The Waving Flag: ADLG: 2018 Survey Results (Part 2)

Friday 1 June 2018

ADLG: 2018 Survey Results (Part 2)

To recap: this survey was run to uncover the reasons behind the current growth in popularity of ADLG in the UK.  After one week the survey had gathered 135 responses of which 81 were from the UK.

Part 1 looked at the basic information like age, favourite periods, etc and provided some interesting trends. This post will look at players ratings of the game overall, the rule book and the use of the rules in games amongst other things.

If you don't want to read the post in full here are the headlines:
  • Respondents rated ADLG very highly indeed (4.3/5.0).
  • On average people gave three reasons for playing ADLG.
  • The top three were all related to financial & practical aspects.
  • Being able to play in competitions came fourth.
  • 57.6% rated ADLG as of average complexity/simplicity.
  • The rule book is easy to read but more difficult to refer to during a game.
  • The Lists, Set up, & Movement sections were the easiest to use.
  • The Index, Melee & Shooting sections were rated the hardest to use.
  • On average people used three sources to get help with ADLG.
  • The official FAQ was the most used source of help.
Now without further ado here's Part 2 in all its gory detail ...

2.1 Overall Experience of ADLG
This was done by asking about respondents' experience with ADLG so far on a five point scale from disappointing to excellent.  A score of 3 is midway between the extremes and taken as average.

Straight away you can see that players have rated ADLG very highly indeed with just over half rating it excellent and an average rating of 4.36.

This strong positive rating may help explain why the UK competition scene is growing so strongly.  The pattern for the international responses is similar with a slightly lower average rating of 4.27.

2.2 Reasons Why
A list of seven reasons was offered.  Any number could be chosen with an option to add others not covered by the first seven.

There are two ways to look at this data: how often a reason was cited and how many respondents cited a reason: they tell a similar story but the numbers are different.  The former is much easier to illustrate and I'll start with that before moving onto the latter.

On average each UK respondent chose 3 (or rather 2.88) reasons and other comments were rare.  This graph shows the number of times each reason was chosen:

The top three reasons accounted for 67.0% of the 233 reasons given and I think these reflect financial and related practical concerns.  The next three reasons account for only 30.9%.  Clearly they have far less influence than the top three.

The top three suggest that most people play ADLG because:
  • If you already own armies all you need to play ADLG is a rule book which is good value for money.  You don't need anything else and you don't have to rebase your collection.  
  • If you're starting from scratch the value for money rule book and the small army size make it relatively quick to build an army without a great investment in either time or money.
The use of existing collections was mentioned by 72.8% of UK respondents.  This is a very high figure but it is not surprising. Part 1 showed that:
  • 96.3% of UK respondents were over 35 years old and 44.4% were over 55.
  • On average, they had used, or were using, 2.91 other rules.
  • 66.7% have played (or still play) DBM and 48.1% FOG AM v1.
This group of older, more experienced players is far more likely to have existing collections and rate the ability to use them highly.

The importance of value for money cannot be overstated.  66.7% of UK respondents thought ADLG represented good value for money.  I assume this is compared to the current fashion of rule books costing £25-50, and the need for multiple army lists books costing similar amounts.

ADLG looks to have hit a financial "sweet spot" with a low "financial barrier to entry" especially for experienced wargamers and this is clearly a major part of why it has proved so popular in the UK.

Finally in this section, the ability to play in competitions ranked just outside the top three.  It was mentioned by 38.3% of UK respondents.  This is lower than I had expected and suggests that the UK respondents are a roughly even mixture of competition and casual players.

2.3 Simplicity & The Rule Book
If respondents owned a rule book they were asked seven questions designed to rate the rules, the contents of the book and its ease of use during a game.  All ratings were on a five point scale with 3 being average and 5 (usually) being strongly agree.

For UK respondents the first question asked people to rate the complexity of ADLG:

I think the rules are complex (1) or simple (5).3.20

Looking at this in more detail: 57.6% rated it as average while no one rated it as very complex and only 2.5% rated it as very simple.

On a personal level this surprised me somewhat.  I expected a slightly higher score given the high overall rating in section 2.1. The UK complexity rating is however entirely consistent with the three ratings on the use of the rule book during a game namely:

I rarely need to refer to the rules during a game.3.34
I find it easy to find things in the rule book during a game.3.30
I seldom use the quick reference sheet during a game.2.29

This paints a picture of the average respondent playing a game they think is of average complexity using the QRS quite a lot but who regularly refer to the rule book and when they do they experience some difficulty in finding what they want.  However, there's quite a contrast between this picture and the ratings for the book itself:

I think the translation is well written, clear & concise.3.73
I think the rules are well organised and easy to understand.3.60
I think there are enough diagrams & illustrations.3.98

The book content ratings are all higher than those from its use during the game. Clearly the number of diagrams is seen as a big positive for ADLG.

