Showing posts with label fog competition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fog competition. Show all posts

5 Apr 2020

Who "was" playing what? The 2019-20 Ancient scene

With competition wargaming pretty much now done and dusted until (hopefully "early") summer across the UK there's no real reason to delay publishing my once a year analysis of the relative popularity of various competition Ancients sets as unfortunately nothing will change now for a few months anyway. 

I also have the luxury of a little more time to delve deeper than usual into some of the nooks and crannies of the stats!

So, whats' been going on?

As of today there are still a good spread of viable Ancients competition sets out there all attracting north of 40-odd players and hosting events throughout the year. 
  • L'Art de la Guerre (ADLG) has continued to grow for a 5th consecutive year, such that it's pool of UK-based players is now almost as big as the next 3 most popular sets combined. 
  • ADLG is also driving an increasingly widespread use of 25mm figures on UK tabletops, to the extent that 2019-20 saw more UK-based players entering 25mm ADLG events than for several other single (non-ADLG) rulesets at any scale.  
  • To The Strongest! is now neck and neck with DBA as the third most popoular set, and is threatening to chase down DBMM's seemingly locked-in position as the second most widely played ruleset as it continues to pull in (but still churn through) large numbers of new players, even though the number of events for TTS! still remains far lower than for any other set.
  • Both MeG and FoG have seen notable falls in the number of players taking part in each circuit this year, with new player recruitment almost entirely drying up for both sets in the UK. For both however the level of competition participation by the remaining players remains solid.
  • DBM and DBMM are still both bubbling along at their previous levels, with the venerable DBM circuit enjoying an unexpected growth spurt in player numbers in the last few months.
The Summary:

The good news is that the number of Ancients events, and the level of participation is continuing to rise,  although the absolute number of players has remained stable over the last year as a continuing uptick in the numbers of people playing ADLG, TTS! and DBM has more than balanced out declines in numbers taking part in FoGAM, MeG and to a lesser extend DBMM events. 

The tables and charts below show the current direct comparisons between the leading sets:


Total Player Numbers (UK/Overseas), and amount of change from 2018-19

ADLG has seen the biggest net increase in players over the last 12 months, with TTS! and DBM also recording smaller increases whilst other sets have lost ground to varying degrees.




The number of overseas players now travelling regularly to the UK to play Ancients now stands at 48, up from 31 last year and has reached almost 10% of total player numbers - although this does vary significantly by ruleset. 

"Market Share" of leading Ancients sets by Total Player Numbers:



DBMM and ADLG players still make up just over half of the entire UK Ancients competition scene, with the other systems all each hovering in the 7-14% range.

One-unit-one-base systems (TTS!, and the DBx-based or derived DBM, DBA, DMM and ADLG) have increased their share of the overall player pool noticably in the last 12 months, with 82% of all UK-based Ancients players now favouring this approach, up from 75% last year.



Trends in numbers of "New" players adopting each ruleset 

Looking in more detail at just "new" players (those not seen on each individual circuit before), 5 years after it's English-language launch and even with the core rulebook now out of print for almost a year ADLG still continues to expand it's player pool. In the last 12 months more UK-based players joined the UK ADLG competition circuit than the total numbers of players for either FoG or DBM. 

The following graph shows the number of "new" players drawn into play each ruleset in any given 12-month period, as measured over the last 5 years, with the starting points for ADLG, MeG and TTS! being their first appearance in these stats. Over the past 5 years ADLG has also been consistently bringing in more new players in each 12-month period than almost any other ruleset, with around 40-50 new players each year.



TTS! and ADLG between them contributed over of 3/4 of all "new" players to the various circuits this year, although these numbers do also count players dropping out of one circuit and appearing for the first time in another.


(note - differences in 'net change' between this and the previous chart for some rulesets is due to some players returning 
to competitions after missing the entireity of the 2018-19 season. These players are not counted as "new") 


Numbers of Events and Total Entry numbers




Even with overall player numbers flat, the number of entries (each time an individual takes part in a competition) has still continued to rise year on year, and with 107 competitions held across all 7 rulesets in the last 12 months there are sure to be plenty of people out there raring to roll some dice again once the current social isolation rules are relaxed!


5 Year Trend analysis:


This illustrates the change (or not) of overall player numbers (in the preceeeding 12 month period) for each ruleset since 2016, measured at snapshots taken at year-end and in April/May each year. These do figures include overseas players.


Looking in more detail at the individual rulesets :


L'Art de la Guerre
Last 12 months: 37 events, 216 Players (194 UK, 22 o/seas), 741 entries

A year ago ADLG was comfortably the most popular UK competition ruleset with 187 players taking part making 671 entries in total across the year, and one year on ADLG is still seeing continued strong growth, adding a net +29 new players to it's UK circuit and witnessing a 10% increase in total event entries as well such that the UK ADLG player pool has now exceeded the number of players for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th biggest sets (DBMM, TTS! and DBA) combined.

The size of the UK ADLG circuit continues to include a solid smattering of overseas players, some of whom are now becoming regular visitors to these shores. In the last 12 months 22 overseas players played in the UK, a notable increase of 5 from the previous years stats meaning the domestic player pool grewn by a net 24.

The number of "occasional" ADLG players who only made a lone event appearance in the ADLG rankings increased from 65 to 81, up year on year from 35% up to 38%, driven mainly by the increase in overseas visitors (as 17 of these only played in one event). Just looking at UK-based player numbers shows almost exactly 1 in 3 players only entering one ADLG event per year in the last 12 months.

