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Thread: The AARlander Lite March 2010 Issue

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    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    The AARlander Lite March 2010 Issue



    Welcome to the AARLANDER Lite , one of AARland's monthly publications ! If you would like to write for the AARlander , contact canonized or Avernite - everyone is welcome ! Also , what's the best way to support the AARlander aside from writing ? Give comments ! Put your comments in the AARlander: Comments and Discussion Thread for our writers to read ! If you're wondering what's different in this "Lite" issue, please see our first article this month!



    Last edited by canonized; 04-03-2010 at 00:10.

  2. #2
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Welcome to The AARlander Lite

    by canonized

    Hiatus and silence: the AARlander has been quiet for nearly half a year and many perhaps were wondering if it would ever return. As the man at the helm, it was very sad for me to have to put the AARlander down for a while, and I had sincerely hoped it would have continued unabated, but AARland seemed to have suffered from a general “slump” in its main discussion forum and initiatives (although this trend is slowly reversing itself) and as a result, articles to the AARlander eventually ran out.

    Has that changed? Not yet! As I mentioned before, the turnaround is still beginning, but I hope it will continue and eventually we'll be able to return from being The AARlander Lite to just regular good ole AARlander in a few issues! So the question is: What makes the AARlander Lite... well... Lite? Is it just less articles per issue? Yes, for now. But there are also some fundamental changes that I'd like to implement as Editor in Chief to help facilitate our return to full AARlander traffic while having some fun along the way.

    Well first, let's go over what's the same. WE NEED ARTICLES! The AARlander will always be driven by the community at large and we at the editing staff welcome one and all to participate even if you think your writing is sub-par! Trust me when I say that many writers who have written for the AARlander previously believed themselves to be sub-par but ended up writing very popular and excellent pieces! Do not underestimate yourself. Do you want to highlight some great AARs in reviews, interview writers, or even give commentary about latest AARland news? We want those articles! Micro-AARs, sample writings, etc are also welcome! Do not be shy!

    So what are some things we're changing? One is obviously this will be a “lighter” edition of the AARlander. We will be publishing only 3-5 articles per month until we get a higher influx of articles (which can only be achieved by your participation and by spreading the word!). As part of my commitment to the AARlander, I'll be writing as much as I can as far as articles and reviews until we get more volunteers. Despite my busy schedule, I firmly believe that AARland benefits from a community-driven newsletter so I'm going to keep up the AARlander Lite as best as I can until we get more volunteers. This would have been impossible in the previous AARlander since we would average 10-14 articles an issue, but with 3-5 , it's very doable for me and a few volunteers to crank out some articles. Don't worry about deadlines either: I can always put your article in the next month's issue so even if it's a week from the deadline don't be afraid to message me if you have something to contribute.

    So that's about it! I once again encourage everyone to participate. Although I'll be writing AAR reviews, commentary and things like this, that does not mean you should consider those genres filled. I would rather the community do more and more of these! Spread the word to your friends and colleagues that the AARlander has returned and is calling out for all the great writers out there in AARland who not only want to be read, but who also want to help foster the community we have here! Thanks again for all of your patronage and support!

    canonized is the author of Timelines

  3. #3
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Winter '10 AAR Highlights

    by canonized

    Although there are a ton of great new AARs out there, it would be nice to point out some trend setters and pioneers who are making waves in AARland today. From the vast pool of talent out there I've decided to look at four AARs which I consider significant. If you think there are other AARs out there worthy of mention, then the best way to get them noticed is by writing review articles about them (hint hint)! So let's take a look at some of these works!

    1. Alfred Packer's Iceland Diaries

    Packer is one of AARland's favourite comedians and this new AAR of his (a comedy indeed!) has already started to make a splash by its fourth update. Episodic in format and following the diaries and journals of a dysfunctional Icelandic court, Packer has returned to his element and will not disappoint anyone who is fond of his work or just looking for a great comedy that's not too long as of yet to play around in! SPOILER: hunting for boars in Iceland makes you both unlucky and stupid!

