The popular kids… (survey results pt3)

In part 1 and part 2 of the initial survey reports, we revealed some results about wargamers and their preferences in the hobby as a whole. It’s about time we took a look at what comes to the table: favorite period, size of miniature, game-size and length (and see also part 4, part 5).

To start off, we asked respondents to indicate the attraction of some twenty eras or genres in four categories:

  • Not interested
  • This is a favorite
  • I might play in someone’s game
  • I’d like to collect and play this, but not now

The results of this question probably indicate, again, that our respondents were either overwhelmingly historically-minded or that the difference is becoming artificial, for the winner is… World War Two (with 51% indicating ‘a favorite’ and another 22% they’d like to collect and play this period)! Undoubtedly this is evidence of the current popularity of Flames of War, Battlegroup, Bolt Action and Chain of Command. That we certainly did manage to get responses from Games Workshop fans is shown by numbers two, Science Fiction (incl. 40K) which got 42% ‘favorite’ and three, Fantasy with 34%. The next three, around 25%, with mutual differences of less than 1% and in descending order, were Medieval (Saga anyone?), Napoleonics and Ancients. There’s another cluster between 18 and 20%, again in descending order, of Pulp and Steampunk (have to wonder what that was like before IHMN), American Civil War and 18th Century Warfare. At the opposite end of the spectrum, respondents were not interested in 21st century warfare (38%), Colonial Warfare (37%), Old West, and ACW(!), at 34%.

Some other interesting results were that World War One scores high (2nd) on the ‘sometime’ scale with 28%, and 32% on ‘I might play in someone else’s game’, but is a favorite for only 14%. Similarly Pirates, Alternative History (incl. the specifically listed Dust!) and 19th Century (excl Napoleonics and ACW) get no love from about a third of respondents, would be played if someone else did the work by another third and score some 20% on the ‘sometime’ scale, but those that would actually do the work make up less than 10% of respondents.

So when you’re buying those shiny new minis for World War Two, which scale or size do you prefer them to be in? We asked respondents to indicate preference in order, so each size or scale got an average score. No prizes for correctly guessing number one: it’s 28mm with 7.75. 28mm Heroic, listed separately to accommodate certain well-known miniatures, got 7.11, very closely followed by 15mm with 7.04. There’s then a small gap before we get to the next three, very close together: 20mm/72nd scale with 5.94, 6mm with 5.88 and 10-12mm with 5.58. By comparison 2-3mm, 40mm and larger scale miniatures seem to be a niche interest.

Our question about game length – despite the awkward inclusion of the ‘campaign’ option – had a very clear result. 65% want a game that you can play from start to finish in an afternoon or an evening, 20% want their games ‘short and sweet’ and only about 8% each like to play for a weekend or focus on an entire campaign.

Finally, what about the size of games? The results here tie in very well with the answers above. Admittedly, this was a difficult question to come up with useful answers for, if only for the difference between single figures, element bases, and vehicles, ships and planes. The categories are therefore pretty rough. Undaunted, we nevertheless asked respondents to rank the following options in order of preference:

  • Small skirmish with less than 25 miniatures (e.g. Gladiator games, Operation Squad, RPG-esque games, air and naval combat games)
  • Skirmish or platoon level games with about 25 to 75 miniatures (e.g. Bolt Action, Sharp Practice, SAGA)
  • Small army level games with 75 to 250 miniatures (e.g. FoW, WAB, 40K)
  • Large army level games with more than 250 miniatures

The results were very close. The option most often selected first was ‘Small army level’, with ‘Small skirmish’ coming second. However, because ‘Skirmish or platoon’ got 38% of the second place votes, it gained the top average spot. It’d be very interesting to see if this is different in a future survey, as this might indicate a rising popularity of the mid-level game that’s now still in second place…

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