This post was inspired by fellow wargamer Ardwulf’s Lair whom I follow on Twitter (@Ardwulf) and watch his videos on YouTube. About a month ago, I saw that he took the time to categorize his entire wargame collection into several different classifications and then shared those statistics on social media for us all to see and envy.
If you know anything about wargamers, you know that we are obsessive about many things, including our collections and numbers. I find it very comforting to classify things and place them in nice and tidy categories. With wargames this can be a very fun and easy task to accomplish as there are games on all the major and minor wars that have been fought through time and across the centuries.
Each wargamer has their own individual tastes and are drawn to various conflicts for many reasons, including connections to various wars, in what decade we were born and even when we started seriously playing wargames. My collection contains 122 different games (not including expansions) and has grown considerably over the past 3 years as Alexander and I have worked to grow the presence of the blog. Over the years, I have given away or traded games, so I am never married to my games but do have ones that I would never consider parting with, such as the COIN Series from GMT Games or Old School Tactical from Flying Pig Games. I would rather play a good wargame than have a good wargame sit on my shelf for years collecting dust though.
That being said, I am definitely a collector. I have collected all types of things over the years including baseball cards, action figures and of course games. As I mentioned before, my wargame collection checks in at 122 games and takes up one full Kallax shelf (black) that looks really good in our front family room but for which my wife dreams of burning down one day (I can just see it in her eyes!). I should probably take out a rider on our homeowners insurance just to be safe though.
In this post, I will share with you several key statistics about my collections’ makeup, including the games by period, the games by publisher and then a further look at the number of games by player counts.
No real surprises here for me. My favorite historical period has always been World War II with the American Revolutionary War a very close second. As a child of the 1970’s, I used to watch all of those fairly cheesy war films such as Battle of the Bulge, The Dirty Dozen, Battle of Britain, Tora! Tora! Tora!, Midway and of course, A Bridge Too Far among others. I have always been intrigued by the exploits of the “greatest generation”. This is definitely reflected in the largest category in my collection being World War II at 52 games or 43%. I really prefer World War II operational games like Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden, No Retreat: The Russian Front from GMT Games or Demyansk Shield: The Frozen Fortress from Legion Wargames but also love my WWII Tactical including Combat Commander and Old School Tactical. After having played Conflict of Heroes: Awakening the Bear! earlier this year from Academy Games, also another WWII tactical game, it has been added to my wish list.
My second most games are in the Modern era, which I defined as any game post Vietnam. This is most likely due to my love affair with the COIN Series from GMT Games as there are several that are modern. In this category I have 11 total games or 9% with titles such as Armageddon War from Flying Pig Games, Labyrinth: The War on Terror, 2001-? and A Distant Plain: Insurgency in Afghanistan both from GMT Games and Kandahar: Southern Afghanistan 2008-2010 from One Small Step Games.
Coming in at third most is the controversial Sci-Fi/Fantasy category with 10 games representing 8%. I have heard it said that a wargame has to be based on a historical event. I don’t disagree but look at things a little differently. What if these Sci-Fi/Fantasy games are looks at historical events from the future that aren’t yet known or our past that have been forgotten? Because there is no clear answer to this question I’ll consider this category as wargames. I love my Sci-Fi/Fantasy including War of the Ring from ARES Games, Wizard Kings from Columbia Games, Space Empires from GMT Games and one of my favorite solo games Attack of the 50 Foot Colossi from Tiny Battle Publishing.
My top 5 are rounded out with Ancients at 9 games or 7% and a tie for 5th with American Civil War and American Revolutionary War at 6 games or 5%.
I definitely need some more American Civil War games and I have been chided for not having enough Napoleonic games. Right now I’m kind of into Ancients (just played Genesis from GMT Games recently) as well and will be looking to add some more there in the near future.
Look at WWII Category by Theater of Operations
Because I like World War II so much and it is represented so well in my collection statistics, I wanted to further break the category down by taking a look at my games by Theater of Operations.
It seems that most WWII games focus on the European Theater of Operations, and that holds true for the games in my collection as well with a total of 25 of 52 games or 48% set in the ETO. The Pacific Theater is one that I enjoy quite a lot and have been building my collection with recent acquisitions like Saipan: The Bloody Rock from Compass Games and D-Day at Iwo Jima from Decision Games. The PTO is well represented in my collection with 11 games or 21%. The 3rd largest category by Theater of Operations is the East Front with 7 games or 13%. One of my most recent acquisitions in this area is Pavlov’s House: The Battle of Stalingrad from Dan Verssen Games. Rounding out the look at my WWII games by Theater, we have the lesser represented ones in the North Atlantic (3 games or 6%), Global (2 games or 4%), Mediterranean (2 games or 4%) and CBI (2 games or 4%).
I know it might appear that I am a GMT Games fanboy as 23% of my collection are theirs. I admit that I love their games and have found the most joy in their fantastic Card Driven Games, such as Wilderness War, Washington’s War and Here I Stand to name just a few. But there are a lot of great publishers out there and I am trying all their games.
I own games from a total of 34 different publishers. A lot of those publishers, 13 in fact, only have 1 game in the collection. After the leader GMT Games comes Tiny Battle Publishing with 8 games or 6%, Flying Pig Games and Lock ‘n Load Publishing both with 7 games or 5%, Decision Games, Compass Games, Turning Point Simulations and Dan Verssen Games with 5 games.
I would like to own a few more games from Multi-Man Publishing as I only have 2 games as well as more from Hollandspiele as they have so many interesting looking games in their catalog.
…by Player Count
The final area of my collection that I will examine is my collection by player count. Used to be wargames were pretty much 2-player affairs. But not so anymore as there are many well designed solo games as well as games that have solo bots. But the biggest change in wargames is the number of games designed for various player counts including 1-2, 1-4 and multiple games that are 2-5.
In my collection, I have mostly 2-player games with 75 or 61%. The second most games in my collection are solo only with 14 games or 11%, which is really shocking to me. I don’t consider myself a true solo gamer but over the past year have been playing more and more. I wrote a post earlier this year on my Love/Hate Relationship with Solo Gaming that you might find interesting. I really enjoy a well designed solo game that has an intelligent AI and is difficult to best. Some of my favorite solo games in my collection are Comancheria, Gato Leader, Sherman Leader, War of the Worlds and Pavlov’s House.
The other interesting trend in wargaming are solo bots that make multi-player games 1-4 player. This category represents 8 games or 7% of my collection and are typically all the COIN Series from GMT Games. I also have a lot of 2-4 player wargames totaling 11 games or 9%. I love that there are more and more games on the market with varied player counts as they are typically a little more flexible and can make it to the table more often with my regular gaming group.
I hope you have enjoyed this look at my collection and get a better idea of the wargames that I like.