    2. Vishaing's A Tale of Two Germanies

    EUIII is always famous for its rich heritage of historical, graphical, and narrative AARS, but Vishaing's ambitious AAR takes a stab at all of these. His historical prose is excellent, his graphics are gritty and appropriately extol the ethos between late Medieval and early Renaissance, and he has recently begun adding narrative elements to his AAR. His maps and his portraits are stunning and the AAR holds itself very well together. If you're looking for a well rounded EUIII AAR, just click the link above and you'll find yourself in a wonderfully crafted world!

    3. Iain Wilson's These Oranjes Are Not for Eating – Fun and Games in the Orange Free State

    Wilson has already made a name for himself writing comedy AARs all over the various game fora in AARland, but now he tries his pen in Vicky. Anyone who reads the first few updates will at first be wondering if it's a comedy AAR at all: its excellent narrative-style introductions display Wilson's more serious side and demonstrate his latent narrating abilities. However, soon it becomes clear that this AAR is strangely familiar.... Quirky characters, while although inspired, take on a life of their own thanks to Wilson's adept pen: this promising adventure-comedy is going to be a gem to read in Vicky.

    4. AllMyJames's Chrysanthemum Throne/Many-Dragonflied Islands/Japanese Haikus

    Infectious. This AAR has already roped in readers trying their hand at iconic Japanese poetry from the very first post. AllMyJames's poetic detail and attention to cultural fidelity make this AAR not only one of the most rousing gameplay AARs on the table today, but give it a beautiful Eastern flavour that leaves a smile on your face and leaves you speaking in combinations of 5,7,5 syllables all day long. This delightful AAR should not be missed!

    canonized is the author of Timelines

  4. #4
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    Community Commentary Corner

    by canonized

    It has been a few months since the last AARlander and many things have happened in AARland. There has been the introduction of several new expansions such as For the Glory and Heir to the Throne. I was actually given Heir to the Throne as a gift from an AARlander friend of mine as an early birthday present last year. I was very excited to play it as it had a lot of cool new aspects such as the new Cassus Belli system that changed how I usually play EUIII.

    With these new games come a lot of new people and AARland has become richer by all of these additions whether they are writAARs themselves or readAARs. We welcome them all to our community! Of course, this comes when AARland has received a downturn of sorts in the general discussion area. Projects such as the AARlander, ACA, and GtA have been suffering from it and it seemed for a while as if inter-forum communication and reading was also lessening (although, admittedly, I don't have any particular data on this and I'm just going off anecdotes and personal observations). There were many writers that I knew as well that were taking breaks (including myself) for weeks or months at a time. However, with the influx of new people, there also seems to be a resurgence in genuine interest in the greater AARland discourse.

    For the first time in three seasons since the mods and phargle instituted the new rules limiting wins and slashing some popular categories, the ACAs have finally taken a small upswing in participation, though still at historical lows. According to The Swert's calculations, participation this past ACA period was the second lowest since archiving began four years ago. The only other lowpoint was last quarter. There has been lots of debate as to causes of this “recession” in the ACAs ranging from rumours of dissatisfaction from the new rules and limitations, general slump in AARland participation, the retirement of certain AARs from the running, and other explanations. Although it may not ever be found out what cause or causes are behind the slump, the optimistic thing is that there is a slight increase in activity although it is my speculation that it's being fueled by the general increase in AARland's population.

    Participation, however, in the year-end awards for completed AARs has begun. Brandenburg III is running the EUIII OscAARs, Alfred Packer is running the Crusader Chalice, and coz1 will soon be starting the Vicky Cross. All the information and relevant threads can be found by following this thread. Please go vote and/or nominate in those areas as it's a great opportunity to honour the finished AARs of the past year!

    The last thing I'd like to talk about in this little commentary corner is one that's close to my heart. As someone who's been writing a narrative AAR in the EUIII section, I always have a soft spot for anyone attempting a narrative AAR in EUIII. Lately, I've been finding them relatively rare. I don't find this too surprising as the character-driven engine of CK makes Crusader Kings an excellent sub-forum for narrative writing, but for a while I could only count a small handful of narratives including my own when looking at the first page of the EUIII sub-forum. I know that the first page usually scrolls fast as people update, but as a narrative writer myself I would like to encourage those narrative writers in the EUIII sub-forum to get out there and write. EUIII has had a proud history of excellent narrative writing: Capibara's Italy AAR, Eber's Scotland AAR, TreizeV's French/Dutch AAR, Lord E's French AAR, and many more. I'm glad to hear that Cyrus_the_Great has started a new narrative AAR called The Metropolis. Cyrus himself was rather eager to find more narrative AARs in this thread.

