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?”
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 Title||count||sum||average|
|1||D-Day at Omaha Beach||19||65||3.42|
|2||Enemy Action: Ardennes||12||48||4|
|3||Stalingrad: Advance to the Volga, 1942||10||38||3.8|
|4||D-Day at Tarawa||9||33||3.67|
|6||Fields of Fire||9||32||3.56|
|7||The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43||10||30||3|
|9||Skies Above Britain||10||29||2.9|
|10||Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020||7||26||3.71|
|11||RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940||8||23||2.88|
|12||Raid on St. Nazaire||9||23||2.56|
|16||Advanced Squad Leader||5||19||3.8|
|17||Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game||5||19||3.8|
|18||Pax Pamir: Second Edition||5||18||3.6|
|19||B-17: Queen of the Skies||5||17||3.4|
|21||Carrier: The Southwest Pacific Campaign – 1942-1943||4||16||4|
|22||John Company: Second Edition||4||16||4|
|23||Mrs Thatcher's War: The Falklands, 1982||6||16||2.67|
|24||A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of Gettysburg||4||15||3.75|
|25||Agricola, Master of Britain||5||15||3|
|26||Dien Bien Phu: The Final Gamble||5||15||3|
|27||The Hunted: Twilight of the U-Boats, 1943-45||4||15||3.75|
|28||The Wars of Marcus Aurelius||4||15||3.75|
|30||Enemy Action: Kharkov||5||14||2.8|
|31||Last Blitzkrieg: Wacht am Rhein, The Battle of the Bulge||4||14||3.5|
|32||Malta Besieged: 1940-1942||4||14||3.5|
|33||NATO Air Commander||5||14||2.8|
|34||The White Tribe: Rhodesia's War 1966-1980||3||14||4.67|
|36||Target for Today||5||13||2.6|
|38||Silent Victory: U.S. Submarines in the Pacific, 1941-45||3||12||4|
|41||Europa Universalis: The Price of Power||3||11||3.67|
|42||Hero of Weehawken||4||11||2.75|
|43||Holland '44: Operation Market-Garden||3||11||3.67|
|44||Fire in the Lake||4||10||2.5|
|45||Paths of Glory||4||10||2.5|
|46||Roads to Gettysburg II: Lee Strikes North||2||10||5|
|47||Skies Above the Reich||3||10||3.33|
|48||The Mission: Early Christianity from the Crucifixion to the Crusades||4||10||2.5|
For those that have been playing 10 or fewer years
|Rank (<10)||Game Title||count||sum||Average|
|1||Pax Pamir: Second Edition||19||69||3.63|
|3||John Company: Second Edition||10||39||3.9|
|4||D-Day at Omaha Beach||10||35||3.5|
|6||Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020||8||26||3.25|
|8||Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar||9||25||2.78|
|9||Fields of Fire||6||24||4|
|10||RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940||7||22||3.14|
|11||Skies Above Britain||7||21||3|
|13||Votes for Women||4||19||4.75|
|14||Stilicho: Last of the Romans||5||18||3.6|
|15||Fire in the Lake||8||17||2.13|
|16||Halls of Hegra||4||17||4.25|
|19||Enemy Action: Ardennes||4||15||3.75|
|20||Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game||5||15||3|
|22||Europa Universalis: The Price of Power||3||14||4.67|
|23||Field Commander: Napoleon||5||14||2.8|
|24||Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001 – ?||6||14||2.33|
|25||Thunderbolt Apache Leader||6||14||2.33|
|26||Almoravid: Reconquista and Riposte in Spain 1085-1086||4||13||3.25|
|27||B-17 Flying Fortress Leader||4||13||3.25|
|28||Enemy Action: Kharkov||3||13||4.33|
|29||Freedom: The Underground Railroad||5||13||2.6|
|31||Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection||3||11||3.67|
|33||A Feast for Odin||3||10||3.33|
|34||A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of Gettysburg||2||10||5|
|35||Celles: The Ardennes, December 23-27, 1944||3||10||3.33|
|36||D-Day at Tarawa||3||10||3.33|
|37||Empire of the Sun||2||10||5|
|38||Men of Iron Battles Tri-pack: Men of Iron, Infidel, Blood & Roses||2||10||5|
|39||Paths of Glory||3||10||3.33|
|40||Stonewall Jackson's Way II: Battles of Bull Run||2||10||5|
|41||The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43||3||10||3.33|
|43||Aurelian: Restorer of the World||3||9||3|
|44||Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! – Operation Barbarossa 1941 (Second Edition)||2||9||4.5|
|45||N: The Napoleonic Wars||3||9||3|
|47||The U.S. Civil War||3||9||3|
|48||2 Minutes to Midnight||2||8||4|
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.
|Pavlov's House||New +11|
|Navajo Wars||New +15|
|John Company: Second Edition||New +23|
|Europa Universalis: The Price of Power||New +3|
|Pax Pamir: Second Edition||New +51|
|Fire in the Lake||New +7|
|Mr. President: The American Presidency, 2001-2020||Same|
|Paths of Glory||Same|
|Enemy Action: Kharkov||Vet +1|
|RAF: The Battle of Britain 1940||Vet +1|
|Atlantic Chase||Vet +13|
|The Hunters: German U-Boats at War, 1939-43||Vet +20|
|D-Day at Tarawa||Vet +23|
|D-Day at Omaha Beach||Vet +30|
|Enemy Action: Ardennes||Vet +33|
|Warfighter: The WWII Tactical Combat Card Game||Vet +4|
|A Most Fearful Sacrifice: The Three Days of Gettysburg||Vet +5|
|Fields of Fire||Vet +8|
|Skies Above Britain||Vet +8|
(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!