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Subject: Partial/Incomplete Session Reports for Wargames rss

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(I'm reposting this from BGG Related because a) I don't know how to move it, b) I suspect most wargamers don't read the BGG Related area, c) it's really only likely to come up with long wargames anyway)

I've recently come across a few Session Reports in the Wargaming subdomain where the poster was discussing his first couple of turns and a promise to post more later.

This strikes me as wrong. I think of a Session Report as covering the whole game; some introductory remarks, coverage of the course of the game (turn by turn or summarized as the author feels best) and some sort of wrap-up/opinion on how it all went.

Maybe the problem is the term "session". Yeah, it's a report of the two turns that got played that "session", but who cares? I want to hear about the whole game, even if it takes 40 "sessions" over 6 months.

When I write a Session Report I write up each turn as I go, or take notes, and then put the whole thing together after the game is done and post what I like to think of as a nice, finished product. These "what I did last night" snippets just seem lacking to me and I'm surprised the Moderators allow incomplete postings.

Or am I just off base?
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Ryan Powers
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Partial/Incomplete Session Reports for Wargames
blockhead wrote:

Or am I just off base?

Mostly yes. Writing it up soon after playing tends to give a much more evocative narrative than months later, even with good notes. Ideally they'd at least keep it in a single thread though. The moderators are the users, so clearly more of those doing mod work think you're off base than don't.
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Colin Raitt
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I'm guilty of this, sorry. We did 2 seasons of Jon Prados' Third Reich 1944 on Thursday in 8 hours and finished at 3:00am. Setting up was slow plus the Germans, UK and US suffered from analysis paralysis. Playing on wasn't really possible as Jon had work the next day. The game wasn't finished though it was perhaps tipping towards Germany.

Long strategic games often become more and more 1 sided as they run on. We almost never re-start a game the next week, so it's write up a fraction of the game or nothing. I especially like to read about sessions I fought in posted by my weird gamer friends and wish they would do it more often.Conflict of heroes is so fast we easily complete a scenario twice in one night.

I happened upon your session report on Eurofront II, even though you seem to have stopped at the end of 1942 it was fun to read. Looking through more of your reports I see you take a lot of care writing them and normally finish them. You tend to play operational games with a shorter play time than JP3R though.
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Leo Zappa
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Mike, I do think you're off base a bit on this one. I know myself I often post session reports of portions of games, because many of these wargames stretch over multiple sessions over the course of several months. As both a player and a session report writer, I think it's both more interesting and more practical to post 'in-progress' reports than to wait until the end.
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I think it also depends on the size of the game, and I'm guilty of it as well: most of mine are over 2 or more sessions, so 2 or more write-ups. I do try to make sure they're all internally linked, though, so it CAN be read as one long whole if you so wish - I agree it's annoying, however, if the report is never completed.
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Roger Hobden
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Any session report on Full Campaign Scenarios of Case Blue or Guderian's Blitzkrieg II that doesn't tell us about each and every unit move and each and every die roll is virtually worthless.
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Off base. I am guilty of this as well. Most of my session reports are of monster games I am soloing. Often times it is as I am learning the game. In these instances is it better to report partial games with accompanying pictures and discussions of strategy and rules, thus giving others exposure to the game; or is it better to post nothing? Monster games by their nature of physical size and length are often times never completed. Monster games are also played by fewer people. So by the OP's standard there would be no session reports of games like The Longest Day, Highway to the Reich, Wacht am Rhein II and The Battle for Normandy. Those are all titles of games I have posted session reports for only partial games. Wacht am Rhein I spent the better part of a year playing, learning and posting my experience with the game on BGG.

What I don;t understand is why it would bother someone, or bother enough to bring it up? How is it effecting them? It isn't taking up space on their computer? Is there not some better use of OP's time or critical thinking skills? What about the time and effort of those who take the pictures, do the write ups and post? Doesn't that have value? Just what the Wargame forum needs now is "session police" to exert more control over the forum.

Off base? Yes, I would say way off base. Even anal retentive to be more specific.
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Kudos to all those that submit AAR's on the geek. I don't mind if it's complete or not as I know how time consuming they are to do properly. A couple of my session reports have been incomplete, for a variety of reasons. You'll find them here
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blockhead wrote:
When I write a Session Report I write up each turn as I go, or take notes, and then put the whole thing together after the game is done and post what I like to think of as a nice, finished product.

Certainly that's best, and I can see why you would be at least mildly frustrated that others put in less effort, but as someone who's posted incomplete session reports of a campaign game, I have to agree with everyone else that you're off base.
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Enrico Viglino
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ermj1986 wrote:


Just my opinion. I now have a blog at CSW where I post my replays. Most are complete.



