Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Discussion of past, present, and future water war events.
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SEAL
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Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by SEAL » Sat May 19, 2018 12:29 pm

For the past few years I've been tracking how much time we actually spend fighting per day at each major community war. Some of the times are estimated, going by war reports and stuff, but the results may be eye-opening for some. So without further ado...

Downpour 2011
Saturday: 2.25 hours
Sunday morning: 1 hour

Hydropocalypse
Friday afternoon/evening: 1.5 hours
Saturday: 1.25 hours
Sunday morning: 0.5 hour

Downpour 2012
Saturday: 1.5 hours
Sunday morning: 0.5 hours

Frozen Fury 2012
Saturday: 2.25 hours
Sunday morning: 0.5 hours

MOAB 2013
Saturday: 2.5 hours
Sunday: 1.25 hours

Soakemore 2013
Friday night: 0.5 hours
Saturday: 1.25 hours
Sunday + Sunday night: 1.5 hours

Downpour 2013
Friday night: 0.5 hours
Saturday: 3 hours
Sunday: 1 hour

Frozen Fury 2013
Saturday: 1.5 hours
Sunday: 1.5 hours

Soakemore 2014
Friday night: 0.75 hours
Saturday + Saturday night: 2 hours
Sunday + Sunday night: 2 hours

Pandemonium 2014
Saturday: 3 hours
Sunday: 2.5 hours

Frozen Fury 2014
Saturday: 1 hour

Soakemore 2015
Friday night: 1.25 hours
Saturday + Saturday night: 2 hours

Subterranean Slaughter
Wednesday: 2.25 hours

Pandemonium 2015
Saturday: 2.5 hours

Frozen Fury 2015
Saturday: 2.5 hours

Soakemore 2016
Saturday + Saturday night: 4.5 hours

MOAB 2016
Saturday: 4.75 hours

2018 League Game 1
Saturday: 4 hours

Note that some of these events had fighting on other days, but since I wasn't there for them I couldn't record times.

I bet you all didn't realize how small a slice of the day is actually spent fighting, huh? But as you can see, we've gotten better as the years have gone by. This proves my point that doing fewer, longer rounds will result in far more playing time than multiple shorter rounds. Even if we get 10 rounds in per day (which I don't think has ever happened), if they're only 15 minutes long that only results in two and a half hours of playing time all day. Meanwhile last weekend we had a grand total of one round, but it lasted about four hours. I know some people may point out that most of that time was spent stalking through the woods rather than actually fighting, but to me there's a huge difference between spending two hours stalking the enemy, and spending two hours sitting around.

These days I'm much less about being cutthroat efficient and getting in as much fighting as possible, and more about just having a good time. I really enjoyed last weekend even if the actual battle only lasted four hours. The quality of fighting was excellent, and it's always great to hang out with everyone again. However, if I'm driving nearly all day to get to a war, I do expect to, you know, actually fight. Not saying we need to fight every second of every day, but ideally it should be at least half the day. Some earlier wars featured less than two hours of fighting time over the course of an entire day. That's one sixth of a day. If you knew ahead of time that you'd only fight for one sixth of a day, would you even bother going? I know that's mostly in the past, but I just wanted to share this with everyone to make sure we don't fall back to that. This is why I always push for longer rounds. Variety is always good, but less downtime is better. There will always be time to hang out and chat after the war.
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by SSCBen » Sun May 20, 2018 12:14 pm

This is great news. I know some Nerfers keep track of the play time as well. Let's see if we can get 6 hours in one day in the future.

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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by marauder » Tue May 22, 2018 3:57 pm

Good writeup SEAL. Here is the graphic representation. I have added a few missing numbers. You can definitely see an upward trend. The increase in overall fight time has not been as steep because there were more 3 day wars in the past, but the overall hours of fight time per day is up quite a bit.
Fight Time.PNG
Fight Time.PNG (15.41 KiB) Viewed 873 times
And here is one for overall attendance.
Capture2.PNG
Capture2.PNG (12.5 KiB) Viewed 873 times
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by SEAL » Tue May 22, 2018 5:59 pm

Oooh, neat graphs. Yeah, there was a time where we only did Saturday and half of Sunday, then we moved up to doing the entire weekend, but now it's gone the other way and wars are often just Saturday. I don't really mind this, because it's like one day dedicated to the hardcore battle, and the next day just to hanging out and having fun. But I do have some ideas for two-day wars, which I may think about bringing up next season. And no, not 48-hour battles, haha. We need everyone to get through 12 first.

