April 2, 2011

Goodbye TMP

Recently I noticed the editor of The Miniature Page posted a poll, "Rate Republic to Empire". This sort of thing is meat and potatoes for websites and forums - I've run the occasional poll here. However, for some reason Bill Armintrout chose to start his poll with this...

Writing in the June issue of Miniature Wargaming, authors Bob Barnetson and Bruce McFarlane reached this conclusion about Republic to Empire:
...the gaming experience is simply awful.

My issue is not with the poll, or indeed, with any comments posters might make, but with the editor himself. I have sent him the following letter...

Hi, Bill.

My name is Clarence Harrison and I am one half of the team that created Republic to Empire and I'd like to know why you chose this quote from an article in Miniature Wargames for the one liner in your poll...

    ...the gaming experience is simply awful.

I'm writing to let you know I don't appreciate this. The game has been reviewed in Wargames Illustrated, Battlegames, and Soldiers & Strategy as well - all with positive results.

Charles Grant wrote this about Republic to Empire...

“The superb presentation and wonderful pictures might lead the casual observer to believe that Republic to Empire is the equivalent of a coffee table book -  a visual spectacle to be admired. And so they should be but there is far more than that! The rules are very well researched, clearly explained and most importantly eminently payable. They are admirably suited to big battles but also to smaller games. Barry has introduced mechanisms designed to reduce the all seeing and instantly reactive abilities of the wargamer while rewarding initiative and forward thinking. This development really does help to reflect the realities of the tactical battlefield of the time. Suffice to say that this is not just another set of Napoleonic rules – it represents a real step forward in reflecting Napoleonic warfare on the wargame table.”

As a result of your poll I see so far that 140+ have voted they have 'never heard of it' (which seems strange to me since it has been the subject of numerous threads on TMP), so their introduction to the rules is your one line. The authors who rendered that quote tried one game on a 4x4' table.

This is the SECOND time you've started a thread with this quote (link) and my partner and the author of the book placed his response there, though this was to the reviewers not to you. I'm not speaking for him now, but I am removing the link to your page from my site which has been there for ten years. Not a big deal for you since TMP draws far more traffic than I do, but from now on when I'm on some of the other forums I frequent and people ask' "Did you see the thread on TMP about..." my answer is "I don't go there any more."

I'm off to remove my link to TMP from Quindia Studios. It's a shame, really, because I LIKE the news page. My main issue is with the forums which frequently seem to bring out the worst in some of our fellow wargamers. Here is one of the most recent gratuitous and pointless threads which is typical of the kind of thing you find on TMP. From now on, you can find me here or on one of these forums...

Fighting Talk
Steve Dean's Painting Forum
Lead Adventure Forum


  1. TMP really is the "Jerry Springer Show" of miniature gaming. I don't really use it for hard information on products as the viewpoints get driven to extremes by the 30 or so constant posters who appear everywhere. I think it could be a much better tool for the hobby if it was in the hands of a better more commercial administrator.

  2. I agree, very poorly handled on their part. The drama on TMP is very frustrated. Hang in there.

  3. Clarrie - I'm sorry you and Barry Hinton have been treated so shabbily by TMP. I've seen the amount of time and talent you've poured into RtE and have heard (and seen) only good things about it. What TMP did was completely unprofessional but unfortunately, you're not the first and won't be the last to suffer on that forum. Hang in there and go your own road - the quality of what you do will see you through. TMP - who needs 'em?


  4. A very poor show from TMP. You were quite right to complain and to remove the link from your site.



  5. I've found myself spending less and less time reading posts on TMP. The tiresome and incessant carping has become tedious and annoying. Ask for advice and you get polar extremes, ranging from mindless fan boys to the reflexive nit pickers and few, if any objective comments will be had. Bravo to you! Stand your ground.

  6. Yes TMP can be extreme in division with the annoying immature comments that are common as muck.

    Keep up the great work for the hobby.


  7. I think you made the right decision. I have often wondered why anyone goes to TMP for reviews at all? The basis of many reviewers disliking anything can usually be summed up as:

    1.no time ground scale therefore it’s for children
    2. even GW could have done better!
    3. the coffee table book paradigm - it's pretty = therefore rubbish “I remember when rules were inscribed with naked mole rat urine mixed with coal and onto sheets of untanned calf skin we had to pay 3/5 of a farthing and then our dad murdered us in our sleep and those rules were still 1000 times better!

