Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Price of Revolution

This costs how much??

This post is Dangerous.

I saw a post on TMP about how much does an army cost and it got me thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know).  Now today we have a post about the costs of starting a new genre in wargaming.   NEWS FLASH; this silly little hobby is expensive.   In OTHER NEWS, water found to make people wet.

But SSShhhhhh, don’t tell the wife. 

Not that she reads this blog anyways.  She knows I have it.  But she’s never gone “Hey, I really liked your last blog post.  It reminded me of how funny and attractive you are; (/seductive voice) COME TO ME.”

 Link to the TMP page if so inclined: TMP


Buying Frenzy:

Like many wargamers, I already have a decent collection of miniatures, rulebooks, and terrain; so when I do buy stuff, I’m just adding to a previously started project.    Therefore the purchases tend to be in smaller batches; a box or blister of miniatures here, some terrain there; modest amounts. I don’t like the lead pile to grow unchecked.  This tends not to be super expensive because the initial set up costs have all been paid. 

It’s been forever since I started a new game project from scratch like I have with this 28mm AWI project.  Mostly scratch, I have some appropriate 28mm terrain because my dark ages and LOTR collection is in 28mm; fields, roads, and some trees.  But nothing else. 

With an upcoming pay cut for all of us state workers I been doing a lot of my discretionary spending now, before it’s too late.  In a few months I might not be able to buy my family the nicer things, but we can all have some comfort in my new, totally awesome AWI miniature collection.  (That last bit makes me sound selfish, I should talk to my editorial staff).   Usually these costs are way more spread out and therefore obscure.  Yet being in a buying frenzy and rapidly making purchases brings it all to light. Which just goes to show, when one is too busy to paint and cannot play games, one will always find time to shop. 


The dangerous bit: How much does starting a new period really cost? 

I broke down the spending into categories, then rounded the costs to friendly numbers for easy maths.  Then there is some witty commentary on how this cost could be adjusted.  Prices include shipping to my house because ain’t nobody shopping in person during these days of pandemic... 


Musket and Tomahawks II Rule bundle: Main rule book, AWI supplement book and card deck, and tokens: $70

You need rules to play a genre by.  I bought this through a pre-order and so got a small discount.  I don’t think $70 is an outrageous amount to pay for a modern day rule set.  Regardless of the rules themselves, the books are of high quality.  


Brigade Miniatures AWI British: $100 for 48 miniatures

Brigade Miniatures AWI dirty revolting colonists Americans: $160 for 78 miniatures.

This is a steep cost.  BG miniatures are rather on the pricey side at $2 a miniature.   There is a 10% discount but that really just cancels out the shipping costs.  There are cheaper options out there that could bring down this cost.  I went with BG for a couple of reasons:

I wanted the British to be in the 1768 warrant uniform.  The uniform we all think of when we say Redcoat.  I know that realistically/historically this uniform went by the wayside rather quickly in the AWI in favor of lighter modifications.  But I wanted turnbacks and large cuffs dammit. 

And while I don’t have anything against plastic miniatures, I just like metal ones better.  If anything it saves me the step of building them.  Though plastic is much cheaper.  Everyone goes with Perry Miniatures for the AWI, and I wanted miniatures different from everyone else.  (Though the plastic Perry box set of AWI British infantry is in the 1768 warrant uniform, but I wanted more variety of poses, but I bet I’ll pick up a box eventually). 

And most importantly, BG was open for business during this pandemic. 

Another preference of mine that raised the cost was for dirty rebel patriotic militia.  Using Militia always means needing more figures, because their quality is in the quantity.  If I had gotten more continental line infantry the cost would be less. 

Small pile of Continental Infantry on the right,
LARGE pile of Militia on the left.

I am though, overall very pleased with my purchase and really like the miniatures now that I’ve painted up a few.    


BG Miniatures do not come with bases, so I ordered some.  

Shogun Miniatures 25mm round magnet bases.  $40 for 150 bases. 

I could of gone cheaper with plastic or fender washers, but have plans for how I am gonna store these miniatures and how I eventually want to use them in large units.  So I wanted magnet bases.

Plus, with Magnet Bases I can make troops march up the fridge.
Just to demonstrate that magnets work.


Terrain (didn’t have much to start)

Battlefield Terrain Concepts fences kits: $65 for 3 bags (each is supposed to make 5 feet).

Future Fences.
15 fifteen feet might sound like a lot,
but from prior experience I know it's not for a wargame table.

