Following on from my State of Play post the other day, I’d like to ramble for a bit about hobbies. Specifically, the gaming hobby I used to have and don’t quite any more. Essentially, I’d like it back.
I’ve been pondering this, and what I think I need to do is fairly simple in principle. It comes in two parts: Separation of time and separation of game.
Whilst I am very lucky to be able to earn a living in the world of gaming, it does have a habit of taking over every waking moment. If I want to have a hobby where I can relax away from deadlines and other such worldly tribulations, I need to be stricter with myself about allocating time for a hobby and keeping it sacrosanct. All too often I pilfer time I’ve allocated to play a game for fun and make it a playtest session instead.
So, set time aside and make sure it stays set aside. Like I said, it’s easy in principle.
Whilst I do enjoy playing games I design, after several months with my nose in the details I usually need a break from it to clear my head. Even after months or years, if I designed the game I’m playing it’s hard to step away from an analytical mindset. How is the balance, are these rules really as clear as they could be, what if I rewrote that bit, etc? That makes it all rather less relaxing. For the moment, let’s assume that I’ll be playing my own designs anyway, but they don’t qualify for being my hobby. At the end of the day, if I wrote it then it’s always at least partly work.
I also realise that I’ve not mentioned the type of game I’m thinking about. This is really just about finding a figure game. Board games tend to be much more self-contained, and though I play a lot of them they don’t really need planning in the same way as a figure game. Board games will happen as and when the gaming group feels like playing one. It’ll get opened, played and put away without any more fuss. Figure games, on the other hand, need planning, collecting, building, painting and so on as well as playing. As you all know, an army is seldom if ever truly finished. There’s nearly always something else you could add.
I don’t expect to be able to deal with a lot of different games and do any of them justice. I need more focus. This means I need to be very picky, and with the wide array of high quality games and figures these days it’s a real luxury to be able to pick and choose. I have, in fact, been doing this for a while now, searching for probably one main game and a few smaller ones. The main game needs to have enough grit to it to get my teeth into (well, my brain actually), and I’ve tried several over the years. Confrontation and Warmachine both fit into this category. I was hoping that Dropzone Commander would too, but that’s not worked out quite as I wanted. I’ll do a final piece on that soon to wrap up my thoughts on why not.
In the end it was a happy confluence of circumstances that helped me decide. While I was at the UK Game Expo I shared a stand with the Prodos guys and had a good look at their new version of Warzone. It seemed to have all the requisite elements I was looking for and they were kind enough to give me a copy to review. Since then I’ve read it in some depth and played a game or two, and it has become my game of choice for the moment. At least (to misquote Lieutenant Rasczak from Starship Troopers) till it dies or I find something better.
Exactly why, I will cover in more detail in a proper review, or series of reviews that I’m working on. For the moment, let’s just say it’s got my attention.
So now I have a game and a plan of attack, let’s I can see if I can make any headway on reclaiming this hobby
Stay tuned for updates cos you know I’ll be back :)