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Rake
08-12-2014, 13:26
I've read a number of Games Workshop shareholder releases and one thing continues to strike me. They consider themselves almost exclusively a MINIATURE company, rather than a game company. This rather narrow focus is costing them tremendously in my opinion. I never ran a GW store but a close friend of mine did. He had 2 main client groups. Regulars (ages 20+) and kids (10-14) as his main clients. His regulars were a steady stream, but it was the kids who brought in the big money and made it profitable. It strikes me that GW is pleasing the kids with BIG monsters and releases, but neglecting the core regular players with increasingly random and extreme rules. I see no reason to do this. Kids are impulse buyers, they couldnt care less what the rules of a particualr model are. On the other hand, regulars do. So we could easily have a scenario when the new bling monster has an awesome model for the kids and the damn 4+ ward needed to make it useful for the veterans. And we have seen rules sell, look at 7th ed High Elves and Deamons. Deamons in particular had been non existent as a separate army and exploded onto the scene with a hideously overpowered codex. They openly admit and are PROUD of the fact that they view this as a 'Beer and Pretzel's" game whereas spending a tiny fraction of their budget on real games designers and developers could see a much greater increase in their revenue from the older veterans who are slowly migrating away.

Your thoughts?

Katastrophe
08-12-2014, 13:28
Wrong subforum

Wintermute
08-12-2014, 17:36
I've moved this to the correct forum.

On-topic

GW ARE a miniatures company and not a games company.

Warhammer (a Citadel product) was written by Rick Priestly with the specific intention of increasing the sales of Citadel miniatures. Everything they produce is there to support the miniature range.

Wintermute

ObiWayneKenobi
08-12-2014, 17:40
Part of the issue is that they still claim to sell a game, the game is probably the reason most people buy their figures, but their game is (IMHO) one of the absolute worst on the market that tries to do everything and fails miserably at it all while also costing a small fortune for the privilege of using their poor rules.

Despite what they claim, the entire reason for their popularity has been the game. If it wasn't for the game, they'd likely be a footnote or some obscure manufacturer. They just haven't understood this in 30 years, although at least in years past they at least accepted it and focused on the game instead of pretending the game is secondary.

Scaryscarymushroom
08-12-2014, 18:03
Kids are impulse buyers, they couldnt care less what the rules of a particualr model are.

1) Kids are impulse buyers, I agree.
2) But they DO care what the rules are, after they've bought the model. At least, all my friends and I did. If the model has bad rules, the kid will feel like they bought a lemon. It creates resentment for the company. And then they'll lose their passion for the game and they'll stop buying things.*

That's a big part of why my 40k group fell apart. By the end, the one guy who bought the best army at the time (Chaos space marines + daemons) liked to play, but nobody else did.

As for your general premise, I agree. GW is costing themselves by using the excuse that they are a "miniatures company" to neglect the quality of their rules. First: it would increase miniatures sales if they made their rules more balanced. Second: the gamer market is much, much, much larger than the figure painter and collector market.

*Or they'll proxy before they buy, which will eliminate sales for anything that doesn't appear to do its job, or costs too many points. Or there will be a slippery slope, and the game group could get into a rock-paper-scissors type proxy war, at which point the list-building aspect of the game takes over, and the players realize that they might as well just forfeit on turn 1 unless they come to a gentlemen's agreement to avoid list tailoring/powergaming.

Korinov
08-12-2014, 18:05
Some kids may be impulsive buyers, but they're hardly the only impulsive buyers out there, and again hardly the ones with the economic potential GW is truly looking for.

Sephillion
08-12-2014, 18:41
GW is schizophrenic. I don’t think they are a purely miniatures company, the models are too closely linked to the game, gaming considerations such as rarity and points value do seem to be a factor in determining the price (which somehow doesn’t prevent some core models from being overpriced…), and most of all they do sell too many “non-models” (at too high a price) to be a purely miniatures company.

Their game also fails to some extent as a “beer and pretzels” game. It requires too much setup (setting the table, getting the armies out), is too long and too clunky, requires too much space etc. I’m not saying you cannot have beers and pizzas while playing a game and enjoying it, just that such a game doesn’t fit my definition of “beer and pretzels game”.

I feel the miniatures company has become an hybrid miniatures/game company, but uses its “positioning” as an excuse for sub-par rules, overdue FAQs and balance issues.

They fail to acknowledge the diversity of their clientele (kids, old vets, regulars; WAAC, tournament players, casuals, narrative players; hobbyists, gamers, lore-lovers) and this causes them to make mistakes.

ObiWayneKenobi
08-12-2014, 19:49
When it comes to GW's attitude, I always think of this scene/quotes from Hotel Hell with Gordon Ramsay:

(in regards to $300 a night rooms and $59 for dinner, or $75 with lamb)
Gordon Ramsay: How can you expect to appeal to the locals?
Owner: We haven't identified the appropriate people to come here
Gordon Ramsay: Hold on, what do you mean "appropriate people"?
Owner: People who can afford $59 for three courses.

Voss
08-12-2014, 20:25
I've moved this to the correct forum.

On-topic

GW ARE a miniatures company and not a games company.

Warhammer (a Citadel product) was written by Rick Priestly with the specific intention of increasing the sales of Citadel miniatures. Everything they produce is there to support the miniature range.

Wintermute
Meh. Intentions several decades ago don't feel all that relevant. Especially given the recent deluge of game book after game book, especially the mass hysteria over the ET book sales, and several books without any sort of miniature support of any kind.

'Miniature Company Not a Game Company' feels like propaganda trying to pretend it trumps objective reality at this point.

frozenwastes
08-12-2014, 21:31
It's basically become a convenient excuse.

stroller
08-12-2014, 22:15
Why do games Workshop sell miniatures? Because people buy them, and they make a profit doing so.

"but they could do this...." Now, don't get me wrong, I'm by no means sold on all products, and am less keen on their prices, but they make more money than I do, and I'll listen to "they should do that..." from someone who makes more money than they do.

yabbadabba
08-12-2014, 22:25
It doesn't matter what people think they are, GW have chosen to identify themselves as a model company as this is the key sales maker. Everything supports that. That is how they define their company.

frozenwastes
08-12-2014, 22:43
The only question that remains is whether or not such an identification results in a disconnect with either their current customer base or potential customers. Just what is the typical potential GW customer looking to actually do with their miniatures? For what purpose are they buying them? For what purpose would they buy them?

Voss
08-12-2014, 22:50
The only question that remains is whether or not such an identification results in a disconnect with either their current customer base or potential customers. Just what is the typical potential GW customer looking to actually do with their miniatures? For what purpose are they buying them? For what purpose would they buy them?

Game. Also game. Game again.

I don't care what the ugly duckling thinks of itself, snap its neck and cook it for dinner and you're still eating swan.

Scaryscarymushroom
08-12-2014, 22:51
The only question that remains is whether or not such an identification results in a disconnect with either their current customer base or potential customers. Just what is the typical potential GW customer looking to actually do with their miniatures? For what purpose are they buying them? For what purpose would they buy them?

I think this is a huge part of GW's PR problem. People expect one thing, and get another. Customers would probably be happier with them if they didn't expect "games workshop" to... I dunno, make games. If consumers truly viewed the game as an added bonus, rather than a main feature, I think GW would be in a much better place.

The model building/painting hobby is rewarding and all. But when all you want to do is play a game, it feels like getting taken for a ride.

ObiWayneKenobi
09-12-2014, 00:04
It doesn't matter what people think they are, GW have chosen to identify themselves as a model company as this is the key sales maker. Everything supports that. That is how they define their company.

That's now how businesses work. They can identify as anything they want, it doesn't make it true to their customers.

MusingWarboss
09-12-2014, 00:27
Chicken and Egg situation.

Games Workshop originally sold games. Other peoples games. Then they branched out to making a few of their own. They had miniatures courtesy of other companies, then Citadel (who also licenced stuff as well as making new). Eventually Bryan Ansell came up with the wheeze of making games that requires lots of miniatures. Since then they've just churned out games which effectively peddle more and more models.

I know there are a great many who have joined after the invention of Warhammer (myself included) but the vast majority of games from the mid-80s onwards were designed to sell little soldiers. Even board games had expansion packs and add-ons.

From the mid-90s onwards all attempts at creativity seem to have tailed off and certainly by 2000 onwards there was no real pretense that the "games" are little more than a thinly veiled catalogue of stuff to buy, with D6 rolls chucked in.

It's kinda sad to admit it, but it's true. If you wipe the tear from your eye, put down those rosy spectacles of your early experiences with the company and look at what has happened with Warhammer/40k you soon realise innovation died around 2004-ish and it's been more of the same with stuff shuffled around and the latest model kit taking prime position in the catalogu... rulebook.

For some reading about GW circa 1979, have a look at this excellent blog:
http://realmofchaos80s.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/a-visit-to-games-workshop-1979-via.html

There really is no two-ways about it, the corpse of Games Workshop is being firmly reanimated by its former star pupil, Citadel Miniatures. That's the real boss and has been for decades.

Voss
09-12-2014, 00:37
The obvious lack of innovation doesn't have anything to do with selling games or not. They're just selling stale games and pieces for games.

MusingWarboss
09-12-2014, 00:54
The obvious lack of innovation doesn't have anything to do with selling games or not. They're just selling stale games and pieces for games.

Maybe. But again, what came first? The models or the games?? Well actually, in the case of WFB it was most certainly the models. 40k was created to pick up the pieces of the Judge Dredd game and indeed inherited many things from it. So it could be argued that the models existed in some form before it also. Check the 1979 catalogue in that article I linked. Power Armoured models existed in 1979!!* 40k didn't exist until 1987!!

Thing is, as I was alluding to, Games Workshop was just the name of the shop that sold games. It was effectively taken over by Citadel Miniatures. Thus the company we have now is effectively Citadel Miniatures, whose business is making and selling miniatures.

I'm sure we'd all love a load of exciting new games but really that's not what their interested in. Tell me, why would a games company own factory facilities for making plastic, resin and metal (until recently) products but NOT own any printing presses or similar facilities to produce their rulebooks and magazines?? Why did they invest in that technology and not the other?

I think the answer is in what they consider their priority. It's not rulebooks. Sadly.

We can argue over semantics but the models have always been playing pieces in a game, it's just the game has changed around them.

*and they cost 20p a model!!

Katastrophe
09-12-2014, 01:20
I think this is a huge part of GW's PR problem. People expect one thing, and get another. Customers would probably be happier with them if they didn't expect "games workshop" to... I dunno, make games. If consumers truly viewed the game as an added bonus, rather than a main feature, I think GW would be in a much better place.

The model building/painting hobby is rewarding and all. But when all you want to do is play a game, it feels like getting taken for a ride.

They claim not to do market research thus this is lost on them.

Voss
09-12-2014, 03:25
Maybe. But again, what came first? The models or the games?? Well actually, in the case of WFB it was most certainly the models. 40k was created to pick up the pieces of the Judge Dredd game and indeed inherited many things from it. So it could be argued that the models existed in some form before it also. Check the 1979 catalogue in that article I linked. Power Armoured models existed in 1979!!* 40k didn't exist until 1987!!

Irrelevant aside: Chicken and egg situation: eggs came first. .

It seriously doesn't matter what came first. It doesn't even matter that GW is down from many, many games to two games and supporting products.

But your point makes no sense. Those models were models for other games: Dredd for sci-fi models, D&D for fantasy models. That they realized they could do better (make more money) by having their own games does not indicate a change in direction. They were and are still pushing games with models.


I'm sure we'd all love a load of exciting new games but really that's not what their interested in. Tell me, why would a games company own factory facilities for making plastic, resin and metal (until recently) products but NOT own any printing presses or similar facilities to produce their rulebooks and magazines?? Why did they invest in that technology and not the other?
For very sound business reasons involving the economy of scale and the poor return on books. Owning printing presses would cost them more money than leasing time on Chinese presses, even with shipping. It has zero to do with 'what kind of company they are.' Magic the Gathering was printed in Holland for years (and I don't know where it is printed now, but it certainly isn't Seattle). That doesn't mean WotC isn't a games division of Hasbro (or weren't a game company before that sale)

However, I'm not particularly interested in 'exciting new games.' In fact, if GW tried to release a new game or product line at this point, I'd simply laugh. I want the two games they make to actually be good. Something they're failing miserably at, even as they are [B]right nowpushing more game products and fewer miniatures. End Times. More Codexes and Army Books (well, not so much army books at the moment). Supplements. Data Slates. New Editions. New Variant Boxed Sets with the Game Rules. Game products without end, and with much higher demand than the actual miniatures accompanying them (at least, when they're accompanied by miniatures at all). More licensed computer games than ever before, and damn the quality. New deck building card game. Games by the bushel, games by the pound. Games by everything but quality, but still games.

Anyone can make any claims they like. Reality says this company sells games and is currently trying really hard to sell them. And sometimes, yeah, there are some special character models or even a unit or even two released as well.

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 05:37
That's now how businesses work. They can identify as anything they want, it doesn't make it true to their customers. The customer is not always right.

shelfunit.
09-12-2014, 06:47
The customer is not always right.

But you've got to make them think they are, otherwise they'll go elsewhere.

Scribe of Khorne
09-12-2014, 06:50
It doesn't matter what people think they are, GW have chosen to identify themselves as a model company as this is the key sales maker. Everything supports that. That is how they define their company.

Quite so, they are just to myopic to understand that rules push said models, and the better the rules, the more models they would sell. Quite unfortunate really.

Wishing
09-12-2014, 07:56
I agree with the general sentiment here. It's a question of perspective. To GW, what they make money on is miniatures, so they understandably see themselves as a miniatures company. However, the customers see the miniatures they buy not primarily as miniatures, but primarily as game pieces, so they feel like when they are buying a miniature they are buying the game.

I sympathise with Yabba's attitude that it isn't GW's fault that their customers are too stupid to understand that GW aren't actually selling them a game, but selling them miniatures that the game is just an advert for. But I also can't help but feel that GW are intentionally exploiting that "stupidity" if you will, as they are surely well aware of the disconnect between GW's perspective and the customer perspective.

Herzlos
09-12-2014, 07:57
Your thoughts?

It's all because of Chapterhouse. There's no copyright protection in the UK for toys (games) (it comes under design rights), so they've been desperately trying to re-image themselves as a miniatures company so they can claim to be sculptures which have copyright protection, and can then successfully sue everyone else out of the market.

Unfortunately, it's a total own-goal.

Herzlos
09-12-2014, 08:02
I think this is a huge part of GW's PR problem. People expect one thing, and get another. Customers would probably be happier with them if they didn't expect "games workshop" to... I dunno, make games. If consumers truly viewed the game as an added bonus, rather than a main feature, I think GW would be in a much better place.

The model building/painting hobby is rewarding and all. But when all you want to do is play a game, it feels like getting taken for a ride.

I think that's why they are trialling renaming some stores "Warhammer".


The customer is not always right.

They sort of are. If they view you as a games company, as far as they are concerned you're a games company. There are plenty of companies who intend item A to be used for X, but there's at least a significant majority of users buy it for an unrelated Y. I've got an RC controller strap on my camera, my Camera case contains X-Wings, I use plaster repair paste for basing minis, and so on.

BFalcon
09-12-2014, 09:20
I agree with the general sentiment here. It's a question of perspective. To GW, what they make money on is miniatures, so they understandably see themselves as a miniatures company. However, the customers see the miniatures they buy not primarily as miniatures, but primarily as game pieces, so they feel like when they are buying a miniature they are buying the game.

I sympathise with Yabba's attitude that it isn't GW's fault that their customers are too stupid to understand that GW aren't actually selling them a game, but selling them miniatures that the game is just an advert for. But I also can't help but feel that GW are intentionally exploiting that "stupidity" if you will, as they are surely well aware of the disconnect between GW's perspective and the customer perspective.

I feel the same way - that or GW's managers (somewhere up the chain) are the ones being stupid for ignoring the elephant in the room and ignoring the fact that, ultimately, what drives sales is their 2 games (well, 3, but The Hobbit's not exactly doing that well) and, if they removed those games, their sales would die a death instantly (I mean - how many codices and "End of Times" books have they sold? Without a game, how many would have sold?).

I think GW pretty much needs to have a serious rethink and, perhaps, consider re-splitting the company into "GW" and "Citadel" (or "Warhammer") and have "GW" worry about their games and "Citadel" (let's say) worry about the miniatures and hobby supplies... that way, they could work harder at promoting Citadel as a miniatures sculpting company, which just happen to be compatible with Games Workshop's Warhammer games... complete with the right bases and imagery so that they can exploit the copyright laws. GW could then have a small design studio actually working on producing MORE games where they could branch out a bit and try to ensnare more customers without having to rewrite their own core rules constantly.

The other main problem, of course, is that GW's management only really cares about the next financial years' profits and not about the long-term picture.

dirach.
09-12-2014, 12:54
GW is a company that sells two (Three) sets of rules and the miniatures you need. No matter how you see it, they have been around for quite some years, and that cannot be said about many of the main players from the early 80's (Avalon Hill, TSR). They must have done something right.

Making Board games should be out of the question as there are so many players on that marked. That is why they sold these rights to fantasy flight games, as they know how to make good games.

Of course they could expand the miniatures game range and take up the fight With Warmachine. But they have tried this in the past. I Guess they didn't stop the production of Necromunda, blood bowl, Mordheim, Dreadfleet, Gorkamorka to bully us. If they had been higly successful they would still be here. I would like these games to be around, and I would buy any new miniature game put in the warhammer world, but we who think so are obvious not many enough. (And why they have not reprinted blood bowl is a mystery to me)

You walk into a shoe store to buy shoes. If you want a jacket you must go another place.

ObiWayneKenobi
09-12-2014, 13:16
They stopped Necromunda et all because they saw that people were buying say a Necromunda gang and weren't "upgrading" to buying a 40k army. So they viewed Necromunda as in direct competition with 40k and something that needed to be removed, because their idiotic thought process was if we axe Necromunda, then Necromunda players will switch over to 40k.

GW's idea for specialist games was that you would buy them as a "gateway drug" and then "graduate" to the real game. Instead, people were buying the games separately and treating them separately. Someone who liked BGF, for example, would play BFG but not 40k or Epic or Necromunda. To GW, that was losing sales because they weren't buying for 40k.

Maccwar
09-12-2014, 14:04
And other companies have been happy to step into the void left by the specialist games range and take people's money. Instead of selling an item at possibly a lower profit margin than the main game they have lost those sales entirely.

Sephillion
09-12-2014, 14:14
The customer is not always right.

No, but from a business perspective, if you sell product X with intent Y, and it is used by the vast majority of your customers in Z fashion instead… you’re bound to lose your customers if you continually push for Y and don’t acknowledge Z as being relevant and an important part of your business. I think GW, generally, doesn’t give proper attention to Z, thinking it can reorient the game to Y.

They are a models company inasmuch as most of their sales probably come from models, so if you only check sales volumes, it’s probably an accurate, but incomplete, description. It would be a bit like saying Wizards of the Coast is a cards company. Yes, they do sell cards. Lots and lots of them. But they’re tied to a game.

The game here is what drives the sales of the models. Reaper – that would be a proper miniatures company, since AFAIK they sell minis and that’s it.

AlTzeentch
09-12-2014, 14:29
I wonder how many people would by a $200 model if it did not have overpowered rules? I think they are definitely selling (tricking?) customers into buying their large expensive kits based solely on the rules. GW is obviously well aware of how their rules sell more miniatures (as MusingWarboss stated) and they are pushing the limits of that power to its extreme every year.

Unfortunately, as their miniatures become more expensive and their rules become more obviously un-balanced, it becomes more and more obvious to their customers what their "secret" strategy is.

I, for one, do not like being "tricked" into buying the newest, biggest, most-expensive new model, just because its rules make it powerful in the game. So therefore, I am not one of their target customers.

So, one could ask oneself, are YOU one of their target customers? :P

Also, is there a solution to this? I am not sure there is, especially if you have enjoyed the background of Fantasy or 40k and are attached-to or like the look of their miniatures. This is causing a large amount of cognitive-dissonance for people involved with GW at the moment I think. (cognitive-dissonance just means that you have two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values)

Yes, we would all love for their rules to be as balanced (and unambiguous) as possible across all the units in all the Codex's, but would this help them sell more of their newest model(s)? Probably not. But, I think many of us can also see the bigger picture in terms of the current state of online communication, that if they did in fact have a super-solid as-balanced-as-possible ruleset that more people would play (and therefore buy) more of ALL of their miniatures to go along with it. (But do they actually want people to buy more of ALL of their miniatures? Or do they make more profit from selling large amounts of 1 or 2 expensive kits?) Something to think about! :)

So maybe some very smart person can answer this question: Is it possible to make and sell a huge range of different models where all the models are sold in equal amounts, for MORE of a profit than just selling 1 expensive model in large quantities? If someone can figure out if this is possible and then explain it to GW, it might go a long ways to solving some of the issues brought up in this thread.

Laniston
09-12-2014, 14:30
It was my understanding that GW only ever planned to support specialist games for the first 6 months, regardless of performance, and then leave it up to Fanatic after that.

The whole specialist games competing with 40k/Fantasy seems so bizarre. Is there some statement from GW to this effect? I would think any product that sells, regardless of the SKU, is a good thing.

Whatever the reason it's a damn shame. BFG and Warmaster were(are), in particular, excellent.

BFalcon
09-12-2014, 14:42
No, but from a business perspective, if you sell product X with intent Y, and it is used by the vast majority of your customers in Z fashion instead… you’re bound to lose your customers if you continually push for Y and don’t acknowledge Z as being relevant and an important part of your business. I think GW, generally, doesn’t give proper attention to Z, thinking it can reorient the game to Y.

They are a models company inasmuch as most of their sales probably come from models, so if you only check sales volumes, it’s probably an accurate, but incomplete, description. It would be a bit like saying Wizards of the Coast is a cards company. Yes, they do sell cards. Lots and lots of them. But they’re tied to a game.

The game here is what drives the sales of the models. Reaper – that would be a proper miniatures company, since AFAIK they sell minis and that’s it.

Reaper I *think* had some rules for their wargaming range, but that was more a case of "here's the minis and here's a few rules so that you can do something with them" rather than "here's some minis to play with our games" like GW seems to do.


They stopped Necromunda et all because they saw that people were buying say a Necromunda gang and weren't "upgrading" to buying a 40k army. So they viewed Necromunda as in direct competition with 40k and something that needed to be removed, because their idiotic thought process was if we axe Necromunda, then Necromunda players will switch over to 40k.

GW's idea for specialist games was that you would buy them as a "gateway drug" and then "graduate" to the real game. Instead, people were buying the games separately and treating them separately. Someone who liked BGF, for example, would play BFG but not 40k or Epic or Necromunda. To GW, that was losing sales because they weren't buying for 40k.

Precisely my point - they need to get this idea OUT of their heads... ANY profit is good profit in business - if someone wants to buy your main product lines, they will... provided they're exposed to it. If they're exposed to it and not buying, either they're not interested or you're too expensive... removing their side games to try to force people to play their main games is like locking all but a couple of entrances to a shopping mall... sure people can still get in, but a lot will just walk away and go to that OTHER mall that's not got doors locked. If you're not exposing them to your products, you might be missing out on sales to those very people... bring out a new Necromunda gang or a plastic kit for them and suddenly you've got sales... instead GW chose to ignore that.

I keep using Blood Bowl, but just think of the things they COULD have done had they had someone imaginative in charge... just think what Subbuteo had... they could have had: plastic stands, alternative arms for spectators for use with their boxed sets (bingo, core fantasy sales just went up), plastic kits for teams (all those linemen that teams need... do you really want ALL metal?) they could have produced a scoreboard, some sideline minis, 3D counters (turn, Bloodweiser babes, Wizard (complete with supporter gear), bribes) and other items. They could have had a limited run of Biff and Bob (the two presenters of the show) and some cameras... and a 3D pitch (like the 3D games boards they brought out for Fantasy and 40k) with sockets for all the above and a carrying case to pack it all in. That could have brought in a decent income which would peak every winter when the NFL comes to the UK and every January when the Superbowl is imminent... and yet, they've sat on that whole idea and let it rot...


And other companies have been happy to step into the void left by the specialist games range and take people's money. Instead of selling an item at possibly a lower profit margin than the main game they have lost those sales entirely.

Again, precisely right... I mentioned all the things they could have done above... most, if not all, have been done by 3rd parties, including Biff and Bob... GW REALLY dropped the ball on that one... those two characters alone would have made them a small packet - I know I'd have wanted them, along with a few plastic spectator stands and the rest... they could have been the Microsoft or Apple of the games industry, but now I'd say that Wizards hold that title... GW is more the Codemasters of the gaming industry - still hanging in there, still got some known titles, but nowhere near as dominant as they used to be.

Katastrophe
09-12-2014, 14:53
It doesn't matter what people think they are, GW have chosen to identify themselves as a model company as this is the key sales maker. Everything supports that. That is how they define their company.

If GW really believed that (rather than giving it lip service as a rationale for lackluster rules writing), they would stop writing new rules sets (since they are not a games company) and just release more and more models based on the rules as they are. Low selling models would be replaced with more beautiful models (since the only reason the model would not sell would be its look rather than bad rules). That would be truly a sign of a company that believes they are a model company.

The reason most of us know that GW understands that rules and model sales are intricately intertwined is that GW has a habit of fixing bad rules for models that sell badly (even without a new model release), or worse they increase the price of models that they have made ridiculously over powered (i.e. Witch Elves).

Now if you are saying that they write games and rules which sole purpose is to manipulate sales, meaning in short that they, in fact, do as I wrote above, manipulate points costs for models in order to spur model sales, then I believe we are in agreement.

shelfunit.
09-12-2014, 14:58
Reaper I *think* had some rules for their wargaming range, but that was more a case of "here's the minis and here's a few rules so that you can do something with them" rather than "here's some minis to play with our games" like GW seems to do.

For all intents and purposes, that's how Warhammer started out as well.

Selling models ---> people want to do something with those models other than paint, so they make rules for them.

Now however, we have the rules primarily being used to sell the models, rather than the rules being something to do with the models, which is why I consider them more a "game" company now.

They may see themselves as a "model" company, and the models in the window may be what attract people into the shop, but once in the shop they try to sell you the game.

Maccwar
09-12-2014, 15:03
It was my understanding that GW only ever planned to support specialist games for the first 6 months, regardless of performance, and then leave it up to Fanatic after that.

IIRC that became their strategy but I don't think that was how things started with the SG range.


The whole specialist games competing with 40k/Fantasy seems so bizarre. Is there some statement from GW to this effect? I would think any product that sells, regardless of the SKU, is a good thing.

I recall reading something from Jervis possibly on the old SG forum (or quoted on there) which said that this was GW's thinking in winding up the SG division. They were profitable but not as profitable as the core games.

These days GW don't even carry many of the core choices for some WHFB in their stores due to low sales volumes of those items. Their business model by and large doesn't cater for niche products and self contained games. Had Dreadfleet sold well then things might have changed but all we get now is Space Hulk periodically released as a limited edition.

ObiWayneKenobi
09-12-2014, 15:13
The customer is not always right.

Perhaps not, but a company that never listens to its customers will eventually find that they have no customers. The declining sales indicate that slowly but surely if GW doesn't fix something, they will continue to lose sales and therefore profit. They may have enough to remain profitable for a long time, but eventually it will even out and they won't be profitable.

Their business model is not sustainable longterm. You can't keep cutting costs and raising prices, and addressing declining sales with more price rises from the poeple who still buy from you. You cannot continue to not do market research. These are not the actions of a sane company.

frozenwastes
09-12-2014, 16:01
Besides, "the customer is always right" doesn't have anything to do with the customer always being factually correct. It means that the customer is the one with the money. So you don't fight with them. You don't **** them off. You don't argue with them. They have the money and you need it and if you do any of those things, you won't get it. So the customer is always right. It's about practicality, not facts.

GW believes that there is a certain subset of possible customers that aren't truly interested in gaming and will buy their miniatures regardless of the price and regardless of the game rules. That there are sufficient number of individuals who can be told what to buy through GW's marketing and sales techniques.

To those who insist game play is important, GW doesn't really argue or fight with you or tell you that you're wrong. They just don't engage with you at all. They know the game is an idea they can use to sell more miniatures, so for you they'll just release codex supplements and campaign books and digital releases and hope you'll get excited about what's going on as far as the books go and buy them and buy miniatures for them.

Scaryscarymushroom
09-12-2014, 16:10
Perhaps not, but a company that never listens to its customers will eventually find that they have no customers.

I think they'll have *some* customers. Specifically, they'll have customers in the very narrow cross section of people who, as a matter of pure coincidence, enjoy exactly what the company happens to be selling. Namely:

1. Building and
2. Painting
3. High Density Polystyrene kits
4. In the context of
5. 28mm Heroic
6. Large "Squad size"
7. Science Fiction and Fantasy
8. Wargaming

Take away any one of those elements, and GW has serious competition. Their polystyrene kits are one of the biggest things adding value, and they've got competition there on the historical front. Frankly, I've come to think that 28mm Heroic is kind of a goofy scale anyway, and building large armies takes too much time and effort. That's why they've lost me as a customer. I only get value out of 1, 2, 4, 7, and sort of 8 (but I'd do RPGs and skirmish games too); not all 8. So, I won't pay their prices.

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 16:21
But you've got to make them think they are, otherwise they'll go elsewhere. Agreed.

Quite so, they are just to myopic to understand that rules push said models, and the better the rules, the more models they would sell. Quite unfortunate really. Actually they understand that better than anyone. What they haven't understood is how far you push that equation when coincided with prices, and what markets they can and can't do that with.

