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Subject: WargameHQ - An Upcoming Wargaming Hub rss

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I am working on developing a new wargaming website dedicated solely to board wargaming. I want to provide a hub for news and promotional information about existing and upcoming wargames.

Right now, there are three broad categories of sites supporting wargaming:

1 Hobbyist Sites characterized by excellent AAR, review, and personal op-ed articles about the hobby. Often, these sites provide high quality video content that goes beyond the simple unboxing video.

2 General Purpose Sites characterized best by BoardGameGeek. They act as a catch-all that also happen to catch wargames as a part of their comprehensive database of games.

1 Niche Sites characterized by forums or aggregate listings of wargames.

What I want WargameHQ to bring together is a database solely dedicated to tabletop board wargaming, in an attractive format, that can be viewed on any device, and provides a focused games journalism approach to our hobby.

Why subscribe to 8 - 10 publisher newsletter, scour forums across the web for updates on upcoming games, or try to piece together designer posts about their games when it can be consolidated in one spot?

Here a few early samples of the site under development:

First up, is a sample of the latest news slugged with some content from last month:


Next, let's look at the menu, which provides fast access to this kind of information. Want just Press Releases?


The same is true for the eras menu:


The game landing pages have a lot of information at your finger tips as well:


The sidebar, provides quick access to browse by designer, developer, era, or even series:


I recognize that none of this is revolutionary or new. That said, the packaging exclusively related to wargames and the focus on promotion of existing and upcoming games is something that I've seen elsewhere in this format.

So, I'm posting today for a few reasons:

1 - I'm looking for some feedback on the overall idea and things you might want to see. For example, I'm working on setting up a VASSAL opponent finder so that it will be easy to locate players for multi-player or even two-player games via the site.

2 - I'm also looking for some folks to help build out the database.

3 - I wanted to whet your appetite for the project which I hope to go-live sometime in January 2018.

I appreciate your constructive feedback and look forward to hearing from anyone interested in helping out!
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Mike Hoyt

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gamesontables wrote:


1 Hobbyist Sites characterized by excellent AAR, review, and personal op-ed articles about the hobby. Often, these sites provide high quality video content that goes beyond the simple unboxing video.


Hmmm, would be interested in examples of this!

All of these sites depend on the Users for Content, and the multiplicity of sites tends to starve each one. I used to be diligent about uploading my AARs and Reviews to Grognards, but I've slacked off and pretty much only post to BGG these days, enough time spent writing the articles and I don't want to reformat them for different sites.

I think Columbia abandoned their forums in favor of BGG. At a guess, similar issue (and the in-house forum tends to not attract new blood in the way a BGG might).

I believe I saw a proposal in the wind for a redesign of CSW....

All of which is to say...If you build a new wargaming site I'll certainly check it out, but BGG actually does a pretty good job for me and there is a lot inertia, not to mention that at this point BGG (and Grognards) have a lot of content it will be difficult to recreate elsewhere.

Good luck. (and about those examples....)
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Hobbyist sites would be like Katie's Game Corner, Big Board, The Players Aid, _wargame space, et al.

All of them have fantastic content, but are largely a function of what that hobbyist is playing at the time.

As I said, I also won't deny that BGG and CSW do a great job at their main focus, there are still weaknesses just because of the market. CSW has incredible discussion for the most part and that's their bread and butter. BGG has a wealth of back-catalog for linked resources, file libraries, and community membership is unparalleled.

What's lacking in both is that single point of reference for news and promotional content. GMT has their excellent blog, but not every publisher has an outlet like that, or the staff to pull it off. WargameHQ would be able to help out on that front.

While some news gets posted here on BGG, it's not all news. While links appear for a good chunk of news on CSW, it can be difficult to discern what's new and what's getting older because of the format. Further, neither site performs well on a mobile device so those quick look-ups of information can be challenging.

I think your points are totally valid about the ease of use for the well worn trails of the wargaming world though.
 
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gamesontables wrote:
Hobbyist sites would be like Katie's Game Corner, Big Board, The Players Aid, _wargame space, et al.

All of them have fantastic content, but are largely a function of what that hobbyist is playing at the time.

