort of routine, and when I had a normal 9 to 5 job that was me pretty much. I'd ration my time as you have done. My current major issue is that I'm getting consultancy work as and when I can and it is playing havoc with my ordered universe. I'm also a bit of a workaholic, so if I'm offered work, even if I need a break, I'll take it. Perhaps that's where I need more discipline, saying no to work.

      However, everything you've just said make absolute perfect sense and is good advice for those who are in your standard 9 to 5 work. You do have to try and get into a routine and be disciplined and plan your time out. Otherwise you end up wasting your effort on lots of little things and get none of the big goals sorted. This hobby can be trcksy, especially with the new shiny toy syndrome!!!

      Delete
  6. Great post, Jody. I think its a cycle of life thing as much as anything else - its just hard having the time when you've a partner and a house, and a garden.....

    However, I think its also a 21st Century thing - there just were not the same distractions in the early 1980s when I started. No homes computers (unless you liked programming), only three channels on TV, no DVDs, videos you needed to go and rent from a shop, no mobile phones, tablet PCs and no internet. So the wargames club (school or town) was where it was at for the hobby. If you were interested in the hobby in anyway, you made time to physically get to the club. I'm not at all saying the early 1980s were a golden age - far from it - but the need to physically be somewhere (ie the wargames club) to enjoy the hobby was perhaps stronger than it is now.

    Anyways, here's hoping you get the time you need, mate. Very, very best of luck in Scandinavia - you'll be very much missed, but hope you come back and visit from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll pop back, but given the shysters we currently have in charge of the country I fear Great Britain is once again becoming a nation that looks after the elite and says "fuck you" to everyone else. I don't think I want to live in a country that tells nurse they need a wage freeze while simultaneously offering tax breaks to investment bankers who helped right royally screw this country over in the first place. This nation has it all arse about face right now... and it upsets me deeply to see food banks in out major towns. We shouldn't need those. We're supposed to be a civilised nation.

      As to the hobby, you're probably right, I'm sure there is an element of the old life cycle to it. However, considering other hobbies are trying to make themselves more and more accessible and easier to engage with our hobby does seem rather anachronistic in the modern world. Part of me quite likes that fact, that it is somehow utterly backwards in our modern world... but part of me is starting to resent it as well. It's just an observation I guess that some of the bigger firms have seemingly forgotten that there product exists in the modern world, and that they really ought to consider how their product fits in, or not, with peoples daily lives.

      Delete
  7. I had a lovely post but blogspot decided that "publish" was actually "logout" and it went away :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If it is any consolation I've done that twice today already... once was the first time I tried replying to your comment... -_- ... the second time was... replying to your comment... -_- ... it has been a very long day. Lets just pretend you posted the best comment the world has ever seen and I came up with an eloquent, yet thoughtful response and finished off with a delightful quip... otherwise we could both end up looking like right numpties!!!

      Delete
    2. Quite so my good man, jolly good! *puffs on pipe*

      Delete
    3. Although on posting that I see that there is now a "Sign out" button, which was not previously displaying. Could be a problem with the new dynamic coding that blogspot has been using? Who knows!

      Delete
    4. Well at least we now have a plausible excuse. It's probably utter bollocks and we're both probably complete nimrods... but nobody will ever know for sure.

      ;)

      Delete
  8. There are a few ways to trade time for money and vice versa. Outsourcing painting saves time. Scrounging the internet for deals and second hand offers on e bay saves money. But both require a (chnage of) mindset that not everybody is able to make. 'We' are often not very good at focusing our effort, which reduces our effectiveness (ooooh shiny!). And we sometimes have gamer ethics from our days of little money and lots of time which are anachronous with the new circumstances.

    So try the Zen art of accepting your restrictions, I guess (not that it works for me)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Restrictions be damned!!! lol.

      I'd rather try and work out the issues as to why my hobby isn't going the way I'd planned. I'm never going to pay somebody to paint my armies for me. Just not my style. It's part of the hobby that is actually very important to me personally. It's recently being the lack of gaming that has been killing me the most. Alas I can't see that getting any better any time soon.

      Delete
  9. It has been a month since my last wargame, and I don't expect to play gain for another three weeks at least. The only way for me to snatch in a game is to plan a couple of weeks in advance and hope to find a free evening for everyone.

    Painting and modelling is a totally different thing: I can paint something in a half an hour, if I don't have to get out all the paints, pots, brushes,...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For me the real kicker recently was discovering I had no primer. that just totally sucked balls... -_- ... wasn't a happy bunny at all after that little episode. I'd totally psyched myself up to do some priming and then do some work and reward myself with some quality painting time. What actually happened was I swore a lot and threw a diva strop.

      :P

      Delete
    2. I quit gaming at once, no more shooters and zombies for me.. been "sober" for 3 years lol, well except I still play some harmless flash game like cooking Papas Games, sometimes, not very often though, I feel happier!

