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GWS 2020: Who's got the most toys?

The question of collection size surfaces occasionally on the home front. A package may arrive in the mailbox and I am asked, "more figures?" Silly question. When my wife looks at the stacks of boxes in the game room stuffed with figures, she often makes the comment that "you have a lot of figures." She is right on that count.

When is enough, enough? Is a project really ever finished? Is there a relationship between collection size and other hobby attributes? For answers to the first two questions, my answer is simply that it is too soon to tell. As for answering the third question, let us see what the survey says.

In preparation for the 2020 Great Wargaming Survey, Jasper asked if there were any questions Miles or I would like to add. Well, I had a couple of suggestions. One question focused on collection size. My wish was granted! When I sent the proposed question with bin sizes, Jasper may have thought my brackets were typographical errors and that I inadvertently added some extra zeros (I didn't! I just mentally counted: one, two, three many! JO). This was my proposed question:

How many painted figures do you possess in your wargaming collections?

  • Less than 100 painted figures
  • 101- 500 painted figures
  • 501- 1,000 painted figures
  • 1,001- 2,500 painted figures
  • 2,501- 5,000 painted figures
  • 5,001-10,000 painted figures
  • 10,001-15,000 painted figures
  • 15,001-20,000 painted figures
  • 20,001-25,000 painted figures
  • 25,000+ painted figures

In last year's survey, the question appeared as follows (and with these results):


Who has more than 2,500 figures? How about a show of hands? The difference between maximum-collection size from the survey understates my suggestion by a factor of ten at the upper end! (Sorry! JO)

For this study, only two attributes will be examined. They are Age Group and Primary Interest. Now, in earlier results, we saw that there is a relationship between age group and primary interest. Younger wargamers tended toward fantasy/sci-fi gaming while older wargamers tended toward historical gaming. As always there is a mix of all age groups in the "Mixed" category of gaming preference. Since many fantasy/sci-fi games require fewer figures than large historical battles, collection size ought to reflect this tendency. Similarly, with older wargamers having a longer time to collect and amass figures than the younger generations, collection size should show increases with age. What do the data suggest?

Collection Size versus Age Group

What do the data show when examining Collection Size by Age Group? To begin: Figure 1 illustrates that the 101-500 figure collection size is the most popular. What may be surprising is that collection sizes exceeding 2,500 figures are the second most popular. This result suggests to me that there are a lot of data aggregated within the Over 2,500 bracket. Maybe a reconsideration of collection size bins is appropriate if this question will continue into 2021? Also, note that the 31-40 age group makes up the largest component of the 101-500 collection size while 51-60 age group takes the largest share of the Over 2,500 collection size.
When the data are transposed such that counts of Age Group by Collection Size are examined (Figure 2) rather than by Collection Size and Age Group, we see that collection size tends to increase with age group. About one-half of those surveyed age 61-and-over hold collections in excess of 2,500 figures.  Whether this result is driven by discretionary income, longevity, both, or something else is unanswered, for now.

Collection Size versus Primary Interest

What if Collection by Primary interest is considered? In Figure 3, again the collection size of 101-500 figures is the most popular. While the "Mixed" category of primary interest dominates the 101-500 size collection, Fantasy/Sci-Fi is the second most popular primary interest for this collection size. Historicals shows up as a distant third. Now, consider the Over 2,500 collection size. Historicals dominate with Mixed a close second.

When the data are transposed such that counts of Primary Interest by Collection Size are tallied (Figure 4) rather than by Collection Size and Primary interest, what do we notice? We notice that the collection size of 101-500 figures is the most popular with the exception of Historicals.  Perhaps not surprising that, generally, collection size increases as a wargamer moves from pure Fantasy/Sci-Fi gaming to pure historical gaming.

What are the main take-aways from this analysis?  In 2020, collection size tends to increase with the wargamer's age and a move toward historical gaming.  Hardly revolutionary but an interesting validation of wargaming lore.

Given your primary interest and age group, do these survey results reflect your collection size or is collection size something best uncounted?

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