Monday, June 27, 2011

The Costs of my "Other" Hobbies

After Part 1 on Wargaming Costs, I hope some of you at least see that this hobby is pretty affordable even if you do buy something every week or two.  Maybe not if you want to jump on purchasing a 2,000 pt army in one day, but starting small and building a competitive list over time is an affordable proposition.  Next I will list my other personal hobbies with their costs.  There are many things that pique my interest, so I have a pretty wide variety of things I enjoy doing in my spare time.

The biggest hobby I have other than wargaming would be hunting.  This may not seem like a hobby to some, but it is something I do in my spare time that I don't need to do, thus the hobby classification.  Every year I can't wait for September to come so I can get into the woods with bow and arrow in hand, hoping for a deer to come into under 25 yds(sometimes as close as a few feet).  The excitement is awesome.  I also hunt deer with muzzleloaders and rifles.  I also do some small game hunting, including doves and rabbits.  The outdoors is a great place to be and I highly suggest it.  Some of the things I have purchased over the years to help with my hunting endeavors are:

NC Hunting/Fishing License -$40
Remington .270 WSM with Scope - $800
20 Bullets for .270 WSM - $45
Clothing/Boots/hats/gloves/socks/etc for Warm, mild, cool, cold, very cold weather -at least $1000-$2000
Cover Scents/Calls/Accessories - at least $250
2 Scout Cameras - $250
2 Ladder Stands - $250
3 Lock-On Stands with Ladder Sticks - $250
Ground Blind - $150
Muzzleloader plus Scope and Accessories - $600
Compound Bow with Accessories - $800(arrows cost $10 each plus broadheads are $12 each, so $22 per shot, usually good for 1-2 shots through game)
Four other guns of various caliber - $2000
Skinning Knife - $125
Processing Equipment(vacuum sealer, bags, grinder)- $500

Keep in mind most of the above equipment is in the lower to middle end of cost scale for comparable items.  I usually look for products that will get the job done and are still affordable.  I don't have the extra income to afford the highest quality items around.  Shopping around is a must as hunting equipment ranges wildly in costs and qualities.  As in wargaming, you can buy cheap knock-offs or top-of-the-line products.  At least with GW stuff you know you are getting the best of the best and the cost aren't that much more than knock-offs.

Luckily, I have local private land to hunt on that I don't have to lease.  Left is a pic of a deer I got a photo of on my scout camera that I was able to take a few days later.  If you lease, that can be another $500 per year.  I also process my game myself, saving another $80 per deer taken.  Also, if you travel to other places to hunt, like Texas, the Midwest, Canada or go on big game hunts abroad(Africa, New Zealand) you can plan on spending at least $2,000 for cheapest hunts in Texas, around $6,000 to go to Canada and the sky is limit on some hunts in Africa(elephant).  Even sheep hunting in the Yukon of Alaska can be $20,000 for a 7-10 day hunt.

Like wargaming I have been collecting the things I want/need for hunting in same manner.  Spending a little over $1,000 a year has kept it enjoyable and affordable for me.  And like in wargaming, after a few years I can spend little on new things and just buy the essentials to keep this hobby really cheap, while providing hours of enjoyment(and no you don't have to harvest an animal to have fun, I just like being out there spending time in the outdoors).  It has taken years to add the above to my collection.  I still add new stands, accessories, clothing to this as I see the need arise.  When it gets near hunting season, my models hit backburner until afterwards.  I spend lots of time scouting for new locations, putting in stands, and practicing my shooting.  It keeps me in shape as a side benefit also.  I get plenty of hiking in and just spending time in the outdoors is good for the soul.  Just so I can sit in a tree in sub-freezing temps hoping a nice one will walk in range.  The cost for me is comparable to wargaming, but at least in 40k it doesn't cost me $2.50 per bullet or $22 per arrow.

