With a new baby in my life, I’ve been doing less actual hobbying and gaming over the last three months, and more *thinking about* hobbying and gaming. Ha! Such is life…
In particular, I’ve been thinking about one of my core gaming philosophies that’s really guided my enjoyment of the hobby over the last 20 years: the idea, despite all the games I’ve played in my long gaming career, I’ve played out at least as many battles *in my head* as I spent countless late nights seated at my workshop painting figures or building terrain.
Having a healthy, thriving headspace for wargaming is essential, because this hobby involves lots of solitary time spent painting and modeling. For me, that time represents a creative investment that pays off when the figure hits the table in a game. Because of that, the completed product is never *just* a figure. He’s a combat medic with Markham’s Thunderbolts, a renowned mercenary army, just beginning a lengthy deployment in Geirrod City in support of a major advance.
Or maybe it’s Molitor Radlec, a Lord of Chaos known to his enemies as the Eschaton of Darkness, Bane of Mortals and Wielder of the Murder Claw. Or maybe it’s Ignatius the Grey Monk, the scrappy sorcerer leading a raiding party of ratmen from the depths of the Estermark Sewers?
I can’t be the only one who thinks this way, right? For a hobby that is oftentimes 80% solitary time in your workshop and 20% gaming with your buddies, it’s important to find a way to stay engaged and derive satisfaction from time spent all by yourself.
For me, this goes beyond narrative gaming. Figures that have never even hit the table in a game (yet) nonetheless have lore and backstories, so that when they do take the field, they do so as heroes and legends, not merely reinforcements. This creative process helps me keep my head in the game, so to speak, when chipping away at big projects.
What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me about the epic stories that unfold in your headspace…
Really liked this post, couldn’t agree more about the investment and back story really paying off for a cinematic game experience 🙂
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Thanks! I think this is what separates us from tournament players and people who play with unpainted armies for years on end.
Loved this post. I totally understand your philosophy about having “headspace” for the hobby. You need a reservoir of pent-up creative fusion to really bring miniatures to life on the tabletop.
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Appreciate the comment! I don’t play minis competitively, so there’s only so much satisfaction I can derive from list building and strategizing. Hence: the story, the lore, the legend!
Well put. I think the mental enjoyment is a factor in many hobbies. Gaming offers particularly fertile ground for thinking in narratives and there are probably backstories for nearly all my painted miniatures -even those that have never been on the table-, but other hobbies like railroading and scale model building have very simlar opportunities.
Additionally, while they may not lead to fictional universes, I think even hobbies as different as classic cars and sports are as valuable to their fans for the enjoyable time spent thinking about them as much as participating.