A slight break from Forgotten Heroes to vent a bit.
I drop by Carrion Crow’s Buffet every couple of days to see what Jeremy is up to, which is usually something I find interesting. Today I discovered a post that irked me, and I was partway through leaving a comment when I realized my comment was long enough for a blog post. Not wanting to hijack his post (DO NOT hijack the Crow!), I decided to air my discontent here.
A few regular contributors to Jeremy’s blog have decided to retire from the blogging community entirely. As posted on the Buffet:
The reason for this is their utter dismay in the trend for a large majority of supposed ‘gamers’ to use their blogs as organs for their own self-aggrandisement, this desperate need to seek praise or have the most followers or likes or comments on their blogs, rather than actually playing games which, after all, is the purpose of buying these little men in the first place.
Ouch. Like many others, when I first read this, I felt personally targeted. Then I realized I’m not that important and I calmed down.
I don’t know these folks, other than reading the comments they have posted over at Carrion Crow’s blog, so I have no reason to believe that any decision they made was in any way related to my blog or anything I have ever done. (In fact, to think so would be somewhat paranoid and narcissistic of me, as for all I know they’ve never even been to Dead Dick’s Tavern. If they have, they’ve never left a comment, which, if the site traffic can be believed, can be said about many visitors here.) But I guess I’m guilty of the “self-aggrandizement” mentioned in that most of my posts nowadays are about stuff I’ve painted.
I don’t do this because I think I’m a painting virtuoso. I do it because I don’t get to play games very often at all, and this is my way of continuing to participate in my hobby. However limited gaming opportunities may be for me, I still have a massive lead pile that I can work on to relieve my stress and have fun. After 30+ years of painting and gaming, I still hope to improve; and I take much of my inspiration from blogs and forums where I can see and appreciate the efforts and ideas of others, give and receive encouragement and ask advice. I don’t know if anything I have ever posted here has ever inspired anyone, but if so then I am over-the-moon happy.
Why don’t I play more often? The simple truth is that I guess I’m just not motivated to anymore.
I’ll be as brief as possible: Most of my miniatures gaming was done in the mid-90’s to around 2003 or so, and it was based at my (then) Friendly Local Game Store. All of my wargaming was either Warhammer 40K or Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I knew of nothing else, and the store did not promote any other miniatures gaming. That place is gone, and my wargaming “buddies” have long since moved on. I have no idea where they are now.
I have a group of longtime close friends who I have played tabletop RPGs with over the years, but none of them are wargamers. We can’t even commit to a regular schedule to play RPGs anymore; it just became way too much effort to wrangle everyone’s schedule so that we could all meet and do something we supposedly enjoy. Finding a date to play, even once a month, turned into a chore. Put simply, it shouldn’t be that hard for 5 adult men with similar work schedules, 3 of whom do not have any children, to get together and play a fucking game every once in a while without it being a huge dog and pony show every time. (My friends read this blog, and from time to time they may even leave a comment. They know this to be the truth, no matter how hard it is to read.)
A few years ago I bought a home. I am extremely fortunate in that in this home, I have a dedicated hobby space in my basement. With the help of my brother, who does not play any games at all, we built a gaming table. (Actually, he built it for me; I just bought the beer.) I thought for sure I would be gaming up a storm with my friends in no time. Sure, they came by a few times. But, not being wargamers, it fell to me to provide the miniatures, terrain, scenarios and rules. I did this, but there’s only so much time in the day. If I was in a wargaming group, for example, everyone would (presumably) have their own armies, and perhaps we could share terrain. When everything becomes one person’s responsibility, it gets expensive and feels more like an obligation than a hobby. If you’re the only one excited about a gaming project, then your excitement sours quickly.
I thought of skirmish gaming, or games where cash investment was relatively small, like War Rocket or Dreadball. Neither one really took root among my friends. Not being wargamers, they didn’t really want to spend the money on miniatures. The latest idea I’ve had is Gaslands, and I hope to be able to play that with some friends soon, although once again, the cars, terrain and table will be my responsibility.
Our last game we tried to play as a group was Imperial Assault. I bought the game and painted the miniatures. We had a great space to play. I figured even if we all couldn’t make it on a specific night, we could still manage to play a scenario or two and keep a campaign going. It fell apart 3 nights in, when it just became clear that it was too much hassle to get together. (To be fair, two of my friends live over an hour away from the rest of us. I can’t blame them if they didn’t feel it was worth the drive, especially if there was a noticeable lack of commitment among the group.)
I have posted After Action Reports on this blog, and will continue to do so. However, the sad truth is that I rarely game with others nowadays, so my AARs are solo games. I still have fun, but not as much as I would if my friends shared my wargaming interests. And I guess you may ask, why not find another FLGS? I could. But all of them around me are solely devoted in 40K or Age of Sigmar, neither of which I have the slightest interest in playing.
OK, I guess it wasn’t all that brief. Whatever.
Back to Dead Dick’s Tavern and Temporary Lodging: the name of my blog comes from one of the aforementioned RPGs that my group used to play. It was coined by one of the aforementioned friends, who graciously allowed me to use it when I decided to start a blog based on my miniatures hobby. I’m not promoting any product for my own profit or benefit on this blog, such as a rule set or line of miniatures (although I will certainly trumpet praises for anything I like). I do not participate in social media, either as The Angry Piper or as the real me. I do not have a “desperate need to seek praise,” either online or in the real world, whether for my hobby efforts or for anything else. I’m not trying to get likes or clicks, and most of the comments I receive about this blog are posted by people on other forums. I guess you could still make the argument that by posting pictures of my work on this blog I’m promoting myself, but I’m really trying to promote the hobby and interact with others who share my interests. It’s kind of like if I was hanging out at a pub and talking about football with the other guys at the bar, if only I gave a shit at all about football.
Like I said, I don’t know any of these folks that are bailing on all the miniatures blogs. But I’m saddened that they feel this way, as I enjoyed their comments (even if they were made elsewhere), and I feel like any loss of contributing voices in our hobby is a bad thing. This blog, and the blogs and forums I frequent, has introduced me to many gamers, painters and collectors from all over the world.
It’s hard for me to see that as a bad thing.