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SB Scenario Census


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Actually, it was 79, and yes, that's a pretty good sample of the "masses" of SB players.

Is it a statistically significant number? Not really. The population tested was based solely on online forum communities. (Not just this one, although the bulk of the results came from this source.)

Is it the first time someone has asked a formal set of questions to the players to get a barometer of what players do and do not like? Yes. Does show trends? Yes.

That alone makes it worth something more than nothing. It's not a magic key to the kingdom of scenario heaven, but it starts to answer some questions I've heard from multiple people in this community in the past.

Edited by DrDevice
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OK - finally had time to finish forming my thoughts on the results of the survey.

Survey results, with comments. This will only be around as long as I keep the subscription to Survey Monkey, which may not be much longer. I have exported the data into a raw form, and will upload very soon.

Some general conclusions based on all respondents:

• Participants play SB fairly often (not surprising)

• Single player fans outnumber H2H fans by a significant margin.

• Platoon-level control is by far the most popular span of control

• Most players want the 30-60 minute mark for scenarios. In retrospect, this might have been more appropriate if tied to the type of scenario (MP, SP or CP)

For further analysis, I filtered the respondents into 3 groups, Single Players (SP), Multi-player vs. Computer Players (Co-operative or CP) and Multiplayer Head-to-Head (MP), based on question #3: "Rate the following player options for scenarios." Players are considered to be a part of a group if their choice was “Favorite” or “Like.” This means that a single player may be represented in multiple groups. I did this to allow for the fact that many players like and play more than one type of scenario.

I will post the filtered results used to draw the following conclusions shortly.

Single Players

• SP players tend to play less frequently that CP and MP groups (47.8% at more than once per week, and higher percentages than other groups for less frequent options.)

• SP players are the largest group in the survey (67)

• SP players tend to like CP also (44%), but many do not to play MP at all. (47%)

• SP players trend strongly toward the shorter planning times. This could mean planning more on the fly, or simpler plans due to smaller spans of control.

• SP players in SP or CP games prefer controlling a single platoon (54%) but still have a decent percentage (38%) that prefer to run a company team.

• In SP or CP scenarios, SP players consider many of the influencing factors polled to be either Important or Critical. The exceptions were plausible back-story, variety of unit types and scoring. These factors trended toward the less important end of the scale.

• Logical or realistic AI behavior was clearly (70%) listed as Critical on to SP players in SP or CP scenarios. This is a strong indicator that the scripting of the AI is where the bulk of scenario design time should be spent.

• SP players in MP scenarios trend very strongly (73%) toward running a single platoon, with a decent portion (19%) preferring a single vehicle.

• SP players in MP scenarios have similar care-abouts to their SP games, but less extreme. Most choices were considered Important, but not Critical. Players were “on the fence” regarding numerical vehicle balance. Additionally, “equal types of crewable units” was also considered lower importance (45%). This may be a poorly named option. My intent was to answer the question (for example) “do players think that MP games need crewable IFVs for both sides?” If the data is correct, the answer is “not really.” If the question was misunderstood, then perhaps this data point is not representative.

Co-operative Players

• 42% of CP players actually have MP scenarios as their favorite style of play. Most still also like SP, but the strong trend seems to be “I’d rather be playing MP.”

• Planning was split between the 5-15 mark and the 15-30 one. Basically, right in the middle of SP and MP players.

• In SP scenarios, CP players prefer a single platoon, but a good margin (38%) prefer controlling a company team.

• Of SP scenario factors, CP players cared least about variety of unit types and about scoring. Most other factors were considered Important or Critical.

• In MP games, CP players prefer platoons to control individually. A question regarding command level overall might have been helpful here too.]

Multi Players

• MP players tend to play frequently, with 59% playing more than once per week, and 22% playing once per week.

• MP players are the smallest group in the survey (44)

• MP players tend to like all forms of play, with almost half (47%) also playing SP, and many (68%) playing CP games.

• MP players prefer longer games than the SP group, with 50% of the group preferring 60-90 minute games, and 34% preferring 30-60 minute games.

• MP players usually plan for longer periods of time, likely due to coordination between live players. 15-30 minutes is most popular (47%), with a good portion at the lower 5-15 minute mark (34%). The take-away here: Be ready to spend some time in planning with an MP game. Of course, several mentions were made regarding the restoration of the “saved plan” option, which could keep these times low.

• MP players in SP or CP games have basically the same span of control preferences as SP players. Most prefer platoon-level control (54%) with some (38%) preferring company commands.

• MP players in SP or CP games indicated similar levels of importance in the scenario factors. Unit variety and scoring were less important. Logical behavior for the AI was rated critical. The exception was the back story factor. MP players were split on this factor being either important or less important.

• MP players in MP games want to control a platoon (70%) with a few above or below that level. Large spans of control (battalion and above) were completely absent from this choice.

• MP players in MP games find most polled items to be important, except for back-story, unit variety and scoring. The scoring I find particularly surprising, given the competitive nature of the MP games.

• The largest margin of votes in scenario factors went to map selection and theme selection. Terrain has a very strong influence on the perceived success of a scenario.

• Most MP players in MP games prefer a realistic OrBat, but are torn between even numbers and realistic tactical situations where odds are off. Several comments

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There are more trends in there to be found, if we can ask the right questions. I'm even sure that some of the "conclusions" can be interpreted different ways, but it's a start.

If you haven't read the raw report, specifically with the additional comments from respondents, take a look. There are lots of little one-off insights in there.

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In Hindsight it would have been interesting if the question 2 "Do Not Play" option had been sub divided. I find it worrying to see a value like 41% in the "Do Not Play" category of H2H MP. Dividing that into "Will not Play", "Do Not Play" and "Have not played" would have been more informative. Only in that one section you understand because of the High trend. Maybe that could be done as a poll at some point or maybe the subject of a future survey.

Good Job Dr. D

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  • 4 weeks later...

One final bit on this. I realized that I never posted the link to the actual survey responses/data:

View Scenario Census Data

There is even a link to view the comments ("Show Replies") as well. The names and email addresses have been removed for this public version.

I will likely not be continuing the subscription version of this service, but I will keep the free version. I don't think that will affect this survey, but we'll see. (On or about August 5, I believe.)

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