Another thing that I just started getting into this year is Organic Vegetable Gardening.  To the left is a pic of the my small garden earlier in the season with some potatoes growing.  This is something I have been interested in for a while but really just had the chance this year at my new house.  I planned out a modest 1,500 sq ft garden and began ordering seeds back in the winter so I could be ready.  This was the startup year for me, so I had a lot of one time costs, much like wargaming.  Some of these include the tools needed, wheelbarrow, water hoses, seed starting supplies, etc.  Other costs I will incur each year like seeds, plants, organic fertilizers, soil amendments will make this cost go down.  I may also sell some of the vegetables I produce at a local organic vegetable stand to help lessen the overall cost, like selling old models on ebay to recoup some costs.  So far this summer I have spent around $750 on the garden and supplies.  I have kept a journal of all expenditures and see that the yearly items will usually cost $300-$400 per year from here on out, unless I decide to build a small greenhouse(I want one) or purchase a small tiller.

Again, this is another hobby that has a similar costs to wargaming.  It has a larger startup cost, while becoming much cheaper after initial investments are made.  Also, it gets me outside more in the spring and summer.  My 3 year old and I have a lot of fun out there planting seeds and plants, watering and finally picking the fruits of our labor.  Though we have only picked a few squash, cucumbers, onions and potatoes so far.  There are a lot more things to harvest coming up later in the summer.

My last hobby would be fishing.  I don't go as much as I would like with the small children and water.  This is very cheap for me actually on a per year basis.  Over the years I have collected enough rods and lures to have a fun time fishing in local streams, rivers and small ponds.  In my case, fishing is relatively cheap.  I only go a few times per year and spend very little money doing so.  The startup costs for the fishing I do is about the same as a good 2,000 pt army, again this can be spent over a period of time.  Granted I don't do any saltwater fishing, or going to large lakes where you need a fishing boat, truck and lots of gas money.  I keep this small and it is fun for me.

I used to snowboard a lot when I was younger.  This is another hobby similar to wargaming.  The cost of the equipment you need will be about the same as starting up the wargaming hobby.  But you then have to add in the constant lift ticket purchases needed to go, costing $20-$40 per day usually, not to mention I have to drive almost 2 hrs to get to a suitable ski resort.

A hobby that I would like to have is auto racing, not Nascar, I like more grassroots style autocrossing/road racing.  However, this is too expensive for me to get into, so I just watch on TV.  No, I don't go into racing forums and put up hate posts about how it is too expensive for me.  I just don't get involved in it.  Just because you can't afford to participate in a hobby doesn't mean you should hate the companies involved in it.

My family and their needs always come first before any of my hobbies.  Case in point, to the left is the car I traded for a minivan to keep my family safe and I love some turbo'ed sport compacts.  That is why I choose hobbies that are on the lower end of the cost scale, while still providing large a amount of enjoyment.  I also like doing things that can involve my family.  Currently my children are to small for wargaming so I spend very little time with it.  However, with gardening my 3 year daughter and I can go outside, enjoy the weather, spend time together, get dirty and watch tiny seeds grow into food.  Nick Jr. just can't provide that type of learning.

Well, there are a few examples of things that are considered hobbies and their costs, that I am actively involved in.  Like any hobby, you can get into any of these as little or as deep as you want.  Which means spending as little, or as much as you want.  Wargaming can be enjoyed for years on as little as $1,000 total, as can hunting, but in the end the sky is the limit on how much you think you have to spend to enjoy yourself.

I feel like all the hobbies I enjoy are worth every penny I spend.  If I didn't I wouldn't have that as a hobby.  I know models are expensive, but it's a hobby, enjoy it or stop playing.  So far though, I think the cost is affordable for the amount of time enjoyed and it really is a lower-cost hobby really, at least over a period of time.  I do think the general consensus is that the startup cost is formidable for some.  I know I couldn't go to the FLGS and throw down $600+ on some models in one day.  The wife would probably kill me, just kidding, well maybe I would get lucky and only be maimed severely.  If I spread this out over a several months or a year(and don't let her find out), the cost is a little easier to swallow.  Personally, I think it is one of the most affordable hobbies around for what you get.  If you can name some hobbies that are cheaper, let me know what they are, I am having trouble coming up with more than a couple.  On the other hand, I could name over a dozen in seconds that cost more, some lots more.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Opinion on the Costs of Wargaming

My Space Marine Army.  I have to much here. And one is painted.

