Before we talk wargaming on a budget, I have a feeling that when most people talk about the cost of wargaming, they are really talking about the cost of Warhammer and Warhammer 40k. As the most visible game systems, this isn’t particularly surprising, but they are also the most expensive on the market. Since people talk about the cost of wargaming in terms of Games Workshop games, I’m going to continue that tradition and talk specifically about my favored system, Warhammer 40k.
So Warhammer 40K is expensive, but there is something to understand here: Games Workshop is a large company with a large enough budget to hire a great marketing team who quite literally are in the business of making you want to exchange dollars for minis. Being the hobbyists that we are, we’re a fairly predictable demographic for that marketing team to work with. Basically, we fall for the marketing time and again, and the company knows this. They’re going to release something and a lot of people are going to buy in. Now, this isn’t a bad thing in general: they tell us about their product, we want the product, and so we buy it. The trouble is, they have a release cycle that, realistically, is almost impossible to keep up with unless you have a fairly decent amount of disposable income for your wargaming budget. If you’re there, good for you, and can I ask what you do for a living? If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking at a problem: Games Workshop dropped another amazing product right after the amazing product that they dropped last month. You bought last month’s product, and now, you can’t afford the next release. If that sounds familiar, here’s one way to beat the release cycle: put things on your wishlist and wait. Maybe that sounds silly, but hear me out.
If you’ve put something in your shopping cart, you’ve already pulled the trigger, and you’re probably going to buy something. Putting something on a wishlist (even if you just write it down for reference) can give you a place to store it as an idea, and buy it later if you decide you really want it. The point is that it gives you some time to step back and think the way you might not when the all you can think is “but I WANT it!” And that’s the easy part. The hard part is waiting. But here’s the thing: some stuff is just going to be a dud. If you buy something right away, you don’t have the chance to stick around and actually see how it does. If you wait, you let the competitive players get it, the YouTube personas get it, and whoever else you trust for good reviews get it first, and that can help inform your thinking on whether or not the thing is worth your money. Basically, if you wait, you know a product is going to be worth your time. If you don’t, you might have blown a pretty decent amount of money on something that just isn’t all that good.
I’ll give an example: Adeptus Titanicus and Kill Team came out at about the same time. Kill Team has been spreading like wildfire, and Adeptus Titanicus has not seemed to catch on as quickly. Some of that is, obviously, due to the difference in cost between the two games, but imagine if you had pre-ordered Titanicus, spent your $300+ on it, and then found out that you just didn’t like it all that much and had no one to play with. I would have been glad for the wait.
Something to think about.