Tabletop Wargaming is a Nice, Inexpensive Hobby

I always start with the assumption that everyone has a hobby. It doesn’t matter what it is, but it’s there. maybe you collect ceramic thimbles, perhaps you race dogs, fly model planes, follow your football team around the country: the details are unimportant (for this). Everyone has a hobby.

Everyone also has a limited amount of money to fund this hobby, once they’ve paid the bills and accounted for the boring stuff we all have to. In one sense, whether a hobby is expensive or not is really just comparing what your budget is to what you need/want to pursue it. When a gamer (someone who has this hobby) says it’s too expensive, they mean they want to buy stuff they can’t afford. When a parent says their child’s hobby is expensive it’s the same thing: cost exceeds budget. But is gaming expensive when compared to other hobbies? I don’t think so.

What do we compare it to? Well what constitutes a hobby varies depending on who you ask, but fishing generally comes out near or at the top, and I think we can agree that this fits the bill. Going out to the theatre might be a different kind of hobby we could look at.

Theatre-going is relatively simple, so I’ll look at that first. Going to a performance that lasts an evening costs quite a bit. You’ve got to get there, buy the ticket, maybe buy a programme, some refreshments, and so on. Using the local theatres as a reference point, this could come to £30 without trying hard (£20 for a ticket, £5 for travel/parking and £5 for programme and/or refreshments). I’ve deliberately erred on the side of inexpensive here, though you could, of course, cut even more corners. When you’ve finished, you have nothing left except possibly a programme for the bookshelf. So, £30 for an evening’s entertainment.

With fishing I’m on slightly shakier ground as I don’t know all the costs, but I’ve looked at some local shops so let’s make a start. You need the tackle. A rod for £100+, reel at £50+, net, chair, bait box, hooks, bait… the list is not short. I suppose a stick, some string and a bent pin are the minimum requirement, but nobody seems to struggle along with that. I used to walk along the canal to work. On a saturday morning there were often fishing competitions, with a chap every few yards. Each had a chair that made Captain Kirk’s command throne look like a wobbly stool. Not only were these grand seats comfy, they had all manner of boxes with compartments that folded out, and popped up, containing wriggly things in every colour of the rainbow. Beside them were (typically) a collection of several rods and several more nets, with a trolley to get it all back to the car. The fellow himself was invariably wearing attire that told the others he knew what he was about. I’m told that fishing also needs licenses and suchlike paid-for permissions, adding to the expense. Whilst there may be a few who make do with the bent pin on some string I mentioned earlier, it seems that most of the fishermen I’ve seen on the canal would get little change from £500 for their kit, and many have spent a great deal more. A single reel or rod can cost that much on its own.

In some ways (none of which are illustrated above) fishing seems like gaming. There is a high initial investment, and then a continual trickle of expense, but in the main you could sail along and game or fish for years with what you had. Of course, anyone who can buy new toys for themselves will generally do so, but you don’t have to.

Comparing gaming to either of these makes me think that gaming is pretty reasonable. A Dystopian War starter fleet and rule book will cost you £45, and you’ll get more than one evening’s entertainment from it and even if you don’t then you have a tangible object you could stick on Ebay and get half your money back. This makes gaming look pretty cheap compared to going to the theatre.

A new 40K army, bought from scratch, will cost a lot more. The most common army is Space Marines. Let’s say the Black Reach box and a Battleforce for about £100 (a bit more if you buy it direct, less if you raid Ebay). Then there are paints, glue and various tools, so let’s say another £50 to give you a nice little starter force. At £150 it has to be 5 evenings’ entertainment to equal theatres, and this sounds like no problem. It’ll probably be many more, even if you don’t count the modelling and painting (which you should). So even “expensive” GW games are not that pricey. How this compares to fishing depends on how much time you spend, but one day a week would be about the most an average fisherman would make at a guess, and probably not all year round. Gaming might be an evening or sometimes two a week, but it’s all year round. I would estimate a similar average of time spent between the two. Going back to the costs then, I’d say that gaming doesn’t come pout badly against fishing.