The attendance graph is interesting too. It doesn't seem to have gotten any better or worse over the years. What is it with the number 9? That's the most common number of participants we get; I wouldn't have even needed the graph to tell you that. Otherwise it's either 8 or 10, and a few outliers. I don't remember any war that only had four people though. One of the Downpours was down to five at certain points, but that's the lowest I can think of.
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by DX » Tue May 22, 2018 8:55 pm

I still feel like battles should be judged by quality of action and not by time spent doing it. Take, for example, the first time we discovered the portables. That was only a pair of 12 minute fights with 4 people, but I value that higher than all of the time we spent at Carderock and Westmoreland combined, along with many of the rounds at Sycamore Island, too. Some exceptional rounds are worth more to me than entire events.

I'd still rather focus on game design, balance, and venue than on how long things last, particularly when much of a long round is just unsuccessful hunting. Short rounds have their drawbacks, but at least that's actual fighting and not walking around for an hour. Don't get me wrong, I like long rounds, they're all I used to play at one time, but I don't count hunting as fighting. It's not downtime, but it's also not real action. If you roll video for an entire long round and then cut it down to just the actual fighting time, you'd end up with something that isn't much different in time than many of the short rounds. There were definitely Ridgewood wars where only 10-15 minutes out of every hour were actual engagements (and that includes maneuvering and setting up ambushes in visual or audible range of an opponent). Hunting rules obviously help steer you into battles, but that time is still just hiking, with adrenaline.

Part of what made this year's Moab so great is that both teams wanted to attack and seek out the opponent after regrouping. If that becomes the norm, and not just because a hunting rule requires it, we could have some really high quality long rounds. However, getting that dynamic requires good game design, and we're back to what I think is more important than time spent in play - game design, with balanced teams, in a good venue. Even the hunting time can be higher quality in a well-designed game, like those night round portables. You can hunt for quite a while in the portables and not encounter an opponent, but the venue is so great that it doesn't feel like wasted time at all. One thing that could make hunting much better at Little Creek is nixing the hills outright and limiting gameplay to the lowlands along the creek. Simple things like that help drive teams into each other and create action. The team that gets beaten up the most breaks off to regroup and refill, then the teams end up clashing again soon after by design.

Whenever we have the next Cedar Hill war, I am willing to move it to a long round format, but it's such a huge area that I don't see it being very successful in that format. It's hard to demarcate the space into more manageable zones and water supply is limited. We might be better off looking for a new venue.
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by marauder » Wed May 23, 2018 7:22 am

I do think overall time spent on the battlefield is a valuable metric, but Rob also has a point about fight time. Consider my opinion to lie somewhere in between. I often don't mind hunting but this year we literally covered the entire battlefield from end to end twice, including me checking the parking lots. We should remember this and limit movement to the flood plain, or 50m to the right or left of anywhere with water. It could have also been better if I had brought some drinking water for my team. That being said, you know the battle was good when you can complain about all that and still say that it was one of the top events we've had. We are improving with time, and that is certainly a good thing.

I'm seriously ready to fight again. I think we should try to pick an area in MD where we can all meet up for the day soon. Scott doesn't even have to host and we should reach out to Ben T. If that doesn't work then I want to try to find a place equidistant between myself, Stephen, and SEAL. Day wars are much easier for me to make. I have Tiffany's blessing to drive to NY for the HOG (in theory) but in practice there is a lot that I have to work out before I can make this happen. Specifically I am putting a lot of miles on my vehicles by driving to Charleston and back once, or even multiple times a month, so I am looking at the cost of getting a rental car to drive to NY. There are some other small details I need to iron out too before I can drive to NY.

TLDR: if we can work out locations for day wars that I can drive there and back to in 1 day then I can attend them frequently.
SEAL wrote:. I don't remember any war that only had four people though. One of the Downpours was down to five at certain points, but that's the lowest I can think of.
There was some event where Rob and your brothers got together and had a fight. It wasn't officially a war, but neither was the 5 man battle on the Hudson after the first Frozen Fury, which is also recorded here. I could have added Stephen's and my duel in 2013, but for some reason I felt like 4 qualified but 2 didn't. There were other times where Rob and I fought each other or times when I fought the Boys and Tiffany or Tiffany's brother, but that also didn't feel like it counted.
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by SEAL » Wed May 23, 2018 4:56 pm

Quality over quantity is definitely a good thing, and that can be applied many times throughout life as well. However I'm of the mind that a battle should always be set up for high quality. And if the quality is indeed so great, then why would you not spend more time playing? (If it doesn't end up working out, that's when you cut it short.) Take the portable labyrinth example you mentioned. I agree that those 12 minute rounds belong in the hall of fame of battles fought. But if they're so great, why stop after only 12 minutes? I would've played that round for like an hour. I know there were probably various reasons behind it, i.e. getting late, running out of water, whatever I can't remember. But I'm just using it as an example. Short rounds are a waste of both time and fun.