Yeah. Better place for support of the wargaming hobby -
where every game isn't expected to take only a couple
hours. This thread is SO indicative of the kinda feel
there is 'round here now.
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Enrico Viglino
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
blockhead wrote:
(I'm reposting this from BGG Related because a) I don't know how to move it, b) I suspect most wargamers don't read the BGG Related area, c) it's really only likely to come up with long wargames anyway)

I've recently come across a few Session Reports in the Wargaming subdomain where the poster was discussing his first couple of turns and a promise to post more later.

This strikes me as wrong. I think of a Session Report as covering the whole game; some introductory remarks, coverage of the course of the game (turn by turn or summarized as the author feels best) and some sort of wrap-up/opinion on how it all went.

Maybe the problem is the term "session". Yeah, it's a report of the two turns that got played that "session", but who cares? I want to hear about the whole game, even if it takes 40 "sessions" over 6 months.

When I write a Session Report I write up each turn as I go, or take notes, and then put the whole thing together after the game is done and post what I like to think of as a nice, finished product. These "what I did last night" snippets just seem lacking to me and I'm surprised the Moderators allow incomplete postings.

Or am I just off base?


You're right on the money.

There seems to be a conceit these days that any game played is instantly going to be of interest to others. I'm not sure why that is.

In days past, The General would publish "Series Replays". They were notable for several reasons. Not just because they were complete (sometimes broken down into two parts because of length), but they

a) had a more or less standard notation to make them easy to read
b) often featured acknowledged "leading players" as well as a neutral observer, often a playtester or even the game's developer
c) were often selected for some specific reason - to demonstrate a particular game mechanic, outcome, scenario, etc.

The game was always played through to completion and the article vetted before publication (a function of it being included in a magazine). All of this ensured it was of high quality. Not every Series Replay was a winner, and some were rushed into print in order to illustrate a new game. But I could understand that a lot more than I understand the current trend to stuff like "DARs", which I find in some computer game communities, where people are asking others to basically watch over their shoulder in video sessions that do nothing more than play a game for an hour or more. No expert advice, no tutorial, just "watch me play solo."

Life seems too short, to me, to do that, unless I'm getting some kind of other value from the experience.

I would think that if publishing a session report, one would also want to ensure its quality by at least finishing the game and ensuring it was "ready for prime time", even if for no other reason than just plain courtesy.


You're right (as always, of course).

The big money we get for posting stuff here
should prevent any amateurs from interfering with
your precious time.
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I'm guilty I guess. I do session reports on World in Flames games that are underway.

But I'd been doing these for like 12 years on the WIF yahoo list so doing it in the same way here on BGG seemed like a natural thing.

I'll gladly refund all the extra ill-gotten geekgold if necessary. devil
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I would say you are off base slightly.

It would be awesome if every game could be completed in one session but sometimes non-wargaming life gets in the way. Sometimes sleep overtakes the most dedicated and if they are lucky when they lose consciousness they miss the table on the way down.

If they were called "From-unboxing-through-the-completion-of-the-full-campaign" Reports than I would say you were right on the money, but they are session reports and what gets done in a session gets reported. shake

This is, unfortunately, the internet and it is difficult/silly to attempt to enforce my standards on someone outside of shouting range. I would fail, and further frustration and aggravation would ensue. I just let those posts slide on by and move on to things I am happier with.

Should I be 'courteous' and read every session report that has been posted to BGG? I certainly do not plan to. Should I expect that every session reporter be 'courteous' and meet every BGG users expectations? I certainly do not.
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Tom Stearns
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
blockhead wrote:
(I'm reposting this from BGG Related because a) I don't know how to move it, b) I suspect most wargamers don't read the BGG Related area, c) it's really only likely to come up with long wargames anyway)

I've recently come across a few Session Reports in the Wargaming subdomain where the poster was discussing his first couple of turns and a promise to post more later.

This strikes me as wrong. I think of a Session Report as covering the whole game; some introductory remarks, coverage of the course of the game (turn by turn or summarized as the author feels best) and some sort of wrap-up/opinion on how it all went.

Maybe the problem is the term "session". Yeah, it's a report of the two turns that got played that "session", but who cares? I want to hear about the whole game, even if it takes 40 "sessions" over 6 months.

When I write a Session Report I write up each turn as I go, or take notes, and then put the whole thing together after the game is done and post what I like to think of as a nice, finished product. These "what I did last night" snippets just seem lacking to me and I'm surprised the Moderators allow incomplete postings.

Or am I just off base?


You're right on the money.

There seems to be a conceit these days that any game played is instantly going to be of interest to others. I'm not sure why that is.

In days past, The General would publish "Series Replays". They were notable for several reasons. Not just because they were complete (sometimes broken down into two parts because of length), but they

a) had a more or less standard notation to make them easy to read
b) often featured acknowledged "leading players" as well as a neutral observer, often a playtester or even the game's developer
c) were often selected for some specific reason - to demonstrate a particular game mechanic, outcome, scenario, etc.

