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Chapters Unwritten
06-02-2013, 16:06
I have seen a lot of games come along and try to usurp the mantle of GW's ultimate sci-fi mini wargame franchise. All have failed. Even the ones that are sticking it out, like Warmachine, don't even come close to being as omnipresent or as profitable as 40k is to GW. This is not because any of these games are not good, however.

I believe there is no direct competitor to 40k in the industry. All of the other games built are built off of 40k in a sycophantic way. Most people don't agree with me on this but it seems almost obvious to me half the time. I've read press releases for new games which state things like, "No clunky you-go-I-go mechanics from 20 years ago!" and "No need to spend a fortune on models to play this game" etc. Sometimes it's subtle (Warmachine's "play like you've got a pair" is a direct counterweight to GW's friendly do-whatever-you-want approach), other times it's more obvious, but to me it is always there.

These games often read like slightly modified GW games, too. Reading Kings of War I was feeling rather very much like I was reading the faked 6th edition 40k release; a lot of rules that fans might think fit well but the designers didn't use, put into what is otherwise a very similarly structured game. Others try to shoehorn the mechanics from their preferred games into GW's existing structure and call it their own.

None of the games dares to attack the 40k franchise directly, however. The obvious knockoffs are afraid of GW Legal and the rest are mechanics in a vaccuum, trying to sell people on rules alone. No game has tried to push the rich in-universe story translating to tabletop rules for a company level war game. So...to wit...I would like to try and create such a game.

A sci fi game that uses company-level battles (not skirmish) and takes its rules from a rich background, I believe. I am just curious what you all think is a good aspect to include in a game meant to fill the same niche 40k does, and what you think makes other games with superior rules still fall short.

Gossipmeng
06-02-2013, 16:13
Fluff

Many new games simply do not have the resources to compete with the story line of 40k. Many games have great little story lines or interesting factions, but they simply cannot hold a candle to a compilation such as the black library.

IcedCrow
06-02-2013, 16:16
What got me interested in 40k was the story and the imagery. Gameplay is second to me. I want it to be fun. That's my qualifications of a fun game.

Privateer doesn't hold interest for me because I'm not into low model count skirmish games where everything is uber powerful and relying on combinations (ala magic the gathering) to do something.

The other games out there like Dust, and Infinity, those are good, but they don't capture my mind like 40k does. So if you want to compete with 40k from my perspective, you need a fully detailed universe to sandbox in.

MikeyB
06-02-2013, 16:23
In before massive flame wars start. If this thread stays civil and calm after that OP i'll be very surprised. That's my contribution to this thread because otherwise I'll contribute to a self fulfilling prophecy.

ForgottenLore
06-02-2013, 16:38
... takes its rules from a rich background, I believe.

40K only does that because they have 20 years of history in which they have built that background. When 40K started there wasn't that much more background than any other game that is trying to get traction right now.

Thrax
06-02-2013, 16:48
I'd have to say that the OP's goal is controversial and bold, but worthwhile. As others have touched upon, much of the appeal of 40K is the richness of the background as well as a vast variety of great models (with some notable exceptions of course) that compliments that background. Though GW isn't above contradicting or even outright stepping on its own background material, it remains as probably the biggest appeal to the system. And its not like GW has always mucked up its rules; there are many good things that still work. It's just that GW seems to have lost track of what it is and what works well, seemingly more interested in short term profit than long term quality. The fan base (certainly not speaking for everybody) feels more like addicted victims to its policy than willing participants. A new approach would be well worth it, if nothing more than to encourage GW to give a damn.

Baneboss
06-02-2013, 16:55
For me its fluff too.

Gossipmeng
06-02-2013, 16:56
I think it is also important to note that over the last decade and even longer before that, 40k has been the most popular game. Lets face it, popularity drives popularity. Even if a far superior system/models get released, a lot of people will stay clear as they don't want to invest time and money into something that will die in a few years time.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who would gladly drop 40k if they were guaranteed that the new system they pick up will have plenty of people to game with and/or have a strong online community with which to share ideas. The hobbyist/tabletop gaming community is relatively small compared to online gaming/sports/etc... It isn't much fun to have beautiful models and a solid system with no one to share the experience with. Thus, 40k is a safe choice since it is well established in the market with decent/playable rules and the option to buy fantastic looking models (thanks to forgeworld :D !).

I can't comment on how 40k beat out the other systems in the 80s and early 90s, but there is my view on the current situation.

Treadhead_1st
06-02-2013, 16:56
The imagery and background is why I play 40K. Very few of my armies are "competitive", but most people can agree that I have put a lot of love and dedication into the conversions, painting and back-stories to my various forces (and they still win games as I love the forces and know what I can, and can't, do with them). There is so much freedom to create personalised forces within the 40K universe that just can't be beaten. The sculpting quality/style of Games Workshop appeals to me far more than any of the competing lines.

Solid rules are an important aspect of any game, and sometimes I do find myself getting annoyed at some of the "clunky" mechanics in Games Workshop's games. However, I have never been tempted away to "better" games because all of them fall far, far short of the atmosphere that Games Workshop have created - I tried Warmachine, Flames of War, Infinity and they all just felt...flat and irrelevant.

I think that, if you want a game that can out-class 40K, you need to have a very solid rules-system combined with an extensive, atmospheric and captivating background in such a way as to allow people to customise armies around the most random elements of the "Lore" that capture their imagination. If you can build a comparative sense of freedom, imagery and scale; and then can merge that into a solid rules-set; and back it all up with well-sculpted models - then you would have a successful games-system IMO. The question then becomes whether you can afford to put in the time/work/financial investment to create something that comprehensive (in my mind the key to GWs success is its history - it has had decades to invest, create and style itself, whatever you think of the quality of the rules, that a starting-up company just cannot compete with - or perhaps I should say, has not managed to compete with yet).

prowla
06-02-2013, 16:58
40K only does that because they have 20 years of history in which they have built that background. When 40K started there wasn't that much more background than any other game that is trying to get traction right now.

+1. GW has risen the bar pretty high over the years.

I think one thing that sets 40k apart from the competition is the sort-of grimdark realism and roughly correct scale it has going on. It's far enough in the future so that many things can have happened, it's galaxy-wide so there's enough room for different races and the technological gadgets maintain some sense to their function. I don't think any fantasy games can compete with the scope of 40k - any settings on one given planet are a bit too tight to justify truly different factions - and most of the games like Warmachine have bit too much fantasy elements and lack some gritty realism.

One contender for 40k could be Flames of War, it has many of the right elements to it and the scale fits a WW2 game well. I think it's one of the systems that have a good chance of becoming a staple.

Vaktathi
06-02-2013, 17:24
Fluff

Many new games simply do not have the resources to compete with the story line of 40k. Many games have great little story lines or interesting factions, but they simply cannot hold a candle to a compilation such as the black library.This is a huge part of it. 40k does not dominate because of its rules, it is the fluff, visuals, and the IP that sustains 40k. Almost nobody would bother with an otherwise identical game if it it didn't have the 40k fluff, feel, universe and visuals attached.


That said, 40k is also in a position where it is so old, such a constant, and a complete expectation that, even if one only plays PP games, one would find it quite odd if they walked into a game store and didn't see any 40k products. Other games, solid and fun though they may be, are not expected in the same way. As Gossipmeng said, Popularity drives Popularity.

It also helps that GW has a huge distribution network and presence in many places that competing games simply do not. For many games, the only way to reach players is internet sales, their local store may not have a distributor able to bring in the product.

Much of 40k's success is inertia, it's really hard to break, and so many people already play 40k that it's often hard to get something else started, and many otherwise superior game systems with great mini's don't have a backstory and visual with the same allure.


I can't comment on how 40k beat out the other systems in the 80s and early 90s, but there is my view on the current situation. Hasbro bought out many of the US gaming companies and collapsed the market in the US in the late 80's/early 90's, computer games overtook many of the older chit based wargames causing that market to collapse and open a hole, along with a few other things.

Deadnight
06-02-2013, 18:06
+1. GW has risen the bar pretty high over the years.

I think one thing that sets 40k apart from the competition is the sort-of grimdark realism and roughly correct scale it has going on. It's far enough in the future so that many things can have happened, it's galaxy-wide so there's enough room for different races and the technological gadgets maintain some sense to their function. I don't think any fantasy games can compete with the scope of 40k - any settings on one given planet are a bit too tight to justify truly different factions - and most of the games like Warmachine have bit too much fantasy elements and lack some gritty realism.


I'd hardly call what 40k offers to be "realism". the grimdark, especially over the last few years has been upped to the levels that makes it a cartoon, and almost a parody of itself.

40k is a beer and pretzels game. dont take it too serious, like back and roll some dice with your mates whilst having a few beers and with a movie in the background.

Hengist
06-02-2013, 18:10
I have seen a lot of games come along and try to usurp the mantle of GW's ultimate sci-fi mini wargame franchise. All have failed. Even the ones that are sticking it out, like Warmachine, don't even come close to being as omnipresent or as profitable as 40k is to GW. This is not because any of these games are not good, however.

I'm not actually aware of any games company having explicitly and publicly stated that that it was their business objective to 'overthrow' GW. Every player in the games business (except GW, and maybe WotC) seems comfortable with the idea that the world can support more than one wargames company. You also create an unrealistically broad definition of 'failure': Rackham are the only GW competitor I can think of who have actually failed as a business in recent years. Privateer, Wyrd, Corvus Belli, Mantic and many others all seem to be profiting and expanding in the same marketplace as GW without having taken over their pre-eminence as a business.


I believe there is no direct competitor to 40k in the industry. All of the other games built are built off of 40k in a sycophantic way. Most people don't agree with me on this but it seems almost obvious to me half the time. I've read press releases for new games which state things like, "No clunky you-go-I-go mechanics from 20 years ago!" and "No need to spend a fortune on models to play this game" etc. Sometimes it's subtle (Warmachine's "play like you've got a pair" is a direct counterweight to GW's friendly do-whatever-you-want approach), other times it's more obvious, but to me it is always there.

I've the feeling most people don't believe you because you're engaged in an obvious fallacy. If you choose to interpret every difference between another system and 40k as an attempt to draw an unfavourable comparison, and every similarity as copying, then of course every game (indeed every mechanic) will inevitably appear to be one or the other. On the other hand, could it just be that 40k is an outdated, unwieldy welding of an RPG system to a mass combat wargame, and that there are many better (or at least different) ways a to write rules within the tabletop wargame framework? (Warmachine is indeed a particularly poor example - its design ethos owes significantly more to Magic: the Gathering than to the Warhammer system.)


These games often read like slightly modified GW games, too. Reading Kings of War I was feeling rather very much like I was reading the faked 6th edition 40k release; a lot of rules that fans might think fit well but the designers didn't use, put into what is otherwise a very similarly structured game. Others try to shoehorn the mechanics from their preferred games into GW's existing structure and call it their own.

As I'd presume you know, Kings of War is the work of Alessio Cavatore, formerly of GW, and he has openly stated that it represents his vision of a better Warhammer; this is hardly an example of how GW-imitation dominates the whole industry. Warmachine, Malifaux and Infinity, on the other hand own practically nothing in mechanical terms to GW's games.


None of the games dares to attack the 40k franchise directly, however. The obvious knockoffs are afraid of GW Legal and the rest are mechanics in a vaccuum, trying to sell people on rules alone. No game has tried to push the rich in-universe story translating to tabletop rules for a company level war game.

How much more 'directly' do you expect a competitor to 'attack' GW than by releasing what they consider to be better-designed games (and generally charging less money for them)? Petrol bombs through the windows at Lenton?


So...to wit...I would like to try and create such a game.

I fear you'll find Rick Priestley has beaten you to it... and even he - despite having the core of an excellent game - can't drum up much interest in it.

Baneboss
06-02-2013, 18:17
I'd hardly call what 40k offers to be "realism". the grimdark, especially over the last few years has been upped to the levels that makes it a cartoon, and almost a parody of itself.

Depends on what from 40k you read. Black Library books and codexes are pretty beer and pretzels but Forgeworld books and Fantasy Flight Games RPG books (despite having issues themselves) try to depict 40k from a more mature way. Being older myself i try to focus on those more realistic fluff products.

arthurfallz
06-02-2013, 18:36
I wasn't playing 40k back in the day when it first became popular, but I would say based on what I saw / heard through my friends who did get into it was that there was no other game like it at the time. But to say all subsequent games of a sci-fi-ish nature are just trying to hop onto that bandwagon... :rolleyes:

There were mini wargames before Warhammer, there will be after. There are better rules out there, but what they don't have is a full range of miniatures like W40k ready to go. And that is the strength of the 40k brand. Ignore the fluff, which varies between rich and evocative to absurd and childhish. Ignore the rules (which are just playable enough to work, but need improvement). It's the availability to the models.

But other companies may sprout up as GW flags and continues to price itself out of viability. The 3D printer revolution may be the death of all miniature game companies, as every intelligent designer can focus on writing rules and leave the scultping and production of models to others.

Astraeos
06-02-2013, 18:45
Wasn't there some game in the nineties that tried to directly compete with 40K and ended up sealing it's own fate that way? I'm trying to think of the company name but right now it's not coming to me at all!
I think their founder may have been an ex-GW staffer of some sort.

Chapters Unwritten
06-02-2013, 18:55
I will respond to Hengist directly, as it affirms many of my beliefs.

There are mentions of many other games, but these are not beloved like 40k is. Nor are they directly the same kind of games. Most are not sci fi, and most are not company level battles. They certainly share characteristics but none of them are "a sci fi company-level wargame set in the future featuring visceral combat and a rich backstory represented in the rules." What few are trying to be this, are failing utterly (the free generic rulesets, and Priestley's yawn-fest jump to mind).

I am aware of Alessio's involvement in Kings of War and frankly, the game is bland and largely similar enough that I'd consider his efforts wasted. If the only way your game can get off the ground is by the legacy of your work at GW then frankly this further reinforces my point that folks love GW stuff.

Warmachine, Malifaux, and Infinity are skirmish games. They do not even attempt to breach the level of battle that GW's games do. This is, in a way, my point; most of these companies make skirmish games because, frankly, they require less effort to get into the hands of players. Warmachine in particular has always seemed quite bold to me in it's "I do everything opposite of GW" style. Some of it is logical, of course, but much of it is simply pandering to the jaded GW gamer and the Magic fan who wishes his game looked cooler.

As for Priestley, his entire pitch was based on complaints about 40k. He comes right out and basically says "We know other companies do this differently, but we want YOU to help make this game!" Reading on the kickstarter it is basically a big list of things people wish this game had. I am not surprised at this (it works for Warmachine, after all), but the project is nebulous and foolish and at the end of the day he is making the same mistake all the developers are: skeletal empty story and rules that come off as a bunch of number crunching. It doesn't matter how good the mechanics are if they do not paint an exciting picture in the player's head. For example, we know that we have the Rending rule in 40k, and that rule means a 6 to wound ignores armor saves. But that isn't what you picture when you roll some rends. You imagine your Death Company tearing the guys apart, your Thunderwolf mauling someone, your sniper rifle blowing someone's head off. Even it's name, "Rending," paints an image. Even what you name the rules matters, I find (it certainly makes them easier to remember).

There simply is no alternative to 40k, if you want a game that feels like a battle and has cinematic play in mind. This is why Priestley with his nebulous universe will fail. I am hoping to reverse engineer the success GW's had and frankly this thread has made it abundantly clear that it is the universe of the game being cool that makes all the difference.

Zywus
06-02-2013, 19:03
It's certainly the rich universe and the line of models that is 40k's main selling point. Plus the fact that it is the biggest and most accessible game-system, so it's likely to be the first people come in contact with, and then you get emotionally invested in the background.

I believe Beyond the Gates of Antares could have the potential to become a competitor in quality background, although their kickstarter drive seems to fizzle out.

