Juggling Multiple Game Systems
Over the last few years, we have been totally spoiled as miniature gamers. The rise of Kickstarter has led to a ton of new miniature games coming to market, new technologies have made it easier to bring miniatures to market, and in general, the community seems far less focused on a single game. Way back when I got started with Warhammer 40k and Warhammer Fantasy, there were still other games around to try. Vor, Warzone, and Battletech come to mind, and there were still more. With the exception of Battletech, I eventually got into them all, maybe not as deeply as I can afford to now, but I at least picked up a couple units to give each a go. Other games then later came out, Void, Warmachine, Chronopia, Confrontation, plus GW games like Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda,and Mordheim, just to name a few, and I gave all those a shot and played a few of them for multiple years (Necromunda, BFG, and Mordheim mainly). This trend was an expensive one, and sometime around college, the communities for each one of these games died off, leaving me with a ton of minis and nobody to play them with.
After college, I decided that other gaming companies didn't really have what it takes to keep their communities going and their games alive, so I decided that I would only play GW products. I got into the Warhammer Fantasy competitive scene, and still played a bit of 40k on the side at the local gaming shops. New games would come, and I'd casually dismiss them, because I didn't believe that they had the chance at longevity that 40k did, and they proved me right each time. I stuck to this philosophy for a good 6-7 years, before a friend introduced me to Infinity. It wasn't the first time I'd seen the game, after all, they played it at my local shop, until the scene died off... but I took my friends word for it and let them teach me. That opened the flood gates. Since then, my armor was broken and I've explored many non-GW games. I now have collections for Infinity, Heavy Gear Blitz, Guild Ball, Beyond the Gates of Antares, Judge Dredd, The Devil's Run: Route 666, Wrath of Kings, plus on the GW side I have my 40k Imperial Knight army, Ironjawz and Beastclaw Raiders for Age of Sigmar, various Blood Bowl teams, and some friends trying to pull me into 30k.
Picking My Games
I bought into all these games with the best intentions to play each and every one of them, but the reality is that I hardly have time to play Infinity, let alone 9 games that are in front of me. Things get different when you are married and have a kid, priorities shift, and while all those games are damn fun to play, I just don't have the bandwidth of a bachelor without any real responsibility. I've begun the process of downsizing my collection.
Not all is doom and gloom though, I wanted to make sure that I kept a few game systems, but I needed to come up with some way of helping me decide. My first instinct was just to keep the most popular games, which would have been 40k, Age of Sigmar, Infinity, and Guild Ball. After mulling this over a bit though, from an outside perspective, 40k and Age of Sigmar are quite similar, both being a 28mm company-scale game, so instead, I broke down my games into scales/genres:
- Company-scale – 40k, Horus Heresy, Age of Sigmar, Antares
- Skirmish-scale – Infinity, Judge Dredd, Wrath of Kings
- Epic-scale – Heavy Gear Blitz
- Sports – Guild Ball, Blood Bowl
- Misc – Devil's Run
After doing this, I thought it would just be best to pick my favorite from each category and I'd be good to go, but something didn't seem right. Playing complex games makes it difficult, especially if you want to be competitive, to play other complex games. This really came up when I was looking at the Sports games. I very much enjoyed my experiences playing Guild Ball, but the rules interactions are deceptively complex. Knowing the exact verbiage of the GB rules is incredibly important, each time I play the game, since I don't have the time to play regularly, I feel like I'm starting from scratch. I also enjoy playing Blood Bowl, but I can take a break from that game for over a year, give the rules a brisk read through, and be ready to go. This time around, I broke down the games by their rules systems, being complex, or simple.