Of course, all this is fraught with generalisations, but you can see what I mean. Much as we might like to complain about the costs of this model or that game, in the end we get many hours of fun from a relatively small outlay.

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49 Responses to Tabletop Wargaming is a Nice, Inexpensive Hobby

  1. Coach says:

    I think most of the complaints are that GW are expensive rather than the hobby is. Especially when you consider how much they used to charge for often the same product. There is inflation and supply costs rises and then there are what appear to be massive hikes to keep the same profit against the loss of sales.

    There are probably a section of gamers (tournament goers) who probably spend more going to play the game than they do on the game. A hidden cost people may not consider if they don’t really have anyone local to play against.

    Of course there are other hobbies you could compare it to which are much cheaper (like just getting a football for a few £££) and even others that dwarf it completely (like buying a yacht/sailing). So while gaming is a somewhat inexpensive hobby, there are many comparisons within the hobby which can make some versions appear expensive.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Very true, though I don’t think that the variation is more than elsewhere. To go back to the fishing example, you can buy a reel for £50 or £550 from one of our local suppliers and I doubt that one costs 11 times the other in materials. Your comment puts me in mind of the petrol companies. When wholesale prices rise we have to pay the same extra slice at the pump, but when they fall any drop in prices at the pump is never quite the same proportion.

      In my experience, complaints about prices of a particular company tend to come from those who are in the hobby, whereas complaints that the hobby as a whole is expensive come from those outside or on the periphery – sometimes new recruits.

      In the end I think people spend whatever they can on their hobby, whether it is kicking a football or sailing yachts.

  2. pancake says:

    Its true most poeple have some kind of past time, all that eats into your pocket money. some cost more than others. I dont have to justify spending money on my hobby, a hobby that i get hours of fun from every day. We all spend money on our hobby’s because we love what our hobby gives us. It’s just a shame we all dont have cash growing on the apple tree. And its true we only moan it costs to much because we dont have the money to hand to buy it.

  3. Elromanozo says:

    Bloody hell ! Thank you !
    I’m going to use that one next time my boyfriend frowns at me buying more miniatures…
    That and the “would you rather I watched football and drank beer every evening ?” line.

  4. Chrixter says:

    I agree fully with the article – wargaming is indeed a nice inexpensive hobby. People have a tendency to forgett this, spouses as well. One of the big differences versus other hobbies is that we wargamers have a tendency to “buy stuff all the time” whereas other hobbies may deal more in “a few times per year” payments.

  5. osbad says:

    I wouldn’t challenge your assertion of relative inexpensiveness. Particularly in comparison to many a signficant other’s apparent hobby of buying shoes, or handbags…

    However a “defence” of the hobby that I have often heard, which is alluded to a little heare and rings a little hollow to me is that if one pays £[n] for a box of miniatures “that will provide me with [x] hours of enjoyment when I assemble, paint and play with them”.

    Now, the issue is who is providing the enjoyment? Is it the company that provides the equipment with which those things can be done for effectively than without them, or is it me, who spends the time and effort? Clearly the gaming companies provide some utility in the transaction and therefore their efforts deserve reward. But really, they are only providing stuff that in and of itself has no utility – it doesn’t provide entertainment to me by itself, like say, a night at the theatre would, or a DVD would. It is only providing me with a means by which I can entertain myself. For the manufacturers (or their apologists) to claim full credit for the enjoyment “the hobby” brings, is a little disingenuous therefore.

    A DVD may provide only a couple of hours of entertainment for a tenner, but it is providing 100% of that enjoyment. On the other hand a box of miniatures is only making a contribution of (say) 10% of the input into what my entertainment consists of. The rest is provided by me and my gaming buddies. That remaining 90% could just as easily be derived had I purchased some second hand models, or (given the talent and time, both of which in actuality I do not possess) used ones I had created myself.

