Monday, July 17, 2017

STOP playing unpainted! STOP the Miniature Abuse!

Every time you bring an unpainted army to the table, a baby bear dies...

Something's been bugging me lately, and really ruining the overall fun, immersion, and enjoyment of the gaming hobby for me personally.... and that is the prevalence of "Miniature Abuse" that I see every time I visit the LGS in the form of playing with unpainted minis!  It's time that we, as a collective gaming community, come together and set a new standard bar of what is an acceptable level of painting before a miniature can see time on the tabletop.  Otherwise, what's the point the hobby aspect of this hobby?  Maybe I've just turned into a "paint snob" after my 25+ years of gaming experience...

Nothing personal.  They're nice guys I'm sure, but, no paint?

Exhibit A:  Look at these poor, neglected minis from a local 40k tournament.  I'm sure these guys are nice guys and all, but come on, where's the paint?!?!  Keep in mind, these are not noobs to the hobby either, these are veterans!  What happened to painting requirements, especially, at tournaments? EDIT: A buddy that was there informed me that out of 24 players, only 6 were painted, 18 were not.  And no, it isn't just something in 40k, but in all games it seems.  Even my beloved SAGA and other historicals.  You do realize that you can do the bases on an entire marine army easily in 1-2 hours.  Basecoat another 1-2.  All the shoulder pad trim, 1-2 hours.  In other words, from sprue to general basecoated in a weekend.  Don't believe me?  I once took a small army from the sprue to 100% fully painted including the bases, all face details, highlight, etc, in 3 days because I had a game set for the following Tuesday and wanted to offer my opponent a FULL GAMING EXPERIENCE in we played.

An honest fun guy to play against, in his defense he's only been in saga a few months....

Current gaming mood...
That's the crux of the matter right there, gaming is, and always will be a social contract.  (unless, you're gaming solo in your own basement of course)  For me, painting falls into that social contract of trying to make sure you are providing a fun, enjoyable gaming experience for your opponent.  If neither you, nor your opponent, enjoy the experience, then well what's the point?   For me, nothing cheapens the gaming experience by ruining the immersion than a "grey horde".  (or a primed one)  I view having a painted army not just as an achievement for myself, but as a way of putting my best foot forward for my opponent as well.  Give em something pretty to look, help them imagine events taking place on the tabletop by seeing things in full color.  This is coming from a guy that personally HATES painting miniatures, I'd rather just game, but I also want to make sure the game is as fun as possible for both sides, so I paint...

New to SAGA.  New to painting, finished in a week.  10/10, would play again!
Now, I can hear the collective excuses:  "I'm new, I'm not that good, I don't have the time..." and I'm here to call BS!  Exhibit B: A shot from a recent game with a new player to SAGA.  He had just started playing, heck, he had never really painted minis before.  BUT, I would GLADLY play games with this "new guy" anytime, and have way more fun doing so than against a veteran with a "grey horde".  Why, because he made the effort, and my overall experience was a lot more enjoyable because of it!  No one starts a new game with an instantly painted army, we all start over anytime we start a new game, but we also all need to at least make progress.  So often, week after week, I see ZERO progress out of gamers.  (are we just lazy?)  The next excuse: "I'm not the good", well, you don't have to be.  No one is going to truly notice if you paint outside the lines, skip painting faces, or don't have highlights at a harshly lit gaming store from 2-3 feet away... they WILL notice NO PAINT though!  You can always improve, and hanging out with and playing with other painters is a great way to do so, but you'll never improve if you don't START.  "I don't have the time".  I get it, not everyone has 36 hours in their day like I do.... oh wait, neither do I, I've got the same 24 hours in a day like everyone else!  Again, I call BS on the "I don't have time" excuse, everyone HAS some time, but not everyone has the discipline!  See my above paragraph on the actual anticipated time to get an army up and going.  Do you have 1-2 hours a day, even once or twice a week?  I'm gonna assume so.  I'm an adult, with a busy day: work, family, bills, responsibilities... I work, eat, and sleep, like everyone else, so I get it.  Yet, I manage to see a lot of paint progress while maintaining all the above, plus other activities in my spare time , so no, I'm not spending all my free time painting.  In fact, I hardly paint at all anymore!

