Like many wargamers I subscribe to numerous Yahoo! groups and they are often helpful and a source of interesting snippets and news. I moderate one such group for the Lance & Longbow Society.
Occasionally, the lists can be chaotic, frustrating and uncomfortable places but in the last week the Yahoo! DBMMlist appears to have gone into meltdown. The catalyst for all this was the “resignations” of Peter Haines and Chris Robinson; both well known members of the UK DBMM community.
On Tuesday, 16th June Peter announced his withdrawal from the UK open tournament circuit in his final post to the DBMMlist:
“I was just in the middle of fashioning a reply to Mr [X’s] latest bit of smug argumentative ignorance when I realised that I really couldn't be bothered ...”
“I have enjoyed the tournaments ... However I have decided that my time is better spent elsewhere.”
“The last straw for me was expending a lot of time on a test at the behest of a designer who lacks the basic manners to respond to the findings. I find this inexcusably rude.”
“I have tried to be friendly and positive since returning to competitive wargaming but this forum has consistently sucked the fun and hope out of it.”
“It will be interesting to see where the prognosticator's wisdom leads the game … to pick a good route you need to be able to read a map, many of the [DBMMlist members] … seem to think they can just make one up.”
Chris announced his decision the following day:
“… after Ascot earlier this year I … decided that Derby 09 would be my last DBMM competition.”
“The fact is that DBMM will never be more than a minority set of ancient wargaming rules because those responsible for its development DO NOT really care for it to become anything else. Furthermore, this forum has directly contributed to this situation and on balance has probably done more harm than good.”
I’ve pointed out the limitations of the DBMMlist before. Judging from the 100+ posts that followed Chris & Peter’s posts it looks like lots of other people are reaching similar conclusions.
On the positive side it has provided some wonderful comments which, despite the circumstances, are really entertaining if only in a perverse way. Here are a few of my favourites:
“Mr Barker does not respond much to me either, I usually frame the responses and mark the calendar.” William Coughlan
“For me, of our two mainstream games, FOG is like McDonalds, slickly presented but ultimately unfulfilling while DBMM is like a form of extreme dining, initially exciting but after a while you wonder why it has to be so hard and [whether] is it truly worth the effort.” Andrew Bennett
“Better still, how about everyone just leav[ing] all the abuse out. When people start picking up their toy (soldiers) and stomping home things have got way out of hand.” John Edmundson
If I come across any more gems I’ll add them later.