Showing posts with label FoG. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FoG. Show all posts

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?

Currently the 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 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.

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.

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.

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.


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...!).

6 Mar 2013

"Do you do requests...?"

In a development that might either be quite clever indeed, might be a damp squib, or may even be something that I live to regret I've responded to a request by a newbie gamer via's Facebook Fan Page (don't laugh..) to come up with a FoGAM army list for a Communal Italian army.

Now, given I haven't played AM at 800AP for the best part of 2 years, and I haven't played V2.0 at all this may not exactly be the best army in the world, but it did make me add a brand new page to the FoG Wiki, which as been a little neglected of late.

o, now there is an Italian Communal page and list on the Wiki, and it has been generated in response to a request on Facebook... which got me thinking. Can I encourage any of you, the 4,000 people who land on every month, and who visit 7,000 pages on the Wiki to join in answering this request?

That's the theory. Let's all improve the Communal Italian Wiki page. Do you fancy helping ?

If so:

  • This is a link to the Wiki Page for the Communal Italian army
  • If you are registered for the Wiki, just login and contribute something to this Communal Italian page - maybe an army list, but anything will do really as long as it adds to what is already there. 
  • You can register for the Wiki here if you aren't already a member (you need to use the passcode, but if you can't work it out you are on the wrong website anyway). Then you can contribute too
  • Unsure of how it might work? There are some instructions online here 

 Go ahead and add something !

13 Feb 2013

15mm Napoleonic Auction pages

Following up on the Supplier Directory I've now added two sets of pages with listings from "live" eBay Auctions of 15mm Napoleonic troops - covering the UK and US versions of eBay.

Both sets of pages cover all the Napoleonic troops currently listed, as well as separate pages for the "Big 5" of France, Britain, Austria, Russia and Prussia.

The UK pages can be reached through this link, and the US pages are online here.

16 Sep 2012

4 Ancients Reports from Lisbon 2012

After a rather long break from the pre-gunpowder world, is pleased to bring you 4 new reports from the 2012 ITC in Lisbon, in which Hannibal himself takes command of a Carthaginian army and take on Alexander the Great, two lots of R*m*ns, and some Seleukids

The reports can be found here

They include all of the traditional rubbish, some new bits from Twitter and a short video analysis of the Alexandrian army strengths and weaknesses too.

As Hannibal was actually commanding the Carthaginian army, I have been forced to draft in some almost-as-tough-as-Hannibal hard men to give the post match analysis and attempt to critique the perfection which was Hannibal's battle plan. So get ready for insightful comments from Chuck Norris, Jack Bauer, Clint Eastwood and Jason Statham as well...

23 Feb 2012

The Shop is Back!

In a development welcomed by literally some people, the merchandise shop is back! Yes,your chance to buy t-shirts and mugs with FoG and other wargaming-themed slogans and graphics, wherever you are in the world.

The range of products will grow steadily as and when I come up with any ideas (if you have ideas of stuff you'd like designed and produced just email me and I can create them for you), and so keep checking - navigation to The Shop has been added back into the top menu on the main site.

This might not rock your world, however let's face it - where else can you buy a t-shirt bearing the slogan "Morally Bankrupt? Moi? Surely some mistake Centurion!" ? 

31 Jan 2012

FoG:AM after a 1-year break! Thoughts and observations..

I played a game of FoG:AM last night, for the first time in probably over a year (Warfare 2010 was my last competitive game of Ancients). Having been deeply submerged in the world of FoG Renaissance for the past 12 months it was a very interesting experience to get back on the Ancients horse again, and try and compare the two sets from the perspective of FoG:R.

Firstly, it wasn't a "standard" game - instead it was in our club competition which involves 2-hour 650 point games played out on a 4x3 playing surface. My pick for the competition was Han Chinese, selected as I own the army but I don't remember ever using them in FoG Ancients at all (well, certainly not as Chinese... I think some of them have pretended to be Koreans or similar!).

