Dutch wargamers according to the GWS 2016
In previous years, we only asked respondents to indicate the region they lived in. This year, we decided to simply ask for their country: much more precise and easily converted into 2014 and 2015’s regions. I’ll report on that later, but as I am currently a little puzzled by the wargaming preferences of my countrymen at the Dutch Miniature Wargaming Facebook group (if you’re in the area, do join!), I figured I’d check them out first. It might explain a few things… 😉
261 Respondents (2.6%) to this year’s Great Wargaming Survey reside in the Netherlands. Interestingly, they are on average considerably younger than the ‘average wargamer’ (* shorthand for the ‘average wargamer respondent to this year’s Great Wargaming Survey), with only 13.41% over 50 and 56.7% 40 years or younger. This may reflect the fact that ‘war games’ were very much not done in the Netherlands through the 1970s and into the 1980s. It follows that just under 25% has wargamed for less than 10 years. Being generally considered forthright, a slightly higher percentage admits to losing interest, but then the ambivalently interested group is slightly smaller. There’s a slightly bigger group than average who spends a considerable amount on their hobby, with 28.5% admitting to expenses over EUR 1000 per year, though the biggest group is fairly modest with a yearly expenditure between EUR 250 and 500.
Dutch wargamers are very into the social aspect. 83.4% indicate that ‘hanging out with friends’ is important to them, followed by playing the game (68.3%) and painting miniatures (66.4%). Despite the importance of the social aspect, they are not able to have too many games, compared to the average wargamer. That’s perhaps due to the lack of true gaming stores, the low number of clubs, or the fact that Dutchmen and women must plan their meetings well ahead of time to coordinate schedules and traveling further than 5 minutes by bike. When it comes to miniature scales/sizes, their preferences match just about the average wargamer, except that 10-12mm is more popular here than 6mm (it’s the other way around overall). Dutch wargamers consider themselves, on average, slightly more often as mostly historical wargamers, but this, new, question is of course the most likely to be skewed by our easier access to historical wargamers compared to those with a preference for sci-fi.
There is, of course, more that might be said, but I’d like to close with my reason for investigating my compatriots, and that’s their preferences for wargaming settings or eras. Going by the highest percentage of people who indicate they’re ’very interested’ in a period, the top three contains the predictable triumvirate of WW2, Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but - see the slightly more historical preference above - with WW2 as number 1. The Napoleonic era is at number 4, no surprise there either, but then things change. The American Civil War is in 5th place, Dark Ages in 6th, Ancients in 7th, 18th century (thank you AWI project) in 8th, the Medieval Era in 9th and Pike and Shotte in 10th place. Interestingly, when you look at the average score for each era or setting, the picture changes again and is again different from the ‘average wargamer’. Fantasy moves into second place, before Sci-Fi, and the Pike and Shotte period catapults from 10th place to the 7th (not in the top 10 on average going by the ‘very interested’ score, and number 10 by average score overall). The Ancient era instead drops into 9th position (a sad state of affairs, but we’ll see what Project 217 can do there). These changes may actually be due more to a larger number of people who are truly not interested rather than a lack of people who love a given era. All of this may just be testimony to the old saying that one Dutchmen is a theologian, two is a church and three a schism. Plenty of people with strong opinions on a small spit of land…