We wargamers are often accused of suffering from the so-called Ooooh Shiny! syndrome; we see something interesting in a movie or on the web and bang! there you have a new project. If you don't watch out you'll be up to your neck in unfinished projects in no time.
People are often a bit worrysome about that, but let's be honest: we can't do anything about it anyway! So let's embrace it as a fun part of our hobby and try to live with it as good as possible. So below you will find 5 Simple Steps to deal with this: a tried and proven method in Casa Pijlie. This is experience talking! 😉 And pay attention: buying things doesn't happen until step 3!
Step 1: Go deep!
Long before I buy anything I always try to go deep and find out as much as possible about a project. When it is historical, there is often a mass of books, movies and documentaries to be found and enjoyed. Be it fantasy, I go to books and movies and it helps to re-watch movies. Or to Google similar stuff. That makes you ponder things, grow ideas and become enthusiastic and inspired. And no cash has been spent so far, or it has been on books.....
Step 2: Then go wide!
Think about the kind of scenarios one could play. Or campaigns. And with whom. Think about the terrain you might need for the project. Ask around if anyone would like to start this project too. Wargaming is, after all, a social hobby and one needs opponents in any case. Starting a project with other people enhances the odds that you might realize something. And that something will usually be bigger than you would be able to do on your own.
Not unimportant: can you combine it with another ongoing or finished project? Especially in the first case you will prevent earlier projects to fade from memory. They might be a great jump-off point for that new and even more enjoyable project!
Step 3: Go for minimal completeness
The important word in this title is "minimal". Ask yourself what you would need to make this project a building, painting and playing experience (assuming you like all that, of course) that you can enjoy and look forward to completing? If you can build a nice army with 5 units, you don't have to buy enough figures to make 15! Create a triple wish list with a minimal, an expanded and a final list of things you would like to have.
Doing this in cooperation with other people obviously reduces the investments in time and money and increases the possibilities. And you can motivate each other to work on it, exchange experiences and results and help each other. Look if you have projects that you really don't (or can't) do anything with anymore and sell things from those to finance new projects. Your old stuff ends up with people who will enjoy it and this also reduces the costs of a new project.
And only now will you start buying stuff J
Step 4: Start working on the smallest possible next game
I always like to start with constructing the smallest possible first game from the start to finish. No more. No less. With small steps you often cover large distances.
That "minimal completeness" will help you here. When you have limited yourself to those 5 units, it will not be so intimidating to paint them. And that in turn helps to keep your motivation afloat. Building on existing parts of your collection obviously speeds this up, but even if you do have to start from scratch, it's still nice to know that you will be able to play as soon as those first units are finished. And if that first game is a lot of fun (and of course we'll assume that by then) that will provide motivation to build and paint more things.When you've gone through your first "minimal" list completely and still like it, now is the time to expand your purchases. Paint a unit, buy or build a new piece of terrain, write a new scenario that you may need specific things for. This way your project grows as long as you enjoy it. And if ever it is really blocked by something else, then at least you will have it finished so far. And start again at step 1!
Step 5: Don't do Deadlines
This seems to be the last step, but actually this is extremely important for all the aforementioned steps. This is a hobby, not a job. There is no need to deliver a performance. It just has to be fun. A project can't fail either. It can stall for a shorter or longer period of time for all kinds of reasons. But it doesn't matter for how long it does so. If you do it right, there are really only shorter or longer running game projects, which always end up being completed or will get merged into a new one.
See step 1. Have fun.