Is too much choice a bad thing?

So many rules, so little timeI was having a conversation with an old friend while discussing a review he was finishing for me. In passing, he mentioned that things were much easier in the old days. ‘Old days?’ I asked. ‘Yes’ he said, ‘when you had a choice of two games, 40K and Fantasy’. At least then you could ask the simple question to another club member ‘40K or Fantasy next week?’ and you’d guarantee yourself a game.

My mate had a point, his argument was sound. Back 10 to 15 years ago, Games Workshop was ‘king’ locally. as good as everybody played it. While I’d erred into historical gaming, or more accurately never left it since I opened my first pack of Airfix, most people played GW games (and some still do). Getting a game was easy. Now there are so many games and genres, you hardly know where to begin, never mind finding an opponent or painting an army. Of course, there’s always the latest ‘shiny thing’ to gawk at and throw our hard earned cash at… a problem made worse that as a wargaming magazine editor I try out at least a dozen new games a year as part of my job.

Of course, things weren’t quite that simple in the ‘old days’. GW had to go and complicate things with different editions and new games. There was Gorkamorka, Epic, Inquisitor, Space hulk etc… each of which took its fair share of my cash and hours of gaming time. I have drawers of the stuff I really need to sort out… Then there’s the curse of having all those different editions. The Oldhammer players have an interesting solution, flying in the face of codex creep and simply playing the earlier editions of Warhammer Fantasy at tournaments… marvellous!

So today, where do you begin? With like minded individuals! Most of my current projects have been negotiated first with fellow club members. We discuss what we are likely to play in the future and what we’d like to try. This has ended up with some solid projects, like building the forces to fight the battle of Ligny in 2015, and some less solid ones (I will get around to finishing that VBCW army one day…). Some of those fantasy models will again see the light of day either on the table as ‘bad guys’ in our D&D Role play or as part of my half-finished ‘Hordes of the things’ project.

It is true there are loads of good games out there; far too many to be played in one man’s lifetime (throw in computer games and make that a dozen lifetimes). I think the key is finding out what your local players are into (or what butterfly they are currently chasing…) and a little bit of discipline with good time management. I will get those two Napoleonic French units painted this month and maybe a few Vikings too… right after I’ve finished watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad…

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