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Subject: Partial/Incomplete Session Reports for Wargames rss

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Warren Bruhn
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Mike, your question was fair enough. Sessions reports are pretty important to me, because I like to read them before deciding to buy a game, or sometimes before agreeing to play in large long games owned by other people. Nothing has the potential to sell players on a game quite the way a good sessions report does.

For that reason, I wonder why game designers and developers don't make more use of the sessions report. Reading a sessions report between the designer and developer of No Peace Without Spain on CSW sold me on that game, and I transferred the report to BGG for them. In that sense, a sessions report could be a professional activity.

I've found it pretty hard to take detailed session notes when in the middle of a hard fought multi-player game. Can't say that my reports on games of Sword of Rome were very good as a result. Tried to take detailed notes of a long running game of Empires in Arms that started in early 2010, but it was hard to keep up the level of detail in the notes when my country (Britain) got more involved in the fighting on land. And for a couple of sessions I just gave it up.

I found that, whether I took detailed notes or not, it was unlikely that I would write a sessions report unless I did it within three days of the actual game day. I still have notes from Pax Britannica games that I never turned into sessions reports for this reason.

Photos are nice, but some of us old luddites are still struggling to enter the digital age. Digital cameras and all the nice software tools and knowledge of how to post photos on the various websites and forums would be great to have. But should we wait until we have and know how to use all the spiffy visual technology before we post sessions reports? Fortunately another guy in our Empires in Arms game has posted a lot of photos and some charts in connection with our game.

I really enjoyed the sessions of long pbem games of VG The Civil War posted by Dave Turansky using Vassal screenshots throughout his threads:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/677232/pete-w-csa-v-dave...

My primary interest is monster games. I just can't imagine posting those as one single long post describing the whole game. I tried posting our Portland Empires in Arms session in one long thread covering all of 2010 but didn't like how that came out:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/505256/aar-2010-portland

Following WifWendall's example with his long running World in Flames sessions, I started breaking that EiA report down into parts in 2011. Those didn't always cover just one game day per part, but most did.

I think BGG encourages posting reports of long multi-session games in parts, because GeekGold is awarded by BGG only for the start of a sessions thread, and those readers who feel like tipping usually only do so at the start of a sessions thread. Of course, after you have an avatar and a couple dozen micro-badges, the only really good use for GeekGold is to tip others!

Also, some of us subscribe to the page for a particular game, but don't subscribe to every sessions thread. So posting sessions reports of the big long running games in parts helps alert page subscribers like me. And I find it less intimidating to read a report of a long game such as WiF or EiA in parts.
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Warren Bruhn
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RobTys wrote:
It's amazing how many panties have gotten into a twist because two folks posted their less than glowing opinion on partial AAR's. shake


Mike posted here asking for a response because he didn't get a response elsewhere on BGG. He got a response. My panties don't feel twisted at all. But there are a lot of players of monster games on the wargame subforums, and we generally don't mind breaking down the reports of these monster games into parts.
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Lewis Goldberg
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As a long-time wargamer, it would never have occured to me to voice dissatisfaction with session reports based on less than a full game. Thumb for 'originality'.
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Warren Bruhn
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Rindis wrote:


That's awesome!
 
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Warren Bruhn
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Used to play in long running empire building / role playing games called Lords of the Earth, started by science fiction / fantasy author Thomas Harlan. There would be 30 to 90 players around the world playing open empires, religious primates, religious orders, hordes, secret societies, and merchant combines. Each turn we would get an updated map and "newsfax" online that would describe the events that happened in the world written by the GM, along with stat sheets and notes for our particular country. Since the GMs were paid a small pittance for this vast amount of work, it was a professional product. The "newsfax" was, in essence, a sessions report for each turn. Thomas used this to hone his fiction writing skills before getting two lines of novels published:

http://www.throneworld.com/wiki/index.php?title=Category:Lords_of_the_Earth
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Lawrence Hung
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Actually, I have doubt with AAR. It is difficult to both write and read. Vassal can help a lot but not so for the physical game AAR. It is because either the write himself is in a game, or it is quite impossible to record every details of movement, combat results, at the same time if adding any value, commentary. I take a liberal sense of the words AAR, allowing it part review, part commentary and part expression of the level of appreciation (or dissatisfaction) of the game. That's what I wrote for AARs since 2005. But then, it seems that there is actually not many people interested in reading AARs of any sort, either because they are too long, or too short.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/lists/user/Lawrence%20...