At the other end of the enthusiasm scale 17 players contributed 1 in 4 entries across the UK's 37-event ADLG competition circuit, extending out to 43 players who contributed half of all UK tournament entries.

The ADLG circuit currently includes more 25mm events than any other ruleset, with 13 of the events staged this year featuring large scale figures. 57 UK-based players (and one overseas player) dropped some heavy lead (or more often than not, plastic) onto an ADLG table in the past year. 

These figures are such that were the 25mm game considered as a stand-alone circuit, 25mm ADLG would just inch ahead of TTS! to have the fouth biggest pool of UK-based Ancients players (after ADLG 15mm and DBMM) - great news for the Perry Twins, Victrix and Warlord Games!

Just under 15% (32) of all players from the previous year's circuit dropped out in the last 12 months, however 9 of these were overseas-based leaving 23 UK players who failed to continue after playing last season. 50 players made their first appearance at a UK ADLG competition in the last 12 months, of which just 6 were from overseas and 44 were UK based - marking more "first timers" picking up ADLG than the total UK player universe for a number of other rulesets. 

The first ADLG event held in the UK was Roll Call 2015, and since then a grand total of 306 people have played in at least one UK-based ADLG competition. The current total of 216 means that a chunky-sounding total of 90 players have been "lost" to the ADLG circuit in the last 5 years, 29% of the all-time player pool, or 18 lapsees (!?) per year on average. 

These numbers are however tempered a little as 20 of these 70 'lapsed' players were from overseas. Removing overseas players from the entire analysis gives ADLG an all time UK-based universe of 70 lapsed and 194 still-active players, meaning 73% of all UK-based players who have ever entered an ADLG event since the ruleset was first launched in the UK were still actively participating on the circuit inside the last 12 months. 

Since 2015 the ADLG rulebook has been reprinted 4 times in it's English iteration, and is now only available as a discounted PDF from the author while a new version is under preparation for release later this year.

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after Campaign 2019) there have been 208 people who've taken part in at least 1 ADLG event in the UK.

DBMM
Last 12 months: 19 events, 84 Players (73 UK, 11 o/seas), 301 entries

The DBMM rankings website at http://dbmm.org.uk/index.php/rankings/comps provides the data for the analysis, capturing details of all players and games in the UK.

Year on year, nothing much has changed in the world of DBMM. The number of active players has slipped back marginally by 3 to stand at 84 including 11 foreign-based players, continuing a pattern whereby the total player pool has hovered in the 80's for the last 5 years straight. The usual Irish contingent in the 2overseas" category this year was bolstered by a number of players from Germany coming over for the new BHGS Team Tournament last October.

Again as always, 8 players contributed 1 in 4 UK competition entries, with a group of 19 making up just over half. The total number of entries has again crept up with 301 entries - up from 282 last year. Yet again this seems to be driven by higher attendances at the one-day and "DBMM 120" short/small game format events.

Looking at the mix of "keen" vs "very occasional" players, 35 people only played in one event, up from 30 in 2018-19 to hit 42% of the total pool of UK event attendees, although 9 of these were admittedly overseas players mostly flying in for Warfare or Britcon (aaah - remember those days..?). 

After a year of some considerable churning in and out last time around, the last 12 months saw a period of relative stability with just 5 new UK-based players joining the competition circuit, together with 2 new overseas visitors, offset by 10 players dropping out.

The 2020 Milton Keynes 1-dayer was the biggest event in the DBMM calendar with 34 entries, closely followed by Warfare and the LGT Teams with 30 each. Just over 1/3 of current players only took part in events held in or near Milton Keynes, Reading and Guilford, the three clubs which continue to form the bedrock of  the UK DBMM community, with 10 of these only appearing in the stats as a result of a lone appearance at the Milton Keynes club's own 1-day event.  

The past year was however notable in DBMM terms for the the number of relatively new players taking a keener interest in competitions. In both of the last couple of years barely anyone (or, literally "one player") who picked up MM after 2012 managed to enter more than 2 events, but this year the number of enthusiastic newbies soared to a record total of 6! 


DBA
Last 12 months: 11 events, 65 Players (64 UK, 1 o/seas), 181 entries

DBA maintained a stable number of competition players in the last year with 65 players, down 3 from the previous set of stats. One of these players is from overseas, leaving 64 active UK-based DBA players - the change coming from 8 non-returnees and 5 new players this year.

With a couple of events dropping off the circuit in 2019-20 the number of competition entries fell 
noticably also, down to 181 from 224 last year, reverting to the level seen in in 2018-19's stats.  

28 players on the DBA circuit have only entered one event in the last year, getting on for half the player pool, and increasing noticably from the 20 one-event entrants last year. This seems likely to be linked to the loss of events, which denied some players the opportunity to participate more than once a year at competitions within easy driving distance.

6 players made up one in 4 of all entrants to UK events over the past year - a smidge under 10% of the player pool - and 14 contributed half of the total field across the year. 

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after the PAWS Spring event in 2019) there have been 58 people who've taken part in at least 1 DBA event in the UK.