Vaktathi
06-02-2013, 19:52
Keep in mind the scale of a 40k game is also starting to become a detriment, many armies struggle to even deploy within their deployment zone confines, and the cost of building an army to a typically pickup game level, in real terms (i.e. adjusted for inflation) has doubled (or more) in the last decade due to GW's price increases and army sizes expanding, while incomes for the vast majority of GW's customer base have remained largely stagnant in real terms.

So GW's rapidly running into two problems. First, is that we've reached critical mass on what can actually fit on a typical table and probably exceeded in many (if not most) cases what plays *well* on most tables. Second, big armies require big investments on the part of the players, and is consistently becoming more and more expensive for the playerbase as both army sizes increase and prices skyrocket.

One also needs to reach a certain scale in terms of business size to be able to produce the kind of kits GW makes. Plastic kit moulds can make millions of kits, but cost a lot to create and handle. That new Slaughterbeast kit for WHFB's Warriors of Chaos was probably a six figure investment, which most gaming companies simply cannot afford for an entire range of kits much less a single kit.

Leftenant Gashrog
06-02-2013, 20:39
How much more 'directly' do you expect a competitor to 'attack' GW than by releasing what they consider to be better-designed games (and generally charging less money for them)? Petrol bombs through the windows at Lenton?

Break out of the hobby shops and into the high street.

Games Workshop broke into the big time with Heroquest and Space Crusade, which were published by Milton Bradley 'under license' (allegedly GW actually paid MB) in order to get their brand onto high street shelves next to Cluedo and Mousetrap. Once those licenses expired they had an opening to replace them with Warhammer & 40k boxed games. I've not seen any competitor gain that level of penetration into the mainstream market.

Commandojimbob
06-02-2013, 21:02
40k all the way :

Asthetics, the vision, the setting, its depth, its breadth, its history, its diversity, it feels organic......

I love the game and 6th edition for me is the best and I have played since 2nd edition (on and off but jumped into each edition) - its a game that has always meant to be fun, a sandbox to get lost in with rules on how to play - never meant to be competitive, it was meant to simulate the setting - hence why I am not a wargamer, i am a 40k gamer

Scammel
06-02-2013, 21:06
It's not just the fluff - it's the way GW allow you to engage with it with the game itself (not to mention painting and modelling).


I'd hardly call what 40k offers to be "realism". the grimdark, especially over the last few years has been upped to the levels that makes it a cartoon, and almost a parody of itself.

I disagree. Plenty of recent books have made the 41st millenium a much nicer place to live in. The Imperials strike me as getting too many victories for too little a cost. It's almost certainly down to the excessive flaunting of Teh Emprah's Finezt.

Longstrider
06-02-2013, 22:04
On the point of what makes a company+ level science-fantasy game (which is still pretty much a skirmish, folks :P) successful, that's cool. I'd suggest that what you'd really need if you wanted to have something comparable to 40k is presence on, since that seems to be about the only thing that everyone can agree on. Even in this thread you've got disagreement about where the intersections of mature/childish and serious/comedy lie, as well as the FFG+FW vs. the rest of GW line - and I'd point out that new players are VERY unlikely to know or bother much about the FW stuff, and if people are introduced to it from a miniatures standpoint I doubt they're going to be picking up the RPG lines anytime soon.

So if you can somehow manage to get your game everywhere, people will probably play it. After all, the only thing that drew me back into 40k really was that it's easy to find a game wherever I go. Which is fine, I don't begrudge that; it's certainly not the mechanics though, and if I was just interested in the fluff I'd do what I did for years and just read a bunch of novels and background material from the rulebooks.

One thing I'd definitely give 40k background credit for - and others have mentioned it too - is that it gets the scale of the universe right for letting you play around in it. Malifaux and Warmahordes have engaging narratives and all, but they're (generally) driven by named characters who you use on the table. That's fine, and it provides a story to follow along, but it doesn't really provide a place for the imagination to play in in the same way that 40k does. Time travel/alternate dimensions may generally be unsatisfying as a narrative, but when it comes to building a wargaming universe they can be a great boon if done well, and 40k got that right. I'd say Infinity, while different and certainly more limited in scope, does provide something similar if you pay attention - such small deployments of troops are suggested to be constantly taking place in the Human Sphere, and it's against that backdrop that the Combined Army advance is taking place. You can dream up your own characters and storylines and so on, and generally they can takke place without running against the established fiction if you employ a bit of sense, which is also true of 40k. It's much harder to do that with Malifaux or Warmahordes, though it can certainly be done.

On the other point regarding other games - I think the OP and a few others are missing the point of what most companies are trying to do. Of course everyone would love more sales, but I doubt ANY of the producers of other games seriously expect to even come close to challenging 40k - though of the lot, FoW and Warmahordes seem to be the closest to doing it - certainly outside of GWs (and I tend not to go to them anymore) I see or hear of very little 40k being played compared to WM/H or FoW in stores. So what Battlefront or PP or Corvus Belli are doing is not "making mistakes" or "failing" any more than I am failing to get a degree in astrophysics - it's not a goal that I'm even mildly concerned with.

Mantic is in a bit of a weird spot, because they seem like they're directly going for disillusioned gamers that GW leaves by the wayside. I'd MUCH rather see Mantic continuing Warpath and KoW with more unique factions, but then I don't know what their sales figures are, so who am I to say. Their aesthetics ARE sometimes rather different to contemporary GW though - their fantasy Dwarves aren't fat, their Elves look quite a bit more nonhuman, their Undead are more 'classic', etc. Space Rats and Space Dwarves currently aren't in 40k (though we all see where they references come from), and their human faction is pretty unlike the Imperium, though also pretty unpleasant. From what I gather from the KoW Kickstarter though, they did start pulling more in their own direction. If they can successfully do that, then maybe we'll see a game of comparable scope to WHFB and 40k - their mechanics may not be that interesting, but then neither are GW's.

Dreadball's a good example of something I think Mantic did right (although their sculpts need a fair bit of cleanup) - it's a great game, and it's something that, while reminiscent of Blood Bowl (and thus hitting some of those nostalgia buttons), is deeply different both mechanically, aesthetically, and thematically.

Lothlanathorian
06-02-2013, 22:23
Dropzone Commander by Hawk Wargames. It has various game sizes (from skirmish to company level), good background, fantastic rules (IMHO) and isn't yet 6 months old.

Deadnight
06-02-2013, 22:54
Depends on what from 40k you read. Black Library books and codexes are pretty beer and pretzels but Forgeworld books and Fantasy Flight Games RPG books (despite having issues themselves) try to depict 40k from a more mature way. Being older myself i try to focus on those more realistic fluff products.

agreed - forgeworlds imperial armour series and recent horus heresy are great reads. then again, for evey imperial armour 9&10, you have codex:grey knights, kaldor draigo, and codex: necrons with comedy robots sending emails to inquisitors and collecting battles for their collections.

But thats irrelecant.What i was referring to in my previous thread was the actual game ie the thing you play with dice and rulers. its a not so serious laid back beer and pretzels game. like kicking the ball around with the dog in the back yard.


I will respond to Hengist directly, as it affirms many of my beliefs.

There are mentions of many other games, but these are not beloved like 40k is. Nor are they directly the same kind of games. Most are not sci fi, and most are not company level battles. They certainly share characteristics but none of them are "a sci fi company-level wargame set in the future featuring visceral combat and a rich backstory represented in the rules." What few are trying to be this, are failing utterly (the free generic rulesets, and Priestley's yawn-fest jump to mind).
.

first up - 40k is not sci fi. its fantasy-in-space. for every machine gun, there is a sorceror. for every plasma drive, there is magic and gods who bless their servants. its actually been described by its creators as "the lord of the rings, with space ships and laser guns".

Also, i take offense to the notions that those many other games that are not beloved like 40k. go and have a chat with the Privateer Press game playing community for example. Other companies, and other IPs have as much respect by their players as 40k has by some of its (how many people still complain about the lore? heh, seriously, i think most folks are more in love with the idea of what 40k could be, with this ideal vision of wargaming that they think GW and 40k strive fo, than what it actually is.)



It doesn't matter how good the mechanics are if they do not paint an exciting picture in the player's head. For example, we know that we have the Rending rule in 40k, and that rule means a 6 to wound ignores armor saves. But that isn't what you picture when you roll some rends. You imagine your Death Company tearing the guys apart, your Thunderwolf mauling someone, your sniper rifle blowing someone's head off. Even it's name, "Rending," paints an image. Even what you name the rules matters, I find (it certainly makes them easier to remember).


not really. i just see a guy rolling 40 dice and picking up a bunch of 6s. all i know is my guy gets removed now. *shrug*

to be fair CU, you can "picture" whatever you want. 40k does not somehow hold itself above its competitors here. i can just as easily picture any number of things in games of Infinity and Warmachine based on their mechanics.



There simply is no alternative to 40k, if you want a game that feels like a battle and has cinematic play in mind. This is why Priestley with his nebulous universe will fail. I am hoping to reverse engineer the success GW's had and frankly this thread has made it abundantly clear that it is the universe of the game being cool that makes all the difference.

there are plenty alternatives to 40k, but 40k is the only game that tries to do midway sized games badly! and thanks, but no, i dont want that! as to games that feel like battles and have cinematic play, i can get that elsewhere too!

I personally think 40k is the worst of all worlds. its horrendously bloated. it pretends to be a large scale skirmish game (which is fine), but it includes things that are more appropriate to an army game (flyers, rear artillery etc etc) whilst insisting on individual soldier based moicromanagement that is more appropriate to a skirmish game - its horrendously schitzophrenic if you ask me. 40k might have a name, and a history, but a lot of folks are getting tired of it. Forgeworld is about the last dedoubt for me - my last foothold in the 40kiverse. the "cool" universe got less "cool" and more "kiddy" as i grew up- even the epic stories like the second battle of the fang and the second battle of armageddon seem kinda meh to me now, sadly.

I'll be honest. the game of 40k doesnt show the whole picture. i was much more impressed with a demo of Epic that i saw recently- that really captured the scale and the grandeur of the conflicts that rage in the 40kiverse - not the badly written large scale skirmish game they have on the go. I'll say it again. I was extremely impressed by Epic. And its tempted me into investing in more "army" scale games like Dropzone Commander. i've got real battles there - the game of 40k is merely a firefight in Epic terms. i've got all the cinematics too, and on a far grander scale. Sadly, the player base for epic is minimal, although there is interest in DZC.When it comes to skirmish games, i've got infinity and warmahordes. 40k fills that horrible middle ground really badly and i have no interest in it. Warpath? Maybe. I like some of the minis. Flames of War? Maybe. So yeah, i think 40k is a badly written company level game that sadly doesnt do justice to the universe its set in. if i want what you claim it offers, i go for bigger battles, or smaller, more intense and personal conflicts. Im sorry, but 40k has nothing to offer.

Keroro
07-02-2013, 02:14
This thread has been strangely civil so far. Which is nice. :) Funnily enough I was reflecting on the pervasive influence of GW just yesterday, so seeing this thread today was pleasing.

To coin a phrase overused in many industries, GW are fairly masterful at synergy. Their fluff, rules, army lists, paints and miniatures compliment each other and even if you hate one element you probably love some of the others. I've fallen in love with aspects of the fluff so many times, found myself parting with obscene amounts of money for some of their best minis, and bought rulebooks for games I never really played for the joy of reading them cover to cover and being able to study pictures by great artists like John Blanche. All the elements fit together neatly and provide a single product: You want to play 40K, well here's the marine model you see on the cover. You want to paint it, well here's your Ultramarine paint right here. Want to know how to put an army together, well here's the codex. Want a novel based on the Chapter, a film, an award winning video game? You want to play an army with three titans, twenty land raiders and a couple hundred troops, well we just so happen to have another scale of model available for you. In short, if you want to immerse yourself in the setting - they can sell you that. Tie ins and boxed games like Heroquest and Space Crusade back in the day, Blood Bowl, Space Hulk, Lord of the Rings more recently act as a way of easing new players in and getting them involved. Once they have the miniatures from Space Hulk, if they have any soul, they'll want to paint them. And just like that, they're hooked. It works on a business level.

We can argue about whether the rules are the best around; argue on whether the paints are as good value as vallejo; argue about whether their Imperial Guard models are as good as another company's colonial marine models. The fact is that they're all widely available and all found in the same space - convenience like that is a useful weapon, especially for those relatively new to the scene. Add in a rather protective legal department that prevents other companies from piggybacking on their products in an overly obvious way and you've got a money making enterprise, which if you like it or not is the first requirement for longevity. I suspect a slightly more open approach might net them more friends and possibly even more profits, but that's not their style at present and that's their choice. I don't run an international company turning over many millions a year, so won't be overly critical. Only the successful can truly judge what is insane and all that.

That's not to say that no other company can survive in the same space though, and plenty are doing so quite well. Others have mentioned Dropzone Commander which I've not played, but it looks very competently designed and pretty complete. It seems that the fantasy battle gaming industry is more competitive than 40K. Maybe have a look at some of those offerings and see what they're doing that helps them thrive despite GWs dominance?

To the OP - Forgive me if I state the obvious. If you want to create an enticing competitor to WH40K then that will take some doing. A ruleset is doable, as the 40K ruleset is conflicted and can be improved. Getting a rich and coherent fluff in words and pictures without being derivative of other settings would take a lot of time and effort. It may take more than a single life's work I suspect to even approach the level GW has at present. Getting a range of miniatures to go along with that fluff would take a lot more time yet, or a lot of funding. The net can help new projects and smaller companies get off the ground quickly without needing to be heavily and widely stocked in stores around the country but you still need funding to get something like this going unless you happen to be an amazingly good and prolific author and artist yourself (or is this is where you reveal that John Blanche owes you money and you're married to Alastair Reynolds then? ;)) If you make a go at it then good luck, it will take a huge effort.

Grimbad
07-02-2013, 02:30
...and if people are introduced to it from a miniatures standpoint I doubt they're going to be picking up the RPG lines anytime soon.

Depends what you mean. From a collecting standpoint, sure, but from a converting standpoint the RPGs are very inviting.

Lothlanathorian
07-02-2013, 03:08
To coin a phrase ...


I don't think that word means what you think it means...

orkmiester
07-02-2013, 10:16
If we want to look at why GW is still so popular after all these years, depsite the wide array of wargames now on offer then we should perhaps step back and take a look from a different perspective...

Lets take the view of the average person in the street who knows nothing of the hobby...

in the sunny UK (:eyebrows:) GW has a hight street store chain where their products are readily accessible, and there is the prospect of a regular game at either the GW or by way of the internet a local gaming group. Now these stores have been there for a long time and such a prescence, although now questionable, probbably creates a large amount of players. Now other wargames do not have such a luxury and those independent gaming stores are either not very friendly or are out of the way so that you have to specifically go there, unlike a GW shop where the excuse is "i'm only passing so why not..." Plus the variety of wargames played at these stores can be a put off, in one way or another quite a few folks will not collect a system if they won't have the possibility of regular opponents unless they have a friend who also plays...

taking into consideration the backgorund the wide varitey of kits that GW do it is not hard to see why 40k is still dare we say it, the 'major' wargame that is played most widely. Flames of war might be considred the historical equivalent, but then in that arena there are loads of companies that sell 15mm WWII models so for the potential new palyer you don't have to get thwacked by paying a premium from the off, and then going on ebay etc to get the stuff cheaper. Which is where i'd direct any new 40k player, the books are ok for what you get (though i'm a bookworm so that a moot point:p ), but the models now are being priced into the stratosphere...

Just my humble views:angel:

Commandojimbob
07-02-2013, 10:40
If we want to look at why GW is still so popular after all these years, depsite the wide array of wargames now on offer then we should perhaps step back and take a look from a different perspective...

