Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Wargamer Taxonomy - How would you rate yourself?

A very interesting discussion topic brought by Itinerant Hobbyist in a recent post... and I bet it will go viral sonner than later. Why do you play wargames? What drives you in this hobby?.  Ans use the following classifcation categories to put yourself in teh picture. Directly taken from Itinerant, as the explanation is crystal clear... and his English is of course much better than mine :-)

Immersion - You really get into the fluff/universe/world/history of the game  you play.  It's the reason you got into gaming.  If I never play another game I will continue reading your favorite period books.  Similarly, a Warhammer/Battletech/whatever player can immerse themselves into the history of their chosen game with books, fan fiction, painting certain factions, etc.

Social - relationships are what's important.  You look forward as much to the dinner/drink afterwards as you do to the gaming itself.

Showcasing/Modelling - You really like to show your work and see the work of others. Modelling and painting are what give you the most energy.

Strategy - You like to read forums, listen to podcasts, work on lists, etc to improve your game.  You like the mechanics of how a game works.

Competition - you like testing your play style and abilities against others to come out on top.  Or, to test your strategies against the best. 

I was tempted to hold back my ratings but in any case I've already disclosed them in Itinerant's blog; so here they go:

Inmmersion 50-60%
Social  25-30%
Showcasing + Competition the remaining 10-25% and compeition socrring really low
Strategy probably close to 0% (explanianed below)

How to read these results?

First, in my case, history (mainly but not exclusively military) was always first; actually I discovered wargaming and took it as a complement to my history reading and research. Even now that wargaming preceeds history as hobby, I never undertake a new wargaming period without a full comprehensive review of bibliography and research process of it historical background.

Second, with regards to the Strategy, I must say the rules are important when looking into a period. Even more, in the past 5 years, reading some rules sets is what enticed me to look to new periods I wouldn't have imagined like WWI or Vietnam. But I'm not the wargamer block looking to tweak some obscure passage in a rule book or adopting a lawyer attitude to gaming; neither I like scanning in detail army lists in search of the most destrcutive and efficient combination... that's why I don't play any point-based games like the DBMs of Bolt Actions of this life.

On the contrary, for me the rules should remain backstage in my games, providing the framework to simulate (as close as possible) the historical performace of the forces involved and allowing me to recreate historical scenarios which, by definition are never "balanced"... a gaming philosophy not to everyone's tastes but that I finally found when playing my first games with the TwoFatLardies.    

In summary: history learning, socialising and historical accuracy are my drovers. Looking forward to have your views, either as comments or as specific posts in your blogs.


  1. This is a great site and the survey was interesting to go through. I posted my comments on his site as well. While our percentages are just a tad different, our approach to gaming and how we get involved in a period/game is spot on.

    The two most important aspects for me are the immerssion into a topic and the social. The rest sorts itself out. I have gamed with basically the same group since I was a teenager and now our new friends and kids, and we get along very well ( we've had practice ), but I ahve been at conventions and gamed other places where people are crazy about the rules, winning, etc, and I don't want to play at all, no matter how much I'd like to play the game or learn a new one. And I agree about the rules and so-called "balance". The are there to enhance and enable to enjoy our game and not be the game.

    "Balance" is an interesting concept. One of the best campaigns I ran was one based on Carentan after the Normandy landings. It was not "balanced" by equal points. The German players had a blast never the less, and I've been asked to run it again. It was fun, reasonable accurate and we could give each other stick, eat food, drink beer and swap books.

    It's a game. Have fun. If not, be a cage fighter and leave the rest of us to our joy. Although I don't think they use dice. Just saying.

  2. Good set of answers. Everyone is different and no two wargamers will be alike.

  3. I am a strong simulationist. I want to experience something of what it was like to make the decisions that the commander of those historical forces had to make. (Yes, I know I am not experiencing the privations or the chance of death or injury, did that already, just interested in managing the chaos).

    So I rate:

    Immersion 60
    Social 10
    Showcasting 5
    Strategy 25
    Competition 0

    I like the history and the strategy and tactics of the actual battles. I am not a rules lawyer, but I like to discuss game mechanics and how well they simulate the actual event.

    I don't play this type of game for competition and I find that adding that style of play completely ruins it for me. At the end of every game I have played both (or all) players were winner as they learned something about chaos and command and they saw an exciting action unfold on the table.

    Note that I should like the showcasting aspect more, but I find that unless I combine it with Social (ie painting up a set of figures while hanging out with a good friend) I find it tedious.