I see everyone online is up in arms about price raises and whatnot from their favorite miniature company.  There are also posts comparing wargaming to video gaming or whatever.  Here in my smallest of corners of the internet I thought I would just compare my wargaming costs to my other hobbies.  I usually refrain from adding up and knowing the cost of my various hobbies, but since this is for a cause, I will break the rule.

First, I will say that as it is a hobby, costs shouldn't be considered.  A hobby is something you choose to do in your spare time.  I do not have the funds to purchase all the models I would like.  This is okay, I just buy the ones you want/need to play the game.  You don't have to have every model GW makes to have fun.  I also do a lot of trading/selling of my older models before purchasing new ones.  I probably only spend $100-$200 dollars of my income per year on wargaming even though I may spend over $1000.  The remaining funds come from ebaying old models.

For the sake of this article though we will consider the costs for a new player starting the game vs my other personal hobbies.  I am using my hobbies as I know the costs of them for sure.  There are plenty of hobbies out there that costs more than wargaming, in fact most hobbies costs more.  They are hobbies because they are afforded with disposable income.  The more disposable income, the more expensive the hobby, think sports car racing, yachting, flying airplanes(not RC ones), etc.  Our hobby is a lower end hobby, whether you believe that or not.

A new player coming into the game will need to purchase the following most likely:
Main Rulebook
Codex of their choice
Army of their choice, minimum 1000 pts
Super Glue
Plastic Glue
Hobby Knife
Few paints

The above would probably be around $600 to start.  This could be broken down into a few months purchases.  IMO it should take a new player around a year to get their first 2,000 pts built and painted.  We'll say the total for everything you need to get going that first year would be around $1,200.  This would include a competitive 2,000 pt army and enough tools and paints to get it built, painted and based.  No this doesn't include fancy carrying cases, resin bases or Forgeworld bits.  Breaking this cost down, thats around $100 a month for first year.

The good thing about wargaming is that after that first year the cost can go way down.  It can go as low as none, if you are content with the army you built and just want to play.  Now, we know no one is content, so lets say you add a new army every year.  Again you'll need a few paints, but you'll already have the tools.  

Wargaming is a hobby where you get what you put in.  If you want you can buy terrain and play at home, or you can build your own cheap.  With the internet you can find how-tos on almost anything terrain related.  If you want to paint better look online, learn new techniques, practice.  And if you want to save more money, buy from online retailers like The Warstore.  They offer 20% off retail on new things and is most of the time easier than hassling with ebay.  If you get lucky on ebay though, there are some better deals to be had.  I do say if you have a FLGS that you play at frequently you should buy at least some product there so you'll have a place to play.  If you get too cheap, you'll being playing in some shady dude's basement.

This is getting long so I will add a part 2 putting the costs of my other personal hobbies in a separate post.  So far, though I am seeing that for around $20-$25 dollars a week you can have a great hobby, continuously adding new units, models, armies, terrain pieces, paints/tools to your collection.  You can't even smoke cigarettes for this little money and they kill you.  I say stop the whining and play the game and have some fun.

Part 2 will show some real costs of my other hobbies.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Another 'Ardboyz Practice Game - Shrike/Vulkan vs Deathwing

I was able to get in another game with my 'Ardboyz list against reklawsj Friday morning.   He is in that glorious transition phase between finishing college and starting real life, so he had a chance to get in another game before moving to Charlotte.

He tweaked the Deathwing list for this game.  He took out 2 units of the terminators and added a Landraider Crusader and 2 dreadnoughts.  This leaves 6 troops choices filled with units of 5 termies.  Three of these units have 5 TH&SS plus a Cyclone, while the other 3 pitch one hammer for a chainfist.  The seventh squad is an elite unit and is also 5 hammers with a Cyclone and the Librarian and Belial attached to ride in Crusader.  Belial also pulled out the claws for this game.