The AARs in The General is as close as possible to what is right to AAR. However, they are written with an agenda - promotion of the games. I don't expect any other amateurs writing that sort of AAR. By the way, when I was young, I skipped those AARs most of the time by flipping through all the pages because, simply, I didn't have that game in the AAR.
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I do feel the need to respond, as I believe I was one of the session reports that inspired Mike to write this topic.

I created a "ongoing session" report a couple of weeks back on DMZ: The Next Korean War, on which Mike commented that he thought it was strange to post, it not being complete and all..

And although my first reaction was a bit "don't read it then...(bad word)..", he explained his motives and we ended our thread in a very civilised way.

Now on session reports. I personally have no problem with partial session reports. With big games it's a way to keep people engaged in the larger games, without dropping 2 hours of reading on them.
It's much the same as a soap opera, where you get a chewable bite everyday instead of a 10 hour marathon.

What I DISLIKE on incomplete session reports are people who create a new topic everytime in order to either fill the forums or get GG for every post.
I think that as long as the poster adds his progress to the same report it's fine, people who read the thing a year later get the whole thing in one go, and people interrested during the game get a new chapter every so often.

Cheers, Haring
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Wargames » Forums » General
Re: Partial/Incomplete Session Reports for Wargames
Haring wrote:
I do feel the need to respond, as I believe I was one of the session reports that inspired Mike to write this topic.

I created a "ongoing session" report a couple of weeks back on DMZ: The Next Korean War, on which Mike commented that he thought it was strange to post, it not being complete and all..

And although my first reaction was a bit "don't read it then...(bad word)..", he explained his motives and we ended our thread in a very civilised way.

Now on session reports. I personally have no problem with partial session reports. With big games it's a way to keep people engaged in the larger games, without dropping 2 hours of reading on them.
It's much the same as a soap opera, where you get a chewable bite everyday instead of a 10 hour marathon.

What I DISLIKE on incomplete session reports are people who create a new topic everytime in order to either fill the forums or get GG for every post.
I think that as long as the poster adds his progress to the same report it's fine, people who read the thing a year later get the whole thing in one go, and people interrested during the game get a new chapter every so often.

Cheers, Haring


Hi Haring! Yes, your SR was the first to catch my attention, but I started this thread after seeing plenty of other examples. And I appreciate the civilized discussion we had, and the way you handled your SR as one thread. I think your approach is more where I'm ending up.

If somebody starts a SR with say just the first 2 turns, then other people can comment on those turns, then the OP adds the next few turns as a comment, more comments from others, back and forth until the game is completed. All in one thread like you did.

That allows the OP to write as they play, and provides for a degree of interaction that might be benificial, but does retain the 1 SR = 1 Game, so the Game entry does not fill up with dozens of session reports that are really just one game, and it keeps the OP from inflating their SR count or garning more geekgold (though the last two are relatively minor points).

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Tom Stearns
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I start new threads with each update of my SR. I want it to be visible to not only those who may regularly follow my SR but also anyone new to BGG, Wargames or the specific game. If I simply add it to the original thread it will get buried, thus causing some poeple to miss it who might otherwise have wanted to see it.

SR counts? Geek Gold? Who cares? What if poeple do get extra how the heck does that effect anyone else? Why are you so concerned about what thumbs, SR counts or GG anyone else gets? Your "holier than thou" attitude is more a concern than how much "reward" anyone gets for what they contribute. If you don;t like the SR don't thumb it, don't tip it; even blacklist the author so you know not to read his SR's anymore. Your original and subsequent posts regarding this issue reeks of pettiness and agenda pushing.
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Leo Zappa
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blockhead wrote:
Haring wrote:
I do feel the need to respond, as I believe I was one of the session reports that inspired Mike to write this topic.

I created a "ongoing session" report a couple of weeks back on DMZ: The Next Korean War, on which Mike commented that he thought it was strange to post, it not being complete and all..

And although my first reaction was a bit "don't read it then...(bad word)..", he explained his motives and we ended our thread in a very civilised way.

Now on session reports. I personally have no problem with partial session reports. With big games it's a way to keep people engaged in the larger games, without dropping 2 hours of reading on them.
It's much the same as a soap opera, where you get a chewable bite everyday instead of a 10 hour marathon.

What I DISLIKE on incomplete session reports are people who create a new topic everytime in order to either fill the forums or get GG for every post.
I think that as long as the poster adds his progress to the same report it's fine, people who read the thing a year later get the whole thing in one go, and people interrested during the game get a new chapter every so often.

