One of the Warhammer-related websites that I often visit and contribute to is Sigmar's Fantasy Battles. It’s basically a location for players to come and track their game results, as well as linking any written or video reports for others to enjoy. It also has a rating system that allows the people viewing the reports to give them a score, making it easier for others to track down the best ones. There are filters for nearly everything you could think of, so if you wanted just to look at (for example) videos about games involving Wood Elves, you could do so. For people who like to hear or read about games of Warhammer, it’s a very handy site.
Looking through all the reports and making use of the filters can provide some interesting insights. One of the things I have noticed is the prevalence of video battle reports over written ones. Of the well over 1000 reports that are now linked from the site, only around 1 in every 7 is a written report. All of the rest have been presented as video reports, generally hosted YouTube. When you consider that I am responsible for more than a third of the written reports, it becomes clear how few people are actually linking them.
Are written battle reports a dying art? Calling them an art form might be a little grandiose, but you know what I mean. It seems that where people might in the past have written about their games, nowadays most people prefer to post a video. Why is this? Is it easier to produce a video report, or is it just the medium that people prefer (or think that others prefer)? The convenience of YouTube as a centralised place for gamers to load up their videos is doubtless a contributing factor here, but I have often seen and heard people talking about how they like video reports because they can have them playing in the background whilst they’re doing their modelling. Presumably this is not what everyone does; I have to assume that just as many people sit and watch the video, and could just as easily be reading a written account.
For my part, I think I am something of a product of the past. When I think of a battle report, I am still swept up in the nostalgia of the reports from White Dwarf in the late 90s, with their beautiful photos and colourful descriptions. These old reports inspire me, and I've been known to go back and read them again, despite their being from an edition of Warhammer that is long since gone. Old as it makes me feel to admit it though, there’s probably a whole generation of gamers that have come along since then, who have never even seen one of these reports. Even if they did see them now, they probably wouldn't see the appeal – the nostalgia is doubtless a major factor for me.
|The old reports from White Dwarf remain a particular inspiration for me.|
Do you have any thoughts on this? Do you prefer videos or written reports, and why?