And while this is more of a personal preference thing, I find battles where you can see the enemy from the beginning to be quite boring (with a few exceptions). It takes out an entire element of the game: that of stealth. I'm not even interested in fighting like that anymore. Might as well just have a soakfest at that point. I don't really mind if the battle is shorter (-ish) and in a smaller area (like the portables), but I do mind if you can see your opponent when the battle starts.

Am I the only one who actually likes hunting the enemy? In the last war it was almost as fun as the fighting part. We were moving in formations, watching all sides, and even did some tracking when we found some trampled grass that ended up eventually leading us to the enemy. It felt a bit like a real war. Of course if neither team can find each other at all, then that means the field is probably too big for the group size. Alternatively teams can call out to draw the enemy in like you guys did. Either way, walking through the woods is still far better than standing around doing nothing. There's nothing I hate more than standing around. Just ask any of my co-workers.

I think Cedar Hill can work in the same format as the last war. Maybe we could only use the area around the building/pond out to a certain radius large enough to support all-day fighting. In other words, just don't stray too far away from the building. It wouldn't be a hard boundary, but it doesn't matter because those suck.
marauder wrote:Specifically I am putting a lot of miles on my vehicles by driving to Charleston and back once, or even multiple times a month, so I am looking at the cost of getting a rental car to drive to NY.
We could potentially chip in to rent a car and carpool up. Something larger that could fit all of us and our gear. It's something to think about. I'm trying to schedule for June 23rd so let me know if that doesn't work for you all.
marauder wrote:There was some event where Rob and your brothers got together and had a fight. It wasn't officially a war, but neither was the 5 man battle on the Hudson after the first Frozen Fury, which is also recorded here. I could have added Stephen's and my duel in 2013, but for some reason I felt like 4 qualified but 2 didn't. There were other times where Rob and I fought each other or times when I fought the Boys and Tiffany or Tiffany's brother, but that also didn't feel like it counted.
Oh yeah, I think that was also on the Hudson, shortly after Hydropocalypse. I didn't count it because like you said, it wasn't an official war, and as a matter of fact it was only planned with one night's notice. But yeah, sometimes the lines can blur between a full war and just meeting up and happening to fight. I included Frozen Fury '14, but that war ended up being much smaller than originally intended, and was probably less of a full war than some of the small meetups we did like last chance LBW, which I didn't count. I guess it counts as a war if there are a decent number of people, and the primary purpose of getting together is to fight. Doesn't really matter though.
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Re: Time Spent Fighting at Major Wars

Post by marauder » Thu May 24, 2018 8:00 am

SEAL wrote:Am I the only one who actually likes hunting the enemy? In the last war it was almost as fun as the fighting part. We were moving in formations, watching all sides, and even did some tracking when we found some trampled grass that ended up eventually leading us to the enemy. It felt a bit like a real war. Of course if neither team can find each other at all, then that means the field is probably too big for the group size. Alternatively teams can call out to draw the enemy in like you guys did. Either way, walking through the woods is still far better than standing around doing nothing. There's nothing I hate more than standing around. Just ask any of my co-workers.

Hunting is fun, but our last battle was an exception. We had a middle schooler who was experiencing his first water war. That complicates things a number of ways. First, you want him to have as much fun as possible and part of that is because then he's more likely to come back. Second, you want to make sure he's safe. Third, you don't want bad exposure to the community (Noah, Tony, & Danny's friends and their parents) through run ins with the police or angry hunters/property owners.

Noah was very tall and from a distance he could probably pass as an adult, but again, dude wasn't even in high school yet. We talked to him about hunting, and he was interested, but after an hour I made the command decision to start yelling for you. Remember, we already asked a middle schooler to go stomping through rough terrain for an hour. We actually covered the entire battlefield twice, and we were running at the beginning because we had a very specific plan that unfortunately didn't work out. Again, most middle schoolers would not last 20 minutes doing this and we had been going for an hour in 95 degree heat with max humidity.

You also have to remember that members of our community have had a history of doing dumb things that could possibly get us in trouble with the law. I'm not signaling out anyone on the other team, I'm only pointing to history.

SEAL wrote:We could potentially chip in to rent a car and carpool up. Something larger that could fit all of us and our gear. It's something to think about. I'm trying to schedule for June 23rd so let me know if that doesn't work for you all.
I think this is a great idea. Let's talk to Stephen about renting an SUV/van/station wagon and see if he's interested.
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SEAL wrote:If you ain't bloody and muddy by the end of the day, you went to a Nerf war.

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