Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Irene asked me recently why I keep a list of books I have read, and, by extension, why I track miniatures games I've played and miniatures I have painted. Modern management theory suggests that if you don't measure something you can't manage it. I don't buy into the business theory of the week, but it does make some sense...

                                     Miniatures Painted
          Games     54h 54f 40h 40f 25h 25f 20h 20f 6h 6f
2009     19           1     4    13   2                (6)   48       36
2010     17                  1    12
2011     17                  3      1   5                (4)   12
2012     35                  3      2 58          17          24
2013     28                               7          73  (4)     3

h: horse f: foot (): chariot horses

(Note: blogger is eating my table formatting...)

I ended up with my notebooks from 2009 through 2011 in my hands this morning, so I decided to tabulate my game and painting records from the past few years. I hadn't realized that 2010 had been such a bad year for painting.

This year has been pretty good, at least compared to other recent years, and I hope to have a few more things finished before the end of the year, so it should be better yet.

However ...

Last year was the year of the Kickstarter deals too good to pass up. When that stuff arrived this year, my backlog of unpainted miniatures went from being something reasonable to something frightening. Getting the painting numbers up in response has been good, but I don't really want to do the math and figure out how long it would take to paint everything.


  1. You know: it has never occurred to me to monitor my wargames production in this way. Possibly because I'd want to include kits built, painted (and, presumably bought and yet to be assembled), scratchbuilt models, terrain pieces (Buildings, trees, field works, walls, fences and hedgerows, rivers, etc and so on and so forth. As something of a 'binge worker' I tend to do a whole lot in a short time, then squat for an embarrassingly long time. My record, though, is 81 figures in an evening - Airfix ACW Confederates, 3 regiments of 27 figures. I don't think this included the flags, though.

    In the last 4 months I think I have painted 64 lead figures, scratchbuilt 7 or 8 simple buildings in 1:48? scale, begun painting 3x31-figure modern 'battalions' in plastic, begun paint well over 100 figures in 1:48 scale, begun building 5 Recon vehicles (scratch)...

    Heck of a lot of 'beguns' there - not so many 'finishes'. Project creep, that's what it is!

    1. I might also note that I started keeping statistics after reading Hal Thinglum's editorials in MWANs back in the late 80s or early 90s. He did, and it seemed like a good idea. While my numbers (still to be posted) only go back to 1995, somewhere in my old notebooks are the numbers from a previous attempt at keeping track from a few years earlier.

  2. The fact that I don't track terrain that way may be a contributing factor to being perpetually behind on it...

    And there's definitely a pyramid effect: more bought than started, more started than finished, and sometimes even more finished than played...

  3. Also interesting to correlate with non-wargaming life events and note the impact.

    I was a little disturbed last year to see how many blog posts I had made, esp when the other blog was added in. By reducing that I had hoped to increase time spent painting but it hasn't worked since I can blog almost anywhere in the house and thus double task at times but I can only paint when my cat is off my painting chair. (or when I am enthused enough to shift him).

  4. I assembled the rest of the data, going back to the fall of 1995 for painting, and 1999for games, and I'm trying to figure how to get a neat table inserted into the next post.

    That will really show the influence of outside events, and I might even comment on some of it. :P

    I have kept track of the backlog of unpainted figures at so e points in the past, trying to paint 2 for every one bought, but that was depressing, so I stopped...