Lets take the view of the average person in the street who knows nothing of the hobby...

in the sunny UK (:eyebrows:) GW has a hight street store chain where their products are readily accessible, and there is the prospect of a regular game at either the GW or by way of the internet a local gaming group. Now these stores have been there for a long time and such a prescence, although now questionable, probbably creates a large amount of players. Now other wargames do not have such a luxury and those independent gaming stores are either not very friendly or are out of the way so that you have to specifically go there, unlike a GW shop where the excuse is "i'm only passing so why not..." Plus the variety of wargames played at these stores can be a put off, in one way or another quite a few folks will not collect a system if they won't have the possibility of regular opponents unless they have a friend who also plays...

taking into consideration the backgorund the wide varitey of kits that GW do it is not hard to see why 40k is still dare we say it, the 'major' wargame that is played most widely. Flames of war might be considred the historical equivalent, but then in that arena there are loads of companies that sell 15mm WWII models so for the potential new palyer you don't have to get thwacked by paying a premium from the off, and then going on ebay etc to get the stuff cheaper. Which is where i'd direct any new 40k player, the books are ok for what you get (though i'm a bookworm so that a moot point:p ), but the models now are being priced into the stratosphere...

Just my humble views:angel:

I think this is a very valid point !

Wargaming in general is in its entirety deemed "specialist", however GW are the exception, certainly in the UK, with their large chain of stores . This makes them a lot more mainstream for the general public and add to the fact their 25 odd years of history, there are a lot of 20-50 year olds walking about know exactly who GW are (there are a lot of 30+ year olds now who still play or played with kids coming to the age where they will get into the games) . Add to that their visibility in a major UK toy chain (Toymasters) and the strong distribution network, there is no wonder they are the dominant player.

Cheeslord
07-02-2013, 12:25
I salute your intention;- its something I would like to do if I had the time and capital to invest in it and wasn't too scared of the bancruptcy and poverty that may result from failure.

You will be up against the "microsoft syndrome" as far as competing with Games Workshop goes though - their product doesn't have to be the best, its popularity adds value as users will easily find other users to interact with. Plus of course you have the problems of raising capital and attracting your initial customers that any start-up will face. I have no idea of the business experience or resources you are bringing to this so can't meaningfully speculate on your chances.

I would advise heavy use of the internet not just for sales and marketing, but to organise gaming groups and events nationally. To some degree you can mitigate the small initial market share if you keep all your customers connected by an efficient online structure so the "feel" there are plenty of fellow players about.

As for manufacture, I have little relevant experience in the field. You will have to cost it out, and (unless you have a lot of capital ready to go) make a decent business plan focusing on your USPs. Maybe you can find a business angel or investor who is an ex-gamer but I suspect thats a small field. Sounds like you want to shift plastic rather than purely IP anyway, otherwise I would suggest trying to sell a "dumbed down" version to a games manufacturer (probably not an easy sell but I have not noticed many new ideas in the industry recently) to get highstreet coverage of your game universe (maybe sell small quantities first through intermet/indie stores to prove viability, though you will need a different manufacturing model to do that and it may be a loss leader). Keep an eye out for emerging manufacturing techniques and new suppliers that may be trying to undercut the market.

Oh, and don't make the rules suck. I'm sure thats the bit you feel confident with but be prepared to accept feedback and criticism. I was put off Warpath and the Spartan Games series because I didn't like the rules - had I felt they were good I would have endeavored to push my friends towards them too.

Anyway, if you're serious then good luck;- at least check out the possibility of going for it.

Mark.

IcedCrow
07-02-2013, 12:34
EPIC is indeed fantastic, and you nailed the issue why its also not popular: the player base is minimal at best. I own two EPIC armies and I can never get in a game with them.

Sureshot05
07-02-2013, 12:52
EPIC is indeed fantastic, and you nailed the issue why its also not popular: the player base is minimal at best. I own two EPIC armies and I can never get in a game with them.

I used to share a joke with a friend where we'd both say the exact same thing " I own two EPIC armies and I can never get in a game with them."

RandomThoughts
07-02-2013, 14:40
I also believe that the reason GW is as big as they are now is that they grew into their role over time.

I didn't know the background for why they became successful in the first place (thanks for the info, Vaktathi), but back when they started out, GW produced skirmish games on a similar level to what Infinity and Wamrachine/Hordes are now. I think you can't start out as a new company making a battle-game. It takes far too many resources. And it depends on the willingness of potential new customers to buy into your product and give it a chance. Which is where entry cost becomes an issue: I wouldn't have started Warmachine, or any faction after my first, if I couldn't get a fully playable entry army onto the table for 100€ or below (which is less in some cases than a single troop choice for one of the 40K armies, such as a full-sized Ork boys mob).

Essentially, I think 40K strives because of their history, their name recognition, their popilarity, their size. It's what keeps them on top. If anyone is going to challenge them, I think they have to build up from the ground as well. Privateer Press is already pushing out of the skirmish scale and dangerously close into the battle company scale. Give them a few more years to expand their model lines, to set up better rules for larger conflicts, to get out a few novels, a computer game, under ideal circumstances even a movie deal or a TV series, and we might see them actually challenge GW for market dominance.

Hengist
07-02-2013, 17:56
I will respond to Hengist directly, as it affirms many of my beliefs.

Well you could try engaging with the point I was making, rather than repeating the same bit of circular logic. For the sake of clarity, I will reiterate: your premise is fundamentally flawed, because your assertion that all games are derivative of 40k relies upon the fallacious argument that any similarity with 40k is copying 40k, and any difference a reaction against it. By your rationale, every game from mah jong to snakes and ladders is also derivative of 40k.


There are mentions of many other games, but these are not beloved like 40k is. Nor are they directly the same kind of games. Most are not sci fi, and most are not company level battles. They certainly share characteristics but none of them are "a sci fi company-level wargame set in the future featuring visceral combat and a rich backstory represented in the rules." What few are trying to be this, are failing utterly (the free generic rulesets, and Priestley's yawn-fest jump to mind).

Except 40k's not a sci-fi game (actually, I've no idea what a 'sci-fi game would be, but you're actually talking about setting); 40k is a generic fantasy setting with a few space operatic trappings. Nor is it a 'company-level game', the rules were written as a skirmish game, and have changed very little; GW have simply upped force sizes over the years without rescaling the rules.


It doesn't matter how good the mechanics are if they do not paint an exciting picture in the player's head. For example, we know that we have the Rending rule in 40k, and that rule means a 6 to wound ignores armor saves. But that isn't what you picture when you roll some rends. You imagine your Death Company tearing the guys apart, your Thunderwolf mauling someone, your sniper rifle blowing someone's head off. Even it's name, "Rending," paints an image. Even what you name the rules matters, I find (it certainly makes them easier to remember).

What you're talking about here is simulation and immersion, on which 40k don't have any kind of monopoly. There's a cruel irony to the fact that 40k fails hideously at what should be the most basic goal of simulation in wargaming: facilitating a balanced tactical conflict.


I am hoping to reverse engineer the success GW's had and frankly this thread has made it abundantly clear that it is the universe of the game being cool that makes all the difference.

Actually, I really don't think the fluff (which I am amazed that anybody over the age of twelve doesn't find laughably juvenile and generic) has played any greater part in GW's success than their clumsy, overcomplicated and outdated rules or strangely-proportioned miniatures. GW's success - and thus 40k's - is owed primarily to the bold business decisions made by Bryan Ansell and Tom Kirby back in the 1980s: ownership of their own IP, bundling of rules and miniatures, and vertical integration of sales, production and design. This is GW's legacy to the wargaming world - practically every successful miniatures game company since has imitated their model (albeit without the integrated retail chain).


Wasn't there some game in the nineties that tried to directly compete with 40K and ended up sealing it's own fate that way? I'm trying to think of the company name but right now it's not coming to me at all!

Might you be thinking of Gary Chalk's infamous 'Fantasy Warlord' - I had a copy of that when I was a lad, bought from the remaindered bin for £1.99. Not a terrible game, for its time.


Break out of the hobby shops and into the high street.

Games Workshop broke into the big time with Heroquest and Space Crusade, which were published by Milton Bradley 'under license' (allegedly GW actually paid MB) in order to get their brand onto high street shelves next to Cluedo and Mousetrap. Once those licenses expired they had an opening to replace them with Warhammer & 40k boxed games. I've not seen any competitor gain that level of penetration into the mainstream market.

You're quite right that (since GW refuse to) other games companies should be doing this - board games like Small World and Catan have made it into Waterstones here in the UK, as has FFG's X-Wing. It does surprise me, however, that nobody since has really tried the 'Heroquest' angle of a boxed introductory board wargame with a few plastic figures. It's very possible that the impending demise of the high street retail model will soon enough render the point moot, however.

Lord Inquisitor
07-02-2013, 18:01
I believe there is no direct competitor to 40k in the industry. All of the other games built are built off of 40k in a sycophantic way. Most people don't agree with me on this but it seems almost obvious to me half the time. I've read press releases for new games which state things like, "No clunky you-go-I-go mechanics from 20 years ago!" and "No need to spend a fortune on models to play this game" etc. Sometimes it's subtle (Warmachine's "play like you've got a pair" is a direct counterweight to GW's friendly do-whatever-you-want approach), other times it's more obvious, but to me it is always there.
Warmachine's rules are fairly different, wouldn't you say? Mechanically very distinct.


These games often read like slightly modified GW games, too. Reading Kings of War I was feeling rather very much like I was reading the faked 6th edition 40k release; a lot of rules that fans might think fit well but the designers didn't use, put into what is otherwise a very similarly structured game. Others try to shoehorn the mechanics from their preferred games into GW's existing structure and call it their own.
In fairness, Kings of War was written by Alessio. It feels a lot like "what 7th edition warhammer would have been like if he'd really had free reign to design the system from the ground up". But mantic's model is quite deliberately designed to be compatible with 40K and WFB s hardly a big surprise there.

carlisimo
07-02-2013, 21:10
One thing I'd definitely give 40k background credit for - and others have mentioned it too - is that it gets the scale of the universe right for letting you play around in it. Malifaux and Warmahordes have engaging narratives and all, but they're (generally) driven by named characters who you use on the table. That's fine, and it provides a story to follow along, but it doesn't really provide a place for the imagination to play in in the same way that 40k does.

I know exactly what you mean. My gaming group is getting into Malifaux, which seems like a good game, but I donít find myself getting attached to a few named characters and faceless minions. Iíve played Gorkamorka and Necromunda, and those gang members were mine. They didnít have a story that had already been written, so they were free to find their specialties and free to get themselves killed. That was great. In 40k the equivalent is being encouraged to create your own Space Marines chapter or Eldar craftworld or cabal.

The 40k universe also covers a very wide range of aesthetic tastes while keeping them separated into factions of their own (unlike Malifaux, in which every faction has so much going on that they donít really have a style of their own). Thereís something for everyone. And by copying Tolkien to some extent, 40k kept what made that universe so accessible: the non-human races remind people of human traits. Thereís a lot more attachment to such races compared to those which are meant to feel completely alien.

Iím mostly an Epic player now, and I keep checking out other games at similar scales. Iíd love to get into one because unlike Epic, theyíre still being developed and releasing shiny new toys. But itís difficult. A number of 6mm games have vehicles and alien races that just look generic. The aliens are too alien. The vehicles are either too much like our modern vehicles (generic tanks) or donít look like theyíre usable as vehicles (Dropzone Commanderís vehicles donít make any sense to me). 40k did that right, too Ė vehicles that are impractical enough to not look generic, but still familiar enough. (Based on all that, Dystopian Wars should appeal to me, and indeed itís starting to.)

torn
07-02-2013, 21:42
star wars x wing miniatures game, by fantasy flight games, has probably been a lot more profitable than 40 since its release, im basing this assumption on the fact it is always sold out everywhere and was top spot on boardgamegeek for about 3 months. It probably wont have the same lasting power.

I beleive GW wins out because it has stock on the highstreet, something flames of war also did and that is probably why they are number 2.

New small company games like malifaux for example have the issue that if a group starts with 40k or warhammer, and someone brings in a new ruleset for a new game, people start realising that there are billions of games out there and everybody find a different one that they like the sound of best, or they like these models but another guy in the group hates them etc, and eventually everyone goes back to the staple big name games.

ntw3001
07-02-2013, 23:46
GW's success isn't really down to the rules or the fluff (although they have a leg-up on the competition, courtesy of age rather than inspiration); it's down to the shops. They're on the high street, so people have heard of them, which means people play them, which means more people play them. Like World of Warcraft, they built an unassailable base by being the first widely-known product in their niche, and will only be brought down under their own weight. So my advice to anyone hoping to replicate their success is to have already done what they did, twenty-five years ago.

But, again like WoW, GW won't last forever, and whether anything else will fill the niche is yet to be seen. Players who leave a niche hobby don't necessarily seek an alternative (especially if their social group aren't doing the same), so quite probably a drop in GW's customer base wouldn't directly translate to an increase in anyone else's. In fact, it'd probably be bad for wargaming companies as a whole. What's best for the industry is probably for GW to bring people in, take their money and then drive them elsewhere with their prices. GW's not taking players away from the smaller companies; it's bringing them in by pulling the hobby closer to the mainstream.

blackseven
08-02-2013, 00:34
Although I proudly play GW games, I'd like to point out a game with just as long lived a pedigree as 40k: Battletech. It even has a large amount of fiction written for it, tones of official back story and novels, etc. In terms of other spin-offs (video games, TV shows), I'd say Battletech has been as successful as 40k (at least on the video game front.) It even got a syndicated cartoon of marginal quality.

The rules, however, are pretty detailed and can be tedious. I also don't think they are "balanced," but FASA and the fans did their best to balance them roughly using Battle Value and stuff like that.


I think one thing that sets 40k apart from the competition is the sort-of grimdark realism and roughly correct scale it has going on.

I would argue that Battletech and Heavy Gear both beat 40k on the "realism" aspect.


One thing I'd definitely give 40k background credit for - and others have mentioned it too - is that it gets the scale of the universe right for letting you play around in it. Malifaux and Warmahordes have engaging narratives and all, but they're (generally) driven by named characters who you use on the table. That's fine, and it provides a story to follow along, but it doesn't really provide a place for the imagination to play in in the same way that 40k does.

Again, I'd have to bring up Battletech as a universe with a strong narrative but plenty of space to forge your own battles.

KR3LL
08-02-2013, 01:00
These games often read like slightly modified GW games, too. Reading Kings of War I was feeling rather very much like I was reading the faked 6th edition 40k release; a lot of rules that fans might think fit well but the designers didn't use, put into what is otherwise a very similarly structured game. Others try to shoehorn the mechanics from their preferred games into GW's existing structure and call it their own.

None of the games dares to attack the 40k franchise directly, however. The obvious knockoffs are afraid of GW Legal and the rest are mechanics in a vaccuum, trying to sell people on rules alone. No game has tried to push the rich in-universe story translating to tabletop rules for a company level war game. So...to wit...I would like to try and create such a game.


Mantic, the maker of "Kings of War" & "Warpath"; was a GW rules developer, and was behind Apocalypse. Thats why it feels that way to you. He loved the larger scale battles and wanted to give players just that...without breaking their wallet. They are certainly not afraid of GW Legal. Their stuff is not direct IP rip off,But it is as close as you can get. Their initial army releases were largely based on the things GW won't do. Space Dwarves, Space Rats, Chaos Dwarves.

Omniassiah
08-02-2013, 01:02
One thing you must always look at is the difference between the UK and non-UK parts of the world. While GW to my understanding has a still very dominant position in the UK it is far tighter in the US. PP is generally considered to already beat out Fantasy Battle in sales and most of the smaller game systems have been helping PP slowly close that gap on 40k. FoW has been a big pull as well. The big thing is that they are not copying GW they are trying to be different and if you actually play the game you find that most are drastically different.

WM/H, FoW, Malifaux, and the rest are all very different mechanically from 40k/WFB, because frankly selling a game that is too close to another is a recipe for failure, not success. Why would I start another game that plays and looks just like another game when I already have the first? That is why the other game systems describe their differences, because that is what people want to hear.

edit:
GW's success isn't really down to the rules or the fluff (although they have a leg-up on the competition, courtesy of age rather than inspiration); it's down to the shops. They're on the high street, so people have heard of them, which means people play them, which means more people play them. Like World of Warcraft, they built an unassailable base by being the first widely-known product in their niche, and will only be brought down under their own weight. So my advice to anyone hoping to replicate their success is to have already done what they did, twenty-five years ago.
This is why I mentioned the difference. The nearest GW store to most Americans is often an hour or more away. It is rare that a player will ever see one. The only thing holding GW steady in the US is the Mass of players already available. But as the other games start seeing more and more play that advantage will disappear.

m1acca1551
08-02-2013, 14:00
I think the only thing that will knock 40k of will be electronic games...

I dont think that there is any company out there that has the balls to try take GW on in a direct fight, not because they are scared to but what new thing can they come up with?

With IP laws surrounding everything there is such a small area to move without being sued.

Between, Aliens, Starwars, 40k, Starship troopes and startek who are all very protective of there IP how can any one company really bring something unique to the table?

Hengist
08-02-2013, 14:35
Between, Aliens, Starwars, 40k, Starship troopes and startek who are all very protective of there IP how can any one company really bring something unique to the table?

Perhaps by taking inspiration from something wider than generic space-opera settings (with varying levels of military sci-fi thrown in)? I've never seen a serious attempt at a wargame set in the hard SF, cyberpunk or dying earth milieux, for instance.

Tamwulf
08-02-2013, 15:48
Perhaps by taking inspiration from something wider than generic space-opera settings (with varying levels of military sci-fi thrown in)? I've never seen a serious attempt at a wargame set in the hard SF, cyberpunk or dying earth milieux, for instance.

You're not looking hard enough.
Saganami Island Tactical Simulator (http://www.adastragames.com/products/adastra/sits.html) fits the bill for hard SF.

Shadowrun is coming out with a miniatures game within the next year.

Malifaux (http://www.malifaux.com/)fits the bill for dying earth milieux. Or Ogre (http://www.sjgames.com/ogre/), from Steve Jackson Games.

If you want a game based on modern day warfare, try Bolt Action (http://www.warlordgames.com/home/bolt-action/), from Warlord Games.

It's not that GW games are the only games on the block. Far from it. There are thousands of miniature games out there for people to play- they only have to look for them. GW does an excellent job of advertising their own game, and because they act like no other games exist, the noobs that start with GW never see any other games. For example, you can't walk into a GW store and play Warmachine. You'll get thrown out. For many European Gamers, the only place to play in the village is the local GW store. This is one of the reasons the GW stores are failing so miserably in the US- we have other places to play, places that are more friendly and open to any game and will be more than happy to order, assist, and let you play that game.

I'm a gamer, and I love playing all games. Board, card, mini- doesn't matter. I love games. Walking into a store and being told that I can only play the games they have is abhorrent to me. Being drawn into some kind of "our game is better!" discussion is wasting time to me. I'll play what I want to play, and if I can't play it in their store, then I won't. Nor will I purchase, support, or recommend said store to others.

blackseven
08-02-2013, 16:40
I'm not sure Honor Harrington is really "hard sci-fi." Doesn't Honor Harrington have FTL?

nosebiter
08-02-2013, 16:53
I'm not sure Honor Harrington is really "hard sci-fi." Doesn't Honor Harrington have FTL?

yes it does, but a very technical and detailed one. As fits hard scifi.

not "we press button and s*** happens" as in 40k.

The only real threat to GW in the near future is GW themselves if they continue on present course. Only real IP that i can see competing with it is if Disney have some the go ahead and the cash to make a Star Wars mini game or two, with full plastic and resin from the getgo. Should be possible to get amazing production valued for that since disney had very deep pockets.

Hengist
08-02-2013, 16:54
You're not looking hard enough...

Well, strictly I was critiquing the list provided above (Alien, Star Trek, Star Wars and Starship Troopers) for its poverty of imagination in asserting that it represented the complete span of science fiction possibilities.

I can't comment on the game, but the Harrington novels are very generic military sci-fi - by 'hard SF' I was thinking of Tau Zero/Red Mars territory - and Shadowrun is bog-standard science fantasy (complete with elves and magic) but wearing trenchcoats - Bruce Sterling it isn't. Malifaux does include a few dying earth tropes, however, and OGRE (though I habitually classify it as a board game) has, by wargame standards, plausible tech, so fair enough on those two. Given that I own copies of the both, I'm not sure how I forgot about them.

blackseven
08-02-2013, 17:47
There was an OGRE minis game, called "GEV," Maybe you know that. I think SJG dropped it because it wasn't as popular as OGRE.

RandomThoughts
08-02-2013, 18:59
Warmachine's rules are fairly different, wouldn't you say? Mechanically very distinct.

I love Warmachine, but I have to disagree. In my opinion, Warmachine MKI was closer to 40K 2nd edition than current 40K is. Some of that is gone now (the slightly expanded 40K unit formation system, for instance), other things are clearly preserved (+2/+4 cover bonus against to hit rolls in soft/heavy cover; used to be +1/+2, but doubling the bonus when you double the number of dice makes sense, I guess).

[QUOTE=Longstrider;6626673]One thing I'd definitely give 40k background credit for - and others have mentioned it too - is that it gets the scale of the universe right for letting you play around in it. Malifaux and Warmahordes have engaging narratives and all, but they're (generally) driven by named characters who you use on the table. That's fine, and it provides a story to follow along, but it doesn't really provide a place for the imagination to play in in the same way that 40k does. Time travel/alternate dimensions may generally be unsatisfying as a narrative, but when it comes to building a wargaming universe they can be a great boon if done well, and 40k got that right. I'd say Infinity, while different and certainly more limited in scope, does provide something similar if you pay attention - such small deployments of troops are suggested to be constantly taking place in the Human Sphere, and it's against that backdrop that the Combined Army advance is taking place. You can dream up your own characters and storylines and so on, and generally they can takke place without running against the established fiction if you employ a bit of sense, which is also true of 40k. It's much harder to do that with Malifaux or Warmahordes, though it can certainly be done.

That is very true and was the biggest deterrent for me to invest (financially and emotionally) into Warmachine at first.


I dont think that there is any company out there that has the balls to try take GW on in a direct fight, not because they are scared to but what new thing can they come up with?

With IP laws surrounding everything there is such a small area to move without being sued.

I don't understand exactly what you mean. Are we talking about other companies producing Space Marines and Eldar? Throwing molotov cocktails into the windows of GW stores in a turf war?

GW's biggest asset is, in my opinion, their IP. To directly compete with GW means developing your own IP of similar depth and popularity. Other companies are doing that. They have their own distinct visual styles, their own fluff, their own tie-in novels and computer games (or are trying to get them released at least).

What else should they be doing in order to compete with GW?

TimLeeson
08-02-2013, 20:10
I would definitely see GW's success as being the high-street stores, well at least in the UK. Everyones heard of GW, even those who have no idea about it's games and no interest in it have all stoppde to see the little minis in the window at some point. I'd also cite board-games of the 90's (space crusade, heroquest) and 00's Dawn of war video-games as being reasons for it too. Interesting thread.


Well, strictly I was critiquing the list provided above (Alien, Star Trek, Star Wars and Starship Troopers) for its poverty of imagination in asserting that it represented the complete span of science fiction possibilities.

I can't comment on the game, but the Harrington novels are very generic military sci-fi - by 'hard SF' I was thinking of Tau Zero/Red Mars territory - and Shadowrun is bog-standard science fantasy (complete with elves and magic) but wearing trenchcoats - Bruce Sterling it isn't. Malifaux does include a few dying earth tropes, however, and OGRE (though I habitually classify it as a board game) has, by wargame standards, plausible tech, so fair enough on those two. Given that I own copies of the both, I'm not sure how I forgot about them.

The game I've been sculpting for the past few years takes inspiration from cosmic-horror (lovecraft, Dunsany ect) and hard sci-fi (Robert L Forward, Hal Clement). It revolves entirely around (non-humanoid) alien species in an extra-dimensional setting. All races float/hover.

Vaktathi
08-02-2013, 20:28
Outside of the UK GW stores exist almost nowhere, its success is largely due to being the only real game around for a while (most of their competition was extirpated in the late 80's/early 90's with no major competition until the 2000's , with the only other tabletop mini's games were stuff like BattleTech which isn't competing on the same things) and of course its Fluff/IP.

Griefbringer
09-02-2013, 16:03
Another issue that might partially explain the success of WH40K RT when it was originally launched in the late 80's is that at the time, GW had a plenty of resources to give the game a kickstart. The company had been around for ten years, and in that time it had managed to acquire a small retail chain (dozen or so stores), distribution network, established in-house magazine (White Dwarf), miniature production facilities, capable staff (game designers, artists and sculptors), established reputation and existing miniature gaming brand (Warhammer).

And they were willing to use these assets to give the game a boost. The original RT rulebook certainly is quite a tome and looks like there was quite some effort placed on producing it back in the day (though stylistically it might look somewhat old-fashioned by now). And afterwards there seems to have been almost continuous flood of new material for the next couple of years: WD articles, new models, related games (Space Hulk, Adeptus Titanicus, Space Marine), supplements, fiction and so on. They were even able to release a limited range of plastic models.

Having such an amount of resources and commitment behind it probably helped the game to pick up popularity relatively quickly. Less established company would have had trouble in providing such an initial release.

Keeping in mind the context, it is also worth keeping in mind that in the mid-to-late 80's GW published a lot of games: miniature games, board games, card games, role-playing games (both own and Chaosium games under lisence). They may have had some expectations for WH40K (based on the success of Warhammer Fantasy), but the time of the release it was still one amongst a big line of games produced by the company. It would take a while for it to be identified as one of the "core games".

And perhaps it was a good time to launch a such a gaming product range, with the youth of the 80's growing up reading 2000 AD, assembling Matchbox models, playing D&D, or watching Aliens and Star Wars in the cinema. And whatever else there was to be foudn in the 80's popular culture.

Chem-Dog
10-02-2013, 17:18
For me GW's market domination is the reason for it's market domination. New blood enters the hobby through friends and relatives and if the lion's share of those people are playing 40K most people will be introduced to 40K. The setting is a big hook but given that it's an amalgam of virtually every science fiction and fantasy trope in the known universe firmly bolted to Dune, that shouldn't be the difficult part to overcome.

Random Thoughts' initial point is bang on the money too, everybody seems to be attempting to steal from GW's plate either by offering an alternative to 40K with fan service changes catering to any one of the endless variety of things that are wrong with 40K (from cost of starting up to support after sale).

The simple fact of the matter is GW were first through the door on this front and they have a massive head start, they can produce hundreds of new models every year by sheer virtue of their size, no smaller company can rival the output and either have to make a virtue of their smaller system or obliquely entice you into playing their game with models you already own. Neither of which are satisfactory in a long-term strategy, because selling miniatures is going to be the way you make money.

How one goes about changing this....I don't know.

ghost of scubasteve
10-02-2013, 17:32
GW stuff just costs way too much.

I don't see a new generation of wargamers emerging with all the awesome board games that have been coming out.

I never play WH anymore, we prefer to play eclipse, Mage knigh etc. That take a $100 investment for 5 people to play rather than the upwards of $2500 it would take for us to buy armies.

If we feel like painting dudes we go with PP stuff now

ntw3001
11-02-2013, 15:36
The ghost is right! Board games are starting to become fashionable, and that's both the most likely route into gaming and the most likely endpoint for players. A smaller tabletop company might be able to produce board games and recruit that way. A board game set in, say, the Warmachine universe could bring players in and then turn them to the tabletop games. The audience for board games is getting larger, and that brings more players within touching distance of this hobby. The gap between wargaming and mainstream pastimes is getting smaller, and a company could profit from succesfully bridging it.

IcedCrow
11-02-2013, 16:28
That is unfortunately a new trend. Smaller forces = less money spent = people more apt to get involved.

Voss
11-02-2013, 16:48
That is unfortunately a new trend. Smaller forces = less money spent = people more apt to get involved.
It isn't all that new. 40K used to function on the same skirmish level- a couple squads, a character or two and maybe a vehicle. WHFantasy had a higher model count, but 40k has suffered immensely by the idea that there needs to be 50-100 models per side rather than 20-30. And I have no idea how people have convinced themselves that larger point values are necessary in addition to the size creep caused by GW recosting things, for all that people mock GW's marketing effort, the fact that people push 2000 points or higher entirely of their own accord is pretty impressive.



As far as the OP goes, I'm going to flatly disagree with everything. In particular, I'm confused by the sentiment of dominant sci-fi game. There isn't one. There are barely any sci-fi games out there, particularly ones that people actually play in significant numbers. Infinity comes closest, but personally doesn't feel like a sci-fi game- its low grade machine guns and rockets with the occasional robot. I know there are more sci-fi elements in the setting, but as far as the game goes, it could be a modern shooter set in <whichever contemporary warzone> you feel comfortable trashing.


A sci fi game that uses company-level battles (not skirmish) and takes its rules from a rich background, I believe.
And this confuses me as well. 40k is 1) not a sci-fi game. 2) totally a skirmish game 3)has rules that are completely unrelated to the background. Bolters don't explode people, and rending does nothing more than remove a model on a 6. Though to be fair, no game has rules that come from the background.

IcedCrow
11-02-2013, 16:51
I got into 40k in 1998. The starting points cost was 1500 back then. My Dark Angels army was 55 models.

I hadn't seen an army less than 30 models until Draigo came out and became the bomb because he was a powerful build and you didn't need much.

Points costs have gone up since then (went to 1750 standard and now 2000 seems to be typical) but the model count has roughly remained the same.

One of the reasons I don't play warmachine (other than it is a magic-the-gathering combo style game) is the model count is too low. I suppose metas influence that, but in my neck of the woods, 50 models or so was average for a 3+ power armor army.

Chapters Unwritten
11-02-2013, 16:58
I don't know. I think with the right approach, a game that challenges 40k could work. The problem would be a total lack of miniatures. I simply do not have the resources to create such things.

However, there are so many independents looking to do this sort of thing themselves. Part of me wonders if I could not rally them to the cause by simply giving them high quality concept art and having them come up with whatever they come up with.

The game would then have a model line that was at least partially complete and full-on profitable for all the individual groups out there who do miniatures or 3d printing.

I would be fine with never seeing anything but a fraction of that money, honestly. The biggest problem these games have is they center too much on the pieces. 40k is a great example of that; it's at the end of its lifespan, where the models have to be rotated by shifting rules and they try to condition the player to accept this, the way a Magic player accepts that in an expansion he is going to need all of those cards to continue playing successfully.

Games have suffered too much because of the businesses that try to make them profitable. I'd rather create the IP and license it to independent sculptors, and let people keep the same models for years but get an updated book or army rules all the time. Rules can be updated and old ones discarded; a model that I spent hours of my life and tons of money on is going to be much harder to toss.

And with all of these books being in digital format, of course, I won't have to spend much money creating them at all, either. A nice print edition for $50-$60 alongside a less expensive PDF / ebook version, perhaps a subscription-based (i.e. $10 a month) software that helps you create army lists for the game, and individual army documents akin to codexes. That seems like a much more intelligent business plan then trying to reinvent your beloved IP to push old models further and further down the toilet.

Voss
11-02-2013, 16:59
I got into 40k in 1998.

Well, there is your problem. Look at the point costs for army lists and codex armies from the RT and 2nd edition eras. The point costs are very different.

