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The AREA Rating System

Posted by Denny Koch on May 5, 2010


AREA – The HFC rating system of choice!

One of the most important aspects why we started to search for a ranking system in 2001 was that we wanted our played games being rated.

Up to that day we had met regularly and played competitively against each other, but we hadn’t recorded our results anywhere, besides on a sheet of paper. This wasn’t very satisfying, so we decided that we wanted to archive our game results somewhere or to establish an internal rating and ranking system. First we experimented with specific rating systems we developed separately for each game we played – this soon became very impractical with the growing number of games we played and our self-developed systems got somewhat out of hand.

We felt the need for a simplified and homogenous system and discovered the well-tried AREA Rating system which existed for many years and which could be used for almost any game (or, at least, in which almost any game could be included). We then decided that from this day on all games we played (Face-to-Face or online by VASL / Cyberboard or by e-mail) should be AREA rated. By using this system we not only had an internal ranking system, but we also had the chance to compare our level to other players from all over the world. The fact that AREA is standard in many wargaming clubs and also used by single players, offered the chance to play “rated” games against players from all over the world without the need to include these games into self-developed ranking systems. By using AREA we saved time and got a far more functional rating system than we could ever develop ourselves!

Any game can be added to AREA, here: Up Front (Avalon Hill)

Even after the Homefront Wargaming Club became the Homefront Wargame Center in 2006, we still believed it to be an important mission to promote the AREA system in Germany and to support it – because using it had been a very positive experience over the past few years. In addition, we became convinced of the AREA idea and philosophy over the course of time. We don’t play games within a fixed club structure anymore and all games played are now a strictly private matter between the HFC Staff members and their friends, but we encourage all players to send in their game results, anyway!

We think that AREA is an important part of the wargaming hobby and we want to support and promote this traditional system. It’s very easy to report games to AREA: When starting a new game, all players should agree on whether this game will be AREA rated or not. We automatically regard a game as AREA rated if no player has any objections against this. In this we agree with Glenn E. Petroski (more about him below) who once said in The General regarding this point:

“In the spirit of helping one another, I ask that all games are to be AREA-rated. I cannot actually impose this upon you, and I will not abandon you if you choose to run your competition otherwise, but it is the one thing I ask of those soliciting my assistance and support. AREA can be a common link across our hobby, an information pool, a tool, for all our use. It will never happen without your support. Every game played should be AREA-rated. Failing that give preference to rated players. Recently, I have been accused of being discriminatory about this. My reply is “You BETCHA!” In the end those ratings will benefit us all.”
(Petroski in The General, Vol. 30, No. 6, p. 55)

Of course we make an exception when playing tutorial games versus newbies or when learning or trying new games ourselves – no newbie has to be afraid of getting a rated defeat just because he is new to a game.

Overview: What is this all about?

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