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After Action Report

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An After Action Report, also known simply as an AAR, is a piece of creative writing that uses text and/or images to tell the story of a user's gameplay. In the context of Total War Center, these usually have a heavy emphasis on showing relevant moments in a game through screenshots (such as faction event messages, battle results, and the 'war situation' map layout) followed with explanatory text. Though they are usually based on Total War, an AAR can be created for any game, limited only by imagination.

Creative liberty is often used to smooth over the rough edges of a game's mechanics with plot. An unexpected clunky event may be explained differently, edited to be something else entirely, or straight up ignored. A writer may also reject the context the game gives partially or more extensively, rewriting the game's premise to better suit their story.

What exactly makes up the content is up to the writer. A fairly simple form is to take screenshots of relevant events, compile them and add a little text in explanation of each. A writer can take that simple premise much farther and accompany screenshots with paragraphs detailing a particular character's place in the faction's events, or completely omit screenshots and explain by text how events play out in or out of character. Situations can be followed 'by the book' as per the game or changed to any extent the author wishes - after all, an AAR is the user's piece of creative writing, and nobody can tell them that they are interpreting things wrong.

AARs are a large portion of TWC's content. The catch-all forum is found here, and each subforum is listed below:

There are multiple institutions that regularly handle AARs, including the Critic's Quill and the Monthly After Action Report Competition.

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