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anchorbine
27-05-2014, 16:37
I've had the opportunity to work for both Wizards of the Coast and for Games Workshop. Both jobs were fun, neither paid particularly well, but I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to be a part of both companies. One could definitely learn from the other.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/27/5753824/dungeons-and-dragons-free-rulebook

For those who don't care to click the link, here is the story from The Verge.


Pen-and-paper role playing games might not cost your soul, but they're not cheap to learn. Tabletop games publisher Wizards of the Coast is trying to make Dungeons & Dragons more accessible by releasing Basic D&D for free on or around July 15th alongside the Starter Set. While it won't share the same scope, the book is described as equivalent to the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which collated the game's dizzying multitude of guidelines into one place. If this is correct, new players may well be able to start playing Dungeons & Dragons for only the cost of a set of dice.

Initially, Basic D&D will only cover a handful of classes, the basic fantasy races, and enough material to create characters up to level 20. When Wizards of the Coast releases the Player's Handbook in August, it will be expanded to include monsters, magic items, rules for running a Dungeons & Dragons game, and directions on how to handle different environments. The company plans to continue releasing free PDFs as it publishes new storylines and books.

shelfunit.
27-05-2014, 16:55
I've had the opportunity to work for both Wizards of the Coast and for Games Workshop. Both jobs were fun, neither paid particularly well, but I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to be a part of both companies. One could definitely learn from the other.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/27/5753824/dungeons-and-dragons-free-rulebook

For those who don't care to click the link, here is the story from The Verge.


Pen-and-paper role playing games might not cost your soul, but they're not cheap to learn. Tabletop games publisher Wizards of the Coast is trying to make Dungeons & Dragons more accessible by releasing Basic D&D for free on or around July 15th alongside the Starter Set. While it won't share the same scope, the book is described as equivalent to the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which collated the game's dizzying multitude of guidelines into one place. If this is correct, new players may well be able to start playing Dungeons & Dragons for only the cost of a set of dice.

Initially, Basic D&D will only cover a handful of classes, the basic fantasy races, and enough material to create characters up to level 20. When Wizards of the Coast releases the Player's Handbook in August, it will be expanded to include monsters, magic items, rules for running a Dungeons & Dragons game, and directions on how to handle different environments. The company plans to continue releasing free PDFs as it publishes new storylines and books.

Owning that Cyclopedia I can tell you it is one chunk of book (found in a Toys 'R Us 25 years ago on my first trip to the US) - and filled with essentially everything you could ever need for playing D&D. Sounds like WotC is giving something to the community and looks to generate a huge amount of good will from vets, newbies and potential customers alike.

Ultimate Life Form
27-05-2014, 17:00
Traditionally WotC has proven to be very good at business, though I don't know the details.

What you describe, if I interpret it correctly, is that they are basically giving away a "trial version" of their game for free. Sounds like a good way to get more people hooked. If they like it, they may buy it. Now if you compare that to GW, where you have to invest several hundred bucks first to find out if it really is your type of game... let's say it's not beneficial. But then again maybe that is GW's masterplan after all. It makes sense if they don't trust in customer retention and choose to be on the safe side by literally making you pay for your decision to try it. You may or may not play the game one year later but you will have filled their coffers.

The BRB is already split into "Basic Rules" and "Advanced Rules". What they could do is offer the Basic Rules as downloadable pdf so you can push your models around and then sell you the Advanced Rules because they are the best thing ever. Of course, you would have to be confident of your ruleset to do this...

de Selby
27-05-2014, 17:28
Seems like this is more of a risk for WOTC than it would be for GW. Gw I thought made most of their money from miniatures. If anything they seem to be making a real effort to make as much profit as possible out of publishing rules and supplements now though.

I don't really have much interest in non-minatures games but I'll download free trial rules just out of curiousity.

Coldhatred
27-05-2014, 17:41
WotC is most certainly the one getting it right. People that are saying that this invalidates the Starter Set or the three core rulebooks doesn't really know what they are talking about.

Replicant253
27-05-2014, 18:09
Great move to draw more people into the hobby. From what I have read this is more than the trial version, in a limited form you could just use this and your imagination and you are good to go. Clearly wotc hope you don't do that and go onto buy other stuff. It is a risk but an intelligent and wise strategic decision. For games workshop this is a no brainer and hardly carries any risk, they make the vast amount of their money from models. Why they haven't already done it is rather baffling (specialist games don't count). 😀

Sephillion
27-05-2014, 19:07
I think it’s a great move and a good way for people to try and hook new gamers/returning vets. I’ll definitely check it out.

Bloodknight
27-05-2014, 20:32
They're doing it right. Give people the basic rules for free and have them buy your splatbooks.

Pegasus Press (the German publisher of Shadowrun) is doing something similar, the SR5 rulebook is 19.95 Euro RRP, hardcover, 400ish pages. Sure, the sourcebooks and stuff sometimes cost more than that, but it sure made me have a look at SR again after skipping 2 editions. I bought it the second it came out although I don't even have people to play it with at the moment.

SuperHappyTime
28-05-2014, 06:39
Seems like this is more of a risk for WOTC than it would be for GW. Gw I thought made most of their money from miniatures. If anything they seem to be making a real effort to make as much profit as possible out of publishing rules and supplements now though.

