As I sit down to write this missive I am stuck by feelings both familiar and new. As is certainly no secret I have been away from these forums for along time, a period that seems like it was only a few months in duration, not years. I was happy to keep these forums open for your enjoyment, but quickly found that I was really unable to participate in them much. This came as much a surprise to me as it was to some of you. By way of explanation let me offer the following.
When Excelsior closed I was understandably crushed. I had poured my hopes and dreams into something that I loved. The games Excelsior took over were properties filled with so much potential and I was proud to helm their growth. It was a huge task, one fraught with challenges that I expected and many more that I never saw coming. I don’t begrudge those times; but they were draining, both to my personal life and to my health. In many ways there was so much I didn’t know and so much I learned.
My dedication to the company sadly strained my marriage to its breaking point and following the companies closure a divorce followed. Now I do not claim that the business destroyed my marriage, but that my single-minded focus on it did. I offer this as a warning to other entrepreneurs; one must make the time for family. One must prioritize them. I did not, at least not well enough.
My health over the last year of operations was deteriorating and I needed to stop working so much. Suffice to say once the company closed and my marriage was ending I ended up very ill and needed months to recuperate. While I am better now, that was a draining time and one where I was still emotionally ignorant over everything I was going through, and I assure you that was a lot. I proceeded along dealing with the next crisis completely unaware that I had emotional issues that remained unresolved. This came crashing down around me when Maxx, my other “son”, got sick and needed to be put to sleep. For those of you who ever visited to shop, Maxx was my ever-present shadow, my Golden Retriever. I didn’t know at the time how much he was actually holding me together. It’s funny to look back now and see how one can take all the pain and push it aside with the help of just one dog. When he died, all the pain, unresolved anger and sadness came rushing back and I was devastated. The many betrayals hit me like a ton of bricks. I became a recluse. I did nothing except look for work and sleep. That was my 2006; an awful lot to deal with in one year.
The next two years saw improvements to my life. The cliché about whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is certainly true, though I would add if you are lucky enough, wiser. I had the friendship and support of many family and friends to help me (once I allowed them to that is), many of whom are on these very boards. And while I couldn’t be here in person, I was hopeful that something positive remained for me to return to. So to Hal, Jason, Dennis, Andreas, Troy, Joshua, David, Jeff, William, Bill, Linda, Steven, John, Leslie, Kevin, Hans, Lance, Jonathan, Dave, and many, many others, my most grateful and earnest thanks.
So now at the end of 2008 I find myself happy. I have settled into a new home with a wonderful woman, have started to clear and sort the wreckage from my prior lives, and have found enjoyment again in my former passions. I share all this with you because I want to take a little of what I have learned and apply it, namely to communicate better and be forthcoming of all my doings, both positive and negative. And because by playing the games I poured myself into developing, I feel that you deserve to know what happened. So what next then??
As the New Year opens I am pleased to share with you those plans, which have been percolating for the better part of 2008. First, I am happy to say that I am returning to the miniatures game on both ends of the business. I will be sculpting freelance and also commissioning works by others under the banner of a new business entity.
This new venture will bring sculpts and fresh designs to anyone who likes metal (or in some cases resin). The companies primary focus is to make miniatures that are unique or simply things we want to see in production. I say we because I am not going this alone, your input will be most helpful in our efforts. Additionally, Joshua Slater, long time forum member, friend and Padawan, will be working with me to help this new venture get off the ground smoothly. Additionally I have been assembling a Board of Trustees (as I call them) to review and play test the products that get released as far as gaming systems go.
Which I suppose brings us to UWZ and CWER, what next for them? Fair question.
I retain the rights to the game systems and the works we produced. A new site will become their new home. Here, we will release all the updates we talked about years ago in down loadable fashion. On a personal note, it was stymieing me as to how to compress the book sized formats of the data I had and it hit a few months ago at a game shop. Instead of large manuals and such, why not release individual modules online. In this manner new troops and ideas can be added much more quickly and smoothly. After some discussion, this became the plan.
The core rules need updating too and these will also be made available online. It is my hope that you will be able to enjoy your hobby with like-minded friends and stay in an active community.
Another feature that I am excited about is the promotion of other company’s products for use in the games. As I would not challenge trademarks and such, this presents a fun way to expand the games very quickly as well as to help out worthy business in our industry. We tried this initially with models from Heresy Miniatures and feature them on the new site. I realized that I want to both enjoy my hobby and be true to a particular vision. This allows me to do both.
These forums will remain active for the time being though I expect them to move over into the new website at some point when the site is ready.
In the past, I have shied away from the forums for many different reasons. Unfortunately this means I miss the good interactions with all of you too. One of the things I hated most about the Excelsior’s past web issues was that often I had to delay information, releases, or in some cases cover issues up to protect certain entities. I don’t want to do this again and I am trying very hard to set it up to so this is never the case. Having Joshua and the Board will keep me honest, focused and aware. I want to be around more than just at the rare gaming event, and I will try very hard to do so. More importantly, I feel I might actually be able to move on and do it, having made peace with the past and resolved my many feelings.
So that said, I wish you all a wonderful holiday and joyous new year’s ever and I eagerly look forward to 2009.