To The Strongest!
Last 12 months: 5 events, 59 Players (56 UK, 3 o/seas), 89 entries

To The Strongest! made a further net gain of 11 extra players across it's UK circuit to end on 59 different people taking part in at least one event, driven mostly by 2 extra events which brought the annual calendar up to 5. Three of these players flew (or used other forms of transport) to come to the UK from Europe to play at the World Championships at the end of February, leaving a UK-based pool of 56 active players.

A rather astonishing rate of churn saw 30 new players (including 3 overseas visitors) take part in their first UK TTS! event in the last 12 months, and a further 22 who failed to reappear. The biggest driver for "new" players was the first TTS! event to be held in Scotland which generated 14 new players for the circuit. More puzzlingly perhaps, the majority of the 22 lapsed players had all taken part in both of the previous two World Championships (held at the same venue and same end of February dateline) as this year's event, making their non-reappearanace somewhat noteworthy.

With just 5 events (only one of which was in Scotland) the stats for one-event players and enthusiastic players must be taken with a (wee) pinch of salt, but for what it's worth 5 players generated 1 in 4 of all tournament entries this year and 16 players delivered just over half. A huge 41 of the 59 players either chose, or were able to enter only one event. perhaps not surprising given there were only 5 to choose from in the last 12 months.

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after Roll Call 2019) there have been 57 people who've taken part in at least 1 TTS! event in the UK.

Mortem et Gloriam (MeG)
Last 12 months: 14 events, 62 Players
 (52 UK, 10 o/seas), 245 entries

MeG also saw a noticable fall in player numbers in the last year, losing a dozen players overall as the annual total fell from 74 down to 62. This fall came after 2 previous years of growth, with the 10 new players who joined the UK MeG competition circuit offset by 21 who failed to reappear after taking part at events held in the 2018-19 season.

This downward trend would have been even steeper were it not for the MeG World Championships being again held in the UK and attracting even more overseas-based players this time around. This event, together with Britcon saw the overseas component of the "UK" stats doubling year on year (from 5 up to 10), leaving the underlying numbers of active UK-based players down almost 25% in the last 12 months (falling 17 from 69 to 52). 

Of the 10 new players seen on the UK MeG circuit for the first time this year, 6 were also part of this year's overseas invasion leaving 4 UK-based new adoptees, all of whom only entered one event. 

The number of MeG events staged last year also fell slightly with 14 staged (17 in the previous year) as some of the more poorly attended events dropped off the calendar.  The 62 active players racked up 245 entries between them - a fall of 16% following a 50% increase between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. 

Almost uniquely, every event on the MeG circuit is a singles competition and all are played in 15mm. Most other rulesets circuits support a mix of scales, or include one or more doubles-format events in their calendars with doubles in particular often being where new players for other sets will put a toe in the water and make their first competitive outings.

As with FoG, a relatively small number of very enthusiasic players are continuing to drive the MeG circuit. Just 6 players made up a quarter of the field at all competition fields across the year, with 13 players representing just over half of the field across all 14 UK-based MeG events staged. 

At the other end of the scale the number of players who only entered one MeG event this year was 21, or 34% of the UK pool with 7 of these being overseas-based. The list of 'only one event' gamers also included all bar one of the 10 "new" players, with the other being a French player who made it to two UK competitions last year. 

Since MeG was first launched in summer 2016 a grand total of 103 individuals have taken part in at least one UK MeG competition, with 60% of them active members of the UK competition circuit in the year. Just looking at UK based players the stats are 52 still active players out of an all-time pool of 90, or 58% - leaving the number of currently active UK-based MeG players back at the same level as it was in January 2018. 

Copies of the original ring-bound rules from the first print run are still available from the authors website, however a new, hard copy verison of the rules is due to be published by Plastic Soldier Company later this year.

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after Campaign 2019) there have been 61 people who've taken part in at least 1 MeG event in the UK.

DBM
Last 12 months: 9 events, 44 Players (43 UK, 1 o/seas), 141 entries

The number of active DBM players crept upwards again, this time adding a net +3 more players over the last 12 months to end on 44, passing FoGAM in the opposite direction on the absolute popularity leaderboard in the process. 

Only one of the DBM players visits from overseas (I believe..), however this year also saw 7 brand new faces (well, "new" since I started keeping these stats back at the start of 2017) join the circuit, replacing 4 who lapsed and failed to return in the past 12 months  

The now-standard list of 9 events spread across two geographically diverse DBM hotspots of East and West England combined to deliver 141 entries in total (up from 132), although high proportion of doubles events on the DBM circuit continues to boost both players numbers and the total number of entries relative to the stats for other sets. Many of the 9 new players made their first appearance on the circuit as part of a doubles team, often at events staged by their hometown clubs.

Just 5 players make up over a quarter of the total entries on the UK DBM competition circuit (a shade under 10% of the player universe) with 11 chipping in with half of all entries. At the other end of the enthusiasm scale, 16 players only appeared once last year, including 6 of the 7 "new" players. 

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after the Westbury event in 2019) there have been 42 people who've taken part in at least 1 DBM event in the UK.

FoGAM
Last 12 months: 12 events, 40 Players
 (all UK), 207 entries

2019-20 has seen FoGAM lose close on another 20% of its player universe, shedding 9 players and 3 (admittedly small) events whilst still holding firm on the total number of competition entries at 207 over the year. That reduction of 9 players was achieved through a simple loss of players, as no new players joined the UK FoG circuit over the last 12 months. Uniquely, there are no overseas players I can identify who take part in UK-based FoG events. 

