Saturday, September 03, 2005

What's the cost of wargaming?

A comment by Dom on my other blog (the other other blog) led me to think about how much time and money we wargamers spend on our hobby.

For myself, I have three hobbies competing for my time: photography, geocaching and wargaming. I can usually only manage one at a time: when one peaks, the others trough. If I'm spending time on photography, my wargaming suffers, and vice versa. There is some synergy: geocaching usually leads to photographic opportunities, and one can always photograph one's miniatures (a technical and somewhat unrewarding exercise), but they usually compete rather than cooperate for limited time. Add to that the regular Friday night LAN games with the guys, and I have limited time that I need to allocate between wife, hobbies, and myself. Reading Lord Horatio's posts, it seems that this is a problem most gamers share. Right now, the wargaming is giving way to other pressures, so this is a low-key gaming period for me.

Cost is a bit more difficult to calculate. I've spent quite a fair bit on cameras and film over the years, probably in the thousands. I know my GPS unit for geocaching cost me $270, and that's about it.

Wargaming, though, is trickier: it's hard to estimate how much money I've spent over the years on figures, paint, and rules, since none of the purchases are big-ticket items that burn in the memory (unlike cameras, which burn a hole in your pocket so big that you're not likely to forget). It's easily in the thousands, but how many thousands is hard to estimate.

So let me throw out this question to my esteemed co-contributors, and the reading public: how much time and money have you spent on this hobby? What's the cost of wargaming?