Gadget

This content isn't available over encrypted connections yet.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

The Great Wargames Survey 2015.

Well this months Wargames Soldiers and Strategy confirmed for me why it is my favourite wargames magazine. Apart from the theme being about the Italian Condottieri they also published the results of their yearly Great Wargames Survey.
 I have found that WSS consistently provides some item that gets my old grey cells moving, and moves away from the spoon fed fluff that seems to inhabit our wargaming press in the main.
 Normally one can be a tad cynical about poll's and surveys, as witnessed in our last General Election series of polls.
 However the mere fact that over 8000 wargamers took the time to reply to the survey must provide a fair degree of authenticity to the findings.
 I found of great interest, the results of the most popular periods of the respondents.
 Science Fiction piled in to first place! with World War Two in second, and Fantasy in thrd.
 My areas of interest, were down to seventh [ Napoleonic], Eighteenth century warfare weighed in at twelfth and Pike and Shotte at thirteenth.
 The ancient period, once the colossus of the wargaming community could only manage a paltry sixth. Phil Barker must be spitting feathers.
 Pulp Gaming was up to fifth in the poll of polls, so Zombies are confirmed as very popular.
So what conclusions can one draw from the survey, as regards the choice of favourite periods. Well it is pretty clear that the newer wargamer, ie under 40 is more game orientated, and less war orientated.
 It tends to confirm that younger wargamers are more history light and the old duffers [ ie me] is happier reading about history and then attempting to play a game representing what they have read.
 This is not to decry [well not too much] the younger gamer, but it does confirm for me anyway, just how piss poor our education system is as regards the teaching of history, and the reading of factual accounts. And to confirm my prejudices this week, I witnessed an episode of Pointless, where a university graduate answered that James Callaghan, had been a president of the United States.
 [ F.F.S]
 I think it should also be a wake up call to historical wargamers of the need to make more effort to get younger wargamers interested in historical wargames. I certainly think that smaller historically based games like Saga, have an important role in capturing a few youngsters [ie under 40]
 I noted that the Medieval  period had finished fourth in the poll. Clearly Saga and the like had had some effect on wargaming tastes. So perhaps it is time to introduce a Napoleonic equivalent.
  Still its not all doom and gloom in the wargaming world. At least there is a good percentage of gamers under the age of 40 happy to play a game with toys. Some will see the light and move into historical wargaming.
  I did find it very interesting, that the Ancient period had fallen so far from grace, considering how in the 1970's,everyone played ancients. But that is history for you.
  For me.  I will continue to potter about in my niche periods of Napoleonic's, the Seven Years War and the Renaissance, staying in the shadows, where I can read the odd tome of military history and plan my next foray into this wonderful hobby we have.

Some clever person clearly saw the writing on the wall as regards the future of ancient wargaming, when they producded this.







 

13 comments:

  1. Robbie,
    I found the article equally interesting. I don't find any negatives in fact it confirms that the hobby is alive and growing, the key things are diversification ( there's more fantasy and scifi companies than ever) and as we've said before they generally produce game systems that can be played in a couple of hours. Last night at the club it was almost like turning the clock back in one corner as a large group were trying out manticore games dungeon game ( hark back to DandD) there was a large sci fi game on and two Big battle DBA. All games that can be played in an evening.
    I woul like to see Ancients get a bit of a make over - I love big battle but there is room for small scale action type games.
    Still lots of positives and see you at Stockton

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning Graham,
      Your right there are positives to take from the survey. I also found it interesting that there were actually women completing the survey as well. Now as I've said before, that is definitely one way to get new blood into the hobby. I dont have the imagination to 'get' sci fi, although years ago I did enjoy reading the Dune series, but that doesnt really count.Anyway looking forward to Stockton.

      Delete
  2. I'll wait until I read it myself but from your post I tend to agree with both you and Graham- but up to a point don't care. Like all surveys they only count as far as the respondents are concerned.
    As Graham says there are far more sci-fant players out there than historical players- this has been true for several decades- apparently its more acceptable to kill a model of an imaginary being that to kill a model of something that might have existed. There is also the perception of "fun" and that actually knowing things can't possibly be "fun".
    From my own "survey" - ie what the customers areactually buying I'd put Napoleonic and ACW up there with WW2 Ancients and Medievals in the mix. Colonials not to be ignored either- and thats just this week . More minor periods would include Moderns and Pike and Shot with a bit of 7YW.
    I'd like to know how often the respondents to the survey expect to play and what age groups the respondents came from.
    I'd also like to know what effect the 20 years or so of being told that our hobby is all about the game has had on our bretheren- obviously some but how can you quantify an opinion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning Andy,
      Re the age thing, there was a clear split with the younger wargamer opting for sci fi etc, while the older ie us, naturally opting for historical games. Children of the 1970's Im afraid.

