Hobbies are a thing.
The definition of Hobby is:
an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation
Therefore, a Hobbyist is one who makes it his or her business to have some hobbies. One may have considered video games trivial and a waste of time, but people have devoted huge parts of their lives to not only play games but become invested in communities, create fan art/cosplay and even meeting their significant others via video games. Some people make a hobby of collecting consoles and memorabilia. This isn’t to mention content creators, streamers and even people who actually do make a living playing video games or creating other forms of media surrounding them. I suppose video games are a bad example, because many people still view them as unnecessary and juvenile. Many consider knitting or whittling hobbies. People build boats and do amazing things that make completing a video game seem trivial. But to others, it is a form of release and expression and that makes me feel like it’s a hobby.
That went places I didn’t expect it to go, but to be honest I’ve had a bit to drink and am free-forming my way into my required #Blapril2020 post. Back to my point, I have been a gamer for most of my life and it has influenced me in ways that I can’t do justice to with the written word. But that isn’t to say it’s the only hobby I have or that I don’t want to pursue others. Regular readers will know that I’ve been writing about Magic: The Gathering for going on four years, so clearly I have hobbies outside of the gaming world. I’ve also had this blogging thing going for over fifteen years so you could actually call it a habit. Writing is an admirably hobby in my eyes, whether you are penning the next great novel or jotting down song lyrics on a napkin. I blog because I can’t focus on one writing project at a time. I always have something different to talk about and I like it that way.
I used to podcast as well. Podcasting is definitely a hobby at the level I was participating on. I started with absolute garbage equipment and the lack of knowledge of how to actually produce a show, but I learned along the way and it eventually became something I was really proud of. I definitely have a renewed interest in this as well given our quarantined state, one that I anticipate stretching beyond the first of the month. My office is set up nicely to do a show, but I’m torn between reviving my dead show or going in new directions. I’ve talked about these ideas plenty in the years that I have not been podcasting, but I do have the urge to get started again. I won’t say more for fear of putting my foot in my mouth.
What this post is really about, was a newer interest that emerged because I’m stuck in the house and have to find ways to keep my mind occupied. In this sense, Blapril has been a godsend. I’ve been held accountable to blog daily, and it forces me to find new things to write about. My lethargy surrounding blogging stemmed from participating in last year’s Blaugust though, so perhaps it is only a phase. Whatever the case, I welcomed having to push myself to write again, and only sometimes does that feel like it makes a difference, in the sense that I only feel pride about certain posts.
YouTube has been keeping me afloat when I’ve felt bored. I’ve watched a ton of content over the past month, much of it relating to MTG but some about games and the new obsession has been watching videos about Warhammer 40k. I’ve known of the existence of Games Workshop and its titles since the 90’s but it was always the kind of hobby that was out of my reach financially as a kid. Later in adulthood I struggled with the need to fit in but also a longing for nerdy passions. I didn’t really find myself until my early 30’s and that decade of my life is quickly coming to a close. Needless to say I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of possibility; I’ve watched a ton of videos about Warhammer miniatures, various painting techniques, and tips for beginners. I watched a two hour, two part series about all of the factions of the game, got lost in all of the information, and ended up making some of my own conclusions.
Honestly, the conversation started after I had come back up from the rabbit hole. I asked my lady if she had any interest in painting miniatures, and she sounded open to the idea. The main problem is a hobby like this is still quite expensive. If I was going to “do it right” I would have to spend a pretty penny to get all of the paint, brushes and other supplies together, and that’s not even counting the amount of miniatures needed to even play the game which is the whole point of buying them in the first place, right? I also knew that if I was going to spend a chunk of change on all of this stuff, I should actually make a decision about an army prior to buying.
One conclusion I came to, after getting my hands on a PDF of the 8th edition rules, was that it wasn’t all the information I was going to need. Thus I spent even more time watching videos, reading wiki entries, and generally absorbing what information I could. Then I watched a particular video that basically said to pick something you think is cool, and then start with just a few units. See if you even enjoy assembling and painting minis. If you don’t, then you’ve spent a minimal amount and nothing is really lost. I also realize that actually playing the game might not be feasible due to regional location and the potential lack of players My thought was perhaps roping the family into playing, I knew that the potential was there. If nothing else, I’m actually interested in the act of assembly and I think it will be something else nice to do that doesn’t require a screen. If nothing else, I thought, I could always just paint them and put them on display.
So I made a purchase. I picked up a couple of sets of figures that were reasonably priced:
Games Workshop has actually provided a decent package with their Start Collecting! boxes, but the least expensive collection was in the $80 range. I payed considerably less for the above packages, probably because they’re from a previous print run with older boxes. Their bigger set had more in it of course, but it’s also just piecemeal itself, so I can eventually pick up the same units or choose to have different ones. I have enough of a grasp of the game to know that I would need more units to play a proper battle, but this is an experiment, so I wanted to limit my initial investment. As such, I found deals on supplies as well.
From what I’ve read and been told by people I trust who are into the hobby, some of the brands are better than others, but the consensus seems to be that Army Painter supplies are decent enough to do the job, and between the two I get a few brush options along with the basic color palette I’ll need for Orks (who are sort of basic when it comes to color schemes). They had a really large set that was in the $100 range but I opted for a smaller collection that also came with a wash. The brushes have varying sizes to do the job. At this point I’ve managed to keep my cost ~$100 in total, so it’s not harming my bank account and it should give several hours of entertainment provided we dig it.
Knowing that Warhammer 40k is a dice rolling game, and that the d6 is king, I ordered a cube of dice from Chessex, whom I’ve already purchased products from in the past for MTG. I actually have a pretty sizeable collection of dice from playing the card game, and the tin I’ve been holding them in is no longer equitable, and knowing I can also use these d6 for both games, I ended up buying a dice bag with sorting compartments as well. This is more of a preparatory step for Warhammer, but I know I will be using both regardless of if I ever actually play with the minis.
As of now, none of this stuff has arrived. I only recently made the decision to pull the trigger, and with this Covid mess Amazon’s shipping is all over the place. Stuff that’s marked Prime or free shipping shows up at all different times, often without the app updating until after the product has already been delivered and opened by myself. One recent order came a full 5 days earlier than it said it would, and then didn’t tell me it was delivered until the next day. Whatever the case, I should have all of this stuff before the end of the month, and if our quarantine goes longer as I expect, there will be something new for me to talk about around here.