GW is now a model company (their definition in order to describe their business to investors) that uses a game, a rule set, as a marketing tool to get people to buy more models. One of the knock on effects is that they buy more ancillaries like paints, brushes, scenery etc. The rule set originally had to have several core values to fulfill this function, which encouraged those model sales, and to a certain extent those core values are still there; its a social game; its competitive; it has a deep background; it has no link to reality; it promotes model sales; it can influence certain model sales; it promotes loyalty. The problem has been overplaying some of those values, in a repetitive and destructive manner while increasing the costs of that repetition beyond reason. Its that combination which sets it apart from MtG which also is repetitive, but not as destructive or, on the surface, as costly. And its that cost, above all else, which emphasises the repetition and the destructive nature of the marketing plan and ethos.


They sort of are. No they are not. If a customer decides to defacate on your floor, they are not right. If a customer decides they have access to rights not granted to them under the law, then they are not right. If a customer uses a product for a purpose it was not designed for, then they are not right especially if that purpose then goes wrong. Customers are not always right, what is important is that customers are allowed to think that, so that they think less when encouraged to buy your latest pile of rubbish.

If they view you as a games company, as far as they are concerned you're a games company. There are plenty of companies who intend item A to be used for X, but there's at least a significant majority of users buy it for an unrelated Y. I've got an RC controller strap on my camera, my Camera case contains X-Wings, I use plaster repair paste for basing minis, and so on. That's perception, not reality.

"I see GW as a games company" - nothing wrong with that,
"GW is a games company" - plenty wrong with that unless you are the CEO.

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 16:26
Apolgies for the double post
Now if you are saying that they write games and rules which sole purpose is to manipulate sales, meaning in short that they, in fact, do as I wrote above, manipulate points costs for models in order to spur model sales, then I believe we are in agreement. Yup. I think I said it above, the rules are a marketing tool to sell more minis.

Perhaps not, but a company that never listens to its customers will eventually find that they have no customers. The declining sales indicate that slowly but surely if GW doesn't fix something, they will continue to lose sales and therefore profit. They may have enough to remain profitable for a long time, but eventually it will even out and they won't be profitable.
Their business model is not sustainable longterm. You can't keep cutting costs and raising prices, and addressing declining sales with more price rises from the poeple who still buy from you. You cannot continue to not do market research. These are not the actions of a sane company. Agreed, and I have said so on Warseer many times. While GW had the 11-18 year old market in their hands, the wargames market was seen as disposable. Unfortunately because of a variety of poor business decisions based on some incredibly ill-informed members of the upper management, GW have lost the 11-18 year old market they had, and now do not have what was once prized above all else as a sales generator - that Vet who came in week in, week out spending his £20 or so. GW managment never understood, because they didn't understand the market as far as I am concenred, that they could have both, but they could never have all of one or the other.

AlTzeentch
09-12-2014, 16:34
"I see GW as a games company" - nothing wrong with that,
"GW is a games company" - plenty wrong with that unless you are the CEO.

Quote from the BRB: "Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop game for two or more players"

GW sells games, ie. they are a games company. They may see themselves as a miniature company first (since that is where their money comes from), but that does not mean they are not ALSO a games company.

Therin lies the problem between GW and its (former) customers. They are making it more and more obvious with their rules-writing (and re-branding of their store-fronts) that they do not want to be a legitimate "Game" company.

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 16:36
Quote from the BRB: "Warhammer 40,000 is a tabletop game for two or more players"

GW sells games, ie. they are a games company. They may see themselves as a miniature company first (since that is where their money comes from), but that does not mean they are not ALSO a games company. Therin lies the problem between GW and its (former) customers. Sorry, that is not a good quote to use. That merely defines a product, not a company. I am not denying that GW make games, they do, just how those games are used and to what purpose which then defines the company.

Scaryscarymushroom
09-12-2014, 16:39
Sorry, that is not a good quote to use. That merely defines a product, not a company. I am not denying that GW make games, they do, just how those games are used and to what purpose which then defines the company.

Generally I agree with your sentiment yabbadabba, but to some degree it must be recognized that the company is defined more sharply by what they do, and not who they say they are.

There's a disconnect between developing and releasing rulebooks, and making the "highest quality" miniatures and figurines for hobbyists. (There's a little bit of middle ground in making gaming miniatures.)

MusingWarboss
09-12-2014, 16:47
Irrelevant aside: Chicken and egg situation: eggs came first. .

It seriously doesn't matter what came first. It doesn't even matter that GW is down from many, many games to two games and supporting products.

But your point makes no sense. Those models were models for other games: Dredd for sci-fi models, D&D for fantasy models. That they realized they could do better (make more money) by having their own games does not indicate a change in direction. They were and are still pushing games with models.


Well it was meant as a comparison, which came first the models or the games? Were the models made to drive game sales or the games made to drive model sales or were they designed to compliment each other in a perfectly balanced fashion? Actual quotes from Bryan Ansell suggested that in the case of Warhammer, it was designed to sell more of the fantasy models that Citadel already made.

If Games Workshop is a games company then it should really matter that they feel the need to shrink their game-designing business in favour of increasing their model production one surely? Quite a lot of people lament the loss of the "specialist games" (I personally dislike that title, there was nothing that specialist about them - they were originally just games but GW reorganised them into that elitist sounding category about 2000-ish when they decided they couldn't be bothered with them anymore and wanted to put people off.) and their loss has allowed almost carbon copies to pop up and fill a sphere that GW already had functioning games and IP in. Sad really.

That they decided to stop selling other peoples stuff and clone their own, so to speak, was actually a very important decision by GW. This led to their creating the IP they now rely on so heavily. On a basic level, yes they're still selling games and models. They're also still selling paints and brushes too. So in essence their business hasn't changed but in reality it has, as they no longer carry a wide range of products but only a small range of their own products at a huge markup.



For very sound business reasons involving the economy of scale and the poor return on books. Owning printing presses would cost them more money than leasing time on Chinese presses, even with shipping. It has zero to do with 'what kind of company they are.' Magic the Gathering was printed in Holland for years (and I don't know where it is printed now, but it certainly isn't Seattle). That doesn't mean WotC isn't a games division of Hasbro (or weren't a game company before that sale)


With hindsight its probably fortunate they did not invest in printing kit as the digital revolution has kicked in. However the point was that they chose to invest in that moulding kit, which suggests that they thought that was core to their business. They could easily have had the model kits made by other companies or in China also. Still could. In fact, they actually did with Forgeworld for a bit. They'll never get good returns on economy of scale by making limited releases of rulebooks and their pricing is such that it prohibits sufficient sales of non-limited books to an extent that they too may not benefit from large runs. Foot = shot.

WotC is/was a games company. A card games company. The cards are integral to the game. GWs miniatures are not.



However, I'm not particularly interested in 'exciting new games.' In fact, if GW tried to release a new game or product line at this point, I'd simply laugh. I want the two games they make to actually be good. Something they're failing miserably at, even as they are [B]right nowpushing more game products and fewer miniatures. End Times. More Codexes and Army Books (well, not so much army books at the moment). Supplements. Data Slates. New Editions. New Variant Boxed Sets with the Game Rules. Game products without end, and with much higher demand than the actual miniatures accompanying them (at least, when they're accompanied by miniatures at all). More licensed computer games than ever before, and damn the quality. New deck building card game. Games by the bushel, games by the pound. Games by everything but quality, but still games.

Anyone can make any claims they like. Reality says this company sells games and is currently trying really hard to sell them. And sometimes, yeah, there are some special character models or even a unit or even two released as well.

Right, so they're a games company but you don't want them to produce games? Just make Warhammer/40k. Well I think your wish is going to be granted within ten years as thats precisely the direction they're going in. You want those games to be good, as games, they want them to be biased to whatever new model kit is going to be released soon. That's not the action of a company who believes in the game system as a product but rather one that believes its a promotional tool.

Look at all those things you listed, from End Times to Boxed sets with game rules. They're all designed to push miniatures. There is no purpose to them otherwise. just include those things in the rulebook if they're for in-game use. Pop them in the next edition if you invent them in between. They're selling you items they used to have bundled in with rulebooks or free in magazines. Once you have the rules, chances are you'll want the corresponding model - or you'll meet people who won't let you play unless you have.

Lets go for some home truths here. When people think of Games Workshop games what's the mental image that comes to mind. Miniatures. If you got a game from them and it didn't have any miniatures would you be disappointed? If it only had a limited set that wasn't expandable by more miniatures (like Dreadfleet) would you be disappointed?

If you take the miniatures out of the equation, the buy-in cost for Warhammer/40k is a hell of a lot cheaper. Get Litko to laser up some 2D flats for you, make your own out of card. Would the game be as fun? Would you be disappointed? Try one of the earlier versions sans-miniatures - any different? For a great many people having the little 3D models makes the game more enjoyable. Even hardcore gamers get bogged down with models. They don't have to. GW knows that the little models entice people to buy the game, which in turn sells more models. People go, "what are these cool little figures for?" GW say, oh they're for this game, then proceed to sell rulebooks and codexes which instruct players on how many model kits they should buy. Not many people take a punt on seeing the rulebook alone. This is why other companies give rulesets away for free - they're also flogging model kits *shock*.


Quite so, they are just to myopic to understand that rules push said models, and the better the rules, the more models they would sell. Quite unfortunate really.

They do understand this. The idea that better rules would push more models is quite debatable. It could be argued that a balanced ruleset may sell a balanced amount of models. As far as GW is concerned, a hugely swaying ruleset enables them to pick and choose how models can be sold and the market for models manipulated. It may be a case of broken-as-intended.


I wonder how many people would by a $200 model if it did not have overpowered rules? I think they are definitely selling (tricking?) customers into buying their large expensive kits based solely on the rules. GW is obviously well aware of how their rules sell more miniatures (as MusingWarboss stated) and they are pushing the limits of that power to its extreme every year.

I would say you don't need End Times, you could have done that story anyway if you wanted, you don't need GWs permission. It's just there to flog more models and increasingly larger grossly expensive ones too that normally most people wouldn't even consider. A bit like Escalation. Very few would drop that cash on models alone, putting rules out there tempts existing players to buy things they normally wouldn't.

Actually, running the risk of upsetting a few people here, the whole "advancing the storyline" thing is bull too. Its like a confidence trick by GW. They're games, they don't need storylines, they have settings, you can play your own games within those settings. "Changing the story" is just an excuse to modify the lineup of models again and encourage people to buy more stuff and newer stuff. If you want storylines, try novels (not you personally AlTzeentch).

Do you think the historical guys do this? "Ah, yeah well, sorry but times moved on now so you'll have to scrap your Roman army as the empire has collapsed, you'll have to buy a new one. We're into the middle ages now." No. You just pick a setting and play your game in it!


So maybe some very smart person can answer this question: Is it possible to make and sell a huge range of different models where all the models are sold in equal amounts, for MORE of a profit than just selling 1 expensive model in large quantities? If someone can figure out if this is possible and then explain it to GW, it might go a long ways to solving some of the issues brought up in this thread.

I don't believe it's possible to please all the people all the time. By that I mean certain ranges will probably always sell more due to aesthetic appeal.

Sorry to be the miseryguts on this topic but there is much truth to GWs statement that they are a miniatures company first and games second.

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 16:57
Generally I agree with your sentiment yabbadabba, but to some degree it must be recognized that the company is defined more sharply by what they do, and not who they say they are. What they do is make incredibly poorly researched and thought our strategic business decisions.

There's a disconnect between developing and releasing rulebooks, and making the "highest quality" miniatures and figurines for hobbyists. (There's a little bit of middle ground in making gaming miniatures.) The middle ground is called, being called and recognising yourself as a hobby company, something that GW were always proud of until the chance of the LotR licence came along. By being a hobby company, you can make and sell anything you want that is related to that hobby, but also it demonstrates an understanding of how the related parts of the hobby react to create an environment that promotes continuous sales and sales growth. However a wargames hobby is not recognised by the shareholders or the city, it cannot be easily defined and commoditised and it is a slow burner when it comes to sales, not providing the opportunities that shareholders want.

As much as anything I would like GW to return to being a hobby company that has models as its main cashflow, but because they have an extremely broad customer base of loyal and returning customers who work alongside the company to recruit more customers into the business. I know that that simple sentence would do much to change GWs perception in the community, and while it might not bring back the profit margins of yesteryear, it will create a more stable environment for GW to diversify within without having to compromise that core business.

frozenwastes
09-12-2014, 18:13
What they do is make incredibly poorly researched and thought our strategic business decisions.

LOL.


As much as anything I would like GW to return to being a hobby company that has models as its main cashflow, but because they have an extremely broad customer base of loyal and returning customers who work alongside the company to recruit more customers into the business. I know that that simple sentence would do much to change GWs perception in the community, and while it might not bring back the profit margins of yesteryear, it will create a more stable environment for GW to diversify within without having to compromise that core business.

From what I understand, the margins have never been better. What yesteryear really had was volume.

Other than that I completely agree. GW really missed an opportunity when they advertised for a customer experience position and concentrated on the experience of purchasing their product rather than the experience of the product itself.

If they were to go back to a holistic hobby approach and rethink every part of what they sell in terms of the customer's experience at all points in the products potential usage I think they could rapidly return to growth.

dirach.
09-12-2014, 18:14
They stopped Necromunda et all because they saw that people were buying say a Necromunda gang and weren't "upgrading" to buying a 40k army. So they viewed Necromunda as in direct competition with 40k and something that needed to be removed, because their idiotic thought process was if we axe Necromunda, then Necromunda players will switch over to 40k.


I don´t belive this was the chase. Necromunda was a success I belive, but once a player got the gangs they wanted I guess the income of the game dropped. So they made Mordheim, that I also belive was a success but not as big as Necromunda. So they tried again with Gorka morka. This game failed, and Warmaster failed. I guess they found out that they didn´t earn enough with such a hit and miss strategy. They tried again with dreadfleet and it proved them right.

If they were afraid that Necromunda, Mordheim and to a degree Warmaster was a direct competition they would not give away the rules for free on their web site for several years. I bought two Warmaster armies and rules in 2009, so the game was available for at least 10 years. This is not a small run for a game.

BFalcon
09-12-2014, 18:23
Sorry, that is not a good quote to use. That merely defines a product, not a company. I am not denying that GW make games, they do, just how those games are used and to what purpose which then defines the company.

GW started out reselling games from the US in the UK, they then started to produce their own rules and products and then miniatures to support those rules...

Somewhere along the line, they flipped from miniatures to support the games to games to support the miniatures... but their choice of name is, unfortunately for them, inappropriate to their new target goal. Back when Judge Dredd and other games were around, they produced a handful of miniatures and had to slowly build their lines.

And yes, they've alienated the kind of customer most businesses break their backs trying to keep happy - the existing customer who doesn't need advertising to bring to your stores or to read your magazine and who are usually keen to see what you've got for them next. The "Churn and Burn" model relied very heavily on the new generation being keen on plastic models and not being distracted by a new set of toys.

I've said it before: It's better to aim for the adult market, while keeping it "work-safe" because younger players will be keen to take part as a perception that it's "grown up" and not "childish". Instead, they aimed at the young teens, so they hit a certain age and often their models get consigned to the top of the wardrobe and never looked at again... I hear it time and time again... "Oh, I was into that kind of thing when I was a kid". With such a induced perception, they're actually driving people away since, when they hit that awkward "I want to be an adult" teen stage, they certainly do NOT want to be seen going into the GW store by those who consider it childish, even if they want to continue. Had they encouraged adults to stick around more, it'd be more OK in their own eyes, so might stick around more. Adults also have a remarkable amount of cash to spend on their own "toys" - just look at how many middle-aged men have RC cars and helicopters or souped up PCs or fancy cameras or similar... I'll bet that some of them would be very keen on dropping £100 on a new model for themselves, even if they considered it too much to spend on a present for their kids... but if that £100 for their kids meant that it was used in a hobby they both shared, it'd suddenly be more affordable, I'd bet. :)

BFalcon
09-12-2014, 18:35
I don´t belive this was the chase. Necromunda was a success I belive, but once a player got the gangs they wanted I guess the income of the game dropped. So they made Mordheim, that I also belive was a success but not as big as Necromunda. So they tried again with Gorka morka. This game failed, and Warmaster failed. I guess they found out that they didn´t earn enough with such a hit and miss strategy. They tried again with dreadfleet and it proved them right.

If they were afraid that Necromunda, Mordheim and to a degree Warmaster was a direct competition they would not give away the rules for free on their web site for several years. I bought two Warmaster armies and rules in 2009, so the game was available for at least 10 years. This is not a small run for a game.

No, he is correct... each game would bring in a trickle of profit through new players picking up gangs. It also doesn't address why Epic, BFG and Blood Bowl were also dropped. Epic was an immense success, BFG was pretty good and, had they brought out the full range, would have found it still going strong, as would Epic. Epic also allowed them explore the larger vehicles in the 40k universe - heck, they successfully brought the Baneblade (and variants), the Titan Knights, Ork Stompas and, through Forge World, the Titans themselves, to the 40k game... all of those originated in Epic... without that game series, they'd never have been able to refine the designs before doing so - they'd have had to design them at the time. Blood Bowl, the players could have bought so much more (Necromunda too - where were the computer terminals, consoles, random machinery to fight around?). Necromunda also had a design flaw - they didn't build in the "model must have the right weapons showing" clause and then make each model range with the various combinations in enough poses... that's what drove RPG model sales ("oh, my Paladin now has a 2-handed sword and not a sword and shield, I'll have to find another model").

They gave away the rules because some in GW didn't want the rules to die, but also so they could sell their miniatures they still had in stock... each of those Specialist Games slowly had their ranges reduce until they had none... then, I think, they just forgot the links were there.

Wintermute
09-12-2014, 18:39
GW started out reselling games from the US in the UK

No they didn't.

They started by making wooden game boards for Go and Backgammon.

BFalcon
09-12-2014, 19:38
No they didn't.

They started by making wooden game boards for Go and Backgammon.

Wow OK, I stand corrected - you obviously went back even further... I guess it depends on your definition of "started out"... :)

Wishing
09-12-2014, 19:51
To those who insist game play is important, GW doesn't really argue or fight with you or tell you that you're wrong. They just don't engage with you at all. They know the game is an idea they can use to sell more miniatures, so for you they'll just release codex supplements and campaign books and digital releases and hope you'll get excited about what's going on as far as the books go and buy them and buy miniatures for them.

Very well expressed, I think.

dirach.
09-12-2014, 20:02
No, he is correct... each game would bring in a trickle of profit through new players picking up gangs. It also doesn't address why Epic, BFG and Blood Bowl were also dropped. Epic was an immense success, BFG was pretty good and, had they brought out the full range, would have found it still going strong, as would Epic.

Yes the games would bring a trickle. But this is obvious not enough to make the desired profit. Yes Epic was a huge success in the beginning, but there is nothing that suggest that it was popular when it was dropped. Still it was available for over 20 years. That is very impressive. Very few game is in production for so long time.

I never saw BFG as a huge success myself

Blood Bowl is a mystery to me as it is maybe the most acclaimed game they have published, but I think that in the end there was such a huge leak to other companies, so I don´t think there was a huge profit for the line in the end.

Just because you liked the game, doesn´t mean that they were popular when dropped. Even if you would buy the complete line, it doesn´t mean others will.



They gave away the rules because some in GW didn't want the rules to die, but also so they could sell their miniatures they still had in stock... each of those Specialist Games slowly had their ranges reduce until they had none... then, I think, they just forgot the links were there.

This argues against the original claim. "They dropped the specialist games as they was competeing against their main line, but they gave away the rules for fre so they could sell more specialist miniatures":eyebrows: This doesn´t make any sence.

I followed the specialist lines for a while. And miniatures was being restocked. GW didn´t have a heap of Necromunda, mordheim and warmaster miniatures they was picking from over a decade and suddenly witin a few months the heap got empty for all the games.

There was clearly not enough demand for these games to make enough profit. Show me one gaming company that have been running for more than 20 years that always have their complete cataloge in stock.

Commissar_42
09-12-2014, 20:32
This is inevitable for a company that wants to cater to hobbyists and gamers. Too much like chalk and cheese, it's hard to please one group without pissing off the other.

frozenwastes
09-12-2014, 21:00
This is inevitable for a company that wants to cater to hobbyists and gamers. Too much like chalk and cheese, it's hard to please one group without pissing off the other.

In what way does a well balanced, fun game **** off those interested in miniatures?

In what way does a great miniature **** off those interested in rules?

I think you may have set up a false dichotomy. There is simply no reason why doing something for one aspect of the hobby would in any way alienate anyone. They have to actually devalue an aspect before people get annoyed.

Scaryscarymushroom
09-12-2014, 21:20
In what way does a well balanced, fun game **** off those interested in miniatures?

In what way does a great miniature **** off those interested in rules?

I think you may have set up a false dichotomy. There is simply no reason why doing something for one aspect of the hobby would in any way alienate anyone. They have to actually devalue an aspect before people get annoyed.

If you're playing a large-scale game with 70 infantry and several vehicles to a side, maybe there's a bit of a dichotomy. If they fancy themselves a producer of quality goods, they can charge a higher price per unit. If it's bulk goods, then they'll make their money through volume. But anywhere you go, you'll pay through the nose if you want a large quantity of high quality. Which seems to be what GW thinks they're selling (talking about the models, not the rules).

For a hobby project, $50 for a dreadnought sized model isn't a bad retail price. Not in the slightest. $5 per model in boxes of ten is pretty good too. It's all the more excellent if you can use them to play a game. But the same price for a simple game token is horrible. Might as well buy an empty base and stick a picture on it. (https://afearofnumbers.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/death_metal-army.jpg)

Which, now that I think about it, they could do anyway. :shifty: So I guess gamers could just buy the rules, if they were any good, and hobbyists wouldn't be worse off if the rules were good.

Commissar_42
09-12-2014, 21:22
In what way does a well balanced, fun game **** off those interested in miniatures?

In what way does a great miniature **** off those interested in rules?

I think you may have set up a false dichotomy. There is simply no reason why doing something for one aspect of the hobby would in any way alienate anyone. They have to actually devalue an aspect before people get annoyed.
You don't seem to understand me if you think I'm saying that either the rules or the models have to be bad. I'm just saying that the sort of game that most tabletop gamers want probably won't appeal much to hobbyists since on the whole they're pretty noncompetitive and only really play to give them something to do with their shinies.

Conversely the high price that GW puts on their models is a product of the variety of models and the costs of bricks & mortar stores. This pisses off gamers since they're used to paying a lot less for something that they regard only as a representative of game rules rather than a model in its own right.

What we have at the moment is a compromise - the basics of the rules are accessible to hobbyists/kids, but don't offer enough tactical depth to really appeal to gamer types. Conversely the gamer types balk at the high cost of small/elite models, while a hobbyist probably won't be too bothered by it. However I think that GW will always side with the hobbyists over the gamers because they're the larger group, most gaming tabletop enthusiasts having moved on to other systems many moons ago. Whatever fans are left are presumably comfortable with higher prices/loose rule system, or they'd have gone by now.

frozenwastes
09-12-2014, 21:22
That actually makes sense. There can be a disconnect between the miniatures and the rules when the rules are asking for one thing (high volume) and the miniatures are asking another (high price per miniature).

yabbadabba
09-12-2014, 21:38
From what I understand, the margins have never been better. What yesteryear really had was volume. Depends, but I agree with the crux of your position there.

In my mind, something is not right in terms of where all that money is going. People are saying GW is a leaner company, but I wonder if in order to get the look of lean some meat was cut in order to make the fat look better.

Commissar_42
09-12-2014, 21:38
That actually makes sense. There can be a disconnect between the miniatures and the rules when the rules are asking for one thing (high volume) and the miniatures are asking another (high price per miniature).
I don't think it would be a problem if GW capitalized on the fact that they've got an entire customer base who own some GW miniatures...and yet there's only one way of using them. There's no reason at all not to split up the rules into Core/Epic/Skirmish, plus a basic adventuring set, all for use with gw's miniatures and costing very little (I wouldn't expect them to take up shelf space in stores). I can't see this happening under the current management though, while I'm not in the "hur dur managers are stoopid" crowd, I think they are clearly utterly disconnected from their playerbase and are unlikely to give the fans something new in this regard, though I won't play down the fact that GW is still consistantly releasing things that the fans want, it's just that those fans are nearly always painters/modellers. Gamers get one new edition every four/two years, and that's it.

tldr; more ways of playing = good, scaring creatives away = bad.

duffybear1988
09-12-2014, 22:15
@Yabba I would not be surprised if your meat analogy was pretty close to reality. Something definately stinks with the company at the moment.

Voss
10-12-2014, 03:36
I don't think it would be a problem if GW capitalized on the fact that they've got an entire customer base who own some GW miniatures...and yet there's only one way of using them.
Only because they've priced themselves out of the 'other uses' market. I knew lots of RPG gamers who used minis for years (long before the D&D prepainted random booster nonsense, and even after, because they wanted groups of orcs/skeletons/whatever rather than a random selection of increasingly goofy things). They used to buy GW stuff to go with those games. Now by and large they don't, and the main option for that is Reaper, as they're a fraction of the price and pretty tuned to the D&D use market. Which is pretty funny, since GW had more of an argument for being a model company when they actually serviced other parts of the hobby market, rather than fixating solely on their own games.

BFalcon
10-12-2014, 11:24
Yes the games would bring a trickle. But this is obvious not enough to make the desired profit. Yes Epic was a huge success in the beginning, but there is nothing that suggest that it was popular when it was dropped. Still it was available for over 20 years. That is very impressive. Very few game is in production for so long time.

I never saw BFG as a huge success myself

Blood Bowl is a mystery to me as it is maybe the most acclaimed game they have published, but I think that in the end there was such a huge leak to other companies, so I don´t think there was a huge profit for the line in the end.

Just because you liked the game, doesn´t mean that they were popular when dropped. Even if you would buy the complete line, it doesn´t mean others will.



This argues against the original claim. "They dropped the specialist games as they was competeing against their main line, but they gave away the rules for fre so they could sell more specialist miniatures":eyebrows: This doesn´t make any sence.

I followed the specialist lines for a while. And miniatures was being restocked. GW didn´t have a heap of Necromunda, mordheim and warmaster miniatures they was picking from over a decade and suddenly witin a few months the heap got empty for all the games.

There was clearly not enough demand for these games to make enough profit. Show me one gaming company that have been running for more than 20 years that always have their complete cataloge in stock.

Aside from the occasional mould going out of production, which is normal, and then being being replaced by a new sculpt, Battletech has done their best (Ral Partha), Ground Zero Games (Dirtside (1989), Full Thrust (1992)) and ADB (Star Fleet Battles (1979, although the 2400 miniatures almost certainly started later, they were definitely going strong in the 80's, since I picked at least one up during that time)). That's 3 I can think of right away. Like I said, of course, some moulds wore out and needed to be replaced, so the entire lines weren't available, but then none of the specialist games ever completely filled their lines anyhow.

Blood Bowl was the exception I think - I think that one was more political than economic, since Jervis liked it (and fought for it) but the management didn't, I think, so undercut his attempts to keep it going.

As for the giving the rules away for free, they wanted to finish selling a certain percentage of their already-cast stock... no point in having paid for someone to cast them all and then to trash them if you can sell them. Therefore limited restocks (didn't happen for most of the lines) and free rules were used to shift those last few. A lot of those rules were also either living documents (eg Blood Bowl) or only available in boxed sets which were becoming, or already were, sold out. You also need to consider their perspective too - if they didn't release those rules for free, someone else would have done so on a filesharing site or as a torrent and they'd have lost control over where it was or who had it. The key point here is "how much money was spent on new SCULPTS". The answer to that, post '05, was very little, if any... certainly in the case of Blood Bowl the last wave really came out in 2005, with a few released around 2009... but those were a minority and likely sculpted some time before that. VERY few minis were released each year, after 1995, and there was a definite dead-spot for a while.

Also, don't forget - a restock may just be a redistribution of existing stock between warehouses... a miniature goes out of stock in europe, the US warehouses may have a bunch spare, so can ship them over as part of a larger shipment... I think it goes on all the time, from the way things seem to work out.

The fact still remains, they took a bunch of games, which were low-maintenance and dropped them, when they served a very definite purpose - they broadened GW's appeal across the board. I was in my teens when I got Adeptus Titanicus and it was a way to play a very broad game with units we'd never seen before... but, like any game, you drop support for any game, suddenly you find people drifting away. If they'd given any one game the support that any of the Warhammer or 40k races got, they'd have probably grown them into a decent income stream... but management seem to have become blinkered on their core products... forgetting that even die-hards will get bored playing the same games over and over again and that it's best for those gamers to be playing GW games still than going to their competitors and getting hooked on THEIR games.

Herzlos
10-12-2014, 11:39
And if they actually stocked the boxed games in store, you've got a shelf of pretty high value no-brainer gift fodder. I don't know what to get Timmy for Christmas, one of these all-in-one game things will do.

It's this self-cannibalizing thing that they needed to get over. Sure people might buy less 40K if they play Necromunda, but at least you keep them in the fold, but now they'll likely buy less 40K if they play Deadzone, and Mantic gets all of the money. It'd have been worth keeping the "Specialist" games going just to keep the competition out.

Commissar_42
10-12-2014, 12:10
Only because they've priced themselves out of the 'other uses' market. I knew lots of RPG gamers who used minis for years (long before the D&D prepainted random booster nonsense, and even after, because they wanted groups of orcs/skeletons/whatever rather than a random selection of increasingly goofy things). They used to buy GW stuff to go with those games. Now by and large they don't, and the main option for that is Reaper, as they're a fraction of the price and pretty tuned to the D&D use market. Which is pretty funny, since GW had more of an argument for being a model company when they actually serviced other parts of the hobby market, rather than fixating solely on their own games.
I'm not talking about appealing to people like that, as you say, they've already left. I mean adding other options for people who already actively buy GW stuff.

