Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Second Blog

I added a second blog to the site, for non-Slingshot stuff. It's meant to include more general thoughts on gaming (and other aspects of "the hobby"), stuff I write that I don't think I'll put in Slingshot, for some reason, other types of games such as boardgames, musings on travel and books related to history, and military history in particular (at least, to the periods in which I'm interested). And occasional comments on web publishing software. Given the range of subjects, you'd think I'd have written more. Hopefully I'll add some more stuff in the next day or so.

Slingshot 259 update - I've edited most of the articles, but still have to write the editorial and some reviews. Nick is working on the layout now. I hope we'll get it out in mid-July.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Games Coverage Update

Another update - a recent surge of articles for a variety of systems, plus various reports for the SoA Battle Day (which of itself encourages variety, given that the same battle is played across a series of tables with a variety of different rules) has left us looking pretty healthy. I'm a bit surprised by the drop-off in articles about AMW though.

ABC = Arcane Warfare. The above should be a good guide to the contents of the next Slingshot, as I'm putting it together this week.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Games System Coverage - Update

A slightly different, and updated, view of the current state of contributions ... now three columns per system, with the first showing unprinted material, the second material already printed, and the third is the sum of the first two, indicating overall contribution per system. Right now, I'm about 2 weeks from finalising the next Slingshot and have enough material to make an issue (or will have when I've written my bits) but would like to get some more material for, in particular WAB, WMA and DBMM, to get some variety. Note the surge in FoG material since the last chart (one battle report, two reviews). I have some Impetus material promised also (but not here yet).

I've added Day of Battle (DoB) and Days of Knights (DoK) since right now I have an article for each in the next issue, and it's good to have material for lesser known systems. Anyone out there who would like to write about systems not on the above list, feel free - I'm keen to promote variety.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Credit Where Credit's Due

Thanks everyone for the flood of kind comments on the latest Slingshot, which have included words and phrases like "astonished", "astounded" and "kicking and screaming into the modern age". As the maxim goes - "under-promise and over-deliver".

Anyhow, some thanks and distribution of credit:
  • Some people have commented on the "intelligent ordering of history and game content" - that is actually Nick Harbud. I send him stuff in a random order, and he tries to make sense of it and get the articles to finish in the vicinity of the page breaks, and in an order that clusters like content together. He also processes the pictures to try and make sure they'll work in a black and white PDF, and is entirely responsible for the internal look of the magazine. We decided for the previous issue to revert to a 2-column layout, and a number of people have commented on that also, I think at the font size and for the type of content we're running, it makes sense.
  • On the wider issue of the new covers and the external format - the issue has been floating around the committee, with a strong direction to improve the external formatting of the magazine, for some time (thanks in particular to Phil Steele, for eventually stopping reminding me that a book is judged by its cover), and one of the issues has been the ability of our printers to support any such change. So we had to change printers as well. The new printer is Joshua Horgan, who are coincidentally also the new printer for the Pike and Shot Society's Arquebusier magazine (OK, it's no coincidence - several of the committee members are also in the P&SS, and Phil took a reference from them at a recent show).
  • David Edwards, the society's secretary, painstakingly proof-reads each issue of Slingshot before its going to publication.
  • Richard Jeffrey-Cook had the unenviable task of trying to disentangle our mailing account from our old printer Printall (who were by the way fine about all of this) and move it to Horgans. Richard, as society's treasurer, has also ensured that sufficient budget has been set aside to maintain the new format, and page count, through the rest of 2008
  • And of course, many thanks to the various contributors who've set aside time and thought to provide such excellent content for the issue. But - please send more!
Anyway, hopefully this shows, firstly it's a team effort; and secondly I owe a lot of people a beer.

Society of Ancients Web Store up and running

Today's big marketing push - the SoA web store is live on the new site. Well done to our webmaster, Peter Barham. Use the navigation bar on the left to move between mass purchases of games and mass purchases of publications. My top buy - the DVD, which contains all the issues of Slingshot from just before the ice age up to and including 2005 (but it's only available to society members, so make sure you join up at the same time). By the way, I'm not sure people realise that the subscriptions are by calendar year - whenever you subscribe in the current year, you get all the issues for that year so far, and then get the issues sent through for the rest of the year, as they come out.

Couple of other announcements as well - if you re-upped your subscription in time (I think before the end of February) you also get an incentive, which has been for quite a while a game - this year's game is called "Roma Invicta?", is written by Garrett Mills and Phil Sabin, and provides a strategic perspective of Hannibal's campaign in Italy, 218 to 216BC. Now, we've had a number of production delays with this, and ultimately it ended up with the same new printers who published the latest Slingshot. It's just arrived with members in the UK, and you should also be seeing it further afield in the next few days.

And ... there is a new mailing list for society members. If the committee has your email address, you should have received an invitation. We've started it to try and provide a closer means of communication between the society's committee and the membership. I plan to start running polls on it as regards various thoughts we have for Slingshot. So if you haven't responded to your invitation, please do so!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Games System Coverage


As promised previously, some statistics on the gaming material I get sent. The chart here measures all the gaming material I've had, by system, by wordcount, since taking over as Slingshot editor. The "available wordcount" is the currently unpublished material. Some of it (for example Paul Burton's DBA campaigns articles) sit in a queue, since they're meant as a series. Most of it though is a measure of what I'm currently being sent. The "overall wordcount" includes the material unpublished at the time I took over from Nik, the "available" unpublished stuff, and material which arrived in the intervening period, and was published in either 257 or 258.

The "misc" category includes game systems not currently tracked in the main chart - there are for example articles using the Day of Battle and Days of Knights rules. It also includes general gaming articles such as the "design roundtable" in 258.

258 having just gone out, the cupboard is somewhat bare. Hopefully, the material will come to replenish the supply. I do in particular get a nice steady supply of DBA articles. And it's still the case that the numbers are so small that one article can skew them. That Armati spike is one article. But if you're wondering why your favourite system isn't getting the love - see above.

Anyhow, I plan to proactively seek new material for those systems not currently covered. Hopefully the numbers will look a lot healthier in a few weeks.