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lanrak
08-05-2009, 18:06
HI all.
After my topic asking why 40k uses far more rules than is necissary to achive the game play in 40k.

The only logical answer was that army-unit-character -'special rules' was percived to improve minature sales by GW corperate.

By focusing on 'exclusive special rules' for units this has bloated the number rules in 40k.

However as the background and the sculp quality of the minatures are so high quality.

Is it necissary to negativley affect game play to eeek out a few more sales?

Do you buy minatures JUST because they have 'kewl speshul rulz'.

Or is it the background that inspires you?

Or is it the pose -detail of the sculpt(s)?

Or is it the synergistic interplay with other units in the force?

I personaly think that putting marketing over game play is a false economy.

But I would like to hear your oppinions.

TTFN
Lanrak.

TheKingInYellow
08-05-2009, 18:26
If nothing had special rules, everything would play the same. Why would you buy anything for a game that boring?

freddythebig
08-05-2009, 18:27
Bearing in mind that I only ever play freindly games and am probably more into collecting and painting than actual gaming, I never buy minis mainly for their rules.
I will buy a figure if I like the look of it and if it fits into my idea of what I want my army to look like.
There are figures that sometimes seem essential to some armies but I will not buy them if I do not like the way they look.
Its just my my outlook on this and I fully appreciate other people will have other opinions.

Chaos and Evil
08-05-2009, 18:47
By focusing on 'exclusive special rules' for units this has bloated the number rules in 40k.

I firmly agree.



Is it necissary to negativley affect game play to eeek out a few more sales?

Considering GW's core market (kids 11-14), I think their emphasis on Special Rules (and the proliferation of Unique Special Rules) is a good thing (financially speaking).

It inspires kids because each unit in the game has some sort of unique rule that makes them cool and attractive.


If you're looking for a game system with more adult rules but the same setting, try Epic, Warmaster or Battle of Five Armies.

Zink
08-05-2009, 19:08
If nothing had special rules, everything would play the same. Why would you buy anything for a game that boring?

Why do you need tons of special rules to differentiate units? I thought that was why we had varying stats and equipment in the first place. The lack of balance and overwhelming number of special rules is a big turn off for me. It's discouraging when you read the basic rules and think, "ok, movement works like this and melee like that. But what a minute this army ignores those rules and that army can do things that the same unit in another army can't but costs the same:wtf:"

Cane
08-05-2009, 19:25
GW is definitely a miniatures company first so the rules-quality will always take a back seat to the flavor of the month models. The rules are just another promotional tool for the unit with the new Valkryie being a good example since its an excellent unit for its points. And with the new Imperial Guard Apoc sheets one's dreams of fielding an all Rough Rider/Stormtrooper regiment is now possible as long as you have the $$$. That said I don't necessarily mind this since an abundance of rules fits the diverse 40k setting and its a hobby for me to convert the new units with military kits.

I know Blizzard Entertainment uses advanced computer programs to make sure the World of Warcraft character classes are balanced (a topic of heated debate, the WOW forums are nothing but QQ) but I doubt GW takes anywhere near as much lengths for 40k's gameplay.

catbarf
08-05-2009, 19:42
I disagree, I think GW is a rules-first company. All new releases are explicitly geared around the game. There are no models that have been released lacking rules. And there are very, very few models released outside of new waves when a codex or army book is updated.

Chaos and Evil
08-05-2009, 19:46
I disagree, I think GW is a rules-first company. All new releases are explicitly geared around the game. There are no models that have been released lacking rules.

That's because the rules are there to sell the miniatures.

GW is a miniatures company, with everything else geared towards selling those miniatures.

Chaos and Evil
08-05-2009, 19:52
Why do you need tons of special rules to differentiate units?

You don't.

Epic gets by just find with ~20 Special Rules for the entire game system (Whilst Warhammer 40,000 probably has that ammount of Special Rules for each individual Codex!).

But it's not as inspiring for the target market to use a standard template... it's much more inspiring if everything is a little bit unique so that it is awesome in its own way.

This is part of GW's strategy-heavy (Army list building/collecting toy soldiers) focus for its core games.


The lack of balance and overwhelming number of special rules is a big turn off for me. It's discouraging when you read the basic rules and think, "ok, movement works like this and melee like that. But what a minute this army ignores those rules and that army can do things that the same unit in another army can't but costs the same:wtf:"

But those 'wtf' moments are inspiring and inspire people to collect those armies. They are a fundamental part of GW's business model.

Persephone
08-05-2009, 20:05
And it is easier to market the models than to actually make balanced rules, since play testing can be time intensive and mess up your projected release schedule if it is done correctly. There is no guarantee that players will necessarily respond to a good ruleset favorably either. It seems to me that it is easier to market cool models than to rely on players reading and appreciating the rules for it's strategic and tactical depth.

Marked_by_chaos
08-05-2009, 20:19
Over time you start to notice a trend.

Proliferation of new units and special rules for each army in turn under a new version of a game. Then everything gets so cluttered and unbalanced that they simply start a new codex or edition to streamline the system again.

Chaos and Evil
08-05-2009, 20:23
Over time you start to notice a trend.

Proliferation of new units and special rules for each army in turn under a new version of a game. Then everything gets so cluttered and unbalanced that they simply start a new codex or edition to streamline the system again.

They can no longer re-write the game system however, because then they'd immediately be left with 12 codexes as dead stock, it would be commercially difficult, to say the least.

So they can only build the pyramid higher and higher.
New editions are minor patches rather than wholesale re-writes, and codeces add ever greater layers of special rules, each one trumping the power level of the previous release ; the system can no longer be streamlined periodically in the manner you suggest, GW as a business is just too big for that to be possible.


Mind you, I think GW is doing a good thing by making its rules full of Special exceptions... it makes the game inspiring to the core market.

yabbadabba
08-05-2009, 20:37
Special rules have been in various wargames for donkey's years and certainly aren't a GW speciality. Most special rules have been dropped in to help highlight an army's fighting styles - British Napoleonic line vs French column, German Kampfgruppes e.t.c. In this case, the key thing is that historical research acts as a fine playtester for these special rules.

Because GW have a made up game, with made up armies, special rules have just help create those same differences, and are obviously inspired by real life examples. What has become very apparent is that if GW want to push models or style of play, then special rules can be one of the major factors in this whether by accident or design.

Duke Georgal
08-05-2009, 21:33
Citadel (GW) was a miniature comany long before they made any rules. White Dwarf even predates Warhammer by a few years.

Anywhere, they sell miniatures and are a miniature based company.

As I have tried to say before, I think the wargaming community would be better served if another comapny published rules that were compatible with Warhammer (FB and/or 40K) and left GW to do what they are best at. At minimum a little competition in the rules field would force GW to improve the quality.

Chaos and Evil
08-05-2009, 21:59
At minimum a little competition in the rules field would force GW to improve the quality.

The vast majority of GW customers have no idea other wargaming companies exist... so your theoretical 'competition' would need to have a nationwide chain of high street stores, in order to offer a credible alternative to the main part of GW's customer base.

lanrak
09-05-2009, 13:03
Hi all.
Well it appears that some people think excess special rules inspire the 'tweenies - kiddies' .
But have we any evidence to back this up?

It is a fact some gamers are put off 40k by the number of exceptions (special rules) you have to learn to play the game.

