GWS 2022: The best part of wargaming

By Jon Freitag

While I await the results of the 2023 survey (open till 31 Aug!) to arrive in about one month's time, I return for one last (?) look at the 2022 survey results.

With thoughts of data reliability still in mind (see On the Reliability of Data) and a change in the collection of respondents' answers to the best part of wargaming question from 2021 (see What Do We Like?), it seems time to revisit this topic.

In the 2021 survey, respondents were asked to list their top three choices to the question of what are the best parts of wargaming. The choices were:

  • Playing the game
  • Painting the miniatures
  • Hanging out with friends
  • Collecting the miniatures
  • Doing background research
  • Collecting and building terrain
  • Preparing scenarios
  • Collecting rulesets
  • Building the optimal army list

There was no specific ranking in place. A respondent simply checked his Top Three choices. No means for discerning which was the top choice. For the 2022 survey, choices remain the same but a ranked order was introduced.  Now the results would show a respondent's specific ranking. Would that make a significant difference in aggregating the Top Three choices?

The answer is…No! The ordering is the same with the exception that far down the list Preparing scenarios and Collecting rulesets have swapped places. Playing the game still heads up the list with Painting the miniatures coming in at a close second.

Aggregating the Top Three choices in each year produces similar results.

What if only the top wargaming activity is singled out?  Does the ordering change from the Top Three result?

Yes, it does.

Looking at only the top choice, Painting the miniatures now takes the top place by a wide margin. Although in the aggregate, Playing the game tops the charts, perhaps the hobby is centered on figure painting after all?

Breaking out the results by a few attributes and comparing to 2021 results shows tendencies remain much the same to 2022.

That is to say that for Age Group, younger wargamers tend toward building optimal army lists and collecting miniatures. Older wargamers seem more introspective than their younger counterparts with preferring to do background research and preparing scenarios relative to collecting miniatures and hanging out with friends.

2021 - Best Part by Age group
2022 - Best Part by Age group

When wargaming preferences are considered by Primary Interest, 2022 results reinforce the big differences seen in the 2021 survey. Primarily historical wargamers are much more interested in doing background research and preparing scenarios than their Fantasy/Sci-fi counterparts.  Fantasy/Sci-fi wargamers are more interested in building optimal army lists, collecting miniatures, and hanging out with friends than those with a historical primary interest. Again, results are similar to the findings from the 2021 survey.

2021 by Primary Interest
2022 by Primary Interest

Finally, taking a look at the relationship between wargamer preferences and collection size shows the tendency to collect miniatures falls off after having reached 1,000 figures in the collection. Similarly, the tendency to want to paint miniatures appears to slack off after having reached a collection size of 20,000 figures.  Does any facet of wargaming increase as collection size increases? Yes. The switch from painting figures to preparing scenarios seems likely as the number of figures in a collection rises.

Seeing results without wild swings from year to year is comforting, especially given that roughly half of the respondents turn over annually.


Given your age, primary interest, and collection size, do these results reflect your wargaming preferences? If not, what is different and why?


What were your top three choices for best part of wargaming? Have those rankings changed over time?

1 comment

I demand a recount! Collecting rulesets should be no.1!

Dave Hollin

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