My opponent was a Classical Indian army, with rather a lot more units than me (13 to my 8) and who had (also) selected the "Regular" (or is it called "Drilled"?) option for the 9 units of foot bows and warriors in the army. Another interesting angle to the competition is that it is a league, with the same choice of army throughout but the opportunity to change the list each game - so you can pick an army to match up against your opponents choice each game. Knowing I was facing Indians I had therefore elected to take 6 units of armoured foot, 1 skirmishing foot and the compulsory 4 Cavalry - and an IC, giving my army a shield of invulnerability to shooting. I had also picked some portable obstacles, but then found out they had no effect against Elephants (doh!) so that was 27 points wasted straight away!

The 4x3 board (with 8"/12" deployment zones and only a 4" "zone of fear" near each edge) certainly reduced the amount of messing around before we got stuck in, although both armies had brought only one unit of skirmishers along anyway. It certainly added weight in my mind to the argument that 800 AP and 6'x4' is not the optimum mix of troop numbers and table size for 15mm FoG:AM games. 

As a comparison to FoG:R the biggest thing that struck me right from the off, and again and again throughout the game was  was just how incredibly maneuverable both sides units of infantry were. With all that drilled medium foot on table, the 1-base sidestep, forming columns, turning and moving sideways and expanding out either side. At times it seemed like we were playing a mega-sized DBA game in which we could just pick up and move the individual bases as we wished, as there seemed to be nothing that these highly trained circus performers could not do!

The upshot of this was that in the (rather limited) pre-combat manoeuvring phase of the game I was able to almost totally reorganise my army so the mix of units when the two lines clashed was almost entirely different to that when I deployed - again reminiscent of that bit in a DBx game where a good set of pips allows you to do a huge element-by-element matchup reshuffle just prior to combat. My opponent also did a fair amount of this too, and was only constrained from doing more by the physical logjam of 13 units on a 4' frontage and of course the futility of swapping one 8-strong Bw/Sw infantry unit for another !

Overlaps - counting both ranks - were also a bit of a nasty surprise, as I found myself assuming wrongly that my better quality troops would win out against wider formations of enemy bases. 

With my own shooting being almost useless (1 rank of crossbows at best...) my game plan relied on doing everything I could to survive the enemy shooting (placing my IC in the right place, working hard to ensure rear support and especially to narrow my units frontage as they charged home) and crossing my fingers, as the opposition rolled lots of dice and hoped for me to fail the Cohesion Tests. The IC played a huge part in surviving the enemy shooting (which is still odd really when you come to think of it) but ultimately this phase of the game was a lot more one-sided than FoG:R as it was all about my opponent rolling lots of dice and hoping I would fail a test - my role was kinda passive.  

Then, once I had committed my forces to combat it was all about the dice, winning by small margins and hoping to force the enemy to take lots of cohesion tests. This is what decided almost all the combats, as in a mutual destruction (yes!!) I can only remember one (or maybe two?) units breaking from base losses, which is again a massive difference to FoG:R where I suspect most of the broken units in the games I have played in break through base losses rather than three consecutive Cohesion test failures. 

What was the biggest difference to FoG:R? Out of all the things I've listed, the biggest one I keep coming back to is the extreme, nay, ridiculous ability of (drilled) units to hop,skip, jump and shimmy their way around the table. In FoG:R infantry simply don't do that - formations stay as fixed-width formations (by and large), infantry don't move as far anyway, and they certainly cannot turn and move. That to me makes FoG:R a far, far better game for recreating the look and feel of a historical battle. 

Having the ability to redeploy pretty much at will (Drilled MF + an IC means you can turn and move on a roll of 5 or more) was kinda fun, but it also meant the rules would have worked almost as well if the bases were representing squadrons of X-wing and Tie-fighters clashing around the gravity well of a rogue planet somewhere in deep space, rather than Han Chinese Close Combat infantry charging home against Indian Longbowmen on the edge of a forest on a battlefield somewhere presumably in the Himalayan foothills!

