Sunday, 13 October 2013

Sunday Sermon: Learning to say no!

        
         

We all suffer from varying degrees of what psychoanalysts call "shiny toy syndrome" (it's not actually a condition in the DSM V, but it should be). Be honest with yourself, and I'm sure at some point in your hobbying career you will have procured for yourself far too much crap. More than you could ever possibly need, or indeed paint in a reasonable time-frame. We've all done it. I know for a cold hard certain fact that I have. It's a curse most geeks will have to carry at some point, whether it be owning far to many collectible figurines (toys) or periodical graphic novels (comics). We have a tendency to want to hoard all the cool stuff and things we love. I'm not sure if I have an addictive personality or not, evidence would suggest I don't, but I certainly have a touch of the kleptomaniac about me. It's a terrifying thought actually the amount of "geeky" things I have hoarded over my life.

However, during 2013 I've learned a new word, a powerful word and it's one I wasn't aware existed when it came to buying new toy soldiers... and it's no. It's a simple word, it is really easy to spell and just as easy to say. Yet it can be quite liberating. I'm not really sure when it happened. But at some point this year I looked at the ever increasing pile of miniatures, and said enough is enough. I think the first thing that happened was I got a few Kickstarters sent through to me. Now don't get me wrong, some Ive been very pleased with, but others I've not been so happy about. The quality on some of the things has been utterly shocking. In fact had I seen these products on the sheves of my local hobby shops I would not have brought them. So the first thing that went out of my purchasing window was crowd funding.


I just chose to stop backing projects. I'm still waiting on the Relic Knight stuff to come through, and I'll be happy to have it, because it is a game my partner and I can enjoy together on the cold winter nights in whichever Scandinavian country we end up in. However, I'm not dropping money blindly on product ever again. My fingers they are singed just a tad too much for my liking. I still keep an eye out for the odd project that might be worth funding, but on the whole I'm finding it far easier to resist. I specifically remember getting some of my stuff early on in the year and thinking "this is quantifiably crap". Prior to crowd funding I was quite discerning about the products I would buy. Yes I brought a lot of stuff, but I only chose games that were interesting or fun. And more importantly miniatures that were not only well sculpted, but well manufactured. Some of the "build" quality has been a far below where I'd like it to be.

I think crowdfunding caused something to snap in my brain. Why? Because it wasn't only there that I learned to say no. You see I said no to the Warmachine Colossals as well. Most of them I just wanted to buy to paint, and not even think about playing with... but they sorta happened around the time I was getting very disillusioned with the whole Kickstarter thing... So, as I was standing in shops looking at the shiny expensive toys, with my money burning a rather large hole in my pocket I said no. With pressure from the sales assistant who was used to me spending copious amounts of money in the shop, I said no. And it felt really, really good. I remember the look of shock on the store owners face as well, and the "are you sure?" question. I remember the "but they're quite limited, if you don't get it now you could be waiting months" sales pitch, and yet I was still able to say no.

It's happened throughout the year too, I've seen gorgeous new Infinity miniatures and thought, hell yes... and then I've thought about it and said, no. On countless occasions my will power has been strong enough to override my all encompassing desire to own every pretty miniature ever made by every company to have ever existed. I have of course brought the odd miniature, and I've looked very closely at Dropzone Commander, mainly because so many people either want me to review it, or actually get it so they can play the game with me. And I'll admit, I am greatly tempted to give it a damn good go myself... but not before I get my own collection in order. Because me selling much of my stuff is probably a long overdue task. I've realised that maybe consumerism isn't the way to happiness (I already knew that) and that maybe I don't want to be a willing victim in somebody else's capitalistic dream.


Initially it was a painful realisation that I wouldn't be able to ship tons and tons of toy soldiers with me to Scandinavia... I might even have sulked for a few weeks... and I've shed a tear or two at some of the things I have had to sell, in order to make room for the things I actually desperately want to put in the boxes I'll be able to take with me. Some of it has hurt. A lot. But, I've started to get over that pain, I've actually enjoyed helping others start a collection in various new games like HoMachine, Infinity, Heavy Gear Blitz, Mofaux and Dystopian Wars amongst many others. It's actually felt good in a cathartic sort of way to get rid of some of this stuff, and make other people happy with their purchases. I know with a lot of this stuff I've seriously low balled myself on price, but it was never really about making oodles of cash I guess. I've even had to stop others from making the same mistake as I did in buying too much stuff. I don't want to pass my affliction on to others.

