Posted by: markfender | July 29, 2014

The “Hobby”

I have a request I would like to make of the fine purveyors of miniature entertainments:

warhammersStop calling your game a hobby.

Your game is not a hobby. It is part of a hobby, but it is not, by itself, an entire hobby.

Yes, painting, assembling, and paying for an entire Warhammer will take many hours of dedicated work. You might even get to play some games with it! You might never touch another miniature game. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t another game with the exact same skills required to assemble, paint, and play. It would be the same activities involved in that game that are involved in your chosen game. Therefore, your game is not exclusive to being called a “hobby” unto itself.

Games Workshop likes to call its games a hobby, as if no other games exist. That makes sense for marketing purposes and, to their credit, probably has the least overlap with other games (as far as the players of various warhammer miniatures games don’t play other miniatures games). Their brand and the dedication to that brand probably have the strongest claim to considering itself a hobby unto itself. But other miniature games? Not so much.

A lot of other games, in particular, are much smaller scale and involve less work to get a painted army on the table. They could sort of be classified as “side” games, even though that’s a pretty unfair term (It implies there’s a main game, which isn’t necessarily true). And yet, I see some of the marketing materials for those games in which they call themselves a hobby.

You’re all in this big ol’ hobby of miniature gaming together. It’s one overall hobby, not twenty-thousand smaller ones. Your miniatures do not require exclusive skills to assemble and paint. Your rules are probably just like that other rule set over there (a whole other issue). Your players’ skills developed in their dedication to your game will transfer to another game with minor adjustment. There is no exclusivity there. You are not a hobby. You are just part of a much larger hobby activity.

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