As the pool of players shrinks, the importance of the keenest players to the FoG circuit continues to grow with 11 players now making up half of all competition entries in the UK (13 last year) and just 5 people (6 in 2018-19) now making up a quarter of the field across all 12 UK events held in the last 12 months.  At the other end of the scale only 6 players entered just one event in the last 12 months, a far smaller proportion than any other UK ruleset. 

The 6 biggest clubs chip in with 25 (62%) of the current universe of players, and the average FoGAM player now attends more than 5 competitions each year, the highest of any ruleset in this survey.

As a result of these trends the UK FoG scene is now pretty much identical in profile to the longstanding DBM circuit, with a committed group of around 40 players concentrated in handful of clubs which also play host to the more popular events in the calendar. 

Since the introduction of FoGAM V3.0 at the start of 2018 there have been 62 UK players who have entered at least one V3 event, of whom a smidge under 2/3 are still playing FoGAM. V3 is available through Caliver Books and some other outlets. 

Taking just the last 10 months (starting just after Campaign 2019) there have been 39 people who've taken part in at least 1 FoGAM event in the UK.


Others - Armati, 7th, 6th, Swordpoint, Impetus, War & Conquest etc

From what's available online, the only ruleset on the above list which comes close to generating comparable numbers of regular competition players in the UK to any of the rulesets covered here is Swordpoint, with 4 events and 34 active players in the past 12 months. 

The most recent couple of Swordpoint competitions have however both generated the highest attendances I've been able to track down for events for this system (with both getting into the 20's) so it may be that had CV19 not decimated the tournament schedules Swordpoint could have made a chart entry next time around. 

Interestingly this recent post on TMP by Gripping Beast states that they have now sold almost 3,000 copies of the first edition, and are now planning a revised version for re-release - a interesting benchmark for the sales of volumes of wargame rulesets given that actual sales figures are rarely published.

The Boring Methodology Stuff 

As usual, all the data is compiled using actual names and numbers of players taking part in events in the UK, as published online on a forum or similar. Sometimes I've had to rely on runners and riders lists rather than results, and sometimes I've had to make some assumtions and guesses where nicknames have been used - but generally, given the amount of hard data here any errors shouldn't be enough to skew the bigger picture.

The other key caveat is - as always - that this is just competition data. What gets played at your club, or even solo in your basement isn't visible and isn't measurable, so this is just a count of those weird people who, pre-social isolation, used to go out into the world and enter competitions held in the UK.

Last year's analysis ran from May-May, but with things screeching to a halt in mid-March there were a couple of ways to approach this year.
  • Run a 10-month "year", from May 2019 to now. 
  • Run a 12-month "year", from March 2019 to now. 
Having chewed it over I finally opted for using a full 12-months, and "double-counting" those competitions that happened between mid March and the beginning of May last year, so attendances at those events count in both this years and last years stats.  Neither way would have been perfect, but I felt that any trends are easier to understand and spot if when comparing 12 months with 12 months rather than comparing 12 months with 10 months worth of events and data. 

I've also presented the stats in a way which shines a clearer light on the numbers of purely UK-based players than it has perhaps done in previous years. This is because some rulesets have now started to see very significant numbers of overseas players coming to the UK to typically take part in one (or at most two) events per year, inflating both total player numbers and also the numbers of 'occasional' players for a couple of the featured rulesets. 

With some rulesets now drawing almost 20% of their total player pools from overseas, and others not attracting any overseas players at all last year, without adjusting the numbers to show the impact of overseas players these stats would struggle to give a fully transparent view of what was happening in the UK ancients community.

Previous stats published on this site:




17 Dec 2019

UK Ancients Competition Scene - 2019 year-end update

With the dammed election noise and nonsense now over (for some of us...) the really interesting surveys and polls are now able to be released, including my now-almost-as-traditional-as-sprouts snapshot summary of how widely played the leading basket of rulesets each are amongst UK Ancients competition players right now.

These December stats only cover the UK "player universe" numbers for competition players across the 7 most popular Ancients mass-battle rulesets. The data is drawn from competition results that I've found published online - so if I wasn't able to find it, it's not included.

The measurement period is all events held in the UK in the last 12 months - or, more catchily, the 2019 calendar year. The only exception is the very last event I'm aware of, the Tradeston club's traditional post-Christmas 1-day ADLG competition. I've included the 2018 edition in the 2019 numbers basically so I can get this out before Christmas and forget about the blog for a bit over the festive break!

One additional important factor which has become increasingly significant in recent years is the number of overseas players taking part in UK competitions, such that non-UK players can now make up as much as 10-15% of the 'UK' pool of players for some rulesets. To give a clearer picture of what people in the UK are playing I've therefore split out the numbers to show the numbers of both overseas players and "UK-based" players, giving a clearer indication of who in the UK is playing each set.

