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Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Captain Oates and the AMG.

                                 The sacrifice of Captain Lawrence Oates.

One of the chief attractions of being involved in Wargaming for me is the social aspect that is necessary to really enjoy this wonderful hobby. I am not going to detract from Solo Wargaming, because if that's what a wargamer enjoys, then so be it.But usually they solo game because its difficult to find an opponent to battle against.
 But for me, its good to talk and meet face to face with a like minded group of wargamers intent on enjoying the experience. So when the opportunity arose several years ago, to join a new Wargames forum after I had purchased the book An Amateur Military Gentleman by John Ray and Tim Hall, I thought why not.
 The book, a large tome full of wonderful images of John Ray's personally sculpted Seven Years War figures in 30mm painted by my friend Dave Jarvis is fairly pricey, but if the SYW and wonderful figures ticks the boxes then it is a bargain. [Check out Henry Hyde's review.]
  So through the AMG Forum I became fortunate to be in contact and eventually meet some new and interesting wargamers who were as enthusiastic as me.
 I was also privileged enough to meet up with some of the members who were for me, household names in the hobby.
So all was rosy in my Wargames World.
 The forum contained many images of the members collections, there was discussions about military history, rules, advice etc.It also naturally contains images of the amazing collection of John Ray, who was the host/ general manager of the Forum.
 However throughout the period I was a member [ you know where this is going reader ] John would regularly comment that if you didnt regularly visit the site, and generally participate in the posts frequently enough, you risked losing your access and membership.
 I was advised by a fellow member, if I had nothing to comment upon then I should just click the like button, or leave a few platitudes on the pages and one would be okay. Slightly unusual, but an effective way to keep on the forum.
 Now against my better judgement I went along with this, 'Great Unit'  [ which they would invariably be ] 'Like, click.'
 And as the months have gone by, the membership of the Forum shrank and the posts began to become intermittent. Still it was nice to stay in touch with some great people, and to be honest I never gave it too much thought as I love being involved in the hobby, so it would be inevitable I would visit the forum very regularly, even if I didnt want to make a comment.
   Anyway a couple of weeks ago John Ray posted that he intended to shrink the membership again and effectively cull some members who hadn't visited an acceptable number of times. [ I am paraphrasing the actual post]
 Now being a wargaming saddo I knew I was 'safe' but I can also be an awkward so and so at times and to be honest I wasnt happy with what was effectively another ultimatum, for what is my hobby.It is meant to be an enjoyable hobby, an escape, not a duty.
  To cut a long story short [ish] I offered to fall on my sword and posted my Captain Oates offer, cull me and not some other member who may have had a valid reason not to have posted etc the required number of times.
 So this week the cull took place on the AMG Forum. John kindly informed me 'That I was okay for now.' and he had ignored my serious offer.
 This was duly followed by Jim Purky's announcement on his blog Fife and Drum that he had been victim of the said cull. Now Jim is not a personal friend [I wish ] but is a very well respected American wargamer who has promoted the SYW wargaming hobby for many years, apart from selling a lovely range of AWI and SYW figures.
 I made the mistake of commenting on the expulsion on Jim's blog and also made the faux pas of saying I was unhappy with things as they stood with the AMG.
 Well me and my big mouth, I can only assume John Ray was monitoring the blogs of newly departed members, because it would appear that my offer has now been accepted by John and I am a member of the AMG Forum no more.
  It is John's Forum, it is his book and he obviously is very protective of all things concerned with his book and figures. That is his prerogative.
 I would like however to thank all the members, both current and ex that I have conversed with, met and probably annoyed. It has been 'emotional' to quote Vinny Jones.
 And to John Ray, I hope you continue to make wonderful figures and I hope your select group prosper.
 Meanwhile I think I'll get my toys out [ and not throw them out of the pram as it were]

 [Editing this post, I cringe at how pathetic the whole thing sounds. Still if one doesn't put away childish things when one grows up, you probably remain a child at heart]
   













32 comments:

  1. Well at least you were warned of it coming .. my access was removed without any notification ... I am still smarting from paying a deposit for a summer games weekend where I could not communicate with people who were going.

    A great personal project it may be for John , but a strange way to encourage people into the niche period ... I.e put them off



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    1. Dave,
      Ive paid the FULL amount my friend, communications should be interesting, and to be honest I feel like throwing the toys out of the pram except it would be cutting my nose off to spite my face. I think Ive overdone the cliches somewhat.