As I said, I also won't deny that BGG and CSW do a great job at their main focus, there are still weaknesses just because of the market. CSW has incredible discussion for the most part and that's their bread and butter. BGG has a wealth of back-catalog for linked resources, file libraries, and community membership is unparalleled.

What's lacking in both is that single point of reference for news and promotional content. GMT has their excellent blog, but not every publisher has an outlet like that, or the staff to pull it off. WargameHQ would be able to help out on that front.

While some news gets posted here on BGG, it's not all news. While links appear for a good chunk of news on CSW, it can be difficult to discern what's new and what's getting older because of the format. Further, neither site performs well on a mobile device so those quick look-ups of information can be challenging.

I think your points are totally valid about the ease of use for the well worn trails of the wargaming world though.


Big difference in those 3 sites. Katie has 8-10 post and Players Aid has 8000...As for the BigBoard meh that guy is a dick.
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Kurt Keckley
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If you build it they will come. whistle
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marc lecours
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People will go where there are people.

If there are two identical sites in every way then what matters most is popularity.If your new site is popular then it will attract people and reach a critical mass that allows it to survive. If your new site is not popular then it will be well below critical mass and will wither away.

What makes an otherwise identical site popular? I have no idea.
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p38_Lightning wrote:
If you build it they will come. whistle


Lol...that’s how I’m beginning to feel.

In all honesty, do folks have any intention of using a non-BGG OR CSW site? Is this a solution in search of a problem?
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Russ Williams
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gamesontables wrote:
In all honesty, do folks have any intention of using a non-BGG OR CSW site? Is this a solution in search of a problem?

FWIW I get about 98% of my wargame website needs met at BGG and the remaining 2% at CSW.

Additionally I feel like I already spend too much time online and so I consciously avoid making new accounts and getting hooked on new websites.

Thus I'm very unlikely to become a regular user at a new wargame website (though I'd check it out at least, and of course I wish you good luck).
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russ wrote:
gamesontables wrote:
In all honesty, do folks have any intention of using a non-BGG OR CSW site? Is this a solution in search of a problem?

FWIW I get about 98% of my wargame website needs met at BGG and the remaining 2% at CSW.

Additionally I feel like I already spend too much time online and so I consciously avoid making new accounts and getting hooked on new websites.

Thus I'm very unlikely to become a regular user at a new wargame website (though I'd check it out at least, and of course I wish you good luck).

+1, but 98% BGG 2% grognard.com.

I try to avoid CSW at all costs, having lost my way around there the few times I went looking for something.
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I don't even go to GameSquad anymore, let alone CSW.
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Quote:
I am working on developing a new wargaming website dedicated solely to board wargaming. I want to provide a hub for news and promotional information about existing and upcoming wargames.


Why? Who's been demanding this? It seems the very idea is backward: instead of identifying a need and providing it, you are instead doing something that you'd like to do and hoping people come. That makes things 10 times harder.
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So, the next logical question would be: What are the gaps in the wargaming world?

Opponent finders? Review Aggregates? Tutorial Series? 3rd Party Player Aids/Rules References? Something else?

Do folks like the content generated by individual hobbyist sites as supplements to the big dogs in the marketplace? What kind of content is preferable? Written? Video?

In effect, I'm keen to generate content. I want it to be useful and support the work of designers, developers, and publishers as a way to help folks enjoy wargames, find wargames, and recruit new blood.

I subscribe the old Turkish Proverb:

No matter how far your have gone on the wrong road, turn back.

Your feedback has been greatly appreciated folks!
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Kurt Keckley
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gamesontables wrote:
So, the next logical question would be: What are the gaps in the wargaming world?



Perhaps the next question is how passionate are you about the project? It sounds like a huge undertaking. If you enjoy the work, go for it.
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p38_Lightning wrote:
gamesontables wrote:
So, the next logical question would be: What are the gaps in the wargaming world?



Perhaps the next question is how passionate are you about the project? It sounds like a huge undertaking. If you enjoy the work, go for it.


I'm most passionate about getting folks into wargaming. It has added so much to my enjoyment and is something I think about all the time. I think publishers, designers, developers, artists, and other gamers are some of the best folks I've ever met and enjoy spending time alone or with a face-to-face opponent playing these games.

