Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Focus: Essential, Elusive...

So many projects, so little time. 

How to organise everything? I keep thinking of that line in Star Wars, "stay on target... stay on target!"

This hobby of ours - a pastime that brings so much enjoyment and the occasional bout of frustration - will grow to fill any time you care to give it. Over the last few weeks, for example, I've started several new projects across a number of different gaming systems; from Blood Bowl teams to Dark Eldar to GMing a campaign in WFRP. It's because of this that the personal quality of 'achieving focus' has come to dominate my thoughts.

I'm like a gaming magpie - I'll see some shiny new miniatures and I'll just have to swoop in and get them (that analogy worked better before the introduction of Finecast...). I am, habitually, a collector and a converter. I gather and I tinker. I give in to temptation and then get cracking with the craft knife. You get the idea...

And so it is that I've reached the point where I really need to do the one thing that goes totally against my impulsive, ADHD nature: it's time to make a list. Over the next few days I've got to sit down and come up with a definitive project plan, otherwise I risk being surrounded by half empty boxes, half glued and/or half painted miniatures, and half completed armies.

I've got to work out some targets and then stay on them. Easier said than done of course, but I have to try. Probably the easiest way to do this is to think about it in the most logical way possible. As a fluff-oriented player this means going against the impulse to build armies on the basis of appearance, and instead build some sturdy lists to work from.

I can't begin to tell you how uncomfortable that idea makes me feel. It goes completely against the thrill of new discovery that I like so much about this hobby. Even more, it risks the dreaded antithesis: mind-numbing drudgery.  

What could be worse than having the next six or even twelve months plotted out ahead of time? How will this not fail to drain all the enjoyment out of the whole thing, turing it into one slow, dutiful but soulless paint-fest? 

Well, despite these worries it's time to start taking all this fun seriously. In this spirit, here's the first 'to do' list, which is really a meta-to-do list because the results will be the basis of all following targets. Perhaps by making these public and charting my un/fulfilment of all ensuing targets I'll be able to shelve my magpie nature (at least for the most part). 

1. Greenskins - The nasty little bastards that helped get me addicted to gaming again. I really must put together a 2000 point list that I can then start painting.

2. Marienburg - My Empire army. So many great ideas across so many different units... again, a definitive 2000 point list is needed to organise all modelling and painting, although unlike the greenskins I'll allow myself 500 points of alternatives.

3. Vampire Counts - With the risk of sounding repetitive, another 2000 point army list to focus everything.

4. WFRP - With the PCs rolled up this Thursday sees the start of a 2nd edition campaign. I've got the first sessions mapped out in my head, but I need to commit these to paper and decide how I'll link my own narratives to those I'll adapt from various source books. Given at least one of the PCs may read this blog I'll only report on WFRP sessions after the event.

5. Blood Bowl - I may return to my original plan and have a re-think about which teams to create. It looks as though a two division league might be in the offing, where I would be able to field a team in each division. This would work as a 'perpetual league' where there is no fixture list, but where two teams are not allowed to play each other consecutively.

6. Dark Eldar - The newest addition, and therefore the one most suitable to this style of rigorous planning. As with targets 1-3, a 2000 point list is required.

Orienting Principles - Of course, I'm never going to abandon my core beliefs about the hobby. So: a) all of these projects will be allowed a reasonable amount of digression, primarily in the shape of conversions, unit fillers, and the odd 'counts as' model; b) the lists will be narrative and modelling orientated and not designed with the sole purpose of winning; and, c) generally I'll use GW miniatures but I'll pick up models from other manufactures if they look good (although on the whole, the GW stuff is usually best).

Wish me luck...


  1. Good luck.

    I have indeed observed your wandering attention. Normally I am like this, however this year I have managed to keep myself relatively focused by dedicating the whole year to a single project. Coming toward the end of the year now, I am starting to fret about what I am going to do next. Keep going on the Empire (so much still to do), or change to something else...?

  2. Thanks.

    Have taken more than a little inspiration from your blog! For me, the key is just finding that regular hour or so every day to get something done. Then I will just trust in momentum and 'staying on target'.

    The Empire really is the best army for WFB, but it's so open-ended with all the states, boarder princes, other nations, etc, etc. Not sure I could dedicate a whole year to one project though!


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