Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Returning fire ...

On Monday, after I had written my blog entry about the very recent COW2011, I put a topic entitled CONFERENCE OF WARGAMERS (COW2011) REPORTS on THE MINIATURES PAGE. I added links to my blog entry and to the relevant blog entries of other members of Wargame Developments. The topic was not intended to start a discussion; it was more in the nature of a news item.

Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I read the following reply from someone whose identity on TMP is ‘Dan of Iniquity’:

I am always struck that in thirty years Wargames Developments have never actually developed anything that seems to be used in popular rules.

Will there be a point when this exercise in self-selective elitism does actually produce even the smallest thing that finds itself into the main stream of the hobby.


I felt that I could not let this comment go unanswered. I have been a member (and Treasurer/Membership Secretary) of Wargame Developments since it was founded, and I know who has been a member during those years … and the membership has included quite a few people whose names ‘Dan of Iniquity’ might recognise because they are well-known within the wargaming hobby both in and outside the UK.

Last night, after I had read the comment, I felt compelled to write the following reply:

Dan of Iniquity,

You are quite right; in 30 years Wargame Developments has produced nothing … but its members have! That's the point of WD; it encourages people to experiment and develop. It isn't a wargames publishing house, a game designer, or a model figure manufacturer … but these are represented amongst its membership, as are professional military personnel who design simulations for a living.

As for being a self-selected elite … well anyone can join, even you. We do not discriminate; all you have to have is an interest in wargaming and trying out new ideas. If that makes members a self-selecting elite … well that is your definition, not mine.

PS. If the Data Protection Act allowed me to publish a list of the members of WD, you might see quite a few names of long-term members that you recognise and who have 'actually developed anything that seems to be used in popular rules.'

PPS. I am sorry if this message sounds a bit rude, but after thirty years of this sort of comment, one gets a bit miffed.


In the cool light of morning, I feel that I might have stepped over the boundary of politeness more than I intended. No doubt I will get ‘stifled’ if ‘Dan of Iniquity’ takes offence … but ever since Paddy Griffith started the ball rolling and Wargame Developments was founded, it has been ‘sniped’ at by various individuals and/or groups within wargaming. We have been termed ‘elitist’ (a self-selecting one, if ‘Dan of Iniquity’ is to be believed),’ ivory towerist’ (whatever that means!), ‘secretive’, ‘self-satisfied’, ‘self-indulgent’, ‘out of the mainstream’, etc.

The funny thing is that anyone can join. You just pay the membership fee and become a member. It is not by ‘invitation only’ (something else WD has been accused of: ‘You can only become a member if you are nominated by an existing member’ was something that was said to me at a wargames show some years ago when I was helping to run a participation game on behalf of Wargame Developments). There are no secret rituals to be endured. No special handshakes to learn. No passwords to learn. No interview to go through. All it requires is a small payment … et voila!

So did ‘returning fire’ make me feel better? I am afraid to say that it did. I am probably still too combative for my own good … I must try to learn to relax now that I am retired, and not to let comments like those made by ‘Dan of Iniquity‘ get under my skin.

I think that this is going to take me some time.

30 comments:

  1. Hi Bob
    Can I begin by stating my disappointment that no "passwords" or "secret handshakes" are required for WD - even more disturbing - apparently anyone can join.
    I've only ever approved of the sort of club that would refuse to allow me to join.
    I'm not one to suggest that the teeming ranks of the grandly unwashed should actually be BARRED from joining WD - but I should have thought that a simple test along the lines of "is this chap/chappess the sort of cove one would willing take home to have dinner with the distaff side" might suffice?
    I'm equally shocked that a straightforward attempt to call the Sun and ask for this character's phone records hasn't already been conducted by WD's star chamber ( I assume you have one). I may now be forced to ask for the subscription details so that I can join under the pseudonym of my own name, and then work perfidiously from within to create the totalitarian edifice that your anonymous correspondent so properly would admire. I amy even be forced to consider splitting a few well chosen infinitives in that pursuit.
    And here was me thinking the funniest thing I would read today would be Andy haymans extraordinary evidence to parliament...
    Press on Bob - never confuse honesty with a mask of over politeness - the hard of understanding never see through it!

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  2. Although a fan of TMP the hot air produced on that site would inflate an airship!. Good for you I say !.

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  3. Ken H,

    Thanks for your very humorous comment. It made me laugh out loud when I read it!

    In truth I should have let the comment pass me by ... but I couldn't because for thirty years I have had to listen or read similar uninformed comments, usually by people who have done very little to advance the hobby of wargaming other than to spend money on it.

    Perhaps WD should have a vetting process; I suspect that 'Dan of Iniquity' might not approve of that although it would give him something else to make comments about.

