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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tavern 4k - Looking Back at Grognardia

(this is the first in a series of posts taking a look at the blogs and personalities that have had an influence on me and this blog as we approach 4,000 posts.)

Even now, well over a year after Grognardia went silent, it still resonates on the RPG blogosphere. It's still there to be read and referenced. In a way, it is much like a dead planet in some sci-fi or post apocalypse story - it still has tales to tell, it's not quite gone and won't be forgotten for a long time.

I remember my reaction when I first found Grognardia - "Who the fuck can write this many blog posts, consistently and on a daily basis and still be employed?". I look back years later, and I find that the answer to that question, at least in part, is me.

The amazing thing of those early days of Grognardia, or at least my early days of reading it, wasn't just the sheer amount of posting, but the connectivity it gave to the budding OSR community. Conversations there were deep and broad, and it was rare for the comment section of a particularly thought provoking post of James's to not drive dozens of comments. Before the advent of G+, the place to be part of the OSR was for many people, myself included, Grognardia.

Grognadia was also a bit of a crossover, as it brought in readers that wren't just "old school gamers" but those that were curious about the topic. It's reach was deep, and at it's best it was the standard bearer of the OSR, whether that was the intention or now.

There will never be another Grognardia. There is no need for another. It's still there. A snapshot of earlier times and well worth your reading if you haven't frequented it before (although I would advise you skip the gaming magazine "play by plays"and dig into the true gaming articles and early Dwimmermount sightings)


  1. 4,000 posts in our space is pretty amazing. Congrats. I like the idea of a retrospective on some of the OSR blogs that have faded away.

  2. It was the blog that opened the door to my joining the OSR gaming community and breathing new life into my gaming. I found it through Ace of Spades Blog.

  3. I really miss Grognardia. I used to do look at it before I'd read the news in the morning. Lots of good commentary. I sincerely hope JM is doing alright, and that perhaps we'll see him again sometime.

    1. James has been doing some reviewing over at Black Gate, Gregarious. He posted just the other day.
      It's not quite the same as Grognardia, but I'm glad he's writing again. I didn't go in on the Kickstarter, so I have no animus for him -- only good will.

  4. The thing that always bugged me about Grog. was that many of the reviews were just James flipping through the book and passively commenting on it.

    He constantly would mention that he had no experience with wargames, and then review wargame mags like Ares without reading or attempting to look at the included games.

    This got worse as the site aged. Much of the content is really vapid. If you have no experience with something, don't review it.

    It did provide a good place for user conversations, though this was usually in spite of the posted writing.

  5. James has 160 articles tagged as "reviews" - none of which are for Ares magazine. He did often do retrospective style articles (including every single one of the Ares issues) which were simply discussions about what the contents were and a bit of historical context. They were not reviews, did not read as reviews, and were not labeled as reviews.
    Do you really think this post by Tenkar is an appropriate place to rag on Grognardia?

    1. I was stating my opinion.

      Many of his reviews are just as haphazard.

      Where would you suggest is a better spot to talk about this than in a retrospective post?

    2. The opinion part was justified with factual error. I am not sorry for pointing that out. As for a better place to post your opinion - anywhere else on the internet. This is the equivalent of going to a funeral, listening to the eulogy, then grabbing the podium and saying "I never really liked him anyway".

  6. I still find lots of interesting stuff to read over on James' blog. Huge kudos!