Money and investing in Armies

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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby Chrisd » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:34 am

Generally I am trying find out how much we are actually investing and why when some armies can bloody expensive. I know that there are other mini's for WWII stuff that can be used for FOW but sometimes the quality it what you pay for when it does get cheaper. But for GW's case and the WH40K WHF a lot of that stuff isn't cheap.

I mean when I got back into Battletech the box set cost me $50.00 however I got 26 mechs with that it was afterwards and investing in Mini's for the game and getting the unseens that really did a nice gouge in my pocketbook from Ebay.
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby Whiterook » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:19 am

Great contributions to this thread so far and I love the subject. I reall, REALLY hope all the membership contributes in some fashion, as I too would like to know what drives us individually to expend these kind of dollars!

Love Darkeldar's post! .....very well written, sir!
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby josta59 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:39 am

The only other contribution I can offer is that I don't plan to spend any more than the $5 I spent on the Firepower rules, which happened to get me the rules for MBT/IDF and the entire Central Front series along with it. I'm sticking with Vassal board games because I like having plenty of money for other things!

But I do love the idea of miniatures games, which is another great reason to be on this forum. I can play them from the comfort of my own home, on my own time, and not spend a dime. I hope someone starts up a new one soon!

That said, I have the rules for Force on Force and Battlefield Evolution, and if anyone gets some modern minis together, I'd love to work with them on getting a game going. Probably a pipe dream, but it needed to be said. Until then, I'll just be running Vassal.*

*Except for Central Front, because I can't get it to run on Vassal. I plan to use PowerPoint for that series!
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby Whiterook » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:43 pm

Well, I too came to miniature gaming late. I started with board wargaming at the chit-style level, where you indeed had to imagine the unit represented by the silhouette on the cardboard chit as being a real tank or soldier; as Darkeldar mentions so brilliantly, ‘where if you believed in it hard enough that little cardboard square could represent a vehicle, an infantry platoon, supplies or even fortifications’. Miniatures brought the gaming up to a whole new level for me, which I’ll explain….but first; I believe the two styles of gaming speak to a different type of person:

  • Chit-style boardgames speak to those of us that are very detailed-oriented. You live and thrive in the weeds, where the unit chit is informational (with data listed on the chit for combat and movement, etc.) and requires the mind’s-eye to complete the experience. There is no tank in front of you…just a data-dump of what it can do, and a simple symbol or silhouette to aid in quick reference.
  • Miniature-style wargames speak to those of us that are Big Picture minded. You live in the visual world, and can thrive in the bird’s-eye view. Its borderline visceral, but still requires you to track data and skills in your head and reference other data offboard. You use the 3-D model in realistic terms and not as a tracking piece.

Both speak to different skill sets and different mentalities. And it’s not exclusive…a person can be very detailed and in the weeds, and also very Big Picture and bird’s-eye. They just need tp know when to flip that switch. I don’t think it’s a *one over the other* type thing….I think it’s what you feel like in that moment. I embrace both sides because they call on different mindsets. It adds variety, and challenges my ways of thinking.

So, to the question of ‘why miniatures?’ …for me, it lends a different kind of excitement boradgames can’t match in Big Picture gaming. The thrill of seeing 15mm armor grinding through sand and moss bushes, and weaving amongst plastic and organic foliage trees places me in Eagle’s wings as I soar above the battlefield.

Also, customization of pieces lends a very personal artistic-edge. Miniatures can be miniature works of art. Whether you buy pre-painted, or you modify or paint them from scratch, they are sculpture in their tiniest forms. The same reason a patron at an art museum stares for hours at a painting by Gauguin, we stare at miniature tanks on a battle diorama…to live vicariously, and sometimes even spiritually in art; in our case, the Art of War.

How much? Oh hot damn there’s a question!

How much is too much? For some, nothing at all can be too much! For others, the one with the most when they die wins.

Darkeldar hit the nail pretty much on the head in my estimation. It costs me on average $12 USD for a 15mm Flames of War resin and metal miniature; as it costs me for a 15mm Axis & Allies Miniatures plastic miniature on the secondary market; as it costs me for a metal 28mm Phoenix Miniatures.

For me, it all comes down to purchasing strategy. If you buy without strategy, you fall into the price trap. If you research, you can make deals. Regardless of method, it all comes down to what I want to play, and what is required to make my armies. Beyond that, it’s the *cool factor*, and dammit, I just gotta own it!

