Poll Roundup: Economic Downturn Reducing Your Hobby Spending?

* 28% (99) – No.
* 23% (81) – Yes, a little.
* 21% (74) – Yes, moderately.
* 27% (96) – Yes, a lot.

Total Votes: 350

I left this poll running for quite some time, because the global situation just seems to have been getting constantly worse this year. Here in New Zealand we’re partially insulated from the sub-prime meltdown by having a simpler banking system, different legislation around mortgages and a high interest rate – which gives our Reserve Bank a fair amount of room to cut rates in an attempt to stimulate our flagging economy.

However trust me it’s still looking pretty grim on our little island in the Pacific so my hobby spending this year has been almost nil as we struggle to pay the mortgage, the other bills, and keep our two boys in daycare/school etc. It seems I’m not alone judging from the results of the poll with less than a third of you stating your hobby spending hasn’t changed at all, while the rest of the voters have reduced their spending by some amount, almost a third of you by a lot.

The game company and figure manufacturers out there must really be feeling the pinch I imagine. Particularly since prices for casting metals have been increasing at the same time. Putting your prices up while your customers are already reducing their hobby spend is a pretty bad place to be in for niche businesses. Tabletop Gaming News regularly features price increase notices from various quarters, and I wonder if we’ll start seeing indie manufacturers closing their doors. I certainly hope not since indie figures really inject a lot of life into this hobby.

Continuing with the doom and gloom, I suffer from mild depression and have noticed that periodically it effects my enjoyment of gaming. Normally I’m a pretty relaxed gamer, having fun in a game as long as it’s close thing regardless of the outcome. However I find if I’m down I seem to devolve into more a win-at-all costs power gamer with a side order of rules lawyer. I dislike gaming at all when I’m in this state of mind, simply because I don’t extract any pleasure from the game itself and usually just end up offending my opponents by being a ‘whiny little bitch’ (their words). In fact I’ve started making a conscious choice not to game when I’m feeling like this because it’s just easier on everybody.

So this next poll we’re running is to do with power gaming – are you a win-at-all-costs kinda gamer or not? Come on fess up!

Poll Roundup: Play a Collectible Miniature Game?

Would you play a Collectible Miniature Game?

* 71% (149) – Yes
* 29% (62) – No

I happily play a CCG (Collectible Card Game) amongst my friends, however CMGs (Collectible Miniature Games) like Pirates of the Spanish Main, Dreamblade and the recently announced Monsterpocalypse don’t really attract me at all. The problem with any collectible game was highlighted by the cancellation of Dreamblade late 2007. Once official support and tournaments for the game are gone, who really cares? Certainly you can still play the game yourself, but the money you’ve spent paying for rare and powerful figures or cards has been wasted because overnight their resale value becomes nil.

Also as a modeler I find the figures offered in CMGs universally poor in terms of casting and painting. Hence they have no intrinsic attraction that drives me to collect them. However it seems I’m in the minority in this respect judging from our last poll as two thirds of the visitors would happily play CMG games – which ones I wonder? Perhaps I’m not looking at the right games…

Our next poll relates to purchasing new games too. Locally here in New Zealand we’re facing something of an economic downturn, driven largely by the continued weakness of the greenback and the US sub-prime mortgage debacle which is driving local interest rates up, on the back of a bunch of 2007 hikes from our friendly reserve bank. This means salary earning mortgage holders like yours truly have been watching our spending in the last twelve months, and the first thing to get cut was hobby spending. Are you in the same boat?

Poll Roundup: Which Unfinished Project Next?

Which Unfinished Project Next?

* 26% (28) – Mordheim Cathedral
* 18% (19) – Second Facade
* 17% (18) – DAK Germans
* 11% (12) – Vampire Tower
* 9% (9) – Mordheim Church
* 8% (9) – Dragon Paratroopers
* 7% (8) – Carthaginians
* 5% (5)- Early Romans

Total Votes: 108

In the immortal words of Bill the Cat: Ack!

I should have know when I started this poll that you, my gentle visitors would vote for the largest, most complex outstanding project I have in the garage. I can only think you’re mostly Hirst Arts fans, or you’re mostly sadists!

At any rate I’m closing this poll with my Hirst Arts Cathedral project being the clear winner, followed by the second 15mm building facade. I’ve started working on the Cathedral again and hope to have the basic floor glued down this week, naturally I’ll post that once it’s done.

Unfortunately, despite the fact the last poll was an effort to pick an existing unfinished project to complete, I’ve just started another new project! Fortunately this one will be fairly quick to do and has a strict deadline. I’ll post about that this week too.

Poll Roundup: Where Do You Game the Most?

Where Do You Game the Most?

* 52% (83) – At Home?
* 18% (29) – At Friend’s Homes?
* 16% (26) – At Local Stores?
* 12% (19) – At Local Gaming Clubs?
* 2% (4) – At Tournaments?

Total Votes: 161

As I’ve started another poll, I’d better roundup the previous one. In retrospect this probably wasn’t the most interesting poll question to answer. Of course most people game at home like myself because it’s simply the most convenient. It’s also no surprise that more people game in-store than in clubs, because of course there’s typically more gaming stores than there are gaming clubs!

