Friday, June 27, 2014

The "Comfort Zone" Syndrome

Have you ever been asked to try something new, and refused just because you didn't want to? Not for an actual valid reason, mind you, but simply because you really didn't want to try something new.

Okay, now if you think you've never done that, we can all have a good laugh and just admit it. Whether it is with the types of food we eat, the television shows we watch, we all have a comfort zone that we just don't like to move outside of. There isn't a logical reason for it, it's just because we don't want to.

But can this "Comfort Zone" Syndrome exist in our gaming and hobby world as well?

Of course if can. Not only can it exist, but it's an ugly beast in the hobby world today. Let's take a look at some examples:

"That Game is dumb, I don't want to try it."

Really? How do you know it's Dumb, when you haven't tried it? I've heard this statement about every game from 40K to Infinity, Malifaux to WarmaHordes. There is no reason given that even approaches an attempt at a logic while the nay-sayer just shrugs his or her shoulders and changes the subject. This is someone's comfort zone rearing it's ugly head in it's most raw form.

"My friend says that game isn't worth playing because of blah blah blah…"

This is very close to the first statement. While we all rely on our gaming circle of friends for advice and very much enjoy having fun with them, sometimes they can negatively influence our decisions based on their own bias. So a buddy of yours thinks Game X isn't worth playing…so what? Maybe you'd actually have a lot of fun with it. Maybe your buddy is wrong, or has a misconception of the game. Many times we can feel intimidated by members of our gaming group not wanting to try a game you may actually really like, so we don't rock the boat. Please, rock the boat. Enjoy your hobby!

"I've always played Game X, and don't have any more time or money to play another game."

This borders on a valid argument. At least, right up until said person drops another few hundred dollars on their game of choice. That invalidates the money portion right there. How they spend their time has always been up to them, so that's not a valid argument to begin with.

"I only use Paint Brand X because it's the best"

You know who says that brand is the best? The company who puts it out. I know Golden Demon and Crystal Brush winning painters who not only use paints from nearly every brand available, but some even use basic acrylic craft paint! Experiment, find what colors work best for you and use those, no matter how many different lines you buy from.

"I only buy brushes from Company X/I only use Brush Size Y."

Cause those are the only brushes that are worth a darn, right? I'll be the first to admit that a good tool helps put out a good product. But that's all it does, help. Buy what's comfortable to you, and Lord forbid if you're forced into a situation where your favorite brush may no longer be available to you. I say this, because that's actually what's happening right now with Kolinsky Sable.

"If I like it, I'll have to spend money and/or time on it…"

Ahhh…here's the meat of the matter, and the only honest answer in the bunch. Yes, if you like something new, you may have to change your long-forged habits. However, when we are forced to change something, often that helps promote growth in ourselves for gaming, painting and building.

About 6-8 months ago, Infinity the Game caught my eye again, and instead of letting a low population of people who play in my area influence my decision to like the game, I bought in and started learning. Turns out there are quite a few folks in the area who do play, and there's even some interest in my own group after a couple of use threw in and started. There are so many offerings in the market today, there's no reason to not try a few new ones! Often times, you can go to a local shop and see if they have a demo, or maybe a night that people play said game so that you can get a taste without dropping a wad of cash on something before you know if you like it or not.

The "Comfort Zone" Syndrome is a living, breathing entity within our hobby world, and I for one am tired of letting it dictate what I will and won't play, paint and hobby.

What about you? Are you willing to get off your proverbial Hobby Couch and try something new? What would it be?

- Tim

PS: Sorry for the 3-week hiatus there folks. Work has kept my head spinning, and then I took a much-needed vacation. I'm back though, and am already working on the topics suggested from the birthday post comments. Like I said there, if you have a topic you'd like to see me cover, drop a comment in that post and I'll cover it as a thank-you for making these past three years worth it!




  1. Great post! I did that about two years ago. i was a very "I only paint 40k stuff" Since i stepped outside that comfort zone my painting has improved in leaps and bounds. I've even had requests for commission work o_O Wanna get better at painting? Paint everything. Wanna get better at gaming? play everything. Did i save some cash stepping away from GW to paint everything else? No. In fact, i may have spent even more since there are so many cool mini companies out there but hey, it's been a small price to pay to grow as a painter. Besides, when the display cabinet gets too full i can sell what's there to pay for more!!!!

  2. Good article, Tim. I agree that is easy to settle into a comfort zone. Your article made me realize how I settle into my own in ways I don't realize (ex. other gaming systems).

    I hadn't realized that Kolinsky Sable brushes were going away until I read this and then checked secret weapon miniatures for my favourite brushes. Any recommendations for other brushes to try? Not to get stuck in a rut, but I really love my Raphael Kolinsky brushes. I've had them for 1.5 years or more and they are still my best brushes.

  3. People hate change. It's sort of ironic that someone is unwilling to try a new game system when usually this comes from 40K or Fantasy gamers and GW enjoys changing up their games every 4 years or so.. sometimes to nearly unrecognizable games compared to the previous edition.

    I can understand the money comment. Most people have a very finite hobby budget but if you have a group of friends then just about anything is possible. Want to start Infinity? See if someone you know already plays and doesn't mind loaning out models for games until you have time/money to buy and assemble your own. That's what I've done with our group and it's worked to some degree (I imagine we'd be further along if I lived closer to the bulk of them).

  4. Whats happening to Kolinsky Sable? Should I start stocking up?

  5. Here's a quick link for those curious about what's going on with Kolisnky Sable brushes, with alternative choices suggested.

    It's basically a ban because folks thing they are endangered. In CHINA they are endangered. In RUSSIA they are a nuisance rodent. folks are all in a tizzy and the US has banned the import and export of them for the time being.

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