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Von VisconteDimezzato,

Dear fellow T9Aers,

Welcome to the first of a series of reports the PR team hopes to deliver to the community at least once a year.

This being the first one, it will address concepts that will sound well known by much of the staff and the forum community, but the purpose here is to communicate to the whole community, which is only partially represented on the forum.

Thus, let’s start with the basics.

What is T9A?

Yes, many of you know very well the definitions given in the About us tab in the site. Nonetheless, it’s important to address a couple of issues. The first one is that T9A is a volunteer based project. PR realized that this is often overlooked. To many, this is the weakest point of the project: “you are not a company, thus you have no support”. To us, this is the strongest point of the project: we’re not bound to the need for profit. Do not underestimate the results we reached in five years: with almost no budget; we still have a forum community of almost 17k users, and the Tournaments scene constantly shows T9A is performing well among veteran wargamers.

We know that many people tend to compare T9A to other/previous products. Nonetheless, the results achieved until now are a milestone for a hobby market that is dominated by “entertainment corporations”.

Of course, being what we are also brings up issues that we constantly try to solve, the main ones being the constant lack of manpower and the reaching of new hobbyists.

T9A is, moreover, a complex, living organism. It’s a human activity, created by humans and thus constantly changing, even when your perceptions tell you it’s the same. We’re aware that part of the community has a conservative approach, nonetheless everyone constantly evolves, and T9A is equally bound to such an evolution.

As everything else in our real world, T9A is constantly trying to find the perfect balance between conservation and evolution, old players and new players, familiarity and exciting innovation.

T9A is composed of several assets: the community itself, the staff, the management, the identity/brand, the setting, the rules, the hobby as a whole. If we discard any of those, T9A will cease to exist.

As with any other complex organism, it’s not an easy task to keep it alive and the only way is to constantly develop it according to the external context and the internal needs.

Aside from all this, there is a principle every one of us should always remember: our aim is to deliver a high quality product, and this is despite our nature as a volunteer based project.

The Community

Defining the T9A Community is becoming harder and harder. First of all because the T9A community IS NOT the Forum Community. Just to give a personal example, I’m in a WhatsApp group in which the Italian community coordinates UB events. There are 99 members in that group and only a few are registered users on the forum, many of them literally inactive. Nonetheless, all of them are dedicated players.

The Community itself is made of a wide range of hobbyists: competitive and casual players, painters, collectors, fluff addicts, all rounders. All of them are equally important in the eyes of the project, regardless of their (hard to count) numbers.

It’s quite obvious each of these segments provides different feedback, positive or negative, and would like to have its desires prioritised.

It’s also quite obvious that we cannot easily please everyone: nonetheless our aim is to keep the project for everyone, and this will require time, resources and sometimes difficult decisions.

What I want to make clear (and it will become clearer later) is that we’re constantly developing means to understand those ideas and feedback. This doesn’t mean that all your desires will become reality. It means that we listen, but at the same time we have to consider the project as a whole, in which the Community is an important part, but it’s also a part that is changing and will change in the future.

The Staff

One very important thing that we want to be clear to everyone is that there is no opposition between Staff and Community. Staff members are part of the wider Community and being a Staff member doesn’t mean you have more rights. Rather the contrary: you only get more duties, because you accept the responsibility of joining a team effort with the aim of participating in a project that is not for you, but for a lot of people that can have a different vision compared to your vision.

T9A is based on a team approach, which means everything is based on pluralism. There is no aspect or part of this project left in the hands of a single individual. This approach has been developed to guarantee that all the different visions of the Community are represented into the internal production processes.

T9A strongly believes a team can deliver a better product than a single individual, limiting confirmation biases.

Now, we can roughly divide T9A teams in two types: those creating products and those supporting products. In the eyes of the Community the first ones are more important and more resources should be granted to them. This is simply not true for us. Even the best product on a luxury market is practically nothing without the support to its dissemination. This means every team is vital for the survival and improvement of T9A.

