Wednesday 5 June 2013

Wargamer Taxonomy

This is another one of those interesting Internet Memes that occasionally does the rounds within the hobby Blog community. This one comes from the Itinerant Hobbyist who has adapted something he found elsewhere on the Interweb as a way of classifying and quantifying what drives us as individual wargamers. Unlike a set of questions this is designed to gauge the complex interplay of motivations that we all share but in different quantities. There are five basic categories and all you have to do is allocate a percentage next to each according to its significance in motivating you as a wargamer. Of course there is nothing to stop you from adding a little explanation with your percentages, in fact I hope you do.

(Picture Source - 56 Geeks)

The descriptions below are taken directly from the Itinerant Hobbyists post:
  • Immersion - You really get into the fluff/universe/world/history of the game you play. 
  • 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.
So here are my percentages and a little detail of why I gave them. 

40% Immersion - I've always been someone with wide ranging interests and that will never change. So when I get into a particular subject or aspect of the hobby I spread my tendrils out seeking nourishment from wherever I can find it. I love to read history books, watch films or documentaries, visit museums, attend militaria fairs and speak with veterans, not just to research specific information but to broaden my understanding of the whole period. I'm very much the sort of person that enjoys understanding the Big Picture as much as the detail. 

30% Social - This is a growing percentage. Until I started this Blog my hobby social network was limited to my immediate circle of mostly ex school friends. But since then I have expanded my gaming circle exponentially to include people from across the globe and I have been recruited into a wargaming group where I have forged new (and hopefully lasting) friendships that have taken my hobby in different and surprising directions. 

20% Showcasing/Modelling - I originally started BLMA to showcase my painting but my Blog quickly evolved into a forum for my wider 'Miniature Adventures'. Showing off my painted models is still important but it has become less important than the friendships I have forged and the wider hobby interests I have developed. 

8%  Strategy - I'm not a master tactician and I never will be. That's not to say I don't enjoy strategy and tactics but I have to be realistic when I say that if I were in this hobby purely to exercise my strategic prowess I would have dropped out long ago!

2%   Competition - Competition isn't important to me. I like to win a game of course, but playing the game with good friends is far more important to me than the short lived thrill of victory.

Sticking to just five categories really focuses the mind on what drives you as a gamer, and I have found it an interesting exercise. So what are your percentages? 


  1. rounded to the nearest 5% in each case. But how I see myself may be 100% different from how others see me.
    Still here goes.
    Immersion 35% (sometimes I can get into it and other times not so much!)
    Social 45% (any blogger must score quite high in this surely! Even if their sociability is distant based)
    Showcase 50% (any blogger with less than this must surely think about how many painted figures they show!)
    Strategy 30% (I am not brilliant, but I do know a few things!)
    Competitive 15% (I prefer winning to loosing, honestly who does not. But I maintain the winners are the ones who have fun!)

    1. Clint - you need to ease off! You game at 175%?

      Immersion - 35%, I enjoy researching the periods and armies I'm playing (and those I'm not doing as well)
      Social - 30%, the social aspects of gaming are important, whether on the blogosphere, at the club or at shows/tournaments
      Showcase - 25%, having great looking figures/armies is important to me
      Strategy - 5%, there are a lot of tournament players at the club so I need to put some work into the army lists I'm going to use against them
      Competitive - 5%, winning is fun, but so is giving a top-flight tournament player a run for their money

    2. 175% minimum! ( and so does my other personality!!!!) OK halve all the scores and round up should get closer to reality... happy now!

    3. You've always struck me as a 175% sorta guy! LoL.

  2. Keeping it simple and scoring each category as a %age of an overall total of 100, the results of the Manchester jury are as follows:

    IMMERSION: 50% - 'The History Guy'. If I'm not interested in the period I won't game it. I game far fewer periods than I'm interested in and that's because some won't translate to the PC/map/board as I'd wish them to and also because I'm not only interested in the military history anyway.

    SOCIAL: 20% - Game with friends anyway so the actual wargame is almost incidental. Friendships have developed via the interweb/blogosphere - no man is an island and all that.

    SHOWCASINGg: 15%(?) - Always conscious that it's really a bit of an ego trip one way or another. General rule seems to be: no eye candy, no readers, but this is maybe an extension of the ego thing or maybe competitiveness: I've got more followers than you mateyboy! I'd like to focus more on the esoteric aspects of the hobby, but to what end? It's lonely talking to yourself . . .

    STRATEGY: 10% - BUT I'm drawn towards rules that simulate the period as accurately as possible without sacrificing playability (does anybody actually play 'Valmy to Waterloo'?). Usually adapt/modify commercial sets or write my own. I think the only rules I haven't tinkered with (yet) are 'Under the Lily Banners'.

    I throw pretty poor dice (no, honest!), but my belief is that if your game plan is sound in the first place (and the rules are realistic), you should still be O.K.

    COMPETITION: 5% - The hobby's called warGAMING or warGAMES: that's a clue. However, I'm not a tournament gamer and some clubs I've been to (and been a member of in some cases) become obsessive about winning. I game solo a lot (Billy No Mates?) but when I game against others it's still a GAME and, win or lose, I enjoy the process of it, not the drive to win. Of course, as the saying goes, if you don't want to win then don't turn up, but I'd have rules lawyers publicly castrated and the 'win at all costs' players put in the stocks for a week or so.

    1. Competition does sometimes seem like a dividing line within the gaming community. Personally I'm relaxed about competition (hence my 2%) but if I were stuck in a locked room with a Tournament player I guarantee that only one of us would come out alive... Game on!

  3. Unfortunately I shall have to agree with you on your 8% strategy! he he!

    1. I never claimed to be a Napoleon on the games table. I'd like to think that practice is improving my skills but I'm probably deluding myself. For me having fun is more important. If I'd wanted to spend my time doing something that wasn't fun I'd have taken up fishing.

  4. Clearly a man after my own heart. I've nothing against competition, but that's not why I'm in the hobby. I'm glad there are Tournaments and that gamers take part and enjoy that aspect of the hobby, but I doubt if we could play in the same room and not come to blows!

  5. Very interesting Lee. I'll give it a shot.

    Immersion 25%- This can change depending upon the period I'm in so I'll round it out. Some periods I read almost daily and others occasionally to very little.

    Social 30%- I very much enjoy getting together with my friends talking and playing where I'd say half the time is talking about playing, collecting and painting and the other half actually gaming. So when game says it's only takes a couple hours to play I always double the time needed to finish.:-) We are always looking to grow our group. Outside of the club I'd say I travel very little, but would like to do more.

    Showcase 35%- I'm assuming this includes painting miniatures and not just showing them. This takes up most of my hobby time. I love painting miniatures and looking at what others are doing.

    Strategy 5%- I do enjoy the tactical side of gaming, but I don't study rules to find the all best ways to get a result as I find reading rules a necessary evil and not an enjoyment, but I do like all the fluff and pictures though!!:-)

    Competitive 5%- This kind of blends in with Strategy I think. When I was younger I was more competitive and enjoyed tournaments, however that all changed quite a few years ago. I do not enjoy tournaments except perhaps to meet others and vastly prefer club games or events. I'd say nowadays I'd rather win a game then lose of course, but more then anything just want to have fun where both sides have smiles on their faces at the end.


  6. I wonder if your percentages have changed over time? What scores would everyone have given themselves ten years ago? Certainly for me the immersion and social aspects have increased over time while the others have declined.

    By the way - love the blog, always something of interest and diverse in nature (within wargaimg boundaries).


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