I'm not advocating anything crazy like illegally downloading gaming materials. No, that is illegal and immoral.
There are tons of things that you can do, legally, though that will help you pad out your gaming experience and save you tons.
While some of this may seem obvious to you young fellers out there, don't forget that many of us are old curmudgeons who grew up in a time before the Internet, when we had to look things up in books. Hell, I made it all the way through high school without a connection myself.
I'd like to keep this a sort of open topic for today, giving you guys space in the comments section to share how you've used the net to stretch your hobby bucks, but here are a few ideas to get the idea rolling:
|look at me I'm expensive|
Sure you could show everyone how awesome you are by owning the entire Osprey series of books, but shit, those things are expensive. At the end of the day, they don't even really have anything that you can't track down with a few quick Google searches either. Sure, it's nice to feel a book and yes it's nice to have a lot of oddly specific information organized all in one place, but if you're trying to save a few bucks, you can't beat free research.
I use the net all the time for anything from getting reference pictures of rust on bulldozers to figuring out uniform color schemes. When recently faced with the problem of figuring out just what the different shoulder piping colors meant on German WWII uniforms, I damn near broke down and got me some books on the subject. Then, the inner miser took over and I was able to find this useful chart. Now my wallet and FoW army are both happy.
|yeah I'm looking at you you piece of crap|
Let's face it, while there are lots of books and videos out there showing us how to paint, model, kit bash, etc, they usually suck. Why shell out buku bucks for a sub par product?
Well maybe you want some pretty pictures to look at and all that, but for my money (ie no money), I'd rather spend some time on the net learning how to do things. Given that fine folks like Les Bursely publish tons of how to's and even video tutorials, there's a lot of high quality stuff out there.
I often give the Forge World "Modeling Masterclass" book credit for really upping my painting game. It's a great book chock full of useful tips and tricks. At the end of the day, though, it doesn't have anything in it I couldn't have found free at countless other gaming or military modeling blogs and sites. That was $50+ I could have saved for a rainy day.
Itching to pick up something new but worried about weather it's any good? Well odds are somebody else has already done you the favor of figuring out if it's any good or not. Lauby dropped some science last week about what not to waste your money on. He's not alone in performing that service. If you want to give a new game like Malifaux or Infinity a try, just do a quick search for some product reviews. Hell you could even use he HoP Search Engine, so you know you'll only get the best results ever. Now, armed with all your new knowledge, you know whether or not that purchase is really what you need.
And that's how the Internet works folks. So let us know how you use those tubes. Hit us up in the comments with your own hot tips for using the net for gaming fun and profit.