I don't really have much interest in non-minatures games but I'll download free trial rules just out of curiousity.

D&D's been riding the coattails of Stephen Lynch's D&D song and stayed alive off of Magic's enormous profit for the past 6 years. Not really sure what they risk losing with a free rulebook.

Amnar
28-05-2014, 07:04
Corvus belli does the same thing. The infinity rules are available for free online. People can buy the books if they like the lore and full colour pretty books, or just buy minis and play.

Smart way to do business.

duffybear1988
28-05-2014, 13:16
I don't really have much interest in non-minatures games but I'll download free trial rules just out of curiousity.

This is the key point I think. I too have no interest in non-miniature games right now (but I have played them in the past). However, I will be downloading the freebies and who knows what I may get into then!

Ghal Maraz
28-05-2014, 13:16
D&D's been riding the coattails of Stephen Lynch's D&D song and stayed alive off of Magic's enormous profit for the past 6 years. Not really sure what they risk losing with a free rulebook.

Quite the contrary.

If D&D tanks once again, you could be sure Hasbro would tell Wizards to stop wasting resources on it (and, let's be honest, working on a RPG is quite resource-consuming) and instead concentrate on Magic and the D&D board-games/old-editions PDFs/collectors reprints.

In fact, Wizards has been "hiding" the 4th edition "debacle" through the other D&D product lines, but it can't keep doing it indefinitely. I'm quite sure that if the new edition doesn't do well, we won't be seeing a D&D tabletop RPG for quite some years (an usual Hasbro tactic with its product lines).

frozenwastes
28-05-2014, 19:25
Another thing to remember is that with WotC it took 4th ed tanking and a smaller competitor taking away their top RPG spot for them to do anything about it. GW may have to lose their top spot before they're willing to change.

Wayshuba
28-05-2014, 20:17
Another thing to remember is that with WotC it took 4th ed tanking and a smaller competitor taking away their top RPG spot for them to do anything about it. GW may have to lose their top spot before they're willing to change.

The difference being though, that WotC didn't lose their cash cow (MtG) so it affords them the chance to try again with D&D. If GW loses their cash cow, 40k, and it gets overtaken, I doubt they will be able to recover because it is their cash cow that tanked.

SuperHappyTime
29-05-2014, 01:47
Quite the contrary.

If D&D tanks once again, you could be sure Hasbro would tell Wizards to stop wasting resources on it (and, let's be honest, working on a RPG is quite resource-consuming) and instead concentrate on Magic and the D&D board-games/old-editions PDFs/collectors reprints.

In fact, Wizards has been "hiding" the 4th edition "debacle" through the other D&D product lines, but it can't keep doing it indefinitely. I'm quite sure that if the new edition doesn't do well, we won't be seeing a D&D tabletop RPG for quite some years (an usual Hasbro tactic with its product lines).

You're right, D&D4e was a debacle that has sunk interest in D&D. My point is that D&D is already in the doldrums, so offering a free rulebook to get people back into the game isn't a huge risk.


The difference being though, that WotC didn't lose their cash cow (MtG) so it affords them the chance to try again with D&D. If GW loses their cash cow, 40k, and it gets overtaken, I doubt they will be able to recover because it is their cash cow that tanked.

Well, that and MtG owns the CCG/TCG market. Yugioh and Pokemon have been it's only major competitors for a while. I'll give props to Blizzard though, not for the WoW TCG, but for Hearthstone, might be one of the best new card games in a while.

Back to GW though: If 40K tanks, it likely kills GW as a company, and then takes the war gaming hobby down with it. Privateer Press has a great opportunity to take the crown from GW. But I think they don't realize they need to be moving in on GW territory ASAP.

Sanai
29-05-2014, 01:52
I feel that Paizo does things much better than Wizards, and Pathfinder is a far superior product to D&D- i was resistant to pathfinder at first, wanting to stick with D&D, but eventually I came to realize that Pathfinder was much more enjoyable and playable, and had more interesting classes and mechanics.

Hellebore
29-05-2014, 03:05
Meh, it's hardly a new idea to release a quickstart ruleset for players. Many RPGs have been doing this for years. Not a few wargames have done the same.

Having looked through the playtest of the next D&D version it certainly is a much better game than 4th ed. That thing was an abomination and extremely boring. The only game I liked less than it was the 3rd edition of WFRP. FFG made their own version of 4th ed with that IMO.

GW have never released free rules for their core games. And they only released free specialist game rules right as they were shelving them as a token effort to show support.

Rules are also the one part of the game you don't actually own, so it seems futile to prevent free downloads. Game mechanics as instructional maths are not copyrightable.

The only thing about them that IS, is the writing. So you can't copy the text, but you can write a game that uses exactly the same mechanical rules as 40k and release it yourself without any issues whatsoever.

The only reason WotC got anywhere with their OGL was because it was a complete system with balanced rules etc. So it cut down on R&D for other companies. But you could still use the mechanics yourself without even acknowledging WotC.

Hellebore

paddyalexander
29-05-2014, 03:37
GW have never released free rules for their core games. And they only released free specialist game rules right as they were shelving them as a token effort to show support.


