Sunday, 9 February 2014

We're being tracked...

Greetings wargamers and hobbyists, and welcome to the jungle...ssshh! We're being tracked...



Having been in this hobby for a fair while, but even more so since the advent of the internet, Blog-iverse, Facebook and Twittersphere, if there is one thing that I think gamers, miniature modellers and hobbyists have in common is that we seem to like to track things.

Now I'm not talking about furry quadrupeds in idyllic woodland, I mean projects, gaming, modelling, painting etc. I'm not entirely sure why we do it, but I expect we have an in-built need to organise, catalogue, record and analyse information, it's hard wired into the kind of people we (or most of us) are, and when it's something that plays a significant part in our lives, like our hobby, then it can become something verging on the obsessive.

It seems that not only do we have this need to track hobby related data, we also seem to want to share that information with the world, which can sometimes be a double edged sword. Some people post regularly in a Works in Progress forum thread, others post simple lists of stats in our forum signatures, others still dedicate entire blog posts to it, and a tiny minority talk about it on their podcasts.

So, what kind of hobby related information do we track?

Look to the lists...

I guess the obvious one, but one that people probably don't even realise is a form of tracking, is when gamers keep a roster of their assembled army, and this of course tracks the size of their army as they add models to it (which we  need to know in order to be able to agree a size of game to play), and it makes choosing army far easier, because we can take units from our 'standard roster' to form our army to the agreed points total. I keep complete rosters for each of my armies, gangs, fleets, teams etc, so I know both what I have, and the size of game this will allow me to play. Some people like to list each of the armies they collect and their size in points in their forum signatures.

Recruiting and Deployment...

Next, Recruiting and Deployment, which you good people may know better as 'models bought' and 'models painted'. These two things show us and everyone else for that matter, how many models we have added to our collections during the given time period (typically 'this year'), and how many models we have painted. These painted models aren't necessarily the same models as the ones we have bought, but a comparison of the two figures gives us an idea of how well or poorly we are doing in the personal war we fight against bare plastic.

I started recording my own 'bought and painted' stats in my forum signature over on Astronomican at the start of 2012, but that's also the time I decided to trade away and sell all of my old Epic models - a considerable quantity of stuff - which I then used to fund the purchase of a sizeable Ogre Kingdoms army. Quite simply, I traded and sold a lot of models I wasn't using and had little prospect of coming back to finance a load of models that I would use.

Unfortunately, this totally skewed my 'bought vs painted' record, as 'bought' seemed to spiral and painted stayed stagnated, because I was spending my time doing modelling work, assembly work and generally organising the trades and sales and all the incoming miniatures. Well worth it though. I've started again this year. Let's see how I get on...

Role of Honour...

...in other words, 'Games Played'. Some people like to keep a record of the games they have played. Sometimes it's as simple as that he figure, how many games they have played this year, but it can go much further than that. A common record shows how many Wins, Defeats and Draws a player has earned, which can be a fun little stat or a stick to beat ourselves with, depending on how well we are doing and how seriously we take our gaming results.

For my own record, I found it interesting to keep a record which goes back to the point where I joined the MAD Wargames club that I attend regularly. It shows what games system was played, what size of game, what the victory conditions were, who the game was against, the result, and a couple of sentences about the game itself, which typically I use to remind myself where I went wrong. Gamers often say we learn more from our defeats than our victories, and this is where I try to record those nuggets of wisdom. The stats are also interesting because I can break them down by opponent, game system, army and victories vs defeats to see who I play well against, and who I get flattened by, and whether there are some armies I do better or worse with or against.

The thing about game result tracking, is that sometimes our results are being tracked by others as well. In a 40K campaign, or Blood Bowl League for example, it's important to track results in order to asses who is winning and by how much. In fact, games that include 'character development', like Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Mordheim, Warhammer Quest and innumerable other games and RPG's require a detailed level of tracking to be maintained just to enable us to play.

Finally, the most obvious and most talked about form of game result tracking is that which relates to tournaments and competitive events, whether points awarded for painting, or results from games, you can't have a tournament winner - in fact a tournament probably can't progress beyond the opening stages - without tracking the results of the games the participants have played, as the results can determine who a participant plays next, and ultimately who the winner of the event is. These results can then go even further to determine who is eligible to take part in other events, like Masters tournaments and international events, and even who the  current top player in a country is, or even just the most successful player in your own garage.

So, if you partake in any of these tracking activities, and someone asks you, 'do you have an analytical mind', you can answer 'yeah, in a manner of speaking...'

If you track gaming related info, why not drop in a comment about it, especially if it's something I haven't mentioned.


Thanks for reading...



P.S. their is no P.S. pic today, because I've been on a bit of a posting spree this weekend, and haven't had a chance to do any hobby, but I have made progress on DIY in the kitchen...watch this space.