Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Rules War :: Six Years On

It's been over two years since I last commented on the state of play [sic] in the Northern League. This series of posts started in 2008 when DBM was in decline and Field of Glory was well ahead of DBMM in the "race" for DBM's crown as the most popular set of rules for the Ancient & Medieval periods. By the end of 2010 FOG was clearly the most popular rule set in the Northern League with an average share of 79% of the registered players.

So what's happened since? Well, 2012 saw the first ever FOG Renaissance (FOG R) competition and it was the last full year where the original version of FOG Ancient & Medieval (FOG) was used. I wondered whether the former had affected overall attendance and player choice. So I "crunched" the numbers and the results are in the table below:



So what do the numbers say? Well I spotted the following trends:
  • In 2011-12 average player attendance increased to 45-46 up from 41-42 in 2008-10.
  • In 2012 the maximum numbers of players attending any one round broke 50 for the first time since 2006.
  • DBMM grew steadily, returning to its 2009 peak of 12 players per round.
  • In 2012 the DBMM competition saw its best ever attendance for any one round: 15 players.
  • FOG peaked in 2011 with an average of 35 players per round falling back somewhat in 2012.
  • In 2012 FOG R attracted an average of 6 players per round; many were former FOG players.
It's pleasing to see the rude health of the Northern League and let's hope 2013 continues this trend. The above doesn't show any influence from the release of version 2 of FOG AM; only this year's data will do that. Having said that the numbers for the first round of 2013 are available and are quite illuminating:
  • Overall attendance remained strong with 48 players in attendance compared to 52 (2012) and 41(2011).
  • DBMM was up on previous years as was FOG R; both had 13 players.
  • FOG AM was down significantly with only 22 players compared to 36 (2012) and 31 (2011).
All comparisons are for the same round in preceding years. Clearly, FOG R has continued to attract players who used to participate in the Ancient & Medieval competition. It'll be interesting to see if this trend holds throughout the year.

How much of the growth in FOG R, and the decline in FOG, is down to the release of FOG v2 late last year is hard to say. The first round used FOG v1 but the FOG players voted to use v2 for all future rounds; only those playing in the first round voted.

I know that I faced a choice between learning FOG v2 or trying FOG R. In the end I decided to try a "new" period and will postpone buying a copy of FOG v2 until much later in the year. Perhaps I can save a few quid and pick one up at Britcon? Who knows.

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