Wargamers have always created their own miniature communities, usually in the form of clubs and groups of like minded friends, occasionally around a local wargame and model shop, but always small and close knit. These small islands would occasionally come together at wargame shows, maybe a competition, but by and large they were isolated pockets.....and considered a little odd; obviously. We are still all considered a little odd of course, somethings will never change, but by golly it seems we are far from isolated these days, allow me to explain.......
Due to some very unfortunate but very human errors, two of the three main wargames magazines failed to carry the advert for our forthcoming 'Broadside 2012' wargame show. This is a potential disaster, a show in just its second year needs all the help it can get to become established...even SALUTE runs magazine ads and it is perhaps the best known show on the planet! We at show HQ had visions of empty halls and revolting traders followed by a dunking in the venues swimming pool attached to something heavy....It could certainly herald the end of Broadside as a future event.
One of the magazines emailed me an unreserved apology, once I had alerted them to the problem, and have suggested that if I send them some text they will see what they can do to rectify the matter; which is fair enough. The second magazine, Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, also recognised the problem and were very quick in offering to change the issue date of their popular newsletter just so they could advertise the show prior to the event! Now that is service! Simple human error is unavoidable and these things will crop up from time to time. It is how they are dealt with that makes all the difference, offering to alter a newsletter issue date just to make sure your customer is not left high and dry shows a level of customer service few could match...or would even consider. To say we are grateful is putting mildly!
Now here is the community bit. WSS magazine, a European publication, got in touch with us after we decided to make use of our various contacts in Internet land. Many of us run blogs, forums and websites and we asked them, in light of the sudden loss of advertising, to help spread the Broadside word. Not only were we amazed...beyond amazed to be honest...at the fantastic response we received from these often far flung wargamers, we were left astounded by the fact that even WSS picked up on the fact we were in trouble by these same blog sites. Clearly we are no longer mere pockets of rather peculiar enthusiasts, the world wide web really has created a truly global community of rather peculiar enthusiasts! Wargamers in America, Greece and the world all passed on our request for help; a shot heard round the world! From individual wargamers to important wargame publishers, all took notice and all chose to offer help where they could. Magazines, that have always been slightly apart from the main stream by their very nature, simply reflecting interest to isolated pockets with little interaction, suddenly take full part in real time communications and make things happen. From the publication of a single blog post one ordinary May morning to the resounding clamour of a world wide community of wargamers rushing to help in a matter of hours.....my my how the world has changed!
As Chairman of the Milton Hundred Wargames Club, the organisers of Broadside 2012, I must thank every last one of you that have offered to help spread the word and support our event...and I now use the term 'our' in a far wider sense than I ever have before. Broadside is very new but if such support continues it will continue to grow, and it will largely be down to you guys and people like the publishers of Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, for whom the word community really does mean something.
Anyone remember those days oh so many years ago (1980's) when the rise of the home computer was considered anathema by many? They said in countless articles they would mean the end of wargaming as we knew it.......and it did but in ways none of us could have imagined. I for one am grateful for that.