    Anyway, thanks for your wonderful comment. It will keep making me chuckle all day long.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  4. Mosstrooper,

    TMP is great when the people who are raising topics or making comments have something useful and/or non-partisan to say ... but as you say, when they don't, the hot air generated would inflate a blimp ... in fact, it seriously affects the World's weather systems and causes ice caps to melt!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  5. I just took a look at Dan of Iniquities TMP Profile.

    He has averaged one stifle every 16 posts . . . which seems awfully high to me . . . so I would guess that he comes across to more than a few as abrasive.


    -- Jeff

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  6. Bluebear Jeff,

    I must admit that I also looked at the TMP profile of 'Dan of Iniquities' and noticed the number of stifles he had received.

    He has a right to his opinion ... I just wish that he had spent a little longer researching what WD does before he wrote what he wrote.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. I has been pointed out to me in an email that WD is mentioned in both the DBA and HOTT rule books. The quote reads 'Wargame Developments is an association of wargames innovators that centres around an annual "try it on the dog" conference, not to be missed.'

    Obviously the opinion of someone like Phil Barker (who openly admits to being a founder member of WD) counts for little in the world of 'Dan of Iniquities', and that he probably regards DBA and HOTT as not part of 'the main stream of the hobby'.

    If I can be permitted to misquote for Macbeth regarding 'Dan of Iniquities', 'Dismiss him. Enough.'

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  7. Fix bayonets! Advance to the flank, giving +1 support bonus to the main counter-attack.

    That comment irritated me as well, because even though I only had WD membership for a year about 15 years ago, I've seen ideas put forward in the Nugget back then that have made their way into commercial rulesets. Who knows what you propeller-head types have come up with in the last decade and a half of fooling around with carboard boxes and marbles and whatnot.

    There's nothing gets my goat like someone being ignorant on the internet.

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  8. Bob,
    An excellent riposte to an ill-considered, uninformed comment!
    TMP is, indeed, a strange mixture of knowledgeable, helpful people who make constructive, pertinent comments - and a few others who make one embarrassed to be a wargamer...

    But there ARE passwords - we e-members have to use them to access the current Nugget online!
    Regards,
    Arthur

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  9. Bob

    Dan was certainly struck by something, here in Africa we would strike him a little harder to make sure the cells lined up properly.

    But even before I got to read replies I was seriously disappointed there was no secret handshake, always wanted one of those.. damn LOL.

    Good post though, made me laugh in a day where the silver lining is just cheap plating.

    Regards

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  10. Dr Vesuvius,

    On behalf of WD, thank you very much for your support.

    Sure, some of the ideas that people try out at COW come to nothing ... but a lot of them do become part of the hobby's mainstream. Only last month WSS had an article about running a campaign as a Matrix Game, something that Chris Engle - the originator of the Matrix Game concept - readily acknowledges.

    If 'Dan of Iniquity' had bothered to look at the WD website before making his comments, he might have been a bit better informed but ...

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Arthur1815,

    Thanks for the compliment about my reply. Writing it did I me a lot of good.

    Sometimes I despair when I read some TMP posts ... but at other times I have found it very useful. The art is knowing how to be selective when it comes to reading topics.

    I had forgotten that we use passwords within WD to allow members access to the latest issue of THE NUGGET online! Oops! Something else that will confirm 'Dan of Iniquity's' worst fears about WD.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Arthur,

    With regards to how 'Dan of Iniquity' should be dealt with ... well, in the words of Francis Uquhart, "You might think that ... but could not possibly comment!" (Now where did I put that large club?)

    The response on TMP has made me laugh ... and that is something that I like to do every day if I can!

    Have a great day yourself.

    All the best,

    Bob

    PS. The secret handshake is in the post. Use it sparingly, as thumbing your nose at someone with your left hand, whilst extending your right hand to shake them by the hand, has been known to cause offence to people who are not members of WD.

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  13. 'on my life Bob you have some terrific chaps amongst your cohort of supporters.
    In my view laughter is a very powerful weapon - I've used it successfully with those of a female persuasion for years now - why even on our wedding night my wife was consumed by laughter - marvellous compliment I thought!

    This Dan of Inequity chap ( I think I have this right) has done the forces of light the most tremendous service. I've seen through his cunning plan - all along he intended that we would be given time to ponder the great support that WD has provided to the hobby.
    Following in the great traditions of Young, Featherstone, Sandars,and my own personal wargame heroes Callan and Lonely - Dan has reminded us all of just what an enormous debt we owe to WD members - perhaps even on a par that would overtake the debt we are likely to end up requiring off Johnny Dublin and Phil the Greek shortly!
    Yes indeed - I'm a convert - My sense is that you should make Dan of Inequity guest speaker at COW next time - I've even got the title for him to save him the bother - "Faux Pas through the ages" - perhaps dear old John Curry could reprint in paperback form twenty years later, when he's finished typing up Edwina's "Memoires of a Major disaster"?
    Ah well - back to the garden. All this talk of elitism in the hobby has reminded me that the under butler still hasn't chalked up my golf bats, the carriage footmen need to be reliveried with valleho's finest daubing pots and if I'm not mistaken the old Doc is about to suggest that Her ladyship is almost beyond help - may need a couple of saving throws and pray for a six!
    "Dan of Inexplicable assistance" I'd say!!