ObiWayneKenobi
10-12-2014, 12:17
And if they actually stocked the boxed games in store, you've got a shelf of pretty high value no-brainer gift fodder. I don't know what to get Timmy for Christmas, one of these all-in-one game things will do.

It's this self-cannibalizing thing that they needed to get over. Sure people might buy less 40K if they play Necromunda, but at least you keep them in the fold, but now they'll likely buy less 40K if they play Deadzone, and Mantic gets all of the money. It'd have been worth keeping the "Specialist" games going just to keep the competition out.

Exactly this. Sure, there would be people that would buy Necromunda/Mordheim/Blood Bowl/BFG/Epic etc. and not spend money on 40k but just the game they liked. But that money was still going to GW. Now if someone wants a space combat game, they play X-Wing or Firestorm Armada. If they want a skirmish level sci-fi game they play Deadzone or Infinity. That money isn't going to GW at all, and it also left a bitter taste in people's mouths so they are less likely to recommend GW games but will gladly recommend the competition. So it's lose-lose for GW because not only are they not getting profit and a competitor is, but a former customer is now an ex-customer and will recommend the competition to anyone who asks.

They dropped the ball big time by not encouraging all of those things in tandem. There was never a way (to my knowledge, maybe there was something later in the specialist magazine) to use Necromunda stuff in 40k and vice versa, they were kept separate. But how awesome would it be if you could have a linked campaign that involved BFG, Epic, 40k and Necromunda (or even Inquisitor when that was a thing) all together to tell the story? I remember vaguely seeing things that said how to integrate BFG and Epic into 40k with like a tree campaign (so like if you won a battle in BFG it affected something in your 40k game) but they never capitalized on that.

That's the kind of stuff that people would eat up now, especially with their whole "forge the narrative" speech.

BFalcon
10-12-2014, 12:18
And if they actually stocked the boxed games in store, you've got a shelf of pretty high value no-brainer gift fodder. I don't know what to get Timmy for Christmas, one of these all-in-one game things will do.

It's this self-cannibalizing thing that they needed to get over. Sure people might buy less 40K if they play Necromunda, but at least you keep them in the fold, but now they'll likely buy less 40K if they play Deadzone, and Mantic gets all of the money. It'd have been worth keeping the "Specialist" games going just to keep the competition out.

Agreed... and the old "team in a (large) blister" they had in the 90s was excellent - and, later, the boxed teams were even better (Blood Bowl especially lends itself to bright colours, so is pretty eye-catching - and with NFL (finally) growing in popularity here in the UK, now would be a good time to do it).

I think one big thing that GW could do is drop the "1-or-2-to-a-blister" metal minis they used to do for Epic, for example, and go more heavily into plastics, with either mixed sprues (like they did for most of the races, but include more armour) or small sprues with multiples of multi-version minis in one pack (eg Baneblade variants so you can make your own as you wish) so that they don't need so many different blister packs (or boxes) of miniatures, which used to be the bane of small shops, but instead have fewer different types, so making it easier for small stores (their own as well as indies) to have a small stand of them off to one side while still attracting sales. This is one time when the "multiple unit types in each box" is actually a good idea, since you may only want a few of each type, so a larger box that you can cater to several unit types might actually be very useful to players... especially those just starting out.

BFalcon
10-12-2014, 12:20
I'm not talking about appealing to people like that, as you say, they've already left. I mean adding other options for people who already actively buy GW stuff.

They should be though... appealing to ex-customers is actually a good idea - after all, they once saw something they liked in your products... it might be far easier to attract them back, especially given the "change" of CEO... this is an excellent chance for GW to "reset" and bring back the old players...

ObiWayneKenobi
10-12-2014, 12:27
They should be though... appealing to ex-customers is actually a good idea - after all, they once saw something they liked in your products... it might be far easier to attract them back, especially given the "change" of CEO... this is an excellent chance for GW to "reset" and bring back the old players...

But they probably don't realize the need to "reset" and I'd bet they consider customers who left to not be worth bothering with. That's the underlying issue. They don't seem aware of the problems (or they are aware and don't care) to even acknowledge that they are problems, let alone try to fix them.

BFalcon
10-12-2014, 13:00
But they probably don't realize the need to "reset" and I'd bet they consider customers who left to not be worth bothering with. That's the underlying issue. They don't seem aware of the problems (or they are aware and don't care) to even acknowledge that they are problems, let alone try to fix them.

Hasn't this always been their weakness though?

"Oh, they're walking away... never mind, here comes Timmy with his eager-to-please parents and he'll want a whole NEW army for Christmas!!"

Never mind that they could, with a little more effort, have had both those customers for even more profit... :(

This is like I said elsewhere here... they really need the input of some of those ex-customers to find out why they left... get some cod-liver-oil-coated truth - I think it would do the CEO a world of good to hear some honest truths instead of the yes-men that seem to have isolated the upper management from reality.

Voss
10-12-2014, 15:40
I'm not talking about appealing to people like that, as you say, they've already left. I mean adding other options for people who already actively buy GW stuff.

Ah. Well, nothing really to say to that, because they have taken active steps to ensure they don't do that. *waves at ghost of specialist games*

The_Real_Chris
12-12-2014, 13:26
I don´t belive this was the chase. Necromunda was a success I belive, but once a player got the gangs they wanted I guess the income of the game dropped. So they made Mordheim, that I also belive was a success but not as big as Necromunda. So they tried again with Gorka morka. This game failed, and Warmaster failed.

Success and failure for a company like GW is different than a small margin operation. They very rarely made a loss on these games, but normally didn't get the margins. There were exceptions, according to Jervis Epic sold 400% of what Warmaster did in just the first few months, probably to exisitng fans but contracted rapidly as the pace of releases wasn't fast enough to keep going. Indeed at one time my club in London had 20+ regular players, Tanelorn a load more, etc. But with limited variety, unbalanced playtest armies (oh the fickle gamer) and a high price in my club at least people went back to historicals and other games.

Of course they also lost an avenue for exploring new game concepts and ideas. New recruits were routinely let lose on these games in the late 80's and early 90's, wether sculpting, rules writing or background creation. I guess the idea of having a wide net of games would hook people and then steer them towards the big 2. Certainly most of the people posting here of a certain say I got into GW stuff through AT/SC/SH, etc. It is startling just how much they are relying on concepts 2 decades old for new releases, at least in 40k.


Yes the games would bring a trickle. But this is obvious not enough to make the desired profit. Yes Epic was a huge success in the beginning, but there is nothing that suggest that it was popular when it was dropped. Still it was available for over 20 years. That is very impressive. Very few game is in production for so long time.

I never saw BFG as a huge success myself

Blood Bowl is a mystery to me as it is maybe the most acclaimed game they have published, but I think that in the end there was such a huge leak to other companies, so I don´t think there was a huge profit for the line in the end.

Here is the kicker - if there is no profit in those lines, why not licence them out? One of the reasons why not is they beleive they suck sales away from their core lines. A fascinating discussion with Andy Hall when he still worked at GW and worked on specialist games was about an unofficial re-launch of BFG in the states (where apparently it was quite popular). Online promotion, some articles in white dwarf, a supplement. BFG sales duly picked up, but 40k sales dropped almost as much. Now it is still more cash, but with a wider selection of models it was less profit.

On the contary I think hiving them off to an independant company but with no GW promotion or store presence, will, in the UK at least, get the GW worlds into gaming clubs that have forgotten them. Some money from licencing, and an upping of visability in independant shops and clubs.

Of course to capitalise on that you would need good games in your main lines, which currently don't exisit. GW is a model not games company so are probably correct that if you get people hooked on games rather than models there is too much competition from better (more fun/enjoyable/tactical/operational) games on the market in an area they perhaps don't feel they can compete.

Of course the SGs are slowly being taken over by online efforts - for Epic there are half a dozen companies illegally making copies of 40k models and incredibly detailed infantry (3d printing allowing the cnstruction of vehicles very easily for subsequent metal/resin production, and traditional sculpting for others), as well as straight resin copies of the now OOP models. Blood Bowl has, in Spain especially, companies operating openly producing updates of GW models (copies, but with better details!). BFG always existed in a marketplace of spaceships but as the GW game fades more and more ships designed in the same style are popping up. There are several ranges of 10mm fantasy, and so on.

Other companies have gleefully jumped into the market niches GW created and then abondoned.

All that reduces the attractiveness of licencing those games (assuming GW doesn't want the silly money it has demanded in the past) as each month passes.

BFalcon
12-12-2014, 17:32
chris: I'd be interested in knowing the framework that Jervis is using for Epic's sales... I seem to remember the first box, Adeptus Titanicus sold pretty well, then Space Marine did, then they changed the rules to the less-popular-in-some-circles version and changed the focus from Titans with infantry and vehicles to infantry and vehicles with infantry, which lost some sales, if only for a while.

As for the spanish mini sculpts, I've seen very few actual copies of GW BB sculpts - occasionally I've seen them in similar poses, but then they're trying to play a sport... usually they're in MUCH better poses than GW ever produced - most probably since technology has improved since GW produced most of their sculpts and didn't bother to update them (one reason why BB sales dropped, I think - they needed more updating to happen). Blood Bowl has 21 teams with the Underworld alongside them (unofficial, but very popular), but most had only a single pass at them, so their sculpts are so outdated as to be primitive when compare to modern minis. Others, eg (Pro) Elves, had such bad posing that people (I'm one of them) still prefer the 1990's minis over the more recent ones (I always thought that the newer Elves looked like they were doing calisthenics instead of playing a game of Blood Bowl...).

Voss
13-12-2014, 06:13
Success and failure for a company like GW is different than a small margin operation. They very rarely made a loss on these games, but normally didn't get the margins. There were exceptions, according to Jervis Epic sold 400% of what Warmaster did in just the first few months, probably to exisitng fans but contracted rapidly as the pace of releases wasn't fast enough to keep going.
Uh, yeah. That's likely true and utterly meaningless at the same time. Epic was a revision of a game that had gone through multiple editions (with wildly different names, the first was just Space Marine), a mess of supplements and a couple related games (Adeptus Titancus, kind of, sort of was packaged as a separate but mixable game). So there was a large existing range with fully fleshed out armies from multiple factions. Warmaster, on release, struggled to put a handful of armies on the table, and they weren't all that distinguishable or interesting, and zero people had an existing collection. So of course Epic did better.

But, yeah, long term, of course it died off. It was supported rather poorly and haphazardly from day 1, with things stuck in playtest mode forever, the model range just re-did imperial vehicles and a couple other things at 3-5 times the price, and it was pretty clear quickly that it was not a going concern for anyone at the studio.

f2k
13-12-2014, 07:21
Yes the games would bring a trickle. But this is obvious not enough to make the desired profit. Yes Epic was a huge success in the beginning, but there is nothing that suggest that it was popular when it was dropped. Still it was available for over 20 years. That is very impressive. Very few game is in production for so long time.

I never saw BFG as a huge success myself

Blood Bowl is a mystery to me as it is maybe the most acclaimed game they have published, but I think that in the end there was such a huge leak to other companies, so I don´t think there was a huge profit for the line in the end.

Just because you liked the game, doesn´t mean that they were popular when dropped. Even if you would buy the complete line, it doesn´t mean others will.

The problem with this question is that we'll never really know.

Take Epic, for example. It was hugely popular back in the days, effectively being the third core game. And yet, by the time that Titan Legions was released, support had dwindled away to the point where it was quite difficult to actually collect an army. And Epic 40.000 was a total failure, partly because it was such a radical departure from what fans wanted (much like Dreadfleet would be, years later) and partly because it received no support at all.

Battlefleet Gothic was much the same. It never really received the support it should have had. The core armies were never fully fleshed out, and by the time the expansion came out the game had long since been relegated to a few blisters gathering dust in the corner of the shop. Basically, there was no support at all. And I've never even seen a Tyranid or Necron ship in person - they simply weren't there.

Blood Bowl was yet more of the same. It was popular as long as it had support, but when they did the re-release they did so without offering anything beyond a few boxes of the game and a handful of team-boxes.


See a pattern emerging here?


We'll never know if specialist games could have been profitable because Games Workshop deliberately let them fail. Who knows how popular Epic would have been now, had they actually supported Epic : Armageddon? Why did they even bother releasing that book when they weren't wiling to offer the models needed?


What we do know, however, is that there obviously is a marked for these games. Infinity, Malefaux, Dreadball, X-wing, Firestorm Armada... I could go on... The main point is this though: there are people out there who wants to play these types of games.

frozenwastes
13-12-2014, 07:27
The greatest advantage these lower volume sales games offered GW was a way to keep the customer in the ecosystem when they felt like it was time for a change. Instead of looking to some other company, when people felt the need to shake things up a bit, they could stick with GW's offerings and get into a new game. These other games were part of how GW could monopolize a given area in terms of miniature wargaming. There would simply be no room for other company's products on the shelves of independent stores in the 90s.

The same thing was done by the larger players in the RPG market in the 90s. TSR and Whitewolf just cranked out books and did their best to give stores something to fill their shelves with and made taking a risk on smaller competitors much less likely of a thing for a store to do. The death of TSR and the contraction of the 90s goth subculture sent the RPG market into a decline until the d20/OGL boom both revived and killed it from 2000-2004.

In the age of online shopping I'm not sure smaller games could fulfill this same shelf-space/competition squishing role.

yabbadabba
13-12-2014, 07:48
The problem with this question is that we'll never really know.Actually you do know. I and other ex-staff members have said enough about the sales, support and other issues. It generally contradicts what people want to hear so it gets ignored or dismissed.

frozenwastes
13-12-2014, 08:51
Actually you do know. I and other ex-staff members have said enough about the sales, support and other issues. It generally contradicts what people want to hear so it gets ignored or dismissed.

If you look at the much smaller size of the companies that are currently filling the role in the market for sci-fi and fantasy games in small scale, or fantasy sports, or dungeoneering or space ships or whatever, I think that would give a good indicator for the relatively small size of each of those areas of interest in miniature gaming. They may add up to quite a bit, but I think they're better served by multiple smaller studios than having GW trying to figure out how to make them all work when the resources could be more profitably allocated to another colour of space marine.

yabbadabba
13-12-2014, 09:08
If you look at the much smaller size of the companies that are currently filling the role in the market for sci-fi and fantasy games in small scale, or fantasy sports, or dungeoneering or space ships or whatever, I think that would give a good indicator for the relatively small size of each of those areas of interest in miniature gaming. They may add up to quite a bit, but I think they're better served by multiple smaller studios than having GW trying to figure out how to make them all work when the resources could be more profitably allocated to another colour of space marine. We also have to factor in that recently, and it wasn't just because GW withdrew the SG range, but more to do with economic factors and the expansion of internet shopping, these sorts of games have become more popular; not hugely more popular, just more so. When you add in GWs size and costs in developing such a line in comparison with a garage-industry approach to production, it might very well make more sense economically to have these products outside of GWs sphere. However one of the key messages the GW Upper Management chose to ignore about SGs is their crucial role in retention, something that could not be directly measured financially and this would indicate that GW should make every effort to create a sustainable business plan (outside of their normal structures) to reintroduce them.

frozenwastes
13-12-2014, 11:54
I think Space Hulk working great, Dreadfleet not being quite the same success and then another go with Space Hulk shows that GW really isn't quite sure how to make non-big-3-game releases truly work right now. Other games like E:A or BFG or Bloodbowl might be great ways for customers to stay within GW's family of products while still taking a break from 40k/WFB/Hobbit purchases, but I'm not sure GW really sees it that way. It's quite possible that over the years when they push a game like BFG or Epic in WD and through their stores that they see a dip in sales of the main games. I think GW Upper Management has largely drunk it's own koolaid and now truly believes in the whole "jewel like objects of magic and wonder" thing and doesn't really see any sense in rules development or game creation. They're probably too busy patting themselves on the back for firing people faster than their revenue can shrink so they can pay out bigger dividends to think about things like the role of multiple games in customer retention.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 13:25
The fact still remains, they took a bunch of games, which were low-maintenance and dropped them, when they served a very definite purpose - they broadened GW's appeal across the board. I was in my teens when I got Adeptus Titanicus and it was a way to play a very broad game with units we'd never seen before... but, like any game, you drop support for any game, suddenly you find people drifting away. If they'd given any one game the support that any of the Warhammer or 40k races got, they'd have probably grown them into a decent income stream... but management seem to have become blinkered on their core products... forgetting that even die-hards will get bored playing the same games over and over again and that it's best for those gamers to be playing GW games still than going to their competitors and getting hooked on THEIR games.

When I look back, the dropping of the specialist games happend around the time they moved to resin models. My quess is they dropped these lines as it would be a huge investment to remake the lines in resin. It makes more sence.

Dropping support will make the people drift away, but in 2009 I still could buy two complete armies and rulebook for warmaster and complete teams for blood bowl.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 13:59
And Epic 40.000 was a total failure, partly because it was such a radical departure from what fans wanted (much like Dreadfleet would be, years later) and partly because it received no support at all.

I loved Dreadfleet and I really wanted it to be a success to make GW belive in making new games again. But Dreadfleet also shows another problem. Many really hates GW out there, so no matter what they do they will have many "fans" against them right away. And the mainstream boardgamers is being raised in the belife that you should stay away from GW products.



Blood Bowl was yet more of the same. It was popular as long as it had support, but when they did the re-release they did so without offering anything beyond a few boxes of the game and a handful of team-boxes.

You could get the core game and a huge selection of models online until the moved to resin.



See a pattern emerging here?


We'll never know if specialist games could have been profitable because Games Workshop deliberately let them fail. Who knows how popular Epic would have been now, had they actually supported Epic : Armageddon? Why did they even bother releasing that book when they weren't wiling to offer the models needed?


I think the pattern is that the core armies sell well, then the interest fall when they move into the less popular races. When they saw they couldn´t sell the new models they made, they stopped develping the line. I really dobt that interest for the lines would explode if they made the last models.



What we do know, however, is that there obviously is a marked for these games. Infinity, Malefaux, Dreadball, X-wing, Firestorm Armada... I could go on... The main point is this though: there are people out there who wants to play these types of games. Exept for X-wing they are rather small games that use an other philosophy for selling miniatures. X-wing sells because it is star wars.

shelfunit.
13-12-2014, 15:50
And the mainstream boardgamers is being raised in the belife that you should stay away from GW products.

Threatening to shut down the largest boardgame site in the world if they didn't take down fan made content for out of production GW games might have a little something to do with that... GW reap what they sow, and for the last few years all they have done is royally p**s off a large amount of people.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 16:02
Threatening to shut down the largest boardgame site in the world if they didn't take down fan made content for out of production GW games might have a little something to do with that... GW reap what they sow, and for the last few years all they have done is royally p**s off a large amount of people.

That is not the story the administration of boardgamegeek told. But still "GW is a evil" have become the "truth" . It have clearly made it more difficult for GW to make new games aimed for a broader audience.

shelfunit.
13-12-2014, 16:39
That is not the story the administration of boardgamegeek told. But still "GW is a evil" have become the "truth" . It have clearly made it more difficult for GW to make new games aimed for a broader audience.

So the official statement that says...


As you may have already noticed, last week BoardGameGeek removed a number of the files that users had created and uploaded for board games published by Games Workshop Ltd. I'd like to take a moment to explain why this action was necessary and in the best interests of the site and the community.

BoardGameGeek recently received a cease and desist letter from Games Workshop demanding the removal of user-generated content that they believed to infringe their intellectual property rights. In order to comply with this demand, we have taken the following steps.

First, our Community Manager Matthew Monin has removed the allegedly infringing content, and has individually notified all users whose content was removed in connection with this process. Second, to avoid recurrence of this issue, we have indefinitely suspended all future uploading of files for products published by Games Workshop.

BoardGameGeek takes the intellectual property rights of publishers very seriously and urges everyone to ensure that all submitted content complies with the File Submission Guidelines that are displayed on the file upload page. The file submission guidelines are here: File_Submissions

In the near future, BoardGameGeek plans to put a process in place that will allow users to contest the removal of their content if they believe their removed content does not in fact infringe upon the rights of any third parties. Thank you very much for your vigilance in respecting the rights of publishers and for your continued support of BoardGameGeek.

I know this is a frustrating outcome for everyone involved, but I don't think that posting retaliatory game ratings is a constructive response to the situation.

...is wrong then. Gotcha.

Herzlos
13-12-2014, 17:22
I loved Dreadfleet and I really wanted it to be a success to make GW belive in making new games again. But Dreadfleet also shows another problem. Many really hates GW out there, so no matter what they do they will have many "fans" against them right away. And the mainstream boardgamers is being raised in the belife that you should stay away from GW products.

Dreadfleet had a few problems that killed it before it got going. It wasn't compatible with Man O' War, so lots of folk were disappointed there. It was £70 for a completely unknown games, which is too much for a random impulse buy. The rules are widely regarded as dreadful, which in combination with the price (if it was cheaper, people would be more likely to buy before reading the reviews) and the compatibilty (people would have just bought it for the ships).

It's a shame that GW will take the failure of Dreadfleet to mean that all new games will fail, when the reason was simply that it was just a bad release.

static grass
13-12-2014, 17:55
I loved Dreadfleet and I really wanted it to be a success to make GW belive in making new games again. But Dreadfleet also shows another problem. Many really hates GW out there, so no matter what they do they will have many "fans" against them right away. And the mainstream boardgamers is being raised in the belife that you should stay away from GW products.


Do you really believe this? That Dreadfleet shows the hate for GW? Really so what does Space Hulk show? Dreadfleet failed for very good and obvious reasons not least of all failure to understand the market and failure to understand what GW is. Fanbois and Haters both see the short comings of Dreadfleet. Dreadfleet should serve as warning to GW that they are NOT a collectable miniatures manufacturer like they call themselves these days. Great miniatures alone do not equal great sales, Dreadfleet had great minatures but not great sales. GW has re-re-released Space Hulk in time for Christmas. So (I guess) they can see what sells but they don't know why. If they did they would understand that Space Hulk is a great game and a gateway into 40K with great miniatures for use in games of 40K. The buyer can play the game out of the box with nothing else, or maybe join a friends game of 40K, or start a 40K army or 2. Or paint some showcase minis and do some Space Hulk on the side. The permutations are so very mutable and give lots of options to the gamer, everyone almost can find a reason to buy it. If they understood this then they would have expanded on it or made it permanent. Instead they don't, they just release it again and again to make some urgent cash. They don't know why it sells only that it does.

GW could really do with spending time doing a little genuflecting and trying to understand why somethings succeed and why some things fail. Rather that than blaming the haters.

Voss
13-12-2014, 19:44
I loved Dreadfleet and I really wanted it to be a success to make GW belive in making new games again. But Dreadfleet also shows another problem. Many really hates GW out there, so no matter what they do they will have many "fans" against them right away.
Not sure what this is about. The problem with Dreadfleet was it was a a pricey box of limited models and poor rules, lobbed into stores without a thought towards marketing or actually getting people interested in it.

The 'backlash' was from people who bought a poor game, and rightfully gave it poor reviews.

The lesson GW should have learned from their last few attempts at boxed games (Space Hulk vs Dreadfleet) is that their veteran consumers are still around and more than willing to buy things aimed at them, but random nonsense that nobody asked for isn't worth doing.


It have clearly made it more difficult for GW to make new games aimed for a broader audience.
Not at all. This is completely false. It made it no more difficult for GW to make new games than it made it more difficult for GW to make chicken sandwiches. GW does not, and has not in at least the last decade, made a single game for a broader audience*. Boardgamers rightfully stay away from GW because there are no products for them. And haven't been for years.

*though they have licensed a lot of stuff out through FFG and various mobile game developers. But those stand or fall based on the IP and what the licensees make of them, not GW or models. FFG has produced some decent games if your in to the specific types of games, but most of the computer companies make a hash of things.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 21:24
...is wrong then. Gotcha.

This was not the end of the story:


The contents of the cease and desist highlighted 4 specific items (which we acted upon), and after replying to GW's legal department, we were told to cover a broad range of all files on the site where it was our determination in what to remove based on their intellectual property rules (posted on their website).


So boardgamegeek say that they choose what they should remove based on their reading of the GW policy. With the high amount of fan sites making fan material for GW games, it is clearly that boardgamegeek was more strict than other pages that GW had ignored.



The specific files were:

Mordheim Roster Sheet
Bretonnian Army Reference Guide
Blood Bowl 7 Rules Article
Unlicensed Translation of Blood Angels Codex

In addition they stated: "Please remove any remaining images, text and files which infringe Games Workshop's intellectual property rights."

When I first received the letter, we had about 4 days to comply based on their deadline. We removed those 4 files, and I replied via email to the legal department about complying with their demand. Matthew Monin was tasked with removing other files and manually went through and reviews over 700 files.

I apologize if you think we handled this wrong, but I believe we acted in the best possible manner for BoardGameGeek.


Note all the request are about items that gives rules for games that were in production. It is clearly illegal, and none were fan material in a true sence. I can understand why boardgamegeek deleted most to save them some work, but the chase could have been handled differently.

As a side note I downloaded files after this episode from boardgamegeek to replace some lost token for a game that is still in production. GW have clearly not seached good enough if they wanted to check if boardgamegeek did their job.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 21:43
Dreadfleet had a few problems that killed it before it got going. It wasn't compatible with Man O' War, so lots of folk were disappointed there. It was £70 for a completely unknown games, which is too much for a random impulse buy. The rules are widely regarded as dreadful, which in combination with the price (if it was cheaper, people would be more likely to buy before reading the reviews) and the compatibilty (people would have just bought it for the ships).

It's a shame that GW will take the failure of Dreadfleet to mean that all new games will fail, when the reason was simply that it was just a bad release.

Most people don´t even know there was a game called Man O war. How some made that an argument that was listened too is amazing.

And how can you say the the rules were widely regarded as dreadful? There is no proof on this but I guess the rating of boardgamegeek is the closest we get, and the site gives it a pretty high rating. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/108722/dreadfleet It have an average rating of 7,14 that is better or the same as acclaimed games like "Lost cities" "Bohnanza" and "Mr. Jack"

It was decided by the community that this game should fail before anyone had even played a singel game.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 21:50
Do you really believe this? That Dreadfleet shows the hate for GW? Really so what does Space Hulk show?

The hate for GW played a part in how the community turnend against it even before the game was played. Space Hulk is another story as it have become a holy grail in the wider boardgame community. Space hulk was just a good deal compared to Ebay. So the buyers swallowed their pride.

dirach.
13-12-2014, 22:06
Not at all. This is completely false. It made it no more difficult for GW to make new games than it made it more difficult for GW to make chicken sandwiches. GW does not, and has not in at least the last decade, made a single game for a broader audience*. Boardgamers rightfully stay away from GW because there are no products for them. And haven't been for years.

*though they have licensed a lot of stuff out through FFG and various mobile game developers. But those stand or fall based on the IP and what the licensees make of them, not GW or models. FFG has produced some decent games if your in to the specific types of games, but most of the computer companies make a hash of things.
I have answered your first part in an other post so I go to the last point.

GW don´t have a business structure that is really fit for the wider audience, but the FFG lisence is interesting. It doesn´t look like the GW tag is an advantage when selling games. They used it much the first years but now it is far between new games put in a GW world.

Geep
13-12-2014, 22:43
Most people don´t even know there was a game called Man O war. How some made that an argument that was listened too is amazing.
Although this is true, there are plenty of Man o War players out there (or would be players, like myself, if opponents were more available). Not a huge number, sure, but a definite interest base that could have been tapped without too much difficulty (coherent, if small, fleets instead of unique and weird special models).
Even if you ignore the Man o War potential, I know many Fantasy players (whether fans of the main game, Warmaster or Mordheim) who'd love ship rules and fleets suitable to a campaign. Dreadfleet failed in appealing to that group as well.
Dreadfleet was too much of a random shot-in-the-dark, hoping to sail through on GW IP, ignoring the fact that other companies exist that have already supplied gamers with the ship-battle experience they want. GW doesn't do market research. It should.

yabbadabba
13-12-2014, 23:27
I disagree with almost everything said on here about Dreadfleet.

Herzlos
14-12-2014, 06:26
Most people don´t even know there was a game called Man O war. How some made that an argument that was listened too is amazing.

But plenty do, and that's plenty who would have likely bought dreadfleet just for the ships. By making them in scale, you'd capture an extra market for essentially no effort.


And how can you say the the rules were widely regarded as dreadful? There is no proof on this but I guess the rating of boardgamegeek is the closest we get, and the site gives it a pretty high rating. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/108722/dreadfleet It have an average rating of 7,14 that is better or the same as acclaimed games like "Lost cities" "Bohnanza" and "Mr. Jack"

It does have quite a high rating, but skimming the comments that seems to be because the model quality is excellent. Barely any on the first page mention the rules (beyond it being "decent" or a "random dice fest" or that the book was flimsy).

I was going to buy it, and spent a while looking for reviews, almost all of them raved about how awesome the minis were, but how devastatingly boring the game was. It seemed fun at least but turned out to just be randomness with pretty much no player involvement at all (a bit like 40K is getting), where winning the game is just down to a lucky roll and you don't get any real influence in it at all. If you want to roll dice and push some cool ships around a table for an hour with no reason decision making then it's a successful game, but if you want a game that you can actually play rather than spectate then it's an unmitigated disaster.

I might still pick it up, if I can find it for £20 in a flea market. I've already passed it up for £35 (50% of RRP). Though I only really want the map for Dystopian Wars.

