IMPORTANT SITE NOTICE - The END TIMES are here!

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27 Apr 2018 11:59 - 27 Apr 2018 12:00 #272034 by Michael Barnes
Some of you have noticed a few changes going on here at F:AT- forums moving around, fonts changing, unexpected errors, social media icons, Shellie posting more than once a year, and so forth. These are the signs of the End Times. Fortress: Ameritrash is coming to an end.

You read that right. Matt, Shellie, Christopher (Mad Dog), and I - along with our other "staff" members - have made the decision to retire the Fortress: Ameritrash name and relaunch the site as There Will Be Games. Games are the blood of this site, and the title hearkens back to a time in our history when I think we were really at our best here. And it references an awesome piece of media OUTSIDE of the games medium. I didn't suggest it, Shellie did, but I think it's perfect.

This decision is final and binding. This post is not intended to spark a discussion about if we should/should not do this, the value of the "Ameritrash" term, the loss of our storied history, or anything like that. It's done, and it will be happening over the next couple of months. It's time to move on. The end result is going to be a better, refreshed, and newly relevant site that we hope will bring in new readers and provide our writers with a great platform for daily content.

You read that right. Daily content. Like, on the front page and everything.

Here's what happened. When I was in France, I got a call from the president of Miniature Market. Apparently, MM believes that video and audio podcasts are the future and that they are the new Dice Tower. So rather than pay my team for written reviews, they want to add more podcasts. This is in spite of recent satisfaction surveys they've run where we had MANY folks stating that they preferred the written reviews. So my whole team was cut, with only Charlie and Raf remaining to continue their Ding & Dent show.

So I thought about starting up a new site because I firmly believe that there is a need for a high quality games writing site. I talked with the Review Corner team and they mostly wanted to continue on working as we have for the past three years. I wanted to keep them together because I think Charlie and I have put together a really great group of writers, and that is not easy to do at a time when "games content" means "podcast" almost by default. I started mulling how to get a new site up and running and it hit me- "why not just bring this team back 'home' with me to F:AT"?

But there were problems with doing that, starting with "Fortress: Ameritrash". Folks, I hate to break it to you but Ameritrash is OVER. The term is effectively meaningless for at least two GENERATIONS of game players. People coming into the hobby today likely have no clue what the term means, or why it mattered...like, ten years ago. It's now irrelevant. But don't cry, because we won. Look at the hobby today. There are things that WE did, things that WE wrote and said and did, that I strongly believe changed the course of gaming, and especially the way people write and talk about games.

However, I realized that if Fortress:AT is to continue as something more than a private clubhouse for a couple dozen people, we had to make a change. And if I were going to bring 12 writers to a new site and promise them readership and possibly even compensation, then it could not be at a site that has an irrelevant, out of date, and exclusive niche title. So that would have to change.

I pitched the idea of bringing on these writers to provide actual professional-level, daily content to the site and to change the name to the other site runners, and the decision was not only unanimous, the prospect of refreshing the site sparked an energy and a drive for working together that we have not experienced since this site's heyday, which was years in the past. We are talking and thinking together about how to improve what we offer here not just to you folks that have been here for a substantial percentage of your lives, but also to the larger hobby world out there.

Many things will not be changing. Nothing is being removed or deleted. Pete Ruth II will not be banned for his John Mayer comments. The core values and principles of this site remain as they always were from the day over a decade ago that Matt sent me a Geekmail message asking if I wanted to get something going. We will continue to offer unique, uncompromising, insightful, and irreverent criticism, analysis and commentary. We will continue to let Black Barney post movie reviews. The forums will continue to be a hangout spot for all of us, and we expect to even have a closed-to-the-public area for legacy F:ATties so that we can maintain our close relationships in a private community. We will not suddenly be covered up in ads or slinging endless Kickstarter previews.

Most importantly, your accrued F:ATpoints balances will not be impacted.

What will be changing are things that are across the board positive gains. Daily content, along with MUCH improved social media integration will keep us reading and talking. My writing team, which I will be supervising as the site's Editor-in-Chief, will bring in new readers and viewpoints covering the broad spectrum of the tabletop experience. We expect to promote and market the site more broadly, and offer contests and other promotions. You can expect better organization, better content, and more engagement. Josh is bringing back his podcast, too, so we will have a little nod to modernity there. The URL will be changing to ThereWillBe.Games, but FortressAT.com will redirect to it indefinitely.