They had free PDFs of some of their codexes available on their Japanese website back in 4th ed 40k to try and crack that market. Didn't work. Some of the 3rd ed supplemental books like Jungle Fighters, Space Wolves and Assassins where briefly available for free download around the same time.

This is not a surprising move and it has already been said that there are many miniature, board and rpg game companies that put either full or quick start/trial versions of their rules online.



The only reason WotC got anywhere with their OGL was because it was a complete system with balanced rules etc. So it cut down on R&D for other companies. But you could still use the mechanics yourself without even acknowledging WotC.


Other than having to have the terms and conditions of the OGL included in every book or magazine that included content intended for use with it. This wan't a small paragraph either, the OGL t&cs used to take a full page of No Quarter using very small text.

Hellebore
29-05-2014, 04:29
It's hardly surprising that free supplements didn't work, you still needed to buy the core rulebook first. The point of free rules is to get people playing, you can't do that with only free supplements.

As I said, the OGL is pointless if you don't care about getting a completed product. Anyone could create their own RPG using exactly the same rules mechanics without acknowledging WotC.

Hellebore

Darnok
29-05-2014, 05:05
Making the entry as easy as possible is always better for a hobby. Even if a potential costumer tries and doesn't like it, he will still remember that he got the experience without an added cost - and might tell others, who actually like and buy it. On the other end of the spectrum you have GW, charging $100+ for even the most basic entry - if you don't like it, you will remember the horrible cost and feel cheated, possibly telling others to stay away.

WotC do it right of course.


If 40K tanks, it likely kills GW as a company, and then takes the war gaming hobby down with it.

What a bizarre opinion to have. GW might still be the biggest fish in the pond, but war gaming has been around before, and will be long after GW has gone the way of the dodo. Tabletop wargaming as a hobby is actually much more healthy beyond GW.

cornonthecob
29-05-2014, 07:06
I definitely agree with Darnok, pushing lead/tin/plastic/resin soldiers around a table existed FAR before gw was even considered, it'll outlive it any day of the week. It's death may also get everyone out of this 'need to follow the rulebook indefinitely' rut some gamers have as well. Free your models from your rules people. Opens up a ton of possibilities.

Sanai
29-05-2014, 07:12
As someone who was for a while getting into Malifaux (and loved it!) and who has some plastic ww2 tanks lying around somewhere, it is clear to me that games workshop is not the be all and end all of hobby. 40k is a great game in a wonderful and unique setting, but if it someday dies out it wont be the end of the world.

I really should dig out my malifaux witchlings some time and get them painted and based up.

ehlijen
29-05-2014, 09:12
Wargaming will survive, absolutely. But without a big example like GW shoving it into the high street spotlight, it will be diminished, at least for a while.

Whatever mistakes they're making now, I believe GW helped put wargaming out there and without it someone will have to pick up that slack (and I don't really think there are any companies truly up to the task at the moment), or wargaming will drop back into obscurity in favour of RPGs, CCGs and video games.

Verm1s
29-05-2014, 10:31
What a bizarre opinion to have. GW might still be the biggest fish in the pond, but war gaming has been around before, and will be long after GW has gone the way of the dodo. Tabletop wargaming as a hobby is actually much more healthy beyond GW.


I definitely agree with Darnok, pushing lead/tin/plastic/resin soldiers around a table existed FAR before gw was even considered, it'll outlive it any day of the week.

QFT 100%. The people who are in it because GW is just sooo wonderful, a happy place, with flowery meadows and rainbow skies, and rivers made of chocolate, where the children dance and laugh and play with gumdrop smiles; the people who say they'll quit altogether in the occasional 'what would you do if GW tanked?' topic; they probably will quit, and it'll make bog-all difference to the rest of the wargaming hobby that they already cut themselves off from.
People in it for gaming will for the most part join those new gamers who get mentioned around here, who start the hobby already sneering at GW's prices, and play something else. Something better, though that goes without saying.


It's death may also get everyone out of this 'need to follow the rulebook indefinitely' rut some gamers have as well. Free your models from your rules people. Opens up a ton of possibilities.

Though unfortunately, I think a lot of hypothetical ex-GW gamers will join a lot of actual ex-GW gamers, and swap their old set of triple-stamped official rules and minis with another set of triple-stamped official rules and minis. :p Heaven forfend the thought that they might continue having fun with their loose-end, multi-K-pts 40K and WHFB armies by using unrelated rules - something... unofficial.
(Brr. Makes you feel dirty, doesn't it?)


Wargaming will survive, absolutely. But without a big example like GW shoving it into the high street spotlight, it will be diminished, at least for a while.

Whatever mistakes they're making now, I believe GW helped put wargaming out there and without it someone will have to pick up that slack (and I don't really think there are any companies truly up to the task at the moment), or wargaming will drop back into obscurity in favour of RPGs, CCGs and video games.

Possibly. But I can't help but think of those same kids starting out anti-GW (it really is fascinating to me) and all the GW stores introducing people to the hobby by lying empty. :p

Coldhatred
30-05-2014, 01:17
Wargaming will survive, absolutely. But without a big example like GW shoving it into the high street spotlight, it will be diminished, at least for a while.

