GAME OVER reader, and this blog tends to focus on money and time (indeed, the Frugal struggle is often expressed as convenience vs. expense, for example in choosing to make your own terrain/war machines/accessories or buying them). One thing I haven't looked at too often, though, is how these notions all fit together.
I also recently had a dispute with m'colleague Neal (he of the pink Menite fame) about this. I have, in the past, been known to be a bit stingy about away-days to play games. I tend to think that the kind of money we spend on transport, accommodation, event admissions, food and the inevitable booze doesn't offer the world's best return on investment - after all, a tournament is over when it's over, and if you're anything like me, memories really don't last forever (some days, I can't even remember the word 'pencil', never mind anything complicated and intense like a tournament). If I'm going to spend more than a fiver on something, I'd usually expect years of service out of it...
However, I've recently been forced to admit that spending modest sums - for instance, on attending club nights, which usually cost me about eight quid by the time you've factored in bus fares and entry fees - to ensure that the larger sums spent on miniatures actually result in said miniatures being used and not simply possessed for the sake of possession, might actually be worth a go. I had a lovely time at Evesham today and it only cost me a tenner (well, it cost me twelve after I picked up some Epic Order dice to use as extra spell tokens ahd a plastic High Elf mage for conversion purposes, but shh!); realistically speaking, getting to use my Cryx against some nice new people with unfamiliar armies was probably worth the money.
At the end of the day, what's bought needs using, and the same old uses every time end up becoming stale and unfulfilling, like the yoghurt I had for breakfast yesterday. In that same spirit of using stuff that I have rather than mindlessly accumulating possessions, I'm going to focus my gaming time and funds onto expanding and revitalising my Cryx army, adding a few new pieces to inject some interest into a collection that hasn't seen full use for quite a while. The Cryxies will be visiting a few events this year; I'm not the biggest fan of tournaments, but my eyes are always peeled for things that aren't tournaments, and a bit of money spent on ephemeral experiences can't hurt if it means that the money I've spent previously continues to reward and return on its investment.
I'm also planning on putting to use something that's lived in the bottom of my bookcase for many moons, but never actually seen any love; Advanced Fighting Fantasy, which has been out of print for so long that it would be effectively irreplaceable if I parted with it, but which I've only ever tried to play once. I've read and reread those books so often that they no longer amuse me in their own right, so let's try something crazy like actually running the game!
Finally, I'm going to make an admission. Ready for this? Here it comes...
I no longer have the time, or the inclination, or possibly even the ability, to paint in the volume and speed that I did four years ago.
Painting a new army, on the scale that a Games Workshop mainstream game requires for entry-level play, is simply too major an endeavour for me, and I'm too attached to the spectacle of gameplay to really enjoy playing with unpainted miniatures; so I'm attempting to make painting a minor endeavour by sticking to low-model-count mods of the game like Killzone. If I do go so far as to start a new army for a Games Workshop game, it'll have to be painted with the minimum of effort; I might go so far as to suggest dipping, or possibly greyscale, with dashes of colour a la Sin City - how awesome would the Micro Art Studios Orks look painted up like they've escaped from a black and white war film, and how easy would that be to do with an airbrush and maybe a bit of blending? I'll be trying to make a major endeavour into a minor endeavour, through careful choices of techniques and steady expansion.
At least, that's the plan. You know what I am for plans. I'll have to think about whether I'm actually going to go through with it... in the meantime, here's another picture of time in motion. This one's for you, Lawrence: it's the Prague Astrononical Clock, in all its eldritch glory.