How many painted figures do you have in your collection?
How many respondents actually know the size of their miniatures’ collections? Even when the contents of a collection are known, how are they counted? How does one define one figure? Is a cavalry trooper and mount one figure or two (I count as one)? Is a chariot with crew and team one figure or many (depends on number of crew and team but I always more than one)?
There are known knowns.
There are known unknowns.
But there are also unknown unknowns.
Estimating is hard!
An anecdote following from the 2020 survey brings this situation to light.
One respondent answered last year’s survey with a collection size estimate of 5,000 figures. After discussing collection sizes and how I track collection size, the respondent dove into the task of tallying all of his painted figures and entering them into a database. The result after this, likely, multi-week effort? Well, he came up with a collection size of about 20,000 figures! He under-estimated the size of his collections by 75%! How many others are in similar situations? Plenty, I bet.
The size of one’s miniatures’ collection likely is governed by a variety of attributes. Some of these attributes include a wargamer’s age, interest, budget, figure size, storage space, etc.. Now, the survey may not consider all of these contributing attributes but the survey can provide insight for some.
In the 2020 survey, counting bins for painted figure collections were,
Less than 100 painted figures101- 500 painted figures501- 1,000 painted figures1,001- 2,500 painted figures2,501+ painted figures
In the 2021 survey, the number of bins was increased at the upper end to provide more details into the more than 20% of responses settling into the 2,501+ bin.
The bins for the 2021 survey were,
Less than 100 painted figures101- 500 painted figures501- 1,000 painted figures1,001- 2,500 painted figures2,501- 5,000 painted figures5,001-10,000 painted figures10,001-15,000 painted figures15,001-20,000 painted figures20,001-25,000 painted figures25,000+ painted figures
For this GWS2021 study, only one attribute will be examined. That is Age Group. Other attributes may be tackled in follow-up analyses. Analyses of the 2020 survey suggested collection size was affected by a number of attributes. These earlier results suggested younger wargamers tend toward fantasy/sci-fi gaming genres. Older wargamers tend toward historical gaming. Survey results suggested that many fantasy/sci-fi games require fewer figures than large historical games. Collection sizes ought to reflect this tendency. In a similar fashion, older wargamers have a longer time to collect and amass figures than the younger generations and typically more discretionary income. Overall, one would expect collection sizes to show an increase with age. What do the 2021 data suggest?
What do these data show when examining Collection Size by Age Group? To begin, in Figure 2, note that the 31-40 age group makes up the largest component of the largest collection bin size of 101-500 painted figures. About 50% of respondents hold collections of 500 figures or fewer while about 77% of all respondents have collections of 2,500 figures or less.