    I am not trying to decry any given company’s pricing policy here, but merely trying to shed a little light on how this particular hobbyist views and values the contribution gaming companies make to HIS hobby. 🙂

    • Minitrol says:

      Oh this is excellent food for thought!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      An interesting thought. This seems to be another linear scale on which one could site individual hobbies: how much the end user is a passive or active part of generating their own entertainment. A gamer is definitely an active participant, as is a fisherman, whereas a theatregoer is much less so. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but you’re correct. How much difference does that make though?

      My immediate thought is that it is a reflection of the individual hobbyist: are they active or passive? If I go to the theatre for my fun, I am enjoying someone else being skillful. If I prefer an active hobby then I want to learn the skill for myself. Isn’t this just a difference of the hobbyist? Maybe this is part of why some hobbies appeal to one person and others to another: active or passive.

      The contribution made by the supplier of the game and the models (or rod and tackle) is important otherwise you would have no “raw materials” on which to hone your skill. Whether this is bought second hand or brand new doesn’t really make a difference to their contribution – only the amount you pay for it. You seem slightly anti-company in your post (though this could just be my misreading the medium), but I’m thinking that active hobbies are more of a partnership between the provider of the materials and the hobbyist than passive ones. You choose the tools that suit you with which to hone your skills and your fun instead of the passive hobbyist who makes a choice of where to go, but then has no other influence on the outcome.

      Personally, I agree with you that a gamer is very much an active part of creating their own enjoyment. However, whether this is by kicking a football or carving a piece of wood, or playing a game, you need the tools to do this. Both parts are needed for the end result to happen. In that way, an expenditure of X allows Y number of hours of fun to be had, irregardless of whether you are active or passive. The (cash) equation remains the same.

      While I’m rambling, I’ve anther thought. The other night I watched a movie called Pollock: a biography of the painter Jackson Pollock. Watching movies is a passive hobby of mine. However, it very much enthused me to go and paint (pictures not models) myself, which is an active hobby. This doesn’t really mean much, but I thought it was an interesting way of looking at things based on this active-pasive metric.

      Thanks for that thought osbad, it’s one I shall ponder some more.

      • Giving and taking, that´s what I strive for while I build up my own little company. Of course, I want the money of the customer, but I can either rob him blind or do it the nice way. Battlefront is not that cheap, but they sell you more minis in a much nicer way. They don´t urge you to BUY THIS NEW ARMY FROM SCRATCH! but tell you: Hey, here is a new list and you need only buy 5 more tanks and you can play it with what you already have. They both want to sell you as much as they can… but Battlefront still knows that they depend on the customers and treat them accordingly. Quite some managers at GW seem to forget this and their “Buy and shut-up” mentality does not sit well with more and more customers.

        I think quite some frustration stems from the way GW treats its customers.

      • osbad says:

        “Anti-company”? Now that’s a tricky one. In general I do see the relationship between customer (using myself as a proxy representatives of all customers everywhere) and “the company” as in some ways adversarial, although I do in many ways see the relationship also in many ways as complementary.

        Fundamentally I see us as having two opposing goals: the company wants to sell as much stuff for as much added fiscal value as possible – i.e. get paid for stuff it hasn’t had to pay anyone else for. I, on the other hand, want to get as much cool product as possible with as little financial outlay as I can manage. Those two goals are largely uncomplimentary for any given value of product. The company wants to sell me one model for £10. I would rather pay £5. This opposition of course does not have to be hostile, but I think it is healthy for both sides to recognise it is there and not to pretend it doesn’t exist.

        Of course customers and companies can also have complementary objectives – both
        sides benefit from expanding the market for instance: the customer gets a wider bunch of folks to play with, the company gets more customers. And so on.

        Am I “hostile” to companies? That’s a more tricky one. Clearly I enjoy a lot of hobby company products I do tend to be irritated in general by “spin” and the general ambience of corporate promotion, which I perceive as being misleading, so perhaps that has bled through in my text. For instance in the specific discussion point I raised, the feeling that a company was trying to justify (say, large increases in) prices by charging me for something that I actually brought to the hobby myself would raise my hackles.

