Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

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Bill Hupp
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Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:31 am

Some new players (not yet active on the forum) have asked me what the Final Review Pending note means. Any idea when this may go away?

Also, has any thought been given to alerts or summaries of changes made to army lists going forward?

Bill
Bill Hupp
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David Kuijt
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Re: Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:01 pm

Those notes are relics; the only two active status conditions now are draft and good. Draft lists are poop; good lists are good. There are only two or three draft lists, I think, of the 650+ lists overall. We'll be removing those status condition markers as soon as we get around to it -- our focus and current effort is the hardcopy rulebook.

Regarding alerts or summaries of changes -- interesting idea. To be effective, though, it might require that people who are interested in those particular army lists sign up for alerts. Not sure how we'd manage that. Maybe a better system would be having some sort of change record with dates for each army list.

We'll have to talk about it. Almost anything formal is likely to be severe overkill, though, since we expect changes to army lists will be rare. They will occur, especially in army lists where there is a lot of archaeological research going on (Urnfield and Halstatt army lists, for example -- in the last decade a big battlefield at a river crossing in N. Germany was discovered and digs are ongoing; when that finishes shaking out and the researchers start publishing in another decade there is likely to be a total revamp of our knowledge of pre-Celtic Europe), but we are talking about a handful of lists a year at most. If you compare that to the 650+ army lists total, and the fact that the most well-known and commonly-used army lists have already been extensively researched (and are therefore unlikely to change much at all due to new research), you'll see that having alerts that are sent to lots of people will give the inaccurate impression that the army lists are in flux, when they are only "in flux" if you are looking at them across a 20 year period. And even then, not so much.
DK

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Re: Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue Jul 31, 2018 1:27 pm

Maybe you could post something on the Meshwesh page itself to tell readers the list changes that are in process.
Update this intro paragraph? "Meshwesh is a work-in-progress. We'll be adding many new features as we move forward."

I would just have a note on each army with last date changed and a footnote on the last change. (Could it replace the current review note designation? e.g. "As of 6-30-18")

If the changes are few and not likely to happen often, I would just put a summary change page or note at the bottom of the landing/front page. Not being critical, but the current Meshwesh landing page could be designed to have info needed to use the list and help sell the rules with more information that introduces people to the joy of building armies. I used army lists from rules I have never played or never even intended to play to help me organize the buying and painting of armies.

Some other questions I have gotten on Meshwesh. (Many deal with the information that new users get from looking at army list and army list books.)

1- Why don't the Thematic Categories have years on them? (It does seem like this is a feature of the rules/Meshwesh that could be better used. It is a great planning tool.)
2- Will battle card information be added to the lists soon? e.g. dismounting knights for Free Companies
3- Where will battle card information be located? (Between the rules and Meshwesh)

Thanks.

Bill
Bill Hupp
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David Kuijt
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Re: Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby David Kuijt » Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:39 pm

Bill, thanks for your thoughtful feedback. Some quick responses interjected below. My apologies for any brevity -- I'm going to Canada in less than 24 hours, and a little rushed.

Bill Hupp wrote:Maybe you could post something on the Meshwesh page itself to tell readers the list changes that are in process.


The process we use doesn't make this idea very feasible. We are resistant to change, resistant, resistant... up until the instant we are convinced that a change is warranted. This resistance may take the shape of a discussion with players, researchers, etc., on the forum or email or elsewhere, and often goes nowhere at all. But when it does happen, the change has already been discussed enough that it has pretty-much jelled, and implementing the change in the underlying database happens quickly. Then there is an unpredictable length of time before the modified version of the underlying data gets uploaded.

Just to choose one example, a discussion with a player at Historicon revealed that there was a population of German (called "Saxon" but not really from there) settlers in Transylvania in the Middle Ages that had self-government and was large enough to have fought military actions against Vlad the Impaler and against the Ottomans and others; they existed through the last century. This "Sieben Burgen" region is best represented as a Medieval German Citystate enemy link for a variety of armies who ruled over the Transylvanian region, including Wallachians, Hungarians, Cumans (probably -- research ongoing), and Ottomans. We were unaware of the existence of this population, but once we became aware of it, implementing the change (adding the enemies links) will be easy and fast.

But my point is this -- there isn't sufficient of a time gap between "no change is contemplated" and "change is complete" to have a list of "in process" changes published anywhere. It would just be extra work for us without much benefit.

Bill Hupp wrote:Update this intro paragraph? "Meshwesh is a work-in-progress. We'll be adding many new features as we move forward."


Good idea.

Bill Hupp wrote:I would just have a note on each army with last date changed and a footnote on the last change. (Could it replace the current review note designation? e.g. "As of 6-30-18")


Maybe. The idea is reasonable, but a bit more complex than it might seem. DS is our records/archives expert; we'll have to have him talk to Jack (who is the nuts-and-bolts of the database guy) and decide what is the best way to implement something like this. Adding new fields is always more work than it seems like on the outside to non-database people.

Bill Hupp wrote:If the changes are few and not likely to happen often, I would just put a summary change page or note at the bottom of the landing/front page.


Not sure that's a good PR move. A change every six months might terrify readers, who would get the impression that their favorite list was in constant danger of revision -- people are very poor at math, and might not realize that a uniform change rate of one every six months across 650 lists means that any individual list would be modified approximately once every 325 years.