It's a shame; if the rules had been good (and lets face it, GW doesn't have any rules writers left so it's hardly surprising) then it could have been a real success.


It was decided by the community that this game should fail before anyone had even played a singel game.

I don't believe that was the case at all; it was viewed cautiously, and some people were excited about it, and then it came out, people played it, and everyone started to realise how crap it was.

Herzlos
14-12-2014, 06:27
I disagree with almost everything said on here about Dreadfleet.

What are your views on Dreadfleet?

dirach.
14-12-2014, 07:50
Although this is true, there are plenty of Man o War players out there (or would be players, like myself, if opponents were more available). Not a huge number, sure, but a definite interest base that could have been tapped without too much difficulty (coherent, if small, fleets instead of unique and weird special models).


But plenty do, and that's plenty who would have likely bought dreadfleet just for the ships. By making them in scale, you'd capture an extra market for essentially no effort.

But they would not be able to make the ships with so many details as they did, and clearly they had a strong focus on the visuals. They simply could´t make the game they wanted using Man O war as a template.



I know many Fantasy players (whether fans of the main game, Warmaster or Mordheim) who'd love ship rules and fleets suitable to a campaign. Dreadfleet failed in appealing to that group as well.

But there is also a group that constantly cries for GW expanding their univers. Many wants more detail on other parts of the world. The game gives interesting details on Araby, pirates and to some degree Chaos Dwarfs. The game should appeal to those who wanted something focusing on other parts of the warhammer world.



It does have quite a high rating, but skimming the comments that seems to be because the model quality is excellent. Barely any on the first page mention the rules (beyond it being "decent" or a "random dice fest" or that the book was flimsy).

It is a "storytelling" game, and many failed to see that and to me rolling a lot of dice is not the same as "bad". If they wanted a deep tactical game they should look somewhere else.

yabbadabba
14-12-2014, 08:10
What are your views on Dreadfleet? I think its a fantastic little game. The models and accessories are amazing. The rules are simple and quirky; they don't replicate naval warfare at all but there again no GW fantasy ruleset has ever been historically accurate, but they do feel like the rule systems of old - full of unusual little titbits. The game is quick and easy to play at a variety of levels, and it is one of the favourite pick-up-and-put-down-games for a light evenings worth of entertaining gaming.

GW got it wrong in two areas. The first was the price; while this is almost a quality board game, it isn't and they alienated a lot of customers who might have had a dabble if the price was lower. The second was managing expectations, GW have never really understood how to do that and how to manage the rumour mill. Now the problem with both of these is GW does nothing about them anyway, so the project was doomed from the start, but that shouldn't detract from a game which is visually beautiful and very enjoyable to play.

Herzlos
14-12-2014, 10:26
Thanks. Maybe I'll give it a go if I find it at £35 again

cornonthecob
14-12-2014, 13:07
Funny thing reading this is the 'GW makes OP rules for giant kits to sell at big £££££' makes me think of Warmahordes whom try to balance all there rules fairly evenly, made some giant expensive kits (colossals and gargantuans) and general playerbase agrees that they aren't that amazing, good but not amazing.

yabbadabba
14-12-2014, 15:16
Thanks. Maybe I'll give it a go if I find it at £35 again I should be getting a copy for £30.

spaint2k
14-12-2014, 15:55
The rules are simple and quirky; they don't replicate naval warfare at all but there again no GW fantasy ruleset has ever been historically accurate, but they do feel like the rule systems of old - full of unusual little titbits. The game is quick and easy to play at a variety of levels, and it is one of the favourite pick-up-and-put-down-games for a light evenings worth of entertaining gaming.

You must be joking. The rules are horrendous. The sheer amount of randomization means that you'll spend literally hours trying to get to grips with your enemy and you can kiss your tactics goodbye. The game is among the worst I've ever played and I highly recommend NOT buying it.

If you're stuck with it, maybe check out Jake Thornton's Quirkworthy blog for some commiseration and ideas for how to improve this bloody stool of a game.

yabbadabba
14-12-2014, 18:13
You must be joking. The rules are horrendous. The sheer amount of randomization means that you'll spend literally hours trying to get to grips with your enemy and you can kiss your tactics goodbye. The game is among the worst I've ever played and I highly recommend NOT buying it.

If you're stuck with it, maybe check out Jake Thornton's Quirkworthy blog for some commiseration and ideas for how to improve this bloody stool of a game. Do you know what, I like it. That makes your comment unwanted and unnecessary.

And for your information our average game time is under an hour. maybe you can't play it right?

HelloKitty
14-12-2014, 21:55
Dreadfleet was fun. It had potential to do what Man'O'War used to be... but sadly was dropped. I could have used it for a naval add on to our fantasy system :(

yabbadabba
14-12-2014, 22:01
Dreadfleet was fun. It had potential to do what Man'O'War used to be... but sadly was dropped. I could have used it for a naval add on to our fantasy system :( We are looking at double crossover rules, but that might be a good year down the line yet.

spaint2k
15-12-2014, 02:22
Do you know what, I like it. That makes your comment unwanted and unnecessary.

I wanted to provide a counterpoint for Herzlos before he flushes his money down the toilet on this game. If it makes you feel better I can edit my post to remove the quotation of your post.


And for your information our average game time is under an hour. maybe you can't play it right?

Maybe I can't. My average play time (over the sum of one, single game) might have been less than an hour as well but it felt like much longer. I certainly wasn't going to squander any more of my life on getting to grips with it more intimately in exchange for the dubious benefit of playing it quicker because the game is horrible. It's like playing Snakes and Ladders on a thousand-square board.

A "light evening's worth of entertaining gaming" Dreadfleet ain't. If you're looking for that I'd recommend something completely different like Bohnanza (boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/11/bohnanza) which has the advantage of being dirt-cheap as well as good fun, or if you must stay in Warhammer land, Chaos Marauders, which continues GW's fine tradition of being a massive luckfest but at least is good for a laugh or two, and it won't cost you nearly as much money, space or time as Dreadfleet.

The_Real_Chris
15-12-2014, 17:00
Jake T's most popular articles are the dreadfleet articles apparently...

He sums up the negative feeling well enough, though of course some people do like it. My mum likes snakes and ladders because she feels the reliance on just luck is an important lesson in life (conversation yesterday when i was trying to convince her to let me play a better game with my niece and nephew - I played dobble the second her back was turned :) ).

Jakes summary

Pros: the ships and mat are pretty.

Cons: everything else.



http://quirkworthy.com/2012/01/21/dreadfleet-salvage-project-version-1-0/

This is the first version of my house rules for Dreadfleet. It’s not a complete rewrite, but a cutting away of what I think of as dead wood that hides the worthwhile game underneath. Or, put another way, murdering some darlings that should have long since been safely hidden away under the turf.

His ever popular reviews
http://quirkworthy.com/2011/10/03/dreadfleet-review-first-game/

Note: random, random, random. Whilst skill will still come through, you will find yourself winning and losing through blind luck more than you may be used to. Whether this is a good thing or a bad one depends on your preference.

http://quirkworthy.com/2011/10/08/dreadfleet-review-2-more-ships-more-battles/

Bit more negative

...However, I always try to see behind the result to work out the why of the journey, if I can, as well as the what of the result. I don’t write stuff to bash GW or anyone else just because....

Sad as it is to say, I think Dreadfleet is the worst game that Games Workshop have ever made. Bar none. I’m not talking about the components here (which are fine), or the price (which is high), I’m talking about the playing experience (which is the worst).

The worst? Really? Worst by Phil? Worst this year? Nope. Worst ever. I’m trying to think of something that comes, as a whole package, further down the list than this, and am failing.

Worse than Combat Cards?

Worse than the Troll games?

Worse than Kerrunch! and SpaceFleet?

Yup, yup, yup.

BFalcon
15-12-2014, 18:21
Not played Dreadfleet, but the one thing they did wrong, in my view, was make each ship unique and not a standard type and then sell a unique ship on the website and in stores... they could have sold 2 or 3 boxes to people then and let them build fleets. A shame...

Voss
15-12-2014, 18:28
I don't know... Chainsaw Warrior was really bad, and much akin to Solitaire in the random 'Nope, you lose' factor.

Not saying Dreadfleet isn't bad (it is), but GW has some really horrible monstrosities hiding in the dim mists of the past.

yabbadabba
15-12-2014, 19:47
I wanted to provide a counterpoint for Herzlos before he flushes his money down the toilet on this game. If you had bothered to look back over the thread, I was providing a counter point to the negativity of Dreadfleet. You rather excessive negativity was not needed, and could have been presented in a more constructive, thread building manner.

If it makes you feel better I can edit my post to remove the quotation of your post. I'd rather you read more carefully first and dropped the attitude.

Greyshadow
15-12-2014, 21:55
But Dreadfleet also shows another problem. Many really hates GW out there, so no matter what they do they will have many "fans" against them right away.

I only bought Dreadfleet about a week before it was removed from the shelves in Australia. It was a demo game at my local GW where I saw the models and went 'wow'. I have since painted all the ships, islands and tokens to a high standard. I have also made a Bretonnian Galleon with my own rules and designed and playtested three scenarios that I used in our groups annual Warhammer campaigns.

The rules are written in quite a tight way, they aren't very readable though and a lot of long precise phrases are repeated in the books and cards which can be a bit tiresome when you are learning the game. They also made the mistake of the first scenarios in the rulebook (people's first impression of the game) as small skirmishes. This resulted in the 'Fate' or what I call 'Community Chest' cards adding three to five times the amount of random events than is normal in a game. Also, a cohesively painted and modelled fleet based game may have been preferred for some rather than the wide variety of designs and paint schemes.

That said the custom Dreadfleet games I have hosted have been a great success; tough, tactical, exciting, nail biting games where one mistake could mean the game. There is a good game in there. It seems the secrecy surrounding the games' development and lack of customer research may have resulted in some bugs slipping through though. I think Jake's article was way over the top. Glad I trusted my own judgement.

Greyshadow
15-12-2014, 22:31
Maybe I can't. My average play time (over the sum of one, single game) might have been less than an hour as well but it felt like much longer.

I do understand your first impression was bad but one game doesn't make you a well informed critic Spaint, maybe to avoid getting people's back up you should have pointed this out earlier and been a bit more circumspect.

Once you learn the game a bit better you start to get it. Remove the fate cards, add the wind system from Man o' War and you start to get at a very good game underneath. With some well designed scenarios you start to get a great game. Once you get in the swing of it the game does play quite fast, faster than Warhammer.

Shouldn't the game have been great straight out of the box? - yes, this is perhaps an example of the importance of making great games.

zoggin-eck
15-12-2014, 23:20
Seems the thread has gone on a bit of a Dreafleet tangent (as opposed to the topic we already know, that GW are a miniature making company? That's news? :D).

Funnily enough, I was asked the other day if we'd ever get around to playing. I bought it but was put off by how long the models/terrain would take me to paint. I hate playing with anything unpainted, so if it were simpler playing pieces or even card/tiles, I would have played it right away.

Just seems like a really poorly marketed game, sadly. As a light boardgame/miniatures game, it probably didn't need so detailed, large multiple piece models. I wish it had been pushed as a one-off boardgame and that GW released news earlier so people didn't talk it up as a Man O War replacement (or a 10mm scale game, possibly with Warmaster style models on deck!). Actually, I wonder if it would have done better as a FFG release? Same mat, art/book but perhaps smaller size mat and smaller/less detailed components and priced more in line with other games. Even just models that didn't need so much preparation work*

As for Jake's reviews, they came out around the time I read his appalling Kings of War siege rules, so I blatantly refused to take his opinion on anything for a while. :D

* Bear in mind I personally love the models and they were the reason I bought it in the first place.

Greyshadow
16-12-2014, 05:42
I'd just as soon you put me in your ignore file.

Mate, that was completely unnecessary. You revealed yourself that you don't have enough experience to provide meaningful thoughts on the subject beyond your first impressions.

Please don't slag off other forum members, go for a walk outside for a bit instead or something.

Yabba, please keep up your intelligent, well written posts, I enjoy them.

spaint2k
16-12-2014, 06:57
Mate, that was completely unnecessary.

You're right. I shouldn't be such a *********. I've deleted my post.


You revealed yourself that you don't have enough experience to provide meaningful thoughts on the subject beyond your first impressions.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I don't need (or want) more experience to know that the game is not for me and the amount of random makes it a horrible, pointless exercise of snakes-and-ladder-esque dullness and frustration.



Once you learn the game a bit better you start to get it. Remove the fate cards, add the wind system from Man o' War and you start to get at a very good game underneath. With some well designed scenarios you start to get a great game. Once you get in the swing of it the game does play quite fast, faster than Warhammer.


Quick answers:
Don't know the wind system of Man-o-War so I couldn't build that in.
First time round didn't know the fate system was so awful it needed removing.
Fast doesn't necessarily equal better (and better, faster games would be games like Netrunner or Conquest).

As you said, the game should have been better out of the box. As most of their games should. Warhammer 40K is unplayable for me these days, due to the fact that I find the games excruciatingly dull. The rule books are a dog's dinner of constant cross-referencing and flipping back and forth for "universal" special rules and the rules themselves just aren't very clever. The in-game options are limited and compared to MANY other games 40K just feels like a spectator sport that isn't very interesting - something like golf or cricket, you know, the sports that only really seem to exist so that the crowd can drink on a Sunday afternoon. [My opinion of course, other people out there might love golf, cricket, and 40K and not even drink while watching them].

Gonefishing
16-12-2014, 07:33
Once you learn the game a bit better you start to get it. Remove the fate cards, add the wind system from Man o' War and you start to get at a very good game underneath. With some well designed scenarios you start to get a great game. Once you get in the swing of it the game does play quite fast, faster than Warhammer.


Which takes us right back to the glaring problem with many of GW's games, to make them playable you end up having to rewrite the rules yourself.

Greyshadow
16-12-2014, 07:59
Warhammer 40K is unplayable for me these days, due to the fact that I find the games excruciatingly dull. The rule books are a dog's dinner of constant cross-referencing and flipping back and forth for "universal" special rules and the rules themselves just aren't very clever.

Yes, I got the same impression about 40K, it seems to be quite awful at the moment. I used to play 2nd and 3rd editions and I found third to be really good. Now 8th Edition Warhammer - fantastic, loving every minute of it. It still has that old games workshop goodness about it with armies still played along faction lines. Allies rules are really well done. Each faction that comprises your army has to be a legal army in its own right. This keeps armies looking cohesive and limits cherry picking of abusive units - although I play friendlies so not so much of a problem for me.


Which takes us right back to the glaring problem with many of GW's games, to make them playable you end up having to rewrite the rules yourself.

Well I agree in the sense you need to make summaries to get over the cross referencing problem - I really can excuse this in Warhammer Fantasy though as I thought they did a really good job of maintaining support for older books while making dramatic changes to the core game. Compared to the time it takes to build and paint an army, the time it takes to get your head around the rules is pretty insignificant. They are in a good place though for 9th if it turns out to be a minor update and does some much needed streamlining of the language of the rules.

frozenwastes
16-12-2014, 08:03
Yes, I got the same impression about 40K, it seems to be quite awful at the moment. I used to play 2nd and 3rd editions and I found third to be really good. Now 8th Edition Warhammer - fantastic, loving every minute of it. It still has that old games workshop goodness about it with armies still played along faction lines. Allies rules are really well done. Each faction that comprises your army has to be a legal army in its own right. This keeps armies looking cohesive and limits cherry picking of abusive units - although I play friendlies so not so much of a problem for me.

I've always thought of WFB as the better game of the two, but 8th killed the local community, so I never really got to play it enough to know if it actually is a good game or not. My favorite WFB is a tie between 3rd and 6th with just ravening hordes lists.

The End Times thing is doing what it can to bring people's attention back to WFB, but it might be too little, too late. With the emphasis being away from games and on collecting miniatures, I'm not sure even a Tale of Four Gamers article series would work. Tale of Four Collectors just isn't the same. :(

Tau_player001
16-12-2014, 14:18
I've moved this to the correct forum.

On-topic

GW ARE a miniatures company and not a games company.

Warhammer (a Citadel product) was written by Rick Priestly with the specific intention of increasing the sales of Citadel miniatures. Everything they produce is there to support the miniature range.

Wintermute
That doesn't mean it's the best business decission, which is what the OP is trying to discuss. I know people bring this up every single time, but i still see no value to it.

stroller
16-12-2014, 19:31
"GW ARE a miniatures company and not a games company.

Warhammer (a Citadel product) was written by Rick Priestly with the specific intention of increasing the sales of Citadel miniatures. Everything they produce is there to support the miniature range.

Wintermute
That doesn't mean it's the best business decission, which is what the OP is trying to discuss. I know people bring this up every single time, but i still see no value to it. "

However, GW DO see value in it, as quoted in the introduction of this year's annual report:

"We have a simple strategy at Games Workshop. We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever.

Simple, but every part of this statement is important.

We make things. We are a manufacturer. Not a retailer. We do have outlets in retail locations. We call these Games Workshop Hobby centres because they show customers how to engage with our hobby of collecting, painting and playing with our miniatures and games. They are the front end of our manufacturing business. If our Hobby centres do a great job, we will recruit lots of customers into our Hobby and they will enjoy spending their money on the products we make."

Voss
16-12-2014, 19:40
If that quote is trying to prove a point, it is doing a horrible job. (And it would be much more clear if you actually used the quote function.

One, it expects everyone to swallow Kirby as a knowledge expert, rather than someone driving the company into the ground. I wouldn't believe him if he said the sky is blue.

Two, it highlights an extremist view of a multi-tendrilled business operation. Having retail outlets as a primary method of interacting with customers and drives sales means you're both. Not one, with the second tacked on as if it were of no significance. This isn't an either/or scenario, and the big hat looking at the company as only a manufacturer is hugely problematic.

Three, he highlights miniatures and games equally, and stuffs them under the umbrella of 'Hobby.'

Fourth, it precludes the idea that GW management can be wrong. Given how things are going, it seems quite obvious that they can be, and often are.

yabbadabba
16-12-2014, 20:11
They have had that statement for over a decade now and have been discussing it for longer. Its only a problem now when the company isn't making money and isn't looking after it's old timers.

stroller
16-12-2014, 21:33
If that quote is trying to prove a point, it is doing a horrible job. (And it would be much more clear if you actually used the quote function.
The point is, whether you agree with it or not, that's what they SAY their business is about.

One, it expects everyone to swallow Kirby as a knowledge expert, rather than someone driving the company into the ground. I wouldn't believe him if he said the sky is blue.
It doesn't expect anything of the kind. Whether you believe him or not, or whether you agree with him or not, whatever anyone thinks GW SHOULD be doing, this is what they say they ARE doing.

Two, it highlights an extremist view of a multi-tendrilled business operation. Having retail outlets as a primary method of interacting with customers and drives sales means you're both. Not one, with the second tacked on as if it were of no significance. This isn't an either/or scenario, and the big hat looking at the company as only a manufacturer is hugely problematic.
I'm struggling to see how "we make things and sell them" is extremist. I would agree that they are a retailer, and that their retail and manufacuring functions are intertwined, but they are not a retailier in the way that my local games store, or ToysRUs are. If anything, the model is more similar to, say, Apple: manufacture/sell direct in own store/sell online direct/sell online and instore through third parties.

Three, he highlights miniatures and games equally, and stuffs them under the umbrella of 'Hobby.'
Which umbrella do you suggest he stuffs them under? "The Hobby" is, as has been discussed elsewhere, a convenient umbrella to cover "buy, build, paint & play GW".

Fourth, it precludes the idea that GW management can be wrong. Given how things are going, it seems quite obvious that they can be, and often are.
Huh? Of course GW can be wrong. But the basic idea "make & sell toy soldiers" (my quote) is one they have espoused for some considerable time. It HAS worked for them for some considerable time. They are still making a lot more money than I am, and a lot of people are still buying product, so I would assume that they are still getting some things right. Their pricing policy is discussed at length elsewhere. They produce some stunningly good models and some that are stunningly bad. Personally, I'm not remotely interested in the End Times, and have spent no money there, but others have. I fail to understand some of their limited run policies (also discussed elsewhere), and would like to have some of them available again, but I have to assume that they have done their sums and the result works for them. I believe that by NOT limiting those runs, they could have made more profit, but of course, at more risk.

If I have one point it is that what they do is bringing money in, and THAT is the point of the manufacturing & retail process: not to be cosy buddy buddies with "the community" (however much we would like that), but to make profits for shareholders as effectively as possible. How effective that is, or how much more they could make is speculation - and fun too.

Greyshadow
16-12-2014, 23:43
I've always thought of WFB as the better game of the two, but 8th killed the local community, so I never really got to play it enough to know if it actually is a good game or not.

I really was disappointed about this reaction reaction to 8th, apparently it happened in Australia too. I do wonder if the very high prices and lack of community participation coupled with the emergence of viable alternatives was the real reason behind this lack of take up. Maybe the radical change in the rules was all the excuse needed for people to jump ship.

These issues aside 8th Edition Warhammer is an absolutely fantastic game. I am still getting a kick out of it even though a new edition is about due. I could happily play 8th for another five years. I have found it the best edition out of 4th to 8th by a long way.

Geep
17-12-2014, 00:36
I really was disappointed about this reaction reaction to 8th, apparently it happened in Australia too. I do wonder if the very high prices and lack of community participation coupled with the emergence of viable alternatives was the real reason behind this lack of take up. Maybe the radical change in the rules was all the excuse needed for people to jump ship.

Yes, it happened in Australia too. For me, I disliked that the rules moved away from strategy and tactics and instead moved further into luck and randomness as being the deciding factors of a game (specific examples being the 'number 6' spells, random terrain, terrain doing next to nothing other than that random effect, random charge distances that are pretty similar for all units from dwarfs in heavy armour to light elven steeds). It's still a fun game, sure, but I just felt like I had less impact in the on-table events. I moved over to 40k instead- then 6th/7th ed happened there and that's now shelved too.

To relate this back to the main point of the thread- I no longer buy GW models because of the poor rules. That's a shame, as I like the models, but other companies now produce both good models and good rules. You can't neglect one side without impacting the other.

Greyshadow
17-12-2014, 01:00
Yes, it happened in Australia too. For me, I disliked that the rules moved away from strategy and tactics and instead moved further into luck and randomness as being the deciding factors of a game (specific examples being the 'number 6' spells, random terrain, terrain doing next to nothing.

Honestly, I feel the level of skill, strategy and tactics increased with 8th. Charge range is actually a bell shaped distribution rather than a random one for example. Instead of looking for THE solution you need to balance risk vs reward. Once you play a couple of games you start to appreciate how in depth the game is. Also, one point of movement can make a massive difference to the probability of making a charge. I do take your point on random terrain and 6 spells. Most gamers I know don't use mysterious terrain or use it sparingly. There are only a few spells that are abusive though, Dwellers for one, but there are a lot less abusive things than in 7th. Now that almost all the updated books are out the power balance between armies has never been this good.

I'd recommend you consider taking a fresh look.

frozenwastes
17-12-2014, 02:27
They have had that statement for over a decade now and have been discussing it for longer. Its only a problem now when the company isn't making money and isn't looking after it's old timers.

That's a good description of the rhetorical situation, but I'm not sure it gets to the heart of the matter as far as the original post is concerned. And it's sort of a tautology. It's only a problem when it's a problem. :D

Warhammer, from its inceptions, was designed as a vehicle to sell citadel miniatures. Selling is in their mission statement: "sell them globally at a profit." GW has been extremely vigilant in their cost cutting and monitoring of expenses over the last five or six years. So naturally they need to weigh the results of spending more money on rules development vs the return of the number of miniatures it would cause to be sold and the impact of that spending on the profit margins.

To quote the original poster:


whereas spending a tiny fraction of their budget on real games designers and developers could see a much greater increase in their revenue from the older veterans who are slowly migrating away.

From a customer perspective, there's very likely no disadvantage to a better designed and developed game. From GW's perspective, the "fraction of their budget" is money they aren't paying as dividends. The segment of the customer base (or potential customer base) that cares about rules to a sufficient degree that they are no longer regular customers of GW for that reason might not be able to be catered to while maintaining the margins GW is interested in having. They could spend the money on a more rigorous design and development process, but they elect not to. The reason is they are simply not interested in the type of customer who is sensitive to these issues.

If you care about quality game play enough that you might not purchase GW's products as a result, GW is not interested in you.

Should they be? Probably, but I think their declining revenue and falling unit sales volume is caused by multiple factors and I'm not sure addressing game play issues will have a direct benefit to their situation. And certainly not fast enough as rules development takes time. As does publishing. The current design team is needed to make the print and electronic content along the lines they are currently offering. So they'd have to spend money on additional personnel and hire and expand while their current business culture is one of cuts and lay offs and reducing spending.

I'm also not convinced that those customers who have already moved on for gaming reasons would come back if their issues were addressed. Many say that they will, but those truly interested in game play are going to find games to play in the mean time. So even if GW were to address their issues, GW would also have to sway them away from whatever they are spending their time and money on now.

Greyshadow
17-12-2014, 03:32
To quote the original poster:

From a customer perspective, there's very likely no disadvantage to a better designed and developed game.

A very insightful post Frozenwastes. I remember an annual GW report from a few years ago recognising the importance of making great games. Word of mouth travels very fast in the age of the internet and if you are not making a great game people are going to realise that very early on and will shy away from purchasing. I think GW do realise the importance of making great games but I think the problem lies when the integrity of the game is compromised to sell models. I remember Anthony Reynolds saying on a podcast that the design process was very collaborative and iterative when he was there. His account was that rules design was taken very seriously and often the need for a new type of unit would drive manufacturing and not the other way around. Maybe that balance has shifted too far from rules design?

frozenwastes
17-12-2014, 06:38
A very insightful post Frozenwastes. I remember an annual GW report from a few years ago recognising the importance of making great games. Word of mouth travels very fast in the age of the internet and if you are not making a great game people are going to realise that very early on and will shy away from purchasing. I think GW do realise the importance of making great games but I think the problem lies when the integrity of the game is compromised to sell models. I remember Anthony Reynolds saying on a podcast that the design process was very collaborative and iterative when he was there. His account was that rules design was taken very seriously and often the need for a new type of unit would drive manufacturing and not the other way around. Maybe that balance has shifted too far from rules design?

I think it's a case of the studio being good at what they do and passionate enough to do what they can, but there are only so many hours in a week. From people who know and game with studio members, I hear tell of a far looser approach to playtesting than one would think. That they think an idea up, give it a try a few times and call it done. They used to have playtest teams all over the world that they'd send stuff out to, but I'm not sure they do that anymore. The local team of playtesters hasn't been involved with a project since 4th edition.

I also find it very hard to believe that the creatives are driving product development. When you look on linkedin, all the people actually in charge (Mark Wells was head of product development, for example) seem to be management and accounting types rather than designers. I obviously don't know what their current culture is like in this regards. What we can do though is look at their results.

Unfortunately for GW, 40k is no longer a unifying force. It used to be that you could choose 40k or WFB as your game and rely on finding opponents who will be on the same page as you. Now the local community might be split between unbound vs force org chart, which detatchments are allowed, forge world or not?, ban units that create other units? and so on. Rather than being a source of clarity and unity, GW's current rules approach seems to muddy the waters and ask the customers to fix it.

I've heard the end times stuff for Fantasy doesn't have that problem though. That's it's mainly a 40k thing.

So that's one answer to the OP's question. The concentration on models over rules might have lead GW to inadvertently fragmenting their own player base as they struggle to make what GW is offering work for them. This was never an issue in the early 2000s. When a new Index: Astartes article came out and I made a successor chapter, it never crossed my mind that someone would tell me it's banned at a local league or something. Maybe GW really thought everyone would just embrace unbound and play everything vs everything all the time.

Herzlos
17-12-2014, 08:02
If I have one point it is that what they do is bringing money in, and THAT is the point of the manufacturing & retail process: not to be cosy buddy buddies with "the community" (however much we would like that), but to make profits for shareholders as effectively as possible. How effective that is, or how much more they could make is speculation - and fun too.

Engaging customers and making profits aren't mutually exclusive though; in fact it's likely easier to make profits by engaging customers (so you can make what they want). We develop electronic widgets and most of our new designs are developed alongside customers, we don't just make something and assume they'll buy from us.

Greyshadow
17-12-2014, 10:42
I wondering if dropping LOTR soon, which seems likely considering Kirby's statement in the last annual report, will help free up resources to address the issues you guys have outlined? Also, I am not sure that is entirely true about no external play testers since 4th. I remember something on bad dice recently that alluded to some inside knowledge about play testers. Not saying that there external relations are adequate though. (Not saying you are wrong either Frozenwastes).

frozenwastes
17-12-2014, 10:54
No, what I was saying is that the ones I knew stopped being used. Not that GW stopped using external playtesters. Just that the ones I knew in two Canadian and one US city were all dropped. They used to have a few volunteer programs like Grey Knights/Outriders and I remember the playtesters were part of a program called Techpriests. Perhaps the ones outside the UK were dropped or select ones were. Or perhaps the entire Techpriest program was cut just like the GK and Outrider programs were cut. I don't know.

I'm just skeptical than rigorous playtesting happens at all.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 12:29
They playtest still. However when they playtest they playtest from an Ivory Tower mindset - meaning they don't come at the game to break it. They test the game for its fun factor. When you aren't trying to bust the game, its great. However, when you playtest in this fashion then the people that want to break the game have an easier time doing it.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 13:20
They playtest still. However when they playtest they playtest from an Ivory Tower mindset - meaning they don't come at the game to break it. They test the game for its fun factor. When you aren't trying to bust the game, its great. However, when you playtest in this fashion then the people that want to break the game have an easier time doing it.

