Battlegames – A very sad time

As you may well have heard from other sources, Henry Hyde has announced that the print version of Battlegames magazine is to cease publication with immediate effect –

I am sorry to inform you that following a review of the business, I am no longer able to offer a printed version of the magazine in its current format.

It has become clear that for some time now, I have been subsidising the publication, which has been squeezed by increased print costs, increased competition in the wargames magazine market, substantially increased postage and distribution costs and now, a dramatic fall-off in advertisers. To incur further debt by proceeding to print at this point would be completely irresponsible. Whilst you have been patiently awaiting news of issue 27, I have been struggling to come up with solutions to the problem, but it is clear that no simple solution exists.

I blame no-one else for this situation and I apologise for failing you. Six years ago almost to the day, I made the decision to start a company in what I knew was a niche market, and I am proud of what I managed to achieve, but the blunt fact is that I should have recognised the writing on the wall sooner and am now in considerable financial difficulty as a result. I have been operating as a one-man-band in a precarious financial position from the outset, with no fall-back position, and I have paid the price. It is now imperative that I resume my former career in graphic and web design for the time being, as well as my new one in writing, in order to prevent complete financial meltdown.

I am conscious of the support and encouragement that I have had from so many of you over the last five years or more, and this is not a decision that I take lightly. As you know, Battlegames has been very much ‘my baby’ and I’m sure you can imagine my bitter disappointment, but facts are facts.

I am hoping that I can salvage something from the ruins and have already received a couple of suggestions that have potential merit, such as producing a high-quality quarterly journal without advertising, with a higher cover price to compensate for this, but of course it would be crucial that any future printed matter would have to be profitable to make it worthwhile. Producing Battlegames is a highly labour-intensive exercise, and I am no longer in a position to subsidise the publication in any way.

If sufficiently large numbers of current paper subscribers are willing to convert to the digital subscription, then it is possible that Battlegames might be able to live on in electronic format, again probably quarterly, with occasional printed ‘specials’ and additional e-publications of the kind I had been hoping to produce all along. However, I am aware that many of you are not keen on electronic formats, and I fully understand your position. After all, I started Battlegames so that I could have the *printed* magazine that I wanted. If a digital version of Battlegames were to become viable (at present, with just 150 digital subscriptions, it is not), then I would consider redesigning it to optimise the publication for on-screen viewing, taking into account the most popular methods of viewing digital content such as iPads and Kindles, as well as on PC or Mac screens.

Given the parlous state of my finances, the fact is that if you wish to relinquish your subscription to Battlegames, I cannot make refunds at this time. I can, however, offer the following options:

 
  1. Equivalent value in paper copies of previous issues or the Table Top Teasers (issues 1-3 sold out, remainder subject to availability)
  2. Equivalent value in PDF issues, either as downloads or on CD
  3. Equivalent value in digital subscription if viable
  4. You can, of course, decide to waive your outstanding subscription if you wish.


I fully understand that you are likely to be upset about this news but once again, I can only apologise and assure you that if it had been possible to continue Battlegames in its current form, then I would of course have done so.

Until I have had sufficient responses, I cannot yet determine the viability of continuing either in a revised printed format, or with a digital-only option, but I will of course keep you fully updated as soon as I have a clear idea of the response.

 

Please direct your comments and preferences to admin@battlegames.co.uk (or you can simply reply to this email).

Thank you for reading what has been an extremely difficult message for me to write.

Henry

P.S. I am also extremely grateful for your support for the Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal, which has now raised more than £10,000

This is a very sad announcement indeed. Obviously, the last few weeks leading up to this must have been very traumatic for Henry, especially seeing the collapse of a business you have been fighting to keep going for several years – so any sadness on our part about this announcement must be tempered with the knowledge that however we feel , it must be so much worse for Henry.

I first met Henry at Partizan several years ago, when I interviewed him for the Podcast. Since then, he has been a stalwart supporter of the show and has become not only a valued contributor (with View from the Veranda being an incredibly popular show) and advisor, but also a good friend. He is, without doubt, one of the nicest and most upstanding guys I know – a gentleman in the truest sense of the word.