It has been proved a game is a good way to improve sales of your minatures.This is how it all started for WH and 40k.
(Thanks to RP and co.)

However as the asthetic,(narrative ,artwork and sculpting ) quality is so high.

Why comprimise potential new 40k players by making the rules unecissarily abstract counter intuitive and rules bloated?

Lots of GW customers dont care about the rules that much.

But a lot of gamers DO care.

My point is if the 40k rules were the same high quality as the minatures then would attract more customers, wouldnt it?

GW game devs are capable of produceing far better rule sets than current 40k.

I know GW PLC will not approve anything but minimal game play support.

But I was just asking for opinions.:D

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
09-05-2009, 13:29
Hi all.
Well it appears that some people think excess special rules inspire the 'tweenies - kiddies' .
But have we any evidence to back this up?
It'd be very hard to prove, but clearly GW thinks it's a good thing to do.


It is a fact some gamers are put off 40k by the number of exceptions (special rules) you have to learn to play the game.
Yes, that's certainly true.


It has been proved a game is a good way to improve sales of your minatures.This is how it all started for WH and 40k.
(Thanks to RP and co.)p
Indeed, that's the entire raison d'etre of the Warhammer/Warhammer 40,000 rules... to provide a framework that promotes the selling of miniatures.


Why comprimise potential new 40k players by making the rules unecissarily abstract counter intuitive and rules bloated?
Because each clunky counter-intuitive game-slowing Special Rule is inspiring to new customers, and due to GW's massive turnover of customers, at any one time the majority of their customers will be new customers.

GW is not very good at keeping their customers, so customer turnover is very high, so the product is aimed primarily at new customers.


Lots of GW customers dont care about the rules that much.
Indeed this is true; for them GW games are the first time they've encountered tabletop wargaming.


But a lot of gamers DO care.
Yep, but they're a small minority compared to the financial influence of the ever-renewing newbie crowd.


My point is if the 40k rules were the same high quality as the minatures then would attract more customers, wouldnt it?
Who says that the Warhammer 40,000 rules aren't high quality???

They're just high quality in a manner that's non-optimum for you.

They're bloated, they're counter-intuitive, they're slow, they're filled with gamey exceptions.... and they're perfect for newbie gamers.


GW game devs are capable of produceing far better rule sets than current 40k.
It's not a case of 'better', it's a cast of 'more appropriate'.

Warhammer 40,000 is a 'more appropriate' game for newbies.
Warhammer Fantasy is a 'more appropriate' game for intermediate gamers.
Epic is a 'more appropriate' game for "experienced wargamers"***

Guess who outnumbers who. :)


I know GW PLC will not approve anything but minimal game play support.
Their gameplay support is huge.
Half a dozen games designers, extensive playtesting, an entire art department, a photography studio.

Your mistake is in thinking GW are trying to make Warhammer 40,000 a balanced simulation-style wargame with great tactical depth suitable for "experienced wargamers"... they're not... they're trying to make a barely-balanced wacky-fun style wargame that's 'more appropriate' for kids who are just dipping their toe in the wargaming world.


But I was just asking for opinions.:D
And this is mine. :)

GW's core games are bloated messes, and it's exactly that bloat that forms one of its greatest financial strengths, because the bloat is inspiring to newbies.

Sure that means the game is slow, tactically shallow, etc... but that's why I also play Epic (Same setting, 'more appropriate' for an experienced wargamer)... so if I want wacky-fun I play Warhammer 40,000, and if I want a tactically challenging game I play Epic.


*** Direct quote from the rulebook.

Lord of Worms
09-05-2009, 14:14
I should point out as well that Necromunda, is a very in depth game and with minimal adjustement can be adapted to use other types of guys.

BTW, since when are 900-point uber-characters who can blow up a whole army in one turn not "wacky fun"?

Chaos and Evil
09-05-2009, 14:31
I'm sorry I don't follow what you mean, could you rephase it?

Lord of Worms
09-05-2009, 14:41
You refered to the 40k rules as "wacky-fun", and to an extent I agree with you. But to say WFB is closer to "intermediate" is bizzarre (IMO). In WFB you can spend more than half your points allotment on the Son of God himself riding Ultimate Helldrake of Death leading serried rank upon serried rank of irrelevent peons and yet not call that "wacky"?

Chaos and Evil
09-05-2009, 14:46
Warhammer Fantasy is not as tactically simple as Warhammer 40,000, even though it has some silly power combinations available overall it is a more tactically complex game more suited to an intermediate level of tactical skill.

This is mostly due to the emphasis on the movement phase, and especially the 'flee charge' option, which allows feinting, bait-n-switch, false threats, etc... so even though the game includes Dragons and Daemons and Steam Tanks, it's still more tactically complex than Warhammer 40,000 due to its more complex movement phase.

Both are made to look like wacky-fun by Epic, of course (Which incidentally puts Gameplay ahead of Marketing... the rulebook even mentions eBay as a source of (OOP) models! How's that for a lack of emphasis on marketing?!).

Lord of Worms
09-05-2009, 14:50
Maybe, but most games of WFB I've played (not many) and seen (quite a few), are pretty much turnkey operations that are decided by the 2nd to 3rd turn, whereas with 40k it's all up in the air until the 5th (usually)

Chaos and Evil
09-05-2009, 15:02
Maybe, but most games of WFB I've played (not many) and seen (quite a few), are pretty much turnkey operations that are decided by the 2nd to 3rd turn, whereas with 40k it's all up in the air until the 5th (usually)

It's very easy to fall into the trap of playing Warhammer Fantasy in the style of Warhammer 40,000.

Ie: Everyone moving forwards at maximum speed, then charging their enemy in the front.

Nobody flees, nobody flanks, everyone just charges and fights at the soonest possible occasion.


For example, two weeks ago I played a newbie at Warhammer Fantasy, he'd recently moved up from Warhammer 40,000.

- On my turn one I moved my Cold One Knights forwards a little into a threatening position.
- On his turn one, his Vampire on Dragon declaired a charge on my Cold One Knights.
- The Cold One Knights fled, and his Dragonlord is forced to attempt to persue.
- His Dragonlord was left stranded in the charge arc of two Stegadons.
- On my turn two, my Stegadons charged (As a Vampire he wasn't allowed to flee, a distinct weakness for the otherwise powerful Undead classes in Warhammer).

Half way through turn two he has to conceed, because I've killed his General, and done some serious damage to his army elsewhere too. A single tactical decision had won me the game, and lost it for him.

So yeah, a skilled player can wipe out an unskilled player in a couple of turns in Warhammer Fantasy, which is something that can't generally happen in Warhammer 40,000.... but that's at least partially due to the fact that Warhammer 40,000 is more tactically simple and more tactically forgiving ; there are simply less tactical gambits to play to help win the game quickly!

So if both players play in a Warhammer 40,000 style (Both charge forwards as fast as possible and FIGHT!) the game will normally short, bloody, and largely random/dependant on the army list as to who wins.


If you make a mistake in Warhammer 40,000, you'll normally not suffer too much immediately for it (You'll suffer in the long term, but you'll have many opportunities to fix your mistake too).

Make a mistake in Warhammer Fantasy, and if your opponent is skilled he will often win the game because of that one mistake...

...because Warhammer Fantasy is a more tactically complex game than Warhammer 40,000.

You dig?