      Delete
  10. I've encountered many of the same problems: job, personal life 'requirements' and friends who no longer have time due to familial constraints or only want to play certain games with the time they have. Two things I've done are cut back on video games and made a concentrated effort to play the games I want to play, even it it means GM'ing them. I still haven't gotten a lot of miniature gaming in, the odd game of X-wing now and then, though I have been able to assemble, paint and work on miniatures and other stuff to expand my gaming resources (scenery, maps, etc.) since I've cut back on video games. I've also been happier with my gaming since I put time aside to play the games I want to and not the ones I don't have an interest in (which also meant reconnecting with some old friends to play new games with).

    ReplyDelete
  11. SWEET! I just got a free Minecraft card code at http://minecraftcode.me/

    ReplyDelete
  12. These blogs are quite incredible that have provided the best knowledge. play crystal saga

    ReplyDelete
  13. you can give the equal opportunity to boys and girls if you admit your boys in a good school or collage then you will be admit your girl and in best school and collage. the girls can play the friv game to entertain himself. it will be better for the girls to refresh yourself when they became board form the study.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Personal life 'requirements' and friends who no longer have time due to familial constraints or only want to play certain games with the time they have. Two things I've done are cut back on video games and made a concentrated effort to play the games I want to play..Click here to see more games

    ReplyDelete
  15. I operate a video game web site that might actually get some significant traffic from the 3DS browser, and I consider it very unfortunate that Google would decide for users what their experience will be.While it is nice that Google would provide this option to the user, they should at least be able to choose whether they wish to use Google’s CSS or the one provided by the site for their device. cat mario online

    ReplyDelete
  16. well this is cool... I just got a free Playstation Network card code from http://www.freepsn.info/

    ReplyDelete
  17. They need to be brought up on fraud charges. I just checked and they more than doubled their goal and counldn't absorb a $35,000 loss? Something stinks. Sounds like they ran into problems after they paid themselves and decided it was too much trouble to make the game. There's an ocean of talented artists even if you have to adjust the style of the game. Send a lawyer after the artist for breach of contract and hire another one. On a first game you might not get paid up front for your work if you are the owner/creators so grow up and finish the game people paid you a fortune to make. FYI paying people upfront? What are you 5 years old???? Total novices and a bad investment.
    seo services in Hyderabad

    ReplyDelete
  18. video game is very interesting game we should take part in friends with word you can enjoy in every where and any where .I think this is good game to give interest and knowledge
    seo services in Hyderabad

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've encountered many of the same problems: job, personal life
    'requirements' and friends who no longer have time due to familial
    constraints or only want to play certain games with the time they have.
    Two things I've done are cut back on video games and made a concentrated
    effort to play the games I want to play, even it it means GM'ing them. I
    still haven't gotten a lot of miniature gaming in, the odd game of
    X-wing now and then, though I have been able to assemble, paint and work
    on miniatures and other stuff to expand my gaming resources (scenery,
    maps, etc.) since I've cut back on video games. I've also been happier
    with my gaming since I put time aside to play the games I want to and
    not the ones I don't have an interest in (which also meant reconnecting
    with some old friends to play new games with
    seo services in Hyderabad

    ReplyDelete
  20. Cheap carrying a cheap, tiffany jewellery uk sale feel dead and heavy, and my heart can tiffany jewellery uk sale not help but tiffany jewellery uk sale cheap. tiffany london sale But she would not think of how, cheap suddenly collapsed. cursed cheap is a pig. cheap does not know that they have been cursed, still continue to mooch, the following is also harder. Man's evil ah, cheap tiffany jewellery uk sale cheap tiffany uk sale give yourself an excuse.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hey buddy, you have done the fantastic job, your post is genuinely amazing. Planescape Torment Mods

    ReplyDelete
  22. Cheap carrying a cheap, tiffany jewellery uk sale feel dead and heavy, and my heart can tiffany jewellery uk sale not help but tiffany jewellery uk sale cheap. tiffany london sale But she would not think of how, cheap suddenly collapsed. cursed cheap is a pig. cheap does not know that they have been cursed, still continue to mooch, the following is also harder. Man's evil ah, cheap tiffany jewellery uk sale cheap tiffany uk sale give yourself an excuse.
    Lots of great games there.
    I want to source code please
    http://okegamers.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  23. Gamers Heaven
    We at Gamers Heaven love gaming and so we dedicate our work in making your playing experience as enjoyable as it can be. Our aim for all our products is one thing, helping you have the best gaming experience possible.
    Buy Chair: http://gamersheaven.co.uk/

    ReplyDelete
  24. We love assassin's creed games new Assassin’s Creed The Movie is coming soon Assassin’s Creed The Movie

    ReplyDelete
  25. Friends Ubisoft May Announce New Prince Of Persia At The Upcoming E3 2015New Prince Of Persia

    ReplyDelete
  26. You have really selected the suitable topic; this is one of my favorite blogs.
    gamingrouterhq.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. I have spent my lots of time in searching of good posts but now I have come to the right place. http://subwaysurfershacktool.org/

    ReplyDelete
  28. Great! We will be connecting to this enormous post on our site. Continue the good writing.
    link vao m88

    ReplyDelete