      Delete
  2. Think my membership lapsed when I lost my password and he didn't reply to my request for a new one, can't say I miss the group and with the recent "night of the long knives" think I'm well out of it . Feel sorry for those who did want to remain in the group .

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    Replies
    1. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

      Delete
  3. Seems quite Draconian in measure. I wonder the motive for having such a heavy hand with membership? Sounds like you may be better off. This is a hobby not a compulsory task.

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    Replies
    1. Jonathan,
      I really cant speak for John Ray, perhaps his standards were just to high for mere mortals.

      Delete
  4. On to greener pastures squire. Avanti!

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  5. Robbie, it'll be a great weekend. just hope you're not in the broom cupboard again ;-)

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  6. I'm pretty ambivalent about whether I get culled. Ive made all the contacts I could hope for so....

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  7. Im pleased to see you are becoming more active in your posts etc. And yes onwards and upwards.

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  8. This is what I have really struggled with, wargaming and the forums to support the hobby, shouldnt be a loyalty test. If something interests you then join in, if it doesnt why should you have to feign interest.

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  9. Colin,
    Will the weekend be made up of culled ex members or paid up loyalists? Will we run the risk of loyalists reporting back on who said what about whoever?

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    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Naaaa. It'll be just a group of old blokes playing with their little men, drinking beer and having a great time!

      Delete
  10. I left the forum today Robbie, and am still in touch with Stuart because I'm definitely going to the June event. You better be there too you old git! Dave H :)

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    Replies
    1. Well I see your manners havent improved T###. By the way I understand that Mr Ray is unhappy if the weekend remains titled as a AMG weekend.

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  11. If I can make the necessary airplane and lodging arrangements I would be able to attend after all.

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    Replies
    1. Jim,
      Your Dollars go further nowadays you know.It would be an honour to finally meet you. Oh and the crack is very good, well at the start of the day it is anyway.

      Delete
  12. Reading between the lines I wonder if perhaps the forum owner is fed up with having to moderate and manage a forum and is looking for easiest way to remove the admin chore?? either way - I wans't a member, but I know kind of how you feel - I had the same issue with the old "Old School Wargaming" yahoo group - a fantastically vibrant group full of like minded gamers, and then the forum admin started throwing his weight around and it's gone from 7-800 posts month then, to 15 now...

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    Replies
    1. Steve,
      You would think so, but since the culling has been happening since the inception, and was also made clear right from the start, I dont think so.I understand thats just the way John is.

      Delete
  13. Robbie, not that it matters any more IIRC he has mentioned a few times about wondering if the forum had run its course.

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  14. Robbie,sorry mate,but you've been thrown out of our club too!!
    Again,are you going to Carronade next week??
    johnc(william)

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    Replies
    1. Well thanks very much John, but Ive been thrown out of better clubs than yours. I was asked to leave Wrekenton WMC once.

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    2. You're making a habit of this as iirc you were chucked off the Durham Wargames Yahoo group as well! Lol

      Delete
  15. I too was a victim of the recent thinning of the herd. I think John may have tossed every member who was located in the States.

    About two weeks ago, I gained re-admittance to the AMG Forum, made between 40-50 posts during that time, and then.... The axe fell. But Robbie, it was perfectly fine as I was uncomfortable with where the forum was heading. It was no longer a forum for purchasers of the book. It was now John's private forum, and it simply wasn't the same. Still, I wish all the remaining members nothing but the very best.

    Happy gaming.

    Bill

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    Replies
    1. Bill,
      Exactly....There were signs right from its inception that it would head that way. What initially seemed to be about a shared interest in the SYW period, and wargaming quickly became something else. John's figures are great, and when painted by Dave Jarvis and flagged by Mark Allen become wonderful but very expensive toys.Well out of the price range of mere normal people. Although if I had the cash I would probably get something similar. I dont however subscribe to slavish admiration and the constant need to praise. When rules are introduced that such and such a range of figures cannot be allowed is a red line for me.Basically Im a sucker for all wargames figures. I only wish I had known about the 'ban' on Spencer Smith figures, I would have walked there and then.

      Delete
  16. Been there done that, got chopped, very sad. I also was uneasy with the tone of the management. More Sun King than Glorious Revolution...

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    Replies
    1. Never thought of it like that, but I fully understand.

      Delete
  17. Robbie, not that it matters any more IIRC he has mentioned a few times about wondering if the forum had run its course.



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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
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