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263Re: The next step?

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  • John Harrington
    Jul 4, 1999
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      In message <377A94E5.5201@...>, John and Denny Colledge
      <dunorroch@...> writes
      >From: John and Denny Colledge <dunorroch@...>
      >
      >Hi Folks! Just a quick message to let you know that I have sent out 50+
      >letters and e-mails to all zines in the UK with the exception of, I
      >think it was three professional zines and a Dip flyer. It is a shame we
      >didn't get ourselves organised a couple of weeks earlier as the obvious
      >place to collect the zines is Manorcon, but at least John should get a
      >steady trickle of newish zines from a wider variety of editors than in
      >the past, which was basically what we wanted anyway. Hopefully some of
      >the editors will mention us in the passing. If they don't make in time
      >for Manorcon, it can be pretty costly to send them by post, as I know to
      >my cost! John, I hope mine have arrived OK?

      Yes, they arrived by post OK John. Pete Birks even sent me some
      Greatest Hits. Nothing strange in that, you might think, except I print
      GH and then hand the copies over to Pete (who then posts me a copy for
      the Zine Bank ....?)

      We were at the UK Games Fest in Harlow yesterday (Saturday) giving away
      copies of the Hobby Starter Pack. Not really our sort of crowd, being
      mainly figure gamers and CCG players, but we managed to sell a few
      copies of Mission From God - about 8 or 9 - and give away some zines.

      One guy turned up at our stall and mentioned he used to play games by
      post back in the eighties. "Have you ever heard of a guy called John
      Harrington?" he asked. "Yes, he's sitting over there playing Union
      Pacific".

      Haven't seen this bloke in over ten years, maybe nearer 15. He's lost
      contact with the postal hobby but is au fait with German games (e.g.
      Modern Art) so I'd be astonished if he does not become an active player
      again. So, that's one we've clawed back. Just another 49 to go this
      year...

      The Zine Bank is extraordinarily well stocked at the moment, so much so
      that I am going to have to buy another expandable wallet to store them
      in. DON'T let that stop editors sending me more (and not just their own
      zines) or better still bringing them along to ManorCon. With the
      Starter Pack published (sorry for those who were hoping to give more
      feedback but I had to get it done in time for the Harlow event), and the
      zines in place I think we are (finally) ready to do some advertising.


      >As John H is nearing the end of the road with the new Introduction to
      >the Hobby, and the word has gone out throughout the land that we are
      >looking for samples of zines, it is probably about time to consider
      >tactics. After an amazing seven entries to the "Top Five Suggestions for
      >Ways to Encourage New Members into the Hobby", the scores on the doors
      >are:
      >
      >Leaflets/Posters 28 Adverts 21 Internet 19
      >
      >Several of those who suggested Leaflets also suggested Posters, so I
      >have put them together. Those that suggested Adverts didn't say whether
      >they meant Classified Adverts or those we pay for. The Internet appears
      >to be very general.

      OK, I can put a message on uk.games.board, rec.games.board and whatever
      the Diplomacy one is, mentioning the Starter Pack is available for the
      price of 4 stamps (or $2 to the International Subscription Exchange in
      the USA).

      I can also have a word with Leisure Games, see if they'd be interested
      in putting some flyers in with their carrier bags, perhaps in return for
      free adverts in X number of zines - the value of X to be determined by
      the number of editors who volunteer to run the adverts.

      Alternatively, we could offer them banner ads on hobby web sites - mine
      (Fiendish Games), Steve's (diplomacy.co.uk), anyone else? ManorCon?
      MidCon?

      I don't know the people at Playin' Games so well but I could try them
      too. Anyone want to volunteer to sound out Karl Bown (The Games Store)
      and Phil at Spirit Games? Anyone know anyone at Esdevium?
      >Here are a few suggestions from myself. As I said earlier, I am aiming
      >to draw up a questionnaire for those who attend Manorcon. One of the
      >questions will be to ask for suggestions of games shops who might be
      >prepared to give out our leaflets when they sell games. They might even
      >be prepared to put up a poster in their shop for us. Now, those who
      >suggested Leaflets/Posters didn't say if this included Libraries and
      >Supermarkets, but I suspect that we are better to go for Games shops
      >first, working on the basis that you try to get hold of people you know
      >are actually interested in games. Seems obvious. We can after all, come
      >back to the Libraries/Supermarkets option later.
      >
      >As for the actual leaflets themselves, I have asked Alex several times
      >if he minds if we use his pro-PBM con. leaflet as a starting point for
      >our our main leaflet. Sadly, he has either ignored my request or
      >forgotten it. I have tried again however, so "constructive nagging" may
      >bear fruit eventually! Sorry, there should probably be a ;-) symbol
      >there for those who have a problem with my sense of humour. ;-) Note to
      >Paul. This is a smiley face with a wink, as in nudge nudge, wink wink
      >say no more!