Seriously, where is it?!?!
Here's the thing, wether you realize it or not, every time you plop down for a game in public, you are representing your game and your local gaming scene/meta.  People stop and look, maybe ask questions, and they are drawing first impressions on what a game of ______ would be like based on what they see happening in front of them.  What's more exciting to view, a game of mish-mashed grey horde stuff, or a cinematic game between two fully painted armies?  Time and time again, when I'm at the LGS I walk around and glance at the games taking place, NONE of the armies are painted, so nothing draws me in, and it is literally a quick lap around the game room.  People have tried to sell me on playing whatever game it is they are playing, but to be honest, its an impossible task to sell me on how fun of an experience playing said game will be, when nothing about what you are showing me LOOKS FUN!

So again, I ask, when did all this unpainted stuff overtake the hobby?  Personally, I think it is partially our responsibility as part of the collective of this gaming hobby to set the wheels in motion towards fixing it for the betterment of everyone within.  Otherwise, where is the incentive to paint?  Do other people in this hobby even truly care?

expecting some hate-mail...

EDIT:  This is mostly a tongue in cheek post, and is not meant to truly "shame" anyone or any specific group gamers.  (i.e. 40k players)  I play against unpainted armies all the time, each played by nice people.  I'm merely making an observation, and throwing out a wish that one day unpainted armies would become less accepted by gamers everywhere, and become the minority instead what seems to be (to me at least) the majority.  I'll gladly accept all forms of yelling, name calling, chastisement, etc in the comments.  (fair warning though, if you really ARE super butthurt by this post, and yell at me in the comments, I'm going to assume you are one of those people that never paint their stuff!)

Until next time,


  1. IMO, its the community. It started with the 40k world with GW changing things so fast, it was hard to keep up on the paint. People got overwhelmed and/or lazy......many of those players drifted onto the next game WM/Hordes or whatever and took their laziness with them. There are miniature game communities where painting is more important to them, but you have to find them. Its hard to fight the inertia of laziness that leads to having grey hordes....but in skirmish games, its much less common. Check out the Freeblades games at TT on Tuesday nights.....majority of the figures painted. At tournaments, people have been known to loan out painted models to new players for the event in order to see more painted stuff on the tables.

    1. Some of it could be a bit of a lack of painting discipline as well, as I see people jumping from system to system, or from army to army. It does stink that instead of just finding a group of gamers and being confident that they are participating in all aspects of the gaming hobby, you now have to find selective groups within the collective that are participating in the WHOLE hobby. Thats just my 2 cents. I get when a game is new, but most of the time it is NOT new players guilty of not painting....

  2. I have a big problem playing against unpainted armies too. I’ll do it, the first time, assuming that my opponent is in the process of painting, but I’ll not make that a regular event and I will refuse to play a person if I know that they are about to plonk the same army I faced X amount of time ago that’s still in an unpainted/primed state.

    I won’t tell anyone NOT to play unpainted mind, that’s their choice and also up to their opponents to decide whether that’s an acceptable playing situation. Everyone’s gaming experience and expectations for that experience differ along with their standards for the gaming “hobby” overall. For some tabletop gaming is ALL about playing the game and to hell with the hobbying aspect , for others (me) it’s more about the immersive experience that one can attain whilst playing. I don’t slap down my fully painted WW2 Soviets in Bolt Action and not imagine during games the death throws of my troops, or the battle cries of my Vikings as I charge them into their enemy. I want to see banners flying above regiments and smoke effects from muskets, camouflage uniforms or make stupid plane/gun/tank/explosion noises as I move pieces around.

    For my gaming, I want a fun and immersive experience and that’s not going to happen when the visual appeal is sorely lacking when an opponent can’t be arsed (which is truly the only excuse for not painting.) to make the barest effort to slap the bare minimum of paint in which ever skill level they can on their models.

    One of the main reasons I don’t go to my LGS that often. (Well, that and the lack of AC in the play space during these blistering NorCal summers…)

    1. I won't tell anyone NOT to play unpainted, that's their decision. But it does mean a GOOD game would have been a GREAT one with a little extra effort. Personally, I don't enjoy painting either, but I do it, because that (in my opinion) is a big aspect of the overall gaming experience that cannot be ignored (again, in my opinion). The sad fact is, it IS being ignored for the most part. It just gets old....