A Few Words from Our Sponsors

The Shell Case Forums has officially closed. Sad but necessary for this humble blog to continue on its journey towards world domination. Looking back I realise that the forum was doomed. I had set it up in the early days of The Shell Case, in a rush, so it was something extra I could offer to the few readers I had and essentially build a community. Dave at Miniature Musings of a Bear was instrumental in getting people to join but also came up with the idea of making it a forum for all bloggers to direct their readers to so they could discuss posts. As many will know it was from this idea that I developed The Shell Case Alliance. To begin with I posted regularly on the forum as did Dave and a handful of others but for me it quickly became just a place to post links to blog posts which were taking more and more of my time. Which wasn’t really the point of it.

In the end I hardly ever went on there and if the creator of a forum wasn’t bothered then neither would anyone else. In the days leading up to making the decision to close the forum I tried to find someone willing to take on the responsibility and breathe new life into it. I was ready to give it a face list, buy the URL – the whole shebang – but sadly no one I approached wanted the challenge. Not that I blamed them. And, in truth, with the #warmongers community thriving on Twitter, much of the forum’s work was being done there so it became clear that the forum had to go.

With the closure of the forum it allows me to concentrate fully on making this blog better and bringing more content that you, my lovely readers, want to see which brings me on to the next stage in The Shell Case’s evolution which is sponsorship. Hopefully you would have noticed the bloody great button at the top of the blog. If not, here it is again…

Over the weekend the utterly awesome people at Firestorm Games agreed to sponsor the blog. They, rather flatteringly, see a lot of potential in my site and were excited to support me in growing it further. Needless to say I’ve been overawed and humbled by the faith Rob and the guys have shown in me and I’m equally keen to work with them as I have used Firestorm in the past and they had never let me down. They also have an impressive breadth of range which can only come from having a real passion for what they do and successful business model.

What this sponsorship will mean is I now have an infrastructure behind me what will allow me to review more games, models and rule books than ever before and without the long and sometimes grinding task of contacting the dozens and dozens of wargaming companies out there and seeing if they’d be interested in reviews. Essentially, they’ll be more reviews, more often and covering a much wider range of games and models. And should free up sufficient time for me to pilot the podcast I’ve been working on in the background.

So a touch of sad news but coupled with some truly awesome and exciting news which will hopefully make The Shell Case a better blog to visit, not to mention result in a few more give-aways (huzzah!). And, as always, I wouldn’t have got this far without all the fantastic people who visit my blog everyday. So thank you one and all.

DocBungle in the 21st Century

Not so long ago I asked @JohnnyHawkwind to right a guest blog for The Shell Case for being the first person to vote for its name back in July when I first spawned this unstoppable wargaming juggernaut.

I enjoyed this so much – if for no reason other than it give me another day or so to think of something intelligent/interesting/nonsensical (delete as appropriate) to say – that I’ve decided to make it a regular feature. And who better to get things going than my good friend @DocBungle of Miniature Musings of a Bear who has not only helped me link in with many fine warmongers on Twitter but helped me get The Shell Case forums and the Alliance off the ground.

So without further ado, I give you Mr @DocBungle…

Hello everyone, are we sitting comfortably? No? Tough!
The good ship Shell Case has asked me to bore you all with a guest post, you poor, poor, poor souls…poor… Anyway I racked my brain trying to think of something meaningful and thought-provoking instead I wrote the following…
Wargaming in the 21st century

Back in the annuals of time we see that the only way to communicate with a gaming community beyond your friends was to get your models seen in magazines or going to shows/tournaments or gaming clubs/shops. So I am told, anyway, I am still too young to remember such times…
Now however we have forums/websites left right and centre (and very good one being The Shell Case forums…hint hint) as well as the huge numbers of blogs, online magazines and even gaming tools on your smart phone.
What has this meant to the world of wargaming? Well let’s look at each in turn.
Websites (and the internet as a whole)
This has truly been thebiggest thing to happen to wargaming (and the world I suppose) as now you can find so many small companies peddling their wares, and the advent of online shopping means that it’s easier now to get our grubby (and hairy -TSC) little hands on them. Also you don’t need to be a multi-million pound business to get a game off the ground anymore. Now all you need is an idea people can buy into and of course something shiny for impulse buyers (all gamers).
So what is the downside? Well gaming saturation for one. You will have noticed it is becoming very hard to find unique games out there. New games are coming along all the time but the lines are getting bit more blurred (card mechanisms being popular at the moment). I probably shouldn’t complain with so many great games you can now discover I suppose.
What an amazing idea for an electronic community to share ideas and thoughts about everything related to the particular avenue the forum is for be army specific ones to genre specific ones to general gaming ones.
The downside? I am sure we have all come across nerd rage and fan boy mentalities on forums and can I only assume it is by 11 year olds or people who are lobotomized as they log in (or are the kind of people who live alone surrounded by action figures still in their original packaging – TSC). This is a shame as people can miss out on good discussion threads or ideas when they descend into basically shouting matches. Strong opinions yes but back it up! I will say this is not just on wargaming forums but any public forum it can happen, the curse of the internet hardman…
Well I have a blog and have met others because they also have blogs. So it is another way of extending the community but also sharing ideas outside of a forum environment and is an easy way to show your models if you are any good or if you don’t care (like me). It is also an amazing place to get independent reviews of almost anything.
The downside? They can be hard work to keep going sometimes when you hit gaming burnout and like websites there are so many it can be hard to find the good ones sometimes although word of mouth and blogrolls helps with that.
Online Magazines
These are starting to become popular as it is a great cost saving exercise from the publisher to the reader. They also tend to be independent magazines so cover whatever they wish which helps as I have found interesting miniatures/rule sets from magazines that I hadn’t uncovered via the other areas already mentioned.
While I am here I will also mention electronic rule sets these are also becoming popular due to the advantage mention about online magazines but also the increase in tablets and eReaders. I believe it is only a matter of time before some of the bigger guys start using it as well.
The downside? This is simple to me and is the trade-off you have to deal with, we are generally a tactile bunch as gamers and love holding something in our hands a new book/magazine/model so this is the only downside to. Sure you could print it off but it’s not the same is it where is the shiny and colour (I am cheap so B&W for me).  All I will say is find your happy medium between the 2 and you will be a happy bunny and save the odd bit of money occasionally as well, which keeps the other half sweet.
Smart phones
So we come to the latest gadget in our arsenal the smart phone. Whichever one you prefer they all have apps that can cover nearly everything you could desire to help with wargaming from army builders to dice to scatter apps even rulers can be done although not the best in my opinion. What this means is you could play games with only the rulebook and everything else in your pocket that you carry round all the time.
The downside? Everyone loves throwing dice and comes back to the tactile nature of the hobby. Yes the apps are handy if you are caught short but nothing can replace really dice and flicking through army books can it? 
So there it is my first guest post ever and hopefully it was mildly interesting in some way and don’t worry I am now going to be locked back in my cage and won’t bother you for a while……honest!
A massive thanks to @DocBungle, I’ll sleep soundly tonight. 😉
If you’re interested in being a guest writer on The Shell Case then drop me a line via the contact page.