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Activists, Casuals, and a lonely Pro.
By David Sutcliffe
Hi, this article began life as a reply to Asadoine`s article of 4.13.00, entitled 'Founders/dedicated CPA members, read this!' and so it might be a good idea to briefly run through that article again if you haven`t read it already (which of course you have). But my reply got longer and longer, and I think it is best presented as an article in it`s own right.

For those of you who don`t know me fully from my contributions to the message boards (under the name 'Gizmo') my name is David Sutcliffe and I`m a committed tournament player who has, through good fortune and better e-friends, found himself a regular visitor to the CPA. I guess that makes me on of the 10% of 'Pro' players here at the CPA (according to Asadoine`s estimation).

Firstly in response to Asadoine`s point that the CPA is entirely 'supported' (ie, produced) by the relatively small number of what he calls 'activists' rather than the other groups. I can only say would be happy to contribute to support an organisation whose intention is so clearly benign as the CPA`s - but on the other hand I would vehemently oppose any attempt to change the CPA into a body which holds votes which it then hopes to use to bring pressure (perhaps that`s too strong-a-word, maybe 'influence' is more apt) to bear on WotC`s R+D/DCI people.

My vision for the CPA is as an island for players who are not committed to killer tech, laying the smackdown, or countering every spell they cast. An island where Thallids can prosper safe from the ravages of hungry Masticores, and the only 200-point Stroking that occurs is when you get too friendly with a Brushwagg.
I think that attempting to give the CPA a renewed sense of direction is dangerous for it`s future as a mass-support entity.
It doesn`t have mass support yet - I think what we see in the CPA, as all small 'political parties' display - is people with strong views. If you didn`t have strong views you wouldn`t go to the lengths that many people in the CPA go to make strong and rational arguments in their favour.

The CPA should be a bottom-to-top operation, but I fear it could easily become a top-to-bottom operation in the coming months. There have already been a small number of players who have joined the Boards and felt hopelessly intimidated by the vehemence of some of the 'activists' in arguing their points. This alienation was, I am sure, entirely accidental and I am certainly not suggesting anything otherwise, but it signals that the 'activists' and 'casuals' are no longer sharing the same goals.


WARNING: Strong opinions alert! Those of a sensitive disposition should look away now.


"However the casuals per definition can be frustrating to the activists due to their lack of motivation."
- Asadoine, 'Founders/dedicated CPA members, read this!'

Perhaps only a historian like myself would spot this comparison, but Lenin said almost exactly the same thing about the peasantry in 1917.
Wow, I can tell I`m going to have to cover my ass on this one straight away - I consider myself a Socialist, and further a Leninist, so I am not invoking the kneejerk fear of a dictator, nor am I suggesting Asadoine intends on fomenting global revolution. However the similarity in the two statements is a striking one and perhaps Asadoine might wish to consider his own position in relation to the casual players. The casual players are intended to be the focus of the CPA, and yet they have become an enemy of the CPA`s 'leadership' because the CPA`s goals, as orginally laid out, were never truly the goals of the casual players as a whole but of the minority of enthusiastic and committed activists who wanted to improve conditions for the majority and felt they knew how to achieve this best.
As history lecturers are quick to respond when asked of the validity of their subject - we can see reflections of the present in the past, and I find it very tempting to correlate many of the CPA`s 'activists' with those of the Bolsheveik party pre-1917. This is not, in and of itself, a criticism, but I feel that you should be aware of in whose footprints you tread.


"Girls - they wanna have fun,
Oh, girls just wanna have fun."
- Toyah Wilcox

This is what casual players want. Fun. They don`t want to revolutionise the DCI, or reprint the power nine - most of them have never even heard of the power nine (although they got hit by a Shivan Dragon once, when they were playing in the shop).
These are casual players not revolutionaries, CASUAL.

I think the CPA simply needs more input, more of the Casual players that, the name implies, is what the organisation is about.

I believe the CPA is now, and should remain, a 'Dojo Lite'.
I want a 'Casual Players Community' far more than I want a 'Casual Players Alliance'. Alliances are a preparation for war, Communities a preparation for life.


What Is To Be Done

There are a HELL of a lot of casual players out there, we all know that, but I can easily imagine that they only ever find the Dojo et al, they take one look at an Eric Taylor investigation of card advantage in Bargain decks and run a mile. The CPA is the natural home for these players - and yet I doubt even 1% ever hear of it. This is the direction in which the CPA should be directing it`s energies right now - extending popular awareness of us among the other 'serious' sites. The talent is in this organisation to be able to admirably achieve those ends, and there are many potential allies out there in the 'pro' world who would be very happy to help (of which I am I am living proof).


David Sutcliffe
(a lonely pro in a casual world, and having a great time)
TEAM CAND!MAN
http://members.tripod.co.uk/candiman/index.htm

And please wait five seconds before you reply, to give me a chance to don my flame-retardent clothing.

d_sutcliffe@hotmail.com

Read More Articles by David Sutcliffe!

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