According to my BoardGameGeek Collection, I “own” 646 games. Not all of these are “War Games” but that category of games certainly dominates my collection with 463 unique items. On Twitter, @Ardwulf inspired me to look at the #WargameMetrics of my collection. In this post, I look at my “War Games” collection by era. To create these numbers, I sorted my BoardGameGeek collection by using the Advanced Search function and filtered “Owned” games by Board Game Subdomain “Wargames.”
Harold Buchanan (@hbuchanan2), designer of my beloved Liberty or Death: The American Insurrection (GMT Games, 2016), insists that a “war game” must be historical. In a nod to his position, I am not including Science Fiction & Fantasy (SFF) titles in this view of my war game collection. If I did, it would be 32% of my collection!
After excluding SFF, it is not surprising that the Interwar/World War II era dominates my collection at 43%. After all, World War II is the heart of the wargaming hobby! I was moderately surprised that my second ranking era was the Early 20th Century at 18%. I have always been a student of the Russo-Japanese War but didn’t realize just how many Great War games I had picked up.
Given that I started wargaming in 1979, I don’t find it unusual that the Late Cold War (which I define as starting post-Vietnam) came in at 14%. At the time, many of these wargames were “serious games” that sometime directly influenced policymakers. As a wannabe-serious student of the era, I played these games to learn more about the world I was growing up in. Today, my Modern era games (4%) now fill this niche of my gaming hobby.
If I had looked at my collection just a few years ago, I probably could not of found any 18th Century games (5%). I had all-but-ignored the 1700’s, in particular the American Revolution. After moving to the East Coast of the US in the 2010’s, I started exploring this era of history more. In a similar manner, the growth of 19th Century games (6%) in my collection is a relatively recent phenomenon.
Looking back, I see that most of the time I have been a classical WWII wargamer. It is only in more recent years that I have really started to stretch my gaming perspective and look beyond WWII and the Cold War. There are many good games out there, and hopefully I get to keep gaming for many years to come.