Bill Hupp wrote:Not being critical, but the current Meshwesh landing page could be designed to have info needed to use the list and help sell the rules with more information that introduces people to the joy of building armies. I used army lists from rules I have never played or never even intended to play to help me organize the buying and painting of armies.


We'd be happy to accept donations to hire a full-time webpage design employee. :) I'll put up a gofundme page immediately.

More seriously, yes, we've got lots of plans for Meshwesh. We've had plans for several years. We have the plans, we have the skills, but we also have jobs and wives and (in many cases) kids and so we have to prioritize what happens when, and implementing all our cool ideas for Meshwesh hasn't happened yet, and won't even get started until after we have our hardcopy rulebook all complete (that's our main focus right now, with us also working on Battle Cards and Fantasy Triumph).

Bill Hupp wrote:Some other questions I have gotten on Meshwesh. (Many deal with the information that new users get from looking at army list and army list books.)

1- Why don't the Thematic Categories have years on them? (It does seem like this is a feature of the rules/Meshwesh that could be better used. It is a great planning tool.)


That will probably eventually be added, but it isn't a perfect thing. Some themes don't really have chronological limits (Monsoon Region, for example).

Bill Hupp wrote:2- Will battle card information be added to the lists soon? e.g. dismounting knights for Free Companies


In process. We can't add battle card info to Meshwesh until we have the battle cards finalized; we are working on the battle cards now. As well as working on the Hardcopy Rules.

Bill Hupp wrote:3- Where will battle card information be located? (Between the rules and Meshwesh)


We are discussing that. Certainly Meshwesh will have lots of hyperlinks, so you can see the line-item battle card name, click on it to get the battle card text; there will be a battle card page with all the battle cards listed and you can click on them to get their rules/text (same page as you reach from clicking on a line-item battle card name in an army list). It's going to be beautiful; it's going to make you weep with its glory. But it is still being developed. Save your glory-weeping for now. Soon!
DK

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Bill Hupp
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Re: Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby Bill Hupp » Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:58 pm

DK,

Thanks for the quick replies. Just passing on what I hear from consumers. Clearly up to you guys as to what you do and how you prioritize.

I am an old database programmer and managed IT for many years so I have a full appreciation of the effort involved. I even ran a help desk back in the day. I am also sure the pay rate for hobby businesses is well below minimum wage. :lol:

Just to clear up the first lengthy reply I was not trying to suggest indicating lists that were in doubt or in the process of changing going forward, but just indicating on the front page everyone sees when they log on what changes to the database are pending (such as removal of all the Final Review Pending language or adding the battle card info.) Of course this suggestion presumes people will see it and read it there and I know from experience that people often miss that type of communication, but over time you can train your customers to look for things in certain places. (That could be the Forum or the main WGC page.)

There is a bit of tension between having a database that can be updated or fixed without the need to be reprinted and "We are resistant to change, resistant, resistant." But sure, you shouldn't have changes to lists very often. And just fixing errors should not make anybody freak out based on the number of errors that crop up in printed lists IMHO. I'll let you calculate the odds of there NOT being any changes to a database with over 650 armies over a 6 month period.

I was told once by a younger fellow partner (a Russian) that people his age judge a business based on the quality of the landing page much like a store window used to signal the quality of a business. I thought it a wise comparison.

Enjoy your trip to Canada.

Bill
Bill Hupp
Thistle & Rose Miniatures
I play lots of games and I like Triumph!

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David Kuijt
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Re: Meshwesh Final Pending Review Notes

Postby David Kuijt » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:53 am

Bill Hupp wrote:There is a bit of tension between having a database that can be updated or fixed without the need to be reprinted and "We are resistant to change, resistant, resistant."


No real tension there -- what I'm saying is that the standard of evidence required to convince us of a change is significant. Not everyone has skills at research; some will read a single secondary source (or even worse, a book of fiction; or doubly worse, some other rules set) and recommend some change to the rules or the army lists based upon that. In many cases without even understanding Triumph -- so recommending "charge" rules, horsebow shooting at range, stuff like that (all of which would be excellent rules for a skirmish game).

So no, there is no tension there. A database that can be updated or fixed without the need of a reprint (and alienating everyone who spent $80 to $120 on the print version) has no internal conflict with having moderately rigorous standards for change.

Bill Hupp wrote:But sure, you shouldn't have changes to lists very often. And just fixing errors should not make anybody freak out based on the number of errors that crop up in printed lists IMHO. I'll let you calculate the odds of there NOT being any changes to a database with over 650 armies over a 6 month period.


The big thing is crowdsourcing the research. With 650 lists there is no chance that any of us can be the world's expert in any of them (to say nothing of ALL of them). With modern technology and the amount of information on the web, there is a good chance that some of our players can do the research on their favorite lists, and point out to us when some improvement is warranted.

So yes, we've got standards and we don't just take ANY ideas -- but when players point out real, well-supported arguments for improvements (like adding the Transylvanian Saxons as an enemy link to Med.Germ.Citystates to several powers that never went to Germany), we're taking advantage of the ability to be agile and responsive to research that other people did.
DK


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