My guess is most people are aware that we are changing how we're doing things at Legio. And I really appreciate the positive response that we've been getting from the initial announcement. So let me share my view of why we're doing what we're doing.
Legio Malaysia was created to facilitate a wargames community that will take the hobby to new heights - in Malaysia, and then maybe globally. To my mind, that means bringing together a few people who are absolutely rabid about the wargames hobby, and just want the hobby to grow in terms of quality (modeling, painting, gaming, event standards, etc) and quantity (the easier part - number of people actively engaged in the hobby, number of game systems played, number of events, etc).
So we went ahead and did it. Comfortable and clean wargames venue with lots of tables and space, lots of events (4 tournaments, 3 leagues, 1 painting competition to date, with another tournament and league coming around the corner), t-shirts, dice. When we started Legio, we truly expected a maximum of 8 members or so. At one point, we had 33! Which is fantastic.
However, after more than a year, we were actually not much closer to our goals compared to when we started. While some people did sincerely help, almost everything else was actually done by Jeff and myself. I truly understand that people are busy and have commitments - I have 4 children, a wife, parents, mortgages, loans and stuff, and a corporate sales job with a multinational - so I know what that's like. I also know that for some people, the intent to help was there, but they did not how to engage and deliver the help. I'm not blaming anyone for anything here.
But the fact remains that it got to the point that Jeff and I felt like we were running a cinema - people come, pay their fees, roll some dice, go home. Nothing wrong with just turning up and playing a few games - in fact, that's what should happen most of the time. The more games the better! Roll dice! If you know me, you know I simply love to roll dice. The problem is, there was almost nothing else. Legio was being treated almost like a store, albeit without products. Which is not the way it was ever intended.
The primary reason the old Legio had fees was to gain 'a pound of flesh' - a token of commitment. Trust me, while we do appreciate that the money collected was put to good use to help organize some of the events, it was much less than what the cost of the events actually were. Jeff and I forked out lots of cash for the events, t-shirts, tables, materials, etc - enough to build several (many many) new armies. But here's where we made the biggest mistake. The 'pound of flesh' did not translate into much commitment at all. Instead, it became just a ticket to go play.
The truth is, successful wargames communities always have a core group of people who drive things. I think the old structure of Legio somehow impeded that from happening. Perhaps there was too much formal stratification between the different levels of Legio members. Maybe the wargames club model that works in the UK and the US doesn't work in KL. Whatever the reason, it all feeds into the new way we run Legio.
The goal remains the same. And the strategic requirements are the same - a core group of hobbyists. Only the approach is different. Think of Legio as a private home with an excellent hobby room. Everyone is welcome to bring their armies and models and roll dice, paint, chat or whatever fuels your wargames juices. Being a private home, there's no door charge. But being a private home, you do need to RSVP that you're coming for hobby night. Of course, if you're a member of the family, no RSVP is required. And family members are people who are committed to one another.
Anyways, enough pseudo-philosophizing. See you at Hobby Nite!