Monday, February 28, 2011

Flooded and the ROI

First, welcome to the lastest follower, Pikapedra of Pikapedra.com.

As rain (in its many iterations) pounded the American Midwest Sunday my RPG campaign met for the last session that I would be running.  In two weeks one of the players takes over and I will, for the first time in a long time, sit on the other side of the screen.

While we were down there I noticed a puddle of water seeping into the basement.  Apparently my "Dad and Daughter Cave" has a cracked foundation.  Thankfully I had a pile of Shamwows I got as a gag door prize from a Superbowl party this year which quickly stemmed the flow.  My new house slowly reveals its secrets...

The rain meant that several players showed up late, which allowed me to raise the question of miniature wargaming with a few members of the group that might be interested.  I've floated the same question with the local gaming Meetup group.  The response was the same in both places: there's interest in miniatures wargaming, but the ROI (Return On Investment) is unacceptably low.

One of the Meetup people explained in this way.  He spent $150 on miniatures for a game that he ended up playing only a couple of times.  The same amount could be spent on three high-end boardgames, which he could play, out of the box, each week with several other people who wouldn't have to spend anything to participate.  Low prep time + low(er) buy-in + greater interest = higher ROI.

The person in the gaming group said roughly the same thing--that he'd only consider a skirmish game with a small number of miniatures, and had been badly burned by hyper-competitive players who engaged in poor sportsmanship.  "If he wasn't winning, he was complaining about how cheesed out or broken your army was.  I was playing Empire versus his Vampire Counts, and he was complaining that a 1+ armor save for my knights was broken."

Small editorial note: as someone who owns both those armies, if I was the VC player I'd be keeping my mouth shut and tearing that Empire army apart like an ice cream sundae, but that's just me.


So, what is a desperate for a wargame hobbyist to do?  Right now my plan is to finish my two HotT armies and engage a couple of these guys in a "you don't have to buy anything right off the bat" strategy.  HotT doesn't require a high buy-in, and could be played with almost anything, including cheap commons from pre-painted miniature manufacturers.  I'll see how that goes.

It is also month's end, and I have a measly two miniatures to my painting total.  But, I want to go on record as saying that I have 24 miniatures that are painted but just not based because my special order that I placed through my FLGS as a show of support for the local economy seems to be taking a very long time (filed away under "punished good deeds").  So hopefully March will come roaring in like a lion, in terms of getting figures into the "finished" category.

2 comments:

  1. ROI....since when did that figure into any addiction??

    But seriously, time spent buying,crafting,painting,then on display....if you manage to get a game that's a bonus but surely any ROI has to figure this into account...to say ready straight out of a box is to miss a large part of the hobby surely?

    Since most gamers end up having more then one army... unless incredibly disciplined... then lack of miniatures isn't a real problem. When playing the private house party type circuit we just used whatever miniatures and rules that were available at the hosts venue. No cost, no transport untill you were the host atleast.

    The subtle approach is the introduction of a heavy miniature element into your RPG games...then move onto gang warfare...then skirmish and battles. One step at a time.

    Best of Luck

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  2. See, I think that modelling/painting has intrinsic value as a hobby too. Most of my painting is done in the evening during the hour my wife is reading stories to my children--in short, total me time.

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