Playing AM at 650 AP on a 4x3 is a lot more fun than chasing LH around a 6x4 - but I think I'll still be sticking with FoG:R for any full-weekend competitions the foreseeable future ! 

19 Dec 2010

Hubcon IV Now Posted

Hubcon IV Report now posted, complete with a video report on the game featuring commentary from the Queen of England and History's Greatest Ever Genius (honestly, yes...)

28 Sep 2009

Match Reports from Britcon 2009

The Marginally Less Morally Bankrupt Dominate Romans enjoy another outing - this time in a damp Augustine Manchester. Read all about it here.

4 Sep 2009

Empires of the Dragon released imminently!

Get the Big Fat millions of pages book on the Chinese, Samurai and Koreans (and all those chaps on elephants) from Amazon - out on the 10th Sept apparently.

30 Apr 2009

Madaxeman Invitational FoG Tourney

I'm running a 1-day mini FoG tourney in London on the 17th of May. Full details via this link.

3 Apr 2009

Chalons sur Marne

I hope to be playing in a mega-FOG game today (the afternoon of 3rd April) leading the Rugian contingent at Chalons against the Romans. With a bit of luck I may even be posting photos and updates from the game in real time on this page.

4 Feb 2009

User-guide to Medieval Irish

The FoG Wiki has had a great guide to the Medieval Irish added by one of the Wiki users. Take a look - maybe it'll inspire you to have a try at adding something yourself to the Wiki? Nearly 400 Wiki pages are being viewed every day, so any contribution will help other gamers!

31 Dec 2008

Museum Miniatures are having a sale

Looks like everything is 25% off until (I think) the middle or end of January. I've had good service from them in the past, and their Arab-ish Ghilman cavalry mix well with Outpost and Khurasan - see this link - and a lot of their dismounted medieval knights are cool as well. Worth a look?

14 Dec 2008

Isarus Byzantines now added to the Gallery

More "from the manufacturer" photos of this oft-overlooked but very nice little range.

4 Dec 2008

Loads more photos in the Ancients Gallery!

TriariiNKE BowmenNorman General

...... New photos of LKM, Lancashire, Alain Touller, Irregular, Magister Militum, Museum, Black Hat, Grumpys and 2-Dragons now added. The Supplier Listing has also been updated

2 Dec 2008

LRR Lists & Design Notes

Provided for The Wiki by FoG Author Simon Hall - see where I went wrong at Warfare, and learn how someone who wrote the rules would design and use this list !

30 Nov 2008

Warfare - all 4 reports

FoG battle reports of Late Republican Romans vs Parthians, Early Carthaginians, Bosporans and Selukids now online.

7 Nov 2008

African Vandals added to FoGipedia

Reader-contributed content helps me create a page in the FoGipedia on this hairy bunch.

3 Nov 2008

4 Match Reports from Roll Call

All 4 battles now uploaded to the website. Photos, writeups, lists and the return of Hannibal's award-winning Post Match Analysis - Click Here.

11 Oct 2008

FoG Decline & Fall Out Now

The FoG book on the Byzantines arrived today, and looks to have some interesting armies in it - after the rather "samey" Ottoman Book. Order it via this link in the UK, or this one in the US

Osprey Rules on Amazon

Broken Legions is a set of fantasy skirmish rules for a war unknown to history, fought in the shadows of the Roman Empire. Various factions recruit small warbands to fight in tight, scenario-driven battles that could secure the mystical power to defend or crush Rome. A points system allows factions to easily build a warband, and mercenaries and free agents may also be hired to bolster a force. Heroes and leaders may possess a range of skills, traits and magical abilities, but a henchman's blade can be just as sharp, and a campaign can see even the lowliest henchman become a hero of renown

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