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!