Monday, August 24, 2015

The eternal wargaming question

First off, this is my 200th post!!!
Yay!!! Not bad for just 25 months. Ok, now where was I....?

Tonight, as I was sitting and painting some 3mm minis (Napoleonic cavalry and Cold War West German howitzers), Mrs. History PhD said "Ok, I'm confused."
Her: "Your main projects are supposedly 3mm Cold War and 6mm Vietnam, both of which are moderately well progressed, with lots of vehicles, buildings, some terrain, etc. So at some future point, you'll obviously be able to be finished with them and use them for gaming."

Me: "Correct, my love. But because new minis are always being released, I doubt I'll ever reach total 100% completion on either project, but 'finished', more or less."

Her: "So why are you fiddling with samurai and Napoleonics and talking about ACW and WWII North Africa? Will you honestly ever get those projects far enough along for them to actually be useable?"

Me: "Almost without a doubt, never."

Her: "So why do you dissipate your effort, limited free time, and very limited financial resources on things that you already know will never come to fruition, when it would be much wiser to devote those resources to projects you are likely to finish?"

Well, therein lies the conundrum. As I explained, much of what I do at the hobby desk generates enjoyment of its own accord, regardless of whether it will ever be completed or not. Hobbies aren't taken on as a cold, calculated exercise to be scheduled and quantified and held to a deadline (well, maybe, as my Dad's family is German, but my Mom's family is French, so no). It's supposed to be an engaging and entertaining way to unwind and pass the time. It's art, not science. 

If you're not born with the wargaming bug, I think you'll never understand, nor will any amount of explaining it help you. The point isn't the destination; it's the trip. As Oscar Wilde said "Arriving isn't important; traveling is." Having a huge, beautiful wargaming army all completed would unarguably be wonderful and I hope I get there, but really, it's the endless messing with creating it that is my real hobby. 

In Arthur C. Clarke's 1953 short story The Nine Billion Names of God,
a sect of monks had devoted centuries to collecting all of God's various names from every culture that ever existed, forgetting the old story that once every name was known, time would end. At the end of the story, as the last name was written down, the stars began to quietly go out, one by one. Maybe if I ever actually finish anything, I'll find that I'm not interested in it anymore. Or maybe I'll inadvertently destroy the entire universe. Hey, it could happen!!


  1. I think I've had the same conversation with my wife.

    1. We seem to have quite a few conversations along this line.

  2. Let her know that it is a well-proven bit of gamer lore that if you ever get the lead mountain completely painted, you die.