Friday, 27 March 2015

The economics of wargaming

In this case, specifically Flames of War.

I suspect a good few of my readers don't read WWPD, but this is a fascinating article.

More thoughts from me when I'm not quite so jet lagged. 


  1. Very interesting article although I think there are a couple of flaws in his concepts it in no way dispels the fact that this is can be an expensive hobby. However, I think he is way off of the estimation for paint. For some reason he's setting his prices at $6 a bottle while there are certainly a couple of lines reaching those numbers Vallejo and Reaper certainly aren't that high. He make the reasonable assumption that you are paying retail for everything. With a little bit of effort you can usually find some deals to help defray part of that expense. Still a well thought out effort with some pretty scary numbers in it!

  2. He definitely is pricing for a particular market - the FoW hobby. It doesn't have to be that way though.

    Most of my terrain was either free - foam bits scavenged from construction sites or low cost - dollar store purchases. Ground cloth is a recycled bedsheet and $15 worth of caulk, paint and sand.

    As for miniatures - Yes it can get pricy - my 28mm Home Guard weren't cheap but my 20mm WWII plastics - a platoon for around $15 and about the same per tank. My biggest buys have been in VSF and 15mm ancients but both periods have had a consistent appeal over the years and will be around long into the future whatever the current trend game is.

    Paints - mostly vallejo which cover very well, the odd other pot of GW or Tamiya some craft acrylic craft paints for figures (heresy I know) and more craft paints for terrain and basing. Dip is Klear and Ink - i.e. dirt cheap. The only spray cans I use are for the final mat coat.

    Rules - I think the most expensive to date has been DBMM with all the lists for around $60.

    Convention expenses - Strictly optional. Club membership is $30 a year

    Over many years I may have dropped as much as $1000 total for a fairly extensive collection but not much more than that - much less than 1 year of sportsball season tickets for many hours more worth of entertainment. (not that there is anything wrong with sportsball)

  3. Wargaming is actually a very cheap hobby and many games can be easily and cheaply got into.

    Imagine playing Chain of Command with a rule book and a box each of Perry Desert Rats and AfrikaKorps, you would have the rules & both sides for about £60.00, get a sandy cloth and throw it over some books or similar and you would be off.

    Wargaming is only expensive if you buy figures that you do not use, even then second hand figures have a good resale value.

  4. 'Interesting' is about the right word. It just shows how crazy the world of fully commercialized, closed systems points and tournament driven gaming is. I don't think I have ever spent as much since I got back into the hobby 2 years ago! I think articles such a these paint a very one-sided picture of what wargaming is.

  5. X-Wing is a pricey game, but because competition games are small one can put together a competitive fleet for not huge amounts of money. (Basic set, maybe three or four add-on ships.) If you want a wide selection to play with (guilty!) it costs more, sure.

    But to be honest this is why I have never got all that deeply into miniatures gaming. Right now I'm doing a fair bit of modern naval (by email). I might do WWII skirmish at the local club next week, SAGA the week after that. I've never really fixated on a particular period, never mind a particular game, as "this is the one I play". And I don't have the space or the spare cash to go after multiple ones.

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  7. Lol he spends all that money because he will only buy flames of war figures and products to play flames of war lol just like the bolt action players that do the same thing and all your doing is making other ppl rich wile you loose money and in a few years it will be a new set of rules that you have to buy their miniatures and vehicles to play the game. On top of it is a fantasy set of rules with historical figures. That's exactly what these company's want from you their just warhammer 40k where you have to buy there magical figures and characters to play their game. It's all a scheme to keep taking your money because after it's all is said and done it's their business not their hobby . Their hobby is taking the one minded war gamer consumer that gets tricked into buying their products like they can't go out and buy peter pig or any other 15mm figures and paint and base them to play their game. Instead of paying those shantey prices that they charge because they know they can because the people that are playing the rules don't have an imagination on how to build their own terrain or put an army together so they go out and buy flames of war buildings and terrain and figures to make it easier for them but at the same time their are getting hustled for tons of money when you can get better looking figures from other company's that look better. Same thing with vehicles, also you can make even better looking terrain for cheap money! We're letting these company's come in and ruin our hobby that started with tape roads or terrain drawn on chalk boards. Now I know where in the golden age of war gaming and there's know reason to use drawn on terrain lol you can scratch build amazing looking terrain with just the cost of a few materials and blogs and video tutorials to help you and show you how to do it. Also there's so many company's out there with great looking stuff. If your going to play blot action you have to buy your set of rules then your army rules then their new tank battle rules then their eastern front rules, then your only going to buy warlord gaming figures and terrain that's crazy ! It never ends because there constantly going to come up with ways to have you spend more money in their store on their products. When You can get better looking miniatures from artizan and crusader just to name a few that's why rules like CoC are a once and a life time set of rules with a great community and a great writer that's a true hobbiest that loves the hobby and his fellow wargames other wise at every turn he could be charging way more for his campaign rules and scenarios and his cocalulator and his updates. Moral of the story is, it only costs all this money because we let it . Now I know it's not the cheapest hobby out there but there's no reason to line only one company's pockets with your hard earned money when there's other company's out there with better products that have better deals and better quality. With a little effort you can save money and make 10 times better terrain. In my opinion these company's are almost ruining the hobby and inflating the market. FoW and bolt action are just two of main problems and to top it off there the most unrealistic sets of rules out there. Mine as we'll play fantasy and buy Orks and elfs and use them instead of historical miniatures. All because there "tournament" style games with rule lawyers at every turn they feel that can charge outrageous prices. It's up to us the community to put an end to this stuff buy buying from other company's and building our own stuff. Then you can play their rules without spending all that money .

  8. On top of it the rules like FOW AND BA call for a crazy amount of miniatures on the table(fantasy) so that way you have to buy more and more of their miniatures and spend more money then they come out with new tanks and figures that you'll need if you buy there updates all a hustle to keep making them rich


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