First off, let me apologize for the extended break between 40k FNG articles.  The holidays came hand in hand with a bad streak of 40k games and I really didn’t have very many positive things to say about the hobby for a while there.  So, rather than vent my frustrations to the Internet and whine like a baby, I whined like a baby IRL and did one of the smartest things I’ve done since coming into the hobby:  I took some time off.

A couple of weeks went by without me having any interest in playing a game of 40k, and so I didn’t!  Imagine that!  Rather than force myself to go down to the store and play I just sat at home and did other things.  More recently, I found myself trying other games out just to see if I enjoyed them more.  Turns out I do!

Don’t worry, I’m not about to turn this into a 40k vs. Other Game flamewar, because not only did playing Another Game tickle my fancy, it also helped me enjoy my games of 40k a lot more.

Every game system is different and they all have good things to offer.  When you get frustrated by some of the drawbacks in a system (and 40k has plenty) it’s really nice to have a friendly shoulder to cry on.  Find yourself in the midst of a losing streak and wondering why you spend all that money and time on toy soldiers?  Play with another set!  If you’re anything like me, you’ll appreciate the differences in both systems and learn to pick out the good and play past the bad.

For example, I loathe the way vehicles up and explode in 40k.  Call me weird, but I never enjoy it when a single 5 point meltagun takes out 240+ points of Land Raider, even when it works out in my benefit.  So I started playing Another Game where vehicles and their equivalents last a lot longer, and don’t go down for the count unless it’s in a concentrated hail of fire or particularly nasty tactic.  There’s no “meltagun” equivalent in the system, and I like that a lot.

Combat in my Other Game is very cinematic, with lots of crazy attacks and hilarious outcomes.  As a result, I’ve started approaching 40k with a completely different mentality.  Now I’m trying to do hilarious things with my units more often just because I think it will be fun.  By playing a new game, I seem to have broken my competitive streak just a bit and opened the door for a more relaxed attitude, which I sorely needed.

And I will be god-damned if the dice don’t like my weird playing better.  I realize that I am probably only remembering the good rolls because I’m having more fun, but I prefer the idea that the dice are rewarding my reckless and fun playstyle.  Not only that, but playing other games presents you with new and different tactical situations that help to hone your overall generalship.

On the hobby side, I’ve got new things to paint in different colors, which has me excited about painting again.  There’s nothing like painting 40 Space Wolves in the same color – one after another – to make you never want to pick up a brush again.  I also chose a much smaller-scale game to play, and so I am not really hurting my painting queue too much.  Instead I feel like I’m getting a lot of work done with very little effort, and having new and different models to paint is making me want to finish my Wolves, too!

You always run a risk by playing more than one game at a time, but it’s a manageable risk.  Don’t buy too many models at once, or you’ll never paint your way out of it.  Don’t double-book your gaming nights, or you’ll end up being stressed out.  Stress is the enemy of polyamory.  Shop around for a game that scratches whatever itches 40k doesn’t for you, be it a more campaign-friendly ruleset or a fantasy setting, and play a couple demo games.

There’s always room on your plate for more than one game, and sometimes it’s just what the doctor ordered.  I’m glad I found something else and doubly glad it works so well in tandem with with 40k.  I’m back on the wagon after a long streak of un-fun gaming, and having a grand ol’ time as a tabletop gaming free agent.

You can find me also at my blog Sweeping Advance

Questions for Comment:

  1. How do you handle 40k burn out?
  2. How do you go about managing your 40k buying?
  3. What is your 40k alternative game?