A thread on BGG prompted me to check out which games are most popular on CSW, i.e. how many posts they got.

I chose to limit myself to games (and game series) which have garnered more than 10000 posts. Very few games make that threshhold (and I hope I didn't miss any!):

If you add in game series (admittedly, the distinction between the "individual games" and "series" categories is something of a judgement call) you get the following chart:

I must say I'm surprised TK! (I amalgated both editions' posts) has a whopping 26880 posts. Sure, it's an old game and had plenty of time amassing posts, but hey, it's still a lot more than I had expected.

Since games in a game series would very rarely make it into the 10000+ Olymp, I chose to take them out of the equation. While ASL remains the top dog, it is striking how big the share of CDGs is in this illustrious group:

Idividual Games: CDGs vs the Rest

As you can see, the CDGs garner 51% of the total posts within this grouping. This says a lot about the paradigm shift away from hex & counter in the past 10+ years. Indeed, apart from Devil's Cauldron the hex 'n counter genre consists of oldies.

What is also striking is that 8 CDGs out of a total of ~21 published CDGs have made it past the 10000 mark. That's a massive blockbuster ratio and speaks volumes of the genre's popularity.

Now, how does this CSW "post ranking" compare to the BGG ranking of wargames (by wargames category - the measure which includes Bayesian rankings)?


1. Advanced Squad Leader
2. Totaler Krieg!
3. For the People
4. Empire of the Sun
5. Paths of Glory
6. Panzer Grenadier
7. WWII: Barbarosa to Berlin
9. Combat Commander
10. Europe Engulfed
11. The Napoleonic Wars
12. Twilight Struggle
13. Devil's Cauldron
14. Wilderness War

BGG WARGAMES RANKING: (I culled some more euro-ish games from this ranking (Shogun, Twilight Imperium, Struggle of Empires, Game of Thrones)

1 Twilight Struggle 8.14 2896
2 Commands & Colors: Ancients 7.84 1901
3 War of the Ring 7.82 3581
4 Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage 7.81 1431
6 Paths of Glory 7.77 1164
7 BattleLore 7.76 3671
8 Combat Commander: Europe 7.67 1084
9 Hammer of the Scots 7.58 1452
10 Memoir '44 7.57 5346
11 Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) 7.54 1161
12 Up Front 7.50 869
13 Tide of Iron 7.47 1088
14 Here I Stand 7.38 560

Even with my culling of more euro-ish type games (using a narrower understanding of what a wargame is), the list is a lot more diverse, in terms of mechanics, complexity and subject matter. CSW seems to have a more grognardish and WW2 bent. Arguably because counting posts gives old games an advantage over "the young guard" (to use a term David Dockter coined).

Also, we need to consider that you really have a lot more to discuss with high complexity games (starting with errata and rules queries...) than with say a Memoir '44. My belief is that CSWers' gaming habits are much closer to the BGG ranking, but they tend to discuss more the weightier stuff. I may be mistaken, but I think there's fairly little difference between a CSWer and a Wargamer on BGG (not least due to the overlap).

It might be said that WW2 tactical combat features prominently on both lists. I attribute this to these games being more "systems" than say strategic-scale games. This can make such games the focus of one's wargaming activity, which in turn drives up CSW post counts. Here I might add that the BGG rankings list the ASL Starter kits separately. Were these thrown together, ASL would also do better in the BGG ranking.

BTW, Devil's Cauldron really has a massive number of posts if you consider that the game merely is ranked 85th/ BGG Wargames category. Is the post count so high because of the never tiring Adam Starkweather or development communication being done to a great extent via CSW?

Anyway, I hope I haven't bored you with this piece of statistical analysis and rambling of mine. :)

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Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 21, 2008 at 11:44pm
John, you can clcik the bottom "Follow" button in order to receive the email notice.
Comment by Tom Cmajdalka on August 21, 2008 at 4:25pm
Those ASL fanboys breed like fucking rabbits, don't they?
Comment by John David Galt on August 21, 2008 at 4:15pm
I would use this board a lot more if I could receive replies by e-mail instead of having to log in.
Comment by Herr Dr. on August 21, 2008 at 11:36am

Charles, took your analysis and added a few stats to it.
Comment by Charles Féaux de la Croix on August 21, 2008 at 7:49am
> Why the lists are cut off at the 14th item? Usually we look at top 10 or top 20. I am not sure why but there might be a reason, Charles.

14 individual games on CSW have 10.000+ posts. I went for the same number on BGG. Hence 14.
Comment by Gian Carlo Ceccoli on August 21, 2008 at 7:41am
Great work!! I post on ASGS web site: www.asgs.sm
Comment by Lawrence Hung on August 21, 2008 at 1:38am
Why the lists are cut off at the 14th item? Usually we look at top 10 or top 20. I am not sure why but there might be a reason, Charles.
Comment by Herr Dr. on August 20, 2008 at 11:14pm
Cool analysis and discussion. I also believe that the number of posts indicates popularity with games and depth of games (no idea what portion is responsible for what amount). You wouldn't bother to post a rules question, unless you were playing the beast and wanted to know the answer.
Comment by Mark Herman on August 20, 2008 at 7:53pm
This is what I suspected, but never had the time to confirm. I find it interesting that except for ASL, there is no correlation between the BGG rankings and the CSW msg traffic. I am heartened that FTP and EoTS continue to generate alot of traffic, especially FTP which is almost a decade old.

Thanks for taking the time to do this analysis,

Comment by Björn Hansson (BigPapaBear) on August 20, 2008 at 2:36am
To avoid manipulation of rankings BGG uses a Bayesian average. I think it works pretty well.

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