Today I am going to cover one of my biggest pet peeves as a gamer. The thing that annoys me more than anything else I hear at a gaming table is the statement "Gaming is too expensive". I guess this statement bugs me because it only takes looking at some basic math facts to prove that it is one of the cheapest hobbies out there. Don'g believe me? Let me prove it!
Last I checked a new rulebook cost around $30-$40, so we will average that out at $35 a book. Now the only book I need to play in a game is generally the players handbook. Yes I CAN buy more, but I don't HAVE too. Now for the sake of arguments lets assume that before I bought the book for $35 I had already played in several sessions (5) and I knew it was a game I would have fun playing (I expect my players to come with their own books in between their fifth and tenth sessions). Also lets assume (again for the sake of argument) that along with the initial sessions I get another twenty sessions of gaming for a grand total of twenty five sessions.
Assuming I never play the game (a very unlikely event in my experience) the price of the rule book breaks down to costing me $1.40 per session. Now assuming that I averaged four hours of game time per session (not at all unrealistic) then the rule book cost me thirty five cents an hour. In comparison an move ticket will cost you about two dollars an hour for entertainment, a gallon of gas costs over three dollars at the moment, and I don't even want to think about concert tickets.
I can already hear somebody saying "But, Da Grizz, you are only looking at one person buying one book! You know most people don't buy just one book for gaming.
To the people thinking that, I will admit they are probably right. So I will use myself as the most extreme example I can think of right off hand. I own more books than anyone I know and in fact when we had a full fledged game store in town I actually had more books than they did (which I am not sure if I should be proud of or ashamed of), so I figure I am a great example of the high side of spending money on gaming.
If I were to estimate the total amount of money I have spent on gaming in my life (including stuff I have lost, given away, had destroyed by dogs and kids etc.) it probably values in at around seven grand give or take. No I am not kidding, in fact I wouldn't be at all surprised if seven grand were a bit of a low ball figure.
Now, as much as I would like to say that I have gamed at least once a week since I started playing at nine years old, the truth is I haven't. I have however, had multiple stretches of time playing in more than one game, countless online games, and more than a few hours planning my next adventure. So, let's just say I have managed to play an average of one four hour period every other week for the last twenty eight years (again I don't think this is at all far fetched, specially if you include planning time). That gives me a grand total of 3,136 hours of gaming. Admitted compared to the seven grand I have spent on the game its not quite thirty five cents an hour, but when you add in the joy I get from having the collection, the fact other friends have used it, and the fact I have spent a great deal of time reading it all, I feel I get an exceptional value for my money. Not to mention I am now introducing the kids to the game and I don't plan to quit gaming any time soon, which increases the value of my gaming books even more.
So next time I get on you to buy your own PHB or the next time you are thumbing through a book that you think might be a good fit for your game, don't tell yourself it's to expensive. Instead look at the fact that you will probably get a better value out of that book than almost any other hobby out there.