Of course finding resources for production teams is easier: everyone likes to design rules and write his/her own background. In fact we have plenty of candidates for them, but very few for the support teams (including Layout, PR, ACS, and the like).

The point is that the production teams without the support teams would only result in a good product with a poor dissemination, weaker identity and not delivered to a high standard.

A note on PR

PR function is now undergoing a restructuring process. The aim is to make PR more active on several tasks, such as:

  • reaching the wider community;
  • allow a better communication from the staff and the project to the community;
  • allow a better flow of feedback from the community to the staff;
  • reaching third parties and stakeholders (shops, gaming societies, supporting companies, etc.);
  • develop, improve, strengthen T9A identity and brand.

Those are very ambitious, as you can see. It will take time and resources to complete those tasks (in fact, going across the whole forum to collect feedback is an hellish, time consuming activity). At today, priority is to strengthen our capacity of receiving feedback from the community and communicate with more transparency what is behind the scenes, in a progressive but constant way.

Identity, Setting and Feedback

T9A identity is composed of several assets, mainly the Rules and the Setting.

Rules themselves are composed of Fantasy Battles (itself divided in Tournament level products and Supplements), side projects rules, then we have the Setting (itself composed of the background and the visual identity).

It should be extremely clear that resources are subject to priorities. Rules Team and Game Design Team have the highest priority of LABs delivery. At today we’re quite happy with this process, since we are reaching the expected cruising speed in LABs rules production (with ID nearing gold, DE nearing beta, VS almost in alpha, KoE in full production and SA in pre-production).

Feedback reception for LABs is at a good point too, with the ACS team improving constantly on it.

Supplements: as you probably know each LAB will be supported by two supplements. WDG already received those, DL received one and a further Mono-sin supplement is in full production. ID hobgoblin supplement is in full production, too. The resources used for Supplements are distinct from, and have minimal effect on LABs production.

Supplement reception is good: in some countries they are even used at a tournament level. We received tons of feedback on the definition of Supplement itself and we’re working on it, for many think those products really improve the identity of T9A, even if they don’t meet the needs of the whole competitive community.

Supplements of course include “crossovers” such as the giants supplement which was received enthusiastically by the community.

Side projects: until now we’ve produced two side projects (Pirate’s peril and The Games of Zagjan). Those projects were the results of staff creativity and never affected the production processes of prioritised LABs. We’re still discussing them and future games to be provided by T9A, since we received several requests about skirmish games and RPG rules in the setting.

Setting: we’re extremely happy with the massive increase of discussion and feedback on our setting. We’re aware of the critical comments, but we’re happy about them because this is a great step forward: only two years ago the most debated issue about the setting was whether T9A should have a setting or not. Today the most debated issue is how such a setting should be delivered. This is a real milestone because it means people are passionate about the setting, even if critical about it.

At this point we understand there’s a wide range of community members with different ideas on how the setting should be channeled through products, styles, artworks. We’re now digesting the hundreds of comments we’re collecting in several topics opened by both staff and community members. We can promise no feedback will be spared and we’re discussing all of these.

What we can say at now is that the Community moves on some kind of dynamic model of “setting perception” we see divided in three major positions, but please take it as a simplification of a more complex reality:

  • LAB Readers/RPG Fluff Enthusiasts: focus on quality writing, appreciate in-world sources;
  • Interested in the Fluff: focus on quantity of infos, appreciate broad summaries of factions identity;
  • Not interested in the Fluff.

We’re now discussing how to better investigate this and moreover how to make the dissemination of our setting related infos to the wider community.

Another internal big discussion that we’ll open up with the community in the near future is the type of content the setting should have. This will be an important milestone for the future of the Project and it will be about the nature of the content, the representation of violent realities and the “rating” of T9A. We’ll deliver more info about that in the future.

This is all for now. Please feel free to discuss this report in the general subforum feedback thread.

Thank you,

PR Team.
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