April 17, 2012

My HMA History Part I

HackMaster Association Logo
With the new HackMaster Players handbook coming out there has been a resurgence in interest in the HackMaster Association.

I've been volunteering with that organization for some time now and sometimes the sudden influx of attention now when I could have been using help earlier is a bit frustrating.

Of course, to be fair, the "interest" being expressed is not much more than a bunch of people throwing out ideas for what "they" want in changes to the HackMaster Association (HMA).  Design by true democracy seldom works, but if some folks can step up and actually act, rather than talk, then maybe the organization can grow.

The commentary portion of this post is done because I think there is some value of explaining some of my personal history in the HackMaster Association and why people need to "do" and not "talk".

HackMaster 4th Edition PHB
I "discovered" HackMaster while on my honeymoon.  Carolyn and I were in a comic book/game store in Las Vegas and I happened upon the Player's Handbook (PHB).  That was in August of 2002 and I was able to do little more than read the book until I discovered that in May of 2003 there was a HackMaster game or two being played at CONduit in Salt Lake City.  It had been years since I attended a con and I don't think my wife had ever gone to one.  At that con I got to finally play HackMaster and I really enjoyed the game.  We ended up making friends with some folks in Salt Lake City that we still play with to this day.

When we got back home I wanted to play more.  After talking to the owner of my Favorite Local Game Store (FLGS) I learned that there were a lot of people in Boise who "should" be playing the game.  He had sold a lot of PHBs and GameMaster Guides (GMGs) and he knew there were people playing.  Now all I needed to do was get in touch with these folks.

HMA Chapter when I first joined.
This is where my initial contact with the HMA began. I registered as player number 1339 which means there should be at least another 1338 people to possibly play with.  After registering I find that I'm in a specific Chapter of the HMA and the only registered player in Idaho.  Well, that sucks.....who is in my Chapter?  It ended up that my whole Chapter is one group in Spokane, WA and me.  Some guy in Spokane got pissy when his Chapter refused to hold their State Championship game in alternating cities between Seattle and Spokane.  The overwhelming majority of players were in the greater Seattle metropolitan area and it made sense that this one game would be held near the majority of players.  Basically this one GameMaster (GM) seceded from his Chapter and did a land grab to appear legitimate.  Taking the Eastern portion of Washington and all of Idaho to represent single table of players does not a real Chapter make.

New HMA Chapter I was able to join
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that this guy "doesn't play well with others".  Spokane is at least an eight hour drive away, but our new friends in Salt Lake City are roughly half that distance. It took more than a few calls and email back and forth between Boise, Salt Lake City, and Waukegan (IL) to get Idaho extricated from this one Chapter and joined to a different one.  That Chapter was HUGE, covering pretty much all the states between Idaho and Oklahoma.  Eventually we pared that down to the corridor between Boise and Salt Lake City, but that is a story for another time.

In my first year after discovering HackMaster I've gotten to play one game not at my own dinner table.  The game was fun, but the HackMaster Association definitely was not.  My first lessons about the HMA is that there were politics and competition was important.

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