April 19, 2024

Data Diving Into the Solo & Solitaire Wargaming & Historical Gaming Survey

Brant Guillory, 27 September 2023

Last week, we gave you the final results of our survey from over the Summer, where we asked wargamers to give us their top 5 solo/solitaire wargames/historical games.  You can read the details about what we asked and how we crunched the numbers over on the original article.

We’ve encouraged the audience to take a look at the data we provided and perhaps crunch a little analysis of their own, whether looking into publishers, the year the game was released, the genre/conflicts covered, etc.  It might be interesting to see how many people voted for games that are not purpose-designed for solitaire play, for instance.

One of the deeper dives that we conducted looked into where the games were ranked based on how long the respondents have been playing.  One of the optional questions at the end of the survey was “How long have you been wargaming?”

2023 solo HowLong

Now, as we noted on both our podcast, and the Beyond Solitaire video, “more than 25 years” seems to be an insufficient descriptor, as that barely gets us back into the 1990s.  We probably need to break that into (at least) 25-40, and Over-40.

However, we do have something we can do with this data.  We separated the list based on how long people have been playing, to generate one list from the old-timers, and another one combining the all those folks who are in the 10-&-under group.  Sorry, you 10-25’ers; we left you out of this one.

So what do the lists look like when we break them down by age groups?  Let’s take a look.
(note that both tables paginate a few times to save screen real estate)

For those that have been playing more than 25 years

Rank (25+)Game Titlecountsumaverage
1D-Day at Omaha Beach19653.42
2Enemy Action: Ardennes12484
3Stalingrad: Advance to the Volga, 194210383.8
4D-Day at Tarawa9333.67
5Pavlov's House15332.2
6Fields of Fire9323.56
7The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-4310303
8Ambush!10292.9
9Skies Above Britain10292.9
10Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-20207263.71
11RAF: The Battle of Britain 19408232.88
12Raid on St. Nazaire9232.56
13Atlantic Chase7223.14
14RAF5204
15Resist!6203.33
16Advanced Squad Leader5193.8
17Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game5193.8
18Pax Pamir: Second Edition5183.6
19B-17: Queen of the Skies5173.4
20Patton's Best5173.4
21Carrier: The Southwest Pacific Campaign – 1942-19434164
22John Company: Second Edition4164
23Mrs Thatcher's War: The Falklands, 19826162.67
24A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of Gettysburg4153.75
25Agricola, Master of Britain5153
26Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble5153
27The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-454153.75
28The Wars of Marcus Aurelius4153.75
29Combat!4143.5
30Enemy Action: Kharkov5142.8
31Last Blitzkrieg: Wacht am Rhein, The Battle of the Bulge4143.5
32Malta Besieged: 1940-19424143.5
33NATO Air Commander5142.8
34The White Tribe: Rhodesia's War 1966-19803144.67
35Tarawa 19434133.25
36Target for Today5132.6
37Navajo Wars3124
38Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-453124
39W18153124
40Blackbeard3113.67
41Europa Universalis: The Price of Power3113.67
42Hero of Weehawken4112.75
43Holland '44: Operation Market-Garden3113.67
44Fire in the Lake4102.5
45Paths of Glory4102.5
46Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North2105
47Skies Above the Reich3103.33
48The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades4102.5
49Undaunted: Reinforcements3103.33

 