Whatever mistakes they're making now, I believe GW helped put wargaming out there and without it someone will have to pick up that slack (and I don't really think there are any companies truly up to the task at the moment), or wargaming will drop back into obscurity in favour of RPGs, CCGs and video games.

I have to agree, in all honesty. I don't think I would have ever gotten into miniature games if it hadn't been for the GW products I saw in an independent store back in the day. I'm now into historicals heavily, but if not for GW all my money over the years would have probably been dumped into more PC games or CCGs. Sure, it's all anecdotal, but I think it has a grain of truth in it, and I distrust (for lack of a better word) the ability of another company to pull complete newbies and kids into the hobby off the street.

Korinov
30-05-2014, 01:34
Though unfortunately, I think a lot of hypothetical ex-GW gamers will join a lot of actual ex-GW gamers, and swap their old set of triple-stamped official rules and minis with another set of triple-stamped official rules and minis. :p Heaven forfend the thought that they might continue having fun with their loose-end, multi-K-pts 40K and WHFB armies by using unrelated rules - something... unofficial.
(Brr. Makes you feel dirty, doesn't it?)

Sir, I love you.

Sadly it applies to too many people over too many aspects of life and entertainment, not just wargaming. If it doesn't have the official stamp over it, then it cannot be good! Because, dude, how would I justify my willingness to pay for overpriced products otherwise?!

Vet.Sister
30-05-2014, 01:51
Though unfortunately, I think a lot of hypothetical ex-GW gamers will join a lot of actual ex-GW gamers, and swap their old set of triple-stamped official rules and minis with another set of triple-stamped official rules and minis. :p Heaven forfend the thought that they might continue having fun with their loose-end, multi-K-pts 40K and WHFB armies by using unrelated rules - something... unofficial.
(Brr. Makes you feel dirty, doesn't it?)


Actually, I'm waiting to see if Rick Priestly ever offers up a complete rules set for Beyond the Gates of Antares... :shifty:

Scaryscarymushroom
30-05-2014, 02:22
Wargaming will survive, absolutely. But without a big example like GW shoving it into the high street spotlight, it will be diminished, at least for a while.

Whatever mistakes they're making now, I believe GW helped put wargaming out there and without it someone will have to pick up that slack (and I don't really think there are any companies truly up to the task at the moment), or wargaming will drop back into obscurity in favour of RPGs, CCGs and video games.

Wargaming never ascended out of obscurity from my view. GW certainly didn't push it into the mainstream. The only way I can really have conversations about wargaming (with people who don't already know) is by comparison to dungeons and dragons. Which is also obscure enough that people only have a general thrust of it.

Though I agree that gw grew the scene and made it possible for wargaming to be as diverse and interesting as it is today.

ehlijen
30-05-2014, 02:56
Wargaming never ascended out of obscurity from my view. GW certainly didn't push it into the mainstream. The only way I can really have conversations about wargaming (with people who don't already know) is by comparison to dungeons and dragons. Which is also obscure enough that people only have a general thrust of it.

Though I agree that gw grew the scene and made it possible for wargaming to be as diverse and interesting as it is today.

Wargaming is certainly not a mainstream hobby. But it's something mainstream culture is vaguely aware of, which might not be the case without GW stores and tie in video games. It is and always will be a niche hobby. But GW pushed the envelope of their financial capabilities in trying to reach people who might be into it but didn't know it was a thing to begin with.

Whether that's still effective in the internet age is debateable, but it is a lot more effort than many of their competitors are even capable of.

ForgottenLore
30-05-2014, 03:41
Wargaming is certainly not a mainstream hobby. But it's something mainstream culture is vaguely aware of,

Not more so that RPGs. Like the frightening fungus said, you pretty much gave to connect it to D&D just for mundanes to understand the general ballpark your talking about.

I wonder if it is a British/American thing. Since neither of you guys put a location in your profile, which side of the pond are you guys from?

Scaryscarymushroom
30-05-2014, 04:20
Not more so that RPGs. Like the frightening fungus said, you pretty much gave to connect it to D&D just for mundanes to understand the general ballpark your talking about.

I wonder if it is a British/American thing. Since neither of you guys put a location in your profile, which side of the pond are you guys from?

USA. Salt Lake City, Utah.

crimsonsun
30-05-2014, 04:30
I think what Wizards are doing is really the right way to go because no matter what they do the books will be scanned or ebook files have the watermarks removed on the same day of release, but by providing the core rules for free, a lot of pirates wont bother, meaning it will become far easier for Wizards to keep an eye out for the copies. Oddly though I think that Miniature game companies have far more to gain profit wise by releasing free versions of there rules and basic army lists, because I can say without any doubt in mind that my table top Armies have cost be 10x what I have spent on RPG's and I have more than 200 RPG books...

In the UK RPGing has become almost fashionable, being somewhat hip, while table top gaming is still far more regarded towards a stigma, but currently I feel this is as much due to the target audience as anything else. I have discussed on other forums how my partner would like to get into gaming but shes not seen any table top system that appeals, where as RPG's are 80% non gender specific in there audience, so by pure social trending of course wargames are not going to be as universally popular as RPG's as they dont reach a big enough audience...

crimsonsun

Ultimate Life Form
30-05-2014, 04:58
I have discussed on other forums how my partner would like to get into gaming but shes not seen any table top system that appeals, where as RPG's are 80% non gender specific in there audience, so by pure social trending of course wargames are not going to be as universally popular as RPG's as they dont reach a big enough audience...