One example: For World War II land-based warfare

Last I checked, I had in the neighborhood of 1145 Axis & Allies Miniatures land units. Most of these were acquired by purchasing an entire case, which gave me roughly 97% of any one complete set. I factored it out at one point and came up with the conclusion that had I bought these individually on the secondary market, I would have added another 37% increase on the purchase price at the minimum; higher including shipping and not finding the cheapest mini by vendor. I found that buying an individual mini of this line can vary as much as $4 between vendors, and that’s because they are basing it on their stock of leftovers from cases they’ve purchased.

I then purchased a very much smaller number of Flames of War units; both off the shelf individual, and a collection of a friend. I found that I could then purchase Old Glory’s Command Decision units from The War Store and get roughly 3 tanks for the price of one FoW. Put all together, and I can rock the house any way I want. I have since started converting my Axis & Allies Miniatures land units for use in the Battlefront: World War Two system, which includes basing some infantry together on one base for elements. With all the miniatures above, I can battle at least four different well-known systems, and purchasing strategy has saved me a ton of money.

Another example: Futuristic.

I got into DUST Tactics, and then DUST Warfare. By purchasing three of the out-of-print big-box core sets, I equipped myself to play out some mega-sized battles. Buying these pieces by individual box (booster) sets would have cost substantially more. These old core boxes had the original style (more WWII-centric) units; whereas the later versions are more of the whacky stuff (laser equipped super gorillas, for instance). Purchasing strategy.

So, if I added up all my miniatures and what I paid, would I need a defibrillator? Well, me, no. Because it comes down to my final point of why I do it….

Retirement. I am making an investment in hours and hours of staying out of my wife’s hair when we are retired; which drastically reduces the chances of a divorce lawyer, which would cost a hell of a lot more to my wallet than all the miniatures I’ve bought or will buy. Me?

I made out like a frakkin’ BANDIT!!!
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby Whiterook » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:48 pm

josta59 wrote:.... and Battlefield Evolution....if anyone gets some modern minis together, I'd love to work with them on getting a game going. Probably a pipe dream, but it needed to be said.


Not so much a pipe-dream, my good modern-day warrior! I just got Battlefield Evolutions rulebook in the mail last month; and I've just collected a modest array of USMC, Chinese, and British infantry, armor and vehicles!!! It's on the docket!
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby josta59 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 1:58 pm

Whiterook wrote:Not so much a pipe-dream, my good modern-day warrior! I just got Battlefield Evolutions rulebook in the mail last month; and I've just collected a modest array of USMC, Chinese, and British infantry, armor and vehicles!!! It's on the docket![/color][/size]


Oh man, I am excited now. A topic for another thread, of course, but I can hardly wait.
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby Frizzenspark » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:08 pm

HE WHO DIES WITH THE MOST TOYS WINS!!!!!

Enough is never enough..... I have quite a few unfinished projects.... :(

15mm AWI..... Extensive Collection; Americans and British with Hessian, French, and Indian in smaller/allied contingents..... Hoping to ressurect them in the very near future.... they're close to complete....

15mm MexAm War..... need more work to complete, but a decent sized collection...

15mm Fow..... Extensive British Armies.... I keep adding and adding... I keep getting great deals.... I have nearly everything I could possibly want... I have a modest German contingent as well... I can field modest numbers...

I have had better success with my 15mm DBA/HotT armies, since they require relatively few miniatures; so the goal of building individual armies is an obtainable goal....

I also am doing well with Infinity... relatively few miniatures (28mm).. got some great deals.... I have to do work on buildings and other scenery...

When it gets to the point where I agree with the Missus that I have too much... I (probably) have too much....

I plan to work a little more on my minis, but with a six-day-work-week; when will I get to play with them..... at least we have our Wednesday Infinity Night at Ravenstone.... :)
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby MAGNA » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:10 am

What a subject !!

Brilliant thoughts all round.

First thing I can say is you buy what you want - board games as in hex based or Memoirs, tabletop types and
even computer games. Any type covering just about any subject you like from historical to fantasy.
One week you are a vampire hunter and next you could be in command of a Napoleonic fleet.

That is worth a long term investment. For our games group we are talking a period of around 35 years.
As far as cost goes when you spread it out it isn't so bad.

Time spent painting, researching, building models and scenery, assessing rules - different story. That
tome is the real investment. Our main scale is 1/72 as we are part of the genre of wierdo gamers who
actually enjoy building model kits and painting them plus figures. Crazy ? maybe. I prefer misunderstood
genius but we know that isn't the case so crazy it is.

