The Need to Use

In the last post I talked about how disappointed I was in myself that I had picked up lots of things at gaming stores that have languished on shelves and boxes without ever seeing the light of a gaming table.  While at times I can justify to myself buying RPG's without playing them, miniatures are a harder argument, especially if I don't even have the "well, I enjoyed painting them" justification.

Being able to play often hinges on finding an opponent.  Overwhelmingly that limits my options to either Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Warhammer 40K, or to a lesser extent Warmachine.  That's not some detailed study of local gaming patterns, that is what is being played at the only miniatures store in the town I'm living in.
Sadly, there is no VBCW night.
Thinking about this, I feel like miniatures fall into three categories.  The first is things I buy which will end up on a gaming table.  Like I said, that virtually guarantees I'm talking GW product.  The second are items I paint because I'm interested in them artistically.  I occasionally buy things that look nice, and that I feel like will be interesting to paint.  To contrast the two, I'm more than willing to speed-paint-and-dip the first category, but wouldn't the second.

There's a third category, the "I'm buying this on spec" category.  These are miniatures I buy that I hope might end up on a table, but there's a good chance they won't.  Some chances are greater than others, like the zombies I bought from Zombiesmith will, in all likelihood, eventually be part of an ATZ campaign.  Others, like the Shock Troops from Wargames Factory, will probably never get around to being part of a Tomorrow's War game.

Frugality, I believe, is as much about not wasting money as it is about not spending it.  I think there are different kinds of value, as outlined in the first two categories, but buying things that never get painted and/or never get used is a loss.  I will wager a substantial portion of most of the "lead piles" out there fall into the third category.  With that in mind, part of the "Frugal Pledge" I'm making will be to say that unless I've got an opponent in hand, I will not be buying miniatures for that game.  The only is that I might buy the odd "second category" miniature, but now that I'm on a budget that seems a lot less likely.

So, the Frugal Pledge seems to have two parts: $60 a month towards the hobby, and only buying miniatures for games I know I'm playing.  Seems pretty reasonable.  What do you think?


  1. I had a very similar experience to yours. When I sat down to calculate my state "use tax" I went through my credit card bills for online purchases and I was stunned to see how much I spent on gaming. My ideas lately echo yours fairly closely -- give myself a monthly budget, buy things only if I really plan to paint and play with them etc. So yes, I'd say your plan sounds quite reasonable to me.


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