Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Chatter Behind The Bike Shed - Bang Per Buck

I like to gauge the cost of my hobbies not in £ spent but rather in £ spent per game. That is to say if I had spent £100 and played ten games it's actually cost me £10. That's a great formula for those games/figures that have had a great deal of play, not so good for big projects like the Napoleonic's that have seen far more of the brush than the battlefield.

As I enjoy painting I do take account of that time in the equation. Such maths has often lead me to see that I have under utilised some others should be pensioned off they have seen so much action.

My best buys though to be in the boardgame genre. Die Siedler Von Catan (Settlers of Catan) has had over 200 games played over the years and has recently been introduced to the kids and will get plenty more play again as they really are getting into it. We even had to buy a second copy as the original was so worn! We did buy the Seafarer and City and Robbers expansions (including the 5-6 player add on's). Basic Catan gets the vast majority of the play but I do like the City and Robber expansion quite a lot.

The other big hit in board games is of course Advanced Squad Leader, when you have spent well over £300 for a counter storage system you know you have invested heavily into something. I now get between 30-60 games a year, well down from my 100 a year of 3-4 years ago but I have played 480 games since I started to record them in 2010, another 200+ easy before that. The frightening thing is that valuing it £ per play it still comes in something above £5 a game, possibly half or more again!

The new kid on the block Command & Colors is showing no sign of slowing down with around twenty games played from the two sets I have, that works out about £5 a play. I am already mentally committed to buying the other expansions and look forward to playing other opponents than my son at this great game as well.

My Later Achaemenid Persian army in 15mm is top dog in figures as it was well used the first time round that I wargamed and was rebased for Field of Glory and has managed a reasonable number of outings and now I am trying it with Hail Caesar it's getting yet more play. I have added a few more units to it over the last four years and I can see a few more going it's way but for the most part it's done and as such is a real value for money army.

My 15mm Macedonian army has a long way to go before it can claim to rival the Persian's but it is getting regular play, even if it's rare that I am the one pushing the figures around.

My old 15mm ECW had it's day but rules that never really worked for us and over play has meant it has not seen action for well over twenty years. I have hopes it will be dragged out again via Black Powder with Matt but I am also painting up a 6mm army that is bound to cut into it's time.

On that subject the fact that I am painting up a 6mm Macedonian army has to mean the 15mm will loose some time. I am likely to then move onto the Persians in 6mm as well. The difference being that these will be massive armies, I like the idea of double digit pike blocks. The mass effect will be stunning.

The worst figure performer has to be by 6mm Prussians. Literally thousands of figures and I think three games played with them so far. I fully expect plenty more but I doubt I will ever get a reasonable £ per play ratio and I am OK with that as the painting hobby side needs to be factored in.

Other games that have failed to meet potential that I do feel bad about is a mixed bag. The Gunfighters really need to get played more. It's possible Monday will be the next outing but having played a couple of games of Dungeon Quest with the kids I can see the cowboys being postponed. Saga also needs a few more outing's and I must go through the rules again, get a few more under our belts and then have Lee over for a game or three to propel him with painting his up.

I still have not even cleaned up the Arena Rex models, I am just too busy painting up other figures before I can spare the time. They will be a guilty pleasure when i get round to them so happy to wait until the time is right.

Another way of calculating the cost is spending divided by total hobby time spent. Whilst I like many many others can not/will not look full on the actual money sunk into the hobby I am very confident that when you take this colossal cost and set it against the time spent on all aspects of this great hobby of ours it works out to a very reasonable rate.



12 comments:

  1. Well using your method Ian, I owe myself a couple of grand!!!

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    1. You see, this system works wonders

      Ian

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  2. I count the painting time too - that's my hobby time and I enjoy it (well, find it relaxing at least). Makes it better for those projects that never/rarely see the table.

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    1. I have friends who really don't like the painting side at all. Luckily I am not that man

      Ian

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  3. When I think about how much I was spending on going to gigs a few years back (tickets, travel, hotels, food & drink and merch) - about 20 gigs a year - my current wargames spending seems quite reasonable, particularly as I am painting things up now which will give me pleasure for several years.

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    1. Not many hobbies actually could self fund if you wanted them to like figure painting does. I still have the two first armies that I painted around thirty years ago and yes I still love to play with one and look forward to getting the other on the table with some kind of rules someday.

      Ian

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  4. It's cheaper than yachting... though I am trying.
    I would also add that painting figures can also add value to them. You could argue that it's a sort of investment/legacy... that's how I sometimes justify spending the time/money on something that never gets used!

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    1. Very good point Mike and one I use often when talking about the hobby to none gamers. I would (at this point) hate to sell my collection but it would turn a tidy penny)

      Ian

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  5. I always count painting a miniature as part of the fun and then calculate the cost per hour of fun. If I counted only games played, I'd run into that pesky "divide by 0" situation very soon...

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    1. I can see the logic, good thinking

      Ian

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  6. I sometimes thing like that (my hiking gear springs to mind), but I haven't thought like this about my wargaming. I have sometimes looked at the entertainment value - a bit like Tamsin comments - and wargaming is good value (especially with a blog to record all the activities).

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    1. Ah, I see blogs as evidence for the prosecution. Should I still put forward a Not Guilty plea? :-)

      Ian

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