Lord of Worms
09-05-2009, 15:11
I never really gave the game enough consideration to analyse it in such depth, but your argument appears sound.

yabbadabba
09-05-2009, 18:55
I never really gave the game enough consideration to analyse it in such depth, but your argument appears sound.

No disrespect LoW mate, but that isn't that much depth of analysis of WFB. It's kind of part of the basics.
C+E is right in terms of tatical challenge 40K<WFB<Epic

Chaos and Evil
09-05-2009, 18:58
Well to be fair yabbadabba, GW keep pretty silent about the relative levels of complexity (presumably so as to not offend customers?), so it make take a GW core gamer a while before he realises how the games differ.

Duke Georgal
09-05-2009, 23:35
The vast majority of GW customers have no idea other wargaming companies exist... so your theoretical 'competition' would need to have a nationwide chain of high street stores, in order to offer a credible alternative to the main part of GW's customer base.

WOTC already has the D20 line of rule books distributed in every major bookstore across the country. A single volume of tabletop fantasy wargaming rules should fit in their current shelf space.

Steve Jackson Games are in independant gaming stores eveywhere. A GURPS style of rules for fantasy wargaming could be done.

It doesn't matter as things stand. GW rules would probably have to get much worse before someone else would think it was a market worth expanding into. No matter how much better your rules set was, one GW revision to fix the worst problems and you are gone. Pretty risky at best.

Tarax
10-05-2009, 10:40
WOTC already has the D20 line of rule books distributed in every major bookstore across the country. A single volume of tabletop fantasy wargaming rules should fit in their current shelf space.

Steve Jackson Games are in independant gaming stores eveywhere. A GURPS style of rules for fantasy wargaming could be done.


The problem with all of this is that people already play GW-games. If I find some rules which are better then I still have a hard time convincing my local gaming group to play the same set of rules.


If nothing had special rules, everything would play the same. Why would you buy anything for a game that boring?

Like chess?


GW is definitely a miniatures company first so the rules-quality will always take a back seat to the flavor of the month models. The rules are just another promotional tool for the unit ...

Partly agreeing here. Citadel is/was the miniatures producing part. GW took it upon itself to make some rules to go with the models Citadel produced.
So, now you have to choose which company you are buying from. Citadel, because they produce nice models? Or GW, who produce a game you can play?

---

To me, armies are different in their stats. These can be called 'special rules' by itself, as it reflects a different style of playing. USR are there to differentiate between units within an army. However, this should only be applied to a select number of units in said army. The same goes for special rules which apply to a single unit. It makes a unit stand out from the rest of the army.
If any of the latter two special rules contradict with any of the core rules, or special rules are given to a whole army, then something has gone wrong with the creation af that army, in which it works against the rules.

Such armies are hard to play with and against, bacause every time you have to look at every rule to see what they can or can't do. GW also has a hard time, because every new unit/army/ruleset will make those special rules more difficult to balance/understand.

lanrak
10-05-2009, 14:03
Hi all.
Thanks for the responces so far.
I do NOT disagree with Chaos and Evils explanation of why GW 'develop' 40k rules the way they do.
Or the fact that GW produce a range of games with varing degrees of tactical complexity .

However , my concern is the practice of adding unproven methods of 'intising' (additional special rules ), a undefined/unspecified demographic. ('Newbs-Tweenies'?).

Which only has been proven to disuade gamers from playing 40k and collecting 40k minatures ?

Seems to be a bit counter productive.

I am NOT refering to racial traits, or special skills-drills.
But 'special rules' that have to be added to achive basic game play,or to define units that fall outside the unsuiatable and limited basic rules.(Anything but basic infantry units seem to have special rules!:rolleyes:)

My definition of 'better rules', is simply optimising game play , with the minumum amount of rules.(Im am not interested in psudo marketing reasons.)

Most gamers want maximum game play- minimum rules. AFAIK.

As GW produce high quality asthetics,why do they feel the need to heavily comprimise function of the 40k game?
With NO PROVABLE benifit?

Wouldnt it be better to have a rules set that could be naturally expanded to grow with the gamers level of experiance.
A rule set that was clearly defined and UNDERSTOOD by the game developers?
A solid base to grow the game from.So rather than new editions every few years have new EXPANSIONS.That introduce more diverse minature ranges .

Current 40k rules have to be 're-set' every 5 years or so.Just to give the game developers a chance to 'tame the beast' of 'bloated rules and ambiguios interactions of marketing driven dross'.:evilgrin:

I just feel GW PLCs 'short sighted marketing policies' are having a negative effect on 40k game play , and marketing.

Do you think more straight forward rules would ultimatley benifit 40k game play, and therfore improve sales?

PS.I have NO problem with 40k game play.
(Just the abstract counter intuitive mismash of rules used to get it:evilgrin:).

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
10-05-2009, 14:51
Most gamers want maximum game play- minimum rules. AFAIK.

'Gamers', yes.

But GW's core market aren't 'Gamers' yet, and in fact probably never will be (most kids quit the hobby quite soon after they start, having bought their army and played with it for a few months, and never return).


As GW produce high quality asthetics,why do they feel the need to heavily comprimise function of the 40k game?
In order to appeal to that transient 'newbie' market.

GW (due to obvious financial reasons) regard that transient market as more important than the long-term gamer market, so the game is designed more to appeal to those transient players, and paradoxically not primarily the 'Gamers' who have more than a passing interest in the Hobby (otherwise known as 'veterans').

The quiet intent of the company five years ago was that those long term gamers ('veterans') would naturally move over to games more appropriate to their skill level (Epic, Warmaster & Battle of Five Armies)... but that intent has been abandoned as it wasn't making any money.


Current 40k rules have to be 're-set' every 5 years or so.Just to give the game developers a chance to 'tame the beast' of 'bloated rules and ambiguios interactions of marketing driven dross'.
GW has grown too big for that.

Re-writing the rules from the ground up means invalidating the Codexes and rules Supplements like Apocalypse, Cities of Death, Planetstrike, Imperial Armour, etc.

Ie: Overnight GW would be left with scores of thousands of pounds of dead stock.

It would be a commercially stupid thing to do, regardless of its supposed*** positive impact upon the game system.



The upshot of all this?
- GW makes money and stays in business.

The downside?
- Gamers who get disenfanchised with a lack of a well-supported game appropriate to their skill level wander off to play FoW or Warmachine, etc, instead of 'graduating' to Epic/Warmaster/BoFA, as those games recieve little official support these days (not that all gamers are interested in 'graduating' to a more skillful game anyway, many are quite happy with their Core game, or at least not displeased enough with it to want to invest in another game).


Do you think more straight forward rules would ultimatley benifit 40k game play, and therfore improve sales?

I believe it would quite possibly be less financially productive than GW's current 'bloat-heavy' approach***.



***Making the game system more tactically complex and less clunky may very well drive away the core market after all, as the game won't be as appealing to them without all those wacky Special Rules!.

Templar Ben
10-05-2009, 15:04
I think it would be great for GW to truly knock down the number of rules.

Having a "Movement" stat means they can get rid of Fleet and Slow and Purposeful. You can do something similar for many of the other rules.

I don't know that special rules really draws in the youngsters. The fluff where Magnus drops an avatar would do more than a rule that says my army gets a free attack when assaulted.

yabbadabba
10-05-2009, 17:05
Having a "Movement" stat means they can get rid of Fleet and Slow and Purposeful. You can do something similar for many of the other rules.

