The online realm of cardboard wargaming is dominated by two juggernauts: ConSimWorld and BoardGameGeek. I have a love-hate relationship with both.
The bright side of BoardGameGeek is an exhaustive library full of components and play photos, insightful game comments, and a generally cheery wargames sub-forum. The dark side features an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink layout, idiosyncratic content submissions modding, and separate forums for every single game... meaning 65 distinct forums for Panzer Grenadier alone.
ConSimWorld's greatest strength is the access it provides to publishers and designers. That's the only place on the internet you're going to get any public feedback from Avalanche Press, for example. Unfortunately, the CSW forums are a disaster. The Panzer Grenadier folder has more than 25,000 messages stretching back in a single file line all the way to 1999-08-01. Treasure trove of knowledge? Not with that handicapped search engine. "Black hole of LOS discussions" would be more appropriate.
There is a better way.
Today, June 1st 2012, five days short of our two year birthday, we are launching the Panzer Grenadier Headquarters forum.
Awhile back on BoardGameGeek I posted a thread to the Eastern Front general forum titled "you play PG but you don't use PG-HQ because...?" One particular reply left a deep impression on me:
I think you've succeeded in making PGHQ the virtual center of the PG community. But imagine a community where everyone is mute, and all there is to do is visit to check a reference or see what new official posters are on the wall. Too quiet, too dull, not a place where you feel like hanging out and spending time -- pretty and well-organized as it might be. The lack of a forum is a really big shortcoming. Visit the forums on BGG or CSW or the PG Yahoo group, and you'll often see months go by without many new posts. So the PG community really lacks a lively and active central gathering place and campfire to gather around. That's what really sustains a game system over time.
As G W so eloquently put it: we needed a campfire.
...and the timing couldn't be better. Avalanche Press has started shipping good product again with printed editions of War on the Equator, Panzer Lehr, and the long awaited first half of Kursk hitting bunkers around the world.
I don't aim to replace CSW or BGG, that's impossible. But we will continue to pursue our stated mission of creating a lasting and enjoyable home for PG players the world over.