Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Why Leave the Historical Miniature Wargaming Hobby?

First off...no I am not leaving the hobby.

I have been pondering the reason why someone would leave the historical miniature wargaming hobby.  I know many people that I game with that really enjoy the hobby and from what I have seen online around the world, lots of people are enjoying the hobby.  Some have been in the hobby for quite some time.  So when we see someone completely get out of the hobby, it makes me think why would someone drop the hobby?

I do not think there is a single answer, but here are some of my theories
  • Bankrupt.  Like many gaming hobbies, it costs money.  If your personal finances are a shambles, then usually the non-essential things get the ax.  Hobbies are in this category.  I would hope this would be temporary, but it may not be of interest or financially viable in the future.
  • Maybe rather than going bankrupt, they find the hobby is too expensive.  This is not a good enough reason as I encounter gamers at conventions that do not own miniatures or do not belong to a club.
  • Some unhappy experiences.  Usually this will involve gaming with people who you end up not enjoying their company.  This would be at a club or convention.  Home gaming you just do not invite them again.  It could also involve theft of miniatures.  I find this a weak argument, because there are all types of gamers out there.
  • Switch to a different hobby.  This I find plausible.  I used to game a bunch of hex games back in the day.  I gradually migrated over to miniature gaming.  I guess I get more enjoyment out of miniature gaming.  So if you have to focus on a single hobby, then maybe historical miniature wargaming is not it.
  • Family circumstances.  Some sort of family pressure results in leaving the hobby.  I'm not sure how this can happen as family should be supportive of your interests.  I'm sure someone out there can explain this one for me.
  • You die.
  • All of the above.


  1. The opposite sex could also be a reason???

    1. I guess I would put that under Family circumstances.

  2. Eric, hey man, I like your post here. You offer some good potential reasons. I consider myself one that has "left the miniature wargaming hobby" (my war game blog has been dormant for 3 years now) so I'll share my thoughts.

    I'll attriubute my own departure due to a change of hobbies. I began to discover aboout 3 years ago, that I was really enjoying board games more and more. Particularly, I like the heavier, longer, often dry and mathy, brain-burners that are low on luck. Truthfully, I was discovering that, for me, board games were giving me a greater mental challenge than were the miniature war games. I think there was a bit of miniature burnout involved too. Games were feeling samey and the thought of painting another miniature was giving me a sick feeling. To the rescue rode board games. I feel I get a lot more gaming for my gaming dollar and gaming hour, too. $100 train game gives me 5 to 9 hours per play session right out of the box. Depending on the system and period, a $100 in miniatures gives me 18 hours of painting and only 1/4 of the troops needed to play...and a game maybe once a month. No more mountain of unpainted lead and unfinished projects for me.

    I got into the board gaming hobby pretty deeply. Two years ago I co-founded the Heavy Cardboard podcast to specifically cover these more difficult board games. That became very successful. Time consuming too. I began selling off my miniatures and stuff. My hobby focus is squarely board gaming. I fell hard for the 18XX series of games too. That's a hobby within a hobby.

    You know, even within the general board gaming hobby, I often hear people say "I got back into board gaming...". so, perhaps, whatever the hobby, it often demands a break.

    BTW, This year, I left the podcast after two years, as it began to take too much time. I have a full time job, and it pays A LOT better. Between work and family and the podcast, my gaming time allowance was too focused on the games to review and not on the games I wanted to play. Know what I mean? A new game every couple of weeks instead of exploring a game.

    So, I game just about every Saturday, and I am having a ball. I co-operate a local board gaming group. Also, my wife will play these games with me, that's not the case with wargaming...so I get a double whammy at times: family time and game time.

    I still love military history and have been getting back into board war games. I continue to sell off my miniatures (I think the 28MM ACW is going up next, or the 28MM ancient Chinese). I still follow several wargaming blogs (yours included!). I still enjoy admiring everyone's miniatures. With my time more freed up, I hope to see you around a table once in a while at Brent's. I miss you guys more than the games themselves. You're all welcome to join us some Saturday, just touch base and I'll share the details. Also, this July, we're going to start up a once a month Sunday for board war games and train games (we're gonna mix it up).

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. YMMV, as in all things! Be good! How's the family?

    1. Tony, sorry to not see you around Historical Miniature gaming. I do enjoy board gaming, but I'm still going strong with Historical Miniature gaming. My family is well. My daughter is enjoy preschool now. I'm sure we will cross paths again in the near future, maybe at a game table.

  3. I've been Tangoed! http://theminiaturespage.com/boards/msg.mv?id=422846

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Douglas Marston, I am sorry for your loss.

      I enjoy computer games as well, but I just seem to enjoy miniature wargaming about the same or more.

      The last Tacticon I was fortunate to have six people interested in my game that could only handle four. But, it can be hit or miss.

    2. I gave up miniature gaming about seven years ago for family reasons. My dad had Alzheimer's and I was caring for him 24/7. Some may have noticed that I brought him to a few CMH events where he could attend while I gamed; being around other people was good for him. But over time this became harder and harder to do. He had a tendency to wander. It was worse at a convention like Recruits. Plus, he was in a wheelchair for over two years.

      Even at home, I could not really leave him unattended. If I went to the basement or to my gaming area in the garage behind my home, he would get upset and start screaming.

      Since he passed away, have kinda sorta gotten back into miniature gaming. However, often when one has experienced a major life change, one's interests can change as well. While I was caring for my dad, I did more computer gaming. It was something I could do, while remaining in close proximity to my dad. I could watch him, and sometimes he appeared to be interested in the games that appeared on the television.

      For whatever reason, I was big into the Sims3 game for a while. I was less interested in the game than in making stuff for the game. I learned a lot about 3d computer modeling during this time.

      Eventually my interest shifted to flight simulation. Flight simulation is another expensive hobby. I find the 3d modeling and attention to detail to be extremely impressive. Also there is a dramatic difference between flying a game in a simulator than playing a miniature dogfight game, like Blue Max. Actually, in the flight simulator, the string bag aircraft are far less interesting than in our miniature games. Plus the gauges actually provide little useful information, and their names often appear in another language (French and German).

      One thing we do not see in the miniatures games is how finicky these planes can be. For a good time, just try to start a B17, or try to actually get a lumbering B29 off the ground. Or for another challenge with a string bag, try to deal with the torque of a Sopwith Camel--no wonder these things would crash all the time! And I have not even attempted a carrier landing yet...

      Miniature gaming does involve a huge investment in time and effort. Not only do I have a lot of unpainted lead, I also have entire painted armies which have never been played. Planning, packing up, and hosting a game is a major pain in the ass. If no one wants to play in the game, it is wasted effort.

      Reading you blog about Tacti-con gives another reason for giving up miniatures gaming. If one puts a lot of effort into putting a game together, transporting everything to a distant city, like Colorado Springs, or worse yet, Lancaster PA, and no one shows any interest in playing -- it goes a long ways towards killing interest in the hobby.