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  14. Ken H,

    I can see why you wife laughed so much; this was a very humorous comment that has made me laugh out loud for the second time today. My neighbours will think I have gone made ... if they did not already think I was!

    Have a great day. I am off to polish my balustrades and oil the under housemaid as she has been a bit squeaky of late.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Lucky for Dan that responded instead of me, as I would have far more blunt Bob1

    Retirement has enabled you to post a mild rebuke and laugh at the less-well informed.

    Whhoooaaa1

    Did you hear that?

    I believe that it was the call of the stupid coming from the pages of TMP and Dan.

    I am experiencing difficulty attempting to communicate the grip and word of a WD Founder member and type this post at the same time.

    Male anon-

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  16. Tone,

    Don't tax yourself. Remember what the doctor told you. I would be really upset if you injured yourself:

    a. Laughing at 'Dan the Man's' comments or

    b. Hurt your hand and twisted your lip trying to give the correct grip and word whilst typing or

    c. Both of the above.

    I should really thank 'Dan of Iniquity' for all the laughs he has managed to produce today. He has really given my spirits a lift!

    All the best,

    Bob
    (Past Master of the 'Lodge your complaint with the Umpire' [No. Four Sixes required])

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  17. well, thanks to the power of the paypal button on your link to the WD site - WD have gained one e-member today thanks to Dan - somewhere he must be smiling about that.....!!

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  18. Ken H,

    Welcome to Wargame Developments!

    You will find it a rather disparate (and sometimes desperate!) group whose interests, experience, and knowledge cover a wide spectrum of different game designs and historical periods. What binds them together is a desire to experiment, develop, and exchange ideas and concepts.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  19. Let me offer you the advice of my mother.

    "If there is someone you don't get along with, walk a mile in their shoes. Then they will be a mile away. And you will have their shoes."

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  20. Hi Bob

    I had the great pleasure of attending a COW in the nineties while living in the UK and found WD members friendly and the games stimulating and fun.
    Your man "Dan of inequity" really has no idea what he is talking about, don't take such comments to heart.

    Kind Regards

    Bruce Stewart

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  21. The Old Metal Detector,

    Your mother gave good advice.

    The question is, would I want to end up owning a pair of 'Dan of Iniquity's' shoes?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  22. Gunnert Sargent Rock,

    Thanks for the very kind comments about COW.

    The conferences have not really changed that much over the years, and if you were ever to have the opportunity to come to one in the future, I am sure that you will still find the 'members friendly and the games stimulating and fun'.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  23. Hi Bruce,

    You will be pleased to know that SWAB was staged again at COW this year. It has sailed on a bit since we first sunk the Frogs! This year I, as Captain Sir Samuel Pym, led the British flotilla against the same old enemy. Due to some innovative tactics on my part we beat them in the same old way! You will be able to read my offside report in the Nugget. I also submitted some interesting photos. Your presence as my Flag Captain was sadly missed - so we toasted you loyally and royally in the bar!

    Tone

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  24. Tone,

    It did sound like you had a lot of fun ... but just who did run aground early in the battle?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  25. Hi Tony

    I do recall, our adventures on the high sea, do you remember a Zepplin raid we teamed up on, alas we didn't exacly cover ourselves in glory. Dropped the arse end in the Thames.....

    Thanks for toasting me in the bar, as for interesting photos....the interprative dance session looked like a hoot. I could have been of some assistance as one of my recent (4 years)new hobbies is swing dancing.

    Well Bob proof in the pudding, friendly and stimulating.

    Record Mission Success

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  26. Gunnery Sargent Rock,

    In the words of the famous song "Will ye na come back agin?"

    We would love to see you at a future COW.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  27. A grounding.

    Well that would be Alex and Roger. Alex first, and Roger stuck for the entire battle - although he did manage a stern rake on Flooper from his rocky perch! I was briefly grounded for one move later in the game after placing my company of the 69th foot on dry land prior to their famous capture of the Frog Fort,and the broadside from my vessel HMS Sirius destroying the fort's seaward side gun batteries.

    Captain Sir Samuel Pym
    Victor of Knuston Bay

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  28. Tone,

    That makes things a lot clearer!

    I heard that several ships had become intimately acquainted with the terrain, but not whose ships.

    Sounds like you had a successful outcome to your battle. May I suggest that you 'Splice the Mainbrace'?

    All the best,

    Bob

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  29. Great riposte Bob. Im not even going to bother reading the original thread on TMP.

    Cheers
    Mark

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  30. Mark,

    Thanks for your kind comments.

    All the best,

    Bob

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