        I think the nuance I am looking for, and to go back to the fishing analogy, is this. I am respective of a company that would sell its fishing rods on the grounds of “these are very good value and quality fishing rods, they will help you catch fish better and therefore help you enjoy your hobby more”. On the other hand I would hold a company in disdain that tried to sell me its fishing rods on the grounds that “fishing is a great hobby and by buying our rods you will be buying yourself lots of hobby funness”. The reason being that the “hobby funness” is stuff *I* contribute. They just contribute the tools to that end. Fishing is the hobby, not owning fishing rods (unless you happen to be a rod-collector, but that would be terribly sad and an entirely different type of hobby altogether!)

        Which also brings me to another point. So much of the enjoyment of the hobby of wargaming comes from the social aspect. Whether that is in a GW store, an FLGS, a club or at home with my family and friends. From my personal perspective the “funness” that derives from my gamer buddies far outstrips the contribution from manufacturing companies, and even myself. Yet I don’t have to contribute a penny for them, just some time and effort. So my judgement that “commercial companies” actually only contribute 10% of the enjoyment I get out of the hobby is not just plucked out of thin air but based on the notion that half of the enjoyment is just the time spent shooting the breeze with my mates – which could happen down the pub or over a game of pool just as easily. Of the remaining 50%, most of that comes from the satisfaction to be derived from stuff like doing a good paintjob, creating a clever army list, etc., and if I am brutally honest with myself, there are so many good companies these days producing good stuff that I am as likely to get as much fun out of this aspect of the hobby whichever company’s stuff I use as tools to that end, although we all will have our preferences of style and quality.

        So I’d say I’m not hostile to companies as such – I often love their stuff and enjoy the fluff and atmosphere good commercial entities can bring to the table (did you see what I did there?) and “professional” values can contribute a lot. On the other hand, I am doing this hobby because I love it and not for commercial gain. I will always hold at arms length an organisation that is not solely in the hobby for the love of it, but also for commercial gain because I am aware that their aims are only partly the same as mine. On the other hand the many volunteers who contribute to the acres of free material on the web, the fun game nights at clubs and tournaments, and such I have nothing but respect for, because while their tastes may differ from mine, their aims are 100% in alignment in that they are doing it simply for the love of it.

        So yes I agree with your comments about the active/passive discussion. It is, in my view, healthier for everyone involved if companies seeking to derive profit from the hobby bear in mind what I perceive to be a fact that they need their customers more than their customers need them, and so they should treat their customers with the utmost respect and honesty. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily go accusing any company of being underhand, but sometimes the perception is from “out here” that this is not always the case, and it is right to resist getting into troll-baiting territory by citing specific expamples, but I am sure we could all think of one or two! Companies that recognise that they are contributors to *a* hobby rather than proprietors and sole-arbitors of “their” hobby will be received more agreeably by the customer base I feel.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        @André I don’t really want to make this entirely about GW as I think the discussion is wider than them. However, in their case I suspect that the shop staff are under a great deal of pressure from their bosses to hit their ever-increasing targets with fewer staff. Some of their stores are/were single man, and running a store on your own will inevitably leave little room for chat. This would create frustration for the GW staff as well as the customer.

        @osbad nicely put. A lot of your comment applies to any commercial arrangement between company and customer, and companies in general would do well to treat their customers properly. Within gaming there is the usual spread of everything from excellent to abysmal, usually down to the character of the individual running them as most companies are very small. The few large companies are a different prospect. As I mentioned in replying to André, I think that the brusqueness of some staff is probably a result of the policy of upping their targets and reducing their staff. Dealing nicely with customers is very likely to get squeezed out in the middle.