Chapters Unwritten
11-02-2013, 17:05
And Voss, flatly disagreeing with me does not change the facts that 40k's gotten part of its draw by paying homage to great sci fi concepts that came before it. The fantasy-in-space aspect is really a dramatic overblowing of the fact that they use swords; ultimately, it is a sci fi game, set in a sci fi universe full of homages (and direct ports) of great sci fi concepts.

It is that special fantasy element that gives it some of its badassery, though. It has the best of both worlds, and its entire (now defunct) "humanity has entered a dark age" cherry on top of the sci fi aspects has made quite an impact. If anything, this is the hardest part of the story world to recreate.

And the rules are related to the background, whether you choose to see it or not there has been a clear effort to tie them together, naming rules after epic critical utterances of character-defining traits like And They Shall Know No Fear, to literal concepts such as Relentless, Furious Charge...hell even the term "Monstrous Creature" implies a much more explicit image then "Large Model" does. Whether you care or not doesn't change the fact that the effort to use immersive terminology was clearly a large part of their process.

Hell's Angel
11-02-2013, 17:05
Waiting over 5 years for a new codex filled with errors that need FAQing and solely designed to force gamers to buy new models... YES PLEASE! A universe setting that spends as much time contradicting it's own history as it does expanding it while stagnating any major plot points to evade fan-boy rage! SURE! (They stole most of their mythos anyways.) This thread sounds a lot like an American who wants to back up why the States is the best place on earth. It isn't. GW like humanity in the 40k universe is in decline and suffering from stagnation. They WERE the best, they WERE on top, and like many companies used to having a monopoly, hubris has brought them low... Spending over 50 dollars for A CODEX?! Can't you people recognize bottom line desperation when you see it? You would have to embrace the notion of adopting a battered wife syndrome to support their business model at this point. FOR THE RECORD I HAD BEEN A PURCHASER OF GW PRODUCTS SINCE 1993! I am aware most of the incoming fire will be from people who were born around that same time, but by all means share with me your experiences that are contrary to my sentiment.

IcedCrow
11-02-2013, 17:06
I have, but we are on 6th edition now. 40k was doing very well in 3rd and 4th edition. The decline of the game in terms of obscene costs hit about 8 years ago (that can be argued, it will depend on your meta)

For me and the guys I play with, we got into the game for its size. Company-level is where I'd like it to stay. Otherwise I'd play necromunda. If 40k 3rd edition featured armies that were about 20 models or so, I would never have gotten into it.

RandomThoughts
11-02-2013, 17:08
I got into 40k in 1998. The starting points cost was 1500 back then. My Dark Angels army was 55 models.

I hadn't seen an army less than 30 models until Draigo came out and became the bomb because he was a powerful build and you didn't need much.

Points costs have gone up since then (went to 1750 standard and now 2000 seems to be typical) but the model count has roughly remained the same.

One of the reasons I don't play warmachine (other than it is a magic-the-gathering combo style game) is the model count is too low. I suppose metas influence that, but in my neck of the woods, 50 models or so was average for a 3+ power armor army.

Funy how these things go. I started 40K back in 2nd, about 1995-ish, and to this day I think the right number of models on the table for a game of 40K should be 20 infantrymen in 3-4 squads and a single Wraithlord, Dreadnought or tank.

I really wish GW replaced the FOC with percentages, or at least a scaling FOC.

Personally, I don't like how the scale is growing in Warmachine, with the company pushing the game towards 75 and 100 points, and releasing bigger and bigger models, to go along with the larger point costs...

Gorbad Ironclaw
11-02-2013, 17:17
I know exactly what you mean. My gaming group is getting into Malifaux, which seems like a good game, but I don’t find myself getting attached to a few named characters and faceless minions. I’ve played Gorkamorka and Necromunda, and those gang members were mine. They didn’t have a story that had already been written, so they were free to find their specialties and free to get themselves killed. That was great. In 40k the equivalent is being encouraged to create your own Space Marines chapter or Eldar craftworld or cabal.

I suppose it depends on what you are looking for. I've never cared for the whole "design-your-own" aspect of it, or giving background to models in Necromunda/Mordheim or anything like that. I do have a wildly divergent Ork army based on the idea of techno-barbarians but there is no background to go with it. If there is a cool/good narrative for a faction or a character or something it does make me more interested in them but I don't care about making my own. On the other hand, even in the character driven games it is just as easy to make your own stuff. After all, the characters are really just a collection of rules, just as any GW model is. So pick a set of rules, models and background you like and away you go. There really isn't much difference. One thing though, please don't feel the need to tell me about the background. If X model is actually Y model that's all I need to know.



GW's success isn't really down to the rules or the fluff (although they have a leg-up on the competition, courtesy of age rather than inspiration); it's down to the shops. They're on the high street, so people have heard of them, which means people play them, which means more people play them. Like World of Warcraft, they built an unassailable base by being the first widely-known product in their niche, and will only be brought down under their own weight. So my advice to anyone hoping to replicate their success is to have already done what they did, twenty-five years ago.

That only applies to the UK though. However I agree that GW's biggest advantage (by far) is the established playerbase. Getting in touch with people who play their games help sell the games and being able to find games keeps you there. However, other games are starting to grow good player bases too so that advantage is probably starting to erode.



For many European Gamers, the only place to play in the village is the local GW store.
If you had said the UK, sure. Europe as a whole though? Certainly there wasn't even a single GW store in Denmark when I got into Wargaming and to this day there is only a single store in Denmark (tucked away somewhere in Copenhagen I believe). And by picking various European capitals in the shop finder it's not like GW have flooded every town with shops or anything. The omni-present highstreet chain is really only a fixture of the UK, even in the rest of Europe it's not nearly as big a presence.

Hell's Angel
11-02-2013, 17:24
As for GW's superior intellectual properties, here is a juicy nugget from the DH Roleplaying genre.

"Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade
The aptly-named energy blade is a product of information obtained from the Aegis Data Fragment, and with the use of focusing crystals refined by the Divine Light of Sollex, this archeotech weapon can be produced in limited quantities in the forges of Haddrack. The energy blade produces a beam of coherent high-energy plasma that materialises from the armoured hilt, appearing as a blazing column of blue-white fire that dances wildly in anticipation of burning through a foe. This weapon is potent beyond even most power swords, and the vast majority of them are wielded by Tech-Priests of Sollex...."

Needless to say I was disappointed that I couldn't deflect blaster... err las fire with this weapon. GW has stolen more IP than any other hobby company that I can think of.

A.T.
11-02-2013, 17:36
GW has stolen more IP than any other company that I can think of.That's a fantasy flight RPG, licensed but not owned by GW.


I recall when I first started playing GW games and it they were everywhere, not just GW shops on the highstreet but space crusade on the shelves of toy stores and on demo tapes for 8 bit computers, magazine in the corner shop, story books, entry level games like space hulk, and a huge range of games - battlefleet gothic, titanicus, epic, 40k and fantasy and many more.

They threw the net very very wide and then cross-sold products. I must have played at least three different GW games before even wandering across a store and getting into their core lines.

Hell's Angel
11-02-2013, 17:42
Are you suggesting that a company has no duty of oversight for the licenses they issue out to contractors? The book has the Games Workshop Stamp on it, don't be obstinate. I suppose I shouldn't just troll, and answer to the OP's question. My answer is due to the apathy I feel from years of poor treatment, GW's major competitor is, nothing. I feel a certain sick satisfaction seeing my little guys on the shelf gathering dust. I feel nostalgic about the whole ordeal. I'll still GM a game in the universe because then I can control the content, to make it evolve. To bring it to life in a way that my lil soldier toys could never do.

RandomThoughts
11-02-2013, 17:46
Back when I began, the various GW games and Battletech were the only two established games out there. It's a lot different these days, I believe. Although, my local Games Store is all GW and various trading Card games in the front room and all Privateer Press, board games and a few miniatures I don't recognize in the back room.

We also have a GW store in Munich, but I only ever went there when I wanted to buy direct order only stuff from GW. I hate it when employees I don't know start asking me questions the moment I enter a store.

Cheeslord
11-02-2013, 21:22
They WERE the best, they WERE on top, and like many companies used to having a monopoly, hubris has brought them low...

They may be coasting, but are coasting on a self-propagating advantage (large player base => more new players => larger player base...). In the absence of a sudden step-change in the environment or emergence of a new, more effective competitor they could carry on like this indefinitely.

Mark.

Hell's Angel
11-02-2013, 21:51
You're not accounting for all the player who like myself, have simply stopped playing/buying (or even dying.) This reduces the player base. Your equation is one of infinite growth, and that is a flawed assumption. There simply aren't enough new crop "neckbeards" like ourselves to support it.

KhornateLord
11-02-2013, 22:35
They may be coasting, but are coasting on a self-propagating advantage (large player base => more new players => larger player base...). In the absence of a sudden step-change in the environment or emergence of a new, more effective competitor they could carry on like this indefinitely.

Mark.

I'm not sure GW's accountants or shareholders agree with you.

ntw3001
11-02-2013, 22:44
As for GW's superior intellectual properties, here is a juicy nugget from the DH Roleplaying genre.

"Sollex-Aegis Energy Blade
The aptly-named energy blade is a product of information obtained from the Aegis Data Fragment, and with the use of focusing crystals refined by the Divine Light of Sollex, this archeotech weapon can be produced in limited quantities in the forges of Haddrack. The energy blade produces a beam of coherent high-energy plasma that materialises from the armoured hilt, appearing as a blazing column of blue-white fire that dances wildly in anticipation of burning through a foe. This weapon is potent beyond even most power swords, and the vast majority of them are wielded by Tech-Priests of Sollex...."

Needless to say I was disappointed that I couldn't deflect blaster... err las fire with this weapon. GW has stolen more IP than any other hobby company that I can think of.

I'm not saying that's somehow an original idea, but it's different enough to scarcely count as theft. It's a weapon that projects a glowing blade from a hilt, but that's the entire similarity. A setting including its own take on an established trope (as a tiny piece of fiction in a side project, mind you, not in any way as a major aspect of the IP) is scarcely more worthy of complaint than laser guns or guys-fighting-aliens.


They may be coasting, but are coasting on a self-propagating advantage (large player base => more new players => larger player base...). In the absence of a sudden step-change in the environment or emergence of a new, more effective competitor they could carry on like this indefinitely.

GW's player base is, as far as I can gather, shrinking. Recruitment is one side of the coin, retention is the other. GW use a churn-and-burn strategy which focuses solely on recruitment. They want new players to buy some models; they don't really care whether they play the games or join the community. 'Players' and 'customers' aren't necessarily the same thing.

Chem-Dog
12-02-2013, 00:58
Board games are starting to become fashionable, and that's both the most likely route into gaming and the most likely endpoint for players.


I've heard it said, in a GW store no less, that historically speaking an economical slow-down tends to be accompanied by an uptake in board games (and, the red-shirt's contention being, tabletop games).

Indeed, the mid to late eighties saw a series of GW board games (several produced in conjunction with Milton Bradley) and I'd warrant that a fair number of veterans saw entry into 40K or WFB from them.


I'm confused by the sentiment of dominant sci-fi game. There isn't one. There are barely any sci-fi games out there.....

Semantics. What you personally feel deserves the title of what you interpret to be Science Fiction is largely irrelevant to the 10 year old who wants to fight space wars, in space, with space aliens.
Give him/her ten-fifteen years and they might think differently.
At the very least 40K is build out of bricks stolen from various Sci-Fi building sites.


I don't know. I think with the right approach, a game that challenges 40k could work. The problem would be a total lack of miniatures. I simply do not have the resources to create such things.

However, there are so many independents looking to do this sort of thing themselves. Part of me wonders if I could not rally them to the cause by simply giving them high quality concept art and having them come up with whatever they come up with.

Throwing out the meat of this kind of game's income - the models - is a bad plan. By all means licence production out to people (hell, even sell schematics for printing your own if you have the tech) but don't divorce yourself from that arm of the endeavour all together.
Getting a concept artist or two to put some stuff together for you as a Work for Hire, part of some kind of profit sharing arrangement or even purchasing existing and unused concepts (copyright and all) would all be valid ways of developing concepts. Then it's just a matter of finding people with the right skills to turn a bunch of drawings into little metal/plastic/resin/cheese models.

The biggest problem these games have is they center too much on the pieces. 40k is a great example of that; it's at the end of its lifespan, where the models have to be rotated by shifting rules and they try to condition the player to accept this.

The pieces are important. One of the major draws of the wargaming hobby is the tactile aspect that you don't get from video games or on-paper games.
It's a tricky prospect to try and make a sustainable revenue flow from something somebody can hold on to for the entirety of their lifetime (and then bequeath to someone else), which is why GW's model relies so heavily planned obsolescence in rules and on enforcing a proprietary doctrine regarding it's rules and models.
It's also why GW continues to embrace the "Churn'n'burn", they'd rather you drop 2-3 hundred quid on getting into it into your early teens, drop the hobby when you discover girls and beer and then come back to it some time later with rosy tinted glasses and a few hundred more to throw down on it again (because all your old models were sold, given away or so horribly painted it's better just to start from scratch).


Games have suffered too much because of the businesses that try to make them profitable. I'd rather create the IP and license it to independent sculptors, and let people keep the same models for years but get an updated book or army rules all the time. Rules can be updated and old ones discarded; a model that I spent hours of my life and tons of money on is going to be much harder to toss.

You can please some of the people all of the time....
Question is "How do you make frequent updates profitable?". People will quickly grow weary of FAQ or Addenda material that you charge them for, subscription will be unappealing without profit munching incentives attached. there are a couple of possible avenues, but....you know, I don't wanna go telling everyone just in case they work ;).



You're not accounting for all the player who like myself, have simply stopped playing/buying (or even dying.) This reduces the player base. Your equation is one of infinite growth, and that is a flawed assumption. There simply aren't enough new crop "neckbeards" like ourselves to support it.

The growth is exponential. Without some kind of mass extinction event to wipe out "neckbeards" (or an Exodus), the number of new players that a single veteran player can potentially introduce to the system in a single year is quite significant, multiply that by a decade or two and you're looking at staggering numbers. For every one of us who leaves the table there are a dozen kids who think Space Marines are awesome....



Recruitment is one side of the coin, retention is the other.

Only to a degree. I offer myself up as an example, some time ago I decided to record my annual GW spend (not counting paints, brushes glue and WD, which I gave up buying about four years ago, but including Codexes and rule books), it's at the top of my sig. Now, do spend numbers like that look more appealing than a revolving door policy?
Adding to a collection will never be as valuable to GW as starting one is.

Voss
12-02-2013, 02:01
Semantics. What you personally feel deserves the title of what you interpret to be Science Fiction is largely irrelevant to the 10 year old who wants to fight space wars, in space, with space aliens.
Meh, fair enough. But what he is comparing to 40K are, with the exception of Infinity, explicitly fantasy games, even if fantasy with guns and gaslights, so either way the premise makes no sense.

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 09:18
The growth is exponential. Without some kind of mass extinction event to wipe out "neckbeards" (or an Exodus), the number of new players that a single veteran player can potentially introduce to the system in a single year is quite significant, multiply that by a decade or two and you're looking at staggering numbers. For every one of us who leaves the table there are a dozen kids who think Space Marines are awesome....

But how long do these kids stay? If you have ten new kids in the store each month, but ten other kids each month that quit after spending a few dozen bucks and loosing interest again, your player base doesn't grow either.

At which point you either have to turn a few of them into longtime customers (and eventually into veteran players) to replace the veteran players that quit, or increase the number of kiddies that come to your store each "generation" by one foor every the veteran players that quit.

orkmiester
12-02-2013, 10:25
But how long do these kids stay? If you have ten new kids in the store each month, but ten other kids each month that quit after spending a few dozen bucks and loosing interest again, your player base doesn't grow either.

At which point you either have to turn a few of them into longtime customers (and eventually into veteran players) to replace the veteran players that quit, or increase the number of kiddies that come to your store each "generation" by one foor every the veteran players that quit.

then here in the UK at least you encounter another aspect... as i've come to realise it, the drifting away from GW stores and going to play at a gaming group. In my case the club i attend has recently decided to rejoin the GCN network so we might gain more players, the main reason is that GW will not advertsie a club that is not a member of it, and in doing so the committee has to have a crimminal records check (ah bureaucracy indeed..) not that any of those actually exist in that regard... I know this is all to do with accepting younger gamers, though most parents won't let their children attend unless they feel that they are safe, not ignoring the fact a lot of teenagers these days are rather streewise.

Secondly over time players will find new games to play, but many will keep the GW stuff as the trusty reserve if all else fails, i know thats occuring with me (i've ran out of GW stuff to buy barign to odd 1 or two bits..).

however...


I hate it when employees I don't know start asking me questions the moment I enter a store.

there are ways to deal with this, i confess i don't like to too much either (you are not going to sell me stuff doing that, better let me ask the questions :D ), however the employees i encounter don't really have a grip upon the gaming enviroment that you encouter at a gaming club, and sometimes i can't resist the temptation to offer advice to new players and a more "sensible" course of action shall we say:evilgrin: Though its highly amusing when they try to offer you advice/ask why you a buying a unit and you politely tell them and you get the suprised look on their face sometimes as you know more than they do:rolleyes:


:angel:

Cheeslord
12-02-2013, 10:53
GW's player base is, as far as I can gather, shrinking. Recruitment is one side of the coin, retention is the other. GW use a churn-and-burn strategy which focuses solely on recruitment. They want new players to buy some models; they don't really care whether they play the games or join the community. 'Players' and 'customers' aren't necessarily the same thing.

So... how far can you gather? What is the source of your information? People say that GW is losing playerbase but they show strong profits (I was going to check the latest numbers on their Corporate page, but for some reason they are having a major web-failure today). It may be that this forum attracts a non-representative proportion of people who have quit GW products, skewing perceptions.

Mark.

Griefbringer
12-02-2013, 12:21
I don't know. I think with the right approach, a game that challenges 40k could work. The problem would be a total lack of miniatures. I simply do not have the resources to create such things.

However, there are so many independents looking to do this sort of thing themselves. Part of me wonders if I could not rally them to the cause by simply giving them high quality concept art and having them come up with whatever they come up with.

The game would then have a model line that was at least partially complete and full-on profitable for all the individual groups out there who do miniatures or 3d printing.

Games have suffered too much because of the businesses that try to make them profitable. I'd rather create the IP and license it to independent sculptors


Such a networked game/model effort might be interesting, but there are also drawbacks. Firstly it misses the convenience of the "one-stop-shop" approach of being able to get all your core gaming stuff from a single source, unless somebody sets up a centralised retailer/distributor for the whole networked product range.

And keeping things running smoothly in the long term could be an issue. What happens when one of the companies involved runs into trouble? Many of the smaller miniature companies out there run with a really limited staff, and a core person having extended health issues can really cause troubles.


People say that GW is losing playerbase but they show strong profits

Profit might not be a good measure of estimating their player base, or any shift on it.

If you want to try estimating the player base, then the revenue numbers would be a better starting point, though not without issues either.

ntw3001
12-02-2013, 14:03
Only to a degree. I offer myself up as an example, some time ago I decided to record my annual GW spend (not counting paints, brushes glue and WD, which I gave up buying about four years ago, but including Codexes and rule books), it's at the top of my sig. Now, do spend numbers like that look more appealing than a revolving door policy?
Adding to a collection will never be as valuable to GW as starting one is.

My point was that GW makes no effort to retain players, which means the self-sustaining playerbase described in the post I quoted isn't an accurate image, despite a high recruitment rate. It's not a complaint about their policy (although, of course, I'd like them to get back to making stuff I want to buy) or a claim that it's poor for profits (although I do think it's a short-term gain at the cost of long-term stability, since word-of-mouth is amongst their most powerful potential advertising tools).


So... how far can you gather? What is the source of your information? People say that GW is losing playerbase but they show strong profits (I was going to check the latest numbers on their Corporate page, but for some reason they are having a major web-failure today). It may be that this forum attracts a non-representative proportion of people who have quit GW products, skewing perceptions.

I never bother to look at the numbers (which is why I qualified the claim with 'as far as I can gather'), but posts, blogs and articles from those who do are unanimous. People who have read into it say that it's the case. And as for anecdotal evidence, it seems that there's a general trend for GW games to occupy less table space in clubs than before (or, I guess, a general trend of people on the internet lying about their games clubs?). There's also reports from individual GW staffers, but that's only relevant from store to store (and isn't the case in every store, of course).

But, since you asked, I took a very brief look at the past few years' annual reports. Increase in revenue looks significantly less than increase in prices, which seems to bear out a reduction in sales volume (bear in mind that I'm not at all business-literate).

Basically, there's very little one can read that doesn't imply a shrinking playerbase. The options are either that an increasingly overpriced product with growing competition, in a long-term recession, is experiencing a decline in its customer base, or that news sources around the internet have for some reason conspired to make this appear to be so, although it's not, even despite the challenges previously mentioned. I find the former more plausible.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 15:04
I think we believe what we want to believe.

The internet is full of people with their own agendas. It is not outlandish to suspect that people that play other games are going to latch on to pushing the agenda that GW games are dying and that people should jump ship to their game to give them a bigger playerbase.

I've seen people from my own city on internet boards claim it is dead as far as GW games are concerned and that the only game rolling is Warmachine, and that's about as true as the unicorn exhibit at the zoo is.

If I'm a warmachine or Malifaux or DUST or any other game player that wants a bigger player base, it is in my best interest to follow the train of thought that GW games are dying because they are too expensive and the recession prevents people from buying in etc etc etc

It makes me feel better about my choice to not play GW games and it serves to help convince others to not play GW games for lack of playerbase to play with (thus increasing my own non-GW player base)

Also if I am disenfranchised with GW and wanting to play other games, I am going to naturally gravitate towards blogs and news and players that talk smack about GW, thus enforcing my own world view that it unanimously rejects GW.

However the truth of the situation (at least here) is far from that despite a few guys telling you it is so. We have four large groups in the city and I know our own group had a large influx of new players in both fantasy and 40k and do regularly yearly despite the cost and the recession etc etc as there are a good dozen ways to collect an army without spending $1000 on it and we help players do that)

Chapters Unwritten
12-02-2013, 15:11
GW's business model is unsustainable without ruining the game's most beloved aspect: its history.

This is part of why the Chaos codex was received the way it was. They are so entrenched in the story. We would not be very accepting if all of a sudden, say, Plague Marines' entire background was replaced with a paragraph and now there's a new "Plaguewarrior" thing you've never heard of that is better in every way and looks totally different.

They not only prefer new collections, but they are now actively encouraging the longstanding players to dump their stuff and replace it. That was, for example, what the Khorne Berserker chainaxe bit was - an attempt to get most players with a mix to have a reason to go buy more.

I personally think this is their undoing. You can update rules and books much more easily than you could the models. The new molds cost a lot, the sculpts take a lot of time, and frankly the rules being made for the models instead of the other way around hurts the game.

I've often wondered if, much like online games, they could move to a subscription model. I'd pay $15/month for updates. They'd need the content, but that isn't hard; the Apocalypse book, for example, has a ton of terrain building examples. One of those a month, fleshed out, would be cool. Maybe make it take some of the cost off of White Dwarf. Put out updated rules once in a while. Make the FAQs available earlier to subscribers. Put their support calls to the top of the phone queue. Etc. etc.

It's a pipe dream that they will ever do anything to our benefit ever again, however, and I know that now. Frankly, the only reason GW still has customers is because they are either ignorant or there is no other option to scratch the unique 40k itch. If there were another place to go, GW basically is giving us nothing but reasons to not stick around, and I know even as a person who dearly loves the game and has had his life changed by it, I would happily convert my entire gaming club simply because I know they are being exploited.

I'm looking to build more than just a game. I'm looking for a way out of this for us who love this kind of game.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 15:18
Frankly, the only reason GW still has customers is because they are either ignorant or there is no other option to scratch the unique 40k itch.

Your world view is that if you like GW you are a ***** or that there's just not anything out there. Not possibly that there are people that enjoy 40k. Or fantasy.

I play 40k for a few reasons:

1) There are always people around to play.
2) I like the models a lot.
3) I like the story. Even when they make changes to it. I don't rage over the changes.
4) There are indeed no other company-level games that I can get into.

Warmachine - I don't like it because I don't like the combination gaming that it is, and I don't like games where you have about 20 models. That's not a company-level wargame. It's not a bad game, just not what I want.

DUST - I'm not into world war ii, and again the model count is too small. If the model count came up and the players around me played at a higher model count I'd consider it.

Malifaux - not my thing. Very small model count.

Infinity - no players to play against. No one wants to go into a new system.

My favorite game in this genre is EPIC. Guess why I don't play it? No players.

I enjoy 40k for what it is. That doesn't make me a ***** and if there ever comes a game that I like a lot that has players play it, I may get into it, but I don't think i'd ever fully ditch 40k because I like the 40k models and universe. I'll consider to support the company because I enjoy painting their models and playing their game. It's certainly not the best ruleset EVAR but it entertains me and that's why I play and collect and have for over fifteen years now.

Hell's Angel
12-02-2013, 15:30
Yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad. Also, Hitler. There you go. Icedcrow I hope you realize that everything you said would/could also apply to a deluded GW fanboy. Personally, I know that Warhammer has drastically reduced in play in my community (Victoria.) We still have a GW store, and I'm sure people are still playing there, but the local university club has stopped hosting it there due to lack of turnout (speaking fantasy/40k.) I am aware that one swallow doesn't make a summer, but seeing that they are still embracing the business model that only appeals to a small number of clients or new players does not bode well. They don't deserve my business anymore, this is a sentiment shared by everyone I used to play with too. People seem to be 'aging out' of GW games. Not good for a hobby.

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 15:40
My favorite game in this genre is EPIC. Guess why I don't play it? No players.

Actually, with some more disposable at hand and a better income, I'd be intrigued to buy some Infinity and Epic stuff.

I don't really have those issues with lack of players, because I don't usually look at existing players for a game but see who inside my circle of friends might be interested and offer them to play using one of my armies. Some eventually expand and get some models of their own, but that's not really a requirement for me. (But then again, I've been dungean master for P&P games for many, many years, so I'm kind of used to providing a game for others to take part in).

At the moment I'm still rounding out my Warmachine collections. Cygnar is short one or two warcasters, a few Warjacks, Stormguard, Swordknights, Trencers and a Storm Strider, but that's because Cygnar is kind of my main faction and I really want to open up the whole playbook. For Cryx I currently want Terminus, Nightmare, and to paint a lot of old models; Khador would be a Spriggan, Great Bears, Kayazi Eliminators, and for the Protectorate I mostly want Knighs Examplers and a second Vassal. Thing is, I'm slowly but steadily building towards pretty complete factions here, to be honest, I kind of really enjoy the game and have two friends I really like gaming with who share the system.

Epic would be interesting a) for nostalgia reasons, it was the very first game we palyes back as teens, and I want to see how the epic scale plays out these days. Infinity is mostly because I miss playing skirmish games with 40-esque models, and I like the core concepts by which models control fire lanes, give each other cover, etc.

Truth be told, both represent to me different aspects of what I wanted out of 40K, I'd be curious to see how they play out once you get deeper into each of them.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 15:47
Yeah, well my dad can beat up your dad. Also, Hitler. There you go. Icedcrow I hope you realize that everything you said would/could also apply to a deluded GW fanboy. Personally, I know that Warhammer has drastically reduced in play in my community (Victoria.) We still have a GW store, and I'm sure people are still playing there, but the local university club has stopped hosting it there due to lack of turnout (speaking fantasy/40k.) I am aware that one swallow doesn't make a summer, but seeing that they are still embracing the business model that only appeals to a small number of clients or new players does not bode well. They don't deserve my business anymore, this is a sentiment shared by everyone I used to play with too. People seem to be 'aging out' of GW games. Not good for a hobby.

Just as everything you've said can be dusted off and dismissed as a deluded hater? "Fanboy" is a slander term used to describe someone that likes something that you don't. See how that works =) If you don't like the system or the hobby or the company or the models, that's your right. Find something you enjoy.

Cheeslord
12-02-2013, 16:00
Actually, with some more disposable at hand and a better income, I'd be intrigued to buy some Infinity and Epic stuff.


I used to love Epic in my younger days (I have/had a nice Epic Squat army), and would definitely like to play something like that again if it was available (and supported).

Mark.

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 16:07
IcedCrow, I think people simply take offense by your implication that everyone that argues GW might be failing has ulterior motives / is dishonest / both.

Sure, you're probably right that what you said is possible.

I'd still like to ask you in a freindly manner to think about what just happened.
The way you phrased your idea came across as pretty accusatory, the moment someone takes offense and responds emptionally, you react hurt.

Your point might be valid, but the way you present it does not encourage a constructive discussion.

Sorry for being frank, I hope you understand that I really mean it in a good way.

Regards
RT

Hell's Angel
12-02-2013, 16:11
A fanboy is a person considered to belong to one or more fandoms to a point of obsession.

ob∑ses∑sion
[uhb-sesh-uhn]
noun
1.
the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

Its not a matter of just liking something. I LIKE the 40k universe. I LIKE getting out and socializing with my friends over a game, and a pint. I HATE that I cant play the game the way that I used to just because thousand sons were popular in the last codex. I've had the same army for 14 years, and as a client I think that my army should have as good of a chance to compete as anything else! Nerfing my army so that I have to spend money to play a faction that doesn't interest me in order to be "competitive" is offensive, disrespectful, and a poor business model. A fanboy lives to play the game, and like any addiction his/her personality is effected by how often he/she gets their "fix." Addicted people are not rational people in regards to their addiction. A Fanboy may argue that my prior statement is not relevant in some way, and that "if I don't like it I should get out" or some such nonsense.

EDIT: Lets talk brass tacks here. I agree that recruitment IS GW's biggest/only asset. However, I'll restate that the constant codex nerf/new model buy policy is in no way a good or positive thing. I don't want to feel pressured into buying something. For me there are negative feelings associated with that action. It pisses me off, whereas if I felt good about the hobby I would naturally buy more product. I will state again that veterans like myself, and my friends are turned off to the point that we are moving on. Either to nothing/another genre, or Warmachine/another table top product. A hobby should always maintain to be as inclusive as possible, GW has changed SOOOOO much since the 90's, its absurd.
Here is an example. They used to have a promotion called the mega-blister blowout sale. You would send them some money (around 50 bucks) and you would receive a small BOX of product. Not just small items either, but greater Daemons, characters, you name it. For ME this was a huge incentive to create my Warhammer fantasy daemon army, so I bought one. (All metal and expensive back then.) I still ended up buying GW product, but there wasn't a Boltgun placed against my temple... See the difference?

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 16:17
I used to love Epic in my younger days (I have/had a nice Epic Squat army), and would definitely like to play something like that again if it was available (and supported).

Mark.

I don't know about supported, but the core rulebook (with all army lists! no extra books needed!) can be ordered from the GW website, as I just found out. Seriously considering it, at first just the book, do some test games with random pieces, than think about whether I like it enough to buy and paint a few of the mini-minis. Probably not going to happen for quite a while, but the idea intrigues me. Although, if the basic game works, I don't think they actually need updates and new releases, i.e. "support".

Might be just me, though.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 16:24
IcedCrow, I think people simply take offense by your implication that everyone that argues GW might be failing has ulterior motives / is dishonest / both.

Sure, you're probably right that what you said is possible.

