New Fudge Fanzine? The Fudge Community Shares Ideas
Fanzines are publications created by fans to show their admiration for a product, person, or whatever the focus of their admiration is. Currently I do not know of a fanzine for the Fudge RPG, and the closest publication to a fanzine in the past was Fudge Factor. If a fanzine were created today what form would it take? I recently asked the Fudge community this very question, and their feedback may be what leads to a new fanzine for the Fudge RPG.
Why have a fanzine?
Many fans of Fudge have commented on how Fudge Factor is a great resource, despite no longer being an active publication. The Fudge Factor site provided adventures for Fudge, alternative rules, and helpful articles that expanded upon the material already available to the Fudge community.
Sadly there has not been a similar resource for Fudge fans since Fudge Factor went offline. It is a testament to how well the quality of Fudge Factor articles were that they are still linked to and Fudge Factor’s absence is still felt by the community. Newspapers, journals, and fanzines help to form a community’s identity. At this time the Fudge community does not have such a resource, and thus we have a bit of an identity crisis.
A new fanzine would help to identify our community while at the same time promoting the Fudge RPG to all role playing game enthusiasts. A fanzine also helps publishers to gauge what their customers enjoy about various products. Finally, a good fanzine would help to connect several different resources as fans would produce content for products and resources that they feel are worth promoting to everyone who is a fan of Fudge.
What should a fanzine do?
I am not a marketing expert, nor am I a publisher of periodicals. So what I think a fanzine should do is completely based on what I want a fanzine to do, and I want a fanzine to do primarily three things:
- Promote – I want a fanzine to be a loud, in-your-face, overwhelmingly enthusiastic publication of praise for the Fudge RPG and its derivatives. There may be negative pieces from time to time, but a good fanzine will be a biased publication that favors the Fudge RPG. The one exception to this should be product reviews, because a bad product based upon Fudge inadvertently hurts Fudge as a whole. Yet in general all fanzines should present their topic of choice as something worthy of being a fan of to begin with.
- Inform – A fanzine should let its subscribers know of new developments with Fudge. Publishers should consider the fanzine as one of the first organizations to send their press releases to, and the fanzine staff should then rush to share that news with its subscribers. This is not limited to just products though, because I want the fanzine to tell me who will be at conventions running Fudge events, and what sorts of non-Fudge resources are available to me that will improve my Fudge games.
- Include – A good fanzine will give people a voice to share their love of Fudge with. It will not bash what others are doing, nor will it tell people how they should play Fudge. A good fanzine will instead share the details of what someone is doing differently as a way to show the world that Fudge is a living system with people developing innovative new materials for it. Anyone who is developing material for Fudge, running a Fudge game, or playing in a Fudge game will be accepted into the fold with open arms.
Why these three goals? Because to me these are the things that fans do when they talk about the topics that they are passionate about. They tell you why the object of their praise is so great (promotion), and what you need to experience it yourself (information), and finally an invitation to become a fellow fan (inclusion).
What form would a new fanzine take?
This is the most difficult part of the fanzine equation. There are so many ways to produce a publication with today’s technology, and the content itself can be incredibly diverse. The question is less “What should we do?” and more “What should we not do?”
I have collected the posts made by the Fudge community from the original threads that resulted in this article. I’ve left them intact, so here are the suggestions given by members of the Fudge Community Yahoo! Group:
jlcsusara (Who first suggested a new fanzine in particular.)
“I would like to see more Actual Play reports, preferably in a central website. Or some sort of fanzine, read like a newspaper!
This would showcase the GM’s setting and campaign and also his player’s adventures. And would allow me and others to enjoy a good story! :)”
Robert A. Knop Jr.
“To get things started, I’d just say — start posting your war stories to this mailing list! The mailing list is here, it’s active, people read it. It’s the ideal place to find Fudge people. Tag your posts with "Actual Play:" or something like that, and run wild.”
I did not want to include the original post as it is quite long, but to sum it up J. Tim suggests that we have short articles about how to run Fudge games and alternative rules. He also would like to see more adventures.
“I’m still thinking about this. Fudge Factor was good, but it would be good to improve on it, I’m sure. Time for the next level, maybe?
I wonder if we could use a social site like Ning or Wetpaint? That would have the advantage of having a wiki combined with a discussion group.”
Mike also added:
“I’m thinking more and more that a "fanzine" should be something that people contribute to at will, instead of trying to do a monthly magazine. The stress of that was a point of contention for Carl, who ran Fudge Factor. Hence, why I recommended Wetpaint (Wetpaint has a WYSIWYG editor, as opposed to Wikia, which makes it easier for people to make a good-looking post).”
“I am all for everyone following their hearts on their projects. I think that, like writing, it is important sometimes to just do it, and worry about the editing/details/publishing later. I do know, however, that I am going to focus my contributions/efforts in getting Grey Ghost’s new site going and put any content there. I really think the most important thing, however, is to work as a community to excite and inspire each other, so more new Fudge things come out, no matter where they are, so I do hope it works out. The more material, the merrier :)”
“You know, we could do something like the newsletter that Johnn Four puts out…
His is pretty generic, even though it is pretty fantasy oriented. I’ve not seen a lot of Space, apoc, or steampunk. His thing is more metagaming. How to make your enemies more deadly, ways to incorporate sound and visuals, etc… If you need help in the direction you want to go, I would think about something like this. He also takes submissions, so you might think about taking articles and submitting
them to him. He seems like a good guy, with a dedicated following.
Just a thought…”
Note that I didn’t include every comment in each of the threads that I referenced here. There were also good posts that I excluded because they did not include a suggestion as to what the fanzine should be like, but they may have commented on why a fanzine is a good thing to have or how much work a fanzine would require.
What I would do.
I would register a new domain and install a content management
system that has modules for a blog, a forum, a wiki, and an electronic newsletter. I would only launch the blog at first, and every three to six months I would add another component in the order of newsletter, wiki, and finally the forum. I want the content to be built up first, but eventually I would like to see discussions taking place on the site as well.
I would have a loose editorial process. I would rather that the editors check for spelling and grammar errors and help author’s to shape their own articles. I do not want a fanzine to be a professional publication. I want it to be written by the fans. Sometimes the common person says what needs to be said, and trying to polish that up instead causes it to be tarnished.
I would dedicate the blog to articles focused on alternative rules, product reviews, news, and a monthly adventure for fans to download. The newsletter would be launched once the content contributors began to fall into a regular schedule. The wiki would be created for all fans to contribute new materials at their leisure, and also for campaign journals of actual games. Finally the forum would be brought online with the hope that active discussions would lure new fans to the Fudge RPG system.
What I would not do.
I would not use the current Yahoo! mailing list. It is not easy to organize or search, and mailing lists have been replaced in many ways by forums, wikis, and blogs.
I would not host the fanzine on the new Grey Ghost Games web site. I am a big fan of Grey Ghost Games, but a fanzine should not be hosted on any publisher’s web site. It should have its own site and should help to promote all publishers of Fudge products (and Grey Ghost Games and Ann Dupuis have done this in my opinion). I just want as clear a separation as possible between publishers and fans. It shows that we fans of Fudge went the extra mile to praise Fudge on our own.
I would not use this site. I have other plans for it, and hope to one day publish my own Fudge game. Plus I have been trying to create my own identity here. The fanzine deserves a unique identity all its own.
More importantly, what would you do?
If you are reading this post you are probably a fan of the Fudge RPG, so what would you do? What would your ideal fanzine look like? Leave your comments below (you will need to register for an account) and let all of us know what you think.