Reflections of an Omni-Hobbyer

By Mike Schaefer

A few weeks ago, I posted two battle reports (featuring Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game and Konflikt '47) without much of a self-introduction.  We were testing the ability to copy-and-paste a blog post, so I didn't offer much of a lead-in, and so here's a new post to remedy that.

Work In Progress.  A Dust model to proxy for Konflikt '47.

I've been keeping a blog diary (Mini Mayhem) of my hobby journey for quite a few years now, and I suggested to Dan that I double-post it to Paint All the Minis, since I'm a big fan of his goal to rally all the enthusiasts of this hobby, ranging from the beginner hobbyist to industry heavy-weights.  I love the diversity of people, game systems, and painting experience-levels that Paint All the Minis covers, and it fits my own pursuits as an "omni-hobbyer".

Work In Progress.  Stark Sworn Swords for Song of Ice and Fire.

I've had my toe in and out of the hobby since I was a kid in the late 70's, but the affliction took full hold around 2006.  Since then, I have drifted among a multitude of games and figure ranges as a hobby butterfly. For each of them, some aspect or another attracts me, but rarely has something checked all my boxes.  So now I just revel in the thrill of the hunt itself, and I accumulate an absurd amount of rulebooks and models -- confident that I, paint, and play all of them!

They probably look better from behind.  Which is nice, because that's the angle that I will see them on the tabletop!

With far too many projects and games beckoning for attention, I have settled on a method to tackle it all and avoid feeling overwhelmed.  I keep several assembly/painting projects going simultaneously, and I decide which one to work on for any given session based on some mix of the following three considerations, in no particular order:

What my game-group is playing

My game-group consists of omni-hobbyers, too, as it so happens.  They typically concentrate primarily on one game that has caught the group's fancy, but they maintain a few games in rotation.  For example, right now, the new hotness is Gaslands, but we keep Konflikt '47 and Frostgrave in the mix. In the background we have Kings of War, Song of Ice and Fire, Bolt Action, and Ghost Archipelago.  Once in a while, I'll toss something into the mix, like Pulp Alley or Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game.

Many projects on-the-go!

The container shows figures for Burrows & Badgers.  I'm especially looking forward to trying out that game!

What I expect my next, upcoming event or game to be

I may need to add a unit to an army for an escalation league; paint a bust or diorama for a painting competition; paint a gift for a friend; prepare for a game at a convention; make some terrain for a scenario; etc.  There are a lot of upcoming events, either near-term or far ahead in the schedule, for which I need to plan. But I try to avoid pressuring myself for these events. I can lower my painting standard, or I can forego an event entirely and bow out of it (making sure first that it doesn't inconvenience anyone else).

A close-up of my first paint-job for Burrows & Badgers.

What I'm in the mood to do

Sometimes, you just have to follow your urges.  What is calling out to you? Sometimes it's something that is sitting in the current project list, and sometimes it's something that is far in the backlog.  Sometimes, it's a new purchase, and you want to hit it while the fire is hot. Conversely, I'll put a project aside for a while, if it is no longer calling to me.

Pyg Bushwhackers, for a scuttled venture into Company of Iron.

So there you have it.  The rambling thoughts of a rambling omni-hobbyer.  Given schedules and posting logistics, I’ll likely post sporadically, if I’m to be honest with myself.  But I hope you found this post interesting, and perhaps it might have even offered a useful idea to avoid being overwhelmed by this incredibly rich hobby.  Cheers!

Defeated in the last game, but they will be returning with a vengeance!