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SgtPepper92

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I don't mean the text itself, but during your game session. Do you take notes on paper?
For example '1100: marriage x to y.'. Or do you write or do something else?
What are your suggestions for someone who wants to write an AAR?
 

badger_ken

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I haven't done a CK2 AAR yet, but did a bunch for other games (see my sig).
My modus operandi was to take screen grabs whenever anything interesting happened I wanted to note, and then later go through those and make the narrative from that - that way you also have images lying around you can edit/annotate to support the narrative.

good luck!
 

Brandenburg III

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It depends on what kind of AAR I plan on writing. When I know I’m going to write a narrative then I don’t take any notes at all. Since my narratives are usually very light on gameplay, notes haven’t been that important to me.

If you choose to write up a comedy, some notes are important but you could get by with just screenshots if you’re lazy. :p Before Vik II for my B3 AARs I took notes but they were never as heavy as my pure gameplay AARs. In these I write about battles that are important, surprises, weird stuff, etc. Winging it is fairy easy.

As far as notes go, Gameplay and History Book always has the same amount of heavy notes with me. I write down everything except for what pics say. This will make it so I don’t have to write everything down. Also I abbreviate almost everything in my notes. Going back to Victoria II again, NF = National Focus; MA = Military Access; Ally = Alliance or Allied; DoW = Declaration of War; Port = Portugal; etc. And whenever I take a picture I place an asterisk next to the month and day. Below is a random page for my next history book - anything in bold is my explanation here and wasn’t written down on the paper:

*May 24, mind of westernization I took a pic of this so I wouldn’t have to bother writing down the province. I take pics also if there is more than one choice available and I can see the positives and negatives of the decision.
June 17, deny MA to Egypt I only mentioned this in my notes because at the time Egypt and the Ottomans were at war
July 1, election over
Con 43.87%
Hash 28.06%
Lib 28.06%
At this point I only had three parties so abbreviations are still simple. Con = conservative; lib = liberal; hash = Hashemite
Con wins

Aug 14 Greece in OE SOI
Sept 8 debt repaid. All taxes back to norm except rich @ 49%
Oct 10 poor and mid tax 39%
“ 21, Aristocrats in Kuwait angered over reform
Nov 5, begin construction of 4 MOW; all taxes 49%
* Dec 19, pic I don't know what this pic is until I sit down to write the update. Or if I look ahead.

1850​
Con 41.28
Reac 20.33
Lib 38.38
The above comes from my keeping an eye on the movement of the upper house
Feb 1, Afghanistan DoW Panjab
March 28, Arabian Army gen dies
May 10, mid tax 32% nat stock 8%
“ 11, Port DoW Zulu
Aug 14, nat stock 5%
Sept 29, US & OE wp
Oct 8, mid taxes 39%
Nov 18, Japan in US SOI

And all the above is one handwritten page. The way I see it is this: If I need to, I can always skip over extra information. Its easier to remember if its written down and you might not remember if it isn’t. It comes down to how detailed you want to be.

If you're going to do something in CK II, what you could try is a mini AAR of 5 - 10 years, wrap something up and that will give you an idea of how many notes you’d ideally like to take for a full AAR.

Edit: And yes, everything is on paper. I've had some trouble with computers and my AARs in the past so I try not to leave anything stored on it too long.
 

SgtPepper92

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Alright, wow, thanks a lot! I tried an AAR once, writing everything down, but I spent more time writing than playing. So the pictures in combination with writing some stuff down is actually pretty smart :)
 

loki100

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It really really depends. I sort of use 3 strategies, but its a case of working to fit the style of AAR.

When I did my HOI3 Great Patriotic War, I played a long way ahead, keep voluminous records and screenshots of every major event. I then used those records to pick out a segment (usually 2-4 weeks on a particular front but sometimes I'd compress 3 months on a sector into one post). In effect, for that I drew a map that captured the events I wanted to report, and then wrote a description of what the map shows.

At the other extreme, a couple of my AARs have been written by playing a block of time (I find say 4-5 years in Victoria, 2-3 in CK) and just writing that up.

In between, with both my current AARs, I chose a block of images that I will use, and again the text is fitted to that. In one its a period of time, in another, as with the GPW its a campaign or a battle.

For the more complex AARs, there is a lot of redrafting as I work back and forth between a reasonable amount of text and the images (& try to remember what the hell I was up to). I don't tend to do consistent narrative so as such I have no larger narrative plan, instead the contexts for the posts come from how I'm breaking the game down into an AAR.

Best advice, take lots and lots of screenshots. You never know what you may end up using and its sometimes in looking at them in retrospect you see an interesting theme or hook for a post. Also it is sometimes worth setting up a simple spreadsheet or similar so you can track economics/politics in V2 or economic/political/research/combat in HOI etc etc, thi s obv depends on how much effort you want to put in, but again gives you a handle on in-game events that you might want to use in the AAR.

Finally, check out the AARland FAQ, there is a lot of good advice in there on writing styles, use of image, use of narrative structure and so on
 

Alfred Packer

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I play with MS Paint open. When I want to remember something, I do a print screen, paste it into Paint and then save it as, for example: "1941-02-22 British just dumped 10 Divisions in Belgium - screws up my plans" or "1117-12-15 WTF Pope!" - so I have a chronological list and a title that explains the pic and adds additional information/captures my emotions at the time.

When writing, I go through that data dump and pick the interesting ones to base the AAR on


In my current AAR, each update covers 3 months of game time, so I play that chunk, taking screen caps and then stop. I do not play the game again until the update is written (this way, I don't play too far ahead and lose track/interest in the AAR part once the playing part is done).
 

Rensslaer

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lol @ Alfred Packer - I still use MS Paint too. :) Graphic artists I work with say, "MS Paint?! Are you crazy? That's like stone knives and bearskins!" But it works.

