No. 177 is on the way

The latest issue, No. 177, is in the mail/post. Mine arrived today. As usual, lots of good reading. Two articles on the past and future of Lone Warrior, by Craig Dunglison and Mike Crane, especially caught my eye, but there’s plenty of other stuff of interest too.

Comments by other readers?

— George Arnold

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4 Responses to No. 177 is on the way

  1. Chris Hahn says:

    I was pleasantly surprised to find the first issue of 2012 in my post office box yesterday, December 10. Evidently, Christmas has come early. I have no problem with that. Though well beyond the years of childhood (nostalgic sigh inserted here, for those were much simpler and in many respects sweeter times . . .), I do appreciate unexpected gifts. Estimating the various commitments demanding the precious time of our esteemed editor, I can appreciate how challenging it is to put together and mail the quarterly book to an approximate century of subscribers.

    At first glance, I thought I detected a slight uptick in the number of regular contributors. A quick review of issues 169 and 173 was conducted. Ten contributors were counted in these past issues; nine writers/wargamers (battle gamers) grace the facing page of this latest issue.

    Skimming the contents, it was very nice to see some new names. I wonder if this is a result of the additional online presence? It was also nice to be able to match Mr. Dunglison’s name with a face. At the risk of overuse, I would remark that it was also nice to see evidence of the long arms of Lone Warrior. Australia – wow. (I wonder what a global map would look like if a blue push pin were placed for every subscriber of the journal? I wonder where the majority of subscribers reside? My guess would be the United States.)

    In reading the various articles, not every one of intense interest I will admit (this is not to denigrate the effort of the various authors, it is to confess that I have specific periods of particular interest), I was struck by the variety of approaches offered. I was also reminded of how “bland” – for lack of a better word, my solo “scholarship” has been. I cannot recall at present, having worked something into my games like the unpredictability mentioned in “The Death of a Prince . . .” While unit condition has been a consideration in most of my tabletop battles, I have not started an engagement by establishing the status of various units. The target numbers referenced in “Solo at Play” may be of use, at least somehow. The pieces on character and personality offer additional food for thought. Normally, a leader with a generic +1 or perhaps +2 modifier will suffice. How much more colorful though, if he (or she) is rated in terms of intelligence, charisma, courage, health, and temperament? The inclusion of traits adds nuance, body or animation to the “inanimate lump.” Again, more to think about . . . More to mull over.

    Mr. Mike Crane’s essay was especially timely, I thought. The following admittedly unorganized thoughts are in response to the third section of his piece, titled “What it Could Be.”

    While it would be nice to see the subscription numbers for LW increase, I think that, given the prevalence of blogs and the addition of online versions to the traditional hobby magazines (Wargames Illustrated has a number of online articles that did not make it into the printed version, and I understand that Miniature Wargames is now available online), hard copies are – and I could well be wrong here – going the way of the Pony Express.
    As to the number of solo wargamers, well, I don’t know how one would begin to count these individuals. It seems, and this is based in part on e-mail exchanges with a gentleman in the UK, that all wargamers are at one time or another solo wargamers. The practice – if I may use the term – is a natural extension of the larger hobby. Interestingly, or curiously, he relates that solo wargaming is frowned upon over in the UK. (I wonder if this is a cultural difference?) If one accepts the notion that all wargamers are solo wargamers, then the lack of any upswing in subscription rates MAY (emphasis mine) be attributed to the wealth of free information available on the Internet, the explosion of wargaming blogs (which provide almost instant feedback in addition to an arena for “thinking as you go” as opposed to the more formal or structured process of writing, editing, revising, and then sending in something for consideration [this point was ably covered by Mr. Crane, so I guess my two cents, at least in this limited aspect, is unnecessary]), and, in conjunction with these two roughly formed ideas/opinions, the universal pressure of time and or other commitments of daily living.

    On the contrary, I would suggest that youths raised on “shoot ‘em up” video games offer an excellent “talent pool” from which we wargamers can draw. Having witnessed the visual graphics second-hand (I was standing on the far side of the room while one of my younger nephews was “battling” Nazis on the TV screen), I do not deny their attraction. I would like to think, however, that the visual can be as well addressed on a nicely laid out tabletop. I would like to think that the tactile stimulation would be more of a draw. Though not a miniatures man, there is something undeniably satisfying about picking up a stand of miniatures and moving them to a new location, there is something about moving that Sherman or Panther tank over to the next hedgerow. I would also like to think that the social aspect and critical thinking involved would be a factor. (Granted, the reference of a social aspect is something of a contradiction for me, or for us, as solo wargamers.)

    As for the Options listed, having produced a number of pieces, I guess it could be said that I have a vested interest in keeping the traditional format until these are used. There can be no denying the attraction and usefulness of a Web presence, however. There’s no argument here with regard to the outstanding work done by Dr. Barbuto. There’s also no argument for the work being done by Mr. George Arnold. I wonder if a purely electronic version would be easier to maintain and more economical? The two advantages I see to this format are timeliness and reaching a larger audience. Then again, I don’t know all of the “ins and outs” of it.

    Miniature Wargames was recently acquired by a large publishing house. I note that Henry Hyde’s Battlegames magazine is also in the process of being acquired by the same house. Wargames Illustrated has the backing of Flames of War. I wonder if there’s a conglomerate somewhere that might be interested in taking a look at Lone Warrior?

    One final item concerning the recruitment of new writers. How would this be accomplished? Is there a specific number in mind? Just off the top of my head, I wonder if there would be a way to offer a monetary prize for new writers. But then, where does this money come from and who would judge?

    A blend of Options 2 and 3 seem to work best for me. Then again, there is no denying the sense of Option 5. With all due respect to Dr. Barbuto, I wonder if “we” might conduct a poll among subscribers and readers? If it is our publication, should we not have some say in what happens to it?

    —Chris Hahn

  2. Rich Barbuto says:

    Chris, thoughtful commentary as always!!

    I did a quick check of members. We draw mostly from the U.S. and heavily from the Mid-West and Central Plains states at that. The UK is a close second with members from England, Scotland, and Wales. Canadians make up the third largest member group hailing from Ontario, Alberta, and BC. We also have members from Germany, Sweden, Malta, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand.

    Let me add to the debate on the future of LW; one point that has not been surfaced is the plight of those readers who write to thank me for the hard copy magazine. They tell me that they would have some level of difficulty dealing with an electronic version. Many of these members have been faithfully with LW for more than a decade. Just like the many UK members who were ill at ease with the flag moving from the UK to the US several years ago, I’m not ready to abandon the faithful. I have been exploring adding an electronic version. There are start-up costs and I have limited energy (I am researching and writing two books simultaneously and it absorbs much of my ‘free’ time.) So, please, everyone, continue the dialog. LW has been around since 1976 and will continue as long as we can make that happen.

    • Chris Hahn says:

      Malta? In ten years, I wouldn’t have guessed! Sweden too? Hey, it’s nice to see that LW is international.

      You’re researching and writing two books?! As I often hear my students say. “OMG!”

      Chris

  3. Lone Wolf Warrior says:

    Just a little history lesson from my secretary archive membership databases. LW Worldwide has been international from the early 1980’s in fact if my Geography is any good I believe we shipped out LW to all five continents. At it’s peak it was posted to Poland, Hungary, Norway, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Holland, France, Denmark, Argentina, Hong Kong and of course all those previously mentioned. We also had BFPO [British Forces Posted Overseas] members too but of course there was no telling where they were.

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