November 25th: Washing day and room tidy - and putting off doing either as long as possible.
Well, the gang are all sick. On the way back from the uk recently a woman behind me on the plane was coughing so badly I wondered at the time why she was even travelling (and doubtless infecting dozens of other people). Sure enough, although it seemed to miss me entirely, I ended up being the carrier, and indeed I carried the virus right into the guys’ home. Now Stevie has a virulent chest infection and looks like death warmed up: and seems to be turning interesting shades of green every time he has a coughing fit - Poor guy :( And Hil is not much better, and she says her ribs hurt with all the coughing, and the pair of them are totally out of action for the rest of next week I`d say.
So it falls to me to cover for them.. which is the least I can do, seeing as I inadvertently bought the thing into the house in the first place.
And so, having spoken with both the Gilberts senior, they have given me permission to talk about something which is very important to........... well, all three of us really: Stevie, Hil, and myself. I want to talk about blogs and blogging, and some pretty major changes we all want to make to the way the site runs. This should ensure that the future of The Game Cupboard (for us, the contributors) becomes a more rewarding place for us to express ourselves.
Originally the blog was a celebration of all things fantasy: from Zombies, Heroclix and Dungeons and Dragons, to full on game reviews and battle reports. The site was originally created by Bryan Scott and Stephen Gilbert, with regular contributions from Steve`s wife Hilary, and from me as well. I think the whole thing was heavily influenced by the more `fantastical` side of things, and Stephen`s love of historical was really just a foot note.. more of a nod to this facet of his hobby than anything else. But then Bryan found it quite taxing to write material for both this site and his own `main` blog, and so after several months, he withdrew from writing for us entirely, which allowed him, once again, to concentrate on his main passion over at his Vampifan site. His hobby love is undead things, zombicide and the like, and he enjoys regularly showcasing the figures he paints.. and just lately, indulging in a new passion - Judge Dredd miniatures. so you can see, he is kept pretty busy over at his blog. And so Stephen and Hilary took over the running of The Game Cupboard (originally called the Gamers Cupboard, but Stevie changed this to what he considered a more `snappy` title when he took over full ownership of it all).
Now here in lies the dilemma. I have given a brief history of the blog to show its roots and original aims. But with Bryan gone, many of the overriding focus points that did exist, no longer apply. We all found ourselves writing articles and posting things we thought everyone else wanted to read about.. instead of enjoying the subjects we really wanted to cover; and which excite us to write about. And so, thinking to write something everyone would enjoy, we started our “Ravenloft” Dungeons and Dragons campaign, believing this would excite everyone. However, of our main contributors, it has become clear that D&D is not something that floats people`s boat. In fact, only one regular contributor to our posts seems to be enjoying it. In truth it is often hard to tell if a blog topic is popular or not, because of a steadily growing membership/following (if you are a blog owner yourself, you will have discovered this yourself) probably only about 10% maximum, will ever leave comments... so we usually lack the feedback to know what goes down well and what doesn’t. 10%, that’s about one in ten people (statistically) will ever respond to a post. So yeah, it’s not easy always to gauge what to write about. However, of our forty or so followers (we are still a relatively a new site, so regular readers is still small) this means we receive regular comments from about four people. Of those four, only one has expressed any deeply favourable comments about our Dungeons and Dragons articles. From this we can only work on the assumption of the feedback we get.. so if only one of four people (comment writers) are enjoying our new campaign, obviously it’s time to `axe` it and think of something new to write about (of course, we will still play the campaign ourselves, we just won’t post the result of our sessions or after action reports). We assume everyone enjoyed our Hero and Horror Clix posts, so we will go back to that soon: and we will keep trying out new things: Shadows of Brimstone will soon in the offing, as too will be other fantasy tit bits to delight and thrill you hehe, well that`s the aim anyway.
However, and here is the big but! We have always, up to now, primarily written about things we thought went with the original premise of the site – i.e. fantasy (in its many guises) was always the lead most topic to be covered. This left us all a little empty at times, and yearning to write more about the things that really interested us: which is a lot more historical games such as: Sails of Glory (a Napoleonic `age of sail` table top ship to ship combat wargame), Memoir 44 World War Two, The Great War (which is another cool Richard Borg game), `Black Powder` Zulu Wargaming, Black Powder American Revolution wargaming, Bolt Action (and variations of that theme), FFG`s Tannhauser (weird World War One and Two), and we really want to cover The American Civil War at some stage as well. All these fully painted, half painted, and partially painted projects all champing at the bit to be covered by us, and yet up to now we have not done so as we should have liked to do.. because we wanted to try and cover subjects we thought were more in keeping with the original aim of the blog. Of course we also wish to cover fantasy but the fantasy we (ourselves) would REALLY like to cover, are things like Lord of the Rings 40mm TMG – a rare and barely remembered blast from the past, when Peter Jackson`s first LotR movie “The Fellowship of the Ring” was only just out in the cinemas, and queues (in America and the UK) were reaching over a mile long just in the hopes of getting in to see it. People were camping on the streets, in sleeping bags over night, determined to get a chance to see this remarkable piece of cinema-graphic history (to this day I never understand those who (latterly) say the films are crap: a symptom of the modern mind and its over indulgent analysis, as every person is a critic nowadays). Also we want to cover some 70`s and 80`s British TV dramas, like Terry Nation`s Blakes 7, Survivors, Timeslip, and The Tomorrow People. Alternative world reality HeroClix also needs to be covered in much more detail (Hail Hydra), and maybe even some custom Black Plague material (that was another subject we originally planned to cover, but which received little interest). Of course, with Super Dungeon Explore “Legends” just around the corner, our love of anime won’t be forgotten either, especially the more `eastern` themed adventures. We also hope to get round to FFG`s Arkham Horror, and a lot more of that sort of thing in the coming future.
But it is with the historical gaming we will, from now on, concentrate on a lot more: perhaps more like 50% 50%, proportionally, and see how it goes from there.. This will allow us to enjoy what we write a lot more, and might even (eventually) attract more wargamers to the blog. We are aware we may lose some of you as well, as pure fantasy may well be your main (and only) tipple. But it’s a case of catch 22. Continue to write to please, what we can only assume, you want: and it is not always the sort of subjects we really want to be covering, and in detail. But write for ourselves, and we run the risk of changing things so much, that our current followers simply move on to other blogs.. while we hope, in time, to attract some historical gamers along the way.
Support our historical heritage. Run by really knowledgeable people who care deeply about our past and strive to keep it alive for all to discover and enjoy for themselves.
My belief is, if you write with conviction and are obviously enjoying what you write, it will show through in the standard of the articles themselves.
Please do take a couple of moments to leave us some comments. Our delight when you do is so very much appreciated: and helps us to gauge what you enjoy to see us post.
Article by Tarot