        Overall I think that you’re analysis is a touch harsh: 10% seems rather low, but I take your point. I would say that it was higher because whatever game you are playing you need the components and the rules as well as the people. Whether it’s fun or not depends on the people you play with, but the game and pieces are also a consideration, and I think you may be undervaluing them. It could also be that I know from personal experience how much effort and consideration goes into all manner of design and layout details for even average games and I’m overvaluing them accordingly. In the end it’s impossible to quantify exactly. The main worthwhile point I take from this is that both sides (game and people) contribute, and without either one the fun doesn’t happen.

        PS: just to say to any rod collectors: we love you too (even if it is a bit sad) 🙂

  6. In my youth I worked in an accounting environment for a few years. After that I always was unable to look at hobbies without computing the cost vs rewards. It is reflex and I still do it. Over the years I have refined the process to hours of entertainment compared to the cost per hour. I have also added a “pain” factor. Pain is how much activity that you do not enjoy is required per hour of entertainment. Using skiing as an example as I live in a ski area. If I want to ski on a weekend the “pain” is two hours in traffic to get to the slopes and two hours in traffic to get home. So the pain cost of skiing runs one hour of pain for every hour of enjoyment because you also have to spend time standing in line at the lift once you are skiing. I think table top gaming can be a very low cost hobby if you focus on a limited range of games. Figures do not wear out very fast so your upfront cost are spread over many hours of enjoyment if you can resist buying every new release.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I had an incompletely formed notion in my head that is expressed very nicely by your pain idea. How would you rate gaming in terms of pain? I’d guess that would depend almost entirely on what mix of collector, modeller, painter and gamer the individual was.

      And you’re also right about the cost per hour being strongly related to the amount of resistance one can have for the shiny new toys 🙂

      • For me gaming is relatively low pain if I don’t force myself to paint to many figures a month. Cleaning mold lines I find vexing because it seems that it is a process that frequently does not end up in perfection. I have been avoiding metal figures that require gluing because it seems like that could be painful. I think my focus on skirmish and hard plastic figures has helped reduce the cost and pain of the hobby from my respective. I think well painted figures adds to the enjoyment of the game and while painting figures is ok within limits so I try to use the best brushes, paints and technique to reduce the time I spend painting while still targeting the high end of table top quality. I don’t know how to rate finding the right people to play with as I am still new at this.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Cleaning figures up is my least favourite part of the whole hobby. However, I have to do it because it spoils the end result if I don’t. And I’m a perfectionist.

      • @Jake
        Another perfectionist like me… 😉
        Well I find cleaning-up quite relaxing and it does not take that much time. On the other hand I do have a set of excellent swiss needle-files that make the job a joy.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Even with “excellent Swiss needle files” I’m not sure that I’d ever find it a joy, but I know what you mean about being relaxing. On occasion.

      • On the other hand I can´t leave a miniature untouched and many of my miniatures do get little customizations and if it is just drilling open some guns or magnetizing them. Since I am more on the fiddler-side of miniatures I probably derive my joy from this too and cleaning up just is another apsect of it. And I only clean up because I am to lazy to hide the flash later with some superb painting ;).

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Like you, converting is something I enjoy a lot, and I can cope with cleaning up if I can do it as part of a conversion. Flash is usually accentuated by painting rather than hidden, which is why I feel obliged to clean it up properly in the first place.

  7. Stunty says:

    Fishing looks pretty good to me 🙂

    As far as GW being expensive I dont think they are as bad as people make out (I find battlefront a lot worse so much so I refuse to play FoW) I think its the yearly price rise that makes them look expensive. obviously at some point they will be more expensive but I dont think they are quite there yet.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Fishing always seemed dull to me personally, but the second photo has a certain something about it…

    • BF worse? How is that?