The more detailed annual analysis will again be out in a few months, but as of today the headlines for how many people have played what at competitions in the last 12 months are as follows:

Total Player Numbers  (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1.   ADLG     189 / 210
2.   DBMM   73 / 84
3.   DBA        67 / 68
4.   TTS!        64 / 66
5.   MeG        61 / 71
6.   FoGAM   48 / 48
7.   DBM       43 / 45


Net Change 2018-2019  (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. TTS!       +36 / +36
2. ADLG     +28 / +30
3. DBM       +6 / +6
4. DBA        +3 / +3
5. MeG        -1 / +6
6. DBMM    -7 / -4
7. FoGAM   -11 / -11

New Players first seen during 2019 (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. TTS!       43 / 43
2. ADLG     41 / 48
3. MeG        13 / 20
4. DBA        12 / 12
5. DBM        8 / 8
6. DBMM    5 / 7
7. FoGAM   2 / 2

Players who appeared in 2018 but not 2019 (UK based players / UK+Overseas players):

1. ADLG       23 / 32   (UK player pool churning out this year = 12% of current UK total)
2. DBMM     16 / 20    (22%)
3. DBA          17 / 17   (25%)
4= FoGAM   14 / 14    (29%)
4= MeG        14 / 15    (23%)
6. TTS!         7 / 7        (10%)
7. DBM        4 / 4        (8%)

Ruleset Details

ADLG
ADLG remains the most widely played ruleset by some margin, with 35 events (yes..) held in the UK during the year and a player pool that topped 200 (if you include overseas players) for the first time. Despite it now being almost 5 years since ADLG was first introduced to the UK, player numbers increased in the last 12 months an even faster rate than in 2018 with a net increase of 30 comfortably topping the net increase of 19 last year. 41 new UK-based players joined the circuit, offset by 23 who dropped out (a fall in attrition rate compared to last year when 30 dropped off the circuit between 2017-2018). A handful of lapsed players returning to competitions rounded out the net increase. The proportion of players who took part in just one event also stayed flat at 38% year on year.

Since the first UK ADLG event at Roll Call in April 2015, 251 different UK-based players have entered at least one competition in the UK, and have been joined by 41 overseas-based players as well. 77% of this all-time UK player universe remained active on the UK circuit in the last 12 months.  

DBMM
The size of the DBMM player universe across all UK events dipped a little in 2019 with overall participation down 4 year on year. counting internationals (a few of whom took part in the new London GT team event), or 7 based just on UK attendees alone. As is usual with DBMM, a number of players returned to the circuit after a break as well to offset the in-year attrition which saw 16 UK-based players not return after featuring at events held in 2018. The proportion of players who took part in just one event also stayed pretty much flat at 36% year on year, with the one-day events in Milton Keynes and Guildford contributing many of these players to the UK pool.

DBA
DBA has continued its recent trend of increasing UK player numbers in recent years, ending the year wit 68 separate players taking part in the 12 events staged across the country. DBA however also continued to see a relatively high rate of churn of players joining and leaving the circuit for such an established ruleset, with almost 1 in 4 players joiing or leaving in the last 12 months. 31 players took part in just one event, representing almost half of the UK pool of DBA players - one of the highest ratios for any of these rulesets, but which given the wide geographic spread of DBA events is perhaps not surprising. 

To The Strongest!
TTS! lept into the limelight in 2018 as a result of, erm, staging more than just one event over the course of the year. The five events staged ranged from Glasgow down to London and across to Cardiff, and clearly tapped into a significant and previously unfulfilled demand for TTS! events amongst the 'social' player universe in the UK.

The end result was a universe of 64 UK-based competition players, of whom an astonishing 43 had never played in a TTS! event before this year. 7 out of the 30 who entered the 2018 TTS! Worlds in Chalgrove however failed to reappear on the expanded UK circuit in 2019, giving a "since these records began" universe of 71.

MeG
The number of people taking part in one of the 18 MeG events held across the UK in 2019 increased by 6 over 2018, driven entirely by increased numbers of international travelling to the UK, most notably at the MeG World Championships and Britcon. The UK-based players was almost unchanged at 61. Almost a quarter of all players churned both in and out during 2019 and 25 players took part in just one event, placing MeG firmly into the almost-weirdly-standard 35-40%-ish range against this measure.

Since the first UK MeG event held at the BHGS Challenge in 2016, 89 different UK-based players have entered at least one competition in the UK and have been joined by 14 overseas-based players as well. 69% of the all-time UK player universe remained active on the MeG circuit by attending events held in 2019.

FOGAM
2019 saw 15 players dropping out of the AM circuit after trying V3 in 2018, and 2 new players entering their first FoG event (each with a single appearance as part of the same doubles team at Burton). 12 players (exactly 25% of the FoG universe) took part in just one event making FoG the only set to deviate noticeably from the "just over a third play only once" norm in this respect.

Following the introduction on FoGAM V3 in January 2018, 62 different UK-based players have entered at least one V3 competition in the UK. 77% of these remained active in the last 12 months.

DBM
Numbers for DBM lept upwards this year by almost 15%, or more precisely 6. That gave DBM a total of 45 competition players in 2019, with 8 new players mostly from the handful of clubs where DBM is played competitively were persuaded to enter competitions - often at events hosted by their own clubs. Only 4 players dropped off the circuit, a couple returned after a break and - of course - a near-textbook 39% of players entered only one event. The 2 regular overseas-based players continued to appear in UK tournaments in 2019.

The Conclusion

In summary as 2019 draws to a close these 7 popular Ancients rulesets have attracted 549 UK-based players and a further 42 international visitors to make 591 different players in total taking part in a UK Ancients competition in the last 12 months.

That total is almost 100 up on the prior year count of 496 (although the addition of TTS! to these numbers does accounts for two thirds of this increase alone).


