Battle Pond VIII: Big Gun Invitational at Maker Faire Bay Area, 2015

Discussion in 'Event Announcements' started by Rob Wood, Mar 24, 2015.

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  1. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    To all of those who have/had concerns about this year's Bay Area Maker Faire event, let me set your minds at ease. We had 17 - 20 ships in the water for most of the 8 battles we fought over the two days. Yes, we focus on sinking cargo ships, and not on inflicting damage on the warships - just as in real-life naval combat. Cargo is king. Damage to warships is irrelevant. Sink all of the enemy cargo ships and the battle (actually, the war) is won, no matter how many battleships are left floating.

    The cargo ships in these battles are not targets - they are the key players. The fleet with the last remaining cargo ship afloat wins. Yes, it's entertaining to watch, as half the audience is Axis, cheering for their fleet, and the other half is Allied, cheering for theirs. The cargo ships are captained by volunteers from the audience, who fill out an online form with their smart phones, right there at the event. The guest captain of that last remaining cargo ship is rewarded with an official WWCC Battle Pond tee shirt, and he or she earns it by avoiding destruction, hiding behind a friendly battleship, ducking, dodging or running away.

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    I'm happy to report that we added 10 new members to our club roster at this event, both young people and their dads (and in one case, a mom). These young people and their parents are the future of our hobby. 100% of the young folks had operated cargo ships in past years, starting from a very young age. One of them, a 13 year old young man, has been to every one of our 8 Battle Pond events. That means he started coming when he was 5 years old, along with his dad. They drive up every year from San Diego, just for the Battle Pond. Last year, he and his dad began construction on a Nevada, using the WWCC rulebook. Now that he is old enough to work to some degree on his own, both son and father have joined our club. The same thing happened with the others who joined.

    In addition to the 10 who joined, we had another 7 sign up to attend our next build session in June. Recruitment is a long-term investment, and our Maker Faire effort is finally paying off, despite the efforts of some misguided and misinformed detractors to undermine us.

    To those who were concerned about the possibility of squandering "36,000 gallons of water" at this event, relax: after the event, all of the water was pumped into a 21,000 gallon holding tank, supplied by Rain for Rent, and brought in by Maker Faire and the San Mateo County Event Center. The tank was not filled completely by this. This water will be used to irrigate the trees, grass and shrubbery at the event center. And for those who think we were planning on dumping the water into the storm drain system until a member of this forum "blew the whistle" on us: It would be wonderful if you would stop attempting to cause problems for us by misinforming public officials. We have been working with Peninsula municipalities to find the perfect home for this water since early February. Try asking us next time, instead of making anonymous phone calls and writing anonymous letters. The days of anonymity are over, and the days of acting like adults, face-to-face, are long overdue.

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    WWCC arranged for, secured funding for, reserved buses for, and organized a field trip for 100 disadvantaged high school students to come to Maker Faire.
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    In between battles, WWCC, San Francisco Model Yacht Club, and the Mare Island SubCommittee taught people to operate power boats, sail boats and submarines. In this photo, you can see a cross section of ethnically diverse folks eager to learn, all ages, both sexes. In the foreground, a San Mateo fire captain tries his hand at operating an Iowa. This same fire captain was contacted by a member of this forum last year, who tried to convince him our event was too dangerous to be allowed to continue being held at Maker Faire.
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    Pumping the recycled water into the 21,000 gallon storage tank
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    "Folding" the remaining recycled water carefully into the low spot of the pond, and pumping it into the storage tank
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    To those who have expressed concern about how dangerous our event is: over 10,000 spectators watched and participated this past weekend. Not one injury was reported.

    To those who have been eagerly waiting for the results of our 3D-printed cannon R&D: I'm starting a thread for that elsewhere on this forum.

    To those who are obsessed with me, or with WWCC, and just can't seem to get past it: I hereby release you from bondage. Go and have fun, and forget about us. We are here to stay.

    Finally, to those who say they tried and tried and tried to come help us at Maker Faire, but didn't, because I didn't play games here on this forum with you: I was swamped with preparations for all of the above. I posted my email address and even my phone number. Nobody called me. You could simply have come to Maker Faire, bought a ticket, and visited the Battle Pond. And to correct something someone said: We were not short handed this year: We had over 50 people on our crew, plus an additional 10 volunteers for crowd control, plus 2 security guards on duty at all times.

    Best regards,

    Rob
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2015
  2. Union Scum

    Union Scum RIP

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    Very nice. Glad to see you conserve water especially after our Governor put a $10k fine out to people abusing the water law.
    Sorry I did not post in time though I did post a couple hours after your last post which was on a Friday. Live and learn. Maybe next year.
    Next up Namba Nationals at Lake Minden. I put a post up about this event. I scanned the 1:96 site and in 2014 you were looking for clubs. Since Pacific Model Warship Combat Club resides up there was wondering if R/C Combat will be held at this event. Even if it is not I plan to attend as a spectator and watch this event. PACIFIC MODEL Warship members are available to play.

