Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Wargaming on a Budget: Planing and Discipline

Sorry about the delay folks, real life has been getting in the way for the last couple of days and so I have had very little time to write.

Ok so lets get on with it shall we?

In the last post I touched briefly on planning your army in order to make sure you stayed within budget. Well today's post is all about planning and then  making sure you are disciplined enough to stay your course. For all of us true hobbyists, this is the most challenging thing for us to master. We are slaves to our impulses and 'shiny stuff' syndrome. I am a victim of this more often than not, and have ended up with entire game systems I have only ever played once or twice (damn you Helldorado, Operation Overlord, and a handful of others). I have also fallen victim to buying models just because 'they look cool', only for them to then not be used in my main force (like most of my Infinity models). Nothing is worse than your army or project constantly spiralling out of control as you constantly revise your army or buy models on impulse.

My trusty codex and an old army list
In recent years I started to make sure all of my armies were properly planned out before I started dropping cash on it. It may take longer to get your project off the ground, but at least you will have a clear idea of where you are going. So get your pen, paper, rules and army books. Get a cup of tea and sit down for a good old think.

There is really no excuse for not planning your list these days. There are countless excell spreadsheet army builders, electronic products like Army Builder by Lone Wolf Studios and things like iBodger and website based army builders such as Infinity Pool or . Whatever system you play, there is an army builder out there for it.

Planning your army has the obvious benefit of letting you budget for your army. Knowing how many models and of what type is a massive advantage. I was recently talking to a friend online who was planning a new army (and new game system to boot). Using his list and an online hobby store we could calculate to the penny just how much his army was going to cost him.

Seeing how ridiculously expensive your army is going to be will also give you some measure on how to save money and cut corners. You will have a rough idea of what models can be used from your previous projects and what may have to be converted in order to save on cash.

There are numerous ways to do all of this naturally. I tend to plan an army in its entirety, having studied the army books and rules carefully in order to make sure I have a list I think can be workable. Others (and I have done this in the past) would probably prefer to plan their army in stages or chunks. For 40k and other GW games this is easily done, armies can be conveniently planned in 500 odd point chunks and each stage of the army can be planned based on game performance and the tactical needs of your force.

However you decide to plan, the most important thing is that you stick to your plans and that you get all the painting done. This is where most hobbyists fall short, in getting all your purchases painted. I will talk more about speed painting at a later date, so stay tuned.

My reward, starting to paint my Daiymo command stand
I tended to 'reward ' myself by allowing myself to paint a character/centre piece model after I had finished a couple of rank and file units. Keeping yourself motivated is important, and making sure you get a unit finished at a time is a huge boost to your morale levels, as it gives a sense of seeing your army coming together.

For my ongoing Sengoku project I managed to finish a unit of 16 Ashigaru last week. as a reward for myself, I started painting one of the Daiymo's samurai retainers. Although only 1/72 scale, the model is nicely detailed and a real joy to paint. I have half a dozen or so of these models, and hopefully that will be enough to keep me motivated for the rest of the project.

Setting yourself a budget may be the easiest way of trying to stick to your plans. So if you change your mind about a unit, just make sure that the replacement unit comes in at the same price or lower. Its difficult to do I know, but when you have limited funds, you have to bite the bullet and compromise.

Unlike conversions and model making, this is the aspect I struggle with the most. I brainstorm ideas and that will lead to me buying tons of models. I will let you know how I progress with my two main projects at the minute, both the Samurai army and the Pulp Skirmish game.

Until Next Time,
-Banchou Badger

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