Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Unlikely Truth: Our Hobby Isn't That Expensive

As much fun as complaining about the price of this hobby might be, I'd like to present a counterpoint.

Yesterday was great fun.  I went to a Michigan State football game (vs. Northern Colorado) with my dad while my wife and kids spent the day with my mom.  Looking at the ticket stub, my eyes kept gravitating to the price on the ticket: $49.  And that's just college football... NFL tickets are more.  Potentially a lot more.  Even the act of taking my three kids to an IMAX 3-D movie, after concessions and admission, can get pretty near the $100 mark.  For the price of a weekend activity with the family, one could get a good start on a new army.

Part of why I am suddenly of the opinion that this hobby isn't the money-pit that many people portray it as is the fact that fleeting, temporary entertainment is incredibly expensive, while the same money spent on miniatures is a one-time investment which results in something you can use to your heart's content.   Even in the hobby realm it's comparatively cheap.  Have you ever priced serious RC cars, or model trains?  How about telescopes?  Even plastic military models give war-gaming a serious run for its money.

So the next time you feel obligated to declare that you are never buying from manufacturer X again because of a price hike, or if you get irritated that minis seem to be priced by in-game usefulness rather than the quantity of raw materials used to manufacturer them, take a look around and see what everything else costs.  Good grief, look at your own cell phone bill or cable bill.  Are you really getting your money's worth for those?

Like my dad once said:  I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no socks.


  1. I agree with you. But such a broad statement doesn't apply to each member of our hobby equally.

    For most teenagers this hobby is far more expensive than going out with friends to movies and lunch. A movie ticket in Australia cost about 16 dollars for students. While a Macers meal costs around 7 dollars.

    A box of Tactical Space Marines costs 55 dollars. And that doesn't include the costs of paints, brushes, exacto blade or the files. Paint pots alone cost 6 dollars each.

    So not only is the cost relative depending on who you are. It also depends on where you live.

    I can get an entire 2000 point Sanguinary Guard army from Wayland Games for alittle over 250 AUDs. If I were to get it at retail that 250 dollars wouldn't even get me 5 boxes of troops.


  2. I think where the line comes is when you have a stable income. If you are living with your parents and/or don't have access to a steady revenue stream, this hobby can be REALLY expensive, at least initially. In comparison games with small initial expenditure, like Magic, can seem more affordable because you don't generally have access to that amount of money all at once; you either need to wait to earn it up or find some other way of getting cash.

    Now that I am part of the group that has a stable income I can see it as merely part of my entertainment expenditure- it's really just "Do I go to the movies or get that sweet new tank?" Prioritization becomes the key rather than finding the funds in the first place.

    And if we're talking about miniatures games, we can then compare and contrast with the other companies like FoW and Warmachine, which boast (IIRC) lower costs in general. But still, your point is a good one that, in context, the game doesn't cost all that much for long term enjoyment. Good article. :)

  3. Well , I'm pretty tight with my hobby but you are right, its not so bad , especially if you are willing to do a bit of trading , ebay old stuff and always buy below retail/on a deal etc.

    Thanks for the article

  4. A good point, and well made too. Warhammer is cheap, even, compared to some other hobbies/interests.

    The reason I whine, winge, bitch and moan, is because some GW products have crept up 60% (or more in price), while remaining unchanged.

    My favourite example being plastic cadians for 40k. They were 20 for £15. Now they're 10 for £15. Half the original content, but 100% of the original price. No additions. No changes.

    It's really kind of hard to swallow that. The hobby may still be cheap compared to others, but I'd be surprised if there are many other hobbies that get, on average, 14% more expensive every year, for seven years straight.
    (To clarify, the 14% for 10 years is drawn from cadians doubling in price since their release in 2003)


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