Sunday, July 12, 2009

Whither TARGA?

Coming off a great time at a local gaming convention this weekend at which both the RPGA and NAGA had full-blown event tracks, I am given to share my vast disappointment at the direction TARGA has taken. Or, more precisely, the lack of direction.

The two email lists that support the organization are virtually unused. Nothing has been posted to the organizers' list since April, and the TARGAtalk list has seen a month go by with no activity. Is there really nothing to talk about? No conventions? No games looking for players (or players looking for games)? No module reviews? No new gaming news from among the OSR publishers? There's a spiffy wiki, which Michael S. was kind enough to set up, but after a month and a half, no one had added a single page until I did so tonight. The "official" TARGA website (itself a wordpress blog) hasn't seen any activity since April.

Is there even a TARGA? There is a bit of an internet presence, but is there any actual organization? We've got officers, apparently. Has a corporation been formed? I know I collaborated on bylaws many moons ago, and there have been some conference calls, but has any real progress been made? Have there been any TARGA-sanctioned events at conventions? Any attempt to generate synergy with some of the OSR publishers? Even a game finder? As far as I can tell, in 14 months, we've come up with a pair of low-traffic email lists and two websites that are essentially unused. There was an "International Traditional Gaming Week" back in January that seems to have consisted of mostly people running their ordinary games out of their houses, with a few one-shots at a local FLGS. A second one, planned for May, seems to have fizzled.

I do not mean to disparage anyone in particular, because this is not a failure of any individual, but I was frankly hoping for a little more progress over the course of more than a year.

Is this a failure of the concept, or a failure in execution? After only one attempt, it's impossible to say. I'm willing to give it another go in another organization (perhaps in another form, or with another emphasis), but I have regretfully come to the conclusion that TARGA is not the vehicle to support a revival of old-school gaming.