This is a way to for gamers, like me, who have a large range of games to identify how prepared they are to play any specific game. I love rules… there, I said it. That has led to me collecting a large number of games, mostly wargames. However, having read a set of rules 10 years ago doesn’t mean I’m prepared to play that game. In this post I’ll outline an approach I use to assessing my preparedness. I call it Traffic Light Wargaming.

I like to think of each game in terms of three factors:

  • Willingness – this indicates my desire to play a specific game. It is an intrinsic factor and try to think of it independently to other games (which is hard). Put simply, if the answer to the question, “Do I want to play X?” is anything other than a “No” then you are at least somewhat willing. Willingness can be fickle, but if you are truly unwilling to play a game the Opportunity and Readiness matter little.
  • Opportunity – this is an extrinsic factor as it relates mostly to other people. There are macro considerations, such as family and work, and micro considerations (in the context of a single game system), such as availability of opponents. There is a social dimension to opportunity and it is something that can be cultivated.
  • Readiness – this factor represents a few different things, such as availability of models, terrain and knowledge of the rules. Readiness represent investment – money, time and intellectual effort. There can be a slight cross-over between Opportunity and this factor. For example, you may not own any terrain, instead relying on your FLGS or local wargames club.

So, how where does the traffic light bit come in? I simply assign Green, Yellow or Red to each of the factors. Let’s consider a game…

Age of Sigmar

So, a Red in Willingness is a bit of a showstopper. I’ve tried. I’ve read the rules (an action towards Readiness) and I’m sure I could source opponents (Opportunity). I have several old armies that would make viable forces. I could easily convert the models to round bases. However, my heart isn’t in it. If a friend really wanted to play (i.e. an extrinsic motivation) Opportunity would become Green, that Willingness might change to a Yellow and, with some background reading and list building, Readiness would become Green. Enough to play, should the right opportunity present itself.

These factors can be dynamic. For example, if a new edition of a game is released and I haven’t bought it or purchased new cards (if needed), then readiness could slip from Green to Yellow. There might be a slight argument for including the version in the game name. Let’s consider another game (and one that took me by surprise!)…

Warhammer 40,000

Go back to early 2017 and all of these factors would have been Red. I wasn’t interested, had no opponents and owned no rules, armies or particularly suitable terrain. I’ve been working on all of those things. Actually, that’s not quite right. Willingness flicked from Red to Green (when I read the rules) and then I started to look at Readiness. I collected my Blood Angels and began to add some terrain to my collection. Opponents are still a slight issue. Not so much in their availability, but in my ability to access them with real life constraints. Thankfully Kill Team, which in terms of Traffic Light Wargaming is mostly a subset of Warhammer 40,000, is Green on all factors.

Kill Team

So, why is this useful? I find it great for decluttering my mind. If I find myself straying into a new (or old) game, I think of it in terms of WOR (Willingness, Opportunity, Readiness). It helps me compare it to other games that I could be playing.

This approach could be applied to your other gaming and hobby activities. I hope it is useful.

Until next time,