For all of us there are times in our lives where we for whatever reason start to feel detached from our hobby. It happens very easily too, New Love, New Baby, Change of Job, your favourite gaming company does something that annoys you, Olympics, Footy or F1 Season kicks in etc etc
For me the last few months have been a bit like that, where due to the demands of the projects we’ve been working on it’s been difficult to give the time to ‘MY Hobby’. And as a result that sense of detachment sets in and grows.
Yes every now and again I felt a pang to return, but suffered the syndrome of ‘where do I start’ I have so many games and so much stuff, and then Prof Brian Cox is on the telly and I say ahh I’m tired and will do something about it tomorrow.
There have been a lot of tomorrows this last few months, and sometimes circumstances just don’t allow for you to spend the time you want with your hobby – it’s ok to take a break, (and it’s important to get that message across – IT IS OK TO TAKE A BREAK!) but there will come a time when you want to come back.
For me that feeling has been building during January…
I’m not any less busy, but the move is now mostly complete and both processes and the creativity are starting to flow again these last 4 weeks, and coupled with meeting and working with some fantastic people, the space in my mind and heart (for lack of a better phrase) has opened up to let me reconnect with ‘My Hobby’.
So for me personally I have both a huge advantage, being involved in Beasts of War leaves ‘the hobby’ pretty accessible to me, I can see what’s going on and what’s coming; but it also has its drawbacks too, where there is just sooo much going on it’s difficult to see ‘MY Hobby’, through the myriad of activity that’s happening in the industry on any given day.
My first step back
I have a lot of hobby stuff, that became apparent during the move over here to Essex, our new home is a bit smaller than before and with a new baby ready to arrive any time now, there is no longer such a thing as a ‘hobby room’ so my first step was to ignore all the stuff I have… I know that if I try to start my journey back there, I will just give up. It’s easy to think of your hobby as the stuff you have, but actually what I feel is most important is the people you share it with.
For me that had to start with my partner Andrea, because as hectic as life has been for me over the last few months its been twice as hard for her. I’m in the lucky position that Andrea enjoys the hobby, she is what I would call a nice normal gamer, she’s not obsessive about it and just enjoys it for what it’s worth. So any hobby time for me would have to include her, and if she wasn’t ready then it would just have to wait. You might be asking why ‘My Hobby’ would depend on another person, and all I can say to that is it’s a decision that feels right, we have been through a lot these last years, and I if there is enjoyment to be had, for me… I have to share that with her.
I’m sure many of you can relate to this, while others have a partner who has little or no interest in the hobby, where a different kind of balance must be struck.
Finding the hobby outside of our home
Because our hobby often includes bits and kits and activities that are solo activities, it’s easy to slip into a little world of isolation where your only hobby time… is alone time. I really didn’t want to fall into that trap, so being fortunate enough to have a whopping big gaming centre below our studios, that was the obvious place to make the first steps back into the hobby. So as I said before I just ignored all my ‘things’ and just went with the flow.
We literally walked in to the gaming centre with nothing but a desire to try out a few games, with whoever might be there. We had one fixed game planned of Dystopian Wars, but we really were totally open to just trying stuff out.
It really was just a little post about what I was hoping for, and within 5 mins of posting it I got an offer of a game from @rekshaw (Nick) which was an act of kindness that I will not soon forget although having now met Nick I’m sure he doesn’t realise just how kind he was being!
Walking through the Doors of My Hobby Again
Focusing on the people aspect of the hobby rather than the things (for me at least) was the right thing to do, below is my little post the morning after…
It’s always a bit daunting walking into a new environment to game with new people, but the folk attending last night we’re really really friendly. (Between Me, You and this forum, I’m actually quite a shy person who has to take a deep breath before meeting or talking to folk)
So last night I got a great nights gaming in (Andrea too!) and we had a fantastic game of X-Wing, to be fair my opponent @rekshaw made life very easy for us, but it was just so much fun. And I got to poke a bit of fun at Andrea who STILL hasn’t seen the Star wars movies. – Top game, Highly Recommended!
We then got in a game of Dystopian Wars against @stuart which was a total blast, Andrea is now hooked on the French fleet by the looks of it, I think the ‘heat lancets’ have stolen her gaming heart! My crowning moment was rolling about 6 6′s in a row, which impressed a few folk – but I paid for that run of luck with some very sorry looking rolls in the mid game when those 6′s would have counted most! For me the exploding 6′s in dystopian wars (as with most games) are a total highlight, and just add so much more flavour to the game in my opinion – I’m definitely a fan and Highly recommend Dystopian wars as a game to pick up, not least because if you like the mechanics it opens up Firestorm Armada etc. to you as well.
Finally I got a game of Magic the Gathering in against Kat which was utterly terrifying! I played a borrowed Green Deck (I’m a fan of the big stuff!) against a horrifically effective Vampire themed deck that put me on the back foot from turn 2. I fought valiantly however you know the game is up when your opponent actually starts to ‘keep you in the game’ just so they can prolong your agony lol yup Kat by name, Cat by Nature!
All in all it was probably the best nights gaming I’ve had in a long long time, and I would say to any of you who haven’t been as ‘absorbed’ in your hobby for a while and are maybe feeling a little detached from it, to find a local club or venue (or make the trek over here to TTN) and just let your self fall in love with your hobby again. Some times it’s tempting to just live your hobby privately at home but it’s so refreshing to share it with others.
Do you want a way back?
If your reading this and are looking for a way back here are a few tips that might help…
1) It was ok to take a break, and don’t be afraid to treat it as a break, if you try to deny it you will only feel worse!
2) When your ready to come back, who do you need to share that with and are they ready? When you share your life with someone, sharing the good things is vital as you often don’t have a choice in sharing the hard times. If they are not ready it’s probably not going to make your lives any easier to force the situation or leave the other behind. If they don’t share an interest in the hobby, how can you balance things so there is a sense of fairness. (There is just no easy answers to this as every gamer who shares their life with someone will tell you!)
3) Don’t look for your hobby among your ‘things’ to begin with, you will likely end up muddled and just see way too many things to do!
4) Find a venue where you can meet other gamers and enjoy the hobby with some other people. If you don’t have a venue near by its probably worth making the trip to a good venue or event that’s worth the trek. For various reasons some people my not have the choice to go out to other venues, and that is not an easy challenge and all I can suggest is to try and organise something among friends some kind of get together etc.
5) Ring ahead and talk to the venue and explain what your doing and they can hopefully (if they are worth their salt) set you up a demo game and introduce you to some folk on the night.
6) Go with an open mind, and try some different things. It’s an opportunity to see the hobby through some other peoples eyes, who knows what you will find.
7) Go for quick games and try to get 2-3 games in on the night, I don’t suggest getting bogged down in a 4 – 5 hour single game on your first return.
For everyone else…
1 Golden Rule) Offer a game, don’t underestimate the kindness in that, you’re helping a fellow gamer and some day you may need the favour returned.
It’s great to be able to connect to ‘My Hobby’ again and yes I’m even starting to look at the things I have and make some tentative plans of what to do next (Tyrannic Wars or the Betrayal anyone?) But what is your take on all of this? Have I missed anything?