The contrast, although not massive, highlights the difference between reading a rule book and using one during a game. I'm tempted to suggest the book reads well as a book but does not function as well when used as reference during a game.

2.4 What's Written & Ease of Use
The sections of ADLG were rated in terms of what's written and how easy they are to use using a five point scale from difficult (1) to easy (5) to understand.  This was designed to probe the specific processes within the rules (move, shooting etc) and compliment the general ratings in the previous section.

The first thing to note is the generally high ratings across the board.  All parts are clustered either side of relatively easy to understand (a score of 4).  The individual ratings are almost all higher than those in section 2.3 especially the overall complexity rating of 3.20 +/- 0.76.

At first this inconsistency was puzzling.  Perhaps it was just the way the questions were presented that resulted in higher ratings across the board; perhaps not?  A quick statistical analysis pointed to an explanation:

In the above a score of more than 1, or less than -1, has a 65% probability of not occurring by chance. Scores above 2, or below -2, have a 95% probability of not occurring by chance.

This analysis points to differences that are important despite the high overall ratings and the relatively small differences involved:
  • The major positive differences are restricted to certain parts of the rules: set up, movement and the lists.  In my experience these are the simplest sections and only movement is used repeatedly during a game.
  • The frequently used and vital "meat" of the rules, shooting & melee, are rated considerably lower and are much closer to the "in play" ratings of section 2.3.  
  • The relatively low rating of the index is consistent with the rating shown in section 2.3 for the ease of finding things in the rules during a game.
It is likely that the low rating of the frequently used combat sections had a strong influence on the lower overall ratings in section 2.3.  I have some evidence to support this but I will delay dealing with until Part 3.

Overall these ratings show that the melee & shooting processes are the least straightforward parts of the rules and the suggest the rules & processes could benefit from some careful editing in any new version or support documentation.

The pattern for all respondents (UK & international) was similar.

2.5 Help!
Learning new rules, improving your standard of play or just relying less on the rule book requires help.  So where did respondents get their help from?

As before there are two ways to look at this data: how often the source was mentioned and how many respondents mentioned a source: they tell a similar story but the numbers are different.  The former is much easier to tabulate and I'll start with that before moving onto the latter.

Help (UK)CountRatio
The official FAQ7027.0%
The online Forum5320.5%
My opponents4918.9%
Other players at my club3714.3%
Competition Umpires3413.1%
The Yahoo! Group114.2%

Once again people mentioned an average of three sources of help (or 3.20 to be exact) and these accounted for 66.4% of all mentions and the top four for 80.4%.

The pattern for international respondents was similar with the same top four sources accounting for 84.7% of all mentions.  The exact order differed slightly but the top two were the same.

The importance of the official FAQ is underlined by using the second way of looking at the data.  The official FAQ was mentioned by 86.4% of UK respondents.  This was followed by the ADLG forum (65.4%) and people's opponents (60.5%).

As an aside I was surprised that in this modern age that Facebook didn't crop up more often.  Perhaps this is related to the age distribution?

2.6 Closing remarks
Congratulations on making it this far!  I hope you've found it interesting? Let me know in the comments.

There's not much more to add as I've now covered all the basic results from the 2018 ADLG survey.  In a final post about the survey (Part 3) I will look at a couple of interesting correlations between pairs of ratings.  It will be a shorter post I promise.

Meanwhile if you have any questions ask away.  Likewise if you'd like me to look at the data in certain way add a comment I'll see what I can do.


colinmnash said...

I don't play ADLG, but having read these 2 posts on the survey (well, skimmed tbh!), I'm seriously considering getting it.

Thanks for sharing these results

Vexillia said...

Glad the survey was of use. There is a lot to read at once isn't there?

Unknown said...

Thank you Martin, this has clearly been a significant amount of work on your part and the results are very interesting.

Vexillia said...

Thanks Kevin. It's nice to know it's of interest to others.

Crunching the numbers wasn't too bad and I enjoyed working out the best way to illustrate the points. However I wouldn't want to do this every week.

Part 3 is written and will be published on Friday. Part 4 (ADLG v DBMM surveys) is also written and just needs one last bout of proof reading.

Backpackbrewer said...

its the first time I have read through this in its entirety Martin. Nice work and I can identify with your methodologies as I used to work alot with companies such as Cardinal for market research

Vexillia said...

Why re-invent the wheel? :-)

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