The Wargamer’s Impulse

Retro Spaceship DicetowerMost miniature wargamers I know are prone to impulse purchases, a condition that manifests in many forms, from buying figures from a spanking new range of beautiful miniatures in a historical period you’d never thought you would collect or game in, to the purchase of a glossy new set of wargaming rules you have no intention of playing, just because you want to see how they work.

“You might need it” is a powerful form of encouragment offered by the friends of the wargamer with impulse buying syndrome.   Or, when you can’t decide between product A and B, they help you with the inevitable suggestion, “Why not take both.”

The impulse buy is that one thing you’ve got to have, because you’ve got to have it.  That thing you’ll spend your gas money on and eat crackers for lunch in order to purchase it, and then hide it from your companion when you bring it into the house so they don’t know you bought it.  Its the reason why gamers joke about having mountains of unpainted lead so they’ll live forever, or being safe in their lead-lined game rooms from the threat of nuclear fall-out.

The Wargamer with no impulse control has bins, boxes and cabinets full of impulse buys, most of whose contents have not seen the light of day for years.  Eventually, some items may make their way back into the light, only to end up on Ebay, a convention flea market table or at a boot sale, but only for the purpose of generating the capital needed for the next impulse purchase.

Of course, I’m guilty of the same and can illustrate the point as follows.  Recently, a mild mannered mathematical sciences librarian, astronomer and software developer at Brigham Young University named Tom Stephens developed a fascination with desktop 3d printing.  In order to generate the funds to buy a printer, he launched a Kickstarter campaign and designed a functional 3d dice tower in the shape of a Retro Spaceship that he planned to print as a campaign reward.  The campaign failed to make the funding target, but his wife bought him a 3d printer anyway, and he offered his Kickstarter investors the opportunity to buy the Retro Spaceships of their choice, with two sizes, different colors and the option of an attached or seperate dice tray at the bottom.  Oh my.

This is where I entered the picture.  Having seen the Kickstarter campaign, I had to have me one of those Retro Spaceship dice towers, in silver thank-you.  Did I need a dice tower?  No.   Do I do any pulp fantasy or sci-fi gaming where a retro spaceship would fit in?  No.   So why then?   Why not?  I needed it because its cool.  Because someday, I might do some pulp fantasy or sci-fi gaming, who knows?

And you know what, I don’t regret it a bit.  I have no idea where I’m going to put it and I doubt I’ll ever use it…but I do have ambitious, and as yet unfulfilled, plans of sanding and painting it at some specified date in the future, and finding a place to display it in all its geeky glory.  Because at some point, my wife will want it off the kitchen table, along with that Modge Podge and blue felt that represent another impulse to undertake an experiment in river terrain fabrication.

Moreover, to further illustrate the irresistible force that is the Wargamer’s impulse…here is a link to a page where you can buy your own Retro Spaceship dice tower.   Go on…no one’s watching.  It’s just one click away.

And if you resisted that, I understand Home Depot is now selling Dremel 3d printers, so you can make your own.

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