    As I mentioned. It is just as well we did not attend Maker Fair. We have a two day event near Lincoln Saturday and Sunday Memorial Day weekend. Thank you for sharining Maker Fair with us on this forum. Again maybe we can be there next year
     
  3. GregMcFadden

    GregMcFadden Facilitator RCWC Staff

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    That is sweet rob. I look forward to seeing the cannon cad files
     
  4. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    Hi Greg! See story + photos here.
     
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  5. Union Scum

    Union Scum RIP

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    Hmmm. Well is see Rob the NAMBA rep was here. Didn't have time to answer a yes or no question on The NAMBA Nats if there is R/C Combat there. This might not be the place to ask this. I did create a post in general questions about the NAMBA NATS If R/C Combat will be there at Lake Minden
     
  6. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    NAMBA Nats will not include RC Warship Combat this year. I haven't answered until now because I was hoping for some better news before I posted. There is a possibility of creating a separate NAMBA Combat Nats in the future at Minden, but all of the cabins have been reserved for this year's racing competition and open water testing. Western Warship Combat Club will be holding our regularly scheduled July event the weekend before the Nats, but even that weekend is booked, cabin-wise, by NAMBA racers for testing.

    In addition, Western Warship Combat Club has begun building a beach at Minden, dedicated to combat, but it is not yet completed.

    Rob
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  7. Union Scum

    Union Scum RIP

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    I am truly sorry their will be no R/C Combat at the NAMBA Nats. It is what it is. Years ago an attempt was made to do what you were trying to do. When we WWCC were there we were filler material. If we could do combat in between heats go for it. You can imagine it did not work.
    I am in agreement that it needs to be a separate event. Ever think of a different site? Also maybe not in the summer season either. There is another venue up there and it's not Big M Fisheries. No some where else. Cooperation between both clubs needs to be established. I have put on gaming conventions and have been part of them.
    I am very happy you and WWC Inc had a successful Maker Fair. Nice you recruited the people you did. This hobby needs to move forward instead of reverse or neautral. So for me I am in position of playing 1/72 scale which I happy with. Actually would have loved to had the CWCC be successful but, I got married to a very possessive woman and my time with Western was over till I divorced her.
    My fortie is recruiting. Example at Hidden Lake today. 2 people are very interested. See picture below. Anyway off to China this Friday. Take care and have fun
     

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  8. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    My own POV is that we all need to be supportive of any recruitment efforts in the hobby, and any event that brings enjoyment to the participants and spectators, regardless of what "flavor" of RC Warship Combat we're fond of. We need to keep our negative thoughts private, as much as possible, because we drag the entire hobby down when we take our personality conflicts public. If you look back over the last few years here in the Bay Area, you can see the results of these conflicts. No one wins.

    As NAMBA combat chair, I had hoped we could have an event this year at Minden at which we could have at least one example of every flavor of RC Warship Combat out there, whether actual or proposed: Big Gun, Fast Gun, Treaty, Ironclad, Steam Punk, Age of Sail, 1:144, 1:72, 1:96. At least, if we all can look at these ships in the same place, and all of us talk about what can be, rather than what we think shouldn't be, we might have a chance at kick-starting the hobby into a higher gear. As long as we remain isolated from one another, we're not likely to accomplish anything. Meanwhile, the vendors who supply us can't put food on the table, because there are simply too few of us.

    Rob
     
  9. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    There already is such a place.
     
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  10. jadfer

    jadfer Well-Known Member

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    Rob, I haven't seen any of this behavior on the forum. Are you referring to events that happened privately in California?

    The biggest issue is how many folks actually build boats and then show up to events. A recruit that attends build sessions and takes pictures and never builds a boat or attends a battle is not a good recruit. They are just a spectator and we cant grow the hobby with spectators, however I do recognize that many recruits come out of the spectating crowds.

    For example, you may count ten folks that will pay dues in a club as a recruiting success. In my book when they buy and build a boat, and attend at least 2 battles a year, every year, then they are an active Captain. One exception in my book is for folks that attend only Nats.. OR attend a single event year after year.. I will count them as current. The hobby cant grow with guys that come out 1 time every 3-5 years... it helps.. they are appreciated.. they are welcomed... but it doesn't 'GROW' the hobby. We need Captains that show up to events.