That also still represents an 80% share across the 7 most popular UK Ancients competition rulesets for the "Barkeresque" concept of one unit = one base, although to be fair TTS! isn't really a DBx derived set in the same way that DBM, DBA, DBMM and ADLG all are. 

So, numbers on the up, international visitors on the up, but even so the near-30-year-old DBx engine is still going strong as 2020 hoves into view!

(Whilst some players appear in the stats twice because they played two rulesets over the course of the past year this is discounted for the analysis as numbers are too low to impact the main trends. And it's too much work to de-dupe them by name as well)

16 Oct 2016

Derby 2016 - The Kalmar Union in FoGR Action

A frantic effort not to retain a trophy that needs engraving comes to a cattle shed near an airport next to a busy motorway near a town with a great ring road!


It's almost as glamorous as Charleroi, but it's in England and it's Derby again!

The Mighty Kalmar Union are pretty medieval, but despite the clue being in the name, they are from Scandinavia, not Greece. Either way, will the army be pitted like olives or enjoy a smorgasbord of success in these 4 FoGR reports against a range of in-theme opponents.




31 May 2016

Competition Ancients in the UK .. the state of play

Recently, with all sorts of new rule systems coming onto the market and perking up player interest it appears that the UK Ancients competition circuit has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance (geddit?).

Rather than just rely on gut feel, I've pulled together some stats for the rulesets covered in the main "BHGS" series of events (edit 2.6.16 plus the DBA circuit), as these are (I believe) the rulesets that have most takeup in competitions right now. This does unashamedly mean the focus is on mostly 15mm events - so all of the various iterations of WAB and it's derivatives are not covered, but unless I'm missing something I don't believe any of those sets are supporting the same sorts of numbers of players or events throughout the year as the ones I looked at.

The data I did use was collated from several sources - the current BHGS rankings for FoGAM and L'Art de la Guerre, plus the DBMM rankings page  (edit 2.6.16 plus the UK DBA rankings) and finally John Graham Leigh's DBM results page, all to look at how many people are playing each system in competitions across the UK.

The main (and I believe fairly safe) assumption is that these sets of rankings & results capture pretty much all of the competitive games played in the past 12 months in the UK across these 5 systems. I also then shared this with the veritable king of stats analysis in UK gaming, Martin from Vexillia who did some validation and additional analysis (thanks Martin!)

What I looked at was numbers of players, number and size of events, and then also how much does each set appear to depend on a "core" of very active players, and finally also how long is the "tail" of occasional players in each ruleset.

So, what's the state of play?

DBMM 
Currently the dbmm.org.uk site shows results from 17 events held in the UK, although there are a couple more which haven't made it onto the site. Two of the events Roll Call & Warfare) have two DBMM periods running in parallel on the same weekend - usually 15mm & 25mm.

As of today the data available suggest that there are between 80-90 players who have entered a UK DBMM event in the last 12 months. This does include 11 players listed as "non-UK", who between them represent 12 competition entries (ie they all entered one event, apart from one person who entered two events this year). Most of the "overseas" players are from Ireland, so whether that’s technically abroad in MM terms I’m not sure...

If we settle on 80 UK players (netting out 11 overseas) they generated between them some 326 event entries (or 314 counting UK players only) in the past 12 months, giving an average of just under 4 events entered per player.

4 of the DBMM events were small(ish), with 10 or less players entering. There were also 5 rounds of the Northern League, which is nominally a doubles event but where the majority of "teams" in each round are usually single players. Each NL round had between 10-13 players at each one-day event making up 8-10 "teams". The 4 "small" events include two 25mm competitions that ran alongside larger 15mm events.

The 4 "small" events account for 37 of the total UK entries.

Other DBMM stats:
  • It looks like around 35-40 people entered just 1 event - if however you strip out the effect of overseas players this means 25-30/80 UK players played in just one event last year (35%)
  • 18-20 people made between them half of all UK competition entries. 
  • The average DBMM event attracts about 18 UK-based entrants
For some events information on who played is patchy so the total number of games played is correct, but the stats for how many players, how many play in 1 event, and how many make up 50% of the total pool of entries will probably be a smidge off.

Going back to 2012 and using the same dbmm.org.uk database (see FoGAM analysis below for why 2012 is relevant) the UK DBMM scene appears to have been pretty much the same size with 97 players entering 21 UK competitions (of which 9 were 1-day events), and making up 359 total entries - of these 13 were overseas players, all of whom entered just 1 event. 22 players made up half of all competition entries in 2012 (not that different to today) and 34 players, including the 13 overseas players, entered just one event, again a similar number to today.

The current stats are for the period immediately prior to the recent rollout of an updated version of DBMM, which common sense suggests will result in an increase in competition entries. Whether this brings lapsed players back into the pool, or increases the number of events that existing players attend will be interesting to see.

FoG AM
The FoGAM rankings currently includes results from 20 events, but this reduces down to 16 if you count Roll Call, Reading and Britcon where multiple FoGAM themes are offered at the same event.

As of the latest rankings there were 140 FoGAM players who took part in at least 1 event last year. It looks as if only 3 of these were non-UK-based, and all of them only entered one event each so unlike for DBMM this will be largely immaterial for player numbers overall.

These 140 players generated 422 event entries in total - an average again of just over 3 events entered per player.