I typically write my AARs much as Loki described. I take screenshots anytime anything interesting happens -- I pause, position the screeen so it shows everything I want, then snap. If there's a battle underway I'll usually turn the time down slow, zoom in, and I'll catch the little "casualty numbers" as they rise up over the units, for a good representation of how the battle is going (for games that work that way). In games without those numbers, I'll take a shot of the battlefield arrangement, or battle screen.

I must have thousands of screenshots, filling a Gig or more of space. :) If in question, take one! If I want to keep "records" I'll open the administrative books and take screenshots of charts. Visual information is just so much easier for people to understand, especially if you explain what they're looking at.

And then after playing ahead a while, I'll go back and the "narrative" presented by the screenshots in order reminds me exactly what was going on, and I pick select screenshots to tell the story, then write one or two or three paragraphs about each one.

My most detailed AARs are for HOI 3, and so I'll often use 3-5 screenshots just for my own use (so I know what to write) and present the reader with just the most informative screenshots.

Don't be afraid to combine elements of 2-4 screenshots into one, to show a comprehensive picture of what's going on. See my AARs (linked in my sig) for examples.

And in complicated AARs I'll combine screenshots in just one theatre into one update of about 10 screens, covering 1-3 months of battle (HOI 3 mostly), and then go back to an earlier time and show the same treatment for another theatre, so readers don't have to keep track of all the scraps going on in 3-4 different theatres all at once. This comprehensive approach tells the "isolated story" of one theatre long enough to be interesting, and then takes them elsewhere to catch up on what happened meanwhile.

Hope that helps!

Rensslaer
 

Rensslaer

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Keeping a library of old screenshots also means I can come back to an AAR I stopped writing 4 years ago, as I'm contemplating doing with my Roman Civil War AAR. :rolleyes:
 

Mr. Capiatlist

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I take a ton of notes, mostly on paper and then build up a library of digital notes as I write or come up with ideas... actually just read my article in the AARlander. ;)
 

Brandenburg III

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Alright, wow, thanks a lot! I tried an AAR once, writing everything down, but I spent more time writing than playing. So the pictures in combination with writing some stuff down is actually pretty smart :)

idsoj7.jpg
 

TekcoR

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Like most, I keep a library of pictures. In addition, I have a word document filled with information on what happened, etc.

I compile this information all together and generally start writing after I have formulated the idea. There are also tons of non-game pictures collected, for battles, characters, etc.
 

Eber

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Like most, I keep a library of pictures. In addition, I have a word document filled with information on what happened, etc.

I compile this information all together and generally start writing after I have formulated the idea. There are also tons of non-game pictures collected, for battles, characters, etc.

I'm pretty much exactly the same. I take a good amount of notes on very key events (such as ruler's names, countries, dates, army/navy leaders, etc.) and I take tons of screenshots. I don't usually use maybe 1/3 of my screenshots, but it's better safe than sorry.

I also have a pretty large library of paintings, pictures and portraits to use.
 

Saithis

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I have screenshot libraries (I take screenshots for any remotely notable event) that I maintain for each active AAR or any potential AARs I might be interested. I also maintain a full library of various images be they illustrations, paintings, game screenshots, etc. for me to use in supplement of written updates.

While playing I take detailed notes in wordpad (I play windowed) and screenshot anything and everything I think might be interesting or usable. I take a note of screenshot numbers on my wordpad timeline for reference and if any inspirational story ideas come, I'll write those in too. Later, I'll divide up sections of the timeline into 'posts' and work up a coherent plot outline from it. I rarely play more than 25-30 years into the future for a Narrative AAR as I like to keep events fresh in my mind.
 

Ashantai

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I make very few notes, mainly just lots of screenshots to remind me of context. Some important things get noted down, but no more than half dozen in an EU3 ruler's lifetime.
 

Werewhale

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I take a huge amount of screenshots. Over the grand campaign of my Crovan AAR, spanning 396 years, I took between 4000-8000 screenshots in all as I preferred to capture inconsequential things rather than miss out on something interesting. Due to the huge real estate .bmp uses, I just kept deleting all old shots as soon as I posted a new update, because I couldn't be bothered to convert everything to .jpg. I can generally recognize the context from studying the pictures and from memory, but if I have a dual monitor, I prefer to play in windowed mode and keep notepad up, so I can jot down thoughts and explanations to accompany the screenshots. The writing is not dissimilar from Brandenburg's system.
 

Rensslaer

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Everything is scaled to the game, of course. "Generational" games like Crusader Kings or EU III would allow playing ahead 25 years. In HOI 3 you're losing touch with where your AAR is if you play ahead just 6 months or a year.

Renss
 

TekcoR

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I forgot to mention...I have attempted to train a group of monkeys to write AARs, but it hasn't worked out too well.
 

Wave

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I do oldschool pen & paper notes (in current AAR I have played ~8 years or something and I have one page filled already...) and take screenshots.

Depending on the AAR style I may or may not use the screenies but I feel myself very uncomfortable when I have a gigabyte of screenshots and I'd need to write something from them.

example from my current Rome AAR notebook:

Cart war w/ Mamertimes
7 aug 487 Son! Manius Fabricius Luscius
9 Nov 487 attack Mamertimes 5k Carta
15 dec 487 attack Siculi
23 Jan 488 (left empty for some reason... o_O)
15 May 488 Start siege epicraty
Dec 488 another son gaius
9 Apr 489 Win Siege Epicraty
9 aug --> Oea Siege

I use a lot of abbreviations, tags and own notes but somehow I manage to keep on track. Admittedly when playing AAR game the game goes on much slower than usually as you have to note things down and take screenshots. Not to mention the waste of time when you actually have to post the AAR and you can't play.. :D