DGS Games

Category Archives: Research

2015 Readers’ Choice Digital Awards Voting!

Vote now for your 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards winners ~

This year, we have separate polls covering digital and tabletop gaming.  All the games listed were nominated by you, our readers and forum-goers.  Don’t see your pick for the 2015 games of the year?  You should’ve nominated it!  Check out our forums where you can start now with your nominations for the 2016 games of the year, both digital and tabletop. (click through to vote)

GrogHeads Reader Feedback Survey, Fall 2015

Tell us all about yourselves!  Well, in about 8 questions or so, at least…

GrogHeads Reader Feedback Survey, Fall 2015

Create your own user feedback survey



Pop into our forums to chat, too!

The GrogHeads Reader Feedback Survey

3 April 2015

We want to know what you think about us.


We’ve got a quick-and-easy 10-item feedback survey here, on a few different pages.  We want to know what you think about us, and a little about your game-playing and -buying habits, to help us align some of our coverage to better match our audience.  Take 5 minutes and give us some feedback, please.  Thanks!

Create your own user feedback survey

Discuss this survey below, or in our forums >>

2014 Readers Choice Awards WINNERS

Who took home the coveted Readers Choice titles for games released in 2014?  Charge on and see!


Unconditional Surrender (Tabletop Strategy / Historical Game)
Dead of Winter (Tabletop Sci-Fi / Fantasy Game of the Year)
EH – Mountains of Madness (Tabletop Expansion of the Year)
Thunder Alley (Tabletop Euro / Casual Game of the Year)
Imperial Settlers (Tabletop 4X Game of the Year)
The Hunters (2d printing) (Tabletop Reprint / Reissue of the Year)
Unconditional Surrender (Tabletop Game of the Year)
East Prussia ’14 (Digital Strategy / Historical Game of the Year)
Distant Worlds: Universe (Digital Sci-Fi / Fantasy Game of the Year)
EUIV – Art of War (Digital Expansion / DLC of the Year)
Dragon Age: Inquisition (Digital RPG / Action Game of the Year)
East Prussia ’14 (Digital Game of the Year)

Our Readers’ Choice Awards process isn’t hard to figure out – it’s all up to you!  All year long we take your nominations in the forum threads we keep open for the whole year, and any game that’s nominated (and that was released within that calendar year) gets included.  Our editorial team helps group some of the categories together, but if you nominated it, it’s here somewhere – we only edit out the games that don’t qualify based on their release dates.

This year, we saw some excellent games nominated, and some excellent games not nominated (looking at you, Divinity!), but overall, the readership seems to have conferred the coveted “Readers Choice” titles on some outstanding games

Our bread-and-butter, the Tabletop Strategy / Historical Game, didn’t see a ton of nominations.  But to be fair it was a down year overall for tabletop wargame releases.  GMT’s Unconditional Surrender handily won with 40% of the vote. For the second year in a row, a COIN system game finished second, as Fire in the Lake had a strong showing.  Third and fourth place were both DVG games, with Fleet Commander Nimitz claiming the final spot in this category.

The Tabletop Sci-Fi / Fantasy Game of the Year voting would have been a runaway in any other year, with Dead of Winter taking over half the vote.  Xia: Legends of a Drift System finished second, and Run, Fight or Die tied with Mars Attacks for third.

Nineteenth Century Military War Games: Charles Totten’s Strategos-The Advanced Game

Nineteenth Century Military War Games:  Charles Totten’s Strategos-The Advanced Game

Robert Mosher, 24 January 2014

Click images to enlarge

This is the third article in our series examining 19th Century war games designed and published primarily but not exclusively for the use of professional armies. The previous articles (here and here) discussed von Reisswitz’ Prussian Kriegsspiel (1824) and W.R. Livermore’s American Kriegsspiel (1882), respectively. This time, we look at Charles Totten’s Strategos, a contemporary design to Livermore’s game.

"Charles Adelle Lewis Totten, 1873." Photo courtesy of the USMA Special Collections & Archives.

“Charles Adelle Lewis Totten, 1873.” Photo courtesy of the USMA Special Collections & Archives.

In 1880 D. Appleton and Company of New York and then-First Lieutenant Charles A. Totten, (Fourth Artillery, United States Army), published STRATEGOS: A Series of American Games of War Based Upon Military Principles and Designed for the Assistance Both of Beginners and Advanced Students in Prosecuting the Whole Study of Tactics, Grand Tactics, Strategy, Military History, and The Various Operations of War. Strategos presented a layered set of games that addressed tactics, grand tactics, and strategy, supplemented by material for the study of military history, with an appendix that included statistical studies relating to the conduct of war.