Only 3 of the FoGAM events featured less than 10 players. These were Roll Call 25mm, running at the same time as a 15mm event, and both PAW events, where 15mm and 25mm events were also offered together on the same days.
  • 57 people played just 1 event (Burton Doubles accounts for 12 of these) - again almost exactly the same as DBMM, at 39% of all players. 
  • 29 people (out of 140) made up half of all competition entries - 21% of the player pool
  • The average event has a whopping 26 entrants (counting 2-period/theme events as one event)
These numbers are substantially down on the total from 2012 (the oldest set of rankings on the BHGS website) when the number of players reached over 250 and the "events entered" was in the region of 630, but is still substantially more than any other ruleset. Back in 2012, 46 players made up half of all entries to events, however perhaps significantly the number of  players who entered just 1 event that year was a massive 129 - meaning that over half of the entire pool of players were only "occasional" competition participants. This net reduction of 72 in the number of "occasional" players means that the drop-off in these one-off entrants accounts for almost 80% of the decline in overall player numbers.  

With a new version of FoGAM in gestation currently there is again the potential for a resurgence of interest in FoG. The key differences to the DBMM community are that FoG has both a wider current active player base, but also a "keener" core group of highly active players who on average enter 7.2 events each per year - the highest number of events entered for any ruleset by the core groups of players.

DBM
The DBM circuit is concentrated in two areas - Norfolk/Essex and the South West of England, and almost all of the 10 events last year took place in those two locales. Many of the events are doubles, but single players often enter these events too. 2 of the 10 events had less than 10 entrants. The DBM community continue to release small incremental amendments to the rules, and also have adopted the newly revised DBMM army lists for competition use, and so a degree of freshness is regularly injected into the circuit.

On the DBM circuit I counted 52 players in total appearing in last years results, making up 149 event entries (including doubles where each player is counted separately). Apparently one of the players does live in Finland so I'm told, but in the absence of a huge Finnish DBM community I guess he can count as UK-based! The 2 small events attracted 17 players across the two events.
  • 20 players played just 1 event (40% of the player base - almost identical to the other rulesets)
  • 12 players made up 50% of all competition entries (24% of the overall pool) 
  • The average event has 15 entries (although this is skewed upwards by a greater proportion of doubles events on the DBM circuit)
DBM retains a relatively small, yet loyal following and with 52 players the overall pool of players is perhaps surprisingly not really that much smaller than for it's newer cousin DBMM. Stripping out the '1-event' entries reduces the pool of "active" players down to 32 - again not a million miles away from the 40 for DBMM.

The core 12 players who make up half of all tournament entries take part in an average of 6.2 events each per year (out of 10 possible events!!), but still represent a smaller proportion of the overall DBM universe than the equivalent group do in in FoGAM.

ADLG
L'Art de la Guerre is the new kid on the block, having been widely played for just under a year and so the rankings currently include results from just 8 events. There are as many as 8-9 further events scheduled for the rest of this year, so by the end of 2016 the UK rankings will be more directly comparable to those of other rulesets. Some events are now also included on the international rankings site, which has over 350 active players this year entering events across the globe

84 players currently appear in the UK rankings, including 4 overseas-based players (and one who is about to emigrate to Portugal!). They are otherwise all French, and have all played in 1 event each in the past 12 months.

These 84 players are more thinly spread than in other rulesets, making 136 competition entries in total. Only one event featured 10 or less players, which was the 2015 Challenge - the oldest event in the rankings currently - however as of today 18 players are signed up for the 2016 Challenge which will replace the 2016 event in the rankings in a couple of weeks.
  • 52 people have played in just 1 event (including 4 overseas)
  • 24 people currently make up half of all competition entries (30% of UK-based players). 
  • The average ADLG event has 17 entries.
These stats are still showing a ruleset in its infancy, however the overall number of UK-based players who have entered at least one ADLG event so far has already overtaken both DBMM and DBM, and with an average event size of 17 it seems more than likely that the size of the UK competition circuit for ADLG will also surpass that of both the DBx rulesets by the end of this year too.

DBA (added 2/6/16)
Bill MacGillivray has now kindly sent me the UK DBA Championship standings, which means DBA can be added to this mix. Most of the DBA events are one-day competitions, but with the shorter game length of DBA they will often have the same number of rounds as a 2-day event for the more "big battle" sets listed here.

The DBA numbers are based on the final 2015 season standings, so are slightly out of sync with the other sets of results. So far this year numbers appear to be almost exactly in step with 2015, with a couple of new events on the circuit as well in the Midlands and North of England. A new version of DBA 3.0 came out last year which is likely to have rekindled player interest so overall 2016 numbers might well end up being higher.

The 2015 season included 15 events, all stand-alone competitions, and including 4 in Portsmouth. The biggest event had 18 entrants, the smallest 6, and 3 of the 15 had less than 10 players, the cutoff to be considered "small" in this analysis.

In total 49 players took part in at least one DBA event last year, and these players between them made a total of 176 competition entries. This level of participation is great than for both DBM and ADLG currently, and if "small" events with less than 10 entries are stripped out of the numbers the gap with DBMM also shrinks, putting DBA in third place behind FoGAM and DBMM as the most actively played ruleset, even though it has the smallest overall pool of UK-based players.