      • Stunty says:

        a variety of reasons really one being I tend to buy at least 1 of every unit for an army which to do for FoW would be a ridiculous cost. Another reason would be scale, I could buy a rhino for the cost of 3 FoW tanks and it just feels better value (its probably my Mrs repeatedly telling me things should be bigger lol). I also prefer the detail on 28mm models as you can appreciate it more on the gaming table (I dont want to say FoW isnt detailed as I know a lot of the models are well detailed but you need them in your face to appreciate it). perception of value for money is different for everyone though and those are just my thoughts

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Smaller scale games are more about the sweep of a whole army on the table rather than individual pieces, though as you say they can look good up close. Of course, taking things down to 6, 3 or even 2mm scale is the extreme end of this line of thinking. How small is too small is just a matter of taste.

      • Which reminds me of GHQ. It´s simply crazy how much detail they cram into their 1/285 tanks… even most 28mm tanks have less detail…

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Exquisite models and incredibly accurate. Before computers (and possibly still today) they were used by several military forces for target recognition when training gunners and pilots. As chance would have it, a family friend was involved in importing them to Europe when I was fairly young, so naturally I ended up with some. As far as I can tell they invented the whole micro armour gaming thing in 1967. In fact, Micro Armor is their registered trademark even though it’s used as a generic term.

      • I`ve got quite a sizable WWII fleet from GHQ and they are way better than everyone else when it comes to details.

        And the army still uses them for training purposes.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        That’s cool, though it would be funnier if the navy still used them for training porpoises 😉

    • osbad says:

      The thing with GW is that their ranges and pricing are so varied that it is hard to classify them as cheap or expensive, Some models are £20 each, others are £3. Some things (such as their plastic terrain buildings) seem like you get an awful lot for your dosh. Other things (such as their plastic terrain hills) seem like you get a lot less. The problem I believe really comes when a customer feels compelled in some way to pay an unacceptable price for a particular unit that he feels he “needs”, and that breeds resentment. Add in the notion that Jake mentioned that suddenly overnight the price of a given unit can increase by 20%, often only 12 months since it was raised by a similar amount the previous year and hilarity ensues. If folks felt less obliged to field “official” models, and widely understood the alternatives I feel there would be less bile about. Either because there was access to cheaper alternatives they could use, or because they would find out that the price they thought was ridiculous was actually the going rate.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        The point that people (especially GW customers it seems) don’t understand the options is very true. There are many companies that clearly trade on offering replacement parts for GW games, sometimes better, sometimes cheaper, sometimes just different. The point is that there are many options, and the only time you have to use the models you see in the army books is when you go to a tournament that stipulates you do. GW does its best to provide all that a gamer needs to remain entirely insulated within the GW hobby, and so reduces the chance of them coming into contact with the myriad options. It’s good commercial sense on their part, but not what I’d suggest was the best option for the individual gamer. This point is restricted to GW because nobody else has the ships that can complete the envelopment of the gamer. If you’re right, there would be less resentment of GW if its fans realised there was more out there, but then less profit too.

      • Actually GW can be on the cheap side, too. Their prices for Aeronautica Imperialis are quite nice and still are nicely detailed.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        As osbad says, the perceived value for money for their stuff is kind of patchy.

  8. I can echo much of the thoughts here, myself I seem to divide spend in to £10 chunks and think well that should give me an evening (3 – 4 hours) of gaming pleasure. What this does mean is that some games (large 28mm armies) tend to be a poor return of £ per game, skirmish games and 6mm games far better.

    Paul

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Of course, a lot depends on how often you play a given game. In terms of board games, I have some were not expensive but have never been played, and others that cost a fair amount but which I’ve had two dozen games of. The actual value of a game isn’t strictly related to its cost. This also holds true for units of models too.

      Very organised of you to split the cost into chunks 🙂

  9. pickpocket says:

    I think that wanting to make as much money as possible, yet care for your customer base are not mutually exclusive even if striking a balance is difficult. Even though i don’t like a lot of their products, Fantasy Flight do a pretty good job of this I think.

    To be honest I think GW sets the bar very low making other games companies that compete in the same arena look good by comparison.

