Friday, 25 November 2016

Tarot`s Musings


Tarot`s Musings
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


18 comments:

  1. excellently written Tar` and succinctly says what you have now saved us having to write ourselves next week. And I should point out...Jez, don`t worry: your avatar miniatures is very much STILL needed. We are opening another blog (in a weeks time) dedicated to and devoted solely to D&D and to the current campaign. Your new mini/character will be VERY much visible on that second site.

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    1. *smiles softly* thank you Stevie. Now GO TO BED sweetie.

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  2. And there was me getting all pouty...

    A very well written and reasoned article, Tarot. I've always considered blogging to be a personal expression of my hobby - i post about what I like and what interests me. If people visit and like what they see, are inspired to try a genre they wouldn't normally game or look at their hobby in a new way, that's brilliant. If not, then that's also fine. I'd rather have a few regular genuine commentators, than a hundred yes-men. It's a blog, not a popularity contest.

    So I say bring on your Age of Sail! Roll out those tanks! Let me hear the boom of cannon and the crack of musket fire! Show me the uniforms of your Imagi-Nations!

    Your blog, your content, your rules. Long may it continue. I'm not going anywhere...

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    1. Thank you so much jez. Honestly - thank you for those words. It means a hell of a lot to me - to us - to have your continued and very, VERY valuable support.

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  3. I have to agree with everything that Jez said. It is your blog (and Steve's and Hil's) to do with as you like. It is nice to receive positive comments but I would never allow them to dictate what I want to write about. If you love AD&D and want to write about it then go ahead and do it.

    For a time I stopped writing about Chibi miniatures and Chibi gaming on my own blog because of a few negative comments I received. In hindsight, I wish I hadn't. Steve introduced me to Super Dungeon Explore and it was love at first sight for me. I will be posting more Chibi reviews and hopefully Chibi batreps on my blog and if there are any naysayers then to hell with them. It's my blog not theirs. Bottom line is, you should always write about what you like and what you want to write about should never be dictated to by others.

    Although I am not a big fan of AD&D, I know enough about it to grasp the basics and I always appreciate whatever you guys write about. If you write with passion, as you always seem to do, you'll have my support, whether I like the subject or not. Many of Steve's historical interests like the American Civil War, English Civil War, Zulu Wars, to name but a few, are subjects I know so little about. But I still enjoy his postings on them because of his enthusiasm for the subjects. I'll always respond well to enthusiasm because it makes such a refreshing change from the cynicism and negativity that I see far too often in our hobby.

    You have the makings of a great blog here. Long may it continue!

    PS. Sorry to hear of Steve and Hil's illnesses. I hope they recover soon.

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    1. Thank you Bryan. Your words are gratefully received. It was no small thing for us to sit and discuss all the things we needed to change for ourselves (we re determined to try make this a game hobby site to be reckoned with, in time we hope hehe). I shall be busy a lot of the time: back to college as a mature student for more degree studies. and open university etc (yea I know, I`m a gluten for punishment). But I will step up to be counted and help these guys out as much as I can, when ever I can.

      If running this place the way we want makes us happy, hopefully along the way we can make you happy to, and even offer some occasional insight and inspiration for your own games.


      The guys. They are both sick as parrots, but holding up. A good nights sleep or two, and I`m sure they will stat to be on the mend.

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  4. A very thought-provoking article, Tarot, and one which certainly shows the enthusiasm you, Steve and Hilary have for both gaming and this site. I have always found steering my own blog towards what I think others will like a major mistake. Sure, you get a handful more comments and maybe a few more followers/hits but it is hard to maintain any sense of momentum when you're painting/writing about a subject and all the time wishing you hobbying something else; plus the new followers etc rarely stick around imho.

    My own Blog’s readership is a quarter the size of Bryan’s, and as a result I enjoy the regular comments of between 10-12 individuals whose opinions/encouragement etc I greatly appreciate. Admittedly sometimes I get a bit disillusioned when many don’t actually like the subject matter I’m personally thoroughly enjoying, such as my current love of “Games Workshop” and Bloodletters. But that won’t stop me posting about it (I’ve another six of the Khorne Daemons to post for starters!!), and as long as people are still supportive of my paint-jobs and provide constructive criticism then I’m grateful they’ve taken the time to leave some words.

    Likewise I try and do the same for their blogs. I may not like the models, I might not even like the paint-jobs, but I certainly appreciate their love for the subject matter; so even if it doesn’t especially interest me, I can’t help but get caught up in their enthusiasm and tell them so. Indeed, at times such articles have encouraged me to buy into genres I would never have thought twice about in the past – Bryan’s love of Chibis being a big one – Although I’m still struggling to get any “SDE” models onto my current painting queue after almost two years [blush].

