Home Forums General General Book keeping. What is too much?

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    Avatar photoIvan Sorensen

    Opinions differ, as do genres and game scales, but how much book keeping is too much for you personally in a game?

    I define book keeping here as anything that has to be tracked, that cannot be shown with miniatures themselves (removing figures to show casualties is not book keeping, tracking on paper that a unit has 270 men left is book keeping).

    Status effects (Pinned, Broken, Badly in need of a diet coke etc.) that are applied and can be tracked with markers don’t count.

    A traditional example might be units with limited ammo, limited resources, pools of points you can spend on things, detailed records of this or that units endurance, record sheets like in Battle tech or some starship games) etc.

    How much is too much?
    When is book keeping a good thing?
    What games does it bother you in and what games do you like it?

    Avatar photoVictoria Dickson

    I think it depends on how many ‘units’ you are controlling.  If I’m only controlling one or two then I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t any.  And the number of things tracked would have to go down the more units I was controlling, above a certain number of units I wouldn’t consider book keeping beyond maybe a  strength or damage number to track for each unit.



    Avatar photoMike

    Anything I can’t remember and have to write down.

    Avatar photoirishserb

    I’m pretty tolerant of a lot of book keeping for campaigns and certain types of data for tactical games during tabletop play.  Don’t know how to quantify it, but I find it less of a burden than most people.

    Avatar photoRules Junkie Jim

    My wargaming life started with naval games, where bookkeeping is the norm, so I’m pretty tolerant of it in my games. But it’s a trade off between number of units/individuals/ships and the record detail required. I’ve used the Irregular Miniatures FPW-WW1 boxed rules, and liked them a lot: they require keeping track of “actual” casualties in brigade sized units.

    Avatar photoMike Headden

    For me it’s not just how many things I’m tracking but how much space that takes up.

    If a third of the table is taken up with record sheets it’s time to find a PC version of the game!

    As a rule of thumb I can cope with a single A4 sheet.

    That can be a character sheet in an RPG, a mech sheet in Battletech, a roster for a naval game and so on.

    Ideally everything should be an on table marker.



    There are 100 types of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who can work from incomplete data

    Avatar photokyoteblue

    A roster sheet is fine , a binder is too much.

    Avatar photoShaun Travers

    Too much is writing anything down 🙂  I am playing a Pulp Alley type game still in train that has stalled after turn 3 for 4 months because you have to change an individual status, record hit points etc.  Even though I have made cards for each person, it is too hard 🙁  I do not mind it very much at all playing with someone else, but for solo play I don’t seem to want the hassle.

    Avatar photoLes Hammond

    Carrying a notepad round the table so you don’t have to go and get it from the other end is too much work for me.

    Morale scores (admittedly the only thing I track) are on terrain coloured counters so that they do not offend the eye, overmuch.

    6mm France 1940


    Avatar photoPhil Dutré

    I prefer games when no external bookkeeping is necessary (i.e. no tkaing notes), and everything is visualized on the table. Apart from figure removal (which I am not a big fan of), one or two status indicators per unit. One could be a numerical indicator (a dial, die, …) to indicate morale or strength or something similar.

    Anything above that clutters the table with visually distracting flotsam and jetsam.

    In any case, markers should visually blend in with the scenery and table as much as possible.

    Avatar photoNorm S

    Dislike rosters.

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