Home Forums General General Wargaming and Parenthood – A Tricky Mix

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    Avatar photoDan Kennedy

    Like many of you I’m sure, I’ve got kids. Mine are two girls aged 6 and 2, and I’ve found that since the eldest was born my gaming went into a weird haitus.

    We live in a nice part of South London and are lucky enough to have a house just about big enough for all of us. But that’s where it stops – all my 28mm stuff went to the SELWG bring and buy five years ago because I just didn’t have space for it, and I went into 6mm with a vengeance, rekindling my love for Renegade Legion. But even that has languished in the cupboard for too long now (not selling it though!).

    My eldest actually enjoys painting miniatures and I buy stuff for her to do while I try and get my 6mm stuff ticking over, but invariably I end up helping her more. I do now however possess one of the most garishly painted Blood Bowl teams around so it’s win-win! The youngest of course has to be kept far way from all of it lest she drink the paint or something.

    So I’ve turned to my old collection of hex and counter board games. They at least allow me to set up some kind of game, play a bit, then take a photo of the board before packing it away until I next get the chance to continue it. It’s all solo of course but I’m still enjoying it. Any gaming is still better than no gaming, and maybe one day I’ll get to making the terrain for the Renegade Legion stuff. Until then there’s still the paper maps.

    How do you all manage to balance the kids and the games?


    Avatar photoMike

    Long story short, I don’t.
    I get about 3 or 4 games a year, pretty much they will be solo at that.

    All the local clubs meet during weekends or Friday nights.
    IF there was a club that played of an evening and not on a Friday I could join and play.
    The only club that I am aware of that meets this criteria plays giant games with everyone playing in the same game.
    I prefer one on one games…

    6mm you say…

    Avatar photocmnash

    I had pretty much the same experience.  The only painting I managed was after they went to bed and even then finding the motivation to paint something that I really didn’t know when I was going to use was very difficult …

    My local club (at the time) met on a Friday night & I did manage at one point to have every other Friday evening as my allotted ‘night out’ which was good while it lasted.




    Avatar photoPatG

    I second it – You Don’t. When my girls were your’s age, a career counsellor told me that “Go to work, come home, dinner, kids to bed, tv, crash – repeat” is normal for families with young children. I did no gaming during that time – I was too busy being a parent. As the years rolled on things got better until in their pre-teen years, I was finally able to restart my lead collection. We also started a family D&D game which lead to a little painting on their part. They both wound up DMing for their friends and my 20 year old is actively involved in an online Rogue Trader rpg so something must have rubbed off.

    The teen years were better. Understanding that living in a house with three women has its challenges, my wife had a new garage built as my man cave, and gave me permission to retreat there as needed. With the girls now grown up and leaving the house, it’s bittersweet – I am sad to see them go, but boy have I made a lot of progress on the lead pile.


    I have one daughter and managed to game maybe once every few weeks during the evening. Work and lots to do now so its gone down to about one multiplayer game every four months, a few solo games and lots of painting.

    Avatar photoMike

    The only painting I managed was after they went to bed and even then finding the motivation to paint something that I really didn’t know when I was going to use was very difficult …

    Yes, this.
    I think you have just hit the nail on the head.

    I recall getting excited about painting things to see how they fared in a game, without the promise of a game the desire to paint has waned.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    I decided to get back into gaming in 2010 after a long hiatus when my children were 2 and 4.  I started playing some games solo and blogged about them.  That was 6 years ago and  I still mostly game solo but do get in the occasional face to face game.

    I started playing on 2’x2′ boards hidden away in some map drawers, originally as that was the only size that fits in the drawers, and also so the children  could not get at them.  I have not become very attached to that size table and play 15mm ancients, 6mm battalion/company WW2 and Skirmish 20mm WW2.

    I also have a stack of old boardgames that I thought I would start playing too, but was so enamoured with playing with my miniatures that I could not bring myself to  play with cardboard counters.  A game I have always wanted to play – Steve Jackson’s One Page Bulge – I had setup in the map drawers for nearly three years before I finally played it earlier this year.  I have played a couple more boardgames since then but this year my focus has been elsewhere and so miniature gaming has slid a bit, but hopefully back at the normal pace by Christmas.


