Over on Google+, I asked a question that seems particularly well-suited to Gnome Stew: What does your engagement with gaming as a hobby look like? Specifically, how many hours do you spend on different elements of that engagement, and how does that shake out percentage-wise?
Right now I spend about 14 hours a week engaged with the hobby in some way. Here’s my current breakdown, sorted by time spent:
- Playing 50%
- Reading 29%
- Publishing 7%
- Blogging 7%
- Researching 7%
- Buying 0%
- Design 0%
- GMing 0%
My “buckets” aren’t intended to be exhaustive; rather, they’re personal. You might choose different categories. And of course my stats change regularly: When I’m running a game, GMing spikes; when I’m deep into editing a new Engine Publishing book, publishing goes up.
What got me thinking about this topic was that 0% under “Buying.” I’m trying to dial buying stuff way back, including gaming books, and historically a large part of my engagement with the hobby has been through collecting. I love collecting books, and I miss that aspect of the hobby.
But on the flipside, by doing less of that I’m not only saving money, I’m freeing up time every week that currently goes into playing. Looking back over 30 years of gaming, 50% is probably not my all-time high for playing, but I suspect it’s a record if I look at just the past decade.
So how about it: What does your engagement look like? And are you happy with it? Tell us about it in the comments!
I would hazard to guess I have 24 hours of RPG dedicated time per week, though much of it is dedicated to cartographic related activity to support completing Kickstarter writing a series of tutorial guide books.
Forum Participation/G+/Facebook: 10%
I spend most my working day dedicated to graphic design, digital printing, signwork, with a couple hours each day dedicated to supporting my KS with writing map tutorials, or page layout/illustration tasks supporting my RPG 3PP products. Evenings and Saturdays see doing cartography, game prep and running games on weekend.
I’d guess about two hours a day except on game days, which is more like three or four… so sixteen or seventeen hours a week? But those are average days; sometimes I spend more time than that. Probably about eighteen hours a week.
Let me do some quick calculations…
Hmmm… that’s A LOT of prep work. Of course, I’m not currently doing any games as a player right now (I’m the GM for two, one weekly and one sort of biweekly) and I love RPing so much I have to fill my time with something. But that’s a little sad. Actually, that’s REALLY sad.
I haven’t burned out yet and I’m worldbuilding for two campaigns. But if I stop enjoying every minute of it, I can afford to cut back on prep work. 😛
Oooh I’ve been in a slump lately. Real life keeps throwing fun adventures at me like burst pipes and failing kitchen appliances. Oh and let’s not forget the brakes on my car failing.
But! despite that…
I would say I spend an average of 6 hours per day on tabletop gaming (as opposed to, say, World of Warcraft, haha). Of that:
5% simple playing
20% mapping/illustrating and world building
I spend at least an hour every day on reading or research that applies to my game. Whether that be skimming a Wikipedia article on the heyday of the galleon, or perusing monster stats, or reading (again) the finer points of the magus class, I try to keep the information flow going. I spend a LOT of time on making maps – not usually battle maps, though. I also spend a good deal of time fishing up useful images (or photoshopping them!) to use for NPC portraits, “pan shots” of scenery or locations, and other visual goodies. Half my gaming time is spent on roll20, so the images in particular come in handy then.
I don’t have a percentage for buying books or accessories, but that’s because I’ve been incredibly blessed by extremely generous friends who share their Pathfinder books, and other friends who have bequeathed on me their collections of older gaming books. I have a huge number of Palladium Rifts books, Shadowrun books, and D&D 2nd Ed books, all of which were such gifts. I even have some old West End Indiana Jones books, which I just got. Those please me greatly since that setting and system was the basis of the very first tabletop game I played with my husband of sixteen years! *grin*
I wish I spent more time on gaming sometimes, but I have admitted my own limitations and weaknesses in that I am simply terrible at managing my time. Without some kind of outside pressure imposing a deadline and schedule on me, I’m far too likely to sit down in front of my computer to work and end up playing spider solitaire! *blush*
That’s interesting. I’ve recently been thinking about my time (for a heatmap type look, per Phil in Never Unprepared). Because my games alternate weeks, I’ll include a biweekly average. I spend 10 hours a week on average–much more when my two alternating games are both firing.
I expect GMing to tick up next year, particularly if I run for my home group(s) as I currently expect, but that might be offset by Encounters coming to an end and/or encouraging new GMs to step up.
Great article, and a very interesting exercise to work through.
I recently reduced my weekly prep routine, as described at Tales of a GM:
Mr Micawber and Game Prep: Trimming Your Schedule
However, when deciding upon an average for this reply, I am still putting in 13 hours a week. This breaks down as follows:
Game Prep 23%
Coordination for the game 2%
That is a lot of tasks, but I am happy where the focus is.