And then you can replace 2 rules with variable movement rates to remember (does his Eldar move 4,5 or 6?) and rules for walking, running, crawling, charging ... .... :p

Gw rules don't need to be updated every 4-5 years - thats a sales ploy to refresh the brand. For my money RT is still a very workable, if time consuming set of rules.

As for Vets - another Monday thing I think :D

Templar Ben
10-05-2009, 21:09
Actually 1 rate per race would make the most sense. All Eldar have X, all Humans have Y, all Bugs have Z. Saying that they could eliminate the silliness doesn't mean necessarily going back to 2nd.

Rioghan Murchadha
11-05-2009, 02:58
And then you can replace 2 rules with variable movement rates to remember (does his Eldar move 4,5 or 6?) and rules for walking, running, crawling, charging ... .... :p

Gw rules don't need to be updated every 4-5 years - thats a sales ploy to refresh the brand. For my money RT is still a very workable, if time consuming set of rules.

As for Vets - another Monday thing I think :D

Yeah.. you know, I've totally lost count of how many times in the past 21 years I've forgotten how far my fantasy troops can move. If one can remember the metric f**ktonne of special rules in 40k, a couple movement rates shouldn't be beyond possibility.

Fenlear
11-05-2009, 03:25
While I’ll agree that in a lot of ways the rules can be confusing or vague, I rather enjoy having the rules be complex. It’s why I prefer a game of Warhammer over chess. I prefer seeing what people can come up with when there are so many possibilities in strategy rather then playing with the same 16 pieces on the same board starting in the same spots and having every game come down to who’s able to analyze the most moves ahead.

Master Stark
11-05-2009, 04:55
If nothing had special rules, everything would play the same. Why would you buy anything for a game that boring?

This right here is the reason GW makes the game the way they do. It's because their gamers are ignorant and misinformed, incorrectly believing that a billion special rules make the game interesting and varied.

lanrak
11-05-2009, 18:34
Hi agian.
Master Stark.
So you belive GW are aiming for the 'lowest common denominator' with 40k rules?

They activley chase people who will buy a few box sets, get bored , then sell off thier purchases after a short period of time.

Rather than develop a rule set that will engage and KEEP customers coming back for many years?

This is just shortsighted IMO.
It has been stated to cost up to 9 times more to bring in new customers , than it costs to keep existing customers.

I have stated before I understand the short sighted focus of GW PLC corperate managment.

I am happy with the current straight forward game play of 40k.

But in you opinion do you think the 40k game,( and GW), would benifit from more straight forward intuitive rules set?

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
11-05-2009, 19:16
So you belive GW are aiming for the 'lowest common denominator' with 40k rules?

I think they aim for this much of the time (Not always)... I also think it's the most financially sensible thing for GW to do.


They activley chase people who will buy a few box sets, get bored , then sell off thier purchases after a short period of time.
Yes they do.


Rather than develop a rule set that will engage and KEEP customers coming back for many years?
What makes you think that it's possible to keep the average 11-14 year old interested for more than a year or two?

For the vast majority of GW's customers, playing GW games is a momentary phase in their life that they will never return to.

Ending up as a 'veteran' is the absolute exception (and always has been), not the norm.

The norm is to drop out of the hobby after a year or so... and always has been.

IJW
11-05-2009, 20:00
I am happy with the current straight forward game play of 40k.
That's a first. ;)


The norm is to drop out of the hobby after a year or so... and always has been.
It was the case when I first came across GW games around 1985-7. An older age bracket and a slightly longer turnaround - call it 3-5 years rather than 1-2, but there was always a pretty fast turnover in gamers.

Anecdote time...

When I was 11 an older friend introduced me to MERP (early LotR roleplay, to any young-uns reading) along with these weird little lead toys from some castle-named company. Three years later he was out of gaming and into model aircraft - I've still got some of his Citadel Middle Earth models that I found later in a local junk shop.

At 14 I encountered GW and SF&F gaming again, courtesy of a very dedicated gaming group at secondary school. By 17 and A-levels, they all stopped gaming apart from me.

By 18 the new gaming buddies I'd come across had finished A-levels and coincidentally dropped out of gaming.

Of the gamers I knew from the following 2-3 years the only ones still involved in gaming either have a strong interest in historicals, painting or they are involved directly in the gaming industry in some way.

As much as we might like or not, we veterans are the exception when it comes to SF&F tabletop wargames. :cries:

lanrak
11-05-2009, 23:07
Hi guys.
Chaos and Evil.
Well , I am sure the 11 to 14 year olds may drift away after a short period of time.
But what about the gamers who dont start untill thier late teens early twenties?

Or the people who come back after a short 'real life interuption'?

How much of the 'drifting away' of 11 to 14 year olds is due to GWs buisness practices.

How many would stay with the 40k game if it had 'better' rules and game support?

The bottom line is that a large majority of GW customers buy Citadel Minatures and kits to use in GW games .

If after a large investment of time and money to prepare an army to play a game.
The game play is adversly effected by a plethora of unnesisarily abstract and poorly defined rules.

This may have a negative effect on word of mouth and future sales .

IJW.
The game play of 40k is fine.

It just the awful way its achived (40k rule book and codex rules,)I have issues with.;)

So many other rules sets achive SO much more , with LESS rules.

I think it would be better to have straight forward rules for the straight forward game play of a game like 40k.

20 to 30 pages of well written rules should cover ALL the game play of 40k.(No special or USR rules required.:D)

TTFN
Lanrak.

Deep-Green-X
11-05-2009, 23:43
I dunno, see what special rules add to the game, and more importantly the miniatures themselves is Character.

Its all very well talking about simplified and streamlined rules, but didn't the main complaint with 3rd and now 4th edition was the dumbing down of the rules and the over simplification compared to the shining zenith that was 2nd edition?

I have a copy of the 2nd edition rule books at home, and there's an entire book dedicated to nothing but wargear, with tonnes of special rules for everything from living bioweapons to simple bows and slings. The codex section is just as crammed with special rules for the various armies, and this was before the codexes were released!

In my view yo cant have a game like 40K with as many diverse units without making them individual in some way. Otherwise its a case of Necron Warriors are just Space Marines without bolters, or gaunts are just orks without the speed.

Special rules are there to make the game interesting and FUN, its something people often forget when they concentrate to much on the tactical aspect of the game.

Actually I've had a thought, take chess.

Look at the amount of custom sets there are available, Star-Wars, The Simpsons, AVP, Lord Of The Rings , no matter how interesting and diverse the model ranges are they all still utilize the same basic rule set, there's no difference between using a custom pieces set over the standard set other than aesthetics. Now say each pice set has their own special rules, ie the AVP king can move 2 spaces but only on the diagonal, or the Star-Wars bishops can move in multiple diagonal directions on the same move but cant capture. Makes the game more interesting and provides and intensive to collect different sets.

Templar Ben
12-05-2009, 00:20
The group I played D&D with started back in Junior High School. We didn't drift out for any real time and to this day (after military time separation and everything) I know about half of the old group well enough to get together every now and again. They all still game.

I have checked around and it has been uncommon to see people that played when they were teens and don't play now. They could be lying (but then why are 40 year olds lying about that) or perhaps this drift in and drift out is a UK thing. Perhaps the marketing of GW ensures you get a few kids for a little while and they never really get involved and they quit. It worked for GW back when there was not an eBay and those models didn't just go in circulation cannibalizing future sales.