- Complex – Infinity, Horus Heresy, Antares, Wrath of Kings, Guild Ball, Judge Dredd, Heavy Gear Blitz
- Simple – Age of Sigmar, Blood Bowl, Devil's Run
Using a mixture of both ways to classify the games I play, I decided that I should pick which complex game I want to play, then maybe a couple, simpler to play games as secondary. I also though needed a bit of a passion project, not necessarily a game I get to play often, but one that I have waited for, for many years, Heavy Gear Blitz. Despite being a complex game, this is more about the miniatures and universe, which I've enjoyed for almost as long as I've been into miniature wargames:
- Company-scale – Age of Sigmar (simple)
- Skirmish-scale – Infinity (complex)
- Epic-scale – Heavy Gear Blitz
- Sports – Blood Bowl (simple)
So what does this mean for my other games? Well, most are on the chopping block, going off to eBay, or otherwise being sold. My 40k collection is being dramatically downsized, eliminating my Khorne Daemonkin and other Chaos allies entirely (over 15,000 points), selling off my Grey Knights, and only keeping my Imperial Knights, Inquisition, and Assassins. They'll likely stay in my display case, as I absolutely love the models I've put together and painted for them, but they will probably seldom make it to the table... I'll probably even continue converting Inquisition models, because I just love that aspect of the hobby. I'll probably also keep Judge Dredd and Antares, partially out of my love for Warlord games, though what isn't painted probably wont get painted for quite a while.
On the up side, that means I can focus my attention on what I have left! My counts-as Gordrakk is almost finished being converted, and my Ironjawz are almost fully assembled, giving me two good-sized Destruction armies to play in the local AoS scene. Once I get that assembled, it's on to continuing to paint my Onyx Contact Force for Infinity, which I've stuck to, despite actually preferring vanilla, though it does give me a good sub-division of models to paint, breaking down hobby into smaller goals helps keep it from being overwhelming. Blood Bowl is about to enter the spotlight again and my Human team is looking forward to a bath in paint thinner and a fresh paint job, only having 18 models (16 plus Zug and Grif) makes it a pretty fun little project. All the meanwhile, I'll keep building my HGB models, which I'm just in love with.
Playing The Games
Deciding which games to keep my eyes on is one thing, actually getting game time in is another beast entirely. The scene of gamers in Portland is very spread out, and I've found that it's difficult to predict how many people will come to a game night, or even a tournament. Our last Infinity tournament had 3 total players, including myself, but our next one is looking like it may have 12 if not more. Instead of relying on my local, totally unpredictable, game nights, I've decided that much like at my old house, I'm going to need a dedicated gaming space and to host games myself. Fortunately, my new place has a garage that isn't big enough to actually fit a car, welcome to my nerd cave:
It's fairly modest right now, with a non-functional game table, it's mostly there to estimate space at the moment. In the next couple weeks I'll be making a proper game table, 4'x4' which will expand out on two sides to make a 8'x4', so I can accommodate two games of Infinity, at the same time, or play the suggested table size for a 2500+ point game of Age of Sigmar, but still be able to tuck in the leafs and take up less space if needed.
The goal for playing will be near-weekly games of Infinity, so I can get back on top of my game, and maybe every other week alternating in for a game of Age of Sigmar. Blood Bowl is fairly easy to fit in whenever it seems fun, or when it's too cold to play in the garage, so the kitchen table will have to make due. So wish me luck, I'm quite happy to have the burden off my back, and I hope that you guys look forward to reading about Infinity, Age of Sigmar, Blood Bowl and Heavy Gear Blitz, because it'll be most of what I post about It is my goal in 2017 of having monthly updates for each of these games. :)
I read another blog which referenced this article, and I left a comment that I liked so much, that I thought I should share it here.
If you go back even just a few years, it was easy to limit yourself based on aesthetics. You picked the factions and games which had the models that spoke to you. Lately though, we've been through a renaissance of miniature design, thanks to 3d printing helping these companies make more detailed and complex miniatures than were ever possible using older technology. I had a conversation with a buddy of mine who put it best, "buying miniatures is the easiest part of the hobby, of course we have too many."
That simple statement actually says a lot. We spend so much time planning different army lists, then we buy the miniatures to run that list, but often times, the models sit in their box, waiting for us to execute. We get our serotonin hit when we buy the minis and they show up on our door step, but the next steps are incredibly time consuming. I remember as a kid being excited to have $12.50 to go buy a box of plastic mono-pose plague marines. As we've grown up however, many of us can afford to buy much more than we could, it's our childhood dream come true. Want to buy a chapter of Space Marines? Odds are, you actually have the means (or at least the credit) to do that, right now, no problem. We now have the opportunity to get all the plastic toys we've dreamed of, but few of us actually have the time to devote to what happens after clicking "check out." Some people I know always say I'll regret selling models, but it hasn't stopped me in the past, they're (mostly) not irreplaceable relics, and if at some point down the line I can justify the expenditure of time, I can get them again, and probably do a better job painting them than last time.