Recently I’ve been involved with a ton of different game systems… ok… it seems like a ton… but in truth it’s only 3. I’ve been playing Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k, and Warmachine / Hordes. It’s been very tough for me to dedicate my time to one specific project because there’s so many things going on with each of them right now. There’s tournaments right around the corner for all of these systems and I try hard to give attention to each army / faction. However, it becomes difficult and I just want to put down the brush because I feel like I’m losing more time deciding what to do rather than just picking one and going. Throw in the daily things that I have to do like my career, family, and my other hobbies… It’s like I’ve hit a sort of painter’s block… It’s inspired me to write this article. Maybe you can relate to it… maybe you can’t. Anyways, here’s first article for 2012, I give you… “Tales from the Jungle – Volume 9: Losing touch with the Game.”
Long ago when I started playing this hobby I can honestly say I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had no idea the friends I’d make, the painting abilities that would come out of me, or the many long hours each and every year that I’d dedicate to tabletop gaming. I have now begun my 12th year of gaming… and I’ve played countless games across all systems ranging from Mordheim to Warmachine, and as I look back on all the armies that I’ve painted, all the games that I’ve played, and all the time I’ve put into it… I remembered a few times during my “gaming career” that my heart just wasn’t in it. I think everybody that plays knows the feeling that I’m talking about. You know… that feeling that you get when you’re burnt out on painting, burnt out on playing, and just burnt out overall… about everything! It’s the gamers equivalent to the writers’ block! I can remember times when I hit the college portion of my gaming career and the only thing that was important to me was where the party was going to be! Then another time I remember having an issue with our gaming store and decided to take a hiatus from gaming… it was at that point that I was introduced to online gaming! Throughout it all, though, I found myself going back each and every time to tabletop gaming.
Now I know that we all have everyday life issues that will absolutely take precedence over gaming. Most of us that are older have kids, a wife, and a career to worry about. These things take up a huge amount of our daily time and it’s very easy to cut out the extracurricular activities such as gaming in our lives. On top of that, if you’re like me, I enjoy participating in sports leagues outside of work ranging from softball to football to even volleyball! These are even more things that take up a good amount of time in our lives. If you’re an avid sports fan then you have to make time in your busy schedule to watch your favorite team take the court or field, right? And what about your “other” friends? LOL! We all have ‘em, right? We all have the other group of friends that are not our gamer buddies that we like to spend time with… All, of this – and so much more – takes up time in our lives and sadly, gaming doesn’t rank that highly on most of our charts and so a lot of times it will get pushed to the wayside while we get our lives in order. It is because of these reasons that I believe a lot of lose touch with gaming and allow our paintbrushes, paint cans, models, and paint tables to collect massive amounts of dust.
To me it’s very important to not let go of your hobbies or the things that you hold dearly in your life. I’ve said many times before that one of the main reasons I play this game is because of the camaraderie I experience between lifelong friends that I’ve made over the years. For me, it’s never been about winning or losing, I enjoy playing the game because it takes my mind off of the everyday hustle and bustle of life. I don’t have to worry about what bills I have to pay tomorrow, or where I’m going this upcoming weekend, or what time I have to have that project done at work. All I’m focused on when I play the game is the game itself and my opponent. It’s an escape… an escape from the reality of life that we all have to face daily. And, at least for me, this is what keeps me coming back each and every time I find myself getting burnt out and hitting the “painters block”… I think it’s this reason alone why I constantly come back whenever I decide to take a little break from gaming. And also the reason why I feel like right now – more than ever before – I need to get through this painters’ block and continue forward with my many projects.
So the next time you feel like you wanna take a break from gaming or like you wanna get rid of all of your stuff because you’re just not into anymore… Take a deep breath (or several deep breaths…) and think about why you started playing in the first place. And think about the experience you get each and every time you play a game and get to roll the dice. Think about the friends you’ve made and the favorite models that you’ve painted. Think about your best conversion work or that time you won an award for coming in last place! Think about anything that makes you remember why you started playing this hobby in the first place… And then after you’re done thinking about it all… come on back and join the seemingly endless amount of tabletop gamers, because this hobby (and the escape it offers…) will be around for a long time… and so will we!
So in the famous words of Robert Frost, “I can sum up in three words what I have learned about life: it goes on.” Now get back to painting!
Thanks for reading. PEACE!