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"What makes a good wargame battle report?" Topic

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Lonely Gamer10 Oct 2023 3:01 p.m. PST

As the title says, what makes a good wargaming battle report?

I write battle reports all the time for my games and games I have at my club or with family at home, but are they good battle reports?

What do you consider a good battle report?

I have put forward a few of the things that I do when writing battle reports on my site so pop over and have a read.




Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2023 3:37 p.m. PST

Good pictures that show the action (and show off the figs & tabletop).

A nice bit of humor.

Explain the scenario briefly and introduce the combatants. Then just generalize on the big eventsó no need to show every maneuver.

But when something crazy happensó like the super duper dreadnought starship rolling nothing but a string of 1s while shooting at a poorly armored freighter, and then said freighter bulls-eyeing the reactor core of previously mentioned dreadnoughtó definitely show that (and if possible, the rolls).

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2023 3:46 p.m. PST

A battle report is a small piece of (fake) military history. It needs terrain, forces, objectives, plans and outcomes--which means at least one and usually several maps or photos showing the entire table.

What makes it a miniature wargame battle report is (often) pictures of the "eye candy" and (almost always) discussion of how the rules--which must be named--helped of hindered the wargamers. It's important to know Smith had the initiative from the beginning. It's VITAL to know whether this means (a) Jones dithered on Turn 1, (b) the initiative die roll is hugely important under these rules, or (c) there's some sort of gamey "bidding war" and Smith was more familiar with game mechanisms.

Other than that, battle reports boil down to "Jones and Smith fought a battle. Smith won, and they both had a good time." (I have yet to read a battle report which concludes "Jones stomped off and swore never to return/never to play these rules again" though there are, of course stories.) I do not generally take time to post "glad two complete strangers had a nice evening."

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP10 Oct 2023 6:40 p.m. PST

And don't forget the name of the rules and the size/scale of the figures.


Decebalus12 Oct 2023 6:54 a.m. PST

I like battle reports, that are written from the perspective of an (imaginary) participant of the battle. My best report of a wargaming campaign was the story of a Theban citizen soldier who had to march the same road to the battle three times, but in the end he had nothing to do with the victory over the Spoartans (it was a BBDBA battle).

Augustus12 Oct 2023 8:30 a.m. PST

Suggest looking for Major General Tremorden Reddering website in the internet archive.

The reports were just awesome reads.

Andrew Walters12 Oct 2023 12:04 p.m. PST

Two things I think are important:

#1 Pithy. Only the interesting details. Don't document every little bit of the game. How you got set up, the tradition of your group in this space, whatever. Lots of little things are important to you, but that doesn't mean they are interesting to your readers. I am often curious about a game, but have to stop reading because the report is only interesting to the participants.

I am happy to read about any detail if they are somehow interesting, so explain why playing in that room is interesting and it's fine to include it. If you're going o tell me about the evolution of this set of miniatures, state up front why that's interesting. If you can't tell me why it's interesting, leave it out. Let me get to the good part.

Maybe ask yourself, "why would someone want to read about this game?" Have three answers, and make sure the material concerned with those three aspects is front and center all the time.

#2 How did the rules work? A lot of the times I click on an AAR it's because I want to learn about the rules. I am very interested in rules, but reviews are scant and good reviews scanter. I want to know how the rules supported your scenario, whether people liked them, whether or not they evoked the era. If you included some houserules to support some fascinating additions to the OOB, I want to see those, for sure.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Oct 2023 3:15 p.m. PST

sense of ACTION
description of the flow of action

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP13 Oct 2023 7:58 p.m. PST

I'm with Saber6

joedog15 Oct 2023 12:19 p.m. PST

The narrative itself is importnat for making it interesting.

Explanation of how the rules work can also be important – especially to those learning the game – but can interrupt the narrative.

I have seen some very nice ones that alternate the narrative wqith the game mechanics – in separate paragraphs.

Lonely Gamer19 Oct 2023 6:43 p.m. PST

Thanks everyone for your comments, all good stuff.

Hopefully using some of these I can plan and hopefully write better battle reports in the future.


ViscountEric20 Oct 2023 5:53 a.m. PST

Unless you're still hopelessly trying to monetize your hobby, to quote Ted Lasso, "You do whatever you like."

Your blog/post/pictures are an extension of you. Keep it light, make sure the pictures are in good light, and include what you think is important (or what you would want to comment on for someone else's post).

I've referenced too many old action reports because I forgot what transpired during the last campaign game, so whatever you consider are essential details are okay in my book.

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