January 16, 2011

Table Top Motivation Part 2:
What Keeps You Going?

Well, we've covered what distracts, discourages and keeps us from our hobby. In part two, we'll go with the more uplifting side of the argument. What motivates us? What gives us the kick in the head we need to get back on track to starting back up the projects we set out to complete in the first place? And on that note, what got us started in on the hobby in the first place? More intellectually superior ramblings after the break.

So, we'll go in a loose order, here. What first got me started in the table top scene was a cruel joke from some close friends of mine. The punchline of the joke may not be obvious at first, but I'll elaborate at the end. About 2 or 3 years ago a couple friends of mine were starting up a table top game called Warhammer 40k in one of their basements. I had heard of 40k before, I knew it involved aliens and cool looking fellows called Space Marines. I knew it involved a table set up similar to Risk and you painted your own little plastic men. Aside from a few things, I didn't know much and didn't know anyone who played. Well, it just so happens I worked with these two individuals as well. Every day we would set up "Group Chat" with a bunch of our buddies in on the same instant messenger to shoot the shit until the work day finally released us back into our lives. After deciding that they were going to get involved in this Warhammer business, the group chat became a ratio of 11:1 of Warhammer talk to everything else. Being deeply implanted into the video game scene at that time I wanted no part in this Warhammer business. Needless to say, I did my part in sliding in sexual innuendos to talk of missiles, cannons, penetrating hits and Sisters of Battle.
But, even my wit knows bounds and I eventually ran out of quips to throw at our group chat. Thus, I decided to look into this game that had so much to discuss. After giving in and googling the crap out of 40k, I thought that this is something I could totally get into. Numbers, odds, short-math, percentages; these are things that tickle my fancy. Then came the realization of another kind of math; financial. Browsing GW's website I discovered that Europe had lost its mind if they thought I was going to pay 15 bucks for a little doll. To that point, I said no. I'm a cheapskate, I have an infinite hatred of spending money, and this seemed too ridiculous to get involved in. After hearing about this information my friends informed me that they had purchased two boxes of "Assault on Black Reach" for the Ork portion and all of the leftover Space Marines to give to me if I promised to play with them. My first choice of an army was Necrons, but Space Marines looked neato-burrito as well, so I took them up on their offer.

Not seeing the punchline in this joke? Well, I'll break it down for you:
  1. I hate spending money
  2. I get free SMs
  3. I love the game
  4. I want to buy more SMs
  5. ????
  6. The opposite of profit

And it was all down hill from there... Joking aside, getting tossed into the world of 40k has been a great experience. It's a math and strategy based game with limitless options and limitless potential. I really hit my high point when someone showed me a conversion of a Rhino/Pred. If you know anything about me, you know I like to build, create and customize. If you were to see my bedroom as a child at any given time, it probably would have looked something like this:
My Bed's Under The Pile On The Right.

After following the process of the Rhino/Pred conversion and seeing its flaws, I said to myself, "Julio (Julio's what I call myself,) you can do that and do it better." That was a very defining moment. I hadn't thought about willingly tearing apart these ridiculously expensive pieces of plastic until witnessing someone else's project. Once I had, I ended up converting everything. And I mean everything. From HKMs to Eldar vehicles. From a Dire Avenger Exarch to SM bikes. From Rhino/RB conversions to Sniper Squads. And of course, the Rhino/Pred that started it all. All of my early work was my motivational tool, without even realizing it. Conversions to me are just plain fun.

Later on, my motivation still came from conversions and custom work. The added element is fluff oddly enough. I don't care how much you despise fluff, if you spend enough time on the table top, you'll end up picking up some fluff one way or another. Fluff and conversions are what got me started on the AdMech FanDex. Reading up on the AdMech, a bunch of technology-worshiping nutbags that create for a living sparked my interest. To this day I'm amazed GW stopped writing rules for them. A couple of years into the game I felt I had enough knowledge of the rules to start doing the Mechanicus some justice in a 5th Edition rulebook, so that's what I did. While still unfinished, it's shaping up quite nicely and it's something I'm really proud of.
"Good For Us. We Did Things."

Now days, my motivation comes from a neurosis of completion-ism. Finishing what I've started. After writing these two articles, I'm starting to feel the bite again, and have since started shelving the video games and other distractions. Because, in the end, defeating the great monster of whatever-land and getting the Sword of Sideallia reaps little benefit here in the real world. Warhammer 40k provides its players with a community, interactions with real life human beings, real feelings of completion, entertainment and sometimes even wealth. My thoughts are any motivation in this game could be broken down to one or more of these five broad categories.

So, what are your guys' more specific reasons for motivation in the hobby?


  1. I too had tons of legos strewn over my bedroom floor as a kid plus different balsa wood projects in varying states of construction. I started because my friends were playing the game and the modeling and backstory kept me there. I'm now more of a competitive gamer but crazy nmodeling projects still keep my brain going.

  2. I love battle. I was, am, and will be a war buff. I have played war games of every variety and 40k is another notch on my bolter. I also built model tanks, aircraft, battleships, and soldiers as a kid so the modeling of 40k also appealed to me.

    What keeps me painting is another factor entirely. I am OCD for completion. I finish every quest and search every room in video games. Playing with an unpainted army just hurts my soul because it is not completed.

  3. I don't get to play nearly as often as I'd like, due to life and getting older and not having a good shop nearby to game at, so for a while I started focusing on painting. As it is today, I love to paint. It's relaxing and I love creating. When I had a WoW addiction, I started thinking to myself "Y'know, I could actually be _creating_ lasting things instead of just gathering virtual goods."

  4. My slide into insanity:

    Aaron - Hey, if you let us play in your basement I'll give you all of these Imperial Guard that I'm not using for free.

    Me - Done

    Followed by...

    Me - Well, we both bought black reach for the little rule books and the Orks. What should we do with the space marines?

    Aaron - Lets give them to Lantz to bribe him to play!

    Me - Done

    Aside from that I love to paint and hang out with my friends. I had originally wanted to become one of those uber competitive, power gamers that traveled the tourney circuit for fame and profit. The more I got into the game, however, the more I got into the actual hobby. Its my way of stepping out of reality for a while into a a place where I call all the shots (and those shots either miss or fail to penetrate armor values).

  5. I knew it! Plotting against me!
    heheh.. penetrate..

  6. I had been inducted in Battletech in high school, and had been converting and painting minis for a while, even some GW ones, before even touching a rulebook. It wasn't until, oh, say 6 or 7 years later that I actually played a game, using a combination of a friend's Space Marine army and the Terminator models I had amassed. Since then it was all downhill....

  7. I guess I did forget about some of the other model building I did as a kid. As you know, #2501, I was into the Gundam models as a kid. That came after Legos lost their luster. But I had a huge gap in between that and 40k.