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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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ROAR – the automated record of played ASL games

Posted by Denny Koch on May 5, 2010

A quite common situation: you are sitting in front of an Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) scenario, thinking something like “whoever created this scenario… what the heck… you can never ever win with the American side!” or “I’ve got the impression that this scenario is badly balanced and the Russians have a high advantage!”

With ROAR (link to the ROAR website) it is possible to prove your suspicion: is this scenario really unbalanced (not too unusual in ASL where scenarios can present a real historical situation which had been hopeless from the beginning!) or is it due to my own incompetence why I’m generally loosing with this or that side?

But ROAR can do even more for you – besides providing information about play balance and the popularity of an ASL scenario! As a nice bonus, ROAR can record your played games for you, doing all the book-keeping: opponent, date, side played, result.

ROAR – what is it and why do I need it?

“ROAR” is the abbreviation for “remote on-line automated record“. This is a database which is filled consecutively by ASL players from all over the world – with the results of their played games. From this vast amount data you can gather a lot of interesting information: in which scenario which site has won how often or how many times a scenario was played at all etc..

Beside that, all gamers have the option to rate a scenario (on a graduated scale from “extremely recommendable”  to “highly unfavorable”). Of course it’s obvious that, the more gamers take part in ROAR by posting their game results, the more information you can get out of this database. A higher number of reports is more reliable and of greater statistic value: a scenario played only 3 times with 3 Russian victories is not as representative as a scenario in which the Germans have won 243 and the Americans 256 times.

But ROAR offers more than an insight into the balance and statistics of a scenario – it offers a very useful personal archive for the dedicated ASL player: Each registered player can log in with his own password to his personal ASL statistic: ROAR records every game with date, opponent, played site and result. So, there is no need to archive your ASL games in some paper lists  or Excel spreadsheets – just take a look into your ROAR statistic and you can keep track of all of your played games since the beginning of time. You can even add games played years ago.

Screenshot: Record by Scenario name

The admins of ROAR try to keep the database updated, so it will always be adjusted with every new scenario published. Not only the original MMP and classic-scenarios are registered – you can find all third-party-scenarios from different sources (like journals and magazines) as well.

What do I have to do?

The ROAR system is very easy to use.

First of all there is the option to report your own results. This happens on the main page under the link “Add a Playing”. Of course only one of the two players involved in a scenario announces the game result, therefore you should agree about this with your opponent in order to prevent the double posting of a game.

After clicking “Add a playing“, a window opens where you choose the names of the players (real names, no pseudonyms or whatever!) who took part in your game (they must be registered players, but don’t worry, registering is very easy and you can even register your opponent if he has no internet access) and the scenario which was played.

Select players and scenario from dropdown menus

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Welcome to the HFC – Homefront Wargame Center!

Posted by Denny Koch on March 21, 2010

Welcome to the HFC website!

This website is principally dedicated to Wargaming – board and card wargaming, and historical conflict simulations (for example Advanced Squad Leader). But since we are dedicated gamers, we aren’t afraid of looking beyond the borders of the wargaming world, so from time to time, you will also find postings about other games we play, for example Living Cardgames (Call of Cthulhu, A Game of Thrones),  Fantasy boardgames (Arkham Horror, Marvel Heroes) or even videogames.

In the course of transferring the contents from our old static website to the new format, we decided to drop some of the old articles (especially some very old and outdated reviews which will be rewritten from a fresh perspective). In addition, we added more contents and wrote new stuff and hopefully, this website will grow and prosper!

In addition, you will find many travel reports and pictures – we love touring historical sites, not only of recent history (Ardennes, Huertgen Forest, A bridge too far at Arnhem, The Bridge at Remagen…), but also medieval and ancient sites, for example the 2000 year old Imperial City of Speyer!

We hope you like the interactive, modern format and layout. You are cordially invited to leave comments, suggestions, share our articles, send in articles, or to share your own opinion on all topics with us.

Enjoy your stay 🙂

Denny & Andreas

This site is a member of the Wargaming WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

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