Hello again, that’s right folks I’m back again for another Monday musing, sorry for no midweek content in the last week as per usual I’ve been super busy between work and trying to achieve anything of note, whilst squeezing in a few hours of fun here and there.
So as many of you out there will know, I have quite a few select hobbies mostly based on gaming, ranging from Video Games right down to Tabletop Gaming, Board Games, Role Playing Games and anything in between. However my primary source of entertainment and probably my main hobby is Warhammer 40,000.
I’d do a small bit to explain what it is, but I’d imagine by now if you are here, you’ll know what it is, if not then !BAM! you have just been linked to a wiki article to save me time. PROGRESS!
Now I’ve been playing for roughly 10 years solid, I’ve been made fun of for it, I’ve spent far too much on it, I’ve started/finished and given up on several armies and projects and I’ve spent countless hours discussing and reading on the subject. Yet for the first time in a long time, I’ve found myself questioning really why I continue to play and whats kept me interested for so long. The bulk of what keeps me hanging around really is the lore and the activity of the hobby itself but this last year or so, roughly since the launch of 7th edition, I’ve actually not played much, if any 40k. This isn’t to do with 7th edition either it’s just a bit of a coincidence (I actually think 7th is a well structured rule set, it’s just a shame they carried over rules from the weaker/worst rule sections of Warhammer Fantasy (Magic/Random Charge))
Anyway before I get too bogged down into the realms of game design, I haven’t played much since 7th, I found myself becoming quite burned out with the hobby to be honest which was something I hadn’t encountered before, I can’t remember a time where I wasn’t desperately wishing it was Thursday so I could head to my local game group and get down to business. I think what was bothering me was the fact that there didn’t really feel like there was any progression, I had been resting on the laurels of completed forces for too long and also resting on (at the time) a very secluded rule-set and universe to be honest.
I had completed my Dark Angels Company and had very little urge to do or try anything new as it would have required more effort or a big commitment and considering I had only just finished a 5000+pts army, I wasn’t exactly rushing to pick up something else. I was happy with playing out games and sticking to my regular lists and regular enemies. There was nothing bad about it, after all why shouldn’t I enjoy the army I’d worked so hard on? The problem was I’d become more aware of the kind of person I was and what I really wanted to get from the hobby.
As I see it, there are three main aspects to the hobby:
1. painting, collecting and displaying miniatures.
2. playing the game with a fun or competitive basis.
3. reading/writing/playing with the narrative perspective of the hobby.
It was at this point, the switch flicked in my head, especially considering that in my time away from the game I’ve found myself looking into or playing with other systems, I found myself really enjoying smaller and more narrative games, in particular skirmish games, which then went on to explain my long love of Necromunda and similar systems. It was from this I then worked out that I really fall into categories 1 and 3. Now don’t get me wrong, I can still be a part of category 2, I can play big points games or in competitive games/tournaments but they aren’t the aspect of the hobby that I enjoy.
With that in mind I quickly found a way to conquer my burnout with the game. It was at this point I decided to move on to my next army with this in mind. My next army, the Black Templars are for narrative use and play as they will be based around Helsreach, they can be easily used for Skirmish sized games and works as probably my biggest modelling/painting and display project to date. As I mentioned those 2 categories really define me as a player, I have a huge appreciation and interest in the lore of 40k and its setting, I enjoy playing thematic games built around specific battles or heroic acts. As discussed in previous articles most of my creative writing projects have been based on the 40k universe. Finally creating good-looking display pieces has always been something I’ve enjoyed doing, which is probably why I enjoy painting competitions and hobby blogs so enjoyable.
So for anyone who is experiencing ‘Burnout’ with the hobby try taking a good look at yourself as a player and work out which roles you want to be a part of, or simply considering making simple changes. For example, If you are a particularly competitive player, at the end of the day your models still need to be painted so why not pick up your brush and get to work. It’s actually amazing how rewarding it feels to field a fully painted force on the table. (I’m fairly certain I felt that once before……. maybe.)
However not every change has to be huge, if you are finding yourself burned out in regular games, why not try shaking your lists up, try using a new play style or even just switch in or out some units you’ve never used before. You might just find out something about yourself as well as how you like to play. At the end of the day every unit in the game can be used to great effect or simply can be used to be thematic or fun.
What I’ve also found to be a huge help in this issue is the increased emphasis from the Black Library and even Games Workshop to create more diverse stories, armies and game-play options, playing narrative missions you have read about or being able to field new forces which we’ve always dreamed of playing (here is looking at you, Codex: Harlequins.) will make a significant impact. While Games Workshop have not performed amazingly in terms of rule-sets in the last few editions/codices, this urge to ‘Forge the Narrative’ is actually a great way to push the hobby ahead as well as top distinguish both the players and the universe in new and exciting ways. The fact that these paths are extremely profitable are probably just a coincidence though. (/Sarcasm End)
So at the end of the day whatever it is that keeps you hanging around, why not try something new? After all, you never know you might just like it. See you next Monday!