We rolled up a Seized Ground Mission with 4 objectives and Pitched Battle setup.  I'm not doing a full battle report, just some highlights and a summary.  We played to a 2.5 hr time limit.

After setup, I seized the initiative.  Normally, in an objective mission I would not have attempted this, but he had a juicy Landraider that I could alpha strike with my Storm Scouts and/or Dreadnought.  This list gives me four chances to take down heavy tanks before game starts.   It should be noted he didn't reserve any models, not using the Deathwing assault rule as last game.

So, I go first deepstriking the Dreadnought right in front of his all army.  The Storm also moves 12 inches and drops the scouts a couple inches from the Landraider.  The Scouts whiffed their shot with point blank melta on the Raider, but the Storm came through getting an exploded result and removing it from the table.  No casualties inside, but they are on foot now.  The Dreadnought stuns one of his dreads, neutralizing it for a turn.

In his turn, he charge my dreadnought with character unit and only removed weapon.  My dread held this unit up for four rounds of combat against 5 thunder hammers.  This was awesome and let me do work on opposite side of the board.  On opposite side of board he charged my Shrike unit with 2 of his units.  Next turn I would add Vulkan and his unit to this melee fest.  He would also feed 2 more units into this grinder.  After 3 turns my 15 termies took down 20 of his termies in combat, with only loss of 8 of mine and Vulkan was insta-killed by Hammer early on.

By turn 3 I had mopped up left side of board and started moving my combat squadded tactical squads toward 2 of the objectives.  I also started trudging through building in center with leftover termies, heading for more kills.  By turn 4 I had 2 objectives solidly in my control with no way he could contest.  I also had a 3rd objective in my control, but he would get there with 2 units before end game, so I also started getting my Landspeeders in position for last turn contesting.  But going first hurt this as he just Cycloned these in his turn.

After 5 turns we rolled and game ended.  We each had 2 objectives controlled with scoring units for the draw.

This was an attrition game for both of us.  He had to get the charge on my termies or lose combat, unless using multiple units.  My master-crafted hammers were very good.  It also must be said that his dice hated him the entire game and mine were on fire again.  At one point he put 13 wounds on my TH&SS unit with his Thunder hammers.  I proceeded to only fail one of these invulnerable saves, the other 12 were all 4 or better.  Ridiculous!

With the strength of his army, I could only feed termies to grinder, hoping to hold his units from slogging to objectives so I could win.  The rest of my army had to use hit and run tactics or just run, haha.  In the end, I didn't slow him down enough on my right side.  Oh well, it was an awesome game.  I finally got to use my Storm Scouts/Podding Dreadnought alpha strike.  Taking down the Raider paid for all of this, not to mention my Dread holding for 4 rounds of combat.

So, I think lists are pretty much finalized already.  I have a few models to build to get the army completely WYSIWIG, while my cousin has decided his Deathwing will be built as the First Company of the Salamanders.  This will go well with his normal Salamander army he has used to make it to 'Ardboyz Semi-finals these last two years.  Hopefully, he'll put up some posts once work starts on the building of this army.  He has great plans.  They will all be padded up with Forgeworld shoulderpads and be put on Secret Weapon Lava Flow Resin Bases.

This was probably the last game we'll get in before August, so I hope we're ready for whatever shows up.  At least we have a little experience with our armies this year.  The last two years I have played with lists I only wrote and never played with until tournament day.  This lack of practice put me in 4th two years ago and 2nd last year.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Salamanders vs Deathwing - 'Ardboyz Practice Game

Last weekend, reklawsj and I got together for another 2,500 pt game to do a little practice for 'Ardboyz, albeit without the sometimes goofy missions they come up with.  I brought the Shrike/Vulkan list I used last time with only changes being missile launchers in tactical squads instead of multi-meltas.  That list can be seen here.  My cousin brought a completely different codex, as the Grey Knights didn't really measure up in the last game.  His new list was from the Dark Angels codex consisting entirely of termies.  List included:

Belial - TH&SS

Librarian with Termie Armor and Combi-melta

6 Troop Units with 5 Terminators each including 3 with TH&SS, 1 with pair lightning claws and 1 with a Cyclone Missile Launcher and Chainfist

3 Elite Units equipped same as above.

1 of the above units had the Apothecary and Banner with Belial Attached.

