Thursday, June 7, 2007

The vicious cycle

I've been playing wargames and painting miniatures for them for ages. And, to this day, I haven't completed a single wargaming army. Or, really, even brought one to the point where I can field a reasonable force of painted figures.

I have maybe 100 painted 15mm figures for Ancients, another 100 for Napoleonics, and another 100 for Colonials. But they're from any number of armies in each of those periods. Nothing cohesive. Nothing worth putting on the table en masse.

I'm a good painter. I'm very happy with my style and the final product. But I am constantly starting projects, making a little headway, then getting distracted by a new period, a new army, a new miniatures vendor.

I look forward to a new issue of my favorite miniature wargaming magazines with a nasty cocktail of one part addict's hunger and one part morose acceptance that the hobby project on my painting table is about to get covered up in nice new white metal.

It's a predictable cycle. That new magazine arrives at the local game store, or I buy a new historical fiction novel, or I see 300 (or Gunga Din, or Glory, etc.) and a new cycle begins. I start thinking about the rules I'd use. I start thinking about the figures I'd want. It's an even tastier cycle if I don't have any rules or figures for the period yet. I start surfing the web, looking at the ranges available out there, collecting uniform reference pictures, searching for first-hand accounts from the period. Before I know it, I'm ordering more figures and breaking out the files and knives to get them ready to paint. If I'm very lucky, I get a unit or two painted up before the next shiny new period finds it way into my field of view.

Did you notice the missing little something in that cycle? That right. I never mentioned an opponent. Frankly, whether or not anyone else will want to play this period never enters my mind. I've started armies for 54mm Three Musketeers skirmish gaming. For 15mm sci-fi. For 15mm ECW using a web-published set of rules with non-standard basing that even I can't find anymore. All without much hope that anyone in the local club would be interested in these games.

I don't really have any solutions. OK, I've found one that worked a little. More about that soon. For now, I'm a bit depressed thinking about all that unpainted metal and plastic in my garage.

I'm off to search the web for the best rules and figures for the Age of Sail. Just finished reading a Jack Aubrey novel, you see...

2 comments: said...

One strategy would be to field your armies in smaller an ancient's rear-guard action at a bridge, or competing foraging parties. Not exactly the same as Cannae, but, hey, you can do it with fewer than 100 figures...

Concentrationally Challenged said...

Not a bad idea, at least at first blush. More on the blog proper in a few minutes...thanks for the feedback.