Last night I went with my wife to listen to an author by the name of Donald Miller ( http://www.donaldmillerwords.com/ )whose book I'm currently reading called Painted Deserts. I won't go into details about the book, but I would like to talk about something he mentions in his book, Why & How questions.
First off, in a nutshell there are really two kinds of questions that we all ask, and these could be broken done into a Primary Question (Why) and a Secondary Question (How). So how (or why) does this have anything to do with gaming? Well let me explain.
I happen to frequent a few game forums and I see allot of people asking How do I do this? how do I win?, How do I build this? How do I paint this? Etc, the list could go on and on. Heck there are a ton of books and websites as well as a ton of folks willing to give advice out there to on How to do these things people are asking about. It seems that allot of people want the answers given to them without having to figure it out for themselves. Now I'm not saying that this is bad, Heck I have even asked "How to" questions and I have read and listened to advice given. What I'm trying to say is the How is not as important to the Why.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is Why do we game? Why do we build? Why do we paint? the question must first be answered before we ask How. Am I getting to deep here?? Maybe, but lets think about this for a minute and take a look at the3 Why questions I just asked.
Why do we game? Or better yet Why do I game? Well I game for the enjoyment and the adventure of creating a story. I enjoy spending time with friends that have the same interests as me. I like to recreate glorious tales on the table top and it speaks to the adventurer inside of me. I want to be like the characters on the table top, struggling for some greater good that only the Lead & Plastic minds can comprehend. But really I can't put my finger on Why I game, my brain can't wrap itself around Why I do this. Best perhaps to move onto the next question.
Why do we build tiny armies or put together figures or terrain. I suppose some folks like to feel like God, creating things (if you believe in that, which I do!). I guess we all like to create things, it gives us a sense of accomplishment and in some way we feel good about that. I suppose that we are created in Gods image than, since He liked what he created and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree (unless it's the Tree of Knowledge!). So in a nutshell, we like to build armies & terrain features because it feels good.
Why do we paint? Well I guess this is just like the above question in a way, but I really do not like seeing naked lead or plastic on the table! lets be honest, painted figures always die last on the game table, unless your not painted very well, than someone whose better looking than you dies last. A friend & I did an experiment of sorts a few years ago now, we watched gamers at shops & at cons and watched how they pulled off there casualties. The unpainted or poorly painted figures were always the first to go! So I guess we all like to paint just so are stuff stays on the table longer. But really I think it's more to do with the creation theme though.
So I guess after we ask Why we do these things, than we should ask How to do these. Maybe I'm over thinking this and it really doesn't have anything to do with gaming. But just take a moment to ask Why first instead of How...