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Subject: Wargame Spectrum: Results and Analysis rss

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Alex
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With all the debate raging over what a war game is or isn’t, I thought I would post the result and some analysis for the Wargame Spectrum poll I previously posted here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/448112

Take a look and let me know your thoughts about what I took away from the data. Hopefully, this will generate a good discussion regarding how the BGG wargame community can define the fringe cases, and provide some guidance to the BGG admins on how the BGG wargame community would like to define itself.

Methods
I took the data when there were 115 votes. So, there may be a slight change since this time. To look at the data I made the following assumptions:

1. Games that had 50% or more of the votes indicating "Not enough Information to Decide" were excluded (15 games). I hope that this would reduce the influence of small populations potentially skewing results in one direction or the other.

2. For the remaining games, the "Not Enough Information" votes were removed for the data set.

3. A game was identified as a wargame or not if it received at least 65% of votes either "Yes" or "No". If neither "Yes" nor "No" received at least 65% of the votes, then the game was considered a borderline case (6 games).

Results
I won’t list all the "Yes" and "No" games. Take a look at the poll, this generally will correspond to the analysis I performed.

Only one game received consensus as a "Yes" or "No". The Burning Blue received 100% votes for inclusion as a wargame.

The following games received 90% or more "Yes" votes for inclusion as a wargame: Up Front, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Here I Stand, Tide of Iron, Air Superiority and Tactics.

Numerous games received 90% or more "No" votes for exclusion as a wargame. They were composed mostly of dungeon crawls, Eurogames and abstracts. This is not surprising given the purpose of the poll (i.e., evaluating the fringe cases of what is a wargame) and the games included.

The following games were borderline cases with not enough "Yes" or "No" votes to make a clear distinction: Risk, Nexus Ops, Diplomacy, The Republic of Rome, Dune and Twilight Imperium.

Analysis
An objective definition of a wargame that requires no subjective evaluation is a useless goal. Coming to a consensus among wargamers regarding what is a wargame is almost impossible. I was surprised that Air Superiority, Flames of War: The World War II Miniatures Game, Hammer of the Scots, Tide of Iron and Here I Stand were not consensus "Yes" for inclusion as wargames.

Games that have a large element of battle/war but also include substantial amounts of negotiation as part of the game are about as far as the BGG wargame community will stretch the definition of a wargame. The borderline cases of Diplomacy, The Republic of Rome, Dune and Twilight Imperium seem to have a lot in common. Including these types of games as wargames is dependent on whether or not you want to be inclusive or exclusive in the wargame genre.

Abstracts are not wargames. A game can be an abstracted representation of battle/war. However, in order for it to be considered a wargame it must, at a minimum, represent different types of terrain and military units that affect the outcome of movement or battle. Thus the line for including abstracts as wargames was drawn at the following games: Manoeuvre, Tactics and Up Front.

Games where the primary focus are building or growing a civilization are not wargames.

Fantasy/Sci-fi games can be wargames. However, they generally need to have a strong tie in their game development to traditionally defined wargames. BattleLore: C&C game system; War of the Ring (SPI), Star Fleet Battles, and Starship Troopers: Hex and Counter Wargames; Wizard Kings: Block Wargames; Warhammer 40,000: Tabletop Miniature Wargames. The exception to this was War of the Ring (First Edition) (Fantasy Flight). My thought is that War of the Ring (First Edition) (Fantasy Flight) has a "well-defined and self-consistent fictional world" that helps people see the game a representation of a battle/war (Note: I think Nexus Ops was not defined as a wargame for the lack of a "well-defined and self-consistent fictional world".)

Ameritrash games are more likely to be included as wargames than Eurogames are. I think this is likely because 1. Ameritrash games tend to focus more on direct player conflict and 2. Ameritrash games often have more chrome in their rules to help simulate traditional wargame aspects.

So that’s it. I would appreciate any opinions you have on what I took away from the data.
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Wulf Corbett
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What the hell is Air Superiority if it isn't a wargame? wow
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Andy Van Zandt
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really, it seems to me that most of the debate stems from 2 things:
-people are narrow minded.
-people like drama.

i feel sorry for all the wargames and wargame hybrids caught in the middle
cryWON'T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDRENcry
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Wendell
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Si non potes reperire Berolini in tabula, ludens essetis non WIF.
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Wulf Corbett wrote:
What the hell is Air Superiority if it isn't a wargame? wow


A variant of a rail game?

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Steven Mitchell
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ftarzanin wrote:
I would add that you can always skew survey results by asking a specific community. Example, if you survey republicans or democrats about topics that they are in favor of, you of course are going to skew the results a certain way.

If you ask a question about what a wargame is to a community that prides itself about being 'Grognards' you are going to get a certain result.


So? Such concern is appropriate if you're trying to find what a community at large thinks. But if you want to know what the consensus Republican stance is on Issue X, then you had better ask only Republicans.

In this case, the poll was entirely appropriate, since the goal stated up front was:

ciscokidnj wrote:
I have become interested in seeing how the BGG wargame community views a wargame....I just want to get a feel for what BGG wargamers consider a wargame, and hopefully generate a good discussion.


Given that, the methodology is entirely appropriate.
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John Kovacs
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wifwendell wrote:
Wulf Corbett wrote:
What the hell is Air Superiority if it isn't a wargame? :wow:


A variant of a rail game?

:p


Yeah, instead of competing with other players to build rail lines and trains, you blow the snot out of them with A-10 Warthogs and F-15E Strike Eagles...
 
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Wolfgang Kunz
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I was amused reading this line:

ciscokidnj wrote:

Only one game received consensus as a "Yes" or "No". The Burning Blue received 100% votes for inclusion as a wargame.


Was this a test - candidate to check if people really read the poll or does (maybe you can link me to the topic) some people really think that the "Battle of Britain" in 1940 has nothing to do with war?

Citing BGG here: "THE BURNING BLUE is a board wargame that recreates the savage air battles over Southern England from July to December 1940"

Well, reading this it might be a "Flight Simulator"
 
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Alex
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ftarzanin wrote:
No the better analogy would be
1) we survey republicans on an issue
2) get a result x% believe something is true
3) We say x% of people believe something is true when in fact it's x% of republicans believe something is true.


Neither this analysis nor the original poll state that they are trying to present what the larger BGG community thinks. They both specifically state that the poll is intended survey the BGG wargame community and present how the BGG wargame community views a wargame. The purpose is to provide BGG wargamers and BGG admins a starting point to evaluate how the BGG wargame community would like to define a wargame.

Steven quoted the appropriate text above to indicate this. However, it bears repeating as the poll in no way is meant to represent the BGG community at large, which obviously views wargmes with a much broader view (e.g., Small World). In fact, this difference in opinion is the entire point of the poll.
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Ken Feldman
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It should be noted thatBattleLore can be played as a historical wargame, simulating (as much as the Command and Colors system simulates) battles of the 100 years war. The first two scenarios are strictly human armies with no magic recreating the battle of Agincourt and one other battle from that time.

In addition, the expansion BattleLore: The Hundred Years' War – Crossbows & Polearms is exclusively focused on battles from the 100 years war with human armies only and no magic.

I think the game is much better when you include the non-human units, monsters and magic system, but even without them, it's a better game (and a better wargame in fact) than it's predecessor, Battle Cry.
 
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