It also seems like they don't playtest in the sense of testing a condition, they playtest as in playing the game to test it. So while a true playtester might think "Let's see what happens when Unit X takes Option A and does Z" and sets up a specific condition to test just that situation, they'll just play a game and if they don't take Unit X with Option A, they never see that it creates something unbalanced, because they all take Option B instead.

For instance from what I heard they buffed Librarians and nerfed Chaplains because they only took Chaplains and Captains, even though Librarians were already powerful and the buff made them more so - it was in a pre-7th article in WD I think where they said they felt psykers needed a buff because everyone in the studio only took melee-focused Chaplains and Captains instead of Librarians for their SM armies. It never crossed their mind, because they never saw anyone take a Librarian so figured it must have bad rules, without actually testing it to see for themselves.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 13:25
I'm not a playtester so I couldn't say exactly what they do other than from the people I know who do playtest. Its more "we tested this, this librarian was pretty powerful".

GW: But was it fun?

They dont' playtest from a tournament point of view. That's where the disparity comes in between the company and some of the player base. They even have some tournament type guys on the playtest team but the overall feedback that GW looks for isn't if this would make for a fun tournament experience - its is this fun overall.

If your #1 concern is tournament styled balance then this answer will be no.

If your #1 concern is not tournament styled balance than the answer could be yes.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 13:28
But they don't even test for casual balance. There isn't some great divide between casual and competitive. A casual player wants balance just as much, if not more, than a competitive player because they are the ones most likely to field whatever looks cool without a care for performance, so performance should be a huge deal because performance directly impacts fun.

You, and many others, seem to think that fun can be had with fielding a unit that is total garbage on the table... I don't get that mentality. I'm by no means cutthroat competitive tournament, but from what I've seen in recent editions 40k screws over the narrative/fun/casual gamer twice as bad because they won't just pick the OP units like the competitive player will.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 13:38
Right they don't test for balance - they test for fun. Thats the ivory tower testing.

Fun can be had with fielding sub par units on the table. The fact that our fun / casual campaign crowd has more people than ever before in twenty years, which currently almost doubles the size of our old tournament group in the peak of the tournament days, is a testament to that mentality having a strong standing (we had 28 tournament players in the club during 4th/5th, and we have as of today 73 campaigners in our group today)

But then again that comes with how one defines garbage. For example - I would never field flayed ones because i find them to truly be garbage, but to a lot of people garbage is the 90% of the codex that isn't the best of the best. I gladly field middle of the road units (and win with them) because I need diversity in my games or I get burned out and quit (which is why i stopped tournaments, every opponent fielded pretty much mirror lists with some very minor variations here and there). However a lot of units that people say are garbage, they say so because the unit is not the best of the best or there is something more efficient, but to me the unit is still functional so I don't feel its garbage.

They may not be balanced - but they are still fun. And nothing is more fun to me than fielding a midling roster with units people call garbage and beating a player that takes something he got off dakka and seeing the look on his face and hearing him say "but those are crap....this shouldn't be possible" because it shows that you don't need to field the absolute best things to do well.

Now where they fail in my opinion is by creating lists that have utter no brainer selections that choose themselves. Things like wave serpents or annihilation barges or mindshackle scarabs... or 5th edition draigo lists. Those were not fun to play against, those are frustrating to play against because they are so cheap for what they do that the lists write themselves.

Another thing I'm not a fan of - psyker phase being fairly easy to get powers off and things like invisibility in conjunction with things like knights or the death company or whatever. Those can be frustrating - but for that I treat it like i treat powerful mages in fantasy - i try to kill the mage.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 13:44
I agree with you in part, but I think there's too many choices that are just worse in all ways than others (maybe not "bad" but worse at everything) and that's an issue. For instance, when I wanted to do Chaos I wanted to do Iron Warriors (like I had started just before quitting back in 3rd), I didn't want Plague Marines at all. I knew I'd be giving up some better units, but I don't think regular CSMs are "terrible". However, when I wanted to do Space Marines I wanted to do an all Terminator army (I even had a narrative about it being an elite strike team sent to capture/destroy a critical objective) and was told in no uncertain terms across three forums (including this one) that an all-Terminator army would have virtually no chance of winning. That's not acceptable to me.

To be honest, Kitty, I envy you that you seem to play in the proper environment for 40k. I would end up just going to the game shop to play and that means subject to playing competitive people and casual people alike depending on who actually shows up.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 13:53
It took a lot of effort to create that group, but yeah once the group is created I wouldn't have it any other way.

Something else I have done most of my life though is ignore the internet when they tell me I cannot do something. My last fantasy tournament was in 7th edition and I was told my chaos warrior army would get stomped. I ended up taking 2nd out of 19 people with it. It took some practice figuring out but it was a lot of fun doing and it meant more to me than when I was winning tournaments with what everyone else was winning tournaments with.

Scaryscarymushroom
17-12-2014, 17:03
They have had that statement for over a decade now and have been discussing it for longer. Its only a problem now when the company isn't making money and isn't looking after it's old timers.

If I recall correctly, it used to be wider than it is now. I think it used to be "best tabletop miniatures" or something to that effect. It's a weird statement now, because it says "best fantasy miniatures."


I'm not a playtester so I couldn't say exactly what they do other than from the people I know who do playtest. Its more "we tested this, this librarian was pretty powerful".

GW: But was it fun?

They dont' playtest from a tournament point of view. That's where the disparity comes in between the company and some of the player base. They even have some tournament type guys on the playtest team but the overall feedback that GW looks for isn't if this would make for a fun tournament experience - its is this fun overall.

If your #1 concern is tournament styled balance then this answer will be no.

If your #1 concern is not tournament styled balance than the answer could be yes.

I am still skeptical of this. Maybe they do, but here's how I imagine the conversation panning out.

QA1 who played space marines, QA2 who played sisters of battle or something, and GW are all in a room.

QA1: We tested this, this librarian was pretty powerful.
GW: But was it fun?
QA1: Yes.
QA2: No.

It's not because QA2 has tournament style balance in mind, it's because very few people like getting whupped in an unfair fight. Especially if it becomes a routine. Even most casual gamers don't like it. Maybe a higher percentage of "hobbyists" find it okay, but somehow I doubt it.

It takes a remarkable amount of maturity to go into a game, knowing it will be unfair, knowing you will almost certainly lose, and knowing that the players personally have very little to do with the outcome, and still be able to say to yourself, "you know what, it doesn't matter because its just a game and I'm going to find something in it to enjoy." Even if you're on the winning side, it can be a lot to ask of an opponent.

And before you suggest that I'm really just a competitive gamer and I don't know it yet, I'll come out full disclosure. I don't play many wargames at all. Mostly I collect and paint models, and play board and card games, including chess, pandemic, settlers of catan, call of C'thulhu, bang, dominion, and others. I've often had fun losing.

Occasionally, I will play Warmachine. It is an absolute fiction that Warmachine is balanced. Don't let anyone ever tell you this. The armies may be fairly balanced, but there are good models and bad models, and some armies have more good models than others. I'm the sort of player that will call up my opponent in advance and say "hey, listen, I want to bring my Kossite Woodsmen to this game, and they have awful rules. If I bring an Archangel, which also has awful rules, will you put it in your army? It'll be like a pillow fight." Then if they say no, I will bring something with an "A-game" instead, I put on my serious face, and I have fun. If they say yes, then I have the game I wanted to have, and I have fun.

It's possible to manage expectations with Warhammer 40k in the same way. However, the rules themselves don't really allow for the same level of strategic depth, which is why the game ultimately gets set aside. In addition to armies being unbalanced, a player's best option is usually obvious: get rid of the thing that can cause the most damage, before it can do any more damage. Beyond that, it's just a dice fest.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 17:10
Oh I absolutely know Warmachine is not balanced. Our warmachine players here say that often and in my limited exposure I knew this too.

The big difference between Warmachine and Warhammer is that PP supports tournament players with sanctioned tournaments and GW does not, so tournament minded players have a positive feeling towards PP and a negative one towards GW and express that whenever they can through variable phrases. One of which is its balanced more. I don't find that to be a true statement, rather I find that tournament players just don't like 40k because they don't hold tournaments anymore and left it to the community to police, so they are just aiming their disdain wherever they can.

I strongly feel that if GW still did Grand Tournaments with the exact same ruleset, that the disdain would be less (it would be the same as it was when GW ran GTs... there were still griping about balance etc pretty much always) because players would feel that GW still supported what they wanted.

I know the campaign guys did similar things years ago when the game was all about tournaments - its a human thing.

Warmachine is about as balanced as 3rd - 5th 40k was. There were blatant models that are just always showing up and there are models you never see.

You absolutely manage expectations in 40k the same as in warmachine.

I think the last time I played a game that had any meaningful strategy in it other than chess was Advanced Squad Leader. Warmaster can also have some strategies but you are spot on in most games I play (xwing, 40k, warmachine, whfb, battletech) the strategies are pretty one dimensional and straight forward.

If warmachine was less about kill the caster and win and had a standard game that was more than 30 or so models, I'd probably play it more. I did not like 5th edition fantasy because it was similar in that you typically had to kill the uber character in the other army and you'd win if you could do so. Just not my thing.

As to your example, I cannot comment on it with any clarity as I am not in a room where this discussion takes place. However judging from games days in the past and white dwarf battle reports, the armies being used to test these games are not reflective of what the tournament or competitive crowd would be taking in the first place. I will say with some confidence that when you are bringing lists that are akin to what the Ivory Tower would bring at a games day or a battle report, that the game IS a lot of fun, and that I suspect playtesting the rules involves using Ivory Tower army lists as opposed to cut throat competitive army lists. Which is probably where a lot of the disparity sources from.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 17:30
The big difference is that the line between "good" and "bad" in Warmachine is generally a lot shorter than in 40k. A bad Warmachine unit is often bad because it costs too much/isn't as good/has less synergy/is only good against certain matchups compared to another unit; in 40k a unit can be pretty much absolutely useless with literally no redeeming reason to take it.

If I want a lot of Man o War units in Warmachine, there are ways to make it work decently even if you understand you're taking subpar choices. If I want an all Terminator army in 40k, I'm just going to get curb stomped because they're terrible, and no amount of being a superior player is going to fix it.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 17:39
Sadly there is no way to quantify what is good or bad. We can quantify what is best typically though.

For example on the terminator example, we have a guy that runs Belial and pretty much all death wing terminators and he wins much more than he loses. He's a phenomenal player (and when he runs his tournament eldar he never loses, I don't think he lost once in all of 2014 at a tournament with them). He hears a lot of times how A) dark angels are supposed to be horrible and B) terminators are supposed to be horrible, but the truth on that example is that Dark Angels are a balanced list, and terminators are not as bad as people make them out to be.

Now a caveat is that he will tell you straight up that on a standard tournament table where everything can draw line of sight to everything else that he has a hard time breaking even at 3-3 for the weekend (though he usually manages that or 4-2), so your table types and mission types also play into the mix. Tournaments - terminators are a difficult unit to make work properly because of the environment and the standard tables that are used. I find that in many discussions when talking about if a unit is good or not the default assumed environment is a standard tournament table.

So it comes down to personal boundaries on where terrible and not terrible lies (since it cannot be quantified).

Gonefishing
17-12-2014, 18:19
The big difference between Warmachine and Warhammer is that PP supports tournament players with sanctioned tournaments and GW does not, so tournament minded players have a positive feeling towards PP and a negative one towards GW and express that whenever they can through variable phrases. One of which is its balanced more. I don't find that to be a true statement, rather I find that tournament players just don't like 40k because they don't hold tournaments anymore and left it to the community to police, so they are just aiming their disdain wherever they can.

I strongly feel that if GW still did Grand Tournaments with the exact same ruleset, that the disdain would be less (it would be the same as it was when GW ran GTs... there were still griping about balance etc pretty much always) because players would feel that GW still supported what they wanted.


I cant comment on the Warmachine/PP aspect of this, as I have never played it (and have no desire to play it), but from a tournament perspective I cant agree with your logic here, GW stopped running Tournaments a long time before 6th edition (in the UK at least), and the GT (Throne of skulls) was changed to "its all about taking part" format in October 2010, which is when to many it stopped being a proper tournament. The "Independent" tournament scene in the UK however continued to thrive (irrespective of GW) throughout the entirety of 5th edition (with most of these tournaments simply playing the rules from the BRB as written).

The reason that committed Tourney players and competitive (non-tourney players) express disdain for GW now is nothing to do with GW not running tournaments anymore, and everything to do with the fact that the rules they have produced with the advent of 6th are pretty much incapable of being played consistently in a Tourney setting. While 5th was not perfect, and in some ways was broken - it was still fun, and it did have a rule set that supported tourney play. To quote Alex Harrison (one of the more prolific UK Tourney gamers and member of the England ETC team) from another forum:



Unfortunately the hype is over and gw has gone from producing a broken but fun game to a broke with no joy game.

7th has not filled any loop holes within the game but simply created more. With the strange FOC, formations, lords of war, CAD etc. The games become too confusing and for a tournament player, there is no way we can justify spending the regions of 300 pounds updating our lists to compete at a competitive level when it isnt justified.

Why you ask, because its almost physically imposible to make a tac list with such a broad variety of imbalanced lists. Its gone from one extreme to the next and people are not interested in rock paper scisor hammer which started to creep in 6th.
With games such as xwing, warmahordes and even online gaming creating a big community with DECENT prize support, most competitive gamers are looking elsewhere.

After speaking to numerous tourney goers and even team england members, 7th is looking very bleak and hasnt given any of us a single ounce of enthusiasm to cotinue playing a broken game.


Yes, the fact that other companies do offer tournament support, has given the former 40K Tourney players other games to move onto, but the fact that GW don't run Tourneys anymore has nothing to do with why those gamers left or now disdain GW - that is entirely based on the rule set GW released, and the fact that this rule set no longer remotely supports completive play.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 18:39
I think the key there is the inability to create your "take all comers" list. Before there were basically three armies that you saw and each was a hard counter to one of the others. 3rd - 5th edition WAS all about rock/paper/scissors - so I find it hard to accept what he is saying that 6th and 7th are now rock/paper/scissors when before it wasn't when that was exactly what it was.

Now the hard counters have multiplied. That is one reason people complain - and again I am basing that off of asking for examples - they cannot take a hard counter to an event now with any guarantee of success. Before it was easy (and I used to travel a lot to tournaments so I understand the mentality) - you knew you would face one of three main armies and yourself took one of the three main armies (with some minor variations). You can't do that anymore.

Is that the main reason why tournament players quit? I think for some yes. Its harder to create a list that you know will do well today (which is part of the appeal for people like me). For all of them? No I don't think so. I think a lot of people say that but when you sit down and have a lengthy conversation the key is often this person's next statement:


With games such as xwing, warmahordes and even online gaming creating a big community with DECENT prize support, most competitive gamers are looking elsewhere.

I am willing to bet that if Games Workshop announced a GT circuit for 2015 with "world championship" prize support that your tournament community would come back (i daresay flood back), regardless of rules or balance (because creating a tournament list has always been about breaking balance to win the tournament). Its that GW does not support any real tournament circuit like FFG or Wizards or PP does. The indy GTs for 40k etc don't offer that level of prize support either.

And this would work like an avalanche. The more people in a community the more people they attract.

I have a feeling that this will indeed happen. Probably not next year but I solidly believe the tournament pendulum will swing back. That is both a good and bad thing depending on what you are looking to get out of the game.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 18:48
Well in GW's own words (in the WD after the Knight was released), Jervis feels that a "take all comers" army should be an impossible goal to reach but one that gets chased regardless.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 18:52
Yeah. I'm of the opinion that take all comers shouldn't be easy to reach as well. I think it was much easier in the past to create those kind of lists and we (the community) got used to that.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 19:24
Yeah. I'm of the opinion that take all comers shouldn't be easy to reach as well. I think it was much easier in the past to create those kind of lists and we (the community) got used to that.

I think that illustrates the fundamental difference in mindset. A balanced, TAC army should be the goal for pickup games at a game shop, because you can't always tailor your lists to a particular opponent. The idea that TAC shouldn't be able to be reached goes hand in hand with GW's idea that the game is a social thing that should be set up beforehand with a bit of discussion on what to do and what narrative to forge, almost closer to historical games which go along the same way. I have to admit that I don't have an issue with that in historical games, but it feels weird in 40k (and on the flip side, 40k-esque points to ensure balanced forces feel weird in historical games).

I find it quite interesting though. I don't like the idea of 40k type of points values for historical gaming, but I find that a TAC list is better suited to a "go down to the shop and play" type of game like 40k touts itself as being.

Very peculiar if I do say so myself, but I can't really agree or disagree.

HelloKitty
17-12-2014, 19:32
The reason I don't like TAC games is that mathematically there will only be a small subset of the game that achieves "TAC". The three or so armies you always see at tournaments. (when i say three armies I don't mean three rigid armies - for example star cannon spam was one of the TAC armies of 3rd edition and there were variations of it but in general we know what star cannon spam refers to)

This means that in a TAC environment I won't see much diversity, which is where most of my problems reside in it.

Now if the game was open where 2000 points was 2000 points then I'd be much more open to that facet, but 2000 points is never 2000 points in 40k. It looks like 2000 points but often performs as 4000 points ;)

Gonefishing
17-12-2014, 20:25
I think the key there is the inability to create your "take all comers" list. Before there were basically three armies that you saw and each was a hard counter to one of the others. 3rd - 5th edition WAS all about rock/paper/scissors - so I find it hard to accept what he is saying that 6th and 7th are now rock/paper/scissors when before it wasn't when that was exactly what it was.

Now the hard counters have multiplied. That is one reason people complain - and again I am basing that off of asking for examples - they cannot take a hard counter to an event now with any guarantee of success. Before it was easy (and I used to travel a lot to tournaments so I understand the mentality) - you knew you would face one of three main armies and yourself took one of the three main armies (with some minor variations). You can't do that anymore.


His comment was "rock paper scisor hammer which started to creep in 6th", not that previous editions were not Rock, Paper, Scissor, they were - but not because there were only 3 armies that were all hard counters to each other, but in the way that lists were constructed under a tight FOC. Rock, paper, scissors covered the fact that in most balanced Tac Lists you would face elements of X/Y and Z, or in a non balanced tac list heavy elements of one or two of those things. To break this down you could expect to face Vehicles/MC's, Infantry, Fast Assault/Assault, breaking into subcategories like heavy vehicles, light vehicles, heavy infantry/light infantry etc etc. I use to build my Tau Tourney list's with this in mind, IE. Anti Vehicle - Rail guns/Fusion for the Heavy Vehicles / Missile Pods for Light Vehicles / MC's / Heavy Infantry, etc. Building a Tac list was all about most effectively building hard counters for the elements you could expect to encounter across the board, not just 3 armies. And the skill was putting together the most efficient way of covering or negating those elements into one list, limited by FOC and the available choices from one codex- so that you could face and counter any army that was thrown in your path.

[Accepted, some armies were better at managing this than others - hence power lists at various stages throughout editions, but all armies to one extent or another were capable of it - it wasn't easy to do this however (speaking from experience as a Tau player, one of the codex's considered underpowered in 5th) but it was fun and formed part of the strategy of the game.]

That was the rock paper scissors of previous editions, 6th introduced the "hammer elements". IE, additional elements to consider. Which would not have been so bad, for example - if flyers had been the only addition to the game then they would have been incorporated - so you would have been building anti flyer into your tac lists and it would have become a consideration in your anti vehicle choices. But that Hammer covers everything from non standard FOC's, Flyers, Formations, Super Heavies, Allies etc etc. It is now pretty much impossible to build an effective all comers list in a competitive environment, as you could be facing virtually anything in any combination, in any amount (In my opinion its now more rock, paper, scissors, hammer, lizard, spock). Combine this with the fact that there is no Tourney standard anymore as every event seems to play a different variation of the game, and you face massive issues in both game/list consistency and the near impossibility of creating and refining an all comers list across multiple events - and that's why people abandon 40K tourneys (certainly that's been the conversations I have had with a lot of ex Tournament players, and the reason they have moved into different games - not because they can win a better prize, but because the rules better support a competitive game).



I am willing to bet that if Games Workshop announced a GT circuit for 2015 with "world championship" prize support that your tournament community would come back (i daresay flood back), regardless of rules or balance (because creating a tournament list has always been about breaking balance to win the tournament). Its that GW does not support any real tournament circuit like FFG or Wizards or PP does. The indy GTs for 40k etc don't offer that level of prize support either.

And this would work like an avalanche. The more people in a community the more people they attract.

I have a feeling that this will indeed happen. Probably not next year but I solidly believe the tournament pendulum will swing back. That is both a good and bad thing depending on what you are looking to get out of the game.

First I debate that building a tourney list has always been about [I]breaking balance to win the tournament, the key to building a decent tournament list has always been covering the required elements and creating a list best placed to deal with them [hence the whole rock/paper/scissors in the first place], although thanks to dubious codex writing and play testing some times certain lists were so good at this that they did break balance (I'm looking at you Grey Knight's). Second, on your general point - I'm not so sure, a GW tournament circuit might (might) tempt some players out of retirement to play again, but in all likelihood only in that specific tournament [just as the majority of the ETC player's now only attend the ETC and not the other Tournaments] rather than kick starting a new avalanche of tournament play across the board. Prizes are nice - but I cant say I ever rocked up to a major tournament with my Tau expecting to win one, it was more about placing as highly as I could and playing six fun, challenging games with a decent rule set - I think the best position I ever got with my Tau was 20th out of a 150 in one of the UK GT finals, and I was over the moon with that!

That said, for GW to actually go back into the Tournament arena they would need to significantly alter/rewrite there current rule set into a format suitable for competitive play, and if GW did this (and did it well) then I expect that would become the standard rule set for independent tournaments as well - if that happened, and we had a global version of the game again centered around a competitive rule set with a defined(consistent) interpretation of those rules - that could swing the Tournament pendulum back into place, but that would be based on the rules not the prizes. The game itself will always be the most important thing in that arena.

Avian
17-12-2014, 20:46
The big difference between Warmachine and Warhammer is that PP supports tournament players with sanctioned tournaments and GW does not, so tournament minded players have a positive feeling towards PP and a negative one towards GW and express that whenever they can through variable phrases.
What?



What?



You think THAT is the big difference?



That is literally the first time I've ever come across anyone saying that. Yes, PP clearly tries to produce a game that CAN be played competitively, by for example writing the rules clearly enough that ambiguities are limited, but one major reason why GW doesn't do tournaments any longer is that their games CAN'T be played competitively without the tournament organizer putting in extra work in the form of FAQs, house rules and similar. They used to run tournaments - with daft results - and so rather embarassed they stopped running tournaments. One might suggest that they instead try to make their games not produce daft result.

I don't doubt for one moment that if GW actually organized a tournament somewhere, players would turn up, but I'm quite confident that these would be existing GW players and that the number of returning people who'd left to play other games would be really small. If you'd left GW because they aren't running tournies then you are now probably playing some other game that's 1) better suited to this, and 2) has official tournies. So why would you return?

Scaryscarymushroom
17-12-2014, 21:10
[Accepted, some armies were better at managing this than others - hence power lists at various stages throughout editions, but all armies to one extent or another were capable of it - it wasn't easy to do this however (speaking from experience as a Tau player, one of the codex's considered underpowered in 5th) but it was fun and formed part of the strategy of the game.]

No. I'm sorry, but not every army could do this. As a Sister of Battle player, I had immense difficulty handling anything that was fast and good at melee. Even worse if it was armored. By the time the white dwarf army list came out, there was only one style of remotely competitive Witch Hunters list - everything was in Rhinos with smoke launchers and extra armour, and it took as few troops as possible.


Warmachine is about as balanced as 3rd - 5th 40k was. There were blatant models that are just always showing up and there are models you never see.

I get the impression that you and I had very different experiences with each of these games.

Throughout my time playing 3rd-5th 40k, balance was horrible. I could ramble on with details about Grey Knights (pre and post Mat Ward for examples of wild imbalance in both directions) and other specific examples from all over the board (Necrons, SoB, Khorne, Orks, Tyranids) But, I'll spare everyone the wall of text until my more detailed thoughts on balance have been asked for.

Succinctly put, whole armies were designed without effective answers to many of the challenges they would see on the tabletop. Many of them had inefficient troops choices and HQs that felt like a tax to pay, in order to get the useful stuff. As a Sisters of Battle player, I have repeatedly felt like nothing in my army can deal with certain problems. Even when it can, my choices as a SoB player were so limited that the army lists wrote themselves and even then I struggled to have a fair chance.

When I started playing Warmachine, I was told the game was much more balanced than Warhammer. After I bought my starter set, I was greatly disappointed to discover that one of my favorite warcasters (Zerkova) was almost irredeemably bad. :( I felt lied to. But, as a Khador player, at least I have never felt like I am completely without good tools in the list building stage. This is probably the biggest difference between the imbalances in Warmachine and the imbalances in 40k.

yabbadabba
17-12-2014, 21:11
That's a good description of the rhetorical situation, but I'm not sure it gets to the heart of the matter as far as the original post is concerned. Originally that comment was aimed to address Voss's comments - you can find criticism in anything if you try, it doesn't change anything. The problem is one of Voss's perception not meeting the reality of the GW boardroom, and Voss loses out in that instance.

And it's sort of a tautology. It's only a problem when it's a problem. :D. Not quite, but I like the effort ;). People have made it a problem because now they are looking for issues to criticise the company and the upper management.


If I recall correctly, it used to be wider than it is now. I think it used to be "best tabletop miniatures" or something to that effect. It's a weird statement now, because it says "best fantasy miniatures." When I joined in '94, it was TGD - Total Global Domination. As GW got more city types on the board, and got more used to how the city worked all that changed. In around 1999 Jervis started talking about GW being a minis company first and foremost as he was asked by the board to define what the hobby was - collecting, painting and playing with Citadel miniatures. Notice how while the actions embrace all of GWs outputs, its the miniatures that define the company via its products.

RandomThoughts
17-12-2014, 21:33
I get the impression that you and I had very different experiences with each of these games.

Throughout my time playing 3rd-5th 40k, balance was horrible. I could ramble on with details about Grey Knights (pre and post Mat Ward for examples of wild imbalance in both directions) and other specific examples from all over the board (Necrons, SoB, Khorne, Orks, Tyranids) But, I'll spare everyone the wall of text until my more detailed thoughts on balance have been asked for.

Succinctly put, whole armies were designed without effective answers to many of the challenges they would see on the tabletop. Many of them had inefficient troops choices and HQs that felt like a tax to pay, in order to get the useful stuff. As a Sisters of Battle player, I have repeatedly felt like nothing in my army can deal with certain problems. Even when it can, my choices as a SoB player were so limited that the army lists wrote themselves and even then I struggled to have a fair chance.

When I started playing Warmachine, I was told the game was much more balanced than Warhammer. After I bought my starter set, I was greatly disappointed to discover that one of my favorite warcasters (Zerkova) was almost irredeemably bad. :( I felt lied to. But, as a Khador player, at least I have never felt like I am completely without good tools in the list building stage. This is probably the biggest difference between the imbalances in Warmachine and the imbalances in 40k.

I think one of the issues with Warmachine is that its balanced for competitive play. There are answers to almost all questions that can be asked, but finding the correct answer to a question that is bugging them can drive new players crazy with frustration.

I actually keep hearing that Infinity is way ahead these days of WMH in regards to balance. This is just a theory, but I think part of that is that they have not so many crazy models out there, focusing on a more homogenous model pool. And thus a smaller variety of questions a player has to be prepared for.

ObiWayneKenobi
17-12-2014, 21:58
When I started playing Warmachine, I was told the game was much more balanced than Warhammer. After I bought my starter set, I was greatly disappointed to discover that one of my favorite warcasters (Zerkova) was almost irredeemably bad. :( I felt lied to. But, as a Khador player, at least I have never felt like I am completely without good tools in the list building stage. This is probably the biggest difference between the imbalances in Warmachine and the imbalances in 40k.

The big difference here is that there are ways to win with Zerkova; she's bad, but not so bad that she'll lose you a game just by virtue of taking her. Compare that to things in 40k that are subpar like Warp Talons or Mutilators, where taking them as a choice is actively hurting everything, no matter how you use them.

ColShaw
17-12-2014, 22:16
When I joined in '94, it was TGD - Total Global Domination. As GW got more city types on the board, and got more used to how the city worked all that changed. In around 1999 Jervis started talking about GW being a minis company first and foremost as he was asked by the board to define what the hobby was - collecting, painting and playing with Citadel miniatures. Notice how while the actions embrace all of GWs outputs, its the miniatures that define the company via its products.

When I worked for GW in '04-'05, "Total Global Domination" was still their catchphrase.

Gonefishing
17-12-2014, 22:40
No. I'm sorry, but not every army could do this. As a Sister of Battle player, I had immense difficulty handling anything that was fast and good at melee. Even worse if it was armored. By the time the white dwarf army list came out, there was only one style of remotely competitive Witch Hunters list - everything was in Rhinos with smoke launchers and dozer blades, and it took as few troops as possible.

The qualification is that every army could do it, but some were better than others. Sister's sadly (although one of my favourite armies, and the main army of a very good friend of mine) were at the very bottom of that pile in terms of versatility. Like Tau they did not have a 5th edition codex for a long time (well, Tau never had one), and when it di finally arrive it was a bit of a hatchet job. That said, my friend had some good success with the old codex in 5th with some very different tactics, combining 4 big blob squads of 15/20 sisters (not in transports), 3 exorcists, and a roving canoness (along with another unit I have forgotten the name of, possibly Celestines?) in immolators. A very "non standard" list for the time, but it worked for him.

