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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My method for saving money and painting more...

I know him, so his face was altered to protect the innocent...

Are you sitting on a giant pile of unpainted metal or plastic?  Boxes stacked high, dusty and unopened?  More unpainted stuff than painted?  I'm probably one of the only gamers that I know of who does NOT suffer from this issue, but it wasn't always the case.  Here's what I did that helped solve the issue...

  Although the way I reigned everything in is simple enough, it will still take some time, and some discipline to enact.  It's an easy principle: "Paint what you buy, and don't buy till you're done painting!"  Most gamers at my LGS look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that, as it kinda goes against what every other gamer I know of does!  There are plenty of benefit to doing it, not only will you have extra money in your pocket (as you won't be buying in bulk and storing unopened boxes), but you'll develop a habit of only playing painted (or mostly painted), and you'll find yourself more motivated to get painting!  But, that's not all I did...

In addition to starting the "paint what I buy" personal rule, I came up with a few more stipulations.  First, is the "Rule of Two" meaning, there should be a really good reason for me to ever buy more than two armies.  Two armies is enough for me to switch things up if I start getting bored, or to loan out to a friend to use if they just want to try out a game.  Back in the day, I had at least a 1,000 pt army for every single playable race in 40k, and in the case of the space marines, often times more than one chapter!  It was too much IMO, and I'm happy to see those days are gone!  Most gamers will cringe when they hear this, but I sold them all, and have ZERO regrets! (All except 3 were unpainted).  Everyone has 1 or 2 favorite armies, and the easiest thing to do is look at your pile of stuff and think: "will I ever even use/play this?"  If the answer is no, or even a probably not, then I think you know what you should do...

Finally, and this is the hardest one (for me at least) is the rule of "if I'm not playing, I'm not buying", meaning if I'm not getting in any games of said specific game, then I should probably stop purchasing more stuff that will never get used.  Initially, this was my rule for CCG's to let me know when to cut myself off from buying packs, but it can easily be applied to boardgames and miniatures as well.  For boardgames, if your usual group doesn't meet the size requirements, or has no desire to play that game, then save your money.  For miniatures, this can help to keep you from dropping a ton of money on the latest "shiny" game when no one in your area plays.  I admit that this is the one that I struggle with the most, as sometimes the collector in me gets in the way. (I'm looking at you FoW, and other historicals). It is much easier to do with card games and boardgames, it tends to be cut and dry, either you are playing or your not, but with miniatures I find I always have that voice in the back of my head saying: "I could find people to play." Or "you'll NEVER play if you don't start collecting."  That voice does tend to bite me in the end.  The safest bet is to find groups in your area that actively play "game X" before investing.  This far, it is this rule that has kept me out of games like Infinity, Malifaux, and Wild West Exodus, and has me paused on adding new elements to my FoW army, or starting SAGA, Bolt Action or Hail Caesar.  (Though the collector in me craves historical games!)

So, just to reiterate (or TL;DR) here are my 3 personal rules I try to live by in my gaming hobby:
1- "Paint what you buy, and don't buy till you're done."
2- "Rule of Two": no more than 2 armies per system (without good reason)
3- "If I ain't playing, I ain't buying!"

Those three rules have not only helped me reign in my spending, but also served to keep me highly motivated to paint.  I've developed quite the reputation at my LGS for always playing fully painted, and often doing so in record time!  If you are struggling with unpainted armies, loads of unassembled minis, or are just looking for way to help curb that miniatures-addiction that may have gotten out if hand at some point (like I did), then hopefully this post gave you a few things to think about...

What about you guys/gals?  Any personal rules you employ in the gaming department to help save money and get more stuff painted?


  1. Excellent post! I admire your discipline. I've come close to painting up my back log a couple of times, but I've always been tempted by bargains before I've got the last figure painted! I have a rule that I now try to keep my gaming "self-funded". If I want something new, I sell something old, or buy bulk second-hand lots if the price is right and on sell the things I don't want to keep it cost neutral or dirt cheap. It's worked out pretty well for me, and made me much more realistic about what I keep and choose to buy. I've never missed something that I've sold. Cheers, Paul :-)

    1. Good point! I did a much similar thing with my Warmachine stuff, and it worked out extremely well. My LGS does a deal where he'll ebay your gaming stuff for you for store credit. My miniatures habit was fully funded at one point (in fact profitable) until I started buying more and more boardgames with it. (and Boardgames DO NOT resell well)