Just a theory.

Templar Ben
12-05-2009, 00:23
I dunno, see what special rules add to the game, and more importantly the miniatures themselves is Character.

Its all very well talking about simplified and streamlined rules, but didn't the main complaint with 3rd and now 4th edition was the dumbing down of the rules and the over simplification compared to the shining zenith that was 2nd edition?

I have a copy of the 2nd edition rule books at home, and there's an entire book dedicated to nothing but wargear, with tonnes of special rules for everything from living bioweapons to simple bows and slings. The codex section is just as crammed with special rules for the various armies, and this was before the codexes were released!

In my view yo cant have a game like 40K with as many diverse units without making them individual in some way. Otherwise its a case of Necron Warriors are just Space Marines without bolters, or gaunts are just orks without the speed.

Special rules are there to make the game interesting and FUN, its something people often forget when they concentrate to much on the tactical aspect of the game.

Actually I've had a thought, take chess.

Look at the amount of custom sets there are available, Star-Wars, The Simpsons, AVP, Lord Of The Rings , no matter how interesting and diverse the model ranges are they all still utilize the same basic rule set, there's no difference between using a custom pieces set over the standard set other than aesthetics. Now say each pice set has their own special rules, ie the AVP king can move 2 spaces but only on the diagonal, or the Star-Wars bishops can move in multiple diagonal directions on the same move but cant capture. Makes the game more interesting and provides and intensive to collect different sets.

If a special set is well made people will buy it and enjoy it because it is nice. GW could make games so good that people would want to play no matter what minis were available. Instead they make a game with rules that mean that the new model is the best until the next book comes out.

You can have special rules but if the game needs over 100 pages just to tell you how to play then you are giving up a lot and adding nothing.

Chaos and Evil
12-05-2009, 00:27
I dunno, see what special rules add to the game, and more importantly the miniatures themselves is Character.

I agree, all those wacky exceptions are inspiring to the core demographic.


Its all very well talking about simplified and streamlined rules, but didn't the main complaint with 3rd and now 4th edition was the dumbing down of the rules and the over simplification compared to the shining zenith that was 2nd edition?

Simplified rules doesn't nessesarily equate to a simple gameplay experience.

Epic has much simpler rules than Warhammer 40,000, for example, but the gameplay experience itself is much more tactically complex.


Now, are Epic's rules 'dumbed down' compared to Warhammer 40,000?
Certainly not, they're 'smarted up' if anything!

So there isn't nessesarily a correlation between simple rules and a 'dumbed down' game.


In my view yo cant have a game like 40K with as many diverse units without making them individual in some way. Otherwise its a case of Necron Warriors are just Space Marines without bolters, or gaunts are just orks without the speed.

Indeed, but it's a question as to whether you make them unique by using aspects of the core rules system in a unique combination, or by making up a new Special Rule each time you want a unique unit.

Warhammer 40,000 goes for the latter choice, because to do so is inspiring and wacky.


Special rules are there to make the game interesting and FUN, its something people often forget when they concentrate to much on the tactical aspect of the game.
Indeed I agree, they often lessen the balance of the game system, but at the same time increase the FUN quotient.



Look at the amount of custom sets there are available, Star-Wars, The Simpsons, AVP, Lord Of The Rings , no matter how interesting and diverse the model ranges are they all still utilize the same basic rule set, there's no difference between using a custom pieces set over the standard set other than aesthetics. Now say each pice set has their own special rules, ie the AVP king can move 2 spaces but only on the diagonal, or the Star-Wars bishops can move in multiple diagonal directions on the same move but cant capture. Makes the game more interesting and provides and intensive to collect different sets.
I agree.

Plus, appropriate to the topic at hand, such an approach is definitely about marketing, at the expense of smooth gameplay and tactical balance (especially if you are enabled to play your AVP set against your Star Wars set!).

Tarax
12-05-2009, 07:11
They activley chase people who will buy a few box sets, get bored , then sell off thier purchases after a short period of time.


Yes they do.

...

The norm is to drop out of the hobby after a year or so... and always has been.

I find this reasoning quite disturbing. Kids who buy a game and models which cost a lot, assemble them, paint them, play with them and quit all in a year?

I takes me at least 2 years to finish one army. Admitted that I have limited time, because of work. And it also takes more than a year to learn the rules to a level I can play a game without looking up all the rules. Though after decades of gaming it is now easier for me.

Or is it because they (the kids) have a limited attention span, meaning they will not assemble nor paint a whole army and only playing with makeshift/proxy models?

Master Stark
12-05-2009, 20:00
I think the issue is that most kids get into the game before they discover booze and girls. Once those two great goals of life make themselves apparent, pushing plastic men around a table doesn't seem like so much fun any more.

It's just a matter of how many come back once they glutted themselves on women and alcohol.

yabbadabba
12-05-2009, 20:19
This right here is the reason GW makes the game the way they do. It's because their gamers are ignorant and misinformed, incorrectly believing that a billion special rules make the game interesting and varied.

I must be getting old. I only find that pathetically insulting.

lanrak
12-05-2009, 20:42
Hi.
This is the crux of the matter IMO.
Is it better to make a game that maximises short term profit from a fickle demograophic.

My 'paraphasing' of GW corperate managment.
'40k is mainly played by tweenies that dont know thier arses from thier elbow.Just print any old dross , as long as it makes the new model releases look and sound cool, the whiny little gits will pursuade Mommy to stump up the cash.'

This approachleads to the new players leaveing after about 2 years, and usualy sell off thier stuff.
This give the impression 40k is juat a 'fad'.
And reduces the potential new sales.
Not to mention does NOTHING for promoting positive word of mouth which GW rely on.

Or would it be better to develop a rule set with the emphasis on game play.

By gamers for gamers.(Like GW used to be along time ago.)
The young/ new players love the game and have fond memories and promotes positive word of mouth.
They keep thier minature collections , for when time allows them to return.
And when they feel like returning to thier favorite table top game .Its still a great game with challenges to keep them interested .

Chaos and Evil.
You seem belive the statment that special rules influence people to buy minatures.
Is there any proof of this?

I can understand that players that have ONLY experianced 40k rules , might not know how to make units/models individual inspiring options without 'special rules'.

Quoting people with very limited experiance and saying they dont want anthing else, is a bit wrong IMO.

In the last 19 years of our gaming club. We get lots of new players that ONLY play 40k.
Untill they get to play other rule sets.:D
(The 40k minatures get regular outings onto the table top, just not with GWs rules.)


TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
12-05-2009, 21:27
Chaos and Evil.
You seem belive the statment that special rules influence people to buy minatures.
Is there any proof of this?

I think it's clearly part of GW's design philosophy (Include lots of Special Rules to make unit types appealing, each in a unique way).

Does it work?

For the core market, I'd argue that yes it does work.

It helps build a clearly-understandable picture of the benefit to the army that will come from owning a particular unit, and that in turn helps drive sales.

For the older market ('veteran' and post-'veteran'), I'd argue that it serves as a disinclination to continue with the core game systems, but that's when the 'advanced' Specialist Games like Epic are supposed to step into the gap and take up the slack, in concept at least.

IJW
12-05-2009, 22:51
This approachleads to the new players leaveing after about 2 years, and usualy sell off thier stuff.
I think you've got that the wrong way around - the majority of the new younger players will leave the game after a couple of years whatever approach is used. They already did in the 'golden age of gamers for gamers' in the Eighties and the early Nineties before the management buyout/GW being told 'expand or die'.