Cheers, Haring


Hi Haring! Yes, your SR was the first to catch my attention, but I started this thread after seeing plenty of other examples. And I appreciate the civilized discussion we had, and the way you handled your SR as one thread. I think your approach is more where I'm ending up.

If somebody starts a SR with say just the first 2 turns, then other people can comment on those turns, then the OP adds the next few turns as a comment, more comments from others, back and forth until the game is completed. All in one thread like you did.

That allows the OP to write as they play, and provides for a degree of interaction that might be benificial, but does retain the 1 SR = 1 Game, so the Game entry does not fill up with dozens of session reports that are really just one game, and it keeps the OP from inflating their SR count or garning more geekgold (though the last two are relatively minor points).



I'm indifferent to the approach on multiple reports covering a single game. I've done it both ways myself, both posting a single thread and adding to it:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/296502/bitter-woods-day-...
as well as posting multiple threads for multi-session games, such as this:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/598288/stavka-aar-5-25-o...
In this second example, I do provide links back to the previous threads.

I think both approaches are valid, and I don't see any great problems with either. The only issue I can find with the first approach is that if people didn't subscribe to the initial post, they may not notice when updates are posted to that thread.
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Lewis Goldberg
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blockhead wrote:
... but does retain the 1 SR = 1 Game, so the Game entry does not fill up with dozens of session reports that are really just one game, and it keeps the OP from inflating their SR count ...


'Session' is session. 'Game' is game. No?
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Paul Brillantes
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IMO

blockhead wrote:
That allows the OP to write as they play, and provides for a degree of interaction that might be benificial, but does retain the 1 SR = 1 Game, so the Game entry does not fill up with dozens of session reports that are really just one game,

Session mb Game

blockhead wrote:
and it keeps the OP from inflating their SR count or garning more geekgold (though the last two are relatively minor points).

The last two are not relatively minor points, they are completely inconsequential.
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I tend to view multiple session reports as being akin to chapters in a book: some don't need them; some do. Here's my approach in the main (using my most recent reports):

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/756117/leipzig-20-solo-repla...

Which, to me, would have been FAR too long for one report (however, if the game had ended on a morning turn, I probably would have just edited the previous day to add it in)
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bruinrefugee
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lgoldberg wrote:
blockhead wrote:
... but does retain the 1 SR = 1 Game, so the Game entry does not fill up with dozens of session reports that are really just one game, and it keeps the OP from inflating their SR count ...


'Session' is session. 'Game' is game. No?


Only in a world where English retains its meaning.
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Lawrence Hung
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I remember I come across AAR of Silent War some time ago: http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/23198/silent-war-aar-1941-...
which is too long for most people to read, not even mention to write.

Excellent in terms of the writer's persistence.
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I haven't read these full 3 pages, but I do want to chime in that
Most of my wargame sessions encompass no more than the first few turns.

Most games we play get some 4 plays in 4 evenings (with no possibility to proceed where we ended last time), so we loose quite some time figuring out how to play. And besides that, we're not the fastest of players.

Since it's called 'session reports' and not 'game reports' or 'total play through reports' I'm just fine that there are also session reports that report precisely what happens to me: when you play the game an evening, you won't finish it.
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Session reports on incomplete games are just fine in my book. I agree, read (and thumb and/or tip) what you like, skip what you don't. I know I've written up reports on games where I was unable to complete them, but I felt that I got a good feel for the system/scenario/how things were working, so it was worth commenting on.

Incomplete posts in a discussion, however, are another matter entirely. They really
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Michael Dorosh wrote:
Quote:
Conducted by Joan Lee for her masters thesis in linguistics at the University of Calgary, the study found the more people text on handheld devices, the less accepting they are of new words.


I don't necessarily buy into every 'end-of-the-world' scientific study I read, but it is interesting to contemplate these things.

I've been persuaded to look at one or two "bubble wrap" videos. I found them stultifying;
That's not real word. srsly.
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bruinrefugee
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Chanfan wrote:
Session reports on incomplete games are just fine in my book. I agree, read (and thumb and/or tip) what you like, skip what you don't. I know I've written up reports on games where I was unable to complete them, but I felt that I got a good feel for the system/scenario/how things were working, so it was worth commenting on.

Incomplete posts in a discussion, however, are another matter entirely. They really


Touché! Brilliant really...
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