I recommend Malifaux, it's fun as hell, about half of the crew leaders are female and what's more, they also usually seem to pack more punch than their male counterparts.

And also the rulebook has a habit of always using the word "she" when referring to a player, almost as if it is intended solely for women or, if the target audience is still male, drag queens. :rolleyes:

Seems like someone found a niche there. And why not? Excluding over 50% of the world population from your target group seems like a dumb thing to do.

Darnok
30-05-2014, 05:41
Infinity (http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/en/) is another miniature game with an almost 50/50 ratio of male/female. It is also a good example of "doing it right": you can get all the rules and unit profiles for free, and the starter sets actually provide the full gaming experience and will keep you entertained for a while (for less than 40€). After that, you can usually add the model you most like from looks and/or background, and get it working as part of your list - the game is decided on the table, not in list building. And from there it is pretty open end really...

ehlijen
30-05-2014, 06:25
Not more so that RPGs. Like the frightening fungus said, you pretty much gave to connect it to D&D just for mundanes to understand the general ballpark your talking about.

I wonder if it is a British/American thing. Since neither of you guys put a location in your profile, which side of the pond are you guys from?

RPGs have that profile because DnD was pushed into the mainstream spotlight even harder than 40k. And it's not about understanding (plenty of people still don't understand RPGs, judging from the average sitcom that features nerds), it's about being aware of the existence.

And WotC are bigger than GW, so they can throw more money at it. Simple as that. Without a big company throwing that money around, you pretty much have to be a nerd already just to hear of RPGs or wargames. Putting stock into nerd shops and having up a website is mostly marketing to a fairly small group. Putting shopfronts into high streets and having high profile video games (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights, MechWarrior, Dawn of War) or even TV shows and movies are what increases that potential audience. You're not going to get a full mainstream customer base for a niche hobby, you're just giving more people a chance to consider if maybe they are enough of a nerd to look for more info after all.

And which pond are you speaking of, mate? If it's the atlantic I've gotta answer: opposite side.

IJW
30-05-2014, 07:48
I wonder if it is a British/American thing. Since neither of you guys put a location in your profile, which side of the pond are you guys from?

I would think so. In the UK, Warhammer is something that most people you speak to are aware of because the GW retail chain is extremely widespread. Outside the UK, not so much...

Tau_player001
30-05-2014, 13:18
Infinity (http://www.infinitythegame.com/infinity/en/) is another miniature game with an almost 50/50 ratio of male/female. It is also a good example of "doing it right": you can get all the rules and unit profiles for free, and the starter sets actually provide the full gaming experience and will keep you entertained for a while (for less than 40€). After that, you can usually add the model you most like from looks and/or background, and get it working as part of your list - the game is decided on the table, not in list building. And from there it is pretty open end really...

Not entirely correct. Lists matters, but it is true that due to the game's depth what matters the most is the player behind it.

I totally agree on the entry barrier, it is in my opinion, the biggest burden on any GW system right now (well, the two of them, i don't count LotR because... well good luck finding people to play with).

Scaryscarymushroom
30-05-2014, 13:57
I recommend Malifaux, it's fun as hell, about half of the crew leaders are female and what's more, they also usually seem to pack more punch than their male counterparts.

And also the rulebook has a habit of always using the word "she" when referring to a player, almost as if it is intended solely for women or, if the target audience is still male, drag queens. :rolleyes:

Seems like someone found a niche there. And why not? Excluding over 50% of the world population from your target group seems like a dumb thing to do.

"Includes female characters" is very different from "aimed at a gender neutral or female target audience."

As for RPGs, I really can't have an intelligent conversation with almost anyone about those either. If I said to someone at my college, "Ever heard of Pathfinder? Shadowrun? Vampire the masquerade? Traveler? Anima? GURPS? D20 modern?" one in one hundred might say yes to one or two of them. Dungeons and dragons is known because it's been made fun of for decades.

Darnok
30-05-2014, 15:07
Not entirely correct. Lists matters, but it is true that due to the game's depth what matters the most is the player behind it.

That discussion can get very deep very fast. I tried to keep my points simple. I agree with you, but would rather keep it out of this thread. ;)

Reinholt
30-05-2014, 15:31
A few comments:

1 - I have always found the comparison to D&D to be a mistake, as it adds a lot of social baggage and most people don't actually understand what it is. I explain the game to people as "You know what the video game Starcraft is?" (everyone who is not super old does at this point). "It's that, just you play it on a table like chess." Video games are actually the better (and more socially known) description. Most people I know have either played video games, or at least have a realistic view of what they are like. This makes having the conversation much easier.

