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50Re: Trying to be positive

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  • Stephen Agar
    Mar 1, 1999
      In message <199903011341.NAA22115@...>, Wightman,
      Mark, WIGHTMM <mark.wightman@...> writes
      >From: "Wightman, Mark, WIGHTMM" <mark.wightman@...>
      >Hi everybody,
      >I have apologised in private to Stephen for winding him up. It wasn't my
      >real intention, but merely spleen venting on my part for the apparently
      >secret nature of the group.
      >I still disagree with some of what is being said though and I will try and
      >explain below.
      >HDF -
      >I have a small problem with this and believe setting up a new fund to pay
      >for everything (whatever that is) would be a better idea. Later we could
      >approach the ManorCon/MidCon organisers about transfering the HDF funds.
      >This would allow time for the people who donated to the HDF to be consulted
      >re it's use. Opinion is divided, with some people, including me, thinking
      >the old fund should be used for more convention related items. An example
      >could be paying the ManorCon deposit to avoid the problems of last year.

      As far as I am aware, ManorCon doesn't have any HDF cash left. If MidCon
      does have and HDF funds left, it is probably less than 50 pounds (as it
      wasn't very much when I resigned from the MidCon Commmitee 3 years ago.
      Therefore, I don't think this is an issue.

      >I'm sure that Stephen and Nick would be excellent choices to administer this
      >fund. I would gladly donate 50 notes also.

      >Novice Package / MFG
      >[John's MFG is a magnificent effort so, please do not take this a criticism
      >of it.] Unfortunately, being yearly it is almost immediately out of date.
      >Especially now, with 'zines droping like flies. Some of the United 'zine
      >entries leave a lot to be desired too. Which leaves me thinking that,
      >perhaps the whole thing is a little too big. If I think that just imagine
      >what a newbie might think. OK. They could be impressed by the size of the
      >hobby, but unless they read through the whole thing then it's pot-luck which
      >'zine they try (if any). If they pick a folded one . . .
      >My suggestion would be to split it up. Place the 'United' only 'zines in one
      >section and everything else in another. Have both documents refer to one
      >another and ask respondents to specify their preferences in the advert.

      Depends. If I advertise in Minature Wargames I think there is little
      point in offering soccer games. Vice versa if we advertise in a soccer
      magazine. I think this is just making it more complicated - it's easier
      to have one document and let the newcomer self select.

      That said, I agree that MfG goes out of date very quickly. Maybe every 3
      months John could just delete folded zines and add new ones? Then do a
      small print run for newcomers.

      >More work for the editor, I know. You can have my help, John. If you want
      >it, but please understand I know very little about United. [Dons flame-proof
      >underwear and awaits the United players wrath].
      >I would also be willing to contribute a few appropriate cartoons etc, should
      >anybody have any ideas what might be suitable.
      >Explained in detail this doesn't sound too dreadful. My earlier comments
      >were based upon stories told to me about the 70's version and from what I
      >heard they tore the hobby apart then. My fear is they would do the same now.
      >A CGS would also(in most instances) circumvent any existing novice 'zine. I
      >suspect most new players would want a quick gamestart and would therefore be
      >directed to the 'zine with the shortest waiting list. Looking at the last
      >few issues this would not be Springboard. You could get around this by
      >asking (in the novice package) if the player wanted to start in a novice
      >game or dive straight in. I wonder which most would pick.

      Which is what I used to do. On the other hand people responding to the
      flyer go straight to Danny anyway.

      >Another dificulty might be that a CGS must, I think, tend to create one or
      >two very large 'zines as they are likely to have the most lively waiting
      >lists. The hobby would be much healthier with more viable 'zines and I don't
      >see a CGS helping that any. It is obviously very dificult to launch a new
      >'zine now and I'm curious if the old 80's/90's CGS helped back then.
      >Stephen, John?

      The old CGS which you dislike (as do I) was very good for new zines as
      it gave them a couple of games very quickly (and hence subscribers). My
      bet is that we won't have more than 3-4 people a month and we don't want
      them hanging around for games to start (and therefore lose interest). I
      would just put them in any zine which will get them a quick gamestart -
      which would probably spread them around as I would be looking for lists
      with 5/6 people on them.

      >We all have slightly different approaches to this. We all seem to agree
      >(even me). That the Diploamcy boxes, Game Store(s), Universities and
      >libraries are good places to try. The rest aren't so clear cut. My view is
      >that we should avoid spending large sums on unproven sources, but I have no
      >idea what the proven sources might be. I have tried it in some underground
      >'zines with no real success.
      >When I used to organise Bedford's Wargames convention our surveys indicated
      > - Most people heard/read about our convention via word of mouth or by
      >picking up a leaflet at another convention. The magazine advertising was
      >used only to confirm the dates and details. Maybe Alex's stand at the PBM
      >convention is the best idea yet?
      >Hmm . . . Change that. It is the best idea yet.

      Magazines which have classified columns (i.e. cheap) and which go to
      people likely to respond have worked in the past - e.g. Wargames
      Illustrated, History Today. Ads in these magazine tend to cost less than
      10 pounds.

      >Novice 'zine?
      >The question of a novice 'zine and it's relation to our adevrtising needs to
      >be settled. Do we promote only the novice zine, all zines equally, or do we
      >just present it as a novice option? Whatever your thoughts on this issue we
      >must try and involve Danny in the discussion. Otherwise . . . Which leads
      >me to -

      I see it as just one available option. Many of the people we will
      attract won't be novices as much as returnees (in my experience).
      Practically no one buys Diplomacy for the first time these days.

      >Involving everyone
      >Paul stated in response to Stephen pulling out, that my opinion wasn't
      >important. And much to my chagrin I suppose in a wider sense the thoughts of
      >one person aren't. One of the joys of the hobby, for me, are that if I want
      >to do something, I just can. The problem is I shouldn't. Imagine the
      >situation if one group of people gets together and places some adverts here
      >and there. Then a second group do the same. Chaos.
      >Normally I approve of chaos, but in this case a little bit of fore-thought
      >and democracy would be a better bet.
      >I guess what I'm trying to say is that we need to involve more people. If
      >that's not practical; because we want to act 'now', then consider carefully
      >how to announce things to the wider hooby. 'There wasn't time to involve the
      >hobby readership in general so, a few of us got together to discuss/take
      >some immediate action and we'd like to involve more people in developing
      >things further', sounds so much better than 'We held a state of the hobby
      >debate and have decided to do blah, blah'. Not hijacking the HDF or
      >uk.games.board would help in this regard.

      I think you misunderstand the old HDF - it is so small to be a red
      herring. We need someone to organise the cash - whatever we call them.
      Still - we've got 160 pounds now - whoppee!

      >That's more than enough from me.

      Nice to hear you being constructive.

      Stephen Agar, Brighton, UK
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