Chaos and Evil
12-05-2009, 23:30
IJW has it right... the core demographic has typically never spent much more than a year playing GW games before moving on.

Those who return later in life are rare, and those who never drift away are the rarest of all.

Lord of Worms
13-05-2009, 05:14
Has anyone actually seriously looked at the proportion of revenue that "noobs" generate versus vets? If we had some numbers maybe we could understand why they do things the way they do.

yabbadabba
13-05-2009, 08:41
Has anyone actually seriously looked at the proportion of revenue that "noobs" generate versus vets? If we had some numbers maybe we could understand why they do things the way they do.

GW have. Hence their sales strategy.

Lord of Worms
13-05-2009, 08:45
Do they really outnumber us that by that much?

IJW
13-05-2009, 08:47
In my experience, yes they outnumber us that much. In other people's experience, no.

Lord of Worms
13-05-2009, 08:52
But seriously, it would take like 4 "noobs" to match my expenditures! Each guy in my gaming group spends about as much as I do, and that's just my group alone. I can't believe there's that many :confused:
I think they get their numbers from the amount of purchases of core intro sets (like Black Reach) equating that with a new player.

IJW
13-05-2009, 09:10
But seriously, it would take like 4 "noobs" to match my expenditures! Each guy in my gaming group spends about as much as I do, and that's just my group alone. I can't believe there's that many :confused:
I'd estimate (extremely roughly) that the number of young teens going through the local GW store outnumbers the older customers by a minimum of ten to one.

Remember, though, that this is the UK market which is skewed due to the high number of GW stores.

yabbadabba
13-05-2009, 09:11
Remember, though, that this is the UK market which is skewed due to the high number of GW stores.

Nope, its skewed due to the sales strategy. If GWUK Retail targetted Vets, the numbers would swing the other way.

IJW
13-05-2009, 09:12
Sorry, I thought that was implicit in what I wrote. Oops on my part.

yabbadabba
13-05-2009, 09:17
Sorry, I thought that was implicit in what I wrote. Oops on my part.

Go stand in the naughty corner ;)

Lord of Worms
13-05-2009, 09:33
Nope, its skewed due to the sales strategy. If GWUK Retail targetted Vets, the numbers would swing the other way.

Yeah, but look what they missed out on. This is something they're never gonna grab a hold of again. They tried to define and grab everithing in wargaming and it slipped through their fingers:


1.) No more bitz orders
2.) Not supporting SG
3.) No more magazines except WD
4.) WD being one big advertisement
5.) Not enough conversion kits

look at the implications and loss of revenue associated. I seriously think that GW created a vaccuum that others eventually filled (which is great, the little guy making a few dollars is not a bad thing, mind you)

1.) Ebay bitz companies sales through the roof

2.) No "easy in" for new players, quick 50-80 dollars from every core gamer

3.)E-Zines like Warp Rift

4.)E-Zines like Firestorm. Firestorm is great! WD should be free, I would actually pay good money for Firestorm in mag form

5.)Swarms of small "aftermarket" companies like Max Mini et al.

Actually...come to think of it things are better then they ever were.:confused: I think the solution is just to be less dependent on "official" GW stuff.

I can dig that.

Chaos and Evil
13-05-2009, 13:04
Do they really outnumber us that by that much?

It's not so much that they outnumber veterans, it's that they're constantly dropping in and out of the hobby.

So at any one time a random sample of 'noobs' will be spending much more than a random sample of 'veterans', because they're all buying their first armies/rulebooks etc.

'Veterans' might buy one new army a year... in that time three 'noobs' have dropped in and out of the hobby and each spent more than that 'veteran' on a new army and a rulebook etc.

lanrak
13-05-2009, 19:40
HI again.
I can see how the short term knee jerk reaction from corperate would be to 'milk the newbs' before they quit.

But IF the rules 40k were more straight forward ,better defined .How would this detract from sales?

IF the rules were less 'bloated' , it would make the game more appealing to a wider range of players surely?

I suppose the real problem is trying to validate the expenditure on ACTUAL game development required.

Can they prove to the share holders that a more straight forward rule set would increase gamer retension.(And therfore sales, and by how much?)

I am not saying that GW should ignore newbs over vets.
Just that making the 40k rule set more straight forward (based on game play NOT marketing, )would improve speed of development- production and gamer retension.
(It is an acknolwedged fact that legacy issues slow down codex releases.And the current very abstract and nonlinear rules in 40k make development a night mare.)

And to adversly effect the game play purley to add a fraction more to the asthetic appeal seems to be counter productive.

As the art -background- sculpt quality all do the primary job of instant inspiration to buy.(For the majority of GW customers, IMO.)

Why muck up a potentialy great game and drive a way gamers ,to over egg the marketing drive to focus on newb- tweenies to buy fractionaly more?

Even if the 'Speshul rulz for da kiddiz ' do slightly improve sales to new players.(Which has not been proven?)
Surley the amout of sales lost due to lackluster rules driving more experianced gamers away makes this poor buisness practice?

All I want to know is IF the 40k rule set was re-written to reflect a specific game play.(5th ed game play.:D)
In the most elegant and efficeint way.

Would this be a good thing or a bad thing.


TTFN
Lanrak

Erloas
14-05-2009, 01:16
To quote Yahtzee "fans are clingy complaining dips**ts that will never ever be grateful for any concession you make"

The one most consistant thing I've found is that for ANY game in any genre if there is a board dedicated to it the majority of the people there spend more time complaining about the game then anything else. It doesn't matter if its 40k, Magic The Gathering, WoW, D&D, Call of Duty or anything else. The funny thing is though that if you go to some neutral 3rd party site and start up a discussion about said game you will find a lot of people that actually like it.

For everyone you find that complains that there are too many special rules in 40k you will also find someone else that is complaining about them removing some special rule they used to have in another edition. It really is a case of "you can't make everyone happy." Personally I had no trouble at all remembering the vast majority of special rules for every army after having played against them once or twice. Sure it would be a lot to sit down and learn all at once, but you don't really need to learn a rule until you face it.

For every change they make that streamlines the game some or removes special rules and variations you also get a huge backlash of people saying they've "dumbed the game down." While there are people here claiming they are dumbing the game down by adding variety and unique special rules.

As for the whole "GW exclusively targets tweens" thing, I simply don't see it. Having went from a big city with a local GW shop and at least 3-4 local game shops to a small town where we play in a library, I have seen all of 3 people under the age of 16-17 playing or even collecting models. 2 of those were the younger brother or kid of one of the players. Almost all of the players I have meet have all been 18+, the majority in their mid 20s.

The thing about most of them though is that they aren't the kind of players that spend much, if any, time on forums for the games. They aren't the kind that are more worried about winning then anything else, they aren't power gaming, they aren't setting out to win tournements. They are playing the game to have fun.

That is a concept lost on a lot of people that are dedicated to playing any game competatively. The fact that most people that play the game are playing to have fun. This is who GW is marketting to, this is who their real player base is. Its not the people that spend lots of time reading forums and complaining. This is also true of pretty much every game out there. There is a distinct line between the majority of the playerbase playing to have fun and the small percentage of the playerbase that are ultra-competative and want the game changed to exactly their idea of what a competative game should be.