    Folks that join the club.. and never build.. or never battle... I don't count as an active member.. they don't help us grow.. they are just watching. We can have thousands of spectators but if we don't get them to build boats and battle the hobby will shrink until those thousands of spectators are watching 2 or 3 boats.. and then what is the point. Growth comes from participation not observation.. although like I said... spectating/observation can lead to participation(battling) but increasing the number of boats on the water is the only way to grow the hobby.


    As far as vendors... that is a very complicated issue that warrants a completely separate conversation.
     
  11. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    I think you know I'm talking about seeing, touching, hearing, walking around, and maybe having a beer or two with the builder. A website is fine, but nothing beats gathering together in person.
     
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  12. BigGunJeff

    BigGunJeff Well-Known Member

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    The battle pond was a lot of fun. Mostly entertainment for the public at large, but I think around 10% of them came back in the pits for a closer look and explanation. These are the ones that are potential new members. The CARGO IS KING game design works great for this event because there is direct participation with our guest captains, and they are really pumped up by the end of the battle. After the event, we talked about how to make it even more engaging by adding a scoreboard for cargo runs that everyone involved can see and react to. Looking forward to this for next year.

    We have been putting a lot of effort into making the game more fun with less work on maintenance. This year we were experimenting with waterproofing electronics and continuing our efforts with siding the boats with duct tape. For the electronics, I printed up a close-fitting enclosure that fit the circuit board of our recievers, and a separate enclosure for our speed controllers. These were then potted in epoxy with the wires/pins exposed for hookup. The circuit boards of the servos were coated in a conformal coating for waterproofing. This paid off because of the 48 sorties run by cargo boats, we had zero failures, and the cycle time for preparing a ship for battle was around 5 minutes (to replace the siding). After running a conventionally constructed VU for two seasons, I appreciate the concept of making these boats more reliable.
     
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  13. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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  14. jadfer

    jadfer Well-Known Member

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    Rob,

    You have done a fantastic job with the Maker Faire and it looked great. I think you guys have really put together a classy show out there and it looks to be very exciting. I am not sure there will be anything else like it unless a small group of captains is willing to foot the bill elsewhere.

    However many of your statements seem to suggest you your club is the only club that is looking for, recruiting, helping, and mentoring future captains. I think we are all doing that in local clubs across the Nation.

    Which programs are you referring to that don't mentor or require new recruits to be a top Ace? California sounds much more competitive than I thought.
    All clubs I have been in have a program like that.. except its done locally not so much as an overall club 'program'. Bob H in MN has single handedly recruited one of the larger local groups we have and typically builds boats for rookies. In our area it certainly wasn't a lack of mentoring.. it was a reluctance to drive out of their own neighborhood, or lack of drive to work on the ship at all... but we keep trying.

    You make this broad statement in response to mine, so it seems directed at me, however as I have not observed that you have ever battled or attended build sessions outside California, I must assume you are referring to folks out in your area. In the MWC and IRC we do take folks by the hand .... if they are willing to follow. Many rookies, including myself as a rookie, make an early decision to do things their OWN WAY and will not take advice from a veteran no matter what you do. Then when they battle and their boat doesn't perform and they lose heart.. where shall we place the blame for the failure in retention of this member? Sometimes you cant keep every single person interested.. UNLESS you are willing to build, maintain, repair, patch, load, fill co2, and launch the boat for them.... No thanks on that one.. they have to put some effort into it.

    You are absolutely right, I don't think there is a member on this forum or in the IRC that would disagree with you. I wonder who does?

    That is a great idea and great that you are doing it. Folks in the MWC and IRC had been doing this for decades. Glad to see its getting around.

    Its much more than just buyers... many business have folded even though they had healthy sales volume. It helps to carry the brands and items that the target market wants to buy. The Apple Lisa was a work of art.. Jobs thought it was a great idea... the public.. not so much. The other thing is in this hobby many folks make their own items so that only leaves room for a few types of items like hulls, molded turrets, and other things.
     
  15. Rob Wood

    Rob Wood NAMBA Rep

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    I really hate this type of 2-dimensional, text-on-the-screen in-depth discussion. It's like email: OK for who, what, where, when and how, but completely inadequate for anything beyond that. Now I have to explain, point-by-point, how you misunderstood me, because I didn't make my points clear enough, and you think I was holding my club up to be some sort of paragon of success, as though all of the ideas I mentioned are new, springing from the minds of Californians, etc., etc. We went from two guys sharing thoughts from what I thought was a place of consensus, to two guys separated by attitude, and suddenly "us" and "them." It sucks.

    Let me start over. We have a hobby that we can arbitrarily call RC Warship Combat. It has - maybe - 300 active participants in the US. (I'm basing this on reading all of the various club websites, forums, Yahoo groups, Facebook pages, etc. YMMV, but it's not far off.) It has many more semi-active or inactive folks in orbit around it, plus many, many more with ships collecting dust in garages and basements - former captains who have moved on, or who never fully invested in it.

