Wargamers are some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Never has this been more apparent than this year. My friends are overwhelmingly wargamers. Our merry band of dice rolling nerds, freaks, geeks, and other social outcasts exist in a realm that is both part of and separate from mainstream society. Writing this blog and podcasting with my friend Tom Barbalet has expanded my bubble, stretching it to limits unknown.
Fans contact us from near and far responding to our one hour weekly show. They invite us into their homes and lives each week to participate in the conversation that Tom and I never conclude but continue regularly. You guys are more than fans. You have become friends and I am thankful to each of you. When my schedule is tough and the last thing I want to do write a blog article or edit audio for the show I think of you. I think of the disappointment my inaction would cause. I think of the eagerness in which you await new content. I think of walking into my favorite game store and hearing people ask why there isn’t a new show, new pictures of a work in progress, or some other update. That spurs me on to give you the best material I can.
This year I’ve had the honor and the pleasure to attend two great conventions. Total Confusion introduced me to great roleplayers and game designers. Huzzah Con in Maine brought me into contact with fantastic historical gamers from across New England. Both conventions helped me to me some of my new friends while also introducing new friends to this blog and podcast.
In the pursuit to be a better gamer and a better podcaster I listen to a lot of other podcasts. One, in particular, created a bond with a band of brothers. WWPD: News From the Front and its crew of Steven MacLauchlan, Luke Melia, “Dirty” John Baber, Joe “Mezz” Messerle, Sean O’Hara, Brian Fuller, Pete Ellis, Chris Miller, and Max Messina are in a league of their own. They deliver a hit every single time. They set the pace that the rest of us needs to meet. Not only do they create a quality show, but they are nice guys. When they poke fun at you you’re family, as Tom now knows. Congratulations are also in order for Steven and his wife Lydia who is pregnant with their first child. If Steven’s dedication and humanity is any indication, then he is going to be a great father.
Tom introduced two giants of British wargaming to me. Neil Shuck and Henry Hyde. These two not only report on the news but make it as well. They are key players in British wargaming. Neil’s show Meeples & Miniatures is the longest running gaming podcast in the history of the United Kingdom. Henry’s Battlegames Magazine stands as one of the few truly excellent magazines that gamers are lucky enough to read. Neil provides detailed, un-biased, and informative reports causing gamers to buy, or ignore, products at the slightest hint in his voice. Henry not only is the author of the soon to be published The Wargaming Compendium but he is also a vocal support of the Combat Stress Appeal. Combat Stress is a U.K. charity that helps the men and women of the armed services to transition into civilian life and deal with post-traumatic stress disorder. Both men are gentlemen in the truest sense of the word. They have introduced Tom and I to new friends that I would never encounter any other way.
Locally are a bevy of individuals who deserve more praise than I can ever heap on them. Derek Lloyd and Chase Laquidara are the kind of people that you meet once in a lifetime if you’re lucky. They are a motivating factor in why Battleground Games & Hobbies is a recipient of our Editor’s Choice Award (read the review here). Cort Naegelin is a newer friend. I met him this week for the first time. I wish I met him years ago. He is a welcoming and informative wargamer looking to game historicals. Did I mention he is one of the most generous guys I’ve ever met? He gave me hundreds and hundreds of 1/72 (20mm) plastic toy soldiers so I can start playing Warlord Games’ Black Powder with the usuals. There is are complete Austrians and Prussians armies for Napoleonics. There are also complete American and Hessian armies for American War of Independence (AWI). Revell and other manufacturers form the bulk of this amazing plastic mountain. Many people have been very generous but this perhaps takes the cake.
Finally, Bill Dettmers from 12-7-Games is the last person I want to mention. He got the ball rolling when he was the first to support the CWF Game Cast. Bill is the reason why the blog is still in existence. Without the blog the podcast would never have been resurrected with Tom’s help. Bill believed that this endeavor could actually be something. He’s a gamer and a store owner but to me he’s one of my friends first.
John Donne once wrote
All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated…As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come: so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness….No man is an island, entire of itself…any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee
There are so many of you who support us, who encourage us, who listen to us, and who have made us part of your lives. Without you this blog and podcast would not be here today. Tom and I do what we do for you. I wanted to take this time to thank you. Each of you is appreciated, cherished, and respected.
We promise to maintain the high quality of our show and of this blog. You can look forward to new reviews, new guests, new pictures, and more new friends. Thank you for believing in us and for welcoming us into your lives each week.