Category Archives: News

Tuesday Newsday Roundup – 7/31

TuesdayNews SPLASH

A new weekly whirlwind of wargaming ~

GrogHeads Newsdesk, 31 July 2018

This week in gaming and random cool stuff, as we check out something neat from around the gaming world

Something cool that was just released this past week:

Compass Games just dropped Russia Besieged on us!  Refight the entire scope of the Eastern Front from ’41-’45 (or beyond, if you’re really good…) at the army/corps level. The artwork is stunning, and Compass Games’ production values are always stellar.

Forum Database Trouble!

Error SPLASH

Crap!  We blew up our database! ~

GrogHeads Newsdesk, 13 July 2018

Apparently the Russian hacker disapproved of the latest episode of Dragon Up The Past and they took down our forum database.  Either that, or our YUUUUUUGE fanbase has posted so many messages that we blew up the server.  Go with whichever one makes you feel better 🙂

Meanwhile, you can always just use the comment area below this post to continue to discuss and/or commiserate.

Or hit our Facebook page.

Or our Twitter feed.

Or you could, y’know… go play a game!


UPDATE 2245 EDT 7/13

We got an alert from GoDaddy at approximately 1645 today that the database for our forums exceeded the size limit for our hosting plan.  About 60% of that limit is the table in that holds all of your posting history, so it’s not a lot of fluff.

Of course we get this alert 15 minutes before the curtain comes down on the work week on the East Coast, and as everyone is already bailing out of work with visions of beer & wargames dancing in their heads.

Now, when this happened, we were only about 5% over the DB limit and well within the capabilities of SMF’s own internal maintenance tools of paring the error logs, backup files, etc. to bring us within compliance.  But we’d had our write-access completely shut off, which meant no one was able to log in at all (because each login writes a login event).  So not was our admin team locked out, but the database continued to balloon as you – our loyal fans – kept trying to log in and get errors when SMF was telling you that you were locked out (each failed login writes an error).

We shot up almost 1/2 GB in 3 hours thanks to all y’all GrogHeads-addicted forum geeks.

But we still couldn’t get into our forum to do anything.

Our next plan was to create and download a backup of the DB, and then attempt to manually edit the SQL tables using GoDaddy’s built-in web access.  Of course, that was right when the server threw an Apache error, and what was normally a 10 minute process dragged on to 80 minutes before GoDaddy shut it down and restarted it.

We manually edited the database, and go down from 155% of our capacity limit to 40% of that limit, but we still couldn’t get in, because even though we got below the size limit, we’re still hitting the threshold on rows within the database.

Worse, GoDaddy wouldn’t even allow access to the DB for our team to even try to run the built-in SMF maintenance tools.  After 85 minutes on the phone, we finally found someone who would let us get into the system and run those SMF maintenance tasks.

At this point, we’re online, but honestly not sure for how long.

And we’re still on GoDaddy right now, but honestly not sure for how long.


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>

Connections 2018 Announcement

This year’s professional wargaming conference ~

GrogHeads Newsdesk, 15 May 2018

This year’s professional wargaming conference, Connections, is being held at Ft McNair in Washington, DC 17-20 July.

Click to enlarge the flyer below for details.


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>

Some Thoughts on Kickstarter Financial Benefits and Risks

Is the risk worth the reward? ~

Avery Abernethy, 27 February 2018

Kickstarter has provided significant start-up funds for many gaming projects. Pillars of Eternity raised almost $4 million dollars. The 7th Edition of Call of Cthulhu raised over $561,000 and many smaller PC, boardgame, and tabletop games raised enough money to fund their project. But for individuals, funding a kickstarter game project is fraught with risk. There are no guarantees that a funded project will be completed either on time or ever. Kickstarter itself does not guarantee that projects are legitimate or that they will be completed. There are a number of horror stories about funded Kickstarter projects which never completed their project and ultimately returned nothing to backers.

From a financial perspective, how can you decide if contributing to a Kickstarter Campaign is a good bet? I’ve recently helped fund a couple of kickstarter projects after overcoming extraordinary levels of apprehension. I’ve got a few thoughts on how to consider a decision to fund a Kickstarter game project.