Like his rival Walter Livermore (Class of 1865), Charles A. Lewis Totten graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point (Class of 1873). His father was Brigadier General James Totten (Class of 1841) and his uncle was Joseph Gilbert Totten (Class of 1805). Charles Totten ranked among the top ten cadets of his graduating class. His first posting, as a Second Lieutenant, was to the 4th Artillery and the garrison at Alcatraz Island, California, one of the forts protecting America’s Pacific Coast. His subsequent career included similar posts such as Fort Monroe, Virginia and the Artillery School there, and the Presidio in San Francisco. Other assignments were as Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts) and later at Yale University, and as an instructor at West Point. Totten is still remembered in Massachusetts for his contributions as a founder of the fencing program while he was at Massachusetts Agricultural College. His field service included the Bannock Campaign (1878) and the Chiricahua Campaign (1880-1881).

During his military career he also published “Compensating Powder for Heavy Artillery” (1877), “Text Books and Tables”, and “Instructions in Guard Duty” (1887). His military lectures at Yale, including “Military Economy and the Policy of America” and “Organization, Dis-organization, Re-organization, and Mobilization” are available in a bound collection held in the Yale University Library.

2015 GrogHeads Readers’ Choice Awards – Voting

ed note: After the shutdown of Twiigs.com, our polls disappeared, so you’ll see a lot of headers, but no polls, on older Readers Choice posts.  We’re using someone new now, so perhaps the older polls will still be visible.

All year long we asked for your input and your nominations for the best in gaming throughout 2014.  These polls are your polls, and let our readers vote on their own nominations.  Think we missed something?  Well, we’re already looking for nominations for 2015’s best in strategy gaming.

Polls are open now, and close on 28 January, so you’ve got 2-1/2 weeks to make your voice heard.  If you nominated ’em, we’ve got ’em in a poll somewhere.  All we did was weed out the non-2014 releases and then sort them into categories.

Tabletop Games

Historical / Strategy Game

Sci-Fi / Fantasy Game

Nineteenth Century Military War Games: William Livermore’s American Kriegsspiel

Continuing our research series on the history of Kriegspiel and its offshoots

GH-KriegspielLivermoreRobert Mosher, 29 June 2014

This series of articles examines several 19th Century war games designed primarily for the use of professional armies. The first article reviewed von Reisswitz’ Prussian Kriegsspiel of 1824, considered by many to be the first modern wargame. This article looks at William Roscoe Livermore’s American Kriegsspiel: A Game for Practicing the Art of War Upon a Topographical Map, copyrighted in 1879 and published in 1882 and in 1898. Captain Livermore’s game is based upon the Prussian original, modified over the years to reflect technical and tactical changes, but he had limited success selling it to the War Department.  An 1865 graduate of West Point (sixth in his class), Captain Livermore was introduced to the Prussian wargame that year by fellow engineer William Popp, a former Bavarian Army officer. Livermore conducted topographical surveys in the Great Lakes and Texas, surveyed and supervised work on fortifications on both coasts, was Army Attaché in Denmark (observing Prussian military exercises), and served as a senior engineering officer with the VII Corps of Major General Fitzhugh Lee during the Spanish-American War. That Corps trained in Jacksonville, Florida and its low levels of illness compared to the rest of that army might reflect Livermore’s care in setting up its camps.



Experiences of Hobby Game Players: Motivations Behind Playing Digital and Non-Digital Games

Based on a large online data collection effort back in 2006, the collaboration of GAMA, Ohio State University, and that other website, resulted in a pretty robust dataset that yielded a variety of interesting explorations.

By: CarrieLynn Reinhard and Brant Guillory, 18 April 2014


Central to our understanding of why people play digital games (either video or computer games) is to understand the reason people want to “play” a game in the first place.  Playing, once reserved for only real-life interactions among people, is now the venue for interacting with digital manifestations of reality; but the question remains, is this digital-based playing different than real-based playing?  The purpose of this study was to investigate the patterns of motivation and usage by card, role-playing, computer, and board game players, known in this study as hobby game players.  Through an online survey, we measured the reasons people play these games, as well as the milieu in which they play these games are played.  What does the game player like in a game?  Why does the gamer like this?  What motivates continued game play and preferences for types of games?  The results indicate that digital game playing shares several underlying motivations with its pre-digital predecessors, but in ways that are still different than tabletop gaming.