If I really think about it, the thing I enjoy most about a lot of the ‘gamer’ hobbies is when I get a chance to build something. From building a character from low level. To assembling an army or team. Heck, the only video game I really enjoy is about building something. That is what I enjoy doing in the hobby. For some people it is the game itself, the battles, the interaction, but for me it is the building.
Which is probably why I go back to role playing so much. Because the build up is really an integral part of role playing, at least for me. I love coming up with a character to start, and then gradually acquiring the stuff, and skills, to become what I want that character to be. And in a good game that never ends, I am always tinkering. In my Pathfinder game I have a document where I write down what Feats and Skills I will improve next, as well as what magic items I want. I remember in one Shadowrun game I played I drove my GM nuts with all the tinkering and planning, figuring out new tech items to buy, skills to improve. And it is fun when the DM asks if anyone can do something, expecting the answer of no, and you can say yes, my character has that skill covered, or the magic item to counter that bad guy.
And in this current setting for the boys I am beginning to really get into that part of it. Sure I had to alter things a little after the last session. But I have a plan, and I am enjoying writing the adventure that will take the players to that stage. And part of this is what I talked about yesterday. I am slowly building out the overall setting from the small village they started in. With each arc of the campaign they will learn a little more about the world around them and increase what they know of the world. Which is a fun exercise for me.
When I was into table top miniature games the thing I enjoyed most was constructing a force or an army. Getting an army book or rule book, deciding how I would construct the force. Buying the desired miniatures, and then assembling and painting them. And then playing the game almost became secondary. Which is probably one of the reasons I enjoyed the Blood Bowl league I was in a few years back, because that game and style lend themselves to that idea of developing a team from a starting point, who gets what skills etc.
If I go really far back, I can remember when I used to buy little army men and tanks and build model airplanes. I remember my interest and goal was in assembling an order of battle that would resemble a historical unit. Playing with them was fun, but trying to create that force was more interesting. Most of my friends probably thought I was weird when I talked about orders of battle etc.
And when it comes to video games the only one I have ever really enjoyed is Civilization. Which is the ultimate building game. Game play interested me far less than being able to build that successful Empire.
If I had more time I might turn this into other things, crafts. But that is not really where my interests lie. I prefer the more intellectual planning to the actual building.
So if you asked me what the ‘gaming’ hobby means to me, what do I really like about it, it would be the chance to build something. To create worlds and characters out of nothing. To construct armies from a few figures. It is where the real joy of the hobby comes from.