The world of miniatures gaming is an interesting and diverse one. It’s developed quite a bit since rules were first drawn up for games played with tin soldiers around the turn of the century. Today, there are hundreds of different miniatures lines with their own rule sets and backstories.
For this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we decided to talk with one of the leading voices in miniature gaming, and get her take on this evolving hobby.
Teri Litorco has been gaming with miniatures since being introduced to the hobby by her then-boyfriend.
“The short story was that I met a boy in high school who I basically saw every day and would go home and play Starcraft with him online at night. As we were moving in together to attend university, I discovered a box full of miniatures he had squirreled away in shame, thinking I would somehow shun him for being that kind of geek. They were from a game that inspired Starcraft, so I was all in and ended up painting both his and my first armies (albeit poorly),” she remembers. “The end of that story is that I eventually married that boy, and now I legally own half of all his models. If we ever divorce, I'll be cutting them and taking the left half of each and every one.”
From that point on, her interest in miniature gaming continued to grow. More and more, Litorco saw the hobby as being more about the community than just the games themselves.
“I took a summer job for a miniature game publisher that had a chain of retail stores way back in 2003, which profoundly affected the way I saw the hobby. It wasn't just a competitive game (despite the fact that at the time, my involvement in it was heavily influenced by the competitive community) because it offered so much more. It was a way for people to connect with a community. It could give confidence to youngsters who could excel strategically and/or creatively, and it could even be therapeutic for hobbyists with mental health issues and physical injuries, many of whom had served in the military.”
Litorco’s career made a shift into media when she began a video series talking about the hobby in a way she didn’t see represented at the time.
“I started a YouTube channel to teach people the basics I felt people weren't talking about on the platform including fundamental basic painting techniques, like thinning paint to the right consistency and drybrushing. Around the same time, Felicia Day announced that the Geek & Sundry would be looking for vloggers.”
She got the job with Geek & Sundry and has been vlogging for them ever since. That opportunity led to her role as the Contributing Editor at Geek & Sundry, and even landed her a book deal for The Civilized Guide to Tabletop Gaming.
Litorco loves a lot of different aspects of miniature gaming, from the cathartic nature of the building and painting of the miniatures themselves, to the challenge of head-to-head competition.
“The hobby aspect of building and painting miniatures is creatively stimulating and rewarding. When I am working on a project, the world falls away and it's almost like meditation. I'm able to focus on my project and being completely in the moment. Playing games is engaging on an intellectual level. I love being challenged with tactics and strategy. I also love meeting people and I do that a lot when I play games at conventions and events. So many of my closest friends are people I've met because I've been involved in the hobby.”
From the outside, the world of miniature gaming can seem intimidating. Litorco suggests starting with something you’re really interested in for a first project, and just dive in and give it a shot.
“I always tell people who are interested in painting and playing games with painted miniatures to start with miniatures they're excited to paint. Minis that don't inspire the imagination are a chore to put paint on. Throw some primer on the miniatures, grab some paints and some brushes, and start rolling. There are tons of resources out there, and support groups for people looking to start in the hobby, so reach out. I'll often get messages on social media asking about techniques and I'm happy to answer them as well. “
With so many years working professionally in the hobby and so many painted miniatures under her belt, we wanted to know what had been her favorite model to paint over the years.
“That's really tough one. I can honestly say that I'm most proud of my most recent personal painting project: my Forsaken St. Mary Dark Age Force, which is new and small, but one that stretched me and showcases what I'm capable of as a hobbyist.”