  • Just 15 (30%) DBA players took part in only 1 event - the lowest proportion of 'occasional' players for any of these rulesets. This may well be down to a combination of predominantly one-day events on this circuit, and the geographic concentration of DBA players in a few specific areas.
  • 10 players made just over 50% of all competition entries - at 20% of the total player pool this is comparable to FoG but lower than the other 3 sets which have more directly comparable sized pools of players.
The stats for DBA in general show a very keen and stable core of active DBA players taking part in a consistently supported circuit of events, with a proportionally shorter "tail" of one-off players as well. The DBA numbers also include 2 players who both entered 14 out of the 15 events in the calendar year and who therefore represented 16% of all competition entries between them - well done chaps!

Interesting times - but still also pretty good times too for Ancient gaming, with over 1,000 entries to UK competitions over the last 12 months across these 5 rulesets alone.

With all 5 sets having something "new" going on in terms of rules updates and new lists (or, in the case of FoGAM, having updates on the horizon) there is also plenty happening to keep each community interested in their particular set, which only really leaves the possibility of over-familiarity with the same pool of players as being likely to dent numbers.

Even with the decline in numbers for FoGAM and DBMM over the past 4 years, the emergence of ADLG as a mainstream set, plus the introduction of new versions of all the other sets may mean that by the end of this year the UK will be back to pre-2012 levels of participation in Ancients events again.

Footnote:

As another relevant comparison, the equivalent headline numbers for FoG Renaissance are;

  • 101 players in the last 12 months (6 overseas)
  • 300 competition entries (exactly!)
  • 21 players make up half of all entries
  • 46 players only played in 1 event

These numbers would place FoGR in second place behind FoGAM in terms of popularity, ahead of all of the other Ancient rulesets on both of the key metrics of player numbers and competition entries (if it was an Ancients set of course...!).


27 Apr 2016

The Covenanter's make it to the Kings Capital!

In three fleetingly (thankfully?) brief battle reports, enlivened by some tremendous 15mm eye candy and the usual videos, the Scots Covenanter's  appear in FoGR and take on three Royalist armies in a one-day competition with pre-set terrain.


See how the forces of anti-papery did in these highly accurate historical rematches, including far more Poor quality troops than have been seen on a Renaissance battlefield for quite some time.

25 Jan 2015

The Danes at Warfare 2014 - top table action!

The last event of 2014, and the Early Danes get yet another outing at FoGR down by the banks of the Thames in sunny (cold and dark) Reading.


In four thrilling match reports they take on everyone in the world, from the Indians to the English, all whilst doing their very best to shoehorn references to bacon and Carlsberg into the narrative at every opportunity....and end up doing surprisingly well !


Lots of pictures, some barely-relevant YouTube videos and some very odd things to buy from Amazon as well all grace the reports - so, grab yourself some pancakes and maple syrup, pull up a chair and dig in!

20 May 2014

Match Reports from Oxford 2014

The wild and breechless Scots Royalists are coming down the mountain to raid rural Oxfordshire!

See how they fared in three comprehensive battle reports, with smatterings of the noble Scottish language embedded in them, together with videos from Al Murray, Robin Williams, Horrible Histories and The Clash.


Then lay back and revel in some truly "fan-dabee-dozee" post match analysis (yes, you do know what's coming next..!), but a word of warning - do try and avoid clicking on poor wee Jimmy if you are about to eat.

Enjoy!

11 Jun 2013

Arrrr! Here be Pirates!

In one of the most extensively trailed competition writeups ever seen anywhere on the whole internet, the Buccaneer Army takes to the field at Campaign in Milton Keynes (well, where else would you expect to find Pirates eh?) for 5 games of cutlass-swinging, eyepatch-wearing, blunderbuss-shootin' Pirate-ey action of the most intense type imaginable.



See how me band o'hearties fared in combat in 5 pages, 200 pictures and several thousand words of puns, random links, irrelevant videos and three of the best episodes of Madaxeman TV ever broadcast!



Arrr!

27 May 2013

The Southern League 2013 - London Round, Full Results


The London round of the Southern League 2013 covered the period of Revolution & Turmoil in the UK 1639-1688, allowing a choice of armies from Early Caroline English, Scots Covenanter, Scots Royalist, Confederate Irish, Early ECW Royalist, ECW Parliamentarian, Later ECW Royalist, New Model Army, Restoration British, Covenanting Rebels, Monmouth Rebellion

The full results and photo's are online now



11 Apr 2013

The Maratha In The Southern League

Don "The Don" McHugh organised a round of the Southern League one-day FoGR competition in chilly Clevedon recently and this encouraged me to field yet another new army (made up of rather dubiously morphed old figures) - the Maratha.


Now, in 3 fully detailed and historically accurate match reports you can see how the Renaissance Indians did against Samurai, Jin Chinese and finally full widescreen Technicolor Aztecs.


The reports also feature expert critique and analysis from a new member of the Madaxeman.com Pundits Panel, our resident expert on Indian armies, the legendary General and Indian King Hannibalipuripathi


16 Nov 2012

Buono Estente Oxford 2012 !

There is a veritable flurry of activity on this website this week as two sets of photos get immediately followed up by FOUR match reports, where the Imperial Spanish take on Transylvanians, French , Swedes and more Swedes in a themed TYW competition in which I was the "Catholic" half of a pair - with my team-mate being the Protestant. 4 games against Protestant armies was the result...


See how the forces of the Infante did    in this near incomprehensible (other than to anyone who remembers the Fast Show) report.



Scorchio!!


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