    I’d therefore say post about the games you want to talk about, and let that love/enthusiasm and energy for it do the work attracting a readership who like the same things as you do. Eventually, I’m sure, you will develop a core of followers who will regularly discuss games etc you love (as I certainly seem to have). In addition, use the blog to play games you want to. I often find myself painting because I have a posting coming up and want to show people what I’m currently working on and want to show some progress with them.

    There’s no reason, imho, that your blog can’t encourage you to do the same, whether the postings are about collecting the game, playing the game/scenarios or some of your wonderful character-driven stories I see from time to time. If you’re struggling for an article then just grab some minis you like, a rule-set you enjoy, and throw some dice and then tell us how it went – I love the sense of enthusiasm such articles generate personally (even if not everyone is into “Star Trek: Attack Wing”) ;-)

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    1. Hello Simon, thank you so much for such a wonderfully full reply in the comments section. I came to check mail this morning and found this long reply waiting for me to read.

      Your words greatly encourage me, and convince me of the wisdom of doing blog things which make us happy, as opposed to trying to do things always to please others. This could only lead ultimately to dissatisfaction and empty half hearted feelings of an unfulfilled hobby. The hobby is a celebration of the joy we feel at immersing in our table top passions, and writing blogs should be a happy expression of that.

      Your own blog is always so interesting, and a real eclectic feast. Always so much to find there: and you just never know what’s coming next. Even if it’s not a facet on the hobby I myself am following at the time – I tend still to find it interesting and usually enlightening to read your own enthusiasm for the subject(s) you write about. Your Khorne Bloodletter posts intrigue me, for instance.

      As for Chibis hehe, they really are a specialist taste, but once you see them close up and play a game with them, they can be pretty addictive and totally moor-ish. But yeah, I do remember Bryan`s blog coming under a tiny bit of flack a year or so ago, for his multiple Chibi postings. I can remember at the time thinking, he should be able to write about what he wants to write about, and as Mole might say in Wind in the Willows: “Onion Sauce” to anyone who doesn’t like it.

      {{Eventually, I’m sure, you will develop a core of followers who will regularly discuss games etc you love (as I certainly seem to have). In addition, use the blog to play games you want to. I often find myself painting because I have a posting coming up and want to show people what I’m currently working on and want to show some progress with them.}}

      The wisdom in your words is sound logic Simon, and again thank you so much for your kind encouragement.

      And as for your Star Trek Attack Wing, long may you continue to write about it.

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    2. Its official btw. Chibis are the next `second` coming to breath true light to the hobby. Hallelujah brothers and sisters.

      *ok that's just scary, I could almost believe myself a religious fanatic as I said that. I`ve been doing D&D voices far too long*

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  5. Bravo young Tarot!! Say it loud and proud mate. This is our blog, this is our passion and this is what we want to write about. I agree totally with the other chaps have said, if you write with passion people will read it and appreciate that passion even if not the subject. I can't help but feel people will get bored of the Bushido on my blog, but I'm not so it stays and I just find more ways to make it interesting for them. My blog - my passion!

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    1. Your words strike a deep chord, and I just KNOW everything you say is correct. Thank you for the encouragement to follow my/our convictions, I believe in what I do.. but was honestly starting to doubt myself for a while there.

      Don't you dare stop writing about your Bushido hehe, it most certainly is NOT boring. You have a way of bringing that game alive, and your enthusiasm for it is infectious.

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  6. Well I think you`re silly (I speak for all of us, me you and Stevie). As everyone here has kindly said, if we `axe` our D&D game, aren't we simply denying ourselves one of the main things we love writing about here? Surely that's just bonkers Tatot hun! Nice bonkers naturally *hugs her tight* but crazy stuff. No no, I vote we stay playing D&D and who knows, maybe just maybe in time, we will be like Christian missionaries in far foreign lands, spreading word and the true light to the unknowing world *grins*

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    1. you are of course right, you all are. All the comments alone make me see that. Ok you win hehe, D&D will continue here I guess. Phewwww!!! actually I`m so so so glad.

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  7. - besides, I really want to see Jez`s new self persona mini enter our blog game session articles.

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  8. I`m impatient to see it too and.. I bagsie I look after it in the game.

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  9. Now now children. The person DM-ing the game at the sessions themselves will control Jez..... I mean control his character ^^ (bit like an NPC). All Jez has to do is grunt a bit now and then, and send us pointers how he would like him to be, and so on. This means (as we all of us take turns DM-ing anyway) we will all have a slightly different take on how its done.... god, the poor guy is gonna end up schizophrenic lol.

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  10. Schizophrenic? That's an argument I have with myself all the time...
    My avatar is still awaiting my tender ministrations - the reason for which will be partially explained in my next post.

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  11. Ooo, now I`m intrigued.

    ... and so am I ^^

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