The topic time/time management/hobby time has become very present for me. Leisure time is scarce, boredom no longer exists and it can almost turn into stress to get the various interests organized. With painting and a little bit of sports I am already busy with work, household and time with my child and wife – no idea how others do it. Series/films are squeezed in when possible, very often on the side. Podcast on the road. The 20 minutes train ride to work I force myself to read, because otherwise I wouldn’t read anymore. When you write it down like that it sounds really stressful and unpleasant. But I find it okay. My family is given a lot of time, it’s worth it to me, but a lot of other things are often neglected. I am actually satisfied, but more time would be nice anyway.
Recently I read the following interview with Sid Meier, the creator of the PC game Civilisation:
Since then I have been thinking all the more about the subject of time. He says he probably couldn’t bring out civilisation these days, because people couldn’t afford the time (and rest):
“I don’t think I could make Civilisation today,” Meier says.
“I’m not sure even I would play it. It wouldn’t fit in the zeitgeist. It asks a lot of the player, and takes a while to work it out.
You have to play it once in order to understand what’s going on.
You have to be willing to spend time with it, and that’s not where most gamers are these days.
Civ came out at the perfect time.”
Back then it was simply the right time and today it is no longer. This may be true and also fits in with other observations about today’s no time culture. Nevertheless, it makes one think and I ask myself whether it is simply the course of things and there are other, positive developments for it or whether it is actually an unculture.
I was wondering if a similar viewpoint would apply to our hobby. Are there aspects of the hobby that worked “back then” and don’t work anymore? Have they survived, have they been replaced by other/better things or is there perhaps even a lack of time?
Basically, our hobby (like probably every hobby) is something you like to invest time in. One is occupied with something one likes to do, one decelerates, reduces stress. Maybe you draw positive energy from it, are happy about a great painting result, about feedback from others. There are many facets of creative hobbies that make them a valuable pastime.
Nevertheless: When I think back to my hobby time more than 20 years ago, some things have changed. First of all, for many of us the demands have increased. The legendary green Warhammer Bases of the 80s and 90s were the state of the art back then. Many still stuck grass litter on them, a bit more advanced was sand with single grass areas. In relation to this, the effort we put into the miniatures has increased significantly: Stones are draped, different tufts are glued on, maybe more details are added. Not to speak of elaborate stagings with rock formations of cork or plaster or post-apocalyptic settings. All this takes time. It pays off in the result, but it costs time.
The list could go on, just think of the high quality that many gaming tables have nowadays and look more like miniature worlds.
If time is an issue in our hobby today, I suspect that the lack is primarily self-made. Not always you can decide freely about your time, often it is also determined by external factors and obligations. Nevertheless, it is certainly often the case that we take on the time-eaters ourselves. In my case, it is clearly an excessive cell phone consumption with social media and news sites in front. Often enough you catch yourself that the last 10 minutes were not well used time and unfortunately you only looked at what others have already completed. One would have rather used the time oneself!
To come back to the interview with Sid Meier Both video games and tabletop have changed significantly in some respects. Also in tabletop, for example, skirmish systems have replaced the classic rank and file systems. There are certainly many reasons for this, but two often heard reasons are time and money. Time on the one hand because you have to paint less models to be ready to play and on the other hand because the games usually don’t take that long.
Probably we all had more time then. We were in other phases of life and could use our time differently. But did we really use it better? In my case, I can deny that. I had more time and wasted some of it in the same way. Don’t stop at the cell phone, but maybe in a forum, with ICQ or MSN. In any case, I can’t remember that I would have used my time more efficiently with regard to the hobby. The Pile of Shame was huge even then.
In the end, I can say for myself that although I had more time in the past, I organize my little time better today. I appreciate the little time I have and try to get the most out of the minutes. The bottom line is that I’m certainly getting more done than before, simply because the pressure is now there. Is that also stress? Not really. I only make hobby stress for myself, nobody forces me, nothing has to be finished. If I make myself hobby stress, then I notice that in my results – not a good idea. So it is all the more important to understand the available time as valuable, use it sensibly and make the most of it for yourself.