The game was always played through to completion and the article vetted before publication (a function of it being included in a magazine). All of this ensured it was of high quality. Not every Series Replay was a winner, and some were rushed into print in order to illustrate a new game. But I could understand that a lot more than I understand the current trend to stuff like "DARs", which I find in some computer game communities, where people are asking others to basically watch over their shoulder in video sessions that do nothing more than play a game for an hour or more. No expert advice, no tutorial, just "watch me play solo."

Life seems too short, to me, to do that, unless I'm getting some kind of other value from the experience.

I would think that if publishing a session report, one would also want to ensure its quality by at least finishing the game and ensuring it was "ready for prime time", even if for no other reason than just plain courtesy.


You can't be serious? You are comparing an internet database of amateurs to a professional magazine? If that's the case then 90% of this forum content should be deleted. Good greif. I think your conceit comment is quite appropriate except that it should be applied to what you just posted.
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blockhead wrote:
Or am I just off base?

Yes. I'm happy to hear whatever people have got to offer. Especially if it's brief.
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Michael Dorosh wrote:

There seems to be a conceit these days that any game played is instantly going to be of interest to others. I'm not sure why that is.



It's not conceited...It's the internet!

BGG is perfect for informal session reports to update on longer games (a lot of wargames, mind you). Whenever I'm on the WiF forums, I go over Wendell's session reports - and I barely understand them, but they're always fun to read. And god knows my completes session reports for ASL scenarios have been way worse than some of the "update" reports I see from other users.

Michael Dorosh wrote:
Life seems too short, to me, to do that


Sometimes, I think life is just too short to read your posts, man. I don't understand why you are the way you are.

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blockhead wrote:
I've recently come across a few Session Reports in the Wargaming subdomain where the poster was discussing his first couple of turns and a promise to post more later.

This strikes me as wrong.

Yeah, it's a report of the two turns that got played that "session", but who cares?

Or am I just off base?

Yeah, you're off base. I can't imagine any clearer a label than "session report" for, um, session reports. I read them to see what happened in a session, because I often find that of interest.

If you want something other than session reports out of session reports, then the session reports might not be the place to look for that.

Me, I'll keep reading reports of people's sessions. Glad there's a place for it.

Would I rather wait months for someone to finish a huge game so I can read their lifeless notes months after the fact, when there's only notes to go on, or would I rather read each dispatch as it comes, fresh from experience and living in immediate memory? I probably don't need to spell this out.
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
I would think that if publishing a session report, one would also want to ensure its quality by at least finishing the game and ensuring it was "ready for prime time", even if for no other reason than just plain courtesy.


Thankfully those writing them don't agree with you.
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
gohrns wrote:
You can't be serious? You are comparing an internet database of amateurs to a professional magazine?


No, I'm comparing quality AARs to quality AARs.


You're also stating by fiat that incomplete game automatically = poor quality report. Which is bullshit. This makes the rest of your stance equally suspect.
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
gohrns wrote:
You can't be serious? You are comparing an internet database of amateurs to a professional magazine?


No, I'm comparing quality AARs to quality AARs.

Since when did being an "amateur" become an excuse for doing things poorly? There are all kinds of excellent AARs, reviews, etc. on the site. You can tell the ones that people took care to assemble. It's not a result of tons of extra talent; it's usually because of something as simple as taking a few extra minutes to proofread, or just finishing the game and doing a little bit of editing.

The practical difference in output between "a bunch of amateurs" and "a professional magazine" is - well, that few extra minutes of proofreading and editing, mostly.


I don't think it's fair to assume that all session reports that don't record a game from start to finish are poorly written. There are great reports about individual turns fro some of the larger games, and there are a lot of shitty reports about scenarios played all the way through.

You need to judge AARs individually. It would be annoying to have to read a WiF session of an entire game in the level of detail that Wendell has for his "incomplete" ones. And it would take years before we saw any of it.

Anyways, it's not conceited, it's just what BGG is designed for - users sharing boardgame content with other users. And incomplete or otherwise, I will thumb the content I like, and ignore the content I don't like.
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Given all the random stuff on this site, most of which is of limited interest to most of us, I wouldn't slam partial AARs. I do strongly prefer there to be a coherent narrative, photos, and not retelling every die roll.

But in some cases, like this one http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/724220/ilipa-a-partial-b... , it's the cat's fault.
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I'm totally fine with incomplete session reports, particularly of longer games.

I think that this game which was played over several months and was divided into three session reports was very well done. This was the first of three session reports on the game.

AA1940 Global Campaign - Alpha+2 Rules - AAR1 - Turns 1 & 2
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