I'd still like to ask you in a freindly manner to think about what just happened.
The way you phrased your idea came across as pretty accusatory, the moment someone takes offense and responds emptionally, you react hurt.

Your point might be valid, but the way you present it does not encourage a constructive discussion.

Sorry for being frank, I hope you understand that I really mean it in a good way.

Regards
RT

It wasn't meant to come off as accusatory, it was a response to the idea that if one is reading all about it online that it must be true. I was trying to point out that in my own neck of the woods we have people doing this very thing and its also very much false. If it was taken as an accusatory or condemning comment, then my apologies, but that wasn't its intent.


ob∑ses∑sion
[uhb-sesh-uhn]
noun
1.
the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

So if one likes 40k, or fantasy, or any of GW's games, that puts them in the "fanboy" slot, where they are obsessed and addicts. Gotcha.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 16:25
I don't know about supported, but the core rulebook (with all army lists! no extra books needed!) can be ordered from the GW website, as I just found out. Seriously considering it, at first just the book, do some test games with random pieces, than think about whether I like it enough to buy and paint a few of the mini-minis. Probably not going to happen for quite a while, but the idea intrigues me. Although, if the basic game works, I don't think they actually need updates and new releases, i.e. "support".

Might be just me, though.

I have tried to start up or integrate EPIC and BFG into my campaigns but its just very difficult to get people onboard, even with the rules being for free online (and for epic you really don't even need models, you can make due with tokens)

Probably would be an interesting study to see why its offhandedly rejected by so many and in the same breath praised for being one of the better rulesets GW has done.

Hell's Angel
12-02-2013, 16:42
WTF Didn't I quite clearly point out what a fanboy is using the wiki definition and dictionary clarification? In order to be a fanboy one would have to be mentally obsessed, why are you using red herrings to derail from the discussion? If your feeling personally attacked by my musings then those are your own issues to contemplate.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 16:45
Sorry I interpreted what you were saying as a reinforcement that anyone that likes GW games are addicts / fan boys (as you said what I was saying could be translated as coming from a deluded fan boy)

If that wasn't your intent then apologies.

Hell's Angel
12-02-2013, 16:47
I GM a Dark Heresy game, we are as far as I cant tell discussing GW's tabletop games here (specifically 40k), right?

Sean Drake
12-02-2013, 16:48
I used to love Epic in my younger days (I have/had a nice Epic Squat army), and would definitely like to play something like that again if it was available (and supported).

Mark.



In that case I would recommend Dropzone Commander It's certainly scrathed my Epic itch, it has some beautiful minatures and a pretty tight rule set

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 16:51
We were indeed discussing 40k the tabletop game (and liking and enjoying that game), not an RPG set in the same universe.


In that case I would recommend Dropzone Commander It's certainly scrathed my Epic itch, it has some beautiful minatures and a pretty tight rule set

I've heard of it. Looks interesting. Same problem as epic though in that no one wants to invest in it.

Chapters Unwritten
12-02-2013, 16:55
With respect, I feel things are a bit off my original topic here.

If you get into Epic or BFG you are doing the following three things:

1.) Supporting the company that abuses us.
2.) Playing a game that is not a sci fi company level wargame.
3.) Avoiding/dismissing the problem I am addressing that there is no direct competitor to 40k.

None of those things are why I started this thread, and neither is the defense of the company or any hyperbole about player attitudes. Folks can justify it however you want, at the end of the day we are watching them slowly prune this beloved universe unit by unit and book by book by trying to use the rules to herd us to their profit margin. We are ALL being price-gouged. We are ALL going to have our old models invalidated in favor of overpriced new ones. We are ALL having to adapt to game balance that they intentionally tilt to sell things like Flyers and Aegis Lines. There is no conceivable way you can argue that they are trying to do what is good for us or the game, so folks might as well stop acting like this is about that. It's not.

Epic being such a failure is a testament to an important part of this game: the heroic scale, and how every model acts as an individual in the game despite it being squad based. The cool poses, the wargear options...in Epic arming your squad with something means a barely different model in static poses and no individuality whatsoever. That is why it's a failure. You play the same game with 40k pieces on base plates and it would be different.

I started this thread precisely because of people talking like this. "X game has better rules, why does no one like it as much as 40k?" Because it has no flavor and it's a bunch of numbers and tables on a page. There it is - you can put that mystery to rest.

If the key to 40k's success is cool looking models then frankly I've already failed, as I simply do not have those resources. But a universe to frolick in, and heroes and villains to do battle within it, that is something we CAN do.

Hell's Angel
12-02-2013, 17:02
Try playing the roleplaying genres in the warhammer 40k setting. I use my 40k models in the same way one would use d&d models on a hexmat. Skirmish with a story.

IcedCrow
12-02-2013, 17:14
My RPG group is currently in the midst of an Only War campaign (guardsmen). The models do work well to represent that yes.


1.) Supporting the company that abuses us.
2.) Playing a game that is not a sci fi company level wargame.
3.) Avoiding/dismissing the problem I am addressing that there is no direct competitor to 40k.

1. yep. and will continue to do so until another company comes along that creates something that I like better. My alternative is no tabletop gaming. Guess which option wins?

2) if I had my way I'd be playing army-scale all the time. That's not viable so company-level is where I have to settle. Squad- based games no thank you. At least not on a regular basis. What other company-level games exist? Warmachine can be played at that level but you can't find anyone wanting to break past tournament-points which is squad-level. Add to that that Warmachine is also like magic the gathering with models and that's not something I like so ... next? Infinity? No players. Next? Can't find the next. There's the problem.

3) avoiding or dismissing? Not at all. There are no direct competitors right now. Not that I can see anyway. Mantic is trying to copy them and cater to those angry at them but I don't see them catching a foothold until they come up wtih some stuff truly original and some decent background. The rules are fine but the rest is stale. I'd play infinity if there was a playerbase, but currently there is none.

lanrak
12-02-2013, 17:37
The thing is the current 40k game is 'unique' for a good reason..

Other game companies use appropriate sale minatures for the game play.As they think it is important to focus on game play, because they are game companies.

Most games using over 20mm minis are either skirmish games, or 'rank and file' blocks where units foot print , is important.So 20 x 28 mm minatures take up the same space as the 400 2 mm 'in scale' minatures they represent, but look better!

Most of the games that have a similar game size to 40k use 15mm minatures.

GW realise that the heroic 28mm scale they use is great for showing off the talent of GW studio.The minatures have a strong asthetic style that appeals to a wide audience.

And the detail and size of the 28mm heroic minature sort of demands the detail found in skirmish games.(As 40k used to be.)

But the current model count sort of demands the rules for a battle game.(Based on unit interaction, not individual models within the units.)
6th ed swings between micro and macro managing things, a detailed skirmish focued rules hacked up and mashed together to fit a battle game ,then patched up in an add hoc way to cover the massive gaps.

It was said that the SG, were removed from main stream awaerness, because they made 40ks 'caught between two stools' rule set and game play rather obvious.

Epic is a much better battle game than 40k could ever hope to be.
And Necromundia , has more detail and character than 40k.

IMO the ideal way to write a rule set for 40k , would be to use a good battle game rule set.(Like Epic.) Then ADD detail to it.

Rather than start with a over complicated skirmish rule set,(2nd ed,) and chop lumps out of it and hope for the best...

This was written trying to be an objective assesment of the current 40k rule set.

Listing its primary flaw and possible solution.

carlisimo
12-02-2013, 17:43
IMO the ideal way to write a rule set for 40k , would be to use a good battle game rule set.(Like Epic.) Then ADD detail to it.

Rather than start with a over complicated skirmish rule set,(2nd ed,) and chop lumps out of it and hope for the best...

I’ve read that the target demographic – teenagers – tend to prefer juggling details in their heads rather than abstractions. To the young mind, interaction between complex rules with a small scope is more rewarding than, say, the way Epic works. I’m no psychologist, but all the games I used to play in middle and high school worked that way, and most of the games I play now don’t.

Chapters Unwritten
12-02-2013, 20:18
The thing is the current 40k game is 'unique' for a good reason..

Other game companies use appropriate sale minatures for the game play.As they think it is important to focus on game play, because they are game companies.

Most games using over 20mm minis are either skirmish games, or 'rank and file' blocks where units foot print , is important.So 20 x 28 mm minatures take up the same space as the 400 2 mm 'in scale' minatures they represent, but look better!

Most of the games that have a similar game size to 40k use 15mm minatures.

GW realise that the heroic 28mm scale they use is great for showing off the talent of GW studio.The minatures have a strong asthetic style that appeals to a wide audience.

And the detail and size of the 28mm heroic minature sort of demands the detail found in skirmish games.(As 40k used to be.)

But the current model count sort of demands the rules for a battle game.(Based on unit interaction, not individual models within the units.)
6th ed swings between micro and macro managing things, a detailed skirmish focued rules hacked up and mashed together to fit a battle game ,then patched up in an add hoc way to cover the massive gaps.

It was said that the SG, were removed from main stream awaerness, because they made 40ks 'caught between two stools' rule set and game play rather obvious.

Epic is a much better battle game than 40k could ever hope to be.
And Necromundia , has more detail and character than 40k.

IMO the ideal way to write a rule set for 40k , would be to use a good battle game rule set.(Like Epic.) Then ADD detail to it.

Rather than start with a over complicated skirmish rule set,(2nd ed,) and chop lumps out of it and hope for the best...

This was written trying to be an objective assesment of the current 40k rule set.

Listing its primary flaw and possible solution.

Your objective perception so happens to be that we should dump the whole thing and then take your favorite variant of the same game and add onto it?

Doubtful objectivity to say the least. 40k is the success here, taking things that are nothing like it as a starting point is not the answer.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 23:26
I have tried to start up or integrate EPIC and BFG into my campaigns but its just very difficult to get people onboard, even with the rules being for free online (and for epic you really don't even need models, you can make due with tokens)

Probably would be an interesting study to see why its offhandedly rejected by so many and in the same breath praised for being one of the better rulesets GW has done.

I didn't see the epic rules online, just the epic rulebook they sell. Where should I look?

Regarding epic, I think the big threshold is the same as with Infinity and the same I had with Warmachine myself for a long time:
Knowing how much time and money the hobby eats, we hesitate to invest in a new system we are not sure will be worth it. I think I was pretty lucky that Warmachine drew my attention at a time when my Eldar were nearing completion (sure, I could always add to my four War Walkers or my four Vypers, but I could field at that time every single unit I wanted to play at least once, some like Jebikes and Wraithlords up to the FOC limit).

I had actually thought about starting another army for 40K, but I wasn't going to repeat the cycle I had just completed with Eldar - 100 bucks ust for a single Ork troop choice, no thanks!

So I started buying Warmachine models. I was lucky and two cool guys started with me, our own "slow grow" mini gaming group, and I never looked back. For a while, Warmachine was my secondary system, then 40K became my secondary system, and when 6th edition came out and was not the great overhaul I was hoping for, bringing the gameplay and the rules up to the standard I got used to in Warmachine, I pretty much stopped playing the game entirely.

Sure, there are some combos in the game, and some 'gamey' mechanics, but overall the game still feels less arbitrary, more intuitive and more of a wargame to me. Stuff like cover actually making models harder to hit (which can be migitated by really good BS) and coldhearted Khador Kommisars ordering their artillery to fire straight into enemy units tied up by cheap / expandable skirmisher units and the Terminator-equivalent Man-O-Wars ignoring small arms fire, but succumbing to the equivalents of Autocannons and Krak Missiles, even if they are not AP2.

Sure, there are some combos in the game, but nothing similar to MTG in my experience. At least not in our gaming group.


With respect, I feel things are a bit off my original topic here.

Which usually happens in these discussions.

I think your point was that 40K is is not being challenged at all by the competitors. I agree with many others that you are wrong, the competitors like PP and CB are challenging GW with their skirmish level games. As the companies grow and their model ranges grow and their player base grows, they increase the scale of their games, and at some point they will carter to the company level scale. The general opinion expressed here is that it s simply not possible to do it the other way round, because you'd need incredible resources to throw a company sized game unto the market all in one go; and even then you will have more trouble getting new players than with a skirmish game that has a lower entry cost for the potential new players.

The same applies to fluff, by the way. The other companies like PP and CB are writing their own fluff - it just seems like they can't compete because GW had twenty more years to add details and get their stuff out there; most people interested in tabletop at all have at least a passing knowledge of the Horus Heresy and what a Space Marine is. That's a huge advantage for GW, but the other companies are trying to close the gaps, with stories in their rulebooks, PP's White Dwarf equivalent No Quarters (which has actual content, rules, scenarios, etc.), and if everything goes well soon novels and a video game.

Going further, you want to discuss your dream of throwing your own game out unto the market. Legitimate. The big question is: What can you offer that other games can't offer? PP's big claim is a challenging, balanced ruleset that is hard to break. Infinity's appeal to me is that it is a game with 40k-esque models, on a skirmish scale (which I prefer over a table filled with hundreds of models) with interactive player turns. EPIC came up the last few posts, because for some of us it is the ideal format for larger scale battles. It's also partially nostalgia for me.

Anyway, I think you explained before that you are no sculptor so all you could do would be rules. Well, if you want to succeed on rules alone, I think you need to take two things into consideration:

1. The rules need to be elegant. Simple and intuitive, but allow for complex gameplay.
2. The factions / army lists are what hook players.

Infinity appeals to me, because each army can be summarized in a few short paragraphs that give me a clear image what the army is all about. Infinity doesn't appeal to me in that some of their units don't belong in a scifi setting, mostly historic characters from premodern times "revived" into the far future. Seeing a Jean d'Arc or a Minamoto Musashi strive across an intergalactic battlefield feels just awkward to me. Finally, and I can't stress this enough: One of the most common criticisms of the currently successful games are named characters. A lot of people want to play their own characters, naming them, inventing background. I think do-it-yourself characters like GW has / used to have are a real niche right now.

Add fluffy sub-factions with clearly identified color schemes and symbolic, divergent fluff, but identical rules. I think GW got it wrong when they started making rules for every single space marine legion. And they likewise got it wrong when they removed the Clans from the Ork Codex. I'd suggest to start with just four factions, define who they are and what they should excel at in very general terms. TV Tropes has a lot of useful tools for that, including the faction calculus (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FactionCalculus). Once you get the basic identity and playstyle for each faction in place, describe a handful subfactions for each, similar to the current craftworlds and the first founding legions. In my experience, players will go to great lengths to build fluffy representations of their favorite subfactions without any need for specific army lists. Honestly, never underestimate the combination of creative players and a single army list as far as fluffy subfactions are concerned.

And finally: Do your homework. Read core rules, not just 40K, get at least a passing familiarity with 40K, 2nd edition 40K, Necromunda, Infinity and Warmachine. You don't have to reinvent the whole game. There's a reason successful companies study the products of their competitors (benchmarks).

I honestly hope that helps.


If you get into Epic or BFG you are doing the following three things:

1.) Supporting the company that abuses us.
2.) Playing a game that is not a sci fi company level wargame.
3.) Avoiding/dismissing the problem I am addressing that there is no direct competitor to 40k.

1.) True, but to be honest, I have no beef with GW. I don't buy their models and play Warmachine instead, because I consider it the better game for me. If GW overhauled their rules and made 40K into a good game again, I'd gladly pull out my Eldar models and play games again.
2.) How so? Epic is my exact definition of company level scifi wargame. What did I miss?
3.) So what? Warmachine may not be company sized or space opera + high fantasy or allow for player generated leader characters, but otherwise it is everything I wanted from 40K. For the company sized thing, I'm looking at epic as an alternative, for the scifi part I'm looking at both epic and infinity. What else is there?


None of those things are why I started this thread, and neither is the defense of the company or any hyperbole about player attitudes. Folks can justify it however you want, at the end of the day we are watching them slowly prune this beloved universe unit by unit and book by book by trying to use the rules to herd us to their profit margin.

