There are millions of web sites on the Internet and even the best search engines will access only a third of them. One way to navigate the Web is to go to someone’s page and then follow their links. In fact, some home pages seem to exist solely for the purpose of sending you around the Internet. Many sites are constructed like "Hi! I’m Alfreda. Here’s a picture of my pet Basset Hound ‘Seymour.’ Here’s a link to the Basset Hound Championship Racing Circuit Page." You click the underlined text or a picture and soon you are gambling illegally on Basset Hound races in Australia. The BHCRCP would also have its own links to other Basset Hound places. Sooner or later, you will hit most of the relevant sites.
The WebRing system is an attempt to rationalize this process. Simply put, after creating your home page, you link it to other websites organized around a common theme. For example, Alfreda would probably join the "Basset Hound Ring" (99 sites as of 12/98). Overall, there are 66,000+ webrings joining people of almost every conceivable interest. Each of these rings is a web advertiser’s dream. As the WebRing people like to point out, it was so obvious.
The WebRing home page includes a search machine. Entering "game" brought up over 600 rings. "Wargame" found 56. The largest of these is The Wargamer’s Ring with 365 members. As with other webrings, you can access a list of member sites. If you are on a webpage, you can go to one at random, see a list of the previous or next five sites, or travel to the preceding or next web site in the ring.
The Wargamer’s Ring offers an interesting assortment of members, with an emphasis on miniature, computer, and Internet games. There are also pages from individuals, retailers, and small companies. Boardgames, CCGs, and RPGs are represented lightly, but the Ring does have links to the major boardgame sites and companies on its main page.
This is an interesting, fast-growing Ring (up from 30 members in early 1998) which can connect you to an eclectic array of web sites. However, the index pages load slowly and the member sites are organized in the order they joined, not by any kind of logical category. It can take a while to find a particular site using the Ring. Still, you can discover a lot of obscure sites and it is worth the effort. Even better, you can create your own page and join in. It’s free.
Peter L. de Rosa
Note: The original version of this review appeared in Strategist 28 (May 1998):6-7. The Strategist is the newsletter of the Strategy Gaming Society.
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