2 - Free rules works. The reason free rules didn't work in Japan is a classic example not of the value of free rules, but of the difficulty of cross-cultural exchange in business. I won't even bother to get into that whole mess here, but the punch line is that the issue was not the free rules (nor, before anyone gets asinine, was it Japan or the Japanese, it's just a lesson in the difficulty of breaking into new markets). Free rules elsewhere has definitely helped games. Hell, those bastards at Wyrd got like $500 of my money they wouldn't have otherwise gotten because they made the new 2E Malifaux beta test free, and when we playtested it with old cowboys historical models, we really liked it. So if you are from Wyrd and you are reading this, well played (much like your game). Also, give your core rules and a basic primer on the game, as well as the rules for the box set crews, away online for free. You will get more players because they can try before leaping into the rest.

As an aside, for anyone who wants a relatively entertaining skirmish game, I highly recommend you try Malifaux. Our group has been playing a ton of the 2E of that game and it's surprisingly clean so far.

3 - I have seen Infinity gain traction for the same reason (free rules). To some extent, I think the lack of free rules is one of the biggest mistakes that the "older" gaming companies make at this point. If you make most of your money on models, give the rules away for free, or at a bare minimum, give the basic rules you need to start the game away for free.

Bloodknight
30-05-2014, 15:40
I won't even bother to get into that whole mess here, but the punch line is that the issue was not the free rules

Now I'm intrigued. Cultural thing like "something that costs nothing is worth nothing, so don't bother"?

frozenwastes
30-05-2014, 15:58
I definitely agree with Darnok, pushing lead/tin/plastic/resin soldiers around a table existed FAR before gw was even considered, it'll outlive it any day of the week. It's death may also get everyone out of this 'need to follow the rulebook indefinitely' rut some gamers have as well. Free your models from your rules people. Opens up a ton of possibilities.

Lately I've been collecting and reading books and magazines from the earlier days of the hobby. Until the late 70s, the hobby definitely did not have a "these are the rules, follow them!" attitude at all. Everything is convention, working it out with your opponent, appointing a third party to figure it out for you, etc.,. I even have one game by Scruby that is completely missing how to actually resolve combats. It talks about a way of organizing turns, a couple alternative turn structures, how to figure out what side has what forces, how to set up a table, victory conditions, etc., but when it comes to one unit charging into combat with another, it just says "at this point combat is judged." Later it mentions a convention of rolling a dice for every six figures in the combat, but then the author gives three different ways to interpret the die roll.


Whatever mistakes they're making now, I believe GW helped put wargaming out there

Wargaming never ascended out of obscurity from my view. GW certainly didn't push it into the mainstream.

Wargaming is certainly not a mainstream hobby. But it's something mainstream culture is vaguely aware of, which might not be the case without GW stores and tie in video games.

In the late 60s and early 70s, it was already out there. Plastic army men like Airfix and Marx were being purchased and gamed with by lots of adults. There were even articles in Sports Illustrated about miniature wargaming. And for some reason, it was very popular with male actors of the time. Here's a television feature on Peter Cushing (most people today know him from playing Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars movie):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEC7dsFlvIE

GW definitely did a good job carrying the torch of D&D in terms of taking non-historical gaming and really putting it out there. They also did a great job of getting younger and younger people involved. And when the D&D fad hit, they did a great job converting RPG players into miniature wargamers.

In an article in from Wargamer's Newsletter about the growing role of fantasy and sci-fi that was showing up in the late 70s after D&D hit the scene, the author made some interesting statements. The author is Major David Wesely, who introduced Dave Arneson to the idea of playing a role in wargame with his Braunstein games and is considered one of the inventors of the role playing game hobby.

"I predict that Fantasy Gamers in your country [the UK] will far outnumber both types of Historical Wargamers inside of ten years. I say this because it has already true here [the US]..."
-- David Wesely, 1978

and

"As to whether you should exclude Fantasy from your magazine, I will say it will soon become moot. In a few years, the D&D fans will have not one, but several magazines of their own."
-- David Wesely, 1978

When GW first started publishing White Dwarf, it was largely a D&D magazine. It soon expanded into other games like Runequest (the branch of RPG approach that leads all the way to the current FFG 40k RPG design) and into miniature related endeavors. When Citadel Miniatures/GW was trying to figure out how to sell more miniatures than what a typical D&D player might buy, Brian Ansell, Rick Priestly, Richard Halliwell, & Graham Eckel took Priestly and Halliwell's earlier game Reaper and figured out how to expand it from a skirmish game with 20-30 miniatures on the table to a larger one. And Warhammer was born.

It was then marketed not to the existing wargaming crowd who was struggling with what to do with this influx of fantasy and sci-fi into their hobby, but to the existing Fantasy Gamer (to use Major Wesely's term) that was already interested in Citadel miniatures for RPG use. Over time White Dwarf transitioned to being about their miniature games and less about RPGs and other company's games.

To bring this around to my reading of earlier 60s and 70s wargaming rules, I believe part of the reason for Warhammer's success was its similarities to the most popular 60s wargaming design. While the 80s saw historical gamers delve into greater rules bloat and complexity, Priestly & Halliwel had more of an old school approach concentrating on the game rather than accurate simulation.

I think that's the way back for getting the game to drive miniatures sales for GW. Good, accessible, fun game play. Not rules bloat. Not trying to completely fill a table with miniatures (the size of early WFB armies might have been bigger than Reaper skirmish games, but they weren't anything like the bloated game size today). Furthermore, the first three editions of WFB also worked quite well for all sizes of games. They contained skirmish and RPG rules as well as a nice progression of growing your force from 10 models a side up to over a hundred. The game worked as a complete game for the new person with a small collection. This is in stark contrast to the bloated state of current GW games which dangle the idea of the fun you might have once you've purchased a full sized army like a carrot in front of the eyes of their customers.