      Delete
  3. My local club [on Catterick Garrison] is all about Science Fiction gaming. That's the most popular genre and what really gets them all excited. They have said, however, that if I brought something historical then they'd give it a go. So I can't complain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Morning Roy,
      I didnt know there was a club at Catterick?
      You should slip in the odd historical scenario to see what reception you get, ie a raid on a defended area, or the like., it may get some interest.

      Delete
    2. Here's the blurb, from their Facebook page:

      "Wargaming club held every saturday from 11am to 4pm at the Army Welfare Service in the Activities Room. Address is Smuts Road, Catterick Garrison, DL9 3AX.

      Games we play
      Warhammer
      Warhammer 40k
      Warmachine and Hordes
      Dystopian Wars (and Legions)
      Firestorm Armada
      Infinity
      Malifaux
      Flames of War (mainly mid and late war)
      Bolt Action
      Dropzone Commander
      Variety of Board Games (for occasional play)

      If you play a game chances are we have a member that does as well or someone willing to learn it."


      You'll see they've included the WW2 games in the list above, but in reality they're played vary rarely. I don't know how serious they follow historical aspects when they do play those rules.

      From what I know about the membership of the club, apart from three gents, the majority are under-30s.

      Delete
  4. Hi Robbie, Most wargaming clubs are actually warhammer clubs that 'allow' occasional games that are history-linked. Unfortunately, the number of kids in these clubs that are likely to drift into raising historical armies is pretty low. Most of them leave their club after a few years and, I suspect, end up just playing computer games. To be fair, these kids have received a liberal de-education, so anything pre-1940 comprised, in no particular order, dinosaurs, slavery, and people wearing funny hats. I know one lad in my living history group has moved from Warhammer to AWI, but he is prone to think for himself and takes pleasure in understanding the flow of history, but this is despite his modern British schooling. Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michael there is nothing wrong with a liberal education - I had one despite some hard line conservative teachers of the late 60s early 70s.
      I personally suspect the difference is not in "liberal" but in "education". I've long had the impression that those educated in the late 60s -early 70s as I was - and on into the later 70s were the last generation taught to value education for its own sake rather than merely a means to a job. Equally thinking for yourself was part of the game at the time likewise toleration- which , in terms of free speech, died in the late 1990s with the rise and rise of PC and victim culture.
      We now live in a world where the "recieved wisdom" and orwellian sheep noises often appear as an alternative to actual thought.
      That one of your lads has moved away from this shows that its not all bad news .

      Delete
    2. Andy, with respect, I think we are actually in agreement. I purposely made the comment they were receiving a liberal de-education. This is something quite different to a liberal education. The latter gives a pupil a firm grounding in basic needs for employment, their identity and heritage, and something more about the world. A de-education is primarily concerned with silencing honest opinions and debate under the cloak of 'inclusiveness'. Have a feeling, Robbie will shortly demand we return to wargaming lol. Michael

      Delete
    3. Michael- Yes I suspect we are- differences seem to be use of terms rather than any disagreements. but I'm not sure about the use of "liberal" in your context of de-education . though I heartily agree with the de-education term

      Delete
  5. Morning Michael,
    I dont blame young people for their lack of knowledge I blame our educational experts for so many things. God forbid that we taught that our empire did some really good things as well as some poor things. Such views were always shouted down as being fascist. The new shouty word is racist, and any argument is again shouted down with no counter argument being listened to. Your one gamer, is clearly someone to encourage.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robbie, I am occasionally commissioned to give talks on aspects of the 18th century. On one occasion a student from South America told me that they had debated the rise of the European empires, and that the general view was it was a shame they had not been part of the British Empire, rather than the Spanish. All empires do bad things, but some are considerably worse than others. Yes, that young member is joining with others and fighting AWI and FRW games, and we will be using my Ottomans and Medievals shortly, time to learn about the Janissaries. Michael

      Delete

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating