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"Reasons for Playing Wargames" Topic


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Action Log

08 Jan 2015 6:57 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Removed from Historical Wargaming board
  • Removed from Solo Wargamers board
  • Removed from TMP Poll Suggestions board


12,247 hits since 16 Jun 2014
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

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Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 7:19 a.m. PST

The larger gaming industry has given a lot of thought to why people play games. Of course, most of the interest is in creating games that people will buy, but it is a pertinent question for our hobby.

Depending on the designer or company doing the market research, they generally have come up with the following matrix:

picture


People play for many reasons, but often one or more of the quadrants is the primary reason:

Immersion: The player enjoys being immersed in the game narrative, the pretending. They want to experience another time, cultural or challenge apart from real life.

Cooperation: The player enjoys the social aspects of playing games, the comraderie. It may not matter what game is played as long as there is good company.

Achievement: This is about accomplishment, but not necessarily winning a competition. It can be mastering the game system, finishing that 2,000 figure army or setting up a beautiful table or painting an outstanding stand of miniatures.

Competition: This is about winning. Tournament play looms large in this quadtrant, but simply playing the game to win is a large part of the enjoyment. This doesn't mean 'win at any cost' or 'rules lawyering', but simply playing the game as a competitive challenge.

And as shown by the black terms, some game preferences will involve few people, while others will want a larger number of participants. The top two quadrants will be more focused on the quality of the experience, much of it unquantifiable, while the lower quadrants will 'keep track' as part of the enjoyment of game play, whether that is counting victory points, trophies, army points or wins, is it the quantitative that describes the experience.

While it is obvious that wargamers can and do enjoy games for all those reasons at one time or another, the question here is:

Which of the four quadrants is most important or the biggest reason for playing wargames for you?

It will be interesting to compare wargame responses to the agrigates computer games and the larger game industries have developed.

Bill McHarg Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 7:26 a.m. PST

Cooperation. I have slowly shifted from immersion to cooperation as I have gotten older. NOw having a good time with friends is more important than thinking I am somehow realistically depicting war on a tabletop with toy soldiers.

Battle Phlox16 Jun 2014 7:35 a.m. PST

Immersion. I like pretty armies on a pretty tabletop. Proxies and unpainted minis I'll tolerate but they do take away from the whole experience.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian16 Jun 2014 7:37 a.m. PST

If it's a small game, then immersion – but more in a story-telling way than a belief that I'm replicating history with any real accuracy. For bigger, club or convention games, it's cooperation; not necessarily 'all on the same side' but rather as members of a cast, sometimes competing, but all working to make the whole event a success.

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 7:44 a.m. PST

Because I play a lot of solo, immersion is a strong motivator. When I'm not playing solo I prefer cooperation with others.

The Red Baron Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 7:52 a.m. PST

I suppose mine would be Achievement, I enjoy taking a project from mental musings to a complete tabletop army with all the relevant scenary etc

leidang16 Jun 2014 8:00 a.m. PST

Immersion and cooperation

Rich Bliss Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 8:04 a.m. PST

I'm not on this grid. My major motivation is education. I play to learn about the decision making process and course of battles and wars.

PiersBrand16 Jun 2014 8:19 a.m. PST

Im in the 'fun' quadrant…

kyoteblue Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 8:23 a.m. PST

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kallman16 Jun 2014 8:32 a.m. PST

I will second Piers that I play for fun which means given the particular circumstances and what the game is I could be any of these four as long as I am enjoying what I am doing. I find tables such as the one above too limiting in scope. I understand the desire and need to classify behaviors especially from the marketing perspective; however, I could see this particular survey giving false positives.

Although I do see where this table is useful from the perspective of a game master looking at the elements to help them focus their efforts in the design of a scenario.

jpattern216 Jun 2014 8:40 a.m. PST

Reasons for playing wargames?

Surely the correct answer is: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

daubere Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 9:06 a.m. PST

Im in the 'fun' quadrant…

+1

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 9:26 a.m. PST

I think whoever came up with that matrix has far too much time on his/her hands, or paid a consultant far too much money.

Personal logo Great War Ace Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 9:37 a.m. PST

Immersion, it's the only way….

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 9:53 a.m. PST

Rich:
Thanks. I do need to put that in. Learning and education is on the left and can be in either immersion or achievement, depending on why you want that education. If you play to learn, that is immersion. If you study and analyze the game system to learn the content rather than play, that is more in the achievement quadrant--gaining information for it's own sake rather than the experience and dynamics of play. Think mastery of the content rather than learning through the experience of play. Each is educational in its own way.

Obviously, the quadrants are a way to understand needs, but certainly artificial categories. And just as obvious, there is no wrong answer, just preferences.

I think whoever came up with that matrix has far too much time on his/her hands, or paid a consultant far too much money.

John:
It was put together by a number of game designers who want to design games that meet player wants. I never got the impression they had time to burn, but rather wanted to be as efficient as possible in targeting their chosen audience with their designs.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 10:17 a.m. PST

Im in the 'fun' quadrant…


Ah, I would imagine that all of the quadrants are fun. It's just which kind of fun experience is your preference.

"Fun" isn't some vanilla, one-note experience regardless of the context or person. If it was, it sure would make game design simpler, and of course they would all look a like.

Green Tiger Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 10:22 a.m. PST

Immersion, its the history that interests me. I guess that makes me a nerd but this IS a miniatures forum…

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 10:29 a.m. PST

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Dynaman878916 Jun 2014 10:36 a.m. PST

I'm at a loss for what achievement means, its a game… (then again I say the same thing about sport/olympics/etc – its a game)

Immersion and competition are the main draws for me – but Competition is tempered by my not liking tournaments. I prefer a tough friendly game and players who try to get the rules "right" even if it means they get the short end of the stick.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 11:10 a.m. PST

To change history! German Geordie must GO!! ha!

Zargon Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 12:07 p.m. PST

Yer wot? There's a reason? Shame on you McLaddie ;) I thought it was all about alien mind control as I'll be a moggies aunt as to the love we lot have for fiddling about with toy soldiers. But at a push to shove its all to do with a love of history and books. My excuse anyway :) still intriguing as to how we all view this great hobby/obsession . Cheers all and happy gaming

nnascati Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 1:51 p.m. PST

Solo gamer mostly, so I'd say immersion.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 2:01 p.m. PST

I'm at a loss for what achievement means, its a game…

Dynaman8789:

Yeah, it's sort of a catch-all category, but basically it is about enjoying setting goals and achieving them, whether painting particular units, learning about a battle or the history behind the conflict, a particular type of game system, or even planning and putting on a convention game. It's like the gentleman who just finished painting 250,000 6mm miniatures, every soldier that fought at Waterloo. In the interview I didn't see anything about playing with them. It was just painting and basing them with that 250,000 goal in mind…. Now, what does he do? Retires.

Achievement covers a lot of ground, but it isn't competition unless you have set your goal to win all the trophies offered for playing X at every convention or always winning the best convention game presentation etc.

Achievement: Goal setting and enjoying achieving it
Competitioin: Winning the game, beating your opponent.

There are a number of wargame designers who have roughly identified their target audience, some even insisting that all wargamers are in one or two of those categories. Regardless, the idea is: If you know what people want from a game, you have a better chance of meeting those wants. Also, if only two out of 100 want Achievement, then that might not be the target audience you want to design for.

Looking at the quadrants and considering our historical wargaming hobby, I can imagine the gamers on the left two quadrants would generally be more focused on the history, while the right half more focused on the play.

Cuchulainn Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 3:41 p.m. PST

I play them for fun, it's as simple as that. :O)

jwebster16 Jun 2014 3:51 p.m. PST

I would be at the immersion/achievement intersection

However, as someone else said, it is easy to have fun in any quadrant depending on the circumstances, so I could see myself spending money (isn't that what it's all about) in any one of the quadrants.

The Boston Marketing matrix is the classic four quadrant graph that it seems to me that everyone tries to emulate to prove that they are providing valuable marketing input. I don't work in marketing – I am way too cynical and analytical.

So I don't think this matrix works because the values on X and Y don't represent a spectrum. So if you broke it up and put Competitiveness on X and Immersion on Y and split it into 4 areas then you could get more insight into the kind of game that you could design. Or not, because as I say, there is a reason I don't work in marketing

John

Thee 1derdull Wiznard of Od Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 3:57 p.m. PST

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CPBelt Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 5:38 p.m. PST

I thought the main reason people played games was to pick up hot chicks? No? Oh well. I guess that explains a lot about my like then….

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP16 Jun 2014 5:56 p.m. PST

Sadly that kind of pseudo-scientific nonsense is rampant among the 'descriptive' sciences (psychology, sociology, economics etc) and should be soundly laughed off stage, most of all for pretending to be related in any way to one of the real 'predictive' sciences (physics, chemistry).


Wiznard:
Wow, I find it even sadder that you are dismissing this as pseudo-scientific when there is no psychology, sociology, economics or anthing else involved. It is not even a predictive effort.

It is simply a descriptive one created by game designers [who aren't pyschologists etc. etc.] over time through open discussion in an effort to get a better handle on what kind of games their audience want and their reasons for playing them. All game designers give a lot of thought to their audiences. Those are practical design issues, not sophistry, and why it should 'bound' anything, let alone creativity is beyond me.

As this is something developed and used by game designers in the multi-billion dollar game industry, I thought it would be interesting to see where wargamers in our far smaller community would sit in comparison.

Klaus Teuber created Settlers of Cartan by first finding out what his family liked to play and why, continuing to adapt and change the game until they loved it. [Or was that binding his creativity?] Then he did the same with a wider game audience. He certainly referred to such 'gamer wants' constructs.

There wasn't any science involved. That's what game designers do. It is no different than many wargame designers on TMP and elsewhere who give a lot of attention to what gamers say they like and often insist that they 'know' what gamers want.

How would you quantify 'efficiency in game design'? Only dubiously.

That is what Klaus was aiming for: efficiency in game design--a game that 'efficiently' [read easy to play, but challenging and considered fun], effectively targeted players' wants, games that gamers wanted to play. Why that would need to be 'quantified', I don't know--other than perhaps how many gamers found it entertaining.

Certainly the above quadrants don't quantify anything other than limiting the categories to four…certainly not because that is some significant or magically 'scientific' limit or in any way the actual limit to gamer desires.

Or do you believe designing games can only be a totally hit-or-miss throw of the dice because no one can *predict* what gamers want? Most every successful game designer does not agree with that assessment to a significant degree. And no one is suggesting or has suggested that such efforts describe everything or totally capture all wants and needs.

The European game designers have been successful in the past several years. They regularly use similar sets of gamer 'wants' as those above to help them design games. It isn't science, it's simply attempting to understand the customer's wants, the ingredients of different kinds of 'fun' and design games accordingly.

A great book on the subject…including his version of the quadrants above is by a veteran board, wargame, and computer designer, Raph Koster, "A theory of Fun for Game Design." Everyone, designer and gamer, has such a 'theory' of what is fun. It's certainly not science or psychology.

And I am sure the many designers of chess had no knowledge of commerical game design. They were designing their game for an entirely different set of reasons and a relatively limited audience.

And creative play and/or creative game design is certainly not 'bound' by such efforts. You seem to feel this is far more dogmatic, sciency and serious than I do. It is just a hunt for more information, more ways to understand what gamers want and how games provide that.

Or do you believe such things completely unfathomable to the human mind and any attempt to gain greater understanding is simply sophistry?

Temporary like Achilles Inactive Member16 Jun 2014 11:06 p.m. PST

Hmm, all of them!

Achievement – finishing enough troops to be able to put on a particular scenario; designing rules or scenarios that are successful; writing up a report on a game; pulling off a satisfying strategy.

Immersion – getting caught up in the world of the game, the events that unfold, and, perhaps, a wider narrative associated with the game.

Competition – wanting to win the game or do better than one's historical counterpart. The enjoyment that comes with successfully countering an opponent's tactic and the enjoyment that comes from witnessing superior play from an opponent, learning from it, and thinking about how to best respond to it.

Cooperation – working with others to stage, play or win a game.

Can't really choose between them!

Cheers,
Aaron

Jemima Fawr Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 2:40 a.m. PST

To crush your enemies.

See them run before you.

And hear the lamentations of their women.

That is why.

Pete Melvin Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 3:15 a.m. PST

It depends on the game, the circumstances of the game and who I am playing against.

A Bolt Action tournament game against someone I've never played against before is going to be a VERY different feeling from a historical scenario Bolt Action game against one of my close friends.

In the first example thats going to be almost all Competition and Achievment.
In the second almost all Immersion and Co-operation.

A board game example

Twilight Struggle: I WANT to win this one, its achievment and competition but it is also a very immersive game.
Pandemic: Its cooperation and achievment if you beat it, but its hard to get immersed in it.

In short; I like games, sometimes I like to win.

MadDrMark17 Jun 2014 3:30 a.m. PST

The matrix suggests that some of the categories are mutually exclusive. I think it is possible to identify moments when "all of the above" apply in my experience, and I doubt I am alone. Perhaps there is a Vetter way to represent the choices.

Thee 1derdull Wiznard of Od Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 3:32 a.m. PST

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daubere Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 4:15 a.m. PST

There is probably such a thing as 'too much analysis'. Especially of what is essentially a pastime for adults.

Or maybe I've been following the wrong hobby for 30 years. I've always thought of it as having fun with like-minded friends. It never occurred to me that I should be looking for 'goals'

I get enough of that in my career. I play wargames to escape those pressures.

OSchmidt Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 5:01 a.m. PST

Talk to Prince Orlovsky.

daubere Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 5:15 a.m. PST

Talk to Prince Orlovsky.

Chacun à son goût?

OSchmidt Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 5:48 a.m. PST

Dear Daubere

Close enough, you get it. He (she) says before that "I do it to amuse me, Chacun a son gout."

You get the two points.

Yesthatphil17 Jun 2014 7:06 a.m. PST

I play and design wargames to explore military history and to bring the past to life in an informative way. So that might put me in the immersion quadrant – except that I'm sure some forms of fantasy games can be totally immersive (but still not be of interest to me). Perhaps 'Information' ('fact' and education')?

Ah, I would imagine that all of the quadrants are fun. It's just which kind of fun experience is your preference.

"Fun" isn't some vanilla, one-note experience regardless of the context or person. If it was, it sure would make game design simpler, and of course they would all look a like.

Totally agree. I find games that are intended as fun usually aren't. Games that intend to explore or depict something interesting – and do so in a successful (sometimes merely interesting/imaginative) way – usually are.

The best way to design a fun game is to design a good game.

Phil

Glenn Pearce17 Jun 2014 8:23 a.m. PST

Hello Bill!

Well I tried to pick one, that didn't work. Next I tried to eliminate one, that didn't work. Then I tried to rank them, that didn't work.

So all of them!

Best regards,

Glenn

p.s. Which one is yours?

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2014 9:22 a.m. PST

Hi Glenn:

It isn't necessarily easy to rank them, but the categories do make you think about what you enjoy about wargaming. And remember, this is a conceptual effort of commercial game designers, so it is more general in focus rather than specifically historical wargaming.

But again, it is what is the strongest reason for playing, rather than the only one…

I would say I am an immersion player first and foremost, but even the quadrant at the bottom, Competition, is something I enjoy, the challenge. It is a by-product of my youth, playing football in high school and college, [defensive line] that and fencing[sabre and epee] and now racquet ball [slow division…].

Xantipos Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 9:29 a.m. PST

I would maybe say immersion, with some dots of achievement.

OSchmidt Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 9:40 a.m. PST

The 1derful Wiznard of Oz.

Precisely. I'm with you.

"Or do you believe such things completely unquantifiable to the human mind and any attempt to gain greater understanding is simply sophistry?"

Yup, same as predictive simulations, aromatherapy or crystals.

It's no good asking people what they want. They lie. They lie on surveys, they lie on questionaires, they lie on the net. They lie and tell you what they think you'd like to hear, they lie and tell you what they want you to hear, they lie because they want to hear it about themselves. They lie to pull you chain, they lie for the pure cussedness of telling a lie to you. They lie even when the survey is anonymous. As one character says in "Rashamon" men lie because they cannot stand the truth about themselves."

The only way you can tell what people want is to watch them when they don't know they are being watched. Then by watching their DEEDS not their words, you will know what they really want.

Being a game designer myself I have seen it a hundred times. Everyone wants something new, great and innovative- that's what they say. But when you give them that all you hear is "Oh you should make this like Umpires Ego's and Liars!" or "You should use the system from "Farts of Wore's." They don't want creativity or something new. They want the same old thing that they won their last battle with only make it easier to win this time.

Not only me. I've seen this community have many new and innovative games by really talented people, and they all die the death of a thousand cuts. Everyone wants it to be what they know.

The problem with fun is you can define it, but you can't define it scientifically. Once you do, once you start to measure it, it ceases to be fun.

When you are talking about hobbies you are so far into the irrational (spending comparatively large sums of money and time on absolutely useless objects which have no realizeable value, and doing things which have no return or bearking on real life (education is fine, but the educational value of the games themselves is dubious. I don't need to know how to run an army in war, and the odds I will ever command one in war are highly unlikely-- and the odds that I will ever command one that uses muskets and smoothbore cannon vary between slim and none and Slim was last seen leaving town in a hurry with the nun)… We do this absurd activity because it amuses us, but on a deeper level, we act out our secret dreams and fantasies, our fears and our lusts.

When you are in the irrational, into romantic involvement, into our own fantasies in our head, our own amusements, then ANY sort of scientific measurement is out the window. That's why they call it the irrational.

When you are in the never-never-land of War Games you are in the land of dreams from the sublime, and monsters from the Id.

You want to know how to study war games?

Watch a lot of Opera.

Operatic plots vary from the absurd to the stupid to the dreadful. The craziest things happen and things that no one in real life would do. We are tossed into a world of Gods and mortals, babies switched at birth, princess' disguised as milkmaids, chamber maids who marry princes, stone statues, Buxom Italian Girls in Algiers, Hopelessly romantic Turks in Italy, prophecies that ALWAYS come true, and 250 lb Soprano's dying of consumption, while the 180 lb tenor tries to carry her in his arms.

And Yet…

The music is glorious, and the costumes stunning, and we are reduced to tears as the aria reaches it's glorious and thundering conclusion and the lovers swallow the poison, go down into the tomb together, live happily ever after, the evil is vanquished, and "virtue is triumphant" (but only in theatrical performances.)

So wander around your statistical desert.

Tonight I dine with the Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (Vive Le Grand Duchesse!!) Sorry Offenbach put the cheer in, I had to say it, it's in the script.


"Fun is an activity which when you are not doing it you dearly wish you were, and which you would like to do before any other activity, and when you are doing it that activity, you forget about any other activity."

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2014 9:45 a.m. PST

"Or do you believe such things completely unquantifiable to the human mind and any attempt to gain greater understanding is simply sophistry?"

Yes, just like astrology.

Wow. Trying to discover what gamers like is like astrology.

Sadly I don't think you realize the depths of sophistry you just descended into in your lengthy response to me.

I can imagine how you arrived at that conclusion.

Obviously I struck a nerve by denigrating your model, sorry 'matrix', of marketing gibberish. Marketing being the convergence of psychology, sociology and economics.

In case I'm not clear, economic factors are a 'bound'.

Sure you did hit a nerve. Calling it psychology etc. isn't even denigrating, it doesn't apply. It is simply a description of gamer preferences, a description of 'likes', hardly psychology, sociology etc. And while economic factors are a 'bound' to game design, there is nothing in the 'matrix' above addressing economies… I think that argument qualifies as sophistry.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2014 9:50 a.m. PST

There is probably such a thing as 'too much analysis'. Especially of what is essentially a pastime for adults.

It is too much analysis for someone who plays games. It seems from following game designer discussions of game design, it seems to be a basic.

Or maybe I've been following the wrong hobby for 30 years. I've always thought of it as having fun with like-minded friends. It never occurred to me that I should be looking for 'goals'

I get enough of that in my career. I play wargames to escape those pressures.

Having fun with like-minded friends and escape sound like great goals to me. And designers want to design games that support them.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2014 9:55 a.m. PST

It's no good asking people what they want. They lie. They lie on surveys, they lie on questionaires, they lie on the net. They lie and tell you what they think you'd like to hear, they lie and tell you what they want you to hear, they lie because they want to hear it about themselves.

Well, that explains a lot. And of course, the question had nothing to do with rationality.

Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP17 Jun 2014 10:06 a.m. PST

Being a game designer myself I have seen it a hundred times. Everyone wants something new, great and innovative- that's what they say. But when you give them that all you hear is "Oh you should make this like Umpires Ego's and Liars!" or "You should use the system from "Farts of Wore's." They don't want creativity or something new. They want the same old thing that they won their last battle with only make it easier to win this time.

Careful. You are now describing what you find player want.

Not only me. I've seen this community have many new and innovative games by really talented people, and they all die the death of a thousand cuts. Everyone wants it to be what they know.

That is a problem… Yet some 'innovative games' make it. So what's the difference. Oops. Astrology.

The problem with fun is you can define it, but you can't define it scientifically. Once you do, once you start to measure it, it ceases to be fun.

'
Who has tried to define it 'scientifically?' I'd be interested. I do know that game designers are very, very interested in what gamers find 'fun' in playing games.

I gave Klaus, a successful, 'innovative' designer as an example.

So, is are the dynamics you describe something to be understood, responded to in some constructive why, or is it simply irrational and forever a completely opaque dark energy?

daubere Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 10:06 a.m. PST

OSchmidt
Opera…babies switched at birth

I'm a hopeless fan of Verdi. Il Trovatore is fine, and everyone has heard the Anvil Chorus, but I adore la Traviata.

One of his best, I think. I've seen many productions of it, all over the world.


McLaddie
And designers want to design games that support them.

Yet in my brief time on these boards I notice that you harbour an antipathy to the designs of Sam Mustafa, who has produced some of the games my friends and I have had most fun with over the last decade.

Now why is that?

I am by no means a Mustafa fanboi BTW. I think he's rather lost the plot with his luck, sorry, card driven games. But Grande Armee, Might & Reason and Lasalle are all excellent games (with a capital 'G') in their own way.

The Traveling Turk Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 10:33 a.m. PST

I used to ask gamers what they wanted, but it never did me any good because they always wanted everything, especially if it contradicted everything else they wanted. Then it dawned on me that I was an eccentric, polling a bunch of other eccentrics, and hoping to arrive at some sort of clear answer that I could base rational decisions upon… So now I just do what I do.


Even if you could get a clear answer or consensus for a question like this, what then? For example, even if everybody said "Immersive!" clear as a bell…. now what?

How would that determine how the game was designed or even how it was conceived? One man's "immersive" experience is another man's snooze. No two gamers are going to have the same idea of what sort of game activities are "immersive" for them.

Surely we've all had the experience – particularly at convention games – where we try something new, and some of the guys at the table are really immersed in it, and others want to tear their (remaining) hair out, because four hours have gone by, and they'd rather be having a root canal. (Nowadays, with everybody having smart-devices, you can walk around the game hall and see all the guys sitting at the table playing with their phones or iPads, pretty obviously not "immersed", while the guy next to them might be in rapture.)


Perhaps if wargaming were a bigger hobby, you'd have a broad enough sampling of people and interests that you could break down these preferences and focus-group them or something like that, and then cater to one particular "branch" of the hobby: people who prefer Pepsi over Coke, or whatever.

And I suppose one could make the argument that a game like Flames of War has tried to carve out a niche and then remain faithful to that niche and clientele, but they're an extraordinary case because most game designers don't have anything like their money, manpower, or distribution resources.


I suspect that the best way to figure out what gamers like, is to create a game and sell it, and then see what people's reactions are. If you've made a solid product, then it will attract a following, and you can learn from that experience and build upon that.

But first you should probably create a miniatures game. That would be a good start.

---

---

PS – consider Daubere's post, above. He liked my earlier games, but when I did two games with card-based mechanics, he didn't like them, because he didn't like those mechanics. Simple as that. How would a preference like that appear on any sort of graph or grid? Yet those are the sort of individual, idiosyncratic preferences that determine whether a game sells or not, and which for the most part, are impossible to predict.

Meanwhile, I've got a bunch of customers who loved the two card-based games, and they're probably going to be angry and disappointed that the next game isn't going to be card-based. It has nothing to do with anything on the graph above; it's just that some guys like rolling dice… some guys like playing cards… who knows.

Patrice Inactive Member17 Jun 2014 11:33 a.m. PST

To run across the game table amongst our fellow miniatures, be one of them, fight with them, triumph with them, invade villages with them, meet pretty miniature women with them, be frightened with them when the enemy comes back, be wounded with them, die with them.

Sorry… does it qualify as "immersion"?

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