    When I talk about what I believe we need to do to actually grow the hobby, I'm not excluding my own club from those admonitions. My club has its own problems in retention and follow-through. I make general statements because I believe they are universal to our hobby community. If I'm wrong about any of them, then I would love to stand corrected. When I ask how many clubs have actual mentoring programs, I believe the answer may be zero. Instead, what mentoring is done seems to be left to chance, and to individuals who naturally lean toward teaching. My club has no formal mentoring program, which means that if given individuals who like to mentor have life, career or health issues that get in the way, the new folks they would have been helping don't get helped. If a club out there has a mentoring program that is not dependent upon chance, and it's something that can be exported to other clubs, I would love to see it.

    On our Maker Faire effort: We don't pay for our Battle Pond expenses from our club treasury, or out of our members' pockets. Maker Faire itself subsidizes our exhibit, because they get value added benefits from our efforts. We aren't unique in that respect. In addition, we have picked up sponsorship that helps pay for some of our expenses. There are 131 Maker Faires in the world this year, and as far as I know, no other RC Warship Combat Club has sought to build a Battle Pond at any of them. We'd be happy to help any group that wants to go that route, but maybe this is just something that works for us, and might not work for anyone else. I think all of the groups in this country need to reach out to the world around us in some manner to promote the hobby, and maybe other groups are doing different approaches that work for them.

    Is there even one vendor who caters to those 300 active captains who can put food on the table from sales, or pay the mortgage, or send the kids to college? It doesn't matter how good their marketing efforts are to such a small group, or how great their products, prices or customer service might be, because we are too few to support them. Yes, it's true that many of us make our own parts, pieces, hulls, guns - even our own radios. It doesn't change the fact that our market is tiny, and will remain tiny as long as our numbers remain small, and it also means that new people without those skills are handicapped from the start, because they can't buy what they need from a healthy marketplace.

    Maybe you don't agree with what I'm saying, or maybe we simply aren't communicating. I sense that we're kindred spirits, but this particular medium is not what we need to explore that relationship.

    In the end, regardless of our skills at putting thoughts on a computer screen, a hour of sitting down together is worth more than all of these words expressed in zeroes and ones. At least for me. It might be different for you.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. jadfer

    jadfer Well-Known Member

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    So to move this along, my suggestion is that as you are the Namba Combat Chair it would probably be a good idea for you to start visiting the member clubs to meet their e-boards and discuss expanding the Namba Combat. That would be the best way to get your message to these people. While you are at it I am sure you can borrow a boat and get some battling in. You are welcome to join us and talk about your Namba program at the IRC Nats, and if you come out to Rosenberg TX in the fall, we can supply you with a ship and an eager audience for your ideas and message.

    It would be difficult to get all the battlers across the nation in one place at one time, but as the Namba Combat Chair, it would be in yours and Namba's best interest if you to travel and visit with all those folks. Bring your photo album from the Maker Faire also as I am one that would like to see it.

    I hope you will consider making it out this year so we can talk. There will always be a chair for you down in Houston.

    Thanks

    Johnny
     
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  17. Gary Powell

    Gary Powell Well-Known Member

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    I guess all other combat clubs around the country are getting it wrong by doing mostly warship to warship combat. We have an occasional event where we add in the cargo ships or target barges, but it appears that WWCC does it the other way around with almost all events utilizing the cargo ships. Using 6 loaner cargo ships in most events is definitely a way to boost the overall number of ships and captains participating. I went and watched a couple of WWCC events at Lake Minden last year and this explains why there were so many cargo ships always being run. That's a really good, innovative idea for increasing participation.
     
  18. NickMyers

    NickMyers Admin RCWC Staff

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    We use cargo ships for guests as well. Easy and fast way to get someone into the fray.
     
  19. BigGunJeff

    BigGunJeff Well-Known Member

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    The cargo boats are indeed an excellent way to easily get participation from outsiders. We are thinking in the WWCC to expand this idea to a simple class of armed torpedo cruisers. There is a real focus on simplicity and reliability, but with enough firepower to have the new captains affect the outcome of battle. Ideally we can lower the bar so most folks can jump right in without losing a season or two while learning the ropes and building an armed ship.

    Having said that, I think there will always be an appreciation for the unique or exceptional ship. I find myself drawn to some of our members boats and their amazing detail.
     
  20. Gary Powell

    Gary Powell Well-Known Member

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    We have three fully outfitted combat ships that three of us maintain (1 each) for loaning out to new members in the process of building their own ship. We do occasionally use cargo ships from time to time as a special event, but overall I believe our members prefer ship to ship combat. It can also be misleading when someone boasts having 12 ships at an event and half could be unarmed cargo ships.
     
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