What I am now left with is a much reduced collection of stuff. It still looks mightily impressive when stacked together, and I'm sure there is still way more stuff than one person could ever reasonably paint in a single lifetime. However, it is a more focused collection if you will, that concentrates on the core of things that are clearly exceedingly important to me as a hobbyist and gamer... and it has been very, very interesting sitting down and looking at the things I want to put into my 3 shipping boxes. What's really surprised me is the amount of boardgames I really can't imagine ever living without. There's no way I'm selling Gears of War for instance. Freebooters Fate is totally off limits too, and although I've sold a heck of a lot of Infinity stuff, I'm still left with a large JSA force, a massive Aleph faction, a sizable contingent of Haqq Islam and a very big core for the Nomads. Yes, I really do have that much stuff.


So saying no, and having to move has made me ask some very difficult questions of myself in regards to how I approach purchasing hobby goods. I've had to take a step back and admit that maybe, just maybe I was out of control with my spending (no two ways about it, I was). I feel like I'm now starting to get to a much happier place in my gaming, and collection. I'm starting to realise what is and isn't important to me. I'm starting to fall back in love with my hobby, and I'm starting to realise I don't need all the pretties. I just need the pretties that are close to my heart and make me smile. Soon I'll be in some foreign land, and I'll have to make new friends. I'll maybe have to change my gaming habits and even my games... but you know what? Scandinavia better watch out, because the games pimp is coming and he now knows the games he wants to get all you vikings playing. Peace out!

63 comments:

  1. I started keeping a record a few years back of what I was buying, and what I was painting. I rapidly adjusted my attitude to 'That's some nice shiny stuff, but I still haven't painted the last batch of shiny stuff I bought.' It dramatically curtailed my purchases. It's not perfect, I'll still pick up what I perceive to be bargains or limited time offers, but on the whole it has been a real hobby changer for me, and probably in a good way, by preventing me from being too dramatically overwhelmed (I'm currently only sensibly overwhelmed).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes... the income and outcome spreadsheet idea. Tried that once. Just depressed me. :P

      No, I dod actually know a few peeps who do that sort of thing, and it seemingly does work for them. God only knows how. If you have a coping mechanism that works, then yeah, stick with it.

      Delete
  2. Some good thoughts between this and another article I read, it is really making me think about habits....the funny thing is I read somewhere else that it is good to "overstrock" in case you have those times of no cash (out of a job for example) and you still have stuff to work on in reserve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to subscribe to the 'overstock' school of thought myself. Except it doesn't really work like that. Many games 'move on' so if you overstock on last years toys then you have no money / space for this years toys. I actually set up a hobby savings account a few years back now. I kid you not. I'd budget for Bills, food and what I called 'fun' money. If I didn't spend my 'fun' money budget that month it got transferred into a savings account. It was all going swimmingly well until I realised that I was periodically saving enough money to buy entire Warmachine or fantasy armies in one go... then it led to an unsettling habit of purchasing a full army evry 2 to 3 months... normal people would have over paid the mortgage or something.

      Delete
  3. It is difficult for some of us addicts but a new job and less money earned is another way of having to say no!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes... the lack of 'funds' cure. It's not really a cure though is it Fran? More of an evil form of cruel and unusual punishment... but yeah... I'm sure we've all been there, like a kid in a candy store with a particularly mean grandparent.

      Delete
  4. I've done pretty good this year only 52 minis purchased (slightly more than I've painted though). Once the Rivet Wars KS ships though that will probably push me up another 30ish, and I plan to ask for the latest SDE expansion for xmas too, which will be another 30ish.

    I also sold a bunch of Orks this year though, so I should wind up the year at slightly fewer unpainted minis than I started with (assuming I get a few more painted, and don't buy many more). Which is a first for me since I've been in the hobby. It does feel good.

    I also have done a good job avoiding KSers this year - after going way overboard last year. So far for me this year has been the aforementioned Rivet Wars (which I went big on) and the one from Privateer Press - which is a scant 7 minis.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like you, last year I did go big on Kickstarters. This year, I don't think I've touched a single one you know. I do wander though how companies who seem to now only exist on Kickstarter like Mantic are doing it. Surely there is a serious war of attrition going on with their consumers? After the quality of my Dreadball stuff I'll not be backing another Mantic Kickstarter... probably ever.

      As to painting more than you buy. That's never happened for me. I used to be in a spot around uni, and just after where I'd paint everything I brought, and that made me happy. Actually, I guess I also took commissions too. SO yeah, I was painting more than I brought. It does feel good, and I guess that's where we should all try to get to. Even though retailers and game manufacturers wouldn't want us to.