We have not determined a monetization strategy yet, but we are weighing some options which may include Patreon donations either for the individual writers, the site as a whole, or both. At this time, we are unable to pay anyone because we have an operating budget of $0. As traffic builds, we hope to sometime soon make this a completely professional site. Any contribution you can make helps us- for many years, this site has run on a couple of donations and lots of good will. Both help!

What we need from you, our F:ATtie Family, is your patience, understanding and continued support. And...your work! Some of you guys are killer writers, and in particular I am looking for people willing to commit to writing at least 1 or 2 pieces a month. I would especially like writers specializing in RPGs, CCGs, video games, and wargames. For example, you guys that write up all that Hearthstone stuff in the forums...we can use that. PM me if you are interested in contributing in a larger way.

The timeline is not established for the changeover, but we are targeting June. There will be announcements- yes, even at BGG. The impact of better social media presence is already being felt. But for now, please do not spill the beans outside of these forums.

Finally, if you don't like any or all of the above, I'm not sorry. If you want to blame me, go for it, because it was my idea to blow the site up. This is all really quite overdue, but we have never had a flashpoint moment like my team being let go to spur us into action. Plus, we are all at a point in our lives now where we are able to give more to you, our longtime friends, and to everybody else that wants to come in and see why we have always had some of the best games content available. That is our reputation, not some long past rebellion against a larger site. So let's, in the words of the Scottish post-punk band Orange Juice, "rip it up and start again".
Last edit: 27 Apr 2018 12:00 by Michael Barnes.

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27 Apr 2018 12:11 #272035 by drewcula
Can I still label people F:ATties?
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27 Apr 2018 12:11 #272036 by Sagrilarus
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27 Apr 2018 12:13 #272037 by Michael Barnes

drewcula wrote: Can I still label people F:ATties?


That is a badge of honor restricted solely for pre-End Times members.
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27 Apr 2018 12:15 #272038 by drewcula
Distinction noted.
Carry on.

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27 Apr 2018 12:17 #272040 by drewcula
Part of your monetization plan could include swag with vintage graphics.
Specifically, I would like a t-shirt with the classic FORTRESS AT logo.
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27 Apr 2018 12:23 #272042 by ubarose

drewcula wrote: Part of your monetization plan could include swag with vintage graphics.
Specifically, I would like a t-shirt with the classic FORTRESS AT logo.


Great idea.
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27 Apr 2018 12:25 #272043 by Michael Barnes
Jeez Drew, one day into the End Times and you are already nostalgic!

We’ll look into that- it is a great idea.
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27 Apr 2018 12:57 #272046 by Msample
[quote="Michael Barnes" post=272034 Apparently, MM believes that video and audio podcasts are the future and that they are the new Dice Tower. So rather than pay my team for written reviews, they want to add more podcasts. This is in spite of recent satisfaction surveys they've run where we had MANY folks stating that they preferred the written reviews. So my whole team was cut, with only Charlie and Raf remaining to continue their Ding & Dent show.[/quote]

I think I've made maybe one order with Miniature Market. That will be the last one, ever. Fuck them.

I think focusing on written reviews in an era where the glut of ( poor quality ) video reviews is becoming the norm offers an opportunity for the new site to stand out and differentiate itself.
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27 Apr 2018 13:07 #272047 by barrowdown
For reviews of a largely static physical product, I much prefer a written review. I really liked the written content that was provided at MM and avoided all non-written material.

I never watched any of the painting videos, but I do not mind that format for painting as I can actually see the step in action while it is being described.
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27 Apr 2018 13:16 #272048 by stormseeker75
Barnes, if you have interest in a comic book piece of any kind, I am down. Maybe some sort of weekly roundup or things of that nature. I have zero interest in writing about games, but if you want some alternative content, I'm happy to help.
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27 Apr 2018 13:18 #272049 by hotseatgames

Michael Barnes wrote: We will continue to let Black Barney post


deal breaker
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27 Apr 2018 13:30 #272050 by Josh Look
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27 Apr 2018 13:31 #272051 by jur
Well, we all needed a good kick in the butt and most of us are too young for nostalgia. By all means, go ahead.

The tragedy about FAT is that it brought forward some talented writers that then drifted off towards paid gigs. Hopefully now it will work the other way around.

Good luck!
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27 Apr 2018 13:45 #272052 by mads b.
This is great. Great name and I love that there will be a place for quality written reviews.
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