The Wargaming Compendium became, to my surprise, a best-seller (let's not get carried away, I'm no JK Rowling – miniatures gaming is an extremely niche niche!) and continues to sell steadily in hardback, paperback and ebook formats. I'm incredibly grateful for this, and also for the interest shown in the Shot, Steel & Stone horse and musket era wargames rules it contains. These rules have been used at the giant imagi-nation games played at Ayton which featured in my magazines and on various blogs and their development and expansion continues. There is a Facebook page and group for the rules, and they will feature from time to time in my Patreon posts.
Many wargamers also know me for my support of the Combat Stress charity which cares for veterans of the British armed services suffering from PTSD and other mental illnesses resulting from their service. The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal has been running for several years now, is still active and has, at the time of writing, raised over £25,000 for this important cause. I intend to continue supporting and raising money for the charity indefinitely, so you are likely to see the Appeal featuring in my Patreon content from time to time.
I combine the skills of writer, designer and editor and, nowadays, videographer and podcaster too. I featured alongside Neil Shuck of Meeples & Miniatures fame in our occasional View from the Veranda podcasts, and I show up from time to time on Jay Arnold's The Veteran Wargamer show and Jonathan Reinhardt's Wargaming Recon. I'm also known for my skills as a cartographer, both of simple wargame battlefields and highly detailed maps of fantasy and imagi-nation worlds. I intend to put all these skills to good use to provide high-quality and professional content for my Patreon subscribers.
But the most important thing about Patreon as a model is that, rather like the patrons of the arts of previous centuries, it creates a direct link between you, the consumer, and me, the creator. More than just a financial transaction, it creates a bond, a deeper level of interaction than is possible if you were just buying a magazine off a shelf or a picture off a wall. Your input, suggestions, feedback and requests will be crucial in creating my output, to build a body of work that is satisfying to both of us. Already, in the comments below the blog post where I floated the idea, potential patrons are helping to shape my ideas about what to create, how often and even at what size, such as the length of podcasts and so on. If you have a great idea, let me know and I'll do my best to make it so!
But I suppose the biggest question you might have is: why am I doing this? I've been a wargamer ever since I was a young boy. My father gave me my first toy fort and soldiers in the late 1960s, and when he died in 1971, I discovered 'proper' wargames books written by the likes of Charles Grant and Don Featherstone in the local libraries. Since then, this hobby has been in my blood and I've been involved and highly visible in the industry, helping to promote this wonderful pastime, since 2005.
But the last few years have been a struggle, and like many people, I'm having to be ruthless about what I focus on in order to produce a meaningful income. I'm 56 as I write this, and as a self-employed person I have little to look forward to in the form of pensions or other investments – my business life has been adventurous, yes, exciting, sure, but not very profitable so far. Restarting Battlegames as a print magazine simply isn't possible – been there, done that, still have the scars to prove it! So I'm being forced to make a choice about whether to step out of the hobby spotlight and pursue other career avenues entirely, or see if I can really make a go of providing meaningful and creatively satisfying content to a wide and varied audience via the internet and the multimedia communication channels that it offers. And this, dear friends, is where you come in.
In return for your investment in my passion to create wonderful content for the hobby, you can be assured that my productive focus will have you and your fellow Patreon investors front and centre as I put pen to paper, stylus to tablet or fingers to keypad. If you don't like what I do, you can change your pledge amount or cancel your subscription at any time, so it's to our mutual benefit that I continue to produce work that you like and find entertaining. Unlike a traditional business model, it's much more like a partnership in an exclusive venture, and I want you to accompany me on the journey for the long haul, not the short hop.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. I look forward to welcoming you aboard as a Battlegames Patreon Sponsor at whatever level you feel comfortable and providing you with content you love for many years to come. Please spread the word!
A QUICK NOTE ON DOLLARS AND VAT
DOLLARS: Patreon is a US company, so the currency is shown in US Dollars. At the time of writing, here’s an approximate exchange rate for my UK Patrons >> $1 = £0.71. In today's global village, I hope you’re happy to support me even if USDs aren’t your native currency.
VAT: Due to European Union regulations, Patreon need to charge VAT on pledges made by EU-based Patrons. Therefore, if you live in the EU, please bear in mind that the Reward values will have VAT added. Click here for some more info about it from Patreon.