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EDITORIAL: How Much Is Too Much?

5 Minute Read
May 21 2010
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Hello, my name is Mr. Black, and I am an addict.

Mr. Black here, though I’m sure the big ominous picture could have told you that. I’ve spent this week recouping from Ard Boyz Weekend 2010 and a solid tournament win by Hive Fleet Ramrod (Details Available Here), and in my time of leisure and rest I have decided to take a step back and look at all my gaming items…

…I… Did not realize I had quite as much as I did. Yes, it seems over the years I’d lost count of the fact I had four 40K armies (five until recently), two fantasy armies, a warmachine faction, and a complete menagerie of other game system miniatures, some of which I do still indeed play but others long since exiled to being mere closet space.

Seeing this all has made me realize one thing above all others: Despite the fact all these games are fun, and I enjoy playing the armies I have, I have to understand at some point ” a lot of miniature gaming supplies” becomes “a cluttered horde of plastic and metal”.

The fact is, I love all this stuff, from the Sisters of Battle army I have (unpainted), the Slaanesh Warriors of Chaos army (unpainted), almost the entire range of Cryx (unpainted), and the lesser known games such as Malifaux (strangely painted…but the whole faction is around fifteen models), hell, I even have almost the full line of Yu Jing Infinity models, and come to think of it, I don’t much like that game…

Anyway, the point is twofold, so I’ll discuss each aspect of my problem.

The first bit is basically impulse buying, an issue that a lot of people deal with but one that can hit especially hard to gamers. The new game system has just come out! Everyone at your store rushes to buy the shiny new models, pour through the exciting rules and scenarios, and literally all your gaming friends seem to have at least a few models of their chosen faction. Well you’re part of the group aren’t you? And besides, it’s wargaming! Buy it once and you’re done! Right?

Yet, a month or so passes, the system gets broken in, issues in it arise, that new plastic/metal smell fades and the newness wears off. Gradually, people begin to migrate back to Warhammer and Warmachine, saying that, while the game is fun, there just isn’t enough support, or the rules can easily be exploited, or the new expansion is going to kill the game. Whatever the case may be, you have all just succumbed to the impulse buying draw of new miniatures.

I find this usually stems from when either: A new game gets hyped (justly or unjustly), or the typical games people play become stagnant and boring. I know I have had my dry spells slogging through both versions of Warhammer, moments were I had almost decided to just bag the dice and take up another hobby… But it is important to recognize that this happens to everyone, regardless of the hobby or passtime, and during these moments we shouldn’t get caught up in buying the new “fad” just because it’s new… In the end that’s just going to lead you to where I am now: a box full of miniatures to long dead systems.

Now, the second facet of my “too much” issue is by far the harder of the two to deal with. While one can fend of the impulse buy by learning and monitoring their buying habits, the second part of this issue is more complex, and altogether harder to resist.

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That issue is genuinely being interested in what you are buying.

Now, that may sound weird to some, but let me explain myself. I own the following 40K armies:

-Tyranids, 5000 points
-Angels Sanguine, 3500 points
-Sisters of Battle, 3000 points
-Grey Knights, 2500 points
-(Until three weeks ago) Chaos Space Marines, 5000 points

And I can honestly say I enjoy playing each of those armies (though Chaos was getting harder and harder since the loss of my 4th Edition Emperor’s Children army…). The issue in all that is simple: I just simply owned more than I could ever possibly use.

Despite my best efforts, I know, deep down, that I just don’t have the time for that many options! Yes, once every few months I may get the urge to play Grey Knights, but really, is the money I spent on that army worth it? I could just as easily play a similar force using the new Blood Angels, so is the authentic Grey Knights look really worth the effort? A long time ago I would have said yes, but chalk it up to either aging or living in a recession, but I find I’ve just grown more thrifty in my time.

So therein lies the issue that I have, and I believe may be a trend amongst some of the harder-coring game crowd. We buy what we like, and we enjoy it, but I find usually people just don’t understand how much they really have. I mean, take me for example… 5000 points of Tyranids, that alone is probably more than I would like to field in any given game, but it’s understandable to have that much of one army, I mean I like variety, and with that many points I have the option to play differently in most any game I chose… But Once you have 5000 points in two or three armies? Can the same principle apply, or is the mere fact you have three armies to choose from overshadow the variety of each army?

I’m sure the answer will be different for each player. For me though, I took a step back and determined where my line for “enough” was, and acknowledged the fact I had already crossed it… I am currently in the processes of trimming down the fat, so to speak, in selling off my Sisters and Grey Knights. Yes, even though I know the Knights may have a new codex coming it. In the end, I decided it was more important to keep my line of “enough” rather than go after each new toy I wanted (or in some cases, already had). If I ignored that, then I knew that eventually my already-current-problem would bloom further into an actual holy-hell-I-need-a-storage-unit problem.

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~So I’m curious, denizens of the internet wargaming community, where do you draw the line at “enough”? Or are you still waiting to reach it? In my personal experience, I believe it’s good for a hobbyist to step back every once in a while and take in their passion as a whole… Believe me, it can be a real eye opening experience. What are your thoughts on the matter?

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