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Why Do We Hobby?



Hey Everyone.  To wrap up The Realm Gate's birthday week I wanted to propose a question to all of you as well as offer my answer to this simple question.  Before I do, however, I want to give a shout out to Vince over at Warhammer Weekly who proposed a similar question in his Topic of The Week series recently, albeit a bit more focused.  Go check out his channel if you haven't already as it is my favorite Youtube channel around this Hobby and well worth your time.  The question I wish to put forth is "Why do we Hobby?" or "Why do you Hobby?".  It is a strange thing we all do and for a community to form around, but yet we all hold a very close attachment to it all and cannot imagine our lives without it.


Before I begin to answer the question myself I want to define what I mean by Hobby.  My definition of Hobby is "Anything you do in relation or because of Wargaming".  This can be games, painting, list building, Blogging, YouTube videos, Podcasts, large community projects, or anything else that fits the definition.  For some people, the Hobby defines us, while with others we define out Hobby and it is fascinating how we can be so vastly different regarding why we Hobby, but be more unified as a community because of it.

There are many reasons why someone would choose to Hobby.  Some want to compete at the top tables at large events, some wish to paint thematic armies and tell stories.  There are those who are about winning trophies whether it is through games or painting.  I imagine there are some who are just trying to be well-known in the community, although I believe this as a driving goal is a poor reason.  Those who are well-known painters or competitors on the table are well-known because their goal was to be the best painter or become the best player they could.  If you are unsure of what your goal is I suggest checking out my old article series "Life Lessons and Wargaming".

It may also be good to touch on the concept that motivation does not mean amount of time put into the Hobby.  While those who are highly motivated might indeed take on multiple projects at once, but that doesn't mean the person painting a single model for a painting competition is any less motivated.  Humans are very different creatures and while there are those like myself who enjoy multitasking and feel highly motivated to work on multiple projects.  There are those who are just as motivated, if not more so that focus on a single task or project.  It is a grey area, but when you can see how motivated someone is through their passion in this Hobby.

So why do I Hobby?  When I proposed the idea to myself it initially felt intangible and to broad and open to properly put into words, but the more I thought about it the more I was able to cement the idea and bring it to the ground.  The answer for me is that I hobby for myself and my wellbeing.  It is the same reason I lift weights and go to the gym daily.  It sounds a bit odd comparing two vastly different hobbies and cultures, but the comparison works for me.

Talking in the various chats I am a part of as well as Twitter interaction brings me great joy throughout my day and a welcome distraction to the stresses or work and life.  When I build lists and theory craft with others really fulfills my need to problem solve and the enjoyment that process brings.  Painting is a therapeutic escape where the world disappears as I move paint around a model.  The various community projects energize me as I work with fantastic people and great friends knowing we are looking to offer positive impact to the community as a whole and help Age of Sigmar grow.  I cannot forget gaming in all of this as it is the culmination of our efforts where we get to enjoy meeting and playing people.  Doing this Hobby for myself and my wellbeing has really allowed me to identify with the game and the positive impact it can have.

While the improvement of my wellbeing is what I feel the major part of why I do this Hobby I know there are other reasons as well mixed in such as wanting to help the community grow, make new friends, etc...  That is okay as I know over time my reason may adapt and change as is natural.  So why do you Hobby?  I would be excited to hear in the comments below and see what discussions form from the question.  Perhaps, by doing that you will help others discover why they hobby.

Until Next Week, Happy Hobbying.

Chuck Moore

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When I started out, it was during a pretty dark time in my life. It gave me a chance to involve myself in something, meet people and learn new skills. It helped that some of my best friends had been doing it most of their lives and were able to ease me in gently and were very supportive. In the early days I wanted to be in everything, so I played tournaments, regular weekly game meets and all sorts of other challenges. I painted as therapy and a drive to improve as rapidly as possible and getting back into the community and meeting people like me added to that.

As the years have gone on, I find it waxes and wanes with the amount of games I have. Playing regularly is my motivation to paint, especially for events but even with friends it helps to push it on. I also find the skill development and trying new techniques is very interesting as well. I always enjoyed building models (I started with scale models of planes and cars when I was young) so that aspect is deeply satisfying, seeing something come from a few bits of plastic.

There is no one answer to this question. At various times my reasons change, but in general its for a sense of community and belonging and the opportunity to create something great that keeps me going.

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Escapism! :) 

With a serious job, it's nice to indulge in a world of elves!

Also a lovely way to express creativity. I'm sure that my wife would agree that it's the quieter of my hobbies, well the painting side. Haha.

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20 hours ago, Gwill_of_the_Woods said:

Escapism! :) 

With a serious job, it's nice to indulge in a world of elves!

Also a lovely way to express creativity. I'm sure that my wife would agree that it's the quieter of my hobbies, well the painting side. Haha.

Good shout. Escapism is a very good reason as well. And as to the quieter of hobbies, being in a metal band, well...

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So assume the typical backstory about playing as a kid, dropping it for beer & girls, getting a grown up job & life, stopping with beers & girls and finding myself a little bit bored & with spare time on my hands.

I started back up around 2006 from memory, which would entirely make sense, out of uni I spent a couple of years working out what the hell I wanted to do with my life bouncing around a few jobs, then spent 3 years getting an accountancy qualification.  This put me in my late 20s and sports etc had started to tail off from my previous 4-5 days a week and I had free time to fill.  At this time in my life I lived on my own and I didn't own a TV.

I got into 2 hobbies around then:

1. Online gaming - COD4 mostly, a bit of battlefront after that tailed off but I wasnt really wired for it

2. Painting models

I didn't start gaming until 2009, so for the first couple of years it was just painting figs because I wanted to paint figs.  This was me just picking up an old army and painting up all the remaining models I had still sitting around unpainted because I never got rid of my collection.

I think what kicked me into gaming again was splitting up with my partner of the time. I now had all my weekends free with no commitments and a painted army, so figured why not give these tournament things a go.


So I then spent the next few years smashing through a bunch of tournaments (I think I topped out at around 10 in a year at the highest) and then painting up new armies to open up different playstyles for me.

But the main thing has always been I still enjoy painting the models.  As I said I'm a qualified accountant and was working pretty long hours at times in what is considered a reasonably stressful environment and I found painting helped me unwind and relax after work.  

I then got myself down the road of trying to collect every single army for WFB so my collection grew rapidly but I was always painting too, so I ended up at 11 painted WFB armies when WFB got blown up.  For AoS that 'catch em all' mentality doesn't really fit, so I've stopped trying to get them all and sold some off now.


But I'm still painting to relax and I'm starting to enjoy trying to paint to a slightly higher standard.  I'm not at competition painter levels yet and don't know if I'll ever get there but I think I'd like to see if I can paint an army or two up to the best army level as my next objective.


So painting is to relax but I've also started to stretch myself with it too and to expand what I can create & learn as I do so.  And it's that learning part which I'm enjoying more than anything else.

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