    Regarding the entertainment value vs financial outlay, that is extremely difficult to define because everyone takes different things out of the hobby.
    I enjoy cleaning, converting, gluing, undercoating minis as much as I enjoy painting them, and possibly more than I do playing. I am likely to get much more utility from a blister of minis than someone who only enjoys playing.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Entertainment vs outlay is always going to be a personal thing. I just find it interesting to discuss as other people might have views that I hadn’t considered before.

      I’m not sure what the general experience of FFG is. Certainly they seem to get less flak than GW, but then they’re younger, smaller and dealing mainly with board games rather than mainly with tabletops, and I expect that makes quite a big difference. You’re entirely right that there’s no reason why a company can’t be both pleasant and profitable at the same time though.

      • Well, from a professional level they are quite similar (FFG and GW) but FFG manages not to alienate it´s customers. OK, some gamers where angry when Warzone and AT-43 flopped, but that was not really their fault with the latter and the first was at least a try to establish a different TT-size and really their first forray into TTs.

        Price, what you need to buy extra, support of products etc. all are handled quite well and they never ever tell their customers to buy and then shut up. In the end I think it is a mixture of all those factors that create a picture of them that shows a company that does want to make money but also cares for its customers. GW on the other hand manages to appear arrogant and aloft every now and then which hurts their reputation bit by bit. And especially bullying fan-websites, forbidding dealers to use mini-pictures in their online-shops, yearly price-rise, etc. are not the thing to endear others to you.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        No, they’re not endearing characteristics.

  10. Something generally ignored in this sort of comparison is the time spent preparing your models for use.

    Say you buy an army + rulebook for £200.
    Then you add on paints, brushes, etc, etc, at something like £50.
    Then, if you don’t consider the painting to be part of the fun, but instead *work you have to do in order to have fun later*, you should consider how much your time is worth.
    Let’s say you value your time at around £10 per hour and you spend 50 hours painting. That’s £500 extra in effective cost (tripling your total expenses).

    At this point, you’re effectively spending MORE than those nutty people at the canal and you need to wait longer than them to actually get to the point where you’re having fun.
    (If you find that painting is part of the fun, rather than work, then the effective cost is of course less. Or if you value your time lower.)

    And then there is also the discussion of whether or not you can divide the time spent having fun by the amount of money used to get and indication of worth. I would claim that the existence of a market for prostitution shows that it’s not quite as simple. 😉

    • osbad says:

      But of course “modelling” (in the sense of making and painting models) is considered a hobby in and of itself – just look at those detailed Tamiya and Dragon kits! Clearly the people buying them don’t consider prepping and painting them as a chore.

      I think the point is that the manufacturers are only supplying a *part* of the hobby, however comprehensive their range, not the *all* of it. Which is absolutely fine as long as they (and we) recognise which parts we are each contributing and don’t try and step on each other’s toes!

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I agree that manufacturers are only providing part of the ingredients for the fun, yet it seems to me that they are a crucial part (unless one is going to add rules writing, sculpting and casting to the normal prep and painting requirements). Then again, the gamer’s own participation is also crucial.

        It’s a symbiotic relationship rather than a parasitic one.

  11. You ain´t seen anglers during their preparation-rite. This can take days. 😉

  12. Maynard says:

    Napoleonic historical tabletop gaming is a black hole that sucks out lots of money. Like other periods of history, games require lots of figures. Few skirmish in Napoleonics, I would say. The fun lies in the spectacle of several divisions or corps (your choice, it’s your pocketbook) careening across a well laid out terrain masterpiece. (costs money too.) The most frustrating thing of all is finding a set of rules that you like. Then you have to convince at least 3-5 other people to want to play those rules. The idea of the Napoleonic Wars and the grand battles carries an excitement all its own, however.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Over the years I’ve seen some very spectacular Napoleonic games. The spectacle is enhanced by the gloriously fiddly and colourful uniforms worn by all nations. I’m always impressed by those who manage to field large armies in 28mm. A huge amount of effort involved… but spectacular.

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