    Well that's all for now. I'll try to do a review from my perspective each month with each AARlander article. Personally I would rather other people be doing it but until we get more volunteers for the AARlander, I'll work to keep the light burning. For now, have a good month, AARland!

    canonized is the author of Timelines
    Last edited by canonized; 03-03-2010 at 13:08.

  5. #5
    Heartbreaker canonized's Avatar
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    AARLand Revisited (like Brideshead Revisited but with less Catholicism)

    by Iain Wilson

    "Why do writers write? Because it isn't there." - Thomas Berger

    Despite joining the Paradox fora way back in 2003 (when people still used steam power and horse drawn transport) it is only recently that I have begun my incursion into AARland proper. Actually, that's not strictly true - I dabbled back in 2005 (and my ink well has two abandoned AAR's to show for it) but never really got into the spirit of things until last year.

    What do I mean by that? After all, surely the raison d'etre of the writAAR (as per my pretentious quote that began this article suggests) is to write. What could be more "in the spirit of things" than churning out tales to wow, amaze, entertain and (in my case) abandon?

    I think the answer probably lies in what I've recently discovered about AARland - and that's the sense of community. Back in 2005 when I was feverishly producing (and abandoning) AARs I never too a look beyond the sub-fora that I was inhabiting. I read a few AARs, responded to my lovely readAARs but never bothered to take a look at the GD area and all the goodness that was taking place there. Something, which in hindsight, is a mighty shame, because had I known about all the fun stuff happening there like the ACAs, GtA and (to take a break from the acronyms) the weekly awards I would have been drawn much more fully into the community and would probably have ended up continuing those AARs which now lie dusty and unloved in the vault where all the abandoned tales end up.

    Since returning last year and poking my head above the parapets of whichever forum I'm currently writing in I've found myself drawn-in and engaged by the various activities taking place in the wider community. In particular, I was delighted to find that the denizens of AARland give out awards to those they deem worthy. I believe this is important, because although those of us who write do so for fun, there's something very exciting about receiving recognition from your peers, and I see these awards as being a valuable incentive in encouraging writers - both new and old - to constantly seek to improve and better their work.

    Sadly, the awards seem to suffer in two respects. As has been mentioned before (and I won't labour the point) the voting for the ACAs themselves appears to have dropped off in recent times. Being a newcomer, and not having taken part in previous ACA votes, I'm not sure what the reasons for this are (although doubtlessly you old timers will be willing to offer me all sorts of reasons why!), but one factor I have noticed is that a lot of the wider community (particularly new comers) are unaware of these awards - it wasn't until I put a link in my AAR and sig that some of my readers realised that the ACAs existed!

    Although the "<blah> of the week" awards don't require wider community participation (after all, it is one man one vote) they serve a valuable purpose in highlighting the best that AARland has to offer. If we are to see more participation in the ACAs I think it's important that as many people as possible get involved in reading the works highlighted in these awards, if only to encourage readers who would be otherwise forum or AAR centric to widen their horizons and read more of the goodness that AARland has to offer.

    Ego-stroking awards aside, to me the one thing that has kept me firmly rooted in AARland this time around is the sense of community, and the encouragement and camaraderie that it brings with it. The constant outpouring of enthusiasm from my readers has been instrumental in keeping my output the good side of prolific, and in a few cases I have been fortunate enough to strike up some genuine friendships. Whether this is because I'm more actively contributing to the community or because the community as a whole is friendlier now I don't know. Regardless, it's nice!

    So, that's my tuppence worth - a (relative) newcomer's view of AARland. Doubtlessly it has enthralled and entertained, but if it hasn't, may I suggest one of my AARs? Shameless self-promotion? Of course - but if there's one thing that my recent exposure to AARland has taught me it's that all us writAARs share one thing in common, and that's that there's nothing more satisfying than finding a new readAAR on your AAR

    Iain Wilson is the author of These Oranjes are Not for Eating

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