They are more interested in making the game fun and interesting then to make the game 100% balanced. Because any difference is inheriently unbalanced. The only way to acheive true balance is to make everything identical. You will find that all of the "classic" strategy games that are touted as being 100% strategy are exactly the same on both sides, games like Chess and Go. Those games are not all that interesting though. Sure lots of people know how to play Chess, but very few people play it all that much (at least compared to the number of people that know how to play, the sheer volume of potential players means there are a lot of people playing). In fact most people that grow up learning Chess and liking it eventually "graduate" to more complex and random games like 40k or many other games that aren't nearly as balanced and strategic, but are more fun. Which doesn't mean there isn't a subset of the population that find 100% strategy to be fun, but it is small compared to the general gaming population.

The fact that there are exceptions to just about every rule simply means that you will have to adjust how you play with each different army you face. Its not really that complex to realise you can't face different opponents and try to play them the same way. The fact that some armies seem to be at a distinct disadvantage towards other armies also means you are forced to try harder to win sometimes. And that shouldn't be a problem for anyone really stuck up on strategy because virtually all of the notable battles of history have all come from one side at an obvious disadvantage and still being able to come out ahead by out "playing" the other side.

There is also a high percentage of players that loose because they were out-played but always try to claim that the system was working against them. Of course they seldom realize what they are doing wrong, so they don't get any better and instead of watching for what they are doing wrong they instead blame the system or lack of balance.

Deep-Green-X
14-05-2009, 12:06
*snip*

Hear hear, well thought out and well written post! I don't agree with all of it but well said nevertheless.

iamfanboy
15-05-2009, 10:09
Erloas, I would say that I agree except for one thing: I've been posting on the official Classic Battletech Forum for a while now and there is almost nothing about the community which is negative. It isn't a case of the mods immediately suppressing dissent or it being shouted down by other members mind you; it's just so... civilized. Even a thread discussing why a member preferred the redesigned versions of Battlemechs whose designs were originally licensed from Macross and other anime (a topic which is probably the most dividing among CBT players) is actually NICE!

Also, the people who develop the games and sculpt the miniatures and even WRITE THE BOOKS actively post on the forum, answering questions - something I've never seen in better than ten years worth of posting on wargaming forums.

While there's discussion of game balance issues, there's nothing like the acrimonious whinging that goes on on the other forums - probably because the basic rules are balanced and stable, and have been for 25 years (a true testament to what real game design can do.)

It's... refreshing.

Maybe it has more to do with the age of the average Battletech player - as one person says, "Battletech will never die. It has ancient geeks with Jerry Garcia beards on its side."

Bloodknight
15-05-2009, 11:41
The BattleTech players, however, have a smaller sense of entitlement compared to Warhammer (where that sense of entitlement isn't totally unfounded), I think. They already get a very good product that doesn't need tweaks all the time.

The rules are so watertight that there's almost no place for a heated rules discussion and have always been, and in my experience, BT is often played super-competitively, so there are a lot of people bound to find the loopholes.
The way the game works basically hasn't changed except for a modifier here and there since I started in 1992.

Balance issues are there sometimes, mostly due to the construction rules that overemphasize certain aspects that lead to an overblown Battle Value on some machines, and at least in the German version they had to lower the Clan pilot stats so they wouldn't just roll over everything IS (they were introduced in TRO 3050 and had 2/3 pilots at first, which was then lowered to 3/4; for the non-BT players: Clan pilots are better than IS pilots; an IS pilot has 4/5. Every pip less means you hit better by 1 or are less likely to fall over by 1. So when an IS pilot shot on 9, the clanner would take that same shot on 7 on 2D6. They changed that pretty quickly, though.
And BT has serious advantages over Warhammer:

It is cheap (to spend a nice evening you need a basic box, nothing else. Mechs cost around 7€ each (or tanks that come in 2 or 3 a blister), a battalion of mechs is already a big collection, and a battalion -36 mechs per side - sized game can take days), and people usually don't care about proxying at all. OK, with all variants, BT has something around 1000 playable units, no way anybody could have them all, and in multiples.

I haven't followed the Unseen/Reseen debate, but for me personally, it depends on the mini in question. I prefer the old Rifleman, Phoenixhawk and Shadowhawk mechs, but the new Locust is much better than the old one. Also, this has been going on for ages, I guess people have just got used to the "new" designs.

erm...I'll stop my rambling now.

Erloas
15-05-2009, 14:54
Well I also play Battletech (or I would if more people played, I can get some small games in sometimes though, before I moved I played a decent amount) but I don't visit their forums much, if at all. Although I would say that is an exception. Those exceptions are also much more common the smaller a game is, and while Battletech has been around a long time its following is small compared to a lot of other games. One thing that also helps Battletech is that for the most part everyone has access to the same things, so its hard to have a big complaint about something when you also have access to the same thing.
The general complaining of players and fighting though is by far not just limited to GW games and wargames in general. It covers just about any hobby that people do competitively.

lanrak
15-05-2009, 16:32
HI again.
Erolas.
Are you saying some people find reading pages upon pages of contradictory poorly defined and applied rules fun?

Fair enough, if you say so:wtf:.

No one I know finds this fun at all.
All my friends who play table top games want the minimum amount of rules for ther maximum amount of game play.

Chaos and Evil promoted the idea that GW PLC belive special rules helps sell minature to thier percived core market .(Twenies.)
I do not support this view. I belive it to be a retarded buisness decision if it is true.

I could understand some players who only play 40k (WH) beliving you have to have umpteen special rules to make a game fun.

Have I said make 40k less fun , or even commented on the level of ballance?
NO.

I simply put forward the idea that more appropriate game mechanics would result in the same gameplay with far less written rules.

Everything would play the same, but the rules wouldnt take up 300+ pages.
20 to 30 should do.:D

This I belive would reduce bariers to the game of 40k and make it easier to adapt for more experianced players.

If you think reducing the ambiguity and confusion present in the current 40 rules,improving the cycle time of codex releases, and opening up the possiblities to expand 40Ks scope to cover more is a BAD idea.
Eg you want to keep 40k rules following the current format .

Please explain your reasons to me.
TTFN
Lanrak.

yabbadabba
15-05-2009, 18:02
My rulebook has 85 pages of rules Lanrak, and a fair amount of that is pretty pictures ;)

I disagree with C+E, special rules were introduced to express the uniqueness of each army, outside of the core rule set. There were far more rules to worry about in RT and 2nd Ed than there are now, and I would hope the streamlining trend doesn't continue.

As an add on to an idea I posted elsewhere, I think that the rulebook should only have the basic/tournament rules (both the same), along with basic tournament army lists. All other rules can be included in an unofficial supplement, or as campaign packs.

Of course we will just get the whining from the tournament players that thay can't have all the shiny shinys.

Erloas
15-05-2009, 21:55
I think part of the problem is simply that I do not understand the problem you are having with all the complex rules. I just started playing maybe 6-8 months ago and I was able to pick up the rules for my army and for the game in general in very little time. I was able to start winning games from my very first game (current record is somewhere in the 20-25 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie) against a wide range of armies. I simply took a few minutes before any game with an army I hadn't faced yet and asked a few questions about it.
I'm sure a decent amount of that comes from having played fantasy for a while so some of the rules (and all of the tables) carry over, but that doesn't take into account all the special rules.

