A gamer or a collector?

July 6, 2018

My blog has gained a lot of new regular readers since I wrote this back in 2009. Funnily enough, a lot of this still holds true – except that we no longer have an annual WHFB bash. I decided to reblog this, as it’s still a fairly accurate description of my gaming and collecting mentality, and might be of interest to current readers.

Dawn of the Lead

These last few days I’ve been thinking about the following question:

Am I ever going to game all those scenarios I’m designing, or use the forces and gaming tables that I’m building for actual gaming?

For someone who’s invested a fair amount of money and time in collecting, putting together and painting a ton of miniatures and scenery, this might seem like a strange question. Surely all that stuff has been bought for a reason, and that reason is gaming. What use is a gaming table if it’s never played on? Why pick up two opposing forces if you’re not going to get some dice rolling? Good questions, indeed.

I was introduced to the hobby by my two older brothers, who were avid RPG gamers way back when the D&D red box was all the rage – it was even translated into Finnish – and who used to buy and…

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  1. Gaming wasn’t the thing when I was a kid so it just passed me by. I did like nice toys and can relate to the dolls house argument. I loved figures and still do and have really been a modeller and a collector from the start.

    • Sounds familiar, nowadays I get in <10 games per year. I'm more than happy to just set my minis up and take photos (and play with them a little).

  2. Good question mate! Personally, I tend to go through phases where collecting, converting, painting and gaming alternate in being my main bag, and I get enjoyment from each – until I don’t any more and then I switch, and so it continues…

    I do find that a game/gaming event tends to be a good motivation to paint though – I’m struggling to be arsed to paint at the moment for example, but BOYL is looming, and Heresyofus has something very cool on the horizon, so I anticipate a flurry of painting activity any day now 🙂

    • Variety is the spice of life as they say 🙂 I know what you mean by deadlines, as right before the yearly Halloween game my productivity really picks up…

  3. I reckon I’m still firmly in the gamer camp, although I do devise more scenarios than I could possibly play and I might have painted or built stuff I never used on the tabletop just because I read something in a book 🙂 But I neither have the patience nor the perfectionism to call myself a modeller.

    I certainly love narratives, and playing a game is all about the story for me, so I can relate to that. And since I restarted role-playing, I’ve thought a lot about combining RPGs with wargames… in fact I’m about to try something along that line in the near future.

    • I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your game reports, so I’m happy to have a solid gamer among my blogging friends (just get back to pirates)! Our gaming group has seen an interesting shift in that miniature gaming elements are being brought into RPGs rather than the other way around. We’re currently playing a wonderful Battletech Fate hack, that combines the wonderful narrative elements of Fate with Battletech miniature gaming. It’s unbelievably fun!

      • Oh, that Battletech game sounds great fun! We’re now also using minis for RPGing, though that was the GM’s idea, not mine – although I’m happy about any excuse for using figures!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. I have a few mates who I bribe to come and play the game with me but they do so reluctantly. They always enjoy the game but are not obsessed by it or by the miniatures like I am. Therefore my only real choice is to be a collector. I’m constantly on the hunt for new and exciting miniatures or bits. My collection has grown significantly since I threw myself back into the hobby three short years ago.

    • Funny, that’s how we were growing up and playing RPGs too. We would bribe/force some neighbor kids to play with us. Because RPGs were so much damned fun, they must like it too!!

      Nope, I guess it takes too much brain power or something. Not sure why I’ve always been wired so differently.

      • I’ve never actually played an RPG. Have you seen the episode of I.T crowd where they play an RPG? Bloody funny.

        • I don’t think so. I’ve only seen a few episodes of IT Crowd. My favorite RPG spoof is the comic series Knights of the Dinner Table. I’ve ran into a few situations like theirs. Though grossly exaggerated in the comic. 😃

    • One day you’ll need to take a drive across town…

      • For sure 👍🏼👍🏼

      • Are you in the West?

        • Yeap. Don’t worry. I don’t own any moccasins. Though I should probably buy some, they’re bloody warm and it’s been a cold winter so far! I won’t wear them down to the shops, though 😉

        • Haha glad to hear it. I’m in the east where Crocs with socks seem to be the thing. Not for me though. I pretty much wear my work boots 24 hours a day.

        • I won’t ask how your feet smell!

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it! I have some friends who are more than happy to participate in a game even if they’re not the most active miniature gamers. The Halloween games as well as the Utopia campaign I’ve chronicled on this blog are good examples.

  5. Collector, yes. I want nearly all of the Blood Bowl and Necromunda teams coming out. Gamer, yes. I want all those minis to have different options for people I can wrangle into playing with me.
    Lots of game time, sadly no.
    I did have a golden opportunity to teach my niece Blood Bowl during a visit a few weeks ago, but sadly I did not have two decent teams painted up nor were the rules very fresh in my mind.
    That has made me think very much about making sure I have things painted up for a spur of the moment game and how I can be better prepared for ad-hoc running of a miniatures game.

    • Time is definitely an issue! I used to get in games of Blood Bowl years back, but it got too stressful and competitive for me, so I went down the narrative route. Having plenty of finished miniatures around definitely helps with ad hoc gaming, as we realized when I was recently visiting Paul of sho3box fame. We finally put those zombies and survivors from years back to work.

  6. More a collector and painter here as well, though I love to play, I rarely get a chance to do so these days, which is a huge shame – and has the byproduct of me forgetting the rules through lack of use, so I’m always both in the position of needing to (re)learn the rules and also be the teacher every time we start playing something again.

    • I’ve pretty much solved this by sticking to the same family of rules, mainly the Ganesha Games ones. It’s basically the same mechanical frame with variations, which makes life a lot easier!

      • Makes total sense. I didn’t really like the SBH rules when I bought & read them, though. Seems like many units would barely get in an activation.

  7. Collector/hoarder by nature but I do play the occasional game when I can find the time and that’s the biggest issue. Setting up games takes so much time and planning that I never get round to anything . It’s much easier and quicker to click on the buy button on my tablet and add to the collection of dust covered items to be painted.

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