From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine recently undertook a large scale online survey of wargamers. Given the magazine’s focus is on historical gaming many of the questions (and I’m sure most of the respondents) related to that area of the tabletop hobby more than others.
With a sample size of 7759 the results are well worth a look over. Full survey results and commentary will be available in Issue 75 of the magazine, but the preliminary results and discussion are available on the website now.
Some of the interesting results are:
The average gamer has been playing for over twenty years. So historical wargames are a hobby that last a long time, but if the average gamer has been playing for 20 years, are enough new players coming in? Speaking only to my own experience, I had zero interest in historical miniatures between the ages of 11 and 35. After that (and before!) the various settings had and have more appeal. Do other gamers count from when they first started playing, without accounting for large gaps over those years?
99% of the respondents were male. I have to be honest here – I’m surprised it was that low. Having been wargaming since the early 1990s I could count on the fingers of one hand the female players I’ve encountered. Other tabletop pursuits, especially board games, have a much better gender balance. Wargames are more a male hobby.
Two-thirds of historical gamers are aged between 30 and 50, with roughly equal proportions over and under this age band. I can only say that is consistent with my experience. Also back on my point about being a time-poor gamer, as you get older you tend to focus what time you have in one or two hobby areas (tabletop or otherwise) as you don’t have the time to go broader. Looking up a couple of paragraphs, historical gamers have been there for a while and are staying as this is what they like most, and will therefore focus on.
The social aspect matters. Many gamers cited friends’ influence as the factor in getting them into gaming. Many more cited the social aspect of playing the games and meeting fellow gamers as being what keeps them there. I don’t think enough attention is paid to the importance of face-to-face interaction when talking about tabletop games (wargames or otherwise). I am convinced face-to-face is the ‘killer app’ that keeps these games relevant year after year.
For more info on the survey, check out the wss website, and also buy Issue 75!