I don't particularly care about the format. Technical limitations aren't really the question (to an extent), but I do want to create something that folks will find useful. I'm re-tooling WargameHQ off of some of the feedback I've heard herein to change the focus a little bit.
 
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Stephen Rochelle
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gamesontables wrote:
So, the next logical question would be: What are the gaps in the wargaming world?
In parallel with that, I would propose you consider this question:

What is WargameHQ going to accomplish that you couldn't do with the user-created-content focus of BGG?

What I'm seeing, roughly, maps to a category-sorted blog. You can do that lots of places (BGG included, though not the most feature-rich) without building your own thing -- but BGG lets you leverage the rest of that user base that's already present. Consider checking with the folks who run the iOS Games blog that's now side-by-side with the BGG News feed, as I believe that started out as a standard user-driven feature that was then rolled into a more official position on the home page.

Your latest list (review aggregates, tutorial series, player aids, etc) is the sort of thing that BGG's structure (and user base) is already well-suited for. "Opponent finder" is the only one that really jumps out as not being present, but there you need to consider what you're going to be able to do that apparently neither BGG nor Vassal's site manage very well -- my guess is that low uptake is just a fact of that feature.

All that said, there's also the reasonable answer that you want this to be fully yours and not BGG's. Completely understandable! But if that's a major driver, go in recognizing that you're forcing yourself to swim against a heavy current for that particular purpose rather than because it's the only way to accomplish whatever feature from the end user's perspective.
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Enrico Viglino
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http://grognard.com/

???
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Good questions!

Quote:
What is WargameHQ going to accomplish that you couldn't do with the user-created-content focus of BGG?


I detest the presentation of BGG and even their new site structure retains some of the issues that plague good looking user generated content. I wrote a blog-a-day in 2013 and found the experience frustrating. The access to a large group of readers was great, but ultimately, the presentation limitations of BGG are significant. After all, this is generalist vs. specialist in nature.

Quote:
All that said, there's also the reasonable answer that you want this to be fully yours and not BGG's.


I think that's some of it, but I think more broadly I want to find a way focus the experience for folks down to just wargames. If I didn't have the wargame subdomain on my BGG homepage, I doubt I'd get much deeper as a new user to BGG. After all, 90% of the content on the site is non-wargame related. We get on the photos section from time to time because we have some outstanding photographers, but the majority of the content gets swept up in the avalanche of content provided throughout the site.

Quote:
Grognard.com


This is a great site that I was only minimally aware of because I remembered how it used to look "back in the day" and didn't quite understand the utility back then because of the presentation. The new presentation is nicer.

I see they have an opponent finder and that it's poorly used so I suspect that's a big NO on whether that's a need! lol
 
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gamesontables wrote:

Quote:
Grognard.com


This is a great site that I was only minimally aware of because I remembered how it used to look "back in the day" and didn't quite understand the utility back then because of the presentation. The new presentation is nicer.

I see they have an opponent finder and that it's poorly used so I suspect that's a big NO on whether that's a need! lol


In particular, I'm trying to see what the difference in intent is.

I'm sure Mark would welcome help in expanding functionality that it provides.
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It seems like there are already plenty of sites for the board wargamer. No single site is perfectly perfect in terms of interface, content, and critical mass of users, but I'm not sure that adding another site to the mix will add any value.
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va_trailrunner wrote:
It seems like there are already plenty of sites for the board wargamer. No single site is perfectly perfect in terms of interface, content, and critical mass of users, but I'm not sure that adding another site to the mix will add any value.


It does remind me a little bit of this xkcd:

https://xkcd.com/927/
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russ wrote:
va_trailrunner wrote:
It seems like there are already plenty of sites for the board wargamer. No single site is perfectly perfect in terms of interface, content, and critical mass of users, but I'm not sure that adding another site to the mix will add any value.


It does remind me a little bit of this xkcd:

https://xkcd.com/927/


lol...so true. Good food for thought.
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I appreciate the thoughtful and quick responses. I have decided to significantly shift the focus of the site and hopefully use it, as others do, to share the things they enjoy about the hobby.

Thanks for your support!
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