Painting and Playing (survey results part 2)

At the request of Guy Bowers, editor of this august magazine, I was reading an article submission by one of our regular Irregulars. It dealt with how some wargamers come to consider painting armies a chore. It’s something that’s got to be done for that next battle, the agreed-upon campaign, or sometimes because there’s a magazine article coming up… In the case of this author, he managed to overcome his objection, but it’s surely a sentiment that’s common to many wargamers. It reminded me there is a related question in our survey.

It also reminded me of a column by Rick Priestley (download for free) published some time ago that engendered some debate online (here, here and here) about miniature photography and what that did to the perceived quality standards of miniature armies.

As I was also working with the survey results today (part 1), I took a look at the outcome of one of our questions. Specifically, I looked at the question about which aspect of wargaming was considered the most important. Respondents were invited to indicate whether an aspect was not important at all, somewhat important or considered very important.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that “Hanging out with friends” clearly came out on top. Nearly 61% said it was a very important aspect of their hobby. The second aspect rated as ‘very important’, with 54%, was Researching Military History. These two switch place if the answers were filtered to show only those respondents who have no interest at all in Fantasy or Sci-Fi gaming (as a historian myself, I understand the allure of books and research, but more than hanging out with friends…?). Number three, finally, was playing the game. Granted, the statement was phrased a bit strong (“I live to play the game”), which may have skewed our results. It is perhaps safest to say that about 41% find that particular statement very important rather than that only 41% think playing a game is a very important aspect of wargaming. Still, it does perhaps explain why many afternoons and evenings with wargaming friends pass by with shooting the breeze, rather than rolling dice.

In fourth place with 33% we find another imperfect statement (“I paint my minis to the highest possible standards” - Note to self: do better next time!). With the comments about Rick’s article in mind, that is actually still a very high outcome. Moreover, 53% indicates that it is still important to some degree, and only 14% (third lowest after “gaming” and “hanging out”) indicates it’s not important at all. Can we say that everyone appreciates well-painted miniatures? Interestingly, those who answered that they thought “I live to play the game” was a very important aspect, answer the ‘painting’ question slightly differently. Nearly 19% indicated they don’t care, and only 26% think it’s very important.
For the record, terrain building comes right behind painting in all three columns, followed by scenario design, building the optimal army list (only 13% - 20% for the “game” crowd – are these the tournament players?), and finally rules collecting.

I realize this is a somewhat short results update, but I want to paint more minis now… (and yes, as I said last week, we are very grateful to all bloggers who helped promote the Great Wargaming Survey, Von Peter, thank you!)

See also part 3part 4 and part 5.

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