Friday, November 28, 2014

Finding your Hobby Again: A little help from your friends

As B97 has been discussing, he's had a bit of a stallout in his hobby.  These things happen from time to time to all of us- life gets in the way due to work or family or money, and it's hard to get momentum on the thing that helps make the rest all easier to deal with.  That's one of the reasons your hobby buddies, your club, your crew, whatever you want to call it, are so important.  We stick together, are there for each other, and maybe even mock each other slightly.  Here's how you can help a buddy of yours that's in a stallout get his thrusters going again.

Make it about their hobby: Sure, you play these games for your own reasons. So does he...except that right now he's having trouble remembering what those are. Remind him by eindulginghim. One time when I was in the middle of an extended break, I took a road trip to visit a buddy of mine who happened to own a games store. Being the excellent saleman that he was, he spent two days showing me awesome new injection molded kits woth multiple options- He knew I love to build and pose figures.  When I left at the end of the weekend, I came home woth two hundred dollars of new projects, and my hiatus was over.

Politely encourage: When someone who's sluggish on the hobby makes an accomplishment, celebrate the achievement with them. For the record,  this should be an all the time thing: being there for your buddies is an important part of being in a club or community. It's part of the social contract. When your buddy who hates to paint finishes a small army in a month complete with shading and detailing (Merek), when the "mostly painter" of your group volunteers to playtest a new rules set (Ali),when the reserved one of the group is willing to open up about his hobby problems (B97), or when the "I don't have time to paint" member tries a new painting technique that they can squeeze in easier (TGC), you should show support, and help them improve their hobby by demonstrating that them improving is important to you as well.

Politely ridicule: Okay, anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a bit of a jerk. And by bit, I mean the Titanic made a small navigational mistake. I have however over the years, like any decent antihero, learned how to use my powers of evil for good instead. Some people respond well to a bit of a nudge now and then. "Yeah, I guess it's okay if you skip Paint Night this week. I mean, you're already a dozen models behind, adding one more into the list won't hurt, right?" 

Don't let Money stop you: Let's face it, times are tough,  and while there are a lot of more expensive hobbies out there, there's a lot of cheaper ones too. Don't push someone out of their economic comfort zone. Of you really want to try a new game, or want to increase games sizes, understand some clubmates may not be able to afford it. How you handle this is up to how you guys feel about each other. At different times with different club members, we've set a long timeline for a slow ramp-up, helped them find sales to pick stuff up cheaper, let them borrow models from the buy with too many (having "club models" helps with this as well), or straight up just bought gifts for each other to make sure nobody got left behind. Remember, you're a club, a group. Be there for each other.

 Peer Pressure: so, a couple months ago, in an attempt to show just how much stuff we had upcoming in Kickstarters,  we set up a "model board" which showed how many models we had outstanding unpainted in systems, and how many we had finished in the past year. Oh lordy, you have NO IDEA the fire that lit under the butts of the guys on the bottom of the list! They painted more models in the next month than they had gotten done in the past nine. Why? Nobody wanted to be the "bad gamer" at the bottom of the list. Seriously, guys who never pick up a brush unless it's got a hundred dollar bill under it started texting pictures of newly painted models at each other just to avoid being on the bottom. Especially Merek- The Jackholery was strong in that one...

Remember why you all got in the hobby: This could have been first, but I felt it was real important to say this last. Have fun everyone. Seriously. Unless your Hobby pays your rent, it's still your Hobby and not your job. It's the thing you do to relax and enjoy time with your mates. If there's something in the hobby that is stressing you out, talk to you club about it, and see what you all can do to fix it. Not enough tournament play? See if you can put together a team to have a presence in the local meta. Too much tournament? Have someone alternate in for you. Hate assembling/painting? Find someone in the club with the opposite problem, and work out a trade agreement. Want a break from a system? Talk to your crew about picking up a new one, or temporarily swapping to an old favorite. You all hang out together for a reason. Support that.

Anyway, I hope this helps out some people in a similar situation. Further conversation about things your clubs have done to keep each other excited is appreciated. 

I'll see you on the other side of the table.
The Second Clasd Elitist

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