Sarissa Precision North American Buildings: $100 for 5 buildings

I don't have the building yet, and with shipping from the UK to USA being what it is these days, don't suspect that I will anytime soon so no pic...

Naturally I didn't need to buy 5 buildings all at once.  I just figured that I'd want 5 eventually so might as well get them all at once so I can make homesteads or villages versus just having a single house here or there in the woods.   


$535 without even playing the a game yet. 

This is not a humble brag.  I genuinely find this stuff interesting and it’s a side of the hobby that we don’t talk about much.  We all come from different SES and have different amounts we can afford.  The costs of wargaming is one of the daunting aspects that keeps people out of the hobby or even out of a particular style or period of play.  I have often heard that the rise of skirmish games is due in part to the cost of acquiring large armies.  

I generally don't have a strict hobby budget.  I tend to get what I want when I want; mainly because I am a grown man with a decent job and my hobby is literally the only place in my life where I am able to do that.  Everywhere else in life is compromise.  However, I'm also generally responsible and am not a spendthrift.  But this is clearly a large investment and goes to illustrate how expensive starting a new miniature project can be.  And why these days I don't just start new genres without serious thought for a few years.  And believe it or not, it's out of character for me to get so much so quickly.  It's the old experiment; get everything at once and see of you can paint it all before going on to something else.  How often have we tried that int the past? 

Though, I have been known to focus on genre for a lengthy amount of time. 

Or maybe it's a symptom of this Pandemic.  In any case, this genre might well cover my spending for the rest of year.  Unless something really cool comes along.  Or maybe if I actually do paint it all,  I'll get myself a small reward. 

Besides, during the pandemic I've been saving a lot of money on haircuts...

This is my COVID look

Thanks for reading.  See you again soon with a hobby update.  

Saturday, May 16, 2020

I have begun my Rebellion (AWI)

"A Rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as 'Our Rebellion.'  It is only in the third person - 'Their Rebellion'- that it becomes illegal."

Ben Franklin

Regular blog followers know that for awhile now, I've been talking a big game about starting the AWI someday.  Probably for so long now that people are thinking I'm all hat and no cattle.  Well, today is the day where I put my money where my mouth is.

There's something exciting about starting a new project as one anticipates future games with pretty soldiers and terrain that are MINE MINE ALL MINE!!!  And there's something terrifying as well because you know it's going to be a LOT of work before you get there.

Blogs are Awesome for this Sort of Thing

One of the things that I've always enjoyed on blogs; is going through posts and seeing a project start and continue on (and on and on) until it reaches the point of being a glorious collection.  This sort of linear documentation is something that blogs excel at; especially if the project starts from scratch like this one is.  One can learn a lot by following someone else's journey.  So I hope that someday, someone, will have an enjoyable reading experience by clicking on the AWI label and having it all displayed before them.  That is, if they stomach all the lame jokes.  Like did you hear that joke about the Liberty Bell?... It really cracked me up.

How To Begin the AWI: Start with Rules

Some people start a genre by wanting to paint the figures, foolish people that they are.  I like to start with rules that will provide a game that I want to play.  This is because I am a gamer over a painter. I also think it's better to start with a skirmish game where the demands for the number of figures is probably lower.
It's all well and good to think "I want to play AWI with Black Powder, so let me see now, I'll just need to paint 200 figures per side in order to get a decent game going...." 
I don't have that kind of determination.

On the other hand, the demand for terrain might be higher, as most skirmish games are more fun when there is more terrain on the table.  This will also be a bonus; as terrain all squished together on a 4x4 table for a skirmish will look juuust out right when all spread out on a larger table for a mass battle.

The imputes for starting the AWI came when my package containing my bundle of goodies for Muskets and Tomahawks 2nd edition arrived on my doorstep..

Main Rulebook, Redcoats and Tomahawks Supplement
Cards and Tokens

I am somewhat familiar with M&T since I have version one just lying around on my bookshelf...for years.  I had played it a few times and had started a British force for the FIW, but it was one of those barely started genres that didn't survive the PURGE.

SIDE DISCUSSION: What was the Purge?

The Purge was when I was moving from the Bay Area to the Sacramento Area 5 years ago and realized that I had WAY to many miniature wargames projects that had a bad stutter start (that's a racing term).  These kinda started but ultimately stalled projects were all way too much to pack and transport, so they were all sold away for dirt cheap, given away to deserving friends and undeserving rascals, and some were simply trashed. The PURGE was mostly miniatures, as rulebooks don't take up that much space.  It was a liberating experience all in all.