    In short they like what they like and that's it. I actually prefer reviews by Meeples and Miniatures and TotalWargamer BlogSpot as they can be pretty demanding but they always highlight the good points.

    @jmilesr "TMP really is the "Jerry Springer Show" of miniature gaming" This is a title reserved solely for Frothers Unite UK in my opinion.

    Andrew NZ

  8. An editor of any open forum media needs to be impartial or will only attract those who agree with the leanings of the impartial editor. it would appear that TMP is going the way of a certain news mogul over this side of the pond.

  9. I agree with you Clarence, seems as though this is to often the case on TMP where people who conribute to the hobby get beat up. Keep up the good work, I will always visit your site. Thanks

  10. I totally sympathize with your decision and can understand why you've taken your link off, but might this hurt the people who do like the rules and could/maybe be interested in them. I know you've got this site and your always on LOA site, if gamers need to contact you, But it may hamper newcomers to the rules who don't know about what's going on and your links to the other sites. TMP is one of the first sites people use to gather info, and to take links off could cause damage to your reputation and pocket. Just my opinion!
    By the way I'm really looking forward to BlB2

  11. Wow you guys on the Nap pages really now how to go for "it", just never quite can get what "it" exactly is, lots written and posted about "it" though.

    I doubt I could have lasted more than two days of that tripe, hang tough big feller you will do fine.


  12. Thanks, guys. There are other fans of our rules who still brave the forums of TMP, I just won't be one of them.

    Again, it's not criticism of a rules that was the problem. We publish the kind of game we enjoy and they aren't for everyone. My problem is with the underhanded move of the editor which was completely unnecessary for his poll.

  13. Use TMP mainly to see what the latest releases are and that's about it. I don't bother with the commentary very often. Sad to hear of the mistreatment you guys received.
    Frothers is similar to TMP, but I've noticed if you keep it civil then most the others do as well.
    As for myself I spend most my time on the blogs and then WAB,LAF and SD forums.
    I for one really like your miniatures and appreciate the extra effort you take it and are happy your still going strong.


  14. Well put.

    I'd be very interested in hearing what the editor of TMP has to say about this if you get a reply.

    There still seems to be a reactionary section of the wargames community that makes the assumption that well presented rules with lots of wargames porn are an automatic no-no.


  15. No reply from the editor at this time... not holding my breath.

  16. Upside, I had another look at the SD forum and took up the baton. Second time in as many weeks i had heard the forum recomended, got to be something to it.


  17. TMP really is akin to an unruly school yard. It seems to bring out the inflated egos, personal agendas and rivalries that then hide behind the anonymity of the 'net. Where some people get their history and viewpoints/biases from is a marvel to me. It is a tragedy that some very knowledgable people have been hounded off of TMP. Their input has been lost to the detriment of TMP.

    I fully understand your stand Clarence.

    I check TMP mainly for the news angle but maybe Tabletop GamingNews www.tabletopgamingnews.com/ could fulfill this function.

    von Peter himself

  18. Got a reply...

    > My name is Clarence Harrison and I am one half of the team that created Republic to Empire and I'd like to know why you chose this quote for the one liner in your poll...
    > ...the gaming experience is simply awful.

    Because I thought the review was particularly harsh, and I wanted to provide an opportunity for TMP readers to provide a fairer assessment via the poll system.

    > This is the SECOND time you've started a thread with this quote...

    That's because that topic is what initiated the poll - that's how the system works on TMP, first the post, then the poll.

    - Bill Armintrout, editor
    The Miniatures Page

  19. So what's that supposed to mean then??

  20. I think it follows the principle used by the vanquished at the end of WW2.

    I am usually the 'Mr Angry' of the pair but Clarence's slicing eloquence is contrasted sharply with the jelly like banality of the response...

    Mr Armintrout seems to play to a gallery of idiots who post to get their post count up..

    I recall from 30 years back Billy Connolly's priceless retort to a heckler in a theatre where he was doing his stand up routine..

    "You should get an agent pal, why sit in the dark handling yourself?"

    And so it goes in the lonely bunkers of the TMP serial posters :)