 

The Unavoidable Risk Is Huge

Even a casual reading of Kickstarter’s legal language shows Kickstarter itself does not stand behind any funded project in any way. They do not promise that a funded project will be: competed; completed on time; or completed in a manner consistent with the project’s promotion. Kickstarter’s policies have been tested in US courts. Legally, if you pay into a funded Kickstarter project and the project fails, your only recourse is suing people responsible for the individual Kickstarter project. Good luck collecting from a failed funded project. If an individual or a company does not have any assets, you will not collect anything even with successful lawsuit. The conclusion I draw from this is pretty simple. Don’t fund a Kickstarter project if you are unable to accept the risk of losing 100% of your pledge.

 

RIP Dr James Cobb (April 6, 1950 – January 18, 2018)

A prolific and renowned voice has left the wargaming world ~

Brant Guillory, 16 February 2018

It is rare that the chroniclers of an industry transcend the creators to make a name for themselves, becoming a ‘brand’ on par with the best talent in their field.  The best comparison might be Roger Ebert, who is as famous for his critiques of the movie industry as any filmmakers except the single-named ones (Spielberg, Lucas, Scorsese, etc).

Dr James Cobb was that man for the strategy gaming world.

In his decades of writing about the wargaming world, with reviews, after-action reports, strategy guides, and even advice on using games for teaching, Dr Cobb’s meticulous detail, coupled with an accessible voice, informed and guided (tens of) thousands of purchases for strategy gamers of all stripes.

Equally adept at reviewing traditional tabletop games, miniatures wargames, and digital games – including mobile ones – each new article from his desk was greeted by fans as a must-read for their level of detail and sophistication, while also being hailed just downright enjoyable to read.  His years of experience as a player shone through in the easy way in which he was able to highlight the strengths of a game, accurately describe its shortcomings, and (most importantly) pinpoint the type of gamer most likely to enjoy a particular title, even if he personally did not.

James Cobb was a prolific writer who graced the pages of print magazines like Computer Gaming World, websites like GrogHeads.com, and outlets that planted feet in both worlds like Armchair General.  It is a testament to his work that he elevated the quality of every outlet for which he wrote, and also a mark of his nose for an intelligent and receptive audience that while churning out articles at a prodigious rate, he focused their distribution through the best outlets that strategy gaming had to offer (and yes, cue the inevitable joke about slumming it with us!).

He understood how battles could shape history and why it was important to learn their lessons.

James Zabek, Dr Cobb’s editor at several of his online outlets, noted that “James was a grognard’s grog. He believed that wargames should inform, and should do so with fidelity to history. He had a brilliant mind which was brimming with with a rare concoction that only fellow wargamers can appreciate: history, war, and the written word. He understood how battles could shape history and why it was important to learn their lessons. As his editor for many years I was privileged to see first-hand not only how well he understood history, but also how well he was able to communicate it. The reviews he turned in were focused like a laser on how well a game held up as an instrument for learning, and his writing was a joy to read and edit. Editors commonly have a few tweaks and corrections for any article. James wrote in the rarefied air of writers who were able to turn in articles that required no changes.”

Dr Cobb was born in April of 1950, within days of his beloved wife.  He was educated both in the US and in Germany, graduating from the university in Marburg, to go with his PhD in German Literature earned stateside.  It would come as no surprise that his line forum monikers bore a distinct Prussian flavor – Bismarck here at GrogHeads and other outlets, but Moltke on some as well.  Dr Cobb was hospitalized with a severe case of the flu in mid-January, and passed away shortly later.  His wife Angela tragically followed him to the afterlife within the week.

As word of Dr Cobb’s passing spread, several online threads sprang up at some of the larger strategy gaming sites to share their thoughts and condolences, including here at GrogHeads.  It should be clear from outpouring of both shock and support that no one saw this coming, and Dr Cobb’s contributions to the strategy gaming community will be sorely missed.

Godspeed, James, and one day we’ll share a drink on Fiddler’s Green.


Chat about it below, or in our forums, or hit our FaceBook page >>