The game we rolled up was Spearhead & Seize Ground with 3 objectives.  The objectives were pretty much spread evenly across board center in terrain 18" apart.  We had a large building center table and ruins spread around board.

I won first turn and setup most of my army spread around my corner to minimize deepstrikers amidst my army.  I had combat squadded all 3 of tactical squads and left the heavy weapons in cover while keeping the meltagun and combi-melta in rhinos.

He next setup 2 units in his corner with rest coming in reserve.  I then infiltrated Shrike and 10 termies in front of his 2 units.

First turn, I dropped my Dreadnought in on right objective to camp out while everything else spread out to minimize large areas that would be good for deepstriking.  I shot a few times, but no saves were failed.

His turn he dropped 4 units of termies onto board.  Only 1 of these landed in my deployment zone while others spread out to reinforce ones already on board.  A rhino was immobilized as was the dreadnought from missile fire.

After this I moved my termies up to engage, while rest of army poured fire into termie squads.  The Feel No Pain unit with Belial was a tough unit to put wounds on.  With master crafted hammers and more storm shields in my termie units, I found that I was winning combat more often, but fearless was keeping the Deathwing around.

We were only able to play 4 turns before running out of time.  This was mostly attributed to not being really familiar with Deathwing and the wound allocation and different saves on those units.  Initiative orders in combat were also ridiculous, what with characters and THs and lightning claws.

When time was called I ended up with 2 objectives while contesting the other one.  I took one with a Storm full of Scouts, another with a unit in rhino and contested his with Landraider.   I was pumped as I took down 31 of his termies in four turns with 20+ of these being killed in combat.  Another turn and he would have contested one I had with Rhino unit and probably taken down my raider, resulting in a tie.  And with turn 5 my Attack Bikes would have shown up automatically from reserve instead of missing entire game.

This was a surprising result for me, as I was pretty worried about facing down 47 Terminators, 28 of which had Storm Shields.  I know he is tweaking the list to throwdown more Storm shields for a game tomorrow.  I again will keep same list, as I like the flexibility it has and with 2 hammer units, it is pretty tough to crack.  Not to mention my bad dice rolling is not much of a factor when everything is twin-linked or master-crafted.

I'll let you know if tomorrow's games ends in victory again or if the tweaked list and different tactics change the game.  We always have an after game theory session and tactics talk to discuss where each of us could have done differently.  We both agreed that the Deathwing list needs more Storm Shields and that they would be more effective if all together in large mass.  This game they were really spread out across board and coming in different turns of game.  I was able to pick my battles, using superior numbers to push combat my way before his other units could react.  Next time, I will not be so lucky.

Well, crappy report I know, but what you think?  Is my list ready for 'Ardboyz? How would you tweak his?  Or do both suck so bad we shouldn't even show up for 'Ardboyz?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Troll Axer Painted Pics

Finally, I had a little time Friday to finish this guy up.  The pictures are not good again, but as soon as get pMadrak finished I will have a fully painted 25 pt list.  At that point I will get out the light box for some family photos.  These large models are still giving me fits with the time they take to do even decently well.  So, check him out.
You see the small troll and not the massive mold line.  I hate you metal model & I am lazy.

Next up for painting is pMadrak to finish the 25 pt list I have going.  After that it's on to my Grim Angus Tier List.  That means assembling the huge stack of metal models I have been ignoring.  

In other hobby related news, tomorrow I am having another 'Ardboyz practice game with reklawsj using the Shrike/Vulkan list I posted a couple weeks ago.  He is bringing 47 termies with TH/SS.  Gonna be a tough one.  I will post my thoughts on the game and lists next week.