The sisters units pumped out enough fire power to clear away horde/light infantry/heavy infantry (through ROF and pesky divine guidance) and a mix of meltas/flamers let him thin out horde or take down vehicles close up. They were also a close combat tar pit (Inv faith saves, unmodified LD 9 or 10 etc.) that was hard to shift. Exorcists took apart vehicles and MC's of all flavours, and the roving cannoness/celestines provided great back up and a bit of mobility. It was a nonstandard way to play sisters, and he struggled with mobility - but his army was able to build itself into covering multiple different elements - admitably with less choice and flexibility than other armies - but I would argue it could still do it and did have more than one competitive "out" (and quite a few witch hunter lists got some good tourney results out of 5th, especially early 5th).


The big difference here is that there are ways to win with Zerkova; she's bad, but not so bad that she'll lose you a game just by virtue of taking her. Compare that to things in 40k that are subpar like Warp Talons or Mutilators, where taking them as a choice is actively hurting everything, no matter how you use them.

Check out Aun'va the space pope in the last Tau Codex, 205 points of pure monkey droppings which actively hurt your army far more than it helped it! (and don't even get me started on Fire Warriors lol).

Scaryscarymushroom
18-12-2014, 00:08
The qualification is that every army could do it, but some were better than others. Sister's sadly (although one of my favourite armies, and the main army of a very good friend of mine) were at the very bottom of that pile in terms of versatility. Like Tau they did not have a 5th edition codex for a long time (well, Tau never had one), and when it di finally arrive it was a bit of a hatchet job. That said, my friend had some good success with the old codex in 5th with some very different tactics, combining 4 big blob squads of 15/20 sisters (not in transports), 3 exorcists, and a roving canoness (along with another unit I have forgotten the name of, possibly Celestines?) in immolators. A very "non standard" list for the time, but it worked for him.

The sisters units pumped out enough fire power to clear away horde/light infantry/heavy infantry (through ROF and pesky divine guidance) and a mix of meltas/flamers let him thin out horde or take down vehicles close up. They were also a close combat tar pit (Inv faith saves, unmodified LD 9 or 10 etc.) that was hard to shift. Exorcists took apart vehicles and MC's of all flavours, and the roving cannoness/celestines provided great back up and a bit of mobility. It was a nonstandard way to play sisters, and he struggled with mobility - but his army was able to build itself into covering multiple different elements - admitably with less choice and flexibility than other armies - but I would argue it could still do it and did have more than one competitive "out" (and quite a few witch hunter lists got some good tourney results out of 5th, especially early 5th).

What size games does he usually play?

Exorcists are kinda good, but they suffer from glass cannon syndrome and compete for heavy support slots with AP1 heavy bolters. They also don't give you faith points, and in 5th, they still struggled with Arm 14.

I tried fielding big blob squads a couple of times, but found that they got assaulted before they could get into that 12" sweet spot. Then they just block line of sight and keep my opponent safe from getting fired at for several turns while they make toothless S3 attacks, and suffer from having t3 until they eventually fail their leadership test. That's why the vehicles are important. Keep you from getting locked in combat.

P.S. they are called celestians. :)

P.P.S. Divine guidance only really worked well with smaller squads, because you needed to roll equal to or over the number of members in the unit on 2d6 to make it work at all. Are you sure your friend was doing it right? The heavy bolter squads with divine guidance are great, but the troop squads can only pull it off once, effectively, with the help of a canoness and special wargear.

EDIT: also, until Codex Grey Knights came out, Daemonhunters were at the very bottom, below Sisters of Battle. They were the main army of a friend of mine. They suffered quite badly from a lack of options, with each of their basic models costing 25 points each, and having no fast attack. An army of 5 land raiders/crusaders, plus bits and bobs, was about as good as they could do.

EDIT2: I always wanted to play Apocalypse at standard point values, with a Stormlord -- the superheavy vehicle with the s6 ap3 super bolter that can transport a squad of 20. But I never convinced anyone that it would be fun.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 03:05
[/quote]I get the impression that you and I had very different experiences with each of these games. [/quote]


Compare that to things in 40k that are subpar like Warp Talons or Mutilators, where taking them as a choice is actively hurting everything, no matter how you use them.

I think that its that what each person defines as balanced or not balanced is widely variable. For example, there are only a small handful of things i'd consider are so bad in 40k that they really shouldn't be bothered taking. I hear a lot about units like terminators, warp talons, mutilators, banshees, and i have heard plenty of talk about assault marines being so bad that if you take them you'd lose (see wayne's quote above). But then I have experiences like just this past weekend where we did a battle report for the upcoming campaign and the chaos player did an assault list with mutilators and warp talons taking on an ultramarine army and won where we are playing two different games I think just for 40k which definitely influences our perspective.

As an eldar player I use banshees quite a bit, and do well with them, but you hear about how worthless they are in an eldar army and how bad they are. It really is two different games.

When I say something is imbalanced in warmachine - its the same construct for me as 40k in that there are units that are just plain better, and then units that are subpar but you could win with if you were ok with a more difficult game (same with warp talons, terminators, banshees, etc).

Now a lot of that has to do with what type of games are being played as well. The big difference in the games I participate in is that the missions are hugely varied and the terrain is hugely varied.

If we're talking about a tournament, or a random store game that is a lot like a tournament, then at that point I can kind of understand your perspective because those are the types of games where the terrain is limited, you are probably playing a core scenario, and things are definitely not so good for those units.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 11:24
Nah I'm talking about regular games. It's one of many things that keep me from wanting to put any money into 40k because I like Terminators (see previous ranting about an all Terminator army), I like Warp Talons, hell most of what I'd do would probably be subpar units because I enjoy making my own themed forces. Sometimes that might be good (if I played Eldar I would do an Iyanden-style wraith army, for example) and sometimes bad (if I played Chaos, there'd not be a single Mark of Nurgle in the army).

Once again I envy you because it sounds like you're playing in the same type of environment that GW themselves do, which is also an environment I've never seen even years ago when I played 40k regularly.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 12:30
Once again I envy you because it sounds like you're playing in the same type of environment that GW themselves do, which is also an environment I've never seen even years ago when I played 40k regularly.

I like what you said here because it touches on something very important.

I can't remember when it was... I think after a bunch of my friends and I quit GW for a few years, we discussed getting back in. We quit around 2007 or so and stayed away until 2010. I had actually sold all of my armies off and books except for a few collector's item. We were up until then all hard nosed tournament guys. We only really played in tournaments, or leagues, and our non tournaments or leagues were pick up games to tune armies for tournaments or leagues.

We all were in a garage one day looking at models and we discussed where things went wrong (since after devoting over a decade into a hobby and then just quitting it cold turkey it seemed obvious SOMETHING was wrong) and thats where we realized that if we were at a crossroads.

If we wanted to continue down the path of tournaments, leagues, competitive play in general - that we either start playing Magic again or find a game like warmachine to get into.

If we wanted to see ALL of the 40k and fantasy game, and not just the tip of the iceberg present in those environments, we would have to start playing in an environment like GW designed for.

The reason a good dozen of us quit was because we were all burnt out and bored on seeing the same things every game for years.

We obviously chose the latter. It is indeed a conscious decision to do so though. It took a solid year or two of creating events and our first one in 2010 had seven people. Today we have over seventy. The desire is there - however it needs to be created and nurtured and events for it created. Once that happens and it starts building momentum, the community is there.

Ultimately it is a conscious decision to approach the game as GW does to get the most out of it.

EmperorNorton
18-12-2014, 12:56
I like what you said here because it touches on something very important.

I can't remember when it was... I think after a bunch of my friends and I quit GW for a few years, we discussed getting back in. We quit around 2007 or so and stayed away until 2010. I had actually sold all of my armies off and books except for a few collector's item. We were up until then all hard nosed tournament guys. We only really played in tournaments, or leagues, and our non tournaments or leagues were pick up games to tune armies for tournaments or leagues.

We all were in a garage one day looking at models and we discussed where things went wrong (since after devoting over a decade into a hobby and then just quitting it cold turkey it seemed obvious SOMETHING was wrong) and thats where we realized that if we were at a crossroads.

If we wanted to continue down the path of tournaments, leagues, competitive play in general - that we either start playing Magic again or find a game like warmachine to get into.

If we wanted to see ALL of the 40k and fantasy game, and not just the tip of the iceberg present in those environments, we would have to start playing in an environment like GW designed for.

The reason a good dozen of us quit was because we were all burnt out and bored on seeing the same things every game for years.

We obviously chose the latter. It is indeed a conscious decision to do so though. It took a solid year or two of creating events and our first one in 2010 had seven people. Today we have over seventy. The desire is there - however it needs to be created and nurtured and events for it created. Once that happens and it starts building momentum, the community is there.

Ultimately it is a conscious decision to approach the game as GW does to get the most out of it.

How do you make sure that new people joining your group or attending your events adhere to the same credo?

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 13:18
How do you make sure that new people joining your group or attending your events adhere to the same credo?

We have a codified set of event rules and explain up front the goal and why things are what they are.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 14:38
We have a codified set of event rules and explain up front the goal and why things are what they are.

And this is really the best way to play the game. I've also never seen this in practice, it's always been literally random games at a game shop, with people that you only know because they come to the game shop every week. I do think 40k is much better when you play with an established club (even if said club plays at a game shop).

On that note though, there's a nice thread on the PP forums that highlights the similarities between the games. It was about how Man-O-War units should get a buff in the next Warmachine book, Reckoning. Replies ranged from agreement to "They're fine, you aren't using them right" to a discussion of whether something should be good in casual games and poor in competitive ones, to mentioning how the WMH competitive scene was morphing into netlists and skews.

It really brought home the fact that while IMHO WMH is more balanced (generally speaking) than 40k, but it's not the huge gulf I thought. They're still close, just it seems right now it's less harsh on you if you take a "bad" unit in Warmachine because that unit tends to do different things, while in 40k it tends to just flounder around doing not much of anything.

Sephillion
18-12-2014, 15:09
When I started playing Warmachine, I was told the game was much more balanced than Warhammer. After I bought my starter set, I was greatly disappointed to discover that one of my favorite warcasters (Zerkova) was almost irredeemably bad. file:///C:\Users\Soludoc\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\0 1\clip_image001.pngI felt lied to. But, as a Khador player, at least I have never felt like I am completely without good tools in the list building stage. This is probably the biggest difference between the imbalances in Warmachine and the imbalances in 40k.

The thing is that when people say Warmachine (or any other game I know of) is balanced, it doesn’t mean the balance is perfect, it doesn’t mean there aren’t duds, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t God-tier models. It also doesn’t mean that you can just assemble a semi-random list of models (say, chosen because they look good, without really regards to their rules), reach 50 pts and expect to compete with a well-thought list. Of course, some people claim the game is perfectly balanced or will seem so enthusiastic that the reality sometimes get distorted and some people come in with higher expectations.

Rather, I feel WMH players say the game is balanced (or at least, more balanced than 40K, which admittedly doesn’t mean much) because each army can compete (even Minions can achieve good results nowadays), most models are at least usable at PUG semi-competitive level (very few absolutely terrible options, and some casters can alleviate bad models’ flaws), there are ways to “mitigate” the game’s randomness (through boosts, reliance on buffs, etc.) integrated into the core system, and skill is a bigger component than 40K (due to all the possible model interactions; some champions managed to win tournaments using specifically models that aren’t top-tier, or even low-tier). Tournament lists are very varied under most factions, and even two lists with a same Caster can end up wildly different.

All that doesn’t mean there aren’t duds (there are some, and they are glaring – Kossites, Legion Archers, Corruptor, most of the first generation Battle Engines), that there aren’t models that are in a higher “tier” (Asphyxious 2, Haley) or that there aren’t bad matchups (Syntherion vs anyone with Purification is going to fight a hard battle!). There is much room for improvement, and I’m sure there are games that do it better. But for a game as complex as WMH, it’s quite a feat (no pun intended).

I think the issue is that some people have different views of what balance is (some people literally feel that there is no degree of imbalance) exactly.

…And Zerkova, in the hands of my more talented and, especially, much more experienced friend, can actually be quite scary!

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 16:20
I think the big thing is that WMH is unbalanced, but more balanced than 40k so it looks better in comparison. But it's not really good balance, just better than 40k which has virtually no balance whatsoever. I do find it sometimes a lot more frustrating to play WMH, maybe because of the huge level of tactical depth that it offers, while 40k feels a good bit simpler and more creative on the hobby side rather than the gameplay side.

EmperorNorton
18-12-2014, 16:24
We have a codified set of event rules and explain up front the goal and why things are what they are.

Shouldn't the rules you buy do that?

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 16:24
How do you make sure that new people joining your group or attending your events adhere to the same credo? I would assume the same way as any other society or community.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 16:31
Shouldn't the rules you buy do that?

Especially when the rules just for the game are $85, nevermind the book you need to actually play is another $50 minimum.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 16:44
Shouldn't the rules you buy do that?

Not necessarily because rules don't necessarily enforce goal or intent of environment.

It really comes down to a choice:

1) how do you make 40k and fantasy enjoyable? Do that
2) rely on GW to make 40k and fantasy enjoyable. They don't do what I want, so quit 40k and fantasy.

We chose option 1. If we wanted to stay in tournament / ultra competitive mode - we would have chose option 2.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 16:52
Not necessarily because rules don't necessarily enforce goal or intent of environment.

It really comes down to a choice:

1) how do you make 40k and fantasy enjoyable? Do that
2) rely on GW to make 40k and fantasy enjoyable. They don't do what I want, so quit 40k and fantasy.

We chose option 1. If we wanted to stay in tournament / ultra competitive mode - we would have chose option 2.

I agree to a point, but don't you think that paying $85 for things that you then need to go and write your own addendum to is a bit much?

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 16:55
No - because there is nothing on the market today that fits the desire for what I want to play. 40k and WHFB are the closest fit for the style or type of game that I want to play, so I pay for it. If there was a better alternative, I would choose that.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 17:01
No - because there is nothing on the market today that fits the desire for what I want to play. 40k and WHFB are the closest fit for the style or type of game that I want to play, so I pay for it. If there was a better alternative, I would choose that.

It's not about fitting the type of game though, it's about paying a large amount of money for rules that you need to fix yourself. You might not mind that part, but you really don't see anything wrong with the equivalent of charging for a preassembled kit and then having it be in pieces with instructions to build it yourself? People buy rules assuming they require little or no modifications, at least not for typical play.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 17:10
I have a choice that I can make (you are asking me my own opinion on if I think its ok to pay $85 for rules so I am explaining to you why I do it and play the game and enjoy myself doing so)

* I can write my own set of rules. I've done this. Why this fails is that unless I enjoy playing with myself this is not really a viable option no matter how great I think my rules are.

* I have identified that I really like the 40k and fantasy universe. I then decide are the rules that bad that I can't use them. I have evaluated that there are flaws with the rules but that they can be modified to provide a good experience. The number of modifications that our group uses to the core rules are very small.

* I can find an alternative game system that has better rules. I have looked. There are none that engage me or I don't feel the rules offer any real improvement or the rules provide an experience for me that is not appealing. I can't get into Kings of War, Warmachine, Infinity, Malifaux, Bolt Action, or Flames of War because the mechanics either turn me totally off, or I am not engaged enough, or I cannot get anyone to play the game here and playing with myself is not fun (see option 1)

* I can quit wargaming until a game system arises that both has tight rules and engages me. This is not an option for me as I greatly enjoy wargaming.

I have gone with modifying the 40k and fantasy rules to produce a system that provides a good experience so that I can enjoy my time.

I don't see anything wrong with tinnkering with rules because barring playing in competitive events, I have always played in groups in RPGs and wargames that tinker with the rules since the early 1980s so that to me is par for the course. I have never been a RAW player or a player that has a hard time moving from RAW - in fact I have always encouraged making games your own and modifying them as needed.

That has always been a schism in any gaming community (RAW vs Modification). If I was a player that did not like to deviate from RAW then I would probably have quit wargaming many years ago and not returned (indeed some of my older army friends are this way and dropped out of the hobby over a decade ago for that very reason - not wanting to deviate from RAW but not having any rules out there that engaged them, excited them, or had anyone willing to play them)

I also acknowledge that despite my high opinion of my gaming group / community, which has a very large number of players and helps push 40k and fantasy because of that, that there is a large number of people in our community that do not like our group BECAUSE we deviate from RAW and they don't feel you should be playing with any houserules at all. However - I long ago realized that trying to please everyone is a fruitless task so we focus on those that are like-minded and let everyone do their own thing.

Scaryscarymushroom
18-12-2014, 17:13
I would assume the same way as any other society or community.

With courts of law, a penal system, and rehabilitation? Or are you talking about sociological punishments, like exile and anomy?

;)

Gonefishing
18-12-2014, 17:19
Not necessarily because rules don't necessarily enforce goal or intent of environment.

It really comes down to a choice:

1) how do you make 40k and fantasy enjoyable? Do that
2) rely on GW to make 40k and fantasy enjoyable. They don't do what I want, so quit 40k and fantasy.

We chose option 1. If we wanted to stay in tournament / ultra competitive mode - we would have chose option 2.

I went option 2, but not because of Tourney Mode or ultra competitive mode - just the fact that I found it fun playing a standard game (competitively or non competitively) using the rules out of the book, using a set army list, that I could go anywhere and play. That went away and so did I, as I derive no enjoyment from fixing the game myself. I want to play the game I paid for - and other companies offer that opportunity in a far more structured and defined way and don't require me to rewrite their rules myself to do so [loving dropzone].

The point I suppose is that its not just tourney and competitive players who are disenfranchised by the new rules, it's pick up gamers, people without a defined local group, and those whom expect the company to provide them with the game they paid for.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 17:41
Yeah - I suppose I wasn't being clear - when I say if i wanted to stay in tournament / ultra competitive mode I didn't mean to come across as meaning that only those types are affected. That was our crossroads that we had to cross back then.

If pickup games were my only option - I would not be into wargaming at all so I can understand how pick up gamers wouldn't want to hop on 40k.

MusingWarboss
18-12-2014, 18:41
I agree to a point, but don't you think that paying $85 for things that you then need to go and write your own addendum to is a bit much?

There's certainly a strong indication that the GW games have always been about houseruling and tooling it to your own tastes. They've even put in this Most Important Rule bit which says, if it doesn't make sense, work it out between players and move on.

To some extent this applied to the competitive scene too, or at least the ones I've seen, I've not been to the big major ones so that may be different. There was certainly a thing whereby TOs needed to put the brakes on some things and allow/disallow others.

I find myself agreeing with HelloKitty on a lot of the rule discussions, approaching GWs games as GW does and you see that they do work - as GWs intended. Fighting against them and trying to stuff them into a hole that's the wrong shape leads to disappointment and frustration. Sadly GW brings this on themselves by being a bit floppy on their intentions - leading to people retooling rules not for fun scenarios but to achieve something they believed the rules would provide already.

The other aspect, ruleset agnostic, are those irritating players who flutter between houseruling and RAW attempting to craft their own advantage. Sadly no ruleset will ever work for them because they are incapable of accepting a loss.

I'm not sure 40k even gives a toss about balance under the latest set of rules, it's very much giving the appearance of being a "what if" set of concept rules. A basic framework for people to play battles of whatever with the intention being that you can go a little bit mad with it. That doesn't work in a competition as no-holds barred is impossible to adjudicate.

But you are right in saying that the price is insanely placed for a ruleset which is essentially a campaign design kit, rather than a set game.* The problem is the rules as they are now should be Apocalypse and a basic set, like 3rd, for quick setup games and the like. But of course one product would be in direct competition with another so, no go.

*its also telling that starter kits like DV dispense with what would be considered normal armies and offer themed mini-campaign units and a basic set of rules. Also, Stormclaw and similar boxes do this.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 19:01
I agree to a point. If you use the rules how they're meant to be, they aren't awful (not very good IMHO, but not terrible). It's just that I think that situation like HelloKitty has is very rare at least in the US. I know in all the years I played and have wanted to play, I've rarely even seen people do more than organize pickup games and have tournaments. Never campaigns or narrative linked games or anything like that.

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 19:30
I know in all the years I played and have wanted to play, I've rarely even seen people do more than organize pickup games and have tournaments. Never campaigns or narrative linked games or anything like that. And this is why the web is not the best arbiter of how the hobby looks. I have been involved in wargaming for longer than I should have been, and I have seen an enormous variety of approaches to gaming, as well as seeing trends and fashions come and go. In addition to that, I have also witnessed how hugely different gaming is a global activity. There is a real danger that people will become disillusioned because what they read online is not what they experience in reality, and they might end up thinking of their local scene "these people don't do it right" - and end up missing out or walking away. We need to know what the hobby really looks like, not just what it looks like from our eyes.

Its why we need some good market research. Hell if I can get the sponsorship I'd love to do a doctorate on it. This is at least a £200m industry and yet everything within it in terms of what it actually is is either hearsay, guess work or the tiniest of snippets. Its quite scary when you think about it.

ObiWayneKenobi
18-12-2014, 19:36
And this is why the web is not the best arbiter of how the hobby looks. I have been involved in wargaming for longer than I should have been, and I have seen an enormous variety of approaches to gaming, as well as seeing trends and fashions come and go. In addition to that, I have also witnessed how hugely different gaming is a global activity. There is a real danger that people will become disillusioned because what they read online is not what they experience in reality, and they might end up thinking of their local scene "these people don't do it right" - and end up missing out or walking away. We need to know what the hobby really looks like, not just what it looks like from our eyes.

Its why we need some good market research. Hell if I can get the sponsorship I'd love to do a doctorate on it. This is at least a £200m industry and yet everything within it in terms of what it actually is is either hearsay, guess work or the tiniest of snippets. Its quite scary when you think about it.

Well a lot of local scenes DON'T do it right. When I played I went around some 3-4 game shops and not one ever had campaigns or leagues or anything; the only campaign I ever recalled was for Warhammer Fantasy that had a big map and the campaign organizer and his assistants would play "mercenary" armies if you were in an area that wasn't player controlled. Everything else was some variation of "Tuesday night is Minis Night, come on down and get a game against whoever else decided to turn up" with maybe a tournament once a month or two back when Rogue Trader Tournaments were still a thing. Even now, the 40k-centric store has a Facebook group that people organize games on (again little more then "I'm going to be at the shop tonight at 6 if anyone wants a game") but that's it.

They once in a while have a league, but no sort of campaign or structure; it's still a semi-competitive mindset or just random gaming mindsets. Most people want to treat 40k like it was Magic in that you can show up to the shop, pair up with someone and throw down. Sometimes you can do that and it will end up enjoyable, but the game itself is not suited to it and is much better suited to a big campaign with a map and territories or whatnot where you banter and interact about the story you're telling.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 19:38
double posted (see below)

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 19:39
Well a lot of local scenes DON'T do it right. When I played I went around some 3-4 game shops and not one ever had campaigns or leagues or anything. It was some variation of "Tuesday night is Minis Night, come on down and get a game against whoever else decided to turn up" with maybe a tournament once a month or two back when Rogue Trader Tournaments were still a thing. Even now, the 40k-centric store has a Facebook group that people organize games on (again little more then "I'm going to be at the shop tonight at 6 if anyone wants a game") but that's it.

They once in a while have a league, but no sort of campaign or structure; it's still a semi-competitive mindset or just random gaming mindsets. Most people want to treat 40k like it was Magic in that you can show up to the shop, pair up with someone and throw down. Sometimes you can do that and it will end up enjoyable, but the game itself is not suited to it and is much better suited to a big campaign with a map and territories or whatnot where you banter and interact about the story you're telling. That sounds like its not right for you, but it is right for them. It might be that a campaign is more right for them, and they don't know it because they haven't tried yet. Right, in this case, is too subjective unless you are talkign about yourself. Right for me is definitely too wrong for others I know.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 19:40
There is a real danger that people will become disillusioned because what they read online is not what they experience in reality, and they might end up thinking of their local scene "these people don't do it right" - and end up missing out or walking away. We need to know what the hobby really looks like, not just what it looks like from our eyes.

I see this all the time. We've had a few people join that said they didn't consider it for years because they read online how horrible it was. People read things online and make their decision based off of it without actually investigating deeper all the time unfortunately.


Most people want to treat 40k like it was Magic in that you can show up to the shop, pair up with someone and throw down.

I see a lot of this too. Well - I used to. In my local area, these people are also the ones that are largely angry at GW and have left. Thats where a few of us decided to hone in on what GW games were good at and focus on that.

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 19:41
I see this all the time. We've had a few people join that said they didn't consider it for years because they read online how horrible it was. People read things online and make their decision based off of it without actually investigating deeper all the time unfortunately. There is a growing body of academic evidence against using the web as a basis for sourcing opinion, but personally I think its because as a tool its immature - and that's no suprise when you consider how immature our societies can be.

Scaryscarymushroom
18-12-2014, 19:47
Its why we need some good market research. Hell if I can get the sponsorship I'd love to do a doctorate on it. This is at least a £200m industry and yet everything within it in terms of what it actually is is either hearsay, guess work or the tiniest of snippets. Its quite scary when you think about it.

What sort of data would you seek to discover with market research?

RandomThoughts
18-12-2014, 19:54
Interesting discussion. For me personally it was the fact that the rules annoyed me to no end. Stuff like cover replacing armor instead of modifying the to hit roll, melees turning into those huge no-shooting zones (since when does an imperial commander care if his artillery clips some conscripts?), anti-armor weapons that couldn't scratch certain kinds of armor (Witchblades against Terminators, Banshees against tanks), mixed units having to either waste their small arms fire shooting at the tank or waste their anti-tank weapon shooting at the infantry unit rushing towards them, models gaining cover from the forest behind them because the majority of the unit was still in or behind that forest, casualty rules where you kept shooting that ork horde in front of you and they would continue to remove models from the back, movement spread out over three game phases (as if the games didn't take long enough already), etc.

It wasn't even the balance so much, it was mostly that the gameplay itself frustrated me to no end. The one thing I first fell in love with when I took a closer look at Warmachine was actually the way the core rules resembled the good parts of 2nd edition 40K: Cover adjusting to hit rolls, the shooting player being able to chose what models he's shooting at, dropping blast marker into melee, rushing your models out of melee (risking back strikes in the process) when you have to.

The other thing was player control. It's been a while since I played 40K, but I only remember melee as "autopilot mode" (the game makes all decisions and all the player gets to do is roll dice and remove models), whereas in Warmachine I as the player still got to make meaningful decisions after melee had started. Moving model X away from enemy model Z so it can attack crucial enemy model Y - it was a mindblowing revelation for me at the time. And then I started discovering all the little things I could do. Like move one of my own models next to an invisible enemy unit, zap that model in the back with a chain lightning spell (ideally it would be a lightning-immune model) and watch mayhem spread through the invisible enemy unit. The appropriate 40K equivalent would have been a unit of Fire Dragons cautiously moving up behind an Avatar of Caine; once the enemy charges in, they open fire with a dragon breach flamer (to clear out horde units swarming the avatar) and a few melta guns (to hopefully get a few lucky hits on more elite enemies), which would have been double sweet since the Avatar is immune to all their weapons. That's the kind of game I wanted to play. If 40K had allowed for those kind of tactics, I'd probably still be rocking Eldar, but it didn't and Warmachine does.

Balance is a whole different issue, but if I'm honest, balance wasn't really the thing that drove me away, what drove me out were rules that I couldn't enjoy.

RT

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 19:55
What sort of data would you seek to discover with market research? Therein lies one of the problems. Market research is always open to interpretation, and inevitably is biased in one way or another. Me, I am a historian so I would like to see the big demographical data, and then zoom in to analyse to local social picture.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 20:00
Market research would also let you see exactly where the divide between desires is and how much of a disparity really lies in each camp.

yabbadabba
18-12-2014, 20:04
Market research would also let you see exactly where the divide between desires is and how much of a disparity really lies in each camp. That's wherethe interpretations come in. The vast majority of market research is conducted by companies in order to make money - for their own products or to sell that information to other companies. As such it is skewed towards what those companies want to hear. That's why I would rather do an academic research approach as while it is still open to bias, there is no commercial end goal.

dirach.
18-12-2014, 20:09
It looks like Hello Kitty have a group I could enjoy, and it is really something that local clubs should try out.

Personally I am more a collector and painter than a player, but I get a couple of games each year with my brother and soon my son is old enough to join me for some games. I have played some tournaments, but they have never been a major part for me.

When I play I always use the rules as written, but we never use the same army twice and I always bring the newest painted units. I also want to use every unit I own atleast once. We never play the same scenario twice. We try out special campaign rules like the storm of chaos and I try to get a story in there. I have played since 4th edition (only fantasy never 40k) and I have never found the game out of balance.

I know the game have been and is out of balance if you want to play to win. But that was never the main goal in our games. If I won a game, I experimented more in the next game, if I lost I could allow myself to use more "cheesy" units and as a result the battles I play is fairly even. I think I have played the game the way it was meant to be played, and this way it works.

To get these games you really have to know your opponent. This is how the game is played at peoples houses, and I guess is is rarer in the public, so that is why some don´t think it exist. Also the "friendly" gamers are not as active in forums as the competetive players I guess.

So personally the route GW took with 8th edition fantasy was great. They gave some alternative ways to play and lots of scenarios. This made sure that the enviroment I had to adjust to was always changing. The combined lists of "End times" are also great as I can go back and make some armies like I made them in 4the edition. I am also not afraid of big changes. Personally my favourite editions were 4th, 6th and 8th edition. The adjusted edition 5th and 7th gave little new, so thing started to repeat themselves.

Gonefishing
18-12-2014, 22:22
Market research would also let you see exactly where the divide between desires is and how much of a disparity really lies in each camp.

