first draw. It was also the first game I proxied a unit I didn't own.
Proxies are just a part of the game for our group. We all live very full lives with lots of family activities and other hobbies that pull us in multiple directions. Combine that with new players, and completely painted pieces are still a bit of a luxury. We try to reduce the number of proxies, or "counts as" units with each game. But the reality is, while our armies are looking better they are far from complete.
For me, I've always proxied units that I own. The proxy wasn't so much an attempt to try something new as it was just a means of getting something on the board. Normally my proxies represented an item I had that was possibly unopened in the box, not table ready, was at a state of "in progress" that had them in pieces, or were still on the sprue.
It wasn't until I was being regaled with battle reports of other people that I realized they were using their proxies to not only represent units they had, but units they wanted to have or hadn't gotten yet. Without realizing it I did the same thing, and only after the fact it dawned on me that I had shifted in my behavior.
Now, for the record I own quite a few Ork pieces and am working diligently to get them painted. So proxying is still primarily a means to get something on the table to represent that which I haven't finished yet. But as my army grows in completeness, and my acquisitions become less "Oh my god I need more Boyz" to "What don't I have yet that I could really use" I am transitioning my proxy behavior. I still have units that I run as "counts as" or are shells of their future selves, but now I'm running things I haven't bought yet to either try out, or because I just spent a bunch of money on some other Orks, and some things I want I just can't afford yet. Right now I'm playing a game during my lunch hours this week where I have 5 Ork Boyz that count as Lootas that I am buying from a friend but haven't been able to meet up to make the transaction, an unpainted Warboss as a Wierdboy because I wanted to try that unit out, and a foam block as a Looted Wagon because after using it in my draw I've decided I like it and plan on converting something (probably Tau) when I save up some more money.
So how does everybody else handle proxies? Do you set time limits for how long a proxy can be used? Do you keep it to things you own? Do you use it to test a unit out before buying it? Are there restrictions to what units will be allowed to proxy for others? What I mean by that last question is not so much a grot for Thraka, but I'm thinking do you make HQ proxy for a named or alternate HQ, or troop for troop, and then a similar sized object for vehicles? I'm just really curious how other people and/or gaming groups handle the Proxy Conundrum.