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The Future of Wargamer

Fri Jan 15, 2021 8:34 pm

Hello everyone! So, you may remember that we hired an Editor and Staff Writer towards the end of last year.

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Fri Jan 15, 2021 9:38 pm

The Wargamer was where my video game journo career began, in Oct 2003, so can confirm it's been around at least that long.

Sad to see you go, Joe! Was great getting to work with you. Please make sure you keep us updated on your next gig. Looking forward to seeing what the new commanders do here!

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Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:11 pm

Thanks for all your hard work; and I'm looking forward to fresh blood keeping the content relevant.

I've enjoyed stopping-by here regularly for years, and I'm sure I'll continue.

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Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:42 pm has lost it's way for quite some time. Writers who can't string two sentences together, an utter lack of any kind of reasonable editing, constant repetition, and a bizarre inability to determine what the site really wants to be.

And if you can't handle the fundamentals, no amount of "change" is gonna change anything. When the mission statement gets lost in the fog of acquiring hits, it's already over.

I'm a long-time opinion columnist having worked for the suburban Chicago Sun-Times papers for 8 years and I've seen these grasping-at-straws-death-throes before. The final nail in the coffin was that BS column on diversity in wargaming as if there's a cadre of white supremacists circling the fort in an effort to prevent anyone from entering the genre.

The two above statements sound like they came from two teenage cheerleaders who desperately want to engage the 13 people in the stands to root for the home team when they're already down 47 to 3.

Goodbye - you won't be missed!

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Sat Jan 16, 2021 5:45 am

I'm a long-time opinion columnist having worked for the suburban Chicago Sun-Times papers for 8 years and I've seen these grasping-at-straws-death-throes before. The final nail in the coffin was that BS column on diversity in wargaming as if there's a cadre of white supremacists circling the fort in an effort to prevent anyone from entering the genre.
Wow. Somebody woke up really grumpy.

Wargamer Staff: Good luck with everything; change is hard, and I hope it all works out.

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Sat Jan 16, 2021 9:21 am

I hope the reviews will be more objective and the authors will spend a little more time learning about the game ...

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Re: <t>The Future of Wargamer</t>

Sat Jan 16, 2021 3:38 pm

Grumpy indeed. FWIW, The Wargamer was founded in September 1995 by Mario R. Kroll originally with the purpose of being a website to facilitate matchmaking play-by-email opponents for computer wargames.

Also, since I do write a lot for EICJoe and given the preceding post, let me take this opportunity to explain my review philosophy, which many accurately describe as pretty positive. Trust me, it wasn't always that way, but I finally grew up.

My experience has been that when a reviewer gives a bad review its NOT because the game isn't well designed, it's NOT because the gameplay sux, it's NOT because the history is bad and it's NOT because there is a realism problem. The problem is NOT that the game doesn't work, the problem is that the game doesn't work FOR THE REVIEWER. It's pure personal preference, but for some reason the reviewer believes if a game doesn't meet his personal criteria as "good" then by definition it is universally bad, absolutely unacceptable for every other gamer on the planet. I figure a good 90% of reviews are this way.

Prime example from the Napoleonic miniature wargaming world concerning the use of light infantry skirmishers. Some designs factor this capability into the overall combat power of an infantry regiment with no special figures, but perhaps a die roll modifier. Other games have actual Legere/Jaeger figures move and shoot in an additional combat phase completely separate from what the parent regiment or brigade does. Both systems work, both are realistic and accurate based on design intent, and neither is really better than the other . . . BUT . . . damn if some reviewers write that if you don't have those detached skirmish stands running around and shooting on their on, then this is NOT Napoleonics, and this game sux in total, period, how dare you think otherwise.

In my reviews at least, I deliberately try to insure I don't fall into that trap, at least not too much 8-) .

Colonel Bill

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Sat Jan 16, 2021 6:00 pm

Thank you for your answer. I'm sorry I shouldn't take it that way. I just took offense at one review of John Tiller's title, so I made it more subjective. I return my honor. I appreciate your work.

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Re: <t>The Future of Wargamer</t>

Sun Jan 17, 2021 12:10 am

Although Jeff's post comes across a bit caustic, he expresses a viewpoint I share. It's been real tiresome over the past several months reading the editorial content here and seeing the politicization of a hobby we universally love. For me, it started with Jack Trumbull's review of Strategic Mind: Blitzkrieg and his very serious allegation the developers were whitewashing Nazi atrocities, and has continued with the article in diversity (completely unwarranted imo), as well as with left leaning snide remarks planted here and there in regular articles.

While it may be tempting to drop personal political views into any content from which you have a platform to express them, you should also realize before making such remarks, that you are offending a good half of your readership if voting in recent Western elections is any indication. As it seems Joe has handpicked much of the new staff writers on hand, I can only imagine he found this trait and their shared views admirable qualities for hiring. If the idea was to rebrand Wargamer to Wokegamer I might agree. But since you're not obviously, I would ask that we refrain from these types of remarks in the future and get back to objective opinions and news on how fun and entertaining these games are, so that we all can adequately escape the harsh political divides already facing us day-to-day, using our cherished hobby as the vehicle.

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Re: <t>The Future of Wargamer</t>

Sun Jan 17, 2021 7:52 pm

I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that 6 owners later there's absolutely no knowledge of the history of site, given that there wasn't any appreciation of it for at least the past decade.

Still, it's sort of like reading "So yeah, I bought this baseball team in Atlanta. I guess they were in Milwaukee once upon a time, and I've heard they around before then, too"

There was a huge, vibrant, close-knit, and SMART crew of dedicated writers and creators that were regularly cranking out 6000-word in-depth reviews of games, and 10,000-word analyses of game series. All that went up in a puff of smoke around 2009 when ownership started meddling in the editorial independence of the writers. Two editors & CMS overhauls later, those writers didn't even have their names on many of the articles they'd written. Today, you're lucky if you can even find the first page of those articles, but less the subsequent pages, or the accompanying images.

The past 10 years of The Wargamer should be a cautionary tale in how *NOT* to operate a website, from allowing bad-faith actors to over-run your forums with no management intervention to alienating your entire writing staff with vainglorious & premature proclamations of greatness to meddling in editorial independence to trashing other sites on the web to outright lying about other content creators because your own failings are on full display.
Now, it's probably a *good* thing overall that the current management was able to break from those egregious errors of 5-10 years ago, but when you've run off the membership of your site, who were the dyed-in-the-wool heart and soul of the place, no amount of ownership changes, logo rebranding, CMS changes, or PR offensives are going to bring those glory days back. It's even harder if you have no understanding of what those glory days were or how you got there.

It's worth noting that many of the hardcore audience, and no small number of the writing staff, are still working together in other places, showing that you can chase a community out of a website, but if that community is resilient enough, it'll undoubtedly reconstitute elsewhere, to significant success.

Their successes could've been The Wargamer's long-term success, if not for the shambolic treatment by successive owners/managers, and (eventually) an amnesiac staff that has no idea what *was* therefore no idea what *could be* for them to aspire to.

At this point, it's just a husk with a name, and is unlikely to ever again actually be "THE WARGAMER" that was a force to be reckoned with in the strategy gaming world.


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