That would be interesting to know, I think the only basis for a comparison we have at the moment are the consistently falling sales figures (but they are not an accepted argument). All we know at the moment is that there is a massive player divide in both perception of what the game currently "is" and what the game should "be".

To me Kitty's group does not sound remotely like my type of thing, as the emphasis is on a style of game I don't derive any enjoyment from (Sorry Kitty, to be clear - I am not having a pop at you here, or anyone who likes campaign/narrative 40K- just saying it's not an approach that I personally enjoy), that said, to others it sounds like a gaming utopia.

But in a broader context, I don't think you can say - the game is ok if you play it GW's way/approach it in the same way as GW.....because the question I have to ask is what the hell is GW's way? GW itself is broadly contradictory about the way the game should be played, even the armies it suggests as fun for games in the BRB would be considered as cheesy degenerate evil by some. The rules certainly don't give any indication of how GW intend the game to be played, as they are basically a loose framework of suggested play - not a set in stone guide / RAW framework.

About as close as we can get to this statement, is that the game is fine when played in the way that I (or my local group) have interpreted as the way GW approach the game - (a sort of Zen and the art of 40K approach) by piecing together input and articles from various sources/designers within GW. The main strapline from GW now seems to be more, do what the hell you like (we really don't care) but please buy some more of our collectable sculptures and books.

The philosopher Plato once launched an attack on art and literature, to paraphrase this lets use as an example, a chair. There is one perfect chair in the world, this is the ideal of a chair - the design/reality of a chair if you like. The craftsmen who make the chair, copy this ideal - therefore their chair is one step removed from that reality, the artist then paints a picture of the craftsmen's chair - therefore it is two steps removed from reality (a copy of a copy). That's the argument in laymen's terms anyway. Playing 40K is now like this, there is an ideal game, GW create the miniatures for it, we play it (at 2 steps removed from reality). The problem for the community at the moment is (unlike the chair) there is no firm idea of what that "ideal" game is - GW certainly have not specified it - and everyone has a different "ideal" in their mind. Hence the state we find ourselves (as gamers) in now, with a game that tries to be all things to all men, but fails spectacularly to do this in the eyes of many of its players.

HelloKitty
18-12-2014, 22:41
I think the one constant that the games have achieved is throughout their history they were able to please one side's desires but fail to do so to the other side. The sides just switch after so many years.

Gonefishing
18-12-2014, 23:49
Yes and no, it has been progressing in a steady direction for the last 14/15 years, 6th and 7th (the last 2 years essentially) are a deeply radical change in that direction. I do think that with all the "freedom" they built into the game they were trying to appeal to everyone, by just letting them define their own game type - I also think that this plan has totally failed, and the radical change in direction has left many behind (which isn't saying that the game doesn't appeal to some people as is, because it suits many peoples needs to a tee. However it has totally disenfranchised others).

I will say however, that the old direction of travel was more inclusive of the community as a whole than the current rules because it was far easier to add to a defined tight rule set to suit your "flavour", than it is to take things away under the current set up [in a way that's consistent across environments].To my mind that's why the community seems so divided right now.

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 00:24
As has been discussed to great length over the past year, there are multiple perspectives on the matter; none of which are likely to change. For example, in my own community before 2012, any attempt to create a large scale event that moved beyond the core rule book and accepted tournament standard was met with failure.

We had a heavy local feud over this with a lot of hurt feelings and lines in the sand and harsh words exchanged as it was felt that playing outside of tournament standard "hurt the community", which included using expansions and forge world.

Today those difficulties and challenges are over. However, where I live anyway, adding to the rule set was often met with open disdain and required a heavy handed approach. It was never easy in my experience to move from that, which is why I prefer today over 2012 and before.

I cannot speak for the remainder of the world of course but hopefully that helps illustrate why my position is what it is.

Voss
19-12-2014, 04:49
Not really. All you really said was that your group argued about it bitterly. By inference, I guess you won, so you're happy, but what happened to everyone else? Exiled to Siberia, abandoned the game, or what?

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 12:32
It wasn't our group it was the entire community (composed of many groups). For many years we weren't really able to use those things without tanking attendance. If you wanted more than five or six people playing, you had to go with the community standard. The community standard always directly reflected the tournament standard even though the players that played in tournaments made up about 25% of the whole.

The community standard changed when 6th edition was released, partially because the handful of guys that were deeply opposed to moving beyond core rules left, and partially because the grand tournaments began to allow scenarios and items outside of the core which changed the mindset of what was accepted on a broader scale, and partially because the new core rules stated that things like forge world and planetstrike etc were now a part of the core and were just as official as anything else (which also helped change the mindset immensely)

When you ask about everyone else - everyone else really didn't care either way but want to play where the most players are. If the big groups in town were saying you couldn't move beyond the core, they went along with that. Once that restriction was removed, they went along with that as well.

You either sucked it up and just accepted you wouldn't be able to play in any large scale event that went beyond a handful of guys in a basement with scenarios that went beyond the core scenarios and accepted you would never be able to use a forgeworld model, or you tried to host events and suffered a dismal attendance (or you quit the game and waited for a more friendlier ruleset that catered to what you want came out)

ObiWayneKenobi
19-12-2014, 13:27
While I think having a balanced game suitable for tournaments is a good thing (it easily translates over to casual games and makes casual games more fair for everyone), I definitely feel that 40k is better suited in exactly the way that you play it. Makes me wish that my local store that has 40k going did something similar, but there's little or no organization whatsoever :(

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 13:30
I am definitely not opposed to a balanced game (I wish that a few things in the game were altered to be brought in line). My issue with 5th edition was not balance (well - the grey knights codex was probably one of the most unfun codices to face in any edition I've been a part of) but it was the rigid way it was played that did not allow for it to move outside of that context.

Is there no way to start up an organized group where you are? Everything has to start somewhere.

ObiWayneKenobi
19-12-2014, 13:44
I am definitely not opposed to a balanced game (I wish that a few things in the game were altered to be brought in line). My issue with 5th edition was not balance (well - the grey knights codex was probably one of the most unfun codices to face in any edition I've been a part of) but it was the rigid way it was played that did not allow for it to move outside of that context.

Is there no way to start up an organized group where you are? Everything has to start somewhere.

There's already a clique at the game store, so I don't think they'd take kindly to an "outsider" coming in and trying to change things (that's been my experience at most game shops anyways, the regulars that have gone their for a while are wary of new people showing up, especially when the new people try to push a different style of play). I've been there a couple of times when I was thinking of playing 40k, and it was completely disorganized, and I'm on their Facebook group where I can see it's just "Anyone going to be at the store tonight for 40k?" or "Anyone want a 1,500 point game tomorrow at 6?" kind of things.

Also there's the fact I don't actually play the game (and lost all my figures long ago) so it's kind of a double-edged sword: The way they play doesn't make me want to pick it up again, but because I won't pick it up again I have no way to try and organize things.

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 14:18
That's understandable - I was in a similar situation. I got out of the game in 2007 with my group (we all got out together) and when we came back in 2010 there were established cliques that were not keen on what we were trying to do.

So we created a facebook page and a website and started our first campaign since returning. We had i believe six or seven players (most from the group that quit since we knew each other) and let it grow out from there.

The facebooks you are describing above are exactly how the other groups in my region operate as well so I think thats pretty common. The only organized events were tournaments once in a while. Everything after that is simply "hey i'll be at the store at 6 and want to play".

Short of moving north to here lol you could try getting some kill team going and seeing who is interested and grow from there? It is a lot of work to get started in the beginning, but once it starts picking up steam you may be surprised at how many people there are that want exactly what you want but no one is there leading the charge.

Gonefishing
19-12-2014, 18:53
but it was the rigid way it was played that did not allow for it to move outside of that context.

To be clear on the context here, I presume you mean the rigid way that people chose to play it, rather than the game itself?

For me it boils down to this, if you take away the "people" side of the equation (i.e. The fact that you /people found it difficult to get a non standard game as the majority of the community [for whatever there reason was] chose not to expand upon the standard game). Can you do anything now, that you couldn't do then - in game terms?

I suspect the answer to that has to be "No". Because there is nothing you can do now, that you could not already do either in the expansions or by altering the rules to your flavour which effectively, is exactly what you do currently- I accept that this took player agreement, and I accept this was not always easy to obtain (unless you found likeminded players) but in game terms there's nothing that your doing now that you couldn't have done in previous editions.

Personally I cant say the same, what I want out of the game (a standard global game I can pick up and play) no longer exists. And I can only play the sort of game I would enjoy by altering the rules of that game - which to me, is precisely the thing I don't want to do with a game. I just want to play a standard game. The result is that in Game Terms, the type of play I enjoyed no longer exists.

Don't get me wrong, I understand why you like it as it is now - it forces people like me to either play the game your way (if we want to keep playing) or quit, so you now get more of the type of games you personally like (and i'm happy for you), but if you ask me what direction was more inclusive to the community as a whole? I have to say the previous editions. 6th and 7th is GW's attempt to be all thing to all men, but the result of it is disenfranchise more players (imo) than the older editions did. To my mind that's a design failiure.

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 19:04
Yes - the rigid way that people chose to play it, though the game itself lent itself to be played that way. What changed from this edition from 2012?

Tiny little things like including the sentence that forge world was official for one.

While in game-terms you could always do those things - no one wants to play a game by themselves or struggle to find players. That is the main reason so many awesome games in the past have died. Not because they were bad games - but because nobody played them.

So in game-terms - it took adding a sentence stating forge world was official and in game-terms it took adding different types of missions to change the mindset of the game. These were all very small changes yet did exponentially large changes to the community and to what was and was not accepted.

If the standard game allowed for things like forge world lists to be used, I would have enjoyed pre-2012 more. (and yes the game did allow it but the missing "fw is official" disclaimer meant that you largely could not use it because it was not part of a standard game)


[Don't get me wrong, I understand why you like it as it is now - it forces people like me to either play the game your way (if we want to keep playing) or quit

This was the same quandry that people that wanted to move away from pre-2012 also faced. You either had to suck it up and play standard tournament rules or you just didn't play and found something else with your time (and a lot of people I know left during the middle of 4th for that very reason and returned with 6th)

Is opening up the game to forgeworld and making more formats available more inclusive than the exclusionary context of previous editions which were more standard-or-nothing? I guess that could be debated.

The game has always disenfranchised players because it has never been able to do both things (be a standard tournament level game AND a forging the narrative more fun style game). I don't think we can accurately quantify how much either way because there is no way to do that. I know if I like a thing then the people i tend to play with also like the thing, and if the thing changes then from my perspective the change has disenfranchised a lot of players than it pleased, because my crowd are the people that it disenfranchised.

An example would be our competitive store will tell you that in my region GW games are all but dead, because to them it is dead. Its not true of course, we have more people at our events today than we ever have in the past twenty years of doing it, but to them and their perspective it is dead and the game design failed and drove everyone away.

Perspective in this subject is always absolutely key.

If and when the next edition comes out and it pushes FW back to optional and makes it so the game is the same six missions played over and over again and the community goes back to embracing that and discouraging anything outside of that, I will likely be done forever with GW games (as I am getting too old to keep going back and forth) but for now will ride out what time is remaining with the current philosophy.

The game itself lends to the mindset though with little phrases like "FW is official", and "apocalypse is core".

ObiWayneKenobi
19-12-2014, 19:09
On that note though I think the issue with statements like FW is official is that the game isn't balanced. There was a time long ago before Forgeworld when Armorcast made things that weren't in the game: Titans, the Khorne Cannon (I forget what it's called now), even the original Eldar Falcon was a resin Armorcast model before GW came out with a kit. Back then, they were only allowed with your opponent's permission because they ranged from okay (Falcon) to completely overpowered (Warhound Titan).

Even Forgeworld originally was for things that were optional additions to the game for scenarios, collector's pieces (IIRC they made a gigantic Space Marine statue at one point) and the like, not things you could just buy and expect to play. That slowly but surely morphed to the idea that Forgeworld is an extension of GW itself, but the underlying issue is that not everything they make is balanced, so people naturally suspect things that are "official" but not balanced with the rest of the game.

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 19:16
I know, they are not fully balanced. But really neither was the core game. I had a guy running grey knights with the draigo-star thing tell me forge world would never be allowed in the store because they weren't balanced. He said it with a straight face... while playing a game... with the draigo-star (this being in the height of their power in 5th edition - watching a unit of paladins and draigo walk across the table and take almost all of the enemy army's firepower in the face and not lose a single model with the guys running the army telling people to "learn to play"... and this is not an exaggeration - 3 out of every 4 armies in our community was grey knights)

That is the primary reason I can't support the statement that forgeworld should be excluded because it is unbalanced. IF the core game had been solidly balanced to begin with I could at least understand and empathize, but when you have the game always really being dominated by 3 or so armies no matter what year it is .... i just cannot back that reasoning.

Scaryscarymushroom
19-12-2014, 19:51
Gotta say, Kitty, your enthusiasm for the game is making me wonder if I should try playing it again.

I don't have many 40k models left, but I could probably scrounge up enough models and proxies to get together some fluffly lists with a like-minded opponent and give it a go.

HelloKitty
19-12-2014, 19:54
:)

I think when you approach the game for fun with like minded people that there really isn't much out there that compares with it (for what I want out of a game anyway)

I think playing with like-minded people though is absolutely the key. If I had to play only in random pick up events or things like that I probably would not like it much either.

Gonefishing
19-12-2014, 21:17
Yes - the rigid way that people chose to play it, though the game itself lent itself to be played that way.

It did lend itself to be played that way but only in the way that when played exactly as written out of the book it worked pretty well - this was what I and a lot of others liked about it ;) But equally because it had that firm starting position it lent itself very well to being expanded upon by those who wanted to do so.



What changed from this edition from 2012?

Tiny little things like including the sentence that forge world was official for one.

While in game-terms you could always do those things - no one wants to play a game by themselves or struggle to find players. That is the main reason so many awesome games in the past have died. Not because they were bad games - but because nobody played them.

So in game-terms - it took adding a sentence stating forge world was official and in game-terms it took adding different types of missions to change the mindset of the game. These were all very small changes yet did exponentially large changes to the community and to what was and was not accepted.


That goes back to people though, yes putting the wording in the book means that it is now a fully accepted part of the rules which means that people are now far less likely to complain about facing it (whether they want to or not) - but in Game Terms nothings changed, you always could use it if your opponent agreed. Before you say it, I know - it was tough to get that agreement from some - but purely in terms of the actual game, it could be used pre 2012.



If the standard game allowed for things like forge world lists to be used, I would have enjoyed pre-2012 more. (and yes the game did allow it but the missing "fw is official" disclaimer meant that you largely could not use it because it was not part of a standard game)


Agreed, but the option to use it was still there. The option of a standard game without it isn't anymore [without changing the rules].



This was the same quandry that people that wanted to move away from pre-2012 also faced. You either had to suck it up and play standard tournament rules or you just didn't play and found something else with your time (and a lot of people I know left during the middle of 4th for that very reason and returned with 6th)


Its not the same quandary however is it. Looking in context, in previous editions you had defined gaming expansions, a tight core rule set that could be built upon, you had multiple options supported by the company consistently to expand your game. I agree, it was not always easy to do this but it was supported by the company, and multiple people (including people I know throughout 3rd/4th and 5th) did do it.

How is the game now supporting pick up or event driven play, or providing a basic game standard with which to approach that type of game? The answer is, that it isn't - as you yourself said if the only option you had was pick up gaming, you would not play either. GW have shifted the burden entirely to the player, whereas they used to offer support to the player to use the game in different ways. And that's the big difference, some people (I count myself among them) don't want that burden, they want the game to define the way its played, it used to do this AND offer opportunities for expansion to those who wanted them. Now it does not - it offers all the choices under the sun apart from that of a baseline.



Is opening up the game to forgeworld and making more formats available more inclusive than the exclusionary context of previous editions which were more standard-or-nothing? I guess that could be debated.


I think GW clearly intended it to be more inclusionary - but the end result is not - because as above the burden is now entirely on the player in all circumstances, including the players that don't want it.



The game has always disenfranchised players because it has never been able to do both things (be a standard tournament level game AND a forging the narrative more fun style game).


That's not true though is it? The Game in previous editions WAS able to do both. In fact there's nothing your doing now, that you could not do in those old editions, and GW released multiple expansions and defined clear support for that expansive approach (there's a whole section on it in the 5th edition rulebook). The fact that did not happen in the same way that it does now, was down to the people - not the game itself, so the accurate way to say it would be that people were disenfranchised from the game by other people - if they could not find people who wanted to expand the game in their area - not by the game.



I don't think we can accurately quantify how much either way because there is no way to do that. I know if I like a thing then the people i tend to play with also like the thing, and if the thing changes then from my perspective the change has disenfranchised a lot of players than it pleased, because my crowd are the people that it disenfranchised.


We cant quantify it, but we can acknowledge the fact that in prior editions the game itself was not the main source of the discontent, the way other people interacted with it was. Now the issue that's disenfranchising players is the actual lack of a defined game that defines a set way for people to interact with it - two very different things. What we can quantify is simple. The fact that in prior editions there were defined option's and company support for playing outside that standard, in the current edition there is no defined option or company support for providing that standard. I think on that basis it's fairly clear which direction is more inclusive to the community as a whole.




If and when the next edition comes out and it pushes FW back to optional and makes it so the game is the same six missions played over and over again and the community goes back to embracing that and discouraging anything outside of that, I will likely be done forever with GW games (as I am getting too old to keep going back and forth) but for now will ride out what time is remaining with the current philosophy.


I don't think you need to worry, it won't and it cant. With the current on-board costs and the plethora of other games out their now GW cannot guarantee that another radical game style U-Turn will bring back the players they have lost - but it will certainly alienate the hell out of players like you who have embraced the new regime - and they cant afford to lose that custom.

yabbadabba
19-12-2014, 21:31
Gotta say, Kitty, your enthusiasm for the game is making me wonder if I should try playing it again.

I don't have many 40k models left, but I could probably scrounge up enough models and proxies to get together some fluffly lists with a like-minded opponent and give it a go. If you can find a like minded opponent, no matter what GW do with the rules, you very quickly find a happy compromise that makes fun for you both. I can't recommend it enough, and I hope you get the chance mate.

Herzlos
20-12-2014, 07:10
But can't you get the exact same gaming experience from any other ruleset too, with a like minded opponent?

We can play narrative, fluffy encounters in Flames Of War, without having to make any real rule changes or exclusions.

yabbadabba
20-12-2014, 08:00
But can't you get the exact same gaming experience from any other ruleset too, with a like minded opponent?

We can play narrative, fluffy encounters in Flames Of War, without having to make any real rule changes or exclusions. Yes, and you can do the same with FoW with altering the rules. After all FoW was not designed to replicate the reality of WW 2. It was designed as a nod but to provide a tournament quality rule set. But that is not the point. The point is if you want to play war games the best experience play with like minded people at that has always been crucial for all GW games.

ObiWayneKenobi
20-12-2014, 13:19
If you can find a like minded opponent, no matter what GW do with the rules, you very quickly find a happy compromise that makes fun for you both. I can't recommend it enough, and I hope you get the chance mate.

A thousand times this. I'm really tempted to see if any of the 40k players at the 40k-centric store would be interested in an actual narrative campaign versus just regular games or leagues. That might sway me to pick up a small force again.

HelloKitty
20-12-2014, 15:23
But can't you get the exact same gaming experience from any other ruleset too, with a like minded opponent?

We can play narrative, fluffy encounters in Flames Of War, without having to make any real rule changes or exclusions.

You can, though I know a group that played Flames of War with alterations. Any game can be house ruled. Any game can be played RAW. 40k can be played RAW as easily as flames of war can. It just may not suit what you want out of a game so you will houserule it. That doesn't mean that it cannot be played that way.

If I'm playing a like minded opponent then I dont need to worry about reavers showing up in a 2000 point game or any of the ball breaking combos that annoy people so much and thus no 40k alterations need made if you don't want to.

Voss
20-12-2014, 19:59
I don't think you need to worry, it won't and it cant. With the current on-board costs and the plethora of other games out their now GW cannot guarantee that another radical game style U-Turn will bring back the players they have lost - but it will certainly alienate the hell out of players like you who have embraced the new regime - and they cant afford to lose that custom.
I disagree with this a bit. It will be an uphill struggle after so many disappointments and concerted efforts to drive customers away, but the number of people who just want to play a game greatly outnumbers the people who want to faff about with narrative (and most of those will do that sort of thing in their own time anyway). The sooner they backtrack (with or without admitting to the mistake), the better off they are.

Gonefishing
20-12-2014, 23:40
I disagree with this a bit. It will be an uphill struggle after so many disappointments and concerted efforts to drive customers away, but the number of people who just want to play a game greatly outnumbers the people who want to faff about with narrative (and most of those will do that sort of thing in their own time anyway). The sooner they backtrack (with or without admitting to the mistake), the better off they are.

They did 6th to 7th in a record 2 years, I don't see 8th appearing anytime soon.

ObiWayneKenobi
21-12-2014, 00:15
I find it funny... I had my first WMH tournament today (I had to leave early due to not feeling well) but it felt... I can't describe it. It felt "off" and I can't put my finger on why. Maybe it's because I don't get the same feel that I used to playing 40k all those years ago, but I'm seriously contemplating hitting up the game store that has mostly 40k and at least testing the waters to see if anyone is interested in a more narrative style versus "I'll be at the shop at 6 if anyone wants a game" kind of things.

I can't shake the fact that I like the background and the figures, even if the rules are pretty bad as far as actual rules go. That alone puts a little voice in the back of my head that keeps telling me to give 40k another shot.

dirach.
21-12-2014, 01:04
I disagree with this a bit. It will be an uphill struggle after so many disappointments and concerted efforts to drive customers away, but the number of people who just want to play a game greatly outnumbers the people who want to faff about with narrative (and most of those will do that sort of thing in their own time anyway). The sooner they backtrack (with or without admitting to the mistake), the better off they are.

The narrative games are just as much a game as a Pitched battles using a standard "net tuned" army. Using scenarios makes the enviroment change from time to time. It makes it harder to predict the outcome before the battle have started, but it makes it more interesting as you have to find a solution to the new enviroment each time. The enviroment can be to your advantage or disadvantage.

This is much how modern boardgames are designed. Descent, Memoir 44, Space hulk, Pathfinder and Claustrophobia are all games where two parts have a conflict. All are based on a narrative scenario form and all are highly successful. This is what Warhammer (At least fantasy, as I only play this) tried to do. But in addition you can also change your army in warhammer, so the enviroment have even more potential for change.

Why do we paint all these little men if they were not part of a narrative? If you remove the narrative GW might as well remove the 90% units that are not the best for competative play. Instead of letting the player figuring out what units and armies that are the best, they could sell the best possible combination as a fixed army and that was the game.

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 01:48
There are a number of ways GW could come at it. Saying that people don't care a fig about the narrative and are just playing the game for the game's sake and that those people are the majority is - well... impossible to gauge or quantify. I know that those people exist but I couldn't begin to say whether or not they are in a majority or a minority.

The most important elements for me in the system are;
* a large number of scenarios. I really dislike playing the same six scenarios over and over for years.
* army elements that are viable and not hard counters to something else purely. this is where GW has often failed and it is from what i understand a business decision to push models and to rotate what gets pushed.
* a number of formats that can be played. I didn't like 5th edition not because it was a bad edition but because it was for the most part the same format for years.
* a narrative that is engaging and supported
* supporting events that cater to various formats (the old grand tournaments, then how about do a yearly campaign for either main system?)

You can find a system that works for gaming for the sake of gaming as well as narrative events. You can do that today as well if you are willing to put in the footwork to make it happen.

The people faffing about with the narrative doing it on their own is the same as saying that competitive guys can make their own tournaments on their own. Both are equally true. However, the community as a whole makes that either easy or hard depending on where the rules sit. It is rare to find people that WANT to put in many hours of their lives into a format to try to get players because it is truly hard work. It is easier to have a ruleset that supports your style of play.

It is my wish that the game would cater to both. Saying that GW should just go back to the way it used to be because the narrative guys can just do what they are doing now is not entirely genuine - because while we can do what we are doing now it goes back to being a challenge - and sometimes a hostile challenge - to do so.

The biggest things that changed the mindset from 5th to now as I see it are
* forgeworld was declared official
* there are more than just six official scenarios
* there is more than just one official format

ObiWayneKenobi
21-12-2014, 01:48
The narrative games are just as much a game as a Pitched battles using a standard "net tuned" army. Using scenarios makes the enviroment change from time to time. It makes it harder to predict the outcome before the battle have started, but it makes it more interesting as you have to find a solution to the new enviroment each time. The enviroment can be to your advantage or disadvantage.

This is much how modern boardgames are designed. Descent, Memoir 44, Space hulk, Pathfinder and Claustrophobia are all games where two parts have a conflict. All are based on a narrative scenario form and all are highly successful. This is what Warhammer (At least fantasy, as I only play this) tried to do. But in addition you can also change your army in warhammer, so the enviroment have even more potential for change.

Why do we paint all these little men if they were not part of a narrative? If you remove the narrative GW might as well remove the 90% units that are not the best for competative play. Instead of letting the player figuring out what units and armies that are the best, they could sell the best possible combination as a fixed army and that was the game.

Now this I agree with. I think part of the reason I have such a hard time getting "into" Warmachine is because, despite the fact there's a rich history, it tends to get overlooked/ignored because at it's heart it's a game and the focus is on gameplay, not story; while that isn't intrinsically bad, it makes the game feel "off" to me. While in 40k the focus in on story and not gameplay. I found a similar thing when I did a demo of Bolt Action. I played Germany and while we really didn't come up with much of a narrative for it, the game felt like everything that happened was telling the story. Even though I lost those games, it felt like it was part of the narrative, if that makes sense.

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 01:58
Now this I agree with. I think part of the reason I have such a hard time getting "into" Warmachine is because, despite the fact there's a rich history, it tends to get overlooked/ignored because at it's heart it's a game and the focus is on gameplay, not story; while that isn't intrinsically bad, it makes the game feel "off" to me. While in 40k the focus in on story and not gameplay. I found a similar thing when I did a demo of Bolt Action. I played Germany and while we really didn't come up with much of a narrative for it, the game felt like everything that happened was telling the story. Even though I lost those games, it felt like it was part of the narrative, if that makes sense.

That is my issue as well. We've tried a few warmachine campaigns but they can never get off the ground because the majority of players here that play warmachine don't care about its narrative and are playing it for the sake of the game. For a player like me - that kills my enthusiasm.

Voss
21-12-2014, 04:09
Now this I agree with. I think part of the reason I have such a hard time getting "into" Warmachine is because, despite the fact there's a rich history, it tends to get overlooked/ignored because at it's heart it's a game and the focus is on gameplay, not story; while that isn't intrinsically bad, it makes the game feel "off" to me. While in 40k the focus in on story and not gameplay.

Going to disagree and honestly be a little confused here. To me both games have the same focus on gameplay with a story happening in the background. Well, actually, WMH has more story. The warhammers have largely just had a static background, and precious little story at all. Abaddon/Archaeon have been sitting on their butts for decades now, but Cryx/Legion/etc have been moving making gains and changing things since at least Escalation (or Primal in the case of most Hordes factions, except Skorne, who were making waves in Corvis before Warmachine even launched)


That is my issue as well. We've tried a few warmachine campaigns but they can never get off the ground because the majority of players here that play warmachine don't care about its narrative and are playing it for the sake of the game. For a player like me - that kills my enthusiasm.
That seems far more like a individual player thing than a game thing. There is a lot narrative space to play with in WM/H, and it keeps moving. If some players don't do anything with it, that is entirely up to them. But its one of the reasons you don't saddle a game with a narrative drive as a primary aspect of a game: if players do reject it, there isn't anything left. Whereas if solid gameplay is also present, you can have players stick around regardless.




They did 6th to 7th in a record 2 years, I don't see 8th appearing anytime soon.

18 months seems pretty soon to me, and I fully expect it then.

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 04:42
Interesting discussion. For me personally it was the fact that the rules annoyed me to no end. Stuff like cover replacing armor instead of modifying the to hit roll, melees turning into those huge no-shooting zones (since when does an imperial commander care if his artillery clips some conscripts?), anti-armor weapons that couldn't scratch certain kinds of armor (Witchblades against Terminators, Banshees against tanks), mixed units having to either waste their small arms fire shooting at the tank or waste their anti-tank weapon shooting at the infantry unit rushing towards them, models gaining cover from the forest behind them because the majority of the unit was still in or behind that forest, casualty rules where you kept shooting that ork horde in front of you and they would continue to remove models from the back, movement spread out over three game phases (as if the games didn't take long enough already), etc.

[...]

The other thing was player control. [...]While I wholeheartedly agree that a lot of the things you mentioned are problems, part of what disenfranchised me from 6e was not being able to choose which models I removed as casualties. It was one of the few places in the game where I could make decisions in my opponent's turn. Its removal made it very hard for horde armies to make real progress across the table, as you'd go 10" forward and the casualties would push you 6" back.

My experience with re-rollable 2++ saves suggests that stacking many kinds of durability together can be a real problem. When you let cover stack with armor and stack with invulnerable saves and stack with evasion and stack with stealth and stack with luck from Fortune, then you have a Jetlock unit that becomes effectively invincible. Preventing saves from stacking is a way of preventing durability form getting out of hand. While it doesn't make much sense, rules designed to prevent effects that *should* stack from *mechanically* stacking, for the purposes of preventing things from getting lame, has a long and proud pedigree in games design.

I have no intention of derailing the thread with this kind of discussion, but I think it's worth noting that in a few cases, things that are enfranchising for some are disenfranchising for others. Hell, in another thread it seems that I have some deep disagreements with players over whether the AP system actually makes sense. I for one think it does an entirely passable job of representing the very binary nature of armor (a bullet tends to either pass through armor like it's not there or bounce off), while others swear up and down that anything but armor save modifiers is nutty.

