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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Gen. Marshall

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Great edition!

The interview with Rensslaer was an amazing start, giving us an insight into the "life" of a forum hero we all know, as well as providing us with some useful advice. I see the "bored room" convention a lot, and even though it is not always out of place (comedy), it's the cliché of all AARland clichés.

Then, Merrick Chance's (thank you for that apostrophe) article is something I really had to read twice. The article is short, but it is condensed and to the point. And, pardon my French - damn, he's right. Maybe for me it's not the writing, but the reading of AARs. But the historical plausibility of alternate histories are what make a lot of AARs fun to read and, I suspect, write.

The Cinematic AAR article is up next. "Ugh, it's about those damn VAARs again..." Wait, what - it isn't? NewbieOne really touches the core of AAR writing - no, fiction in general - in the middle (and partially latter) part of the text. There is no need to tell your readers everything that happens. I am not interested in the 12th successive attack by militia units in a far away colony that is broken off after one man got killed! Similarly, some events that don't seem important at all ("the water", or a single soldier's story) can make for some great flavor. When you write an AAR, you should first make sure the general line of events is covered, then fill in the rest of the update with flavor - however you like it.

Fyregecko - is that AAR advertising I smell? ;) Doesn't matter, for this was an article I very much enjoyed reading. And hopefully, it will inspire more people to draw their AARs. You can't draw, you say? Just google "Polandball". You can draw that with your toes if you'd like to.

And then, the big teaser... I know a little about the changes that are to be made, and I assure you that although they are big and good (IMO), the current form of articles will remain to exist. Now, I'll go ahead and spam y'all to death with my banner. Have fun!
 

TekcoR

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A good read, and I remember the days when Rensslaer and I both had a Prussian Victoria 1 AAR competing...those were the days.
 

Rensslaer

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A good read, and I remember the days when Rensslaer and I both had a Prussian Victoria 1 AAR competing...those were the days.

I quite miss those days! You're a much more prolific writer than I am -- I wish I could do as many AARs as you've got going!

The interview by Misterbean was great -- lots of stuff I never knew about Rensslaer... Wait... ;)

I really liked Merrick Chance's article. Narrative has such a draw, for me, even though (as you'll notice in my interview) I really don't have the time to do narrative in an extended project right now. There is such value in it. A gameplay AAR may be either informative or entertaining, but it doesn't have the depth that a narrative AAR does, or a good historybook AAR. And it IS fascinating to take a situation and think how changed circumstances would change the history. It's even more fun when you know enough about the history (innate knowledge or studious research) to make good estimates on what might have changed, and why (I've recently been going through TheYogi's Eagle and Lion AAR, which did this well in HOI 2).

I'm still working through NewbieOne's article. Lots there to absorb! While I would probably never contemplate a cinematic AAR, as a fan of film, I can understand how it could be done well. I've only recently begun to look into video AARs (not quite the same thing, if I'm reading NewbieOne's take correctly), such as Saithis'.

Thanks, folks, for putting work into this AARLander!

Rensslaer
 

NewbieOne

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I'm still working through NewbieOne's article. Lots there to absorb! While I would probably never contemplate a cinematic AAR, as a fan of film, I can understand how it could be done well. I've only recently begun to look into video AARs (not quite the same thing, if I'm reading NewbieOne's take correctly), such as Saithis'.

Thanks! In one sentence, it comes down to an attempt to look at a "normal" forum-posted AAR as something close to a film rather than something written on paper.
 

Avindian

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I really enjoyed all four articles, particularly the fact that somebody else on these forums used to play DragonRealms (I think Rensslaer and I have already talked about it). Keep up the good work, everybody!
 

Ikarases

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At the end I was expecting I could click the arrow to redirect me here and well... It didn´t work! :p

The interview of Rensslaer was quite interesting. Not that I´ve read any of his AARs anyway :D For some reason, I track only AARs created since I´m here and only for HoI 3 and I´m kind of discouraged by that triple-digit number near "replies" :eek:

As for the rest: It takes me a lot of time just to write that plain and simple narrative AAR and it´s not all that good anyway (at least so far; I guess I need to post some updates to find out :D). I´m better off not even thinking about cinematic one or writing it like a comics. Altough I´ve already written somewhere I managed to cooperate with GIMP, that´s good enough :)

Good grammar for successful AARs! Ikar out.
 

Lord Durham

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Good articles. Nice to see this tradition of publications, begun way back when with the AARland Gazette (IIRC), continue.
 

Idhrendur

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Well done, a good read!

(No, nothing more productive to say, but I know that the praise is important to keep writers encouraged to keep writing)
 

Merrick Chance'

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Thanks for the compliments, guys! During my next space of free time I'll try to find the time to write a longer version of "Why I Write"
 

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Another great issue! I only caught up with the new AARlander last month, I'm very glad it's back.

