May 24, 2024

We’re All a Part of Something Bigger ~ #TuesdayNewsday

Embark on a journey through the frontlines of wargaming with our weekly #TuesdayNewsday edition

 

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Just to be clear, we all understand that wargaming doesn’t exist in a vacuum, right?

Yes, there are a bunch of wargaming-focused publishers who are the core of our hobby.  There are a bunch of other publishers that happen to have some wargames in their stable (Days of Wonder, Renegade Game Studios, and others).  There are other publishers that have a lot of wargame-adjacent games, too, like Free League’s Twilight: 2000.  Moreover, a non-trivial percentage of the audience grew up as gaming omnivores, seamlessly shifting from board wargaming to RPGs to minis and back.

The idea of a straight-up wargame being published as a D&D module seems crazy now but then you dust off X10 – Red Arrow, Black Shield, and DL11 – Dragons of Glory,  and you’re seeing actual wargames being published as a part of a core role-playing line.
GDW shifted seamlessly between RPGs and wargames (both tabletop and minis wargames).  SPI & Avalon Hill both had RPGs (of varying quality) in their product lines and TSR started out publishing minis rules before D&D.
So yes, our audience covers a LOT of ground, largely because we all grew up playing (d) all of the above.

Moreover, wargame publishing cannot exist without other gaming.  Printing presses don’t spit out only wargames.  Artists can (and must) work on any number of projects.  The same paper and cardstock used to print wargames are used to print many other games.  The fulfillment and shipping companies will ship games for anyone who cuts them a check.  Designers can (will? must?) work across multiple genres, too with everyone from Mark Herman to Rick Young to David Thompson to Jeff Horger to Amabel Holland to Chad Jensen having designed games beyond just wargames.

So when we report about a huge company that has very little wargaming in its portfolio, and the immediate reaction is “not a wargame company, who cares?” understand just how myopic that is. The entire ecosystem of gaming, even the small niche of wargames we lovingly occupy, suffers.  If one of those major companies goes under, how many printing presses and fulfillment centers do they take down with them?  How many designers would that put out of work, that might not be working on a wargame today, but could contribute to one a year from now?  How many of those designers are now job-hunting with other companies that cut into the opportunities for a wargame designer to spread their wings into a crossover hit that allows them to shift into designing full-time instead of as a side-gig?  How many artists end up exiting the industry to make up for the unpaid bills from a now-defunct company?

When you see a bunch of non-wargame designers organizing the Tabletop Game Designers’ Association (TTGDA) and quasi-unionizing their efforts, you can certainly grab your torches and pitchforks and go scorched-earth over “they ain’t comin’ for muh wargaaaaaamez!” or you can widen your aperture a bit and recognize that the entire tabletop game industry has a 50-year track record of exploiting freelancers, screwing designers out of rights & royalties, shady (and largely unenforceable) handshake deals, and poorly-written contracts that leave the creatives in our industry with huge legal exposure to publishers’ behaviors, whether ill-intentioned or not.

And we haven’t even started talking about pay disparities among those creatives depending on what we’ll charitably classify as “demographics”.  It doesn’t mean instant picket lines outside of GMT’s or Fort Circle’s or a small publisher’s warehouse  (if they even have one) demanding free breakfast cereal and dental care for designers.  No, it’s trying to help standardize contracts across many creatives to close loopholes in knowledge and situational awareness for the designers who might otherwise get shafted by a publisher who isn’t being a good steward of their business, among other things.

We all know that there’s no shortage of reactionary glumps in the wargaming hobby who are going to treat any innovation, development, or change to the market since 1973 as a mortal insult deserving of pistols at dawn.  They are spring-loaded for action with utterly-predictable pablum that clearly indicates that their horizons barely extend beyond their own basements, never mind being able to consider that wargaming is part of a much larger ecosphere.

When you start to see obnoxious off-the-cuff quips about “who cares?” understand that the people in the business who provide your games, and pay their mortgages with the proceeds, care.

They absolutely care because they’re paying attention.  You should care too. We can’t be so dismissive of that wider viewpoint, because it matters.

Especially to wargamers.

 

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Brant stopped by Beyond Solitaire to talk about the ongoing research project at Gamesurvey.org

 

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WHQ O24 VertOur Origins countdown articles will be starting this week, with a whole lot of coverage coming your way.  We’ll have our usual information about our events, other wargaming events at the convention, and key folks in the vendor/exhibit hall.  This year, we’ve got a very robust program at the Origins War College, too, so there’s plenty of things to keep a wargamer busy.

But we want to hear from you – what sort of preview coverage would you like to see leading up to Origins, and what sort of coverage would you like us to provide at the show?  We’ll have our usual photo galleries and some live hits from the convention, but what are the specifics you’d like to see in the coverage?

Sound off in the comments below, or talk back to us in our forum thread for Origins 2024

 

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5News 3 Incoming

Hitting the shelves (and webstores) near you now!

TN montage 050724

 

5News 4 launch

Time to get those orders in now and then either (a) gripe that it’s not here already, and/or (b) be surprised when it gets here sooner than you thought

 

5News 5 falling

Saving money? Spending just as much but getting more for it?

 

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5News 8 Blogs

This week’s best written coverage from the wargaming world

 

5News 9 screen

The best videos this week from our wargaming friends

 

5News 10 industry

Various news & notes from the business end of the gaming world

 

 

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5News 6 regiment

It’s been a busy week for the regiment; here’s what you might’ve missed!

 

5News 7 muster

Don’t forget to check our consolidated event & convention calendar for more!
You can also submit your own events for our calendar here.

Upcoming Dragoons Events

Other Conventions & Events

 

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5News 11 Pros

Focusing on the practitioner world ~ don’t forget about our dedicated area in our forums for the wargame professionals!

 

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5News 12 different

Something neat from outside the wargaming world we thought was worth sharing

 

 

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A post shared by My 90s Things (@my90sthings)

 

That’s all for this week!
Be sure to drop by our forums and join the fun, and next Tuesday we’ll drop some more news on you.


Thank you for visiting The Armchair Dragoons and mounting up with the Regiment of Strategy Gaming.
You can find our regiment’s social media on MastodonFacebook, Twxtter, YouTube, and even Threads, if we could ever get an auto-post to it.
(We have an Instagram page and it’s really just a placeholder & redirect to our articles.)
You can support The Armchair Dragoons through our Patreon, also, and find us at a variety of conventions and other events.
Feel free to talk back to us either in our discussion forum, or in the comments below.


Footnotes

  1. 3rd Thursday of the month
  2. Armchair Dragoons Digital Convention

Armchair Dragoons PAO

Official Public Affairs account for The Armchair Dragoons, for official site news, and other contributors.

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