Having said that, we agree the vast majority of these problems. A lot of things in 40k deserve to be pulled out by the roots.


Now this I agree with. I think part of the reason I have such a hard time getting "into" Warmachine is because, despite the fact there's a rich history, it tends to get overlooked/ignored because at it's heart it's a game and the focus is on gameplay, not story; while that isn't intrinsically bad, it makes the game feel "off" to me.WMH doesn't work very hard to hide the mechanics, which leads to an experience comparable to 4e D&D. There's nothing wrong with the kind of fun encouraged by that game, but you need to be able to handle the fact that the design starts with the mechanics and puts background on top, rather than starting with background and using rules to describe it. I find I that the rules I hate the least are clearly the ones meant to fill in the blanks, like Warlord Trait tables and Command Benefits of formations or the things on the Fighter Aces chart. You can tell that they started with the mechanic and then wrote background excuses for it later. Could the prevalence of these "disassociative mechanics" be the thing that's making WMH feel "off" to you?

One of the things that made it hard for me to swallow 7e was that it the soldiers on the battlefield wouldn't be able to explain how the psychic phase works. You never see a short story that talks about how a non-psychic model stops an enemy from using a blessing-style power, or why a Primaris Psyker can use Warp Charge points generated by a Desperate-Ally Great Unclean One. It's hard to see what's going on there.

---

I largely concur with the OP that design appealing to hobbyists isn't at odds with design for gameplay. While some players see value in rolling for a random Warlord Trait and Mysterious Terrian and Mysterious Objectives and randomized psychic powers, I think the assertion that these things bring young kids into the game is dubious. While I believe HelloKitty likes that random psychic powers have meant a greater variety of psychic powers seeing play, it makes it hard for me to justify putting a ML1 Librarian on the table when I don't know what the model will do. I can't make a plan around that model having Levitation (the way the Librarian or their commander would in the background), so the model rarely sees play. I could try assigning points values to all the powers so that players in my area can choose them a la carte, but that's a really heavy lift.

I don't think that a ruleset that looks more like the one ObiWayneKenobi or RandomThoughts or I is looking for necessarily means going back to the problems HelloKitty describes. If WotC can legitimize multiple formats for Magic while still giving direction for players on how to run each format, then GW can legitimize multiple formats for its games. I don't see anyone who's spoken up here is asking that Forge World be banned from our games (though I think it's fair to ask that some stuff be left out until rules can be written that allow it to play in a fair way with more conventional models, because for all its flaws 5e Draigostar is nowhere near as lame as a 6e Revenant).

I would love for GW to come out and run events that include games at 500 points (Kill Team), 1500 points, and 4500 points (Apocalypse) and events that include other more specialized scenarios. The problem is that when you get a few games in at the Kill Team and Apocalypse scale you see that things can get really lame because of dramatic mismatches in force composition (and it's easy for player to not recognize that the game was lopsided until they're already well into it). What the people in my area got angry about was that mismatch issue cropping up in the in-between scale as well. The answer to that isn't so much a matter of banning the outlier units, but writing rules that result in a game that is functional with models from each of those scales (a goal I consider entirely achievable).

f2k
21-12-2014, 06:55
You can, though I know a group that played Flames of War with alterations. Any game can be house ruled. Any game can be played RAW. 40k can be played RAW as easily as flames of war can. It just may not suit what you want out of a game so you will houserule it. That doesn't mean that it cannot be played that way.

If I'm playing a like minded opponent then I dont need to worry about reavers showing up in a 2000 point game or any of the ball breaking combos that annoy people so much and thus no 40k alterations need made if you don't want to.

To me, the difference is the amount of houserules I need to make.

Flames of War is playable out of the box. Sure, there are some v3 mechanics that annoys me and which I would like to do some houseruling on, but I can easily live with those and play a vanilla game with the other members of the club.

40K, on the other hand, is not playable out of the box. There are simply too many areas that needs to be houseruled.


Now this I agree with. I think part of the reason I have such a hard time getting "into" Warmachine is because, despite the fact there's a rich history, it tends to get overlooked/ignored because at it's heart it's a game and the focus is on gameplay, not story; while that isn't intrinsically bad, it makes the game feel "off" to me. While in 40k the focus in on story and not gameplay. I found a similar thing when I did a demo of Bolt Action. I played Germany and while we really didn't come up with much of a narrative for it, the game felt like everything that happened was telling the story. Even though I lost those games, it felt like it was part of the narrative, if that makes sense.

I honestly don't think 40K is much better than WarMachine when it comes to fluff. The game of 40K is often very different from the fluff behind 40K.

Rather, I tend to find that it's all in the mind of the players. If you want to forego fluff completely you can do so and abuse the heck out of the allies rules. And if you like the fluff, yo ucan tailor your army to reflect it (at least to a point...). The same goes for WarMachine. In fact, I would say that WarMachine might even be a tad better at this as they use synergies to encourage you to play fluffy armies.

ObiWayneKenobi
21-12-2014, 12:00
To me, the difference is the amount of houserules I need to make.

Flames of War is playable out of the box. Sure, there are some v3 mechanics that annoys me and which I would like to do some houseruling on, but I can easily live with those and play a vanilla game with the other members of the club.

40K, on the other hand, is not playable out of the box. There are simply too many areas that needs to be houseruled.



I honestly don't think 40K is much better than WarMachine when it comes to fluff. The game of 40K is often very different from the fluff behind 40K.

Rather, I tend to find that it's all in the mind of the players. If you want to forego fluff completely you can do so and abuse the heck out of the allies rules. And if you like the fluff, yo ucan tailor your army to reflect it (at least to a point...). The same goes for WarMachine. In fact, I would say that WarMachine might even be a tad better at this as they use synergies to encourage you to play fluffy armies.

It is but on the same token Magic has background and fluff and how often does anyone care about that?

I know that WMH has rich background just it feels insanely hard for me to care about it in the context of a game - I'm just interested in the mechanics (a personal problem, but seemingly not an uncommon one). On the other hand for me it feels hard NOT to do that in 40k. I can't stand a random encounter in 40k with no backstory (even if it's a small blurb) but have zero issues with that same thing in WMH.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

f2k
21-12-2014, 12:06
It is but on the same token Magic has background and fluff and how often does anyone care about that?

I know that WMH has rich background just it feels insanely hard for me to care about it in the context of a game - I'm just interested in the mechanics (a personal problem, but seemingly not an uncommon one). On the other hand for me it feels hard NOT to do that in 40k. I can't stand a random encounter in 40k with no backstory (even if it's a small blurb) but have zero issues with that same thing in WMH.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I can see your point. But then it's a question of your perception of the game (which would be entirely subjective for all of us) and not something inherent within the game itself.

It also goes back to the recent talk about the environment we play in. I'm sure that there are both WarMachine and 40K players whole loves the fluff and considers campaigns the best way to play, just as I'm sure that there are both WarMachine and 40K players who couldn't care less about the fluff and just want to test their skills on the tabletop.

In truth, I think most of us fall somewhere in between, liking the challenge of a hard fought game just as much as a laid back just-for-fun game or a campaign.

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 15:51
Campaign games can also be hard fought though.

With the warmachine thing and narrative - yes WM has great narrative. But as said above - it is entirely a player thing. The reason why we can never get anything narrative going is not because the game cannot let you do that - its because the community is not interested in that. This is the same issue that I had in 5th edition 40k. Its not that the game wouldn't let you do it - its that the community was not interested in that.

If the players involved are largely playing just for the sake of the game and don't care about the background then if you do care about the background you have to deal with that. Now most of us can do that but if given the choice between a community that largely rejects narrative compared with a community that largely accepts narrative, it will be easy to see what direction one would take depending on where one stands.

If warmachine had more of a narrative acceptance by its community (here at least) then I may be more open to playing in it. I prefer that but thats just me.

I also like tournaments - or the idea of tournaments - but the rejection of narrative in tournaments today is a main reason why I don't like playing in them.

Avian
21-12-2014, 16:45
Where do you find the narrative in 40k games? Genuinely curious to know.

Scaryscarymushroom
21-12-2014, 16:51
I can see your point. But then it's a question of your perception of the game (which would be entirely subjective for all of us) and not something inherent within the game itself.

It also goes back to the recent talk about the environment we play in. I'm sure that there are both WarMachine and 40K players whole loves the fluff and considers campaigns the best way to play, just as I'm sure that there are both WarMachine and 40K players who couldn't care less about the fluff and just want to test their skills on the tabletop.

In truth, I think most of us fall somewhere in between, liking the challenge of a hard fought game just as much as a laid back just-for-fun game or a campaign.

I would love a warmachine campaign. The backstory behind an individual encounter in warmachine isn't necessary to me, because I find that the encounters write their own stories. The sense of escalation and climax in a story are adequately represented by what happens on the table. E.g., attacker deals grievous wounds, defender retaliates, tension builds, and the underdog finds a way to win. Or doesn't. But the question is always open.

But, justification for why you are there makes it even sweeter.

In games of 40k, I found that the story before the fight was quite important. Without it, I've had two or three decent games, out of dozens. With a story beforehand - even a very simple story - most of them were enjoyable. There was still a notable instance where a grey knight player during a tyranid invasion threw up his hands in frustration during a fluffy "get rid of the hive node" meat grinder mission, but for the most part exposition helped things for both players.

ObiWayneKenobi
21-12-2014, 16:52
Where do you find the narrative in 40k games? Genuinely curious to know.

For me personally it's as simple as a couple of sentences to set up the reason for the game. Not every game played will linked or part of a campaign, but I've found in the past that a friendly (i.e. not cutthroat competitive) game can be made more enjoyable just by a brief background, especially if each player has done things like named their squads/characters. A game between a Tau and a SM player isn't just a random game at the store between Bill and Mike, it's the Ultramarines 4th Company's Strike Force Brutus trying to launch an assault on a planet under the control of the Sa'cea sept Tau with a garrison commanded by Shas'O Kais.

f2k
21-12-2014, 16:54
Campaign games can also be hard fought though.

With the warmachine thing and narrative - yes WM has great narrative. But as said above - it is entirely a player thing. The reason why we can never get anything narrative going is not because the game cannot let you do that - its because the community is not interested in that. This is the same issue that I had in 5th edition 40k. Its not that the game wouldn't let you do it - its that the community was not interested in that.

If the players involved are largely playing just for the sake of the game and don't care about the background then if you do care about the background you have to deal with that. Now most of us can do that but if given the choice between a community that largely rejects narrative compared with a community that largely accepts narrative, it will be easy to see what direction one would take depending on where one stands.

If warmachine had more of a narrative acceptance by its community (here at least) then I may be more open to playing in it. I prefer that but thats just me.

I also like tournaments - or the idea of tournaments - but the rejection of narrative in tournaments today is a main reason why I don't like playing in them.

You seem to imply that 40K supports narrative gaming. As with Avian, I would like to know where that's in the rules?

Both games have previously had rules for a sort off semi-progression of the units. But that's mainly just about a few units getting a random boost, rather than about a narrative.

Once again, it's entirely down to the players to get into the narrative if they want to. Perhaps the WarMachine players you've met haven't been interested in that, but such anecdotal evidence does not say anything about the community at larger or about the game in general.

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 16:57
I suppose if I had heard more war machine narrative events and groups running on the internet I would give more pause but to date I have never seen one anywhere. That's where I form my opinion.

RandomThoughts
21-12-2014, 17:05
While I wholeheartedly agree that a lot of the things you mentioned are problems, part of what disenfranchised me from 6e was not being able to choose which models I removed as casualties. It was one of the few places in the game where I could make decisions in my opponent's turn. Its removal made it very hard for horde armies to make real progress across the table, as you'd go 10" forward and the casualties would push you 6" back.

That is an interesting point. Personally I feel that something is off when you fire at a large mob charging your position and you can't touch the models at the front and it does nothing to slow the mob down. Same way I always had a problem with "speedbump models" you throw in your opponent's way and instead of slowing them down it speeds them up. (Around 5th edition, I believe: Run = 6" basic speed + d6" run move vs. 6" basic move + 6" charge + d6" consolidation move.)

Or the Plasmagun that has better or worse armor penetration than the Krak Missile, depending entirely on whether your target is arbitrarily classified as a vehicle or not. And sure, the Eldar Wraithlord may be elegant enough that a sniper can hit fragile joints that an otherwise just as sturdy Imperial Dreadnought (or open-topped Sentinel...) doesn't have, but where the heck comes the vulnerability to poison from?

For a game that is supposedly all about the immersion, there were quite a few WTF is going on moments...

That's the weird thing for me, WMH may have a gamey-er playstyle overall, but the core rules feel a lot smoother to me, a lot more immersive. It's the specific model interactions that often make no sense ("my pressgangers pressgang your dog/wolf/intelligent tree"), but the structure underneath feels more coherent to me. And I personally need this kind of coherence in order become (and stay) immersed.

Voss
21-12-2014, 17:26
I suppose if I had heard more war machine narrative events and groups running on the internet I would give more pause but to date I have never seen one anywhere. That's where I form my opinion.

So, not from facts*, but from the limited part of the internet you personally observe? OK then.

Sorry if that comes off as harsh, but as a response to people filling in the gaps in your knowledge, "My opinion is based solely on the internet" seems very odd. Especially since it is happening on the internet.


* (the point of the yearly [bi-yearly, with both systems] book releases is mostly narrative, since the model rules come with the models)

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 17:48
As with Avian, I would like to know where that's in the rules?You might find it in the "Forge The Narrative" sidebars! :angel: ohohoho!

If you'll allow me to switch tones a bit,

"These boxes contain advice on how to make your games even more enjoyable, and revolve around evoking the imagery and feel of the 41st millennium."

So the game explicitly sets out to offer players ways of adding window dressing to what's going on (because games are more fun that way). I think they do a poor job of accomplishing that goal, but it's something they're certainly trying to do.

Usually when I hear people mocking the "Forge the Narrative" concept, it's in relation to some dramatically lop-sided game event that totally breaks the players' investment in the game, such as FrontLine Gaming's video battle report testing out Escalation where a Revenant ended up killing just about every model on the table (on both sides). It's very difficult to get invested in a game where one side or the other gets utterly wrecked, which makes it hard to square Narrative play with the explicit desire for GW to make a game where a player gets wrecked one week, and then brings a hard counter to wreck his opponent the week after, and then suffers another crushing defeat as his opponent brings a hard counter to that (the "there should be not TAC lists" game design philosophy).

I think if you're going to write a game where the players are going to get invested in the trials and tribulation of each soldier, you should take great care to make sure the lovingly-painted and named troops don't get unceremoniously swept off the table by the first Riptide to give them a funny look. Hard-counter mechanics at the strategic scale make for poor tabletop narrative (though it can work just fine in other media).

Now, HelloKitty has a lot of fun Forging the Narrative, but that's not a result of the "in each game, one player should be screwed" game design, but rather a result of carefully removing that kind of dynamic from the game. All of the units and content from Forge World and Escalation and Stronghold Assault lend themselves to a great story... so long as you take great care that you haven't accidentally set up the game the way the mechanics encourage (rather than the way the sidebars encourage).


Once again, it's entirely down to the players to get into the narrative if they want to. Perhaps the WarMachine players you've met haven't been interested in that, but such anecdotal evidence does not say anything about the community at larger or about the game in general.There's a lot of momentum behind the "page 5 mentality". If you can, I'd recommend going back to the original Page 5 of Mk1 Prime (as opposed to Prime Remix). It's a mission statement for the game, and set a really stark "crush the fluffy bunny players" tone. The game was explicitly hostile to narrative play, as well as to "scrub" players who chose their forces for the sake of background and modeling rather than mechanical effectiveness (even if they play their best with their consciously sub-optimal forces). The official print has pulled waaaay back on that attitude since then, but it's something that has shaped WarmaHordes as much a John Blanche artwork shaped 40k and Fantasy.

It's not an isolated attitude by any stretch of the imagination.

f2k
21-12-2014, 17:57
You might find it in the "Forge The Narrative" sidebars! :angel: ohohoho!

If you'll allow me to switch tones a bit,

"These boxes contain advice on how to make your games even more enjoyable, and revolve around evoking the imagery and feel of the 41st millennium."

So the game explicitly sets out to offer players ways of adding window dressing to what's going on (because games are more fun that way). I think they do a poor job of accomplishing that goal, but it's something they're certainly trying to do.

Usually when I hear people mocking the "Forge the Narrative" concept, it's in relation to some dramatically lop-sided game event that totally breaks the players' investment in the game, such as FrontLine Gaming's video battle report testing out Escalation where a Revenant ended up killing just about every model on the table (on both sides). It's very difficult to get invested in a game where one side or the other gets utterly wrecked, which makes it hard to square Narrative play with the explicit desire for GW to make a game where a player gets wrecked one week, and then brings a hard counter to wreck his opponent the week after, and then suffers another crushing defeat as his opponent brings a hard counter to that (the "there should be not TAC lists" game design philosophy).

I think if you're going to write a game where the players are going to get invested in the trials and tribulation of each soldier, you should take great care to make sure the lovingly-painted and named troops don't get unceremoniously swept off the table by the first Riptide to give them a funny look. Hard-counter mechanics at the strategic scale make for poor tabletop narrative (though it can work just fine in other media).

Now, HelloKitty has a lot of fun Forging the Narrative, but that's not a result of the "in each game, one player should be screwed" game design, but rather a result of carefully removing that kind of dynamic from the game. All of the units and content from Forge World and Escalation and Stronghold Assault lend themselves to a great story... so long as you take great care that you haven't accidentally set up the game the way the mechanics encourage (rather than the way the sidebars encourage).

There's a lot of momentum behind the "page 5 mentality". If you can, I'd recommend going back to the original Page 5 of Mk1 Prime (as opposed to Prime Remix). It's a mission statement for the game, and set a really stark "crush the fluffy bunny players" tone. The game was explicitly hostile to narrative play, as well as to "scrub" players who chose their forces for the sake of background and modeling rather than mechanical effectiveness (even if they play their best with their consciously sub-optimal forces). The official print has pulled waaaay back on that attitude since then, but it's something that has shaped WarmaHordes as much a John Blanche artwork shaped 40k and Fantasy.

It's not an isolated attitude by any stretch of the imagination.

They claim it's about the narrative, yes. But that's not supported by the rules at all. Basically, it's about telling us that we can, shock! horror!, invent our own backstory if we want. That's hardly supporting narrative gaming.

As for Page 5, it should be noted that Privateer Press has clarified many times that this is not, in any way whatsoever, an excuse to be that guy. I do agree though, that WarMachine players do seem to be somewhat more competitive. Just my personal experience, mind you, and not to be taken as an universal truth.

However, the original point was that the WarMachine didn't support narrative gaming, implying that 40K did, and that's not really true. Both games try to point players in the right direction, but neither supports such things within their rules. As such, it's entirely up to the players to create the background for their games. 40K players might be more likely to do so, but that doesn't mean that the game itself is designed with that in mind.

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 18:10
That is an interesting point. Personally I feel that something is off when you fire at a large mob charging your position and you can't touch the models at the front and it does nothing to slow the mob down.Doing abstraction when it comes to units is difficult, particularly in 40k. While it makes little sense for the model at the front to be the last to die, it also makes little sense for the ones at the front to die first every time (it's a tendency, but hardly a rule). While troops deliberately try to hurt the specialists first there's certainly no guarantee that the enemy will know which ones are important and why, let alone have the discipline to fire at them specifically if another target presents itself. This also needs to describe a background where mighty heroes lead from the front, which makes no sense at all in a real-world way. It's part of a number of unit-based abstractions that I have a hard time avoiding when I try to figure out a better compromise between realism and playability (where "realism" means that the mechanics accurately describe the background).

A lot of the mechanics in this game are a horrible mess. A friend of mine once summed it up as "stopping to fight makes you go faster". Every game needs to make compromises in order to function, but these compromises should be made with the understanding that there's a cost behind them, and so should be minimized at every step.


but where the heck comes the vulnerability to poison from?Wraithbone is organic (despite being a "plastic"). That one actually makes some sense to me, but I think the organic nature of the substance and the fact that it isn't used in all forms of Eldar technology should be played up much harder.

Why Necrodermis is vulnerable to poison is beyond me, though. The answer you usually get is something about the army using corrosives instead of poisons when they're fighting Necrons (for the same mechanical effect), but it rings hollow to me.

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 18:26
As for Page 5, it should be noted that Privateer Press has clarified many times that this is not, in any way whatsoever, an excuse to be that guy.That was a marked change in tone.

I wholeheartedly agree that the rules themselves support narrative play just fine. However, as noted, the community tends to ignore that side of miniatures gaming as hard as it possibly can. While it's hard to see it from this far in, there's a clear explanation for why the community shares this attitude: from day one (page 5), the game went out of its way to appeal to those guys.

Since then, the game grew to the point where the fact that it was filled to the brim with those guys was clearly going to be a hindrance to further expansion and the problems with that attitude are impossible to ignore for any length of time. So, the management of the game backtracked. I can't honestly believe for even a moment that the original Page 5 wasn't a rallying cry for that style of player to come from far and wide to a game that will accept them. I just think that during the course of the game's early years, the developers matured and began to understand why such large segments of the miniatures wargaming population weren't playing the way they wanted to. It looks to me like a change of heart more than a failure of communication. That original Page 5 was not at all ambiguous.

WarmaHordes is living with the legacy of being founded on the backs of players like that guy. It has softened, to be sure, but when I bought my Khador minis it was with the understanding that we didn't ever need regular contact with the kind of people who played Warmachine (at the time). I could break out my minis and play again if I wanted to, but since I'm no longer close to the other players in that group I'd have play with more "normal" Warmachine players, and even at this late date that is not an appealing prospect to me. I've checked, and in my area the community still hasn't gotten far enough away from Mk1's Page 5 for my liking.

Avian
21-12-2014, 18:38
It's quite hilarious to compare the tone on page 5 with the tone on every other page. :D


Sidebars in 40K were mentioned. What do these sidebars talk about?

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 19:08
Sidebars in 40K were mentioned. What do these sidebars talk about?Forging The Narrative.

Avian
21-12-2014, 19:20
What specifically do these sidebars talk about?

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 19:34
So, not from facts*, but from the limited part of the internet you personally observe? OK then.

Sorry if that comes off as harsh, but as a response to people filling in the gaps in your knowledge, "My opinion is based solely on the internet" seems very odd. Especially since it is happening on the internet.


* (the point of the yearly [bi-yearly, with both systems] book releases is mostly narrative, since the model rules come with the models)

My opinion, much like most opinions, is based on my own personal experiences. Both personal and on display online.

There is no way to "prove" this opinion because there is no medium to gauge the subject in a "factual" manner.

My personal experience coupled with what I read online is that wm is largely defined by the page 5 mantra, and page 5 is still a banner often waved.

That mantra was also largely present in 40k until 2012. While I acknowledge it as not being bad, I will say that that attitude is antithesis of why I play so in those regards rule set helps define attitude and for me attitude is a thing I watch overall.

frozenwastes
21-12-2014, 19:49
I just yesterday played a massive 200 point 8 player game of Warmachine to end our campaign. We were fighting over an ancient temple in the swamps of the Thornwood. Having 8 players fighting over a temple at the centre of a table took a while to play through, but it was glorious. I had a great plan, but then second guessed myself half way through implementing it and basically ended up with all my infantry in an enfilading meat grinder of ranged weapons. Oops! I was the first to the temple centre, but couldn't hold it after my infantry got ground away.

itcamefromthedeep
21-12-2014, 19:57
What specifically do these sidebars talk about?

A lot of boils down to "if this combination seems weird, then invent a story to make sense of it". So if you had Ezekiel summon a Bloodthirster, "He'd have some explaining to do after the battle" as the sidebar puts it. They politely recommend that you put together an army that fits the background, but they also want to offer the freedom to do whatever you think feels right for your game. They say "Yes, you can ally two armies together just to see what happens, but you and your game will be the richer if you stop to work out a good story for why it's happened."

Another thing they sometimes do is say that it's fine to break the rules if you and your opponent are cool with that. "If, for example, the Inquisitor in your narrative is harnessing forbidden knowledge to further his cause, you and your opponent might agree before your game begins that it is perfectly appropriate for him to manifest Malefic powers."

Other times, they say that if a rule doesn't make sense, then change it. In a sidebar on vehicles and terrain, they suggest that vehicles might treat tank traps as impassible, but razorwire as open terrain (even though the rules would normally treat both as conventional difficult terrain).

Another one explains some conventions on how to represent a wrecked vehicle on the tabletop.

The big theme becomes explicit in one of the sidebars in the vehicles section:

"As with many aspects of the Warhammer 40,000 hobby, there is no 'right answer' - just make sure that your opponent is happy with whatever decide upon."

Gonefishing
21-12-2014, 20:14
It is my wish that the game would cater to both. Saying that GW should just go back to the way it used to be because the narrative guys can just do what they are doing now is not entirely genuine - because while we can do what we are doing now it goes back to being a challenge - and sometimes a hostile challenge - to do so.

The biggest things that changed the mindset from 5th to now as I see it are
* forgeworld was declared official
* there are more than just six official scenarios
* there is more than just one official format

More of a challenge, yes, but still possible. Its not possible to play the non narrative way, with firm restrictions, in a globally accepted way anymore full stop.

So what's more inclusive to the community as a whole?

1. A firm rule set that provides a baseline for those that want it, and has multiple supported opportunity's to expand upon it for those that want it?

2. A framework for an anything goes narrative supporting rule set, that has 0 supporting opportunity's to play in a defined restricted way for those who are not into that style of game?

That's the point, I get why you prefer 2. It suits your approach to the game and that of the people you play against (just as I and my old opponents dislike it for the opposite reasons). But personal feeling aside - it is a far less inclusive than what we used to have, and that's why it has left a lot of players without a game anymore. As it was, it catered for both, and GW could have made changes that supported the narrative side even further - but still left the baseline game experience intact and we could both have had what we wanted. The changes they have made however completely preclude one side having the game they want, so it no longer has the option of appealing to both full stop - and that's the biggest change from 5th to now.

HelloKitty
21-12-2014, 20:39
I guess I just don't see how it ever catered to both which is why I cannot agree. It would be great if it appealed to both, I wish it would - but I have never seen it cater to both.

ObiWayneKenobi
21-12-2014, 21:06
I guess I just don't see how it ever catered to both which is why I cannot agree. It would be great if it appealed to both, I wish it would - but I have never seen it cater to both.

With respect, the issue before was that a group like yours could easily expand the rules or make up your own house rules to cover things for your game. It wasn't in the rules because it didn't have to be. I remember in 2nd edition and 5th edition WHFB playing in campaigns where there were extra house rules to represent things not in the core book; the rules didn't need to specifically allow everything and the kitchen sink to allow it. We made up our own scenarios that suited the campaign, allowed different powers or magic items (or wargear) as suited the story, without the rules telling us how to do it.

That's the problem a lot of people have with 6th and 7th - they went away from having some semblance of a balanced game for competitive play that was still flexible enough to allow campaigns and narrative gamers to modify things, to giving the competitive crowd the finger entirely and doing everything to make those people miserable. They went to the opposite extreme.

Gonefishing
21-12-2014, 21:21
I guess I just don't see how it ever catered to both which is why I cannot agree. It would be great if it appealed to both, I wish it would - but I have never seen it cater to both.

Well from my perspective I don't see how its in doubt that it did (or could), I know for a fact there was certainly a group in my local town using both allies and FW during 5th way before GW every made them official, I even played against them a few times. I know there were multiple section's in the 5th ed rulebook about narrative play, constant GW support for game expansions (such as, Apocalypse, City Fight, Planet Strike etc), White Dwarf articles promoting the most important rule etc. There was support from the company, there was support from the community, and most importantly- support in the rules for that sort of play and it did exist prior to 6th/7th. That's not the same as saying it was commonplace, or guaranteed - but it was an option for those who wanted it (rather than being the only option like it or not).

I have to be honest I don't see how you can say it wasn't an option? If you remove player choice from the equation, and look at it purely from the option of the game, then all the things you do currently in the game could have been done in 5th. Lets put it another way, you now have a great narrative based group, running campaigns etc, and are getting a lot of players turning up to play on your games nights, and are all really enjoying it (from what you have said). If GW changed the rules so that they once again provided a standard default (in the style of 5th) - would that kill your group? You could quite happily continue running the same events you are now (just using the standard rules of the game with your own additions), for your group nothing at all would need to change (nor I suspect would it if they all enjoy it the way it currently is).

I sorry, not getting at you, I just cannot see the logic that says the current version of the game is more inclusive than the old, it very clearly isn't. Or that the old rule set did not support narrative play, when the only thing standing in the way of doing whatever you wanted was player choice.


With respect, the issue before was that a group like yours could easily expand the rules or make up your own house rules to cover things for your game. It wasn't in the rules because it didn't have to be. I remember in 2nd edition and 5th edition WHFB playing in campaigns where there were extra house rules to represent things not in the core book; the rules didn't need to specifically allow everything and the kitchen sink to allow it. We made up our own scenarios that suited the campaign, allowed different powers or magic items (or wargear) as suited the story, without the rules telling us how to do it.

That's the problem a lot of people have with 6th and 7th - they went away from having some semblance of a balanced game for competitive play that was still flexible enough to allow campaigns and narrative gamers to modify things, to giving the competitive crowd the finger entirely and doing everything to make those people miserable. They went to the opposite extreme.


Yep, I would point out it was not only the competitive crowd effected by this change though, but also pick up gamers and non narrative casuals (also I don't think they went to an opposite extreme, they just raised the finger full stop).