As an older gamer (almost 40) I also derive more pleasure from gaming with relaxed friends my own age than I suspect I would gaming with angry, testosterone filled youths at a local store. But perhaps that’s a slightly blinkered attitude! I will admit I have considered packing up some Pulp figures and terrain and trying to get a few demo games going in local stores on their regular game nights.

I am surprised to see the four people that game the most at tournaments! They are presumably hard-core gamers with legions of well painted figures at their call. Something that I doubt I’ll ever aspire to, particularly since I’m such a slow painter and I live in New Zealand, where gaming tournaments tend to be fairly small, semi-formal affairs. For a decent GW sponsored torney for example I’d have to fly to Aussie.

Visitors may have noticed this blog is a little quiet again…all I can say is blame Valve and their ‘Orange Box’ deal!

Poll: Which Unfinished Project Next?

If you’re a regular visitor you may have noticed I’ve been on a 28mm Pulp gaming bender recently. I’ve achieved a fair amount but have paid the price because I feel a little uninspired at the moment. This usually happens to me if I’ve been modeling in one genre for too long.

So gentle readers, here’s a chance for you to control this humble modeler, automaton-like! Which outstanding project would you like to see me work on next?

Vote now! Once we get 100 votes in the poll I’ll start working on the winner!




If this poll works out well, I’d consider doing this from now on to be honest. As I really need to finish some of my outstanding projects and not get distracted by any shiny new toys!

Poll Roundup: Do You Paint for Display?

Do you paint for display?

* 7% (10) – No, I game with bare metal and plastic.
* 46% (62) – No, I only paint for gaming.
* 41% (55) – Yes, occasionally I paint for display but mostly for gaming.
* 5% (7) – Yes, I paint for display exclusively, I don’t game.

Total Votes : 134

As I’m squarely in the “No, I only paint for gaming” category this was an interesting poll for me. Almost half of the respondents do display painting, and 5% of them paint exclusively for display. As you can probably tell from the recent post about 1:35th German Paratroopers I am interesting in trying some pure display painting, but to be honest I’ve got so much on the go I don’t know when I’ll get around to it!

I was surprised to see 7% of the respondents game with bare metal and plastic figures. I’ve certainly done that in the past (mostly for 40k and Warhammer Fantasy) but frankly playing war games with fully painted figures and terrain is definitely worth the effort it requires. I’m certainly looking forward to revealing a fully painted Cairo table to my players and see how they enjoy gaming over it. So I’d implore those gamers to either paint their figures, or try a system with a lower figure count!

This next poll is a bit of a random question: I’ve war gamed for around 20 years but have only attended a handful of tournaments and store games in all that time and usually as a spectator. For the rest of my gaming life I’ve played with a small group of friends either at their houses or at mine, so I’m curious to hear where other people game most of the time?

Although returning to the point about painted terrain, now I have all this painted Pulp terrain I wonder if I should offer to run some Pulp .45 Adventure demo games at local stores to try and recruit some more Pulp gamers!

Poll Roundup: How Many Unfinished Armies?

How many unfinished armies do you own?

* 5% (7) – None, they’re all painted.
* 18% (25) – Just one army.
* 14% (20) – A couple of armies.
* 15% (21) – Three armies.
* 12% (16) – Four armies.
* 36% (49) – Five or more armies!

Total Votes : 138

Ah this poll sees me in good company. It seems collectively (well at least amongst the visitors here) hobbyists are an easily distracted lot. Or perhaps we’ve just got eclectic tastes and enjoy so many varied game systems that the majority of us have at least a couple of armies on the go at once?

I do feel a slight twinge of jealousy when I see some of us (5%) have either painted every army we own, or do have to fortitude to resist purchasing new armies until their current one is completed. Kudos to you!

Personally I’m glad there’s numerous excellent tabletop games available that use 15mm scale figures. I’ve found this scale to be a fine compromise between having detailed figures that are interesting to paint, and them being small enough that a simple three step prime/base/highlight scheme will suffice for gaming.

Larger scales seem to have diminishing returns, taking considerably more of my precious time to paint a single figure. Games Workshop figures are probably the worse culprit because they’re so rich in surface detail that I’m forced to try and do it justice. So a single 28mm GW metal can take me days of modelling time to paint.

This next poll is sort of related to that point. I game and I paint to game, and have done so on and off for 20 years. I recall having painted one figure purely for display, an old Grenadier DnD Knight, when I was 15 for some local painting competition. Display painting appeals to me though as an opportunity to expand your painting skills and try new techniques, I just never have enough spare time to do it!

So, onto the next poll: Do you paint for Display?

Poll Roundup: Black or White Primer?

Black or White primer?

* 62% (73) – Black primer!
* 18% (21) – White primer!
* 19% (22) – Gray primer!
* 2% (2) – Some other colour?!

Total Votes : 118

Of all the random polls I’ve run on this blog, this one has been the first that totally defied my expectations. I’ve always used a white primer on figures, apart from one failed experiment with black priming GW Skaven several years ago. However it would seem I’m very clearly in the minority as almost two thirds of the poll respondents use a black primer.