    The children and I play the odd game here and there – the oldest I have played One hour Wargames when she as 8, the youngest Zombicide a few times earlier this year (he was 7).  We are likely to play some more games of various types – the three of us recently played a co-op 20mm WW2 game on a 4.5’x5′ (have not had a chance to write it up yet).  My next games with them I am hoping to setup a modern day THW Larger than Life/Pulp Alley type game focused on short table top games to find clues/objects/treasures that link together to solve a mystery.  They both love Scooby-Doo so something like that, but with each scene a table top encounter.

    For the last three years we have also got in about about a dozen games of Warhammer Quest together (I posted one game with them here:

    http://shaun-wargaming-minis.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/warhammer-quest-simplified-with-my.html )

    My oldest (daughter) is nearly 10 and has expressed interest in painting some figures.  i was given a stack of plastic Warhammer Fantasy a few years ago and so I am hoping to set here loose on them sometime.  I don’t really paint much myself, and tend to purchase pre-painted, but have done a little bit here and there.

    The blog is here: http://shaun-wargaming-minis.blogspot.com.au/

    The 1000,000 post from a few years ago explains the setup a bit more and has a picture of the map drawers that are in the lounge:



    So my children made me go in unexpected directions (2’x2′ gaming) that I have found I love, and also provide gaming ideas as well.




    Avatar photoDan Kennedy

    Glad to know it isn’t just me !

    In all seriousness it’s almost a relief to find out that others do as little gaming as I do. That’s one of the reasons I turned back to board games: it’s all provided, don’t have to paint anything, and with a phone camera I can record the situation and then pack it away knowing I can set it up again easily.

    I will get back to Renegade Legion though. I love that game!

    Avatar photoPaul

    Wow – as Dan said, all of us with young kids seem to be in the same boat. I very rarely get a game in (although I have now found a club that meets on Wednesday nights for WH40K, so that might soon change. It just means that historicals are on the backburner so I can get together a decent WH40K army) because I would rather spend the time with my son and wife. Where I’m different is that I certainly don’t struggle with motivation to paint when the little guy is asleep, but I think that this is because, to me, the painting, building terrain, converting minis, etc., is the primary part of the hobby, and the actual gaming part is secondary.

    That said, I am really looking forward to rolling dice and having a few beers on a Wednesday night – must just get my Imperial Gaurd army ready for battle, and then I will try and sneak historical games into the club as time goes by; I’m thinking of writing Warhammer-esque stats up for a lot of my historical stuff to more easily convince fellow club members into trying their hands at Colonials, Samurai, Moderns, etc.

    That said, though, enjoy your time with your kids; they will only be kids once, and there will be plenty of time for games when retirement rolls around.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    It gets better as they get older…..

    Avatar photoNorm S

    I feel like the odd one out …… Had kids and kept gaming!

    It was a long time ago (no internet – see note below). But they were never the problem to gaming, rather work with its increasing demands over the years and being tired from working long hours has been the biggest long term barrier to gaming, made worse in later years due to a back injury interfering with play.

    I believe that the biggest barrier to gaming for most in today’s age is actually the computer / tablet / phone …. It is just too easy to sit in front of it for two hours a night. This then becomes behaviour and the gaming, painting or modelling gets squeezed out.

    Avatar photoDan Kennedy

    Well now that’s hard to argue with given that I’m using an iPhone to write this. And when kids take over everything a smartphone or tablet becomes your own little slice of privacy, the only access you have to websites and blogs and forums which may be the only way you can keep abreast of what’s going on or keep your interest up.

    I think Norm is correct that ‘screen time’ can take away from hobby time; I guess it’s just a matter of willpower to make sure we don’t do that.

    Avatar photoKaptain Kobold

    <p>Maybe I wasn’t gaming or painting as intensely as some others, but I don’t recall a significant falling off in my activities when parenthood reared its ugly head.  Maybe that fact that, whilst I have two, they were born just over a year apart, so each of our stages of parenting were  intense but soon over an we moved on to the next bit. Perhaps having two or more children in differing age groups eats into free time differently. Anyway, as mine got older they started gaming as well, so it became a hobby we could enjoy together; they both competed in HOTT tournaments with me before they were ten, for example.</p><p>Now I’m at the stage where I’m the parent of adults and in a couple of months the youngest won’t even be a teenager. One has left home and doesn’t game any more really (aside from some X-Box stuff), whilst the other is at university and still plays board, card and role-playing games on a fairly regular basis. But I’ve ended up like Norm, with  the internet consuming far to much time that I could be spending gaming or doing the onerous task of painting or modelling.</p>

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