This post is inspired by a recent Reddit thread that I felt was very insightful into the hobby of miniatures wargaming.
Burnout is very real when it comes to a tabletop game. There are very few games that I have never gotten tired of, even if I'm only ever tired for just a couple of moments. I find it crucial to find a balance when it comes to keeping your hobby exactly that: a hobby.
The Slog and the Backlog
Some strange, sadistic people actually enjoyed putting together B1s. Insane I know, but that is the sad truth of this world.
While not every model is as painstaking as the B1 there are still plenty of moments where you just don't want to build your minis and yet you have to, which is where your backlog starts to pile up.
Almost every hobbyist I know has a backlog of either unplayed games or unassembled or unpainted miniatures. This is ok. The point where this becomes less ok is when the addiction of new models, expansions, games, and upgrades set in. A general rule of thumb I like to follow to keep my wallet from being empty all the time is "When will this see the table?".
Sometimes seeing the table means being painted, which is why I own ~20 Marvel Crisis Protocol minis without having ever played (or planned to play) the game. I just think they're neat!
Sometimes seeing the table means actually playing a game, which is often my qualifier. I don't own an AT-ST or T-47 because oftentimes vehicles don't interest me and I haven't desired to paint them in the way that the A-A5 and LAAT/le interested me.
Sometimes I do increase my backlog because I just buy because I'm "sure I'll do something with it someday!" or "It's a good unit, everyone is using it!" and so I end up with some stuff that just sits there on my shelf unopened.
When it comes to building I recently experienced burnout with my Shadow Collective minis. I have been so excited for Shadow Collective, so I got a couple starters, Gar, and an extra box of Pykes and 57 minis later I was ready to lose it. It just got tiresome, especially assembling so many of the same minis! I had a TV show on while I assembled which made it better (I work well while multitasking) but I still have been dreading now throwing paint on all these guys!
Attainable Goals and Realistic Standards
The easiest way to deal with burnout, in my opinion, comes from three things:
- Pace yourself and set achievable goals
- Don't hold your standard too high
- Step away
It is easy to want your entire army to be at the level of the professional commissioned painters that you see on Discord, Reddit, and Instagram, but in all reality you are commonly looking at your minis from three or more feet away on the table, so tabletop standard is more than satisfactory. You don't need to be able to see the color gradient in a mini's eyes or have the light refract perfectly from a lightsaber. Instead, focus on the steps of painting (or assembling, or whatever else) and go through them as the goals rather than wanting to have 800 points painted by tomorrow.
If all else fails, don't be afraid to walk away from everything! Find something else to do, a different game to play, or even set everything down until the itch strikes again. Oftentimes if I know I am going to go to a tournament or meetup with friends and play I want to have a painted and based squad, so that encourages me to spend a bit of time each night and work toward that goal! If I'm not able to complete it, then that's ok, but if I am then my goals worked!
Ultimately, at the end of the day, it is a matter of what is FUN rather than deadlines and due dates. Build what is fun, paint what is fun, and if you aren't having fun then forcing it rarely helps.
I hope this was a brief reminder of the joy of hobbying, and I'd love to hear your tips to not getting burnt out in the comments below! Come back next week for more Star Wars: Legion content!