I’ll admit a black primer is probably more forgiving during painting, allowing you to get away with a few crimes. I know this for a fact because I primed most of my Mordheim terrain to a solid black prior to drybrushing. Although I find a good ink wash after applying the base colours over a white prime has pretty much the same effect. I mainly prime white simply because it’s easier to cover with the base coat and gives most colours a nice ‘lift’.

To the black primers out there, do you find it difficult to get good coverage from your colours over black? Are you applying multiple coats of base colours to cover it? Here’s another question, if you’re currently black priming now, have you tried white priming in the past? Also, does anybody out there use black and white priming for different figures? A final priming question: I imagine the 19% of people priming gray are using cheap auto primer, but what on earth are the two visitors that answered ‘some other colour’ using?!

The next poll is a question I’m sure a lot of people will be happy to avoid:

How many unfinished armies do you own?

My current hall of shame goes like this:

  • 28mm GW Warhammer Fantasy
    • Vampire Counts
    • Orcs and Goblins
  • 28mm GW Warhammer 40k
    • Imperial Guard (only been 18 years now)
    • Nurgle Chaos
    • Tyranids
  • 15mm Flames of War
    • New Zealanders (almost finished, just some gun tractors and lorries to paint)
    • DAK Armored
  • 15mm Ancients
    • Romans
    • Carthaginians

Hence my plan to get more painting and less purchasing done in 2007!

Poll Roundup: Favourite Gaming Genre?

Favourite gaming genre?

* 31% (41) – Fantasy
* 24% (32) – World Wars (I & II)
* 18% (24) – Science Fiction
* 5% (6) – Any Genre, added by visitor
* 5% (6) – Fantasy and Science Fiction, added by visitor
* 5% (7) – Steam Punk (PP), added by visitor
* 4% (5) – Near Future Sci-Fi/Ultra Modern, added by visitor
* 3% (4) – Ancient Historical (pre 1500s)
* 3% (4) – Modern Historical (post 1500s)
* 2% (3) – Modern (post WWII)

Total Votes : 132

Time I wrapped the last poll up I think, so here’s the results which probably simply reflects the way visitors actually find my blog. Initially I started blogging mainly about Mordheim (Fantasy) and these days I’m mainly yammering on about Flames of War (WWII) and Pulp Gaming in a sort of mid-World-War setting. On reflection Fantasy is probably always going to be the most popular gaming genre, simply because it’s the most familiar and flexible setting.

It’s nice to see some sensible visitor added ‘Any Genre’ to the poll and I can see their point. If the game is enjoyable enough to play the genre is secondary. Personally I’m not really tied to any genre either being more of a hobbyist and painter than a hard core gamer. I don’t know who added ‘Fantasy AND Science Fiction’, but that’s two genres – I guess they couldn’t pick a favourite!

Anyway, the next poll is a contentious question: White or black primer? Which do you use for your figures? I’ve been painting figures for almost 20 years (on and off) and have always used white primer except for one failed experiment where I black primed some GW Mordheim skaven and attempted to paint them. I find white priming gives you a good base to lay down colours prior to ink washing, whereas black priming tends to deaden colours and requires more effort to cover. However I do black prime all of my terrain, here black nicely hides scratch built details and gets into all those nooks and crannies your dry brushing won’t.

For my Flames of War armies I experimented with brown priming – GW’s Scorched Brown painted over a white primer. I would have used a brown spray primer if I could have found one! Brown priming turns out to be an excellent choice for painting 15mm North African troops because it gives you instant ‘blacklining’ with minimal effort.

Poll Roundup: Favourite Figure Scale?

This poll finished a while ago, but I completely forgot to post up the results! So here they are:

Your favourite figure scale?

  • 0% (0) Over 32mm?
  • 54% (55) 28-32mm?
  • 11% (11) 20-25mm?
  • 34% (34) 15mm-10mm?
  • 1% (1) Under 10mm?

Total Votes : 101

So no visitors favor painting 40mm/54mm scale figures? There’s some excellent examples for sale, like Hasslefree’s 40mm Artemis (she’s a naked warrior goddess so may not be safe for work), the new Femme Militant line (annoying Flash site though) and the failed Games Workshop Inquisitor 54mm. These GW figures tempted me, until they starting releasing the excellent 28mm Inquisitor retinue figures for 40k that is. I mean, why play Inquisitor with 54mm figures and a whole new set of terrain when I can just reuse my 28mm figures and existing terrain? Even so 54mm Inquisitor figures still crop up on TradeMe regularly and I’ve nearly grabbed one or two for display painting.

I myself am torn between the 28mm and 15mm scales. 28mm figures can have a lot of detail and be quite enjoyable to paint, but I’m such a slow painter because I like to try and achieve a reasonable paint job on each and every figure. For this reason alone I suspect I’m slowly swinging towards the 15mm camp, particularly after discovering how quickly one can paint an entire 1500pt WWII Flames of War force if you put your mind to it. This is the real reason both Flashpoint’s 17mm Moderns and Corvus Bellis’ 15mm Ancients attract me.