Friday, September 17, 2010

EDITORIAL: When the Fun Stops

Mr. Black here to speak about an issue that will eventually grapple every gamer, no matter what the system: When it just stops being fun.

It happens to the best of us, the veteran players, the newbies, the hardcore, the casual. It's an issue that every gamer will have to deal with at least once (though probably more) in the span of their gaming careers: their game of choice just stops being fun.

It happens, the honeymoon ends, the fresh excitement we experienced ripping plastic off our new Tactical Marine box, the joy of splitting open the new Pirate Queen Skarre blister, or even the strict and proper, almost militaristic opening of a Panzergrenadier Platton, just all seems to fade away into repetition.

Games are no longer the joy they once were, and now it seems you only make the trek to the local hobby/game store out of repetition. The games all run together and frustration after frustration build as nothing is new, it's all become the same monotonous act week after week after week.

So what is one to do in this case? Have one last Hurrah! before shipping your formally fun-giving plastic men off to ebay? Give one last salute to the fully painted Fallschirmjager Company as they depart to the gaming closet for the foreseeable future?

It doesn't have to be like this dear players, there is hope. It would have been unfair to assume the new-plastic smell wouldn't eventually fade, and as I said above, even the veteran players experience slumps time to time. So what can we do during these times to ease the pains? Well there are a new options...

~Try Other Systems

This solution is what works best for me personally. I usually alternate between 40k and Warhammer Fantasy, with some Malifaux thrown in the side for good measure. This method works well as you always have something to do should you find one system is getting into a slump, and I find it especially well when alternating Warhammer Fantasy and 40K, as usually by the time I begin to hit a slump with one system something new and exciting is coming out in the other. If merely switching Warhammer for Warhammer isn't your thing (due to style or, more importantly, cost) then there are a plethora or other options out there available. Most of these will vary store-to-store but the popular ones around are: Malifaux, Warmachine, Uncharted Seas, Firestorm Armada, and of course good ol' boardgames. Most of these options will run you $30 or so for a starter (Warmachine the exception but worth the extra) and will provide you with more than enough bang for the buck. I'd suggest checking some of these systems out if you want a fun side-project or break from the typical system.

~Mix Things Up

Maybe it's just the same old dull routine that has you down and not actually the system itself. If this is the case then perhaps trying different wild and crazy things out can help. Example being in 40K you have access to Planetstrike, Spearhead, Apocalypse, and the Battle Mission books, each providing a new type of gameplay which may be just what you need to get out of the slump. Should you be in a system were said options are not available, then maybe you and a friend can switch armies for a few games. Not only is this a nice change of pace but it also gives you great insight onto the other armies style and tactics, always useful for when you return to the hardcore gauntlet to crush them mercilessly.

~Enjoy Hobby Aspects

Most systems we play encourage painting and modeling and when you're in a gaming slump you have a great opportunity to explore those areas. Pick up those Warjacks and Space Marines you have no desire to play with and try painting them up. Not only is this a great outlet but it can also serve the purpose of re-invigorating you to the system. You just spent a good bit of time converting/painting that unit up, it's only natural to now want to see them on the table! This method may not work for everyone, but then again that can be said of any of the given methods, but with this one you are still accomplishing something in your given system, even if it may not really feel like that. Remember that most games we play are Hobby Games, not merely Tabletop Games, we're supposed to enjoy all aspects of our hobby, secluding off to just one can take away some of the enrichment we get.

~Take a Break

Sometimes you just need to get out there and smell the flowers. It's a big world out there and we can't expect our hobbies to entertain us 100% of the time. Sometimes they just get stagnant for no real good reason, and nothing we do can fix that. In such occasions it may be the best idea to shelf your army for a bit, go enjoy other hobbies and pastimes, and in a bit come back and hopefully the old spark will have returned. For me personally, I love 40K, it's back story, the figures, everything of it- so when I'm down on the tabletop I stop for a bit and go enjoy Dawn of War, that usually gives me the entertainment I desire and, after enough time, encourages me to get back to the tabletop and return to my favorite forces. In this category specifically the individual will determine what's interesting, and what actions are best to get them out of a slump, but the advice still stands, if you're burned out and tried everything, just walk away for a bit.
~Slumps are something we all experience, and perhaps the best help may be to share some stories of your own and how you overcame it. Let's hear your burnout stories and just what became of your gaming life during and after, who knows, you may even help someone else experiencing the same. 


  1. Thankfully, after a year of gaming, I've not quite hit the wall, yet. That said, I regularly mix 40k playing with hobby painting and warmahordes. Week to week I might not play 40k, but I'm still playing something. Perhaps that has helped.