An Introduction to a Dilemma
It's 6.30am, it's still dark and I'm standing on frozen ground with a fist full of dog "I Swear too much". Monday has begun. I should feel like $#*t, but I don't. I should want to crawl back to sleep, but I don't. Usually, with this stench emanating from my closed hand I'd be wretching by now, but I'm not. For me, there is no icy ground, there is no Monday morning and there is no toasty warm faeces. In my head, I'm sharpening an axe, grabbing a fist-full of dice and playing Warhammer and it's escapism, pure and simple.
Modern life affords us little time for leisure pursuits. We grab snatches of pleasure where we can. Fun has become something which punctuates the mundane scantly often enough to keep us sane. Wargaming, while perhaps failing to keep us sane, offers a complete distraction from normality. It is a hobby with such wide scope, of so many levels and such all-encompassing depth that it permeates even the darkest recesses of the brain and guarantees the devotee that, even in the darkest of hours, they shall have something fantastical, magical and of no 'real world' consequence to fixate upon. Whether it be concerning themselves with colour schemes and conversions, pondering army lists and core options or worrying about what to buy next, wargaming offers those in its thrall enough fill every nook of the day with related thought.
A Treasure Trove
My thralldom began at around the age of ten when I stumbled across Games Workshop with the help of a friend's older brother who played games like Talisman, Dungeons and Dragons and something called 'Warhammer Fantasy Battles' then in its third edition (though he had second). To say we 'played Warhammer' at that point would be a stretch. We were kids and, in the absence of the aforementioned older brother, did little more than shuffle some ropy looking miniatures around a table. This early exposure to gaming, as limited as it was, clearly sparked something in me. I went out and bought all manner of miniature. With no set intention to collect any specific army, I remember buying chaos dwarves, orcs, elves, squats, horrors among others. Games Workshop, in those days, wasn't the corporate behemoth it is today but, instead, was the refuge for 'beardy weirdies' and a place to roll thirty-four sided dice. Prog rock and obscure heavy metal poured out the door and miniatures were generally awful sculpts, rarely designed for any particular game which could often be found in battered cardboard boxes on the floor. Many of these 80s minis were such mushy lumps of lead that it appeared the sculptors hadn't thought ahead before putting blade to putty. It was a treasure trove.
The Darkness Within
The years went by and my miniature purchasing habits went through peaks and troughs. Games Workshop expanded and, as I believed at the time, I grew out of the hobby. I had discovered 'life' and found I no longer had time to paint or to play. Now however, some years later and with generous slice of inevitability, I have began to crave it again. I always knew it was still in there, lurking, waiting, sniffing around for its chance to once again rear its bilious green head.
And so this is where I find myself today: I should by now be a veteran of many a campaign but, as a result of my years in the wilderness, I am instead the green juve with only a basic grasp of rules. I have less free time than I ever had before but the pull of fantasy is too strong. I cannot resist any longer, I must paint, I must play.
I hereby voluntarily allow my otherwise stable mental state to slowly slide back toward one of fixation; Fixation on the smallest intricate detail of a banner crest or where I might spend that last five valuable points within my precision crafted army list. I'll reassure myself that I'm now older, I'm wiser and I have a salary. There's just this niggling worry that perhaps it is my spending potential that makes my re-adventure into hobbying all the more foolhardy? Let me think on that for a while and try to contain the whispering darkness within telling me to spend.