Who's using hyperbole now? ;)

I'm not exactly known for my praise of GW or their products, I think current 40K is flawed beyond redemption and needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground, and I'm pretty vocal about it, too. When people inquired about starting 40K, my impulse was for a while to advise against it and try to direct them towards one of the competitors.

So, I don't really get how I'm suddenly a GW apologist...


We are ALL being price-gouged. We are ALL going to have our old models invalidated in favor of overpriced new ones. We are ALL having to adapt to game balance that they intentionally tilt to sell things like Flyers and Aegis Lines.

No, we are not. I play Warmachine, I don't have any of these issues any more.


There is no conceivable way you can argue that they are trying to do what is good for us or the game, so folks might as well stop acting like this is about that. It's not.

I never did.


Epic being such a failure is a testament to an important part of this game: the heroic scale, and how every model acts as an individual in the game despite it being squad based. The cool poses, the wargear options...in Epic arming your squad with something means a barely different model in static poses and no individuality whatsoever. That is why it's a failure. You play the same game with 40k pieces on base plates and it would be different.

Or perhaps it failed because it doesn't appeal to kiddies and GW decided to cater to kiddies as their primary target group. I don't know. All I know is that FoW is gaining ground in my LGS, and that's pretty much epic scale with *boring* WW2 flavor. Doesn't appeal to me at all, but it apparently has good rules and good gameplay and a lot of people seem to enjoy that.


I started this thread precisely because of people talking like this. "X game has better rules, why does no one like it as much as 40k?" Because it has no flavor and it's a bunch of numbers and tables on a page. There it is - you can put that mystery to rest.

I have to disagree outright. Have you played some of these other games? Here's what happened in my last two games of Warmachine:

The Greatbears of the Gallowswood, three Khador warriors of great renown, trashed my only heavy warjack after Vlad the Dark Prince of Umbrey cast Boundless Chage spells on each of them. However, I managed to set Vlad on fire, then rushed in with my Feora, Priestess of the Flame. Her special ability prevents the flames from going out as long as she remains within 12" of her target. Using Holy Zealots as a screening unit to protect Feora, I broke through the enemy line, pursued the fleeing Vlad (oponent trying to pull him away, not a failed morale test) and watched him burn.

The next game, my opponent made a tactical error. His ice-sorceress Sorsha got greedy. She froze half my army (turning them to ice for a turn), but ended up in an exposed position. My heavy warjack literally broke out of the ice cocoon holding him, charged in on the normally far more evasive Sorscha and crushed her wŪth his supercharged electric greatsword.

That's what literally happened in those games. Not an abstract rule like rending that basically affects the dice in a way. No, we actually had models frozen solid and burning slowly to death.


Your objective perception so happens to be that we should dump the whole thing and then take your favorite variant of the same game and add onto it?

Truth be told, I agree. I think 40K has reached a point where it really needs a redesign from he ground up.

Grimbad
12-02-2013, 23:35
That's what literally happened in those games. Not an abstract rule like rending that basically affects the dice in a way. No, we actually had models frozen solid and burning slowly to death.


I should hope that all this literal burning and freezing took place via some abstract rule like rending that affected the dice in a way. Otherwise Warmachine might have a problem retaining its player base.

More seriously, though, the idea of encasing half an army in sudden chunks of ice from which they break free after a certain amount of time expires feels... video-gamey in a way that GW stuff usually doesn't. Which is in Warmachine's aesthetics, too, which is the most important reason I've never so much as bothered to open a Warmachine book. And it's definitely in more recent GW designs too, which would be irritating but hey, there are no new releases for second edition 40k so I don't really mind.

The burning rule sounds cool, though.

carlisimo
12-02-2013, 23:44
2.) How so? Epic is my exact definition of company level scifi wargame. What did I miss?

I think he's saying that each side in 40k is approximately the size of a company. That makes sense - in Epic we like to say that a firefight between two formations is a 40k match, and you can take formations that are one Imperial Guard company of infantry or tanks. 250 points gets you a company of 65 IG infantry, and typical Epic games are 3000 points!

Maybe the confusion is that you mean "company-level game" as in a battle where you throw your companies at each other? I call that an army-level game.

RandomThoughts
12-02-2013, 23:59
I should hope that all this literal burning and freezing took place via some abstract rule like rending that affected the dice in a way. Otherwise Warmachine might have a problem retaining its player base.

Touche! Okay, let me be more precise: The game has rules for models burning to death from turn to turn, which are more evocative than the rending and poison rules in 40K to me. Truth be told, the more attack dice I roll together, the less important a single effect or rule appears. At some point, it doesn't matter that some of those 22 wounds came from rending, they just add up to casualtes. What's worse, I never understood the idea behind rending; if it ignores armor, it should simply have a good AP. If it rips models apart, why not jut give it higher S?


More seriously, though, the idea of encasing half an army in sudden chunks of ice from which they break free after a certain amount of time expires feels... video-gamey in a way that GW stuff usually doesn't. Which is in Warmachine's aesthetics, too, which is the most important reason I've never so much as bothered to open a Warmachine book. And it's definitely in more recent GW designs too, which would be irritating but hey, there are no new releases for second edition 40k so I don't really mind.

Not so bad, really. I used to think it makes no sense, freezing someone will kill him, right? The idea of ice forming around them like a cage however, I can live with that.


The burning rule sounds cool, though.

40K used to have it, too. Back in 2nd every flamer set you on fire if it didn't kill you outright.


I think he's saying that each side in 40k is approximately the size of a company. That makes sense - in Epic we like to say that a firefight between two formations is a 40k match, and you can take formations that are one Imperial Guard company of infantry or tanks. 250 points gets you a company of 65 IG infantry, and typical Epic games are 3000 points!

Maybe the confusion is that you mean "company-level game" as in a battle where you throw your companies at each other? I call that an army-level game.

Okay, that I understand.

So, apparently I really don't have much interest in company-sized scale after all... ^^

Dooks Dizzo
13-02-2013, 04:51
I think that if your plan is to create a company that doesn't make any money, you will be quite successful at executing your plan with your current model.

Unfortunately your plan and your goal ('take on GW') are directly at odds with one another.

Hell's Angel
13-02-2013, 04:56
Wow with advice like that and a $1.90 someone could buy a extra Large coffee from Timmies.

Grimbad
13-02-2013, 05:09
Back in 2nd every flamer set you on fire if it didn't kill you outright.


"Back in second edition" is last Thursday for me, although there weren't any flamers present. What I meant was the ability that keeps everything burning within a radius around a character- it would make a very fun psychic power or character ability for 2e house rules.

RandomThoughts
13-02-2013, 08:01
"Back in second edition" is last Thursday for me, although there weren't any flamers present. What I meant was the ability that keeps everything burning within a radius around a character- it would make a very fun psychic power or character ability for 2e house rules.

Ah, I get it now. Sorry for misreading your post.

Yeah, there's one caster (HQ) that prevents fires on enemy models from going out within 12", another one from the undead faction that likewise keeps corrosion from acid attacks going within 12".

Evilhomer
13-02-2013, 08:28
1.) Supporting the company that abuses us.

I couldn't read this and not reply - GW is a money making company. They aren't abusing you, or anyone of their other customers. Given you live in the UK, I'd be far more concerned about stagnant economic growth, inflation, the inability of people of our generation to get on the property ladder, fuel, heating and electricity costs (where consumers are being abused), lack of decent employment opportunities, corrupt politicians of all political orientations, shoddy transport network, horse meat in my bloody lasagne (;)) etc etc etc. I know their business model is a pain for loyal customers, but when I see things like the latest DA release, I'm all over it...



Epic being such a failure is a testament to an important part of this game: the heroic scale, and how every model acts as an individual in the game despite it being squad based. The cool poses, the wargear options...in Epic arming your squad with something means a barely different model in static poses and no individuality whatsoever. That is why it's a failure. You play the same game with 40k pieces on base plates and it would be different.

I have long pondered Epic Armageddon's flop. I would say it has very little to do with the quality of models - Epic was the third core game in the 90's and it didn't matter then. By the time of 2nd edition 40k, GW was on it's 4th version of the Epic system and was selling two core boxes (2nd edition space marine and titan legions) at the same time. I remember first going into GW Blackpool and seeing one long wall dedicated solely to epic. I think Epic Armgaddon's failure was because it's such a reasonable game. It's so balanced that I think for many people it verges on grey. What it seems to me is that you need parts of a game to be completely over the top (and in places broken) to get gamers frothing. How many times have we heard people lamenting the demise of 2nd edition or reminiscing about a crazy or improbable game event?

Cheeslord
13-02-2013, 08:41
Mantic is trying to copy them and cater to those angry at them but I don't see them catching a foothold until they come up wtih some stuff truly original and some decent background. The rules are fine but the rest is stale. I'd play infinity if there was a playerbase, but currently there is none.

Oddly I tries to get into Warpath and was quite excited by it, then found I didn't like the rules so much ... but I think I'm probably getting too picky about rules.

Mark.

Griefbringer
13-02-2013, 10:09
I have long pondered Epic Armageddon's flop. I would say it has very little to do with the quality of models - Epic was the third core game in the 90's and it didn't matter then. By the time of 2nd edition 40k, GW was on it's 4th version of the Epic system and was selling two core boxes (2nd edition space marine and titan legions) at the same time. I remember first going into GW Blackpool and seeing one long wall dedicated solely to epic. I think Epic Armgaddon's failure was because it's such a reasonable game.

The big flop of the Epic series seems to have been with the transition from Space Marine 2nd ed / Titan Legions to the Epic 40,000 somewhere in 1997. The changes in the game were somewhat drastic, including changing the shape of the infantry bases. Also pretty much the whole model range was re-vamped. The new sculpts may have been very nice, but they also tended to be mainly in metal (earlier line of plastics getting discontinued) and some were drastically different to earlier models (like the Warlord titan). After a while, the game just stopped receiving any coverage in White Dwarf.

When Epic Armageddon rules came out, the whole Epic series had been pushed over to the specialist range, and there no longer was the sort of serious push from the company-side that the earlier Epic games had enjoyed.

Cheeslord
13-02-2013, 10:51
As well as changes in my life (e.g. University), the advent of Titan Legions kind of put me off Epic as it seemed like they were using horribly imbalanced rules to sell more models (specifically Titan legions allowed you to get 3 titans for the price of 2, game wise, which made them too cheap for their power level). I didn't like the generation of metal Warlords that came out at that time either, and had always felt a bit aggrieved that super heavy vehicles were just so fragile compared to titans (remember I collected Squats primarily).

I agree with previous posters that Epic scale did lack a lot of personality compared to regular 40k - for example the only difference between space marines and guard was something like a point of Ld and a point of Close Assault Factor (even terminators just got higher CAF and a 6++). Their shooting weapons and armour were indistinguishable at that scale, and there were few/no special characters. Its not that there couldn't have been such things at this scale there just werent. It was the cool giant vehicles that attracted me more to Epic (i.e. greater variety of unit types and roles).

Mak.

Evilhomer
13-02-2013, 11:00
The big flop of the Epic series seems to have been with the transition from Space Marine 2nd ed / Titan Legions to the Epic 40,000 somewhere in 1997. The changes in the game were somewhat drastic, including changing the shape of the infantry bases. Also pretty much the whole model range was re-vamped. The new sculpts may have been very nice, but they also tended to be mainly in metal (earlier line of plastics getting discontinued) and some were drastically different to earlier models (like the Warlord titan). After a while, the game just stopped receiving any coverage in White Dwarf.

When Epic Armageddon rules came out, the whole Epic series had been pushed over to the specialist range, and there no longer was the sort of serious push from the company-side that the earlier Epic games had enjoyed.

Epic 40,000 was a huge flop and probably highlights best what I was saying before. I think when it was released I heard that Epic 40,000 was held it high regard by some wargaming magazines and received positive reviews for its rules structure and elegant simplicity. The models released were I think some of GW's finest sculpts around at the time (ok, not the titans, but definately the tanks). But the game was very poorly received by the fanbase. Why?....

....because of its elegant simplicity and well balanced rules! Prior to this, gamers could expect unique rules for each unit (in terms of weapons) and had to remember a relatively complex system of rules. In Epic 40,000 most weapons simply had a firepower value which was sumed for a detachment and compared with a chart to see how many dice you got. It didn't matter if you were firing a bolter, missile launcher, shokk attack gun or vulcan mega bolter. All the flavour and interest was abstracted out for the sake of smooth game play which players didn't react well to.

So it seems to me that to have a successful game, yes, having nice models is important, and yes, having reasonable rules is also nice, but the rules need to have a certain amount of depth to make them entertaining and also include a good amount of inherent randomness (presumably the randomness gets its hooks into the gambling side of our mind, since you can never be quite sure of an outcome - endorphin kick?).

Incidentally, once Epic 40k had died my local GW sold off all it's stock at 50% off, before selling most of the blisters off for 1 pound (including baneblades and the like). Some years later when Epic Armageddon game out, people were bidding 12-18 pounds for these blisters on ebay......My old guard army certainly paid for many good nights at Uni!

RandomThoughts
13-02-2013, 11:08
If I'm not mistaken, part of the downfall might be the 3rd edition rules. I've read several times now that the creators thought the new system was the best and tactically most rewarding system they had written, but many people thought the new system lacked flavor. The rules apparently got to streamlined, units lost their identities or something.

Which I think would be a major reason for why the new epic tanked. I believe in streamlined rules and intuitive yet tactically rewarding rules, but I also like flavor. And flavor is in the units, in what they represent and in how they behave in the game. Compare Rending from 40K with Burning from Warmachine, one affects a dice roll, the other affects a model. One can be easily visualized (this model is on fire now and gets fire damage every turn until the fire goes out), while the other more or less comes down to, in game effect, as "that model sometimes ignores armor saves that are already pretty random". Truth be told, if asked to visualize the Rending rule, I more or less see models with basic infantry shredding high Toughness creatures, which is the most ..- tangible? (non-abstract) application of the rule. I think "monster slayer" would be a far better moniker than "rending"...

Anyway, I think this boils down to the point already made by the OP about flavor. Mature players need less flavor and more balanced rules and challenging gameplay in my opinion than the kiddie crowd that are perfectly happy arguing which character is the strongestest and that nothing can stzop their super duper Assault Terminators. But both groups, in my opinion, demand a certain level of flavor from a miniatures game, if they were just in for the abstract mental challenge, they's be playing chess or go.

Which brings me to another important point: Know your target demographic. If you want to sell your game to kids you have to apply a completely different design philosophy than to a game targeting veteran players, tournament players, hobbyists, etc.

Omniassiah
13-02-2013, 12:07
The other thing that killed Epic:A during it re-release was the fact that the second wave of armies consisted of 2 variants of existing armies and 1 new. So if you didn't want to play IG, Orks, SM, or Eldar you were out of luck both model and rules wise. Which for a game system that builds off another not getting a majority of armies out there quickly will lose sales.

Which brings us a big issue that GW has at the moment. They don't seem to grasp that most people only buy one, maybe two, armies and are terrified that releasing say an Eldar model during a IG release will absolutely kill sales of all the IG models. What this causes is for a lot of players get bored with their current armies after 6-7 years with out an update. So in a way their own Fluff is causing a problem with their release schedule. People get attached to certain armies but only really get something new to buy once a decade for them.

Cheeslord
13-02-2013, 13:58
In that case I would recommend Dropzone Commander It's certainly scrathed my Epic itch, it has some beautiful minatures and a pretty tight rule set

I had a look ... aside from most armies looking like mirror-matches of each other (which may not be true at all when i read the rules but they all seem to have 3 aircraft, essentially the same selection of tanks and infantry etc.) it seems good - I ordered the rules and will see what I think about them when they arrive...

Mark.