      I've got shedloads of the PBM con flyers. They are "generic" - i.e.
      don't really relate to the PBM con at all. If anyone wants a copy or
      three to slap up in a library, coffee room, Uni notice board or games
      shop write to me at

      1 Churchbury Close,
      Enfield
      Middlesex
      EN1 3UW

      >
      >Moving on to Adverts. Presumably Classifieds would take preference at
      >this stage due to lack of funds, as most of our cash will be spent on
      >paper for the Leaflets/Posters option. Is Stephen still prepared to do
      >this? I seem to remember Nick Parish being mentioned as if he would be
      >doing it, at one stage. The chap at work who is into miniature war games
      >gave me a few details which I passed on to Stephen. I gather that Dip
      >was mentioned in those magazines a few times so they at least are
      >possibilities, though we probably need to revisit the advert. The wider
      >the range of gamers we can get the better, but presumably Dip would
      >appeal more to those who are reading war games magazines.

      Classifieds are fine for slightly off-topic magazines. Free classifieds
      are even better! We might perhaps stretch to a small display ad in
      Games Games Games and Counter without busting the budget - we should
      have over 100 pounds in the kitty by now.
      >
      >Finally, the Internet. Most people don't really know a) how best to use
      >it, and b) if it all goes horribly wrong, (or should that be horribly
      >right?) could we be swamped? I suspect that Students could be added in
      >here as well. As I mentioned some time ago, most Student organisations
      >have their own web sites these days and they are easily accessible. I
      >mentioned Emeric's site a while back but got no reaction. I came upon it
      >quite by accident a couple of days ago and left a message. He says he is
      >happy to help.

      Search engines are fine but in my view the best way of getting new
      visitors is via links from similar sites. Fiendish Games has already
      got a link on quite a few of games related sites but they are not
      directed to the postal gaming section of our web site.

      When I have put the Starter Pack on our web site - and Stephen's, I'm
      not fussed - then we can e-mail fellow travellers and ask for a link to
      be placed.
      >
      >I think the general feeling is that it doesn't matter what we do, we are
      >never going to get enough new members to actually cause a problem. I
      >just hope you are right! So, let's be having you. All suggestions on how
      >to appraoch the above three means of bringing new blood into the hobby,
      >are very welcome. Remember, I am happy to approach games
      >shops/distributors to see if they are willing to hand out our leaflets
      >with any games they sell.

      I think you are right, we are not going to discover a hidden world of
      potential postal gamers out there. We might achieve some good returns
      initially tempting back lapsed members, after which I'd personally be
      happy with 2 or 3 virgins a month (wouldn't we all).
      >
      >Finally, finally. I thought you might find the undernoted of interest.
      >John, could you update MfG with Pete's new details please? I will send
      >him a copy of the PUMA review that he asks for. I found this most
      >encouraging. Hope you do as well.

      Updating MfG on the web is on my list of things to do. So, sadly, are
      many other things. At least MfG is quite near the top!
      >
      >One important thing before I forget. John H, Stephen and Mark. Jeremy
      >Tullet has sent me a copy of the NDC flier and has asked me to pass it
      >on to as many people with their own web sites as possible. I will need
      >to send this from work tomorrow as my MAC would just throw up its hands
      >at the sightb of it! Hopefully you can do something with it. Any other
      >suggestions? I will contact Ryk Downes as well.
      >
      I await with breath abated.

      Oh, one other thing. I saw Chris Tringham on Tuesday - there was some
      bloke called Agar there too, I recall - and unless my eyes deceived me,
      he handed over the famous MidCon Hobby Development Fund cheque book to
      John Dodds. I shall ask John what he plans to do with it - presumably
      he is going to send it to Nick Parrish.


      --
      John Harrington
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