In their approach to D&D Next, WotC is revisiting ideas going back to the late 60s. GW should do the same. The game should be fun at all levels of play and have next to no barriers to entry. D&D is going to be given away for free for the introductory level. The first three editions of Warhammer could be played with the rules and a few blister packs to start. Privateer Press and Corvus Belli (a long with many others) have re-discovered this entry friendly approach to selling wargaming and it works great.

shelfunit.
30-05-2014, 16:14
Here's a television feature on Peter Cushing (most people today know him from playing Grand Moff Tarkin in the first Star Wars movie

Heresy! He is (or should be) more known as the greatest Baron Von Frankenstein and Van Helsing ever to grace the silver screen. Apparently he was one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet as well.

Poseidal
30-05-2014, 16:27
Now I'm intrigued. Cultural thing like "something that costs nothing is worth nothing, so don't bother"?

They aimed (and maybe correctly*) at the modelling scene IIRC, which is a popular hobby and has presence there. The problem is, someone can pop around and get superior kits for less money, and a lot of modelling is (I guess the same is true here though) historical which GW don't produce. In Sci-fi, GW don't get 30 minute commercials or as much in the way of video game tie-ins which their competitors (in the area) can do, and are kind of less accessible to children as their entry level 'snap fit' kits aren't as common and require paint still - while the more veteran modellers still have large, complex and resin kits available if they want.

If 40k has a real media presence (e.g. if it had a video game that appealed in the area which I think is the most obvious one - a turn based strategy is the most obvious as these are very popular and the 40k aesthetic is exotic and will have appeal) then I think it would be more successful in the area.

*Space in places like central Tokyo can be an issue, for getting halls with tables and areas to play in. Houses aren't that small, but they wouldn't be structured in ways that easily allow gaming space though it could be done, but is out of the question for flat dwellers for the most part.

frozenwastes
30-05-2014, 16:40
Heresy! He is (or should be) more known as the greatest Baron Von Frankenstein and Van Helsing ever to grace the silver screen. Apparently he was one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet as well.

Consider it cultural commentary on how the greats of film are not sufficiently replayed or reshown for today's audience. :(

Sotek
30-05-2014, 16:41
Pen-and-paper role playing games might not cost your soul, but they're not cheap to learn. Tabletop games publisher Wizards of the Coast is trying to make Dungeons & Dragons more accessible by releasing Basic D&D for free on or around July 15th alongside the Starter Set. While it won't share the same scope, the book is described as equivalent to the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, which collated the game's dizzying multitude of guidelines into one place. If this is correct, new players may well be able to start playing Dungeons & Dragons for only the cost of a set of dice.

P&P RPGs are much much much much cheaper than MtG or warhammer / 40k.

I'd pick WOTC over GW any day.

Voss
30-05-2014, 16:41
Corvus belli does the same thing. The infinity rules are available for free online. People can buy the books if they like the lore and full colour pretty books, or just buy minis and play.

Smart way to do business.
That isn't what WotC is doing, however. They're just previewing a fairly minimal part of the rules, with just a couple races and classes. It is a nice enough preview to tell whether you want to pick up the game or not, but it isn't what Corvus does (or even what WotC did with the third edition SRD).

Tau_player001
30-05-2014, 16:46
That isn't what WotC is doing, however. They're just previewing a fairly minimal part of the rules, with just a couple races and classes. It is a nice enough preview to tell whether you want to pick up the game or not, but it isn't what Corvus does (or even what WotC did with the third edition SRD).
Yeah, not like full rules, but it is pretty nifty. That's how i got into vampire fifteen years ago.

paddyalexander
30-05-2014, 17:31
That isn't what WotC is doing, however. They're just previewing a fairly minimal part of the rules, with just a couple races and classes. It is a nice enough preview to tell whether you want to pick up the game or not, but it isn't what Corvus does (or even what WotC did with the third edition SRD).

In wargaming it is more similar to Privateer Press having their quick start rules and the full rules for the models in most of their faction starters available for free online and trough their war room app.

frozenwastes
30-05-2014, 18:27
Considering the hours of game play you can get with an RPG with 4 races/classes and a small monster list, I think the free D&D will be a complete game experience. Just limited compared to what the full books will be.

Ultimate Life Form
30-05-2014, 19:28
"Includes female characters" is very different from "aimed at a gender neutral or female target audience."

So what do you recommend? Barbie?

Reinholt
30-05-2014, 19:32
So what do you recommend? Barbie?

I recommend not having this debate on a forum, as the answers will invariably be driven by personal feelings rather than any grounded, objective business analysis; when you discuss certain topics, people stop thinking and start shouting.

This is one of those topics. The correct answers will not be found because people can't discuss them rationally. If I ran a company like GW, this would be a part of my strategy I would refuse to answer questions about in public, and never put anything in writing about privately.