So when it comes down to it 1/72 is sort of a lock in for most of our stuff as that is what we started with. A
change to another scale for most of our stuff would be a huge cost in all respects.

The 1/72 scales we use are WWII, Ancients, and Napoleonics.

15mm is the scale for our Civil war games as one of our group did all his stuff in that scale.

The Napoleonic ships are in 1/1200th and we have made all of them from scratch. That was definitely cheaper.

If we were starting from scratch then the WWII stuff would probably be 15mm as it is easier to put the vehicles
together and overall storage is simpler.

Napoleonics and Ancients would still be 1/72 as the range of figures for large scale games covers everything you
could want.

Medieval - dunno. Have got quite a lot of 1/72 but there is a good range of 15mm too.

The only thing I can say for anyone starting out is check on the scale you want and then make sure there are
choices as far as manufacturers go. Don't get sucked in to the "you must have this brand on the table or you
really aren't a proper gamer" stuff. That is pure bullshit. Sorry but that's the only way I can say it.

If I ever get my battalion level computer assisted game ready I will probably look at 10mm for the ability to have
decent movement on the table and reasonable sized representations of units at the same time. 1/72 models will
be too big and 15mm will be a bit to big and expensive. 10mm fits well here and could be a good choice again
for anyone who has space problems (you could scale your rules to suit). Pendraken and others sell a good range
of vehicles and figures for WWII and I was pleasantly surprised with the price - a couple of bucks for a tank isn't
bad really.

The biggest thing I have to resist these days is the actual choice available. It is so easy to buy over the net etc and
I know I could easily buy things I just won't use - rules included. I use the old rule from the Willy Want story where
Willy kept wanting everything he saw so his Dad got a book and wrote each item in. If Willy still wanted the item
down the track (a month or more I think) then it was considered. Hobby shops can be deadly too - ooh that will
come in handy - a year later.... why did I ever buy that.....

If you are prone to getting the plastic kits and packs of fifty figures then it is possible to have a stash of to be dones.
Unfortunately the stash can easily turn into a hoard. When you have more kits in storage boxes than completed
models / figures then you have a problem (Whether it's a nice problem is another story).
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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby wuxia » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:19 pm

There is no question that mini wargaming can be expensive. How much do I spend? Why do I spend it? What limitations do I set?

Gaming is an important part of my life. I enjoy it, so I make time for it. Granted, life certainly is busy with kids, work, house.....daily living. I enjoy it as a hobby. Board games, miniatures, and even an occasional RPG.

I find that my gaming habits fluctuate with the people that I usually game with. The last 5 years, I would say that board games have far and away been at the forefront. Conflict of Heroes and Combat Commander are great hex and counter games that I would happily play in a heartbeat. I also enjoy the economic, area control, worker placement, and cooperative games. These aren't cheap games. $20 - $90 for those big Fantasy Flight boxes. Prior to purchase, I evaluate theme, player count, # of times it most likely would hit the table, do I have any similar (therefore don't need). A mental Yes = a purchase. $40 game, for 4 people, 1.5 hrs played 10 times over the course of 1-3 years is very cheap entertainment with good company and interaction. Compare that to a movie night. 4 tickets and popcorn for 2 hrs with no interaction!

I approach miniatures with more caution. The biggest factor is having a group of people I enjoy being around that are into the particular rule set. A very close 2nd is a rule set I like in a setting that I like. Once I'm committed, I'm in. Cost has a factor of course, but finding sales and slow pacing when buying doesn't seem to hurt the wallet. The $/hr fun is not only in playing (as the board games) but in modeling, painting, and basing. Listening to a gaming podcast or watching a sporting event while working on miniatures is rewarding and fun.
The tactile feel of the game is what brings out that visceral emotion. I know that mini on the field. I made him. He kicked butt last game. Now I'm taking him of the field because because he was killed. He would be still fighting if I had played better. And I will play him better next time because I'm buying that other mini that will totally change my strategy and compliment him!

And there goes my money.........another miniature........anticipating the next game.


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Re: Money and investing in Armies

Postby wartang » Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:42 am

I just found these at Walmart for $.97 each. Each one comes in a ball or crate
if you get their military line. They are all randomized. I got one out of
curiosity to see how big they are, the one I got was crouching and it is a bit
smaller than a Warhammer 40k Tau firewarrior. The paint wasn't bad but I think I may
want to repaint him. I was wondering if any one knows the scale of them.


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