I know Henry has agonised over this announcement,  and is trying his very best to be as fair as possible to all parties in a very difficult situation. I, for one, applaud his openness and candor.

Whilst it may well be possible to Battlegames to live on in digital format, and I know Henry is very keen not to let the magazine die completely, the track record for other magazines going in this direction is not good. Anyone remember Wargames Journal, or Harbinger, for example?

Times, however, have changed. With the growing popularity of e-readers and tablets a full digital version of a magazine is certainly a much more viable option than it used to be.

The reaction to the news across web so far has generally been one of both shock and regret. Many have expressed the opinion that Battlegames is a publication of the highest quality, and shouldn’t be in the position that it is. I agree wholeheartedly with this – but the hard truth is that it’s not gained enough support within the wargaming community to continue. The reasons why escape me, and leaves me feeling somewhat nonplussed, if not downright depressed.

Whatever happens in the next few weeks, I wish Henry all the very best in his future endeavours – he certainly deserves it.

I’ve spoken with Henry, and he has agreed to be interviewed on the podcast in the near future – watch this space for more news.

11 Comments on Battlegames – A very sad time

  1. I was really sadden by this news and while I haven’t had the pleasure to read the magazine the ones I did read really impressed me as it really shows the best sides of our hobby. I hope that the magazine will continue as a digital edition and I for one would most likely get a subscription.

    My best wishes to Henry, I hope you will still be part of the gaming community as he has done a lot of the hobby through the, in my opinion best wargaming magazine.

  2. There are hundreds of posts of sadness and shock about Battlegames but I keep thinking to myself, if you lot had subsribed then this would not have happened.

    • Indeed.
      I had to smile at a posting on one of the threads at TMP, stating that a free-to-download, ad funded magazine was the way to go.
      This attitude pervades the internet – if it’s available as an electronic medium, then somehow it’s not as ‘worthy’ as a physical medium and it should be available for free.

      The trouble is, goodwill doesn’t pay the mortgage…

    • Indeed. And I find myself with a wee twinge of guilt, being one of those – a Battlegames sub was on my list now I have a new job and cosiderably more disposable income.

  3. Paras Sanghvi // November 6, 2011 at 01:28 // Reply

    I wish i had purchased the print version. Henry is a very nice guy, and he does God’s work with Combat stress appeal

  4. As along time supported of Battlegames I was very shocked to see Henry’s announcement. As others have stated it is a quality product but for Henry the economics are had to avoid if he does not ahve enough subscribers and is not on the shelf at WH Smith.

    I have had the pleasure of corresponding with Henry on a couple of occassions had he has been a delight to speak to .

    I hope he is able to keep the magazine going in digital format which I will happily contunie to support.

    Antony

  5. I too was saddened to see the news about Battlegames, but I do want to thank Henry for the quality product he put out and to wish him well in his future endeavors. I look forward to the opportunity to continue my subscription in whatever format henry chooses.

  6. I hope you can get Henry to appear on your podcast (or a new View From The Veranda !). I’d like to hear his comments about going forward – how his book is coming and any other thoughts for the future – let’s look forward, not backward.

  7. I am not familiar with Harbringer, but I think that analogy with Wargames Journal isn’t entirely correct. Wargames Journal tried to suit everybody’s taste and had no profile of its own. Battlegames on the other hand is very much a unique product, which ironically may very well be both its greatest strength and weakness. Being geared toward a subset of people in a hobby that is very small to begin with must be risky. At the same time, after 26 issues, it is a known quantity with established “brand name” and I am convinced that people who like Battlegames for what it is, will continue to buy it, in whatever format it is published. Personally, I never considered buying the printed version, but the PDF:s are perfect for me and I would be willing to pay double the current price of latest digital issue, for the sake of Teasers alone.

  8. This was sad news. Finding BG was one of the best things to happen to me in the hobby. And the only mag I always read cover to cover. I’m hoping a regular digital version can happen and then some Specials in print. I was sooo looking forward to BG27 and the next installment of our Ayton game as well! 🙂

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