      Delete
  5. You're preaching to the converted here :-)
    Too bad those Mantic KS campaigns keep sending me stuff, otherwise it would have been a very good year (with an actual decrease in the lead mountain for once)

    And "oooh, shiny syndrome" could be classed as an impulse control disorder (non specified) on axis I ... Now to find a shrink who'll take that and prescribe some (ambulant) painting therapy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is absolutely a form of impulse control disorder. I know Implusive Shopping still hasn't made it into the latest DSM, even though there has actually now been more than enough research and medical journal articles to suggest it A) really does exist and B) has its very own pathology. Sadly it is usually treated more as a compulsion. But I digress...

      Yeah. Kickstarter. It's certainly had an impact on me. Not all of it good. In fact hardly any of it good. I don't mind waiting for stuff, IF when it turns up it doesn't look like it has been manufactured by morons. Very displeased with some products. It has made me a wary shopper as well.

      Delete
    2. My textbook is off course still based on on the DSM IV-TR, but do we really need another niche label? Impulse control (not specified) is good enough for me. Just let me stay at home for a few months of painting therapy :-)

      Back to KS: so far I've only backed Mantic and two others (as a scenery source for Deadzone). While some of Mantic's miniatures might not be completely to my taste, they definitely make up for it in price per mini. And they pretty much are bang up to schedule for shipping. Yes, some minis were pushed back, but some were early... The two scenery KS, delayed by a few months. Ah well, they were both low level pledges, so I don't feel that outraged because of the low investment level.

      Delete
    3. While I'd normally agree with you over excessive sub-classifications within mental health in general... I do think the whole area of compulsions / impulses is generally speaking a bit of a mess. We do have multiple classifications for the same thing, yet when we are initially presented with new compulsive behaviour our go to default position is to shoehorn into things into already existing categories. I could go on, but I guess it comes back to psychiatry's need to codify and classify as opposed to treating people as unique specimens and individuals.

      But that my friend is a whole other debate!!! :P

      Look, I have no problem with the style or necessarily the cost of Mantics stuff, but some of the quality of the miniatures in terms of casting was not good. Likewise some components. I have a Mantic KoW Orc army, and I happen to think they look fine... but some of the stuff I've received isn't up to that standard, and it is disappointing.

      Delete
  6. I dread having to take stoke of my collection. Though I did rationalise my HoMachine by selling of my Trolls, Legion and Cryx... that felt good. At the same time by making space on my shelf I've found room for new games that I would not otherwise have tried.

    By the way if you want to go PHR DropZone Commander... I bought the wrong army for me, lovely though it is (and part painted). Would be happy to swap for a similar force of Scourge ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes... the dreaded rationalization. We should all be forced to go through that... as long as it is to do with our hobby collections and not our jobs. Rationalized jobs are a bad thing. Mine actually feels a bit bad right now. I'll be clear, had I not been moving to the land of shoebox apartments I would almost certainly be hanging on to all of my 'crap'. So it does feel weird parceling up some of my half finished or 'nearly started' projects. On the other hand it also feels really good to look at a pile of miniatures that is now only waist high.

      As to DZC... I have nothing. I was looking at the UMC and Shiltari is it? I can ask around and see if anyone I know would be up for swapsies if you like?

      Delete
  7. Vikings don't know the meaning of the word no...

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps nej would be better? :P

      I thought you did understand the meaning of the word, it just made you guys angry... especially when coupled with the word beer!!!

      Delete
  8. DZC was that point for me too. I just bought into whatever game that my friends were playing (except Warmahordes, because I hate the aesthetic) and eventually realised I had dozens of half-painted units and armies for games I had no intention of playing, while simultaneously fielding unpainted mechs in Battletech, which I played every week. Something had to give, and buying shit was it.

    Now if only I could stop buying mechs.....

    ReplyDelete
  9. The shiny syndrome has been my bane for a while now, but these last few months have seen an improvement. And while i still have boxes of stuff to work my way through and either sell or build/paint it is no near as bad as it used to be.

    I have resisted kickstarters so far, except 2: Arena Rex (those minis i just could not not have) and warmachine tactics.

    I have also managed to steer clear of the new Dark Elves, and that has been a major victory.

    As for games, i have finally settled on 2 factions for warmachine and a single faction for Infinity. I have a few minis for these in various stages of completion.

    The only real indulgence i have left is the Horus Heresy models from forgeworld, and i have had amazing fun painting primarchs. Someday the small pile of parts will also be assembled into a viable Legion army, once i decide on one that is.

    Other then that, all i am left to deal with is some tyranid big critters (will most likelt be my 40k army if the new codex holds water), some various Werner Klocke minis, some scattered Rpg minis and the Leviathan Crusader from Dreamforge Games.

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