A few weeks back I offered Derahan to create ebook versions of each issue (mostly for people like me who might like to have the option for off-line or on-the-sofa tablet reading on a more classic format). Here is this month's edition for anybody interested: PDF format; or iBooks format (iPad-only).

Once Derahan decides where is best to post back issues I'll start making them available as well.

Happy reading!
 

Gen. Marshall

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Another great issue! I only caught up with the new AARlander last month, I'm very glad it's back.

A few weeks back I offered Derahan to create ebook versions of each issue (mostly for people like me who might like to have the option for off-line or on-the-sofa tablet reading on a more classic format). Here is this month's edition for anybody interested: PDF format; or iBooks format (iPad-only).

Once Derahan decides where is best to post back issues I'll start making them available as well.

Happy reading!

Absolutely fantastically awesome!! :D

In my opinion, this would be a great addition to the next AARlanders. If we put a link to the PDF version at the beginning of each AARlander, people can choose whether to read it on the forums or with a PDF. Derahan, what do you think?
 

Derahan

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Absolutely fantastically awesome!! :D

In my opinion, this would be a great addition to the next AARlanders. If we put a link to the PDF version at the beginning of each AARlander, people can choose whether to read it on the forums or with a PDF. Derahan, what do you think?

Splendid Idea, PDF sounds good :)
 

LordTempest

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One thing I really liked about the old AARlander of the Canonized-era were the interviews with AAR authors: to me they added the feel of a real magazine and were pretty interesting and insightful to read too. With the Derahan-era AARlander, I did feel (until now) that part of that "magazine" tradition - with interviews, reviews and so on - was lost, and that Derahan's AARlander was morphing into a sort of upmarket philosophical Journal where the "Great and Good" of AARland discuss the craft of writing and presenting an AAR. That was fine, because we have had some superb articles on both the "philosophical" side of AAR writing (in particular those by Mr.C, Prawnstar and Loki stand out in my mind) and the "practical" side (namely Saithis and robw's articles on AAR presentation) but I couldn't help but wonder if we could have the best of both worlds: Canonized-era reviews and interviews with Derahan-era articles. Naturally therefore I was ecstatic to see misterbean's interview at the top of this issue's article list! Suffice to say I wasn't disappointed and that that was very much the highlight of this issue for me. I'd love it if misterbean (or someone else) were to make interviews a regular AARlander staple, maybe two per issue: one of a big-name AARland veteran like Rens to draw the crowds and impart wisdom and the other of a writer comparatively new to AARland, like say NewbieOne, to offer a fresh perspective. Not only could it be a great way for "new blood" - so to speak - to earn a few extra readers and comments, it could also serve as motivation for them to keep on writing, and I'm all for that.

Interview aside though, I have to admit (in the nicest possible way) that I did feel this issue was on balance the worst of the seven Derahan issues so far. Perhaps the halving of articles from six to three (excluding the Rens interview and Derahan's announcement - which can't really be considered an article in my view as it is an announcement.) was a factor in this. Merrick's little opinion piece was short and sweet, while Fyregecko's was much longer but both essentially asked and answered the same question: Why do I (replace I with Merrick and Fyregecko where applicable) Write AARs? Although the answers were different and both were worth reading (though I feel Merrick's could have been a bit longer and Fyregecko's a lot shorter) I felt while reading that the two really could have been merged into one mass "Why x AAR authors Write" article. Given the fewer number of articles in this issue, having two devoted to the same subject was perhaps not the best idea. Perhaps it's just me though: I've always viewed AAR writing in a very similar light to that which Merrick speaks of in his article, so naturally I wasn't going to draw the sort of profound insight that say, a Gameplay or Comedy AAR author might draw.

This brings me to our only "philosophical" article of this issue (Newbie's) which - and I say this again in the nicest possible way - was disappointing. I say disappointing because I think there were several interesting points and insights buried in there to be raised. The problem was that the article was written in such a convoluted way that by the end, I wasn't quite sure exactly what point Newbie was trying to make. The article just didn't know what it wanted to be: like a young boy who wants to be a policeman when he grows up one day, a fireman the next and a doctor the day after that. I wasn't quite sure whether it was meant to be a short history on cinematic gameplay, an argument or proposition in favour of the "cinematic AAR" or an instructional piece explaining how to write one. Sometimes I felt that it was trying to be all three at the same time!

That is a darn shame, because there were some real gems buried in that piece (in particular the sixth and eighth paragraphs, which really do sum up his AAR Land's End in a nutshell.) which, if Newbie had built an entire article around those principles could have made for a really insightful "philosophical" piece. Furthermore, the three paragraphs dealing with "flow" (nine ten and eleven) could have made for a great "practical" article, especially for new writers. I reckon that if the first three paragraphs of Newbie's article were either cut out entirely or "brutally" summarised, and the points raised in paragraphs six and eight elaborated on in one article and those raised in nine, ten and eleven elaborated upon in another, we would have ended up with two brilliant articles on two different subjects - and that would have definitely added some much needed content balance to a rather lop-sided AARlander edition. Instead, we're left with an article with a great deal of potential which tried to do two separate things at once, and therefore ended up doing neither.
 