For those that have been playing 10 or fewer years

Rank (<10)Game TitlecountsumAverage
1Pax Pamir: Second Edition19693.63
2Pavlov's House14443.14
3John Company: Second Edition10393.9
4D-Day at Omaha Beach10353.5
5Navajo Wars8273.38
6Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-20208263.25
7Cuba Libre8253.13
8Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar9252.78
9Fields of Fire6244
10RAF: The Battle of Britain 19407223.14
11Skies Above Britain7213
12Maquis7192.71
13Votes for Women4194.75
14Stilicho: Last of the Romans5183.6
15Fire in the Lake8172.13
16Halls of Hegra4174.25
17Peloponnesian War5173.4
18Combat!5163.2
19Enemy Action: Ardennes4153.75
20Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game5153
21Ambush!3144.67
22Europa Universalis: The Price of Power3144.67
23Field Commander: Napoleon5142.8
24Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?6142.33
25Thunderbolt Apache Leader6142.33
26Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain 1085-10864133.25
27B-17 Flying Fortress Leader4133.25
28Enemy Action: Kharkov3134.33
29Freedom: The Underground Railroad5132.6
30Lanzerath Ridge4133.25
31Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection3113.67
32Resist!7111.57
33A Feast for Odin3103.33
34A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of Gettysburg2105
35Celles: The Ardennes, December 23-27, 19443103.33
36D-Day at Tarawa3103.33
37Empire of the Sun2105
38Men of Iron Battles Tri-pack: Men of Iron, Infidel, Blood & Roses2105
39Paths of Glory3103.33
40Stonewall Jackson's Way II: Battles of Bull Run2105
41The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-433103.33
42Atlantic Chase691.5
43Aurelian: Restorer of the World393
44Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (Second Edition)294.5
45N: The Napoleonic Wars393
46Stuka Leader294.5
47The U.S. Civil War393
482 Minutes to Midnight284
49Arracourt284

 

And finally, here’s a comparison for you, showing the differences between the two groups for those games that appeared on both of those lists, which was just over 20 titles.

Titleswing
Pavlov's HouseNew +11
Navajo WarsNew +15
Combat!New +2
John Company: Second EditionNew +23
Europa Universalis: The Price of PowerNew +3
Pax Pamir: Second EditionNew +51
Fire in the LakeNew +7
Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020Same
Paths of GlorySame
Enemy Action: KharkovVet +1
RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940Vet +1
Atlantic ChaseVet +13
Ambush!Vet +15
The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43Vet +20
D-Day at TarawaVet +23
D-Day at Omaha BeachVet +30
Enemy Action: ArdennesVet +33
Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card GameVet +4
A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of GettysburgVet +5
Fields of FireVet +8
Skies Above BritainVet +8
Resist!Vet +9

(Mr President and Paths of Glory had identical scores between the 2 age groups)

So what can you glean from this data?  First of all, there are over 20 games in the top 50 between both lists, so the games that folks enjoy playing on their own are very similar on both lists.
Of the ones that are different?  Look, Pax Pamir was a huge difference between the two lists (+51 points on the new gamers list) but then look at the vote counts, not just the points: 19 people among the newer crowd voted for it, while only 5 in the veteran crowd did.  The script was flipped for Enemy Action: Ardennes, where 12 of the veteran wargamers put it in their top 5, but only 4 of the newer ones did.

Of those that appeared on only one or the other?  There are some interesting titles at the top of each list1
For the newer wargamers:

  • #7 was Cuba Libre
  • #8 was Falling Sky
  • #12 was Maquis
  • #13 was Votes for Women

For the veterans:

  • #3 was Stalingrad: Advance to the Volga, 1942
  • #12 was Raid on St Nazaire
  • #14 was RAF
  • #16 was Advanced Squad Leader

Now there are limits to the conclusions we can draw from this data since very few of these games even got double-digit votes across the entire survey, much less in one or both age categories, but it does appear as though the veteran wargamers have an affinity for both games, and designers, that have a longer track record in the hobby than the newer wargamers do.  Whether that’s a result of topical preferences, reputation earned over time, or differences in game mechanics can certainly be discussed, but was beyond the scope of this survey.

What other data dives are you interested in pursuing with this survey?  Sound off in our forums, or in the comments section below!

 


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In gaming halls where grognards debate,
They argue about what’s deemed first-rate.
“True wargame!” they declare,
With a passionate glare,
Their opinions, they’ll never abate.
Some seek hexes and counters galore,
Claiming purism, nothing they’ll ignore.
Yet the heart of the matter,
Is the fun we all gather,
So let’s play and enjoy, let’s explore!

Footnotes

  1. once you get past the top 4-5, the number of people voting for an individual title within each age group drops way off, so those rankings are subject to wild swings with just a single high vote

Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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