Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hobby Status Spreadsheet!


A couple of months ago, I shared some details about how I track my progress through this hobby and how satisfying it is to be able to look back on all I've accomplished over the past year.  I ended with a promise to make a blank copy of it available to anyone interested in doing the same.

Well, I'm done!  It took me a bit longer than I thought it would (I initially thought I'd be done with this back in October) but the extra time went into refining the sort of data it tracks (it now accounts for assembly and conversion, in addition to simple painting) and making the formulae as flexible as possible (because I wanted this to be accessible to folks who don't have a lot of Excel experience.)

I'm going to walk through how to access it and then how to use it.

Q: How Do I Access This Thing?

The spreadsheet is a Google Spreadsheet.  To maintain your own copy, you need a Google account: if you have a Blogger blog, you already have one.  It will be added to and interfaced from your Google Documents page.

To get to the blank copy I've created for you (yes, you!) to access:
  • Follow this link.

    You should now be in edit-mode for the spreadsheet.  Inconveniently, though, all of the sheets are locked down.  That's so the sheet is always pristine for the next guy.  When the spreadsheet's in your account, that won't affect you.

  • So, copy the sheet to your Google Docs account.

    Click "File" -> "Make a Copy"



    Call it whatever you want.  It's yours, now.  Leave the checkbox unchecked.
That's all there is to it!

Q: How Do I Use This Thing?

There are six sheets in this sucker.

General rule: if the cell is greyed out: you probably should leave it alone.  It's calculated.

Also, I've include a little bit of data to provide you with an example of how this stuff should look.  Alternatively, you can always check out my copy.

1. Introduction




I blab a bit about what the sheet does and why I did it.  Sort of like I'm doing here, but with less verbosity.  You can delete this if you want, hang onto it, whatever.

2. Hobby


As far as I'm concerned, this is the meat of the sheet.  Here's where you log what you finish as you finish it.  Note the year, the month, the model.  How many, what system and army.  What the type is.

Key fields here are:
  • Quantity - How many
  • Assembly Value - How much work went into putting the model together.  Things scale up from simple kit assembly to scratch building.  How you rate things is up to you.  There's a guide to the right.  
  • Painting Value - The scale of the undertaking.  This is an arbitrary value; I'm including the Lone Pilgrim chart to the right, but how you rate something is up to you.  I gave my display board, for example, a value of "20."
Conveniently, I've made all of these cells yellow.  You're welcome!

If you've painted something without building it, leave Assembly Value blank.  If you build something without painting it, leave Painting Value blank.  (If I build something one month and paint it the next, I'm giving it two lines, but that's up to you.)

I've also included some weights on the right.  You can change those, if you want.  If you're less concerned about painting than you are building, giving assembly a higher number will increase its impact on the rollup.

That rollup, btw, is: Subtotal = (Painting Value * Quantity) + (Assembly Value * Quantity)

3. Gaming


Here's where you track games.  Not much complicated here.  

4. Charts



The other meat of the document: taking the information you've dumped in and spitting it back out at you in chart form.

This is also one of the biggest disappointments: because of the way Google Spreadsheets works, the charts either look funny or don't include all of the data.  So, as you add data series (like a new army, or another month's worth of data), you have to alter the formula that drives the chart.  I'm really sorry about that.  

I've included notes about what you have to do to make that work, though, and I think it's pretty clear.  If there are ever any questions about what to do: don't hesitate to ask me.

I've included charts I find useful and meaningful.  That's not to say that if you wanted to create another one, you couldn't do that. 

5. Calculations & 6. AxM Crosswalk



If you're uncomfortable with spreadsheets, don't touch these.  These guys take the data that you input on Hobby & Gaming, and process it for consumption by the charts.  

If you're okay with spreadsheets: don't let me stop you from playing with them.

Q: What Do I Do With This Thing?

As you plug along with your hobby, just update the sheet.

It's really intended to not be a lot of work.

At first, it'll look sparse and empty, but before you know it it'll have a lot of information and you'll be able to look back on exactly what you've managed to accomplish.

Q: Anything Else?

If you use this, and I'd be thrilled if you did, I'd love it if you let me know.  Fundamentally, this is all about being able to appreciate accomplishments.  If I know I've done something that's helping out your hobby, I'll get to feel good about myself. :)

Also, if you have any questions or need any help with the sheet: drop me a line!  I've tried to make this sucker as automated and simple as possible... but it's not perfect.  I'm happy to back folks up on this.

Get the Warpstone Pile Hobby Status spreadsheet

Tomorrow, as part of my year-in-review, I'm going to dredge up and share some data from my copy.  That should provide some real examples of this thing in action.

Hope this is helpful!
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