Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thank you, Alan Poulter

In a recent news update from CSW, I was disheartened to learn that Alan Poulter, who ran the site for twenty years has decided to step down as webmaster. I want to say that web-grognards was boardgamegeek before there was a boardgamegeek, but I don't have my facts straight to back up such a claim. I can say, however, that web-grognards was a place for wargamers long before we were welcome on boardgamegeek.

I first encountered site way back when I was a young teacher in 1994 or 1995. It was in the heady early days of the internet and it was powerful - in the site's primitive text-based format - to see that there was a community of wargamers out there, that I was not alone.

The site really was a database, very much the way that boardgamegeek is a database today. But this database was for wargames. It was hard to navigate. It was not particularly well organized (for instance, reviews, replays and variants were almost haphazardly placed in game's listing). There were even some games on there that didn't seem like wargames and some surprising exclusions. But it was awesome. Derk has described unlimited access to BGG as "trying to sip water through a firehose." That's what web-grognards was for me. I was gladly sipping through the firehose.

I could never get the contest. I spent most of my time working through the alpha listing of the database or clicking somewhat randomly on the many options available for the site. I registered for the opponent finder sites (to this date, no opponent has "found me" this way, although I did find one or two short term opponents). I searched the  facebook myspace geocities-style pages that it linked to and found, many times, the first steps toward finding extremely useful information. I'm pretty sure it was where I found my 90's gaming obsessions, including ACTS, AboveTheFields, and The Diplomatic Pouch. And I'm pretty sure that's where I first discovered that the World Boardgaming Championships exist (forgive me if I didn't understand yet that it was more con than sporting event - my first trip I expected to be a spectator!).

So, passes to a new webmaster. I have to admit that CSW and BGG take up almost all of my wargame surfing these days. But I just want to thank Alan Poulter for all of his hard work. I learned that other people played games, that they loved the hobby enough to obsess about it, and that I could read their obsessive collections, creations and writings.

So, Alan, thanks again...

No comments:

Post a Comment