Derahan

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One thing I really liked about the old AARlander of the Canonized-era were the interviews with AAR authors: to me they added the feel of a real magazine and were pretty interesting and insightful to read too. With the Derahan-era AARlander, I did feel (until now) that part of that "magazine" tradition - with interviews, reviews and so on - was lost, and that Derahan's AARlander was morphing into a sort of upmarket philosophical Journal where the "Great and Good" of AARland discuss the craft of writing and presenting an AAR. That was fine, because we have had some superb articles on both the "philosophical" side of AAR writing (in particular those by Mr.C, Prawnstar and Loki stand out in my mind) and the "practical" side (namely Saithis and robw's articles on AAR presentation) but I couldn't help but wonder if we could have the best of both worlds: Canonized-era reviews and interviews with Derahan-era articles. Naturally therefore I was ecstatic to see misterbean's interview at the top of this issue's article list! Suffice to say I wasn't disappointed and that that was very much the highlight of this issue for me. I'd love it if misterbean (or someone else) were to make interviews a regular AARlander staple, maybe two per issue: one of a big-name AARland veteran like Rens to draw the crowds and impart wisdom and the other of a writer comparatively new to AARland, like say NewbieOne, to offer a fresh perspective. Not only could it be a great way for "new blood" - so to speak - to earn a few extra readers and comments, it could also serve as motivation for them to keep on writing, and I'm all for that.

Interview aside though, I have to admit (in the nicest possible way) that I did feel this issue was on balance the worst of the seven Derahan issues so far. Perhaps the halving of articles from six to three (excluding the Rens interview and Derahan's announcement - which can't really be considered an article in my view as it is an announcement.) was a factor in this. Merrick's little opinion piece was short and sweet, while Fyregecko's was much longer but both essentially asked and answered the same question: Why do I (replace I with Merrick and Fyregecko where applicable) Write AARs? Although the answers were different and both were worth reading (though I feel Merrick's could have been a bit longer and Fyregecko's a lot shorter) I felt while reading that the two really could have been merged into one mass "Why x AAR authors Write" article. Given the fewer number of articles in this issue, having two devoted to the same subject was perhaps not the best idea. Perhaps it's just me though: I've always viewed AAR writing in a very similar light to that which Merrick speaks of in his article, so naturally I wasn't going to draw the sort of profound insight that say, a Gameplay or Comedy AAR author might draw.

This brings me to our only "philosophical" article of this issue (Newbie's) which - and I say this again in the nicest possible way - was disappointing. I say disappointing because I think there were several interesting points and insights buried in there to be raised. The problem was that the article was written in such a convoluted way that by the end, I wasn't quite sure exactly what point Newbie was trying to make. The article just didn't know what it wanted to be: like a young boy who wants to be a policeman when he grows up one day, a fireman the next and a doctor the day after that. I wasn't quite sure whether it was meant to be a short history on cinematic gameplay, an argument or proposition in favour of the "cinematic AAR" or an instructional piece explaining how to write one. Sometimes I felt that it was trying to be all three at the same time!

That is a darn shame, because there were some real gems buried in that piece (in particular the sixth and eighth paragraphs, which really do sum up his AAR Land's End in a nutshell.) which, if Newbie had built an entire article around those principles could have made for a really insightful "philosophical" piece. Furthermore, the three paragraphs dealing with "flow" (nine ten and eleven) could have made for a great "practical" article, especially for new writers. I reckon that if the first three paragraphs of Newbie's article were either cut out entirely or "brutally" summarised, and the points raised in paragraphs six and eight elaborated on in one article and those raised in nine, ten and eleven elaborated upon in another, we would have ended up with two brilliant articles on two different subjects - and that would have definitely added some much needed content balance to a rather lop-sided AARlander edition. Instead, we're left with an article with a great deal of potential which tried to do two separate things at once, and therefore ended up doing neither.

Interesting, thanks for the feedback.

As for the length of the AARlander is that we're going to try something else, sort of a reconstruction, I won't say more but we will try something and hopefully with will be good.

Though as for the "philosophical" part I do enjoy that and I feel this edition (No offense to any contributors, great job!) was just sort of an interlude between the last and the next. Though don't worry, the interview section is here to stay. Now back to philosophical, the problem is that I don't know which people to ask to write as I feel like pushing myself on others and that the ideas can dry out very fast, and then indeed very fast. Though I'd appreciate if someone approached me with an idea of an article, that is always welcomed. :)

Regards.
D.
 

Avindian

People's Commissar of the Navy
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I second Tanzhang on the thoughts of including reviews, and I really liked the interview section and hope that sticks around. Another possibility to make it feel more magazine-ish would be to have regular columnists. (Not that I'm volunteering, but I don't mind contributing every once in a while. :))