Ultimate Life Form
30-05-2014, 20:06
I recommend not having this debate on a forum, as the answers will invariably be driven by personal feelings rather than any grounded, objective business analysis; when you discuss certain topics, people stop thinking and start shouting.

This is one of those topics. The correct answers will not be found because people can't discuss them rationally. If I ran a company like GW, this would be a part of my strategy I would refuse to answer questions about in public, and never put anything in writing about privately.

You are probably right. I just don't understand what else could be done. Tabletop is tabletop is tabletop. You buy little metal/plastic men (or women) and paint them and play games with them. That's the hobby, basically. There's not much you can change about it. So if you want to attract a female audience, you have to do it by style. In GW products the vast majority of available things are big, ugly, hairy men who cut each other apart with chainsaws and other assorted murderous tools. I can understand most women don't find this appealing. I don't, either. So let's take Malifaux. You have hot chicks in tight clothes (Viktoria), you have hot chicks in not so tight clothes (Colette) and you have completely non-hot chicks in rugs (Zoraida). You even have non-hot chicks in tight clothes (Trixiebelle). There is a humongous selection of female henchmen to choose from, with equal variety. You can field teddies, little girls, babies, marionettes, and all sorts of cute-looking things. Who just happen to be monstrous nightmare creatures, but hey. You can field cutesy little cats who tear their opponents apart in a shower of blood and limbs, a fluffy bear with four arms and big, badass Gorilla. In short, you can have anything you could ever imagine. I really don't understand what more one could do to attract a female audience. Except Barbie. If it still doesn't work, the answer is propbably that the hobby itself is a predominantly male domain, just like cars and motorcycling happen to be.

Scaryscarymushroom
30-05-2014, 21:13
1 - I have always found the comparison to D&D to be a mistake, as it adds a lot of social baggage and most people don't actually understand what it is. I explain the game to people as "You know what the video game Starcraft is?" (everyone who is not super old does at this point). "It's that, just you play it on a table like chess." Video games are actually the better (and more socially known) description. Most people I know have either played video games, or at least have a realistic view of what they are like. This makes having the conversation much easier.

That is a good idea. I am definitely going to start doing this now.

@Ultimate Life Form. I agree with Reinholt that this is not the time or place for a gender discussion. Least of all this thread. I've gotten into enough online discussions about gender in gaming to know that it can get ugly quick. I do, however, think it is a fascinating topic. And, I think it is possible (although difficult) to set aside personal stereotypes and biases, and just talk about larger social theories of gender and the similarities/differences (inside and outside of a marketing context) between men and women.

If you invite me, I will send you a PM later with my thoughts on the matter.

Ultimate Life Form
30-05-2014, 22:26
If you invite me, I will send you a PM later with my thoughts on the matter.

Feel free to PM me. I'm certainly old and educated enough to discuss such things without resorting to dumb gender stereotypes, but I agree the internet has a way of attracting all the wrong people so it is probably better to discuss such matters in private.

Reinholt
31-05-2014, 00:07
Sad but true. Just to clarify I am not attempting to insult anyone or refer to anyone personally in this thread. I am not (and realized after re-reading it that it could come across that way). Rather, I am simply commenting on my experience with these things in most public forums as a general matters, and how a business would likely approach it (refuse to discuss because any discussion will likely agitate at least some of your customers, which is unfortunate, but true).

frozenwastes
31-05-2014, 01:29
The other issue about the topic is that people who are not in any way customers (or even potential customers) will weigh in, demanding their opinion be respected and call for products-- they have no intention of ever purchasing-- be made to their specifications.

Darnok
31-05-2014, 10:38
As has already been noted, this thread is spiralling off topic. Please stop that.


Darnok [=I=]

Harwammer
31-05-2014, 10:41
A few comments:

1 - I have always found the comparison to D&D to be a mistake, as it adds a lot of social baggage and most people don't actually understand what it is. I explain the game to people as "You know what the video game Starcraft is?" (everyone who is not super old does at this point). "It's that, just you play it on a table like chess." Video games are actually the better (and more socially known) description. Most people I know have either played video games, or at least have a realistic view of what they are like. This makes having the conversation much easier.
I describe it as a mix of chess, poker and board games, but with the option of making and painting cool little models like airfix and using them as playing pieces. People can generally relate to most, if not all, of these things and I don't think they have the nerdbaggage of DnD (which is a game the vast majority haven't played, outside of Baldur's Gate, etc).


As an aside, for anyone who wants a relatively entertaining skirmish game, I highly recommend you try Malifaux. Our group has been playing a ton of the 2E of that game and it's surprisingly clean so far.
I keep trying to encourage my mates to get in to Malifaux with me, but they are just far more interested in co-op computer games and the occasional game of warhammer at the moment :(


3 - I have seen Infinity gain traction for the same reason (free rules). To some extent, I think the lack of free rules is one of the biggest mistakes that the "older" gaming companies make at this point. If you make most of your money on models, give the rules away for free, or at a bare minimum, give the basic rules you need to start the game away for free.

This may sound silly, but back when GW included a quick rules reference card in white dwarf on the release of a new edition (I know, not technically free as you have to pay for WD) that used to get me really hyped up and keen to buy in. Admittedly the reference card didn't really have anything to do with things and I was just more impulsive as a child!