2015...my 50th year and a pretty awesome one from an ASL perspective. Back in 2011, I first started this blog with absolutely no clue where I was headed and what I wanted to accomplish with it...if anything. My first blog posts were simple, dull...pretty uninteresting when I look back on them.
I was inspired by the awesome miniature wargame bloggers and astonished by the quality of both their content and the volume of their readership. Their community is amazingly vibrant, supporting a huge number of bloggers. And their visitor counts are off the charts...500,000 visits on this site, 400,000 on that site and usually they have 100 to 400 followers. Amazing!!! So what makes their community different from ours???
I have pondered that question for quite some time. As ASL players we are fiercely competitive...and that is no less true of blogging. I wanted to compete with those top notch miniature bloggers. But how...??
One of the very best miniature blogger sites out there is Wargaming with Silver Whistle. I highly recommend a visit, if you have not had the privilege to see it. You won't be disappointed.http://wargamingwithsilverwhistle.blogspot.com/
And when you scroll through a blog like this...it suddenly hits you as to why these blogs and their community is perhaps more active and vibrant than say the ASL community.
The difference was/is right in front of me the whole time. It's the pictures...miniatures...modeling. I suddenly grasped that a key part of miniatures gaming is the modeling, painting, terrain building and showcasing of one's creations. Wargaming itself, was just one component of miniatures gaming and often the least blogged about part. It was the "EYE CANDY" of the incredible battlefield layouts, the beautifully painted miniatures. The terrain, so realistic, you were transported to Normandy, Tarawa, Waterloo...or Breed's Hill. ASL is a board game...not much opportunity for eye candy.
I pondered the issue for quite some time and my blog continued to kind of plod along. I had begun adding a historical picture to the beginning of my AAR's, but there was still something lacking...that ASL has more any other game....a story...a narrative...a way of retelling the game one player to another that is thrilling to hear, to relive and makes you want to dive in and play a game. You know the stuff that happens in OUR HEADS!
ASL plays out in our heads, every bit as much as it does on the game board. Our game doesn't have elaborate terrain boards, perfectly modeled tanks and figures. But it has an engaging and exciting STORY!! And frankly, beats out any miniatures game in that category.
But how to tell the story in a way that makes the average ASL game jump off the screen at the reader? That was the question I hadn't yet answered for myself. But in 2014, something magical happened. The PEGASUS BRIDGE CG happened as Chris Brackney (aka Big Kansas) and I spent that year engrossed in what stands as the greatest ASL experience of my life. From February to September, we played out the entire Coup de Main CG. And in the process, my blog grew to adulthood as I blogged each of our CG turns and added the story elements, which would become my stock and trade.
The Pegasus Bridge CG had helped me find my blogging voice and tell a story that would make the pictures of the map come to life. Because...really...how many pictures of an ASL game in progress can you look at it...before you say..."yep...I've seen board 41 and yep...I've seen the counters before..." But when you combine that image with action, with historical pictures related to that action (in as much as is possible) and add the emotions experienced by the players...well then just maybe the narrative begins to flow and convey the excitement, the tension and the just plain fun that makes ASL the world's greatest WWII Tactical Board Game.
Yes, I admit...it took me a bit of time to finally get this blog rolling and I have to acknowledge the other great bloggers, whose work has and continues to inspire me on a daily basis -- you will find their links below the opening page of this blog. I look forward to reading and supporting their blogs in 2016 and hope that you will as well.
So in closing...thank you to each and every one of my followers, visitors and dedicated blog readers. Your support makes this blog a labor of love. Here's to 2016...may it be a great year of ASL for us all.
And may it be a wonderful year for you and your families!
See you next year!