 M&T II is a skirmish game that plays on a 4x4 table and usually has around 50 figures per side.  The idea is to get enough figures and terrain all painted up and lookin nice to make for a good game; and as the collection grows I'll be able to move up to larger games like Sharpe Practice 2.  Eventually some sort of mass battle game may be in the far off future as well. My megalomania for large AWI battles will only be checked by cost and time. 

After I read the M&T II to make sure that I still liked the rules (pretty sure I do) and watched some YouTube vids, I created some army lists to know what I wanted to buy for the miniatures.  I didn't have any AWI miniatures so this is a blank slate. 

So few things in life are blank slates.  It's kinda nice. 

*YouTube AARs are always a mixed bag for me.  There's an art to make it interesting.  I like it more when they showcase the rules mechanics and like it less when it's a pure AAR.  Also I get super annoyed when they get rules wrong.  We're all human and make mistakes of course.  Actually I only get annoyed when watching Too Fat Lardy videos that feature the rule writer himself and STILL gets the rules wrong. 

Then Get Some Figures; And Being Sensible About It

For me, buying figures is the 'getting serious' step for starting a genre.  I'm one of those guys whose gonna get both sides and all the terrain so I can host the whole sha-bang and win over friends and followers, and gain wargaming super stardom.
And while I know we all do it from time to time, I actually don't like it when I buy miniatures and never get around to painting them.  And they just sit there in the lead pile staring at me chanting 'waste of money, waste of money.'  I got a whole lot of dark ages Norman infantry and cavalry that do that all time, more annoying because it's in French.  Everything sounds more insulting in French.  Just like everything sounds angry in Japanese.

The obviously wise way to go about starting this genre is the 15/18mm scale.  It's much cheaper and easier on the storage.  Plus, a big bonus would be that a lot of my ACW terrain (like the ubiquitous snake rail fence) would be able to pull double duty in both theaters.  Therefore getting the whole AWI genre to the game table faster and providing miniature wargaming economy. 

Also, it's a smart idea to start small with a modest order of miniatures and FOCUS.  Don't order more miniatures until the current ones are painted (or near enough).  This way the lead pile will not grow unnecessarily and motivation to keep painting won't be crushed under the weight of all that lead.  And I won't feel guilty when I abandon it for awhile when distracted by some other sexy younger project.

It's an entirely sensible plan;

So naturally I ordered a mountain of 28mm miniatures from Brigade Games.  
Along with some 28mm fence kits from Battlefield Terrain Concepts.

A little over 100 hundred miniatures is a mountain to me.
50ish British and 70ish Colonials seems like a fitting start.
I am the picture of a sensible human being.

Guess what I'll be doing for awhile. 

Because in my heart, I knew I wanted the 28mm spectacle.  

I have some small consolation that my 28mm Dark Ages collection has a limited amount of terrain that can pull the double duty.  A plowed field is a plowed field in either the year of 898 or 1778.  A patch of woods is a patch of woods.  Or so I'll tell myself.  Don't burst my bubble.  


It has begun.  Hooray for new projects!  

In my enthusiasm and just to get the hang of it all again, I painted up one British Regular as a test figure. 

These troops will have Blue facings,
Making them the 4th Regiment of Foot and a "royal regiment."
But I just like the look of the uniform.  

This is the figure before I apply the quickshade.
I'll wait for that step until I paint up a bunch of them.

Hey!  Long time, No Post... What Gives?

Life has been busy.  All work and no play.  Basically I've been like a single parent lately.  The wife has some sort of mysterious aliment (was tested for COVID and is negative, so that's not it) that has put her down for the count most of the time.  So I have All the kids, all the home school, all the chores, and still working (half from home, and half at the office).  5 days a week I am dad and Mr. Mom.  It'd be a bummer except we're still in a state of shelter in place and it's not like I'm missing any gaming  or any other fun opportunities.   Still, as a result there have been drastic cuts to the 'Department of Free Time."  Hopefully the budget will increase soon.  

They say that husbands/fathers tend to over estimate the amount of work they put in toward household chores and child rearing.  Well, not THIS GUY.  

The bright side; mass accumulation of hubby points.  We've already discussed how these can be spent.  

Till next time then.  Keep yourself and loved ones safe.  Thanks for reading.