Sorry for the all caps title but this is big, and incredibly sad, news. Today I received an e-mail from Henry Hyde, editor of Battlegames Magazine, stating that he is stopping publication of Battlegames Magazine.
Details are posted on the Battlegames website. Henry’s open letter is reproduced below. Subscribers have also received e-mails providing options for handling the remainder of their subscriptions. That e-mail is also eliciting feedback from subscribers as to how they would like Henry to proceed (I voted for a Digital Only subscription).
I am sorry to inform you that following a review of the business, I am no longer able to proceed with further printed issues of the magazine in its current format.
It has become clear that for some time now, I have been subsidising the publication, which has been squeezed by increased print costs, increased competition in the wargames magazine market, substantially increased postage and distribution costs and now, a dramatic fall-off in advertisers. To incur further debt by proceeding to print at this point would be completely irresponsible. Whilst you have been patiently awaiting news of issue 27, I have been struggling to come up with solutions to the problem, but it is clear that no simple solution exists.
I blame no-one else for this situation and I apologise for failing you. Six years ago almost to the day, I made the decision to start a company in what I knew was a niche market, and I am proud of what I managed to achieve, but the blunt fact is that I should have recognised the writing on the wall sooner and am now in considerable financial difficulty as a result. I have been operating as a one-man-band in a precarious financial position from the outset, with no fall-back position, and I have paid the price. It is now imperative that I resume my former career in graphic and web design for the time being, as well as my new one in writing, in order to prevent complete financial meltdown.
I am conscious of the support and encouragement that I have had from so many of you over the last five years or more, and this is not a decision that I take lightly. As you know, Battlegames has been very much ‘my baby’ and I’m sure you can imagine my bitter disappointment, but facts are facts.
I am hoping that I can salvage something from the ruins and have already received a couple of suggestions that have potential merit, such as producing a high-quality quarterly journal without advertising, with a higher cover price to compensate for this, but of course it would be crucial that any future printed matter would have to be profitable to make it worthwhile. Producing Battlegames is a highly labour-intensive exercise, and I am no longer in a position to subsidise the publication in any way.
If sufficiently large numbers of current paper subscribers are willing to convert to the digital subscription, then it is possible that Battlegames might be able to live on in electronic format, again probably quarterly, with occasional printed ‘specials’ and additional e-publications of the kind I had been hoping to produce all along. However, I am aware that many of you are not keen on electronic formats, and I fully understand your position. After all, I started Battlegames so that I could have the *printed* magazine that I wanted. If a digital version of Battlegames were to become viable (at present, with just 150 digital subscriptions, it is not), then I would consider redesigning it to optimise the publication for on-screen viewing, taking into account the most popular methods of viewing digital content such as iPads and Kindles, as well as on PC or Mac screens.
Whilst I am sure there will be plenty of comments online over the next few days on TMP, WD3 and elsewhere, and I shall be issuing a press release along the lines of this email, I am so busy trying to deal with my predicament that I will not be able to respond on forums.
I fully understand that you are likely to be upset about this news but once again, I can only apologise and assure you that if it had been possible to continue Battlegames in its current form, then I would of course have done so.
Until I have had sufficient responses, I cannot yet determine the viability of continuing either in a revised printed format, or with a digital-only option, but I will of course keep you fully updated as soon as I have a clear idea of the response. I would urge you, if you have not already done so, to sign up for the email newsletter on the home page of the Battlegames website at http://www.battlegames.co.uk which is by far the easiest, quickest and most cost-effective way for me to stay in touch with you.
Previous editions will, of course, remain on sale in the Shop here.
Thank you for reading what has been an extremely difficult message for me to write.
P.S. I am also extremely grateful for your support for the Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal, which has now raised more than £10,000.
In my relatively short time subscribing to Battlegames and communicating with Henry my wargaming life has been considerably enriched. I hope we can all be supportive of Henry and helpful enough to allow things to be straightened out. As Henry says, “I fully understand that you are likely to be upset about this news but once again, I can only apologise and assure you that if it had been possible to continue Battlegames in its current form, then I would of course have done so.”
This just goes to prove that it is important to support the institutions that are important to us whether we do that by shopping at those stores, subscribing to those publications, or telling advertisers we found out about them from a place they support.