In most of the games in our local group we never have to pick up a rulebook, except for people looking up stats on a weapon or unit and almost never on the special rules. We do sometimes look them up on something that doesn't seem right or is very seldomly used, but even that only takes a few minutes.
We loose very little of our gaming time to looking up rules or to rule issues in general. Its usually just a case of wanting to make sure we get something right.

I simply do not see the rules problems you are making a big deal about.
Maybe a few specific examples of rules you have issues with might make this a bit clearer. There is a sub-set of people that want to argue rules all the time and clearly look past the "spirit" of the game. Even if a rule isn't 100% disambiguous it is still generally very clear how it is supposed to work and only people trying to break the system will say otherwise. And those sort of people are going to be an issue with any game system.

As for Evil and Chaos being a direct link to marketing for tweens I don't see that either. Most of the tweens I've ran into prefer the good guys, in all genres, not just WH/40k. The chaos and evil players are just as wide spread in age as every other army. The same was true in fantasy as well. You almost have to get into older demographics before you start finding the people that finding Dark Eldar/Elves and Chaos especially nurgle and slaanesh more interesting.

40k clearly has a lot of character in every aspect of it. Which is something a lot of games are missing, especially games that focus too much on rules and making sure things are 100% balanced in all cases instead of making sure they are pretty close most of the time. Chess is a good game, but it really lacks character of any sort.
The same thing goes for D&D and why it is much more popular then the other P&P RPGs out there. Someone was wanting to start a game of GURPS a while ago and sent me the basic rules for it, and the rules may have worked really well, but they were definitely lacking character. It is of course a framework rather then a setting, but there was nothing about that framework that was really interesting, there was nothing about it that gave it character. Of course a DM can add character and interest to a setting easy enough, but it was secondary to GURPS while it was built into D&D and I think that is one reason why D&D is so much more popular. And I think that 40k and WHF also fall into this exact same thing.

And since we were just talking about Battletech, I think that is another example of it. The setting has a lot of character. There is a lot of background and a lot of story there and each of the factions have a lot of character. But once you get into the actual gameplay all of that character is lost. There is nothing in the gameplay that makes one Clan any different then another and no IS empire is any different then any other IS empire, except maybe a few specific 'Mech loadouts with only minor impacts on the game and no impact on the game at all if you are playing with custom 'Mechs.
It is still a fun system that makes for good games, but it the gameplay doesn't have a lot of character. It is still fun, but it is fun in different ways from 40k and Fantasy.

Rather then trying to change either system though I choose to play both to get different things out of each system depending on what I feel more like doing. Its not like you can't play several gaming systems, and if you don't like one it is easier to stop playing it and play something else then it is to complain about it not being what you want it to be.

Chaos and Evil
15-05-2009, 22:40
My rulebook has 85 pages of rules Lanrak, and a fair amount of that is pretty pictures ;)

Epic's rulebook has 37 pages of Rules*, which includes all the Universal Special Rules, rules for Aircraft, Spacecraft, Drop Pods and Titans, yet with only half the rules Epic is a much more tactically complex game... extra rules bring inspiring flavour that encourages army collecting, not tactical complexity.


I disagree with C+E, special rules were introduced to express the uniqueness of each army, outside of the core rule set.

Yes in part they do, but often their prime reason for existing in Warhammer 40,000 is to make each model inspiring and thus drive sales.

Does a Land Speeder Storm really need a unique kind of 'stunner' Grenade launcher in order to express the character of the Space Marine army?

Does a Venerable Dreadnought really need a rule allowing you to re-roll its damage result, when an increase in armour rating could have expressed its increased durability without need for a Special Rule?

Special Rules create uniqueness and desirability. Special Rules are inspiring



As an add on to an idea I posted elsewhere, I think that the rulebook should only have the basic/tournament rules (both the same), along with basic tournament army lists. All other rules can be included in an unofficial supplement, or as campaign packs.
I think Epic does this well.

Epic:Armageddon - Core rules, 1 'Tournament' & 3 'Friendly' Scenarios, 3 army lists, background info & hobby guides.
Epic:Swordwind - 3 army lists, background info & hobby guides.

There were going to be other Epic:XXX books (each with 3 armylists + fluff & hobby guides), but Specialist Games was shut down...

...this kind of approach could work to make the game of Warhammer 40,000 very balanced and smooth-playing... but would it be inspiring?


Part of the thrill of owning a Warhammer 40,000 army is having their own dedicated Codex, and part of the thrill of Warhammer 40,000 is the over-complicated wacky rules.

GraveGuard
15-05-2009, 23:29
I And since we were just talking about Battletech, I think that is another example of it. The setting has a lot of character. There is a lot of background and a lot of story there and each of the factions have a lot of character. But once you get into the actual gameplay all of that character is lost. There is nothing in the gameplay that makes one Clan any different then another and no IS empire is any different then any other IS empire, except maybe a few specific 'Mech loadouts with only minor impacts on the game and no impact on the game at all if you are playing with custom 'Mechs.
It is still a fun system that makes for good games, but it the gameplay doesn't have a lot of character. It is still fun, but it is fun in different ways from 40k and Fantasy.
Ah but thats the thing isn't it. Do you try and Force or Limit Character in games/on armies. Take the examples of when they got rid of the Craftworld Eldar Lists, the Craftworlds Lists instantly added "character" by limiting/adding the unique units etc of those or expanding them. People instantly assumed this would be a bad idea and get rid of craftworld armies. But opening/freeing up the options allows people to choose to do it themselves. Its the same with the Imperial Guard, Chaos, Marine Chapters. Yeah there are still problems but thats because its GW.
Battletech has no restrictions on what you can take liek that, but it doesn't remove the flavour/colour from game. I myself play Battltech and because if the vast amount of fluff there is I can play a "Themed" force that adds character -
I would never lower myself to using inferior Freebirth technology
My mechs all fit the "Striker" pattern (light/medium) in the Cluster I choose to base my force on
I fight by Clan Rules Of Engagement

But when I don't feel like it and can take out my Heavy and Assault mechs, my vehicles and areospace fighters and Elementals and use them aswell.

Its all left entirely up the the player to choose it they want to play/add fluffyness to their gaming. Its not forced on them (and in some cases forced on them wrongly or to someone elses opinion of it).

iamfanboy
16-05-2009, 04:43
I actually feel the exact opposite on the subject of Battletech involvement with the gameplay, partly because of one thing: It is possible to become personally involved with the characters in the 'Mechs much more easily than it is with your Warhammer/Warhammer 40k generals. You can more easily identify with the idea of being a knight in robotic armor than with being a Communist fish-guy or a rampaging spore-beast. The gameplay is just a step towards placing yourself in that universe. My only real problem is that it's impractical in real terms to run anything larger than lance-on-lance; but that's why Battleforce is an intregal part of the game that scales up in the same way Epic scales to 40k.

Both games have their advantages and disadvantages, of course; that's why I have both. But the point I was trying to make is still valid, I think:

Battletech promoted GAMEPLAY over MARKETING, and the creators made sure they had a solid foundation of rules that they could add to, or subtract from - which allowed them to advance the universe into the future.

Warhammer 40k, by contrast, promotes MARKETING over GAMEPLAY, and the designers give new widgets (or widgets that aren't selling) snazzy new rules without thinking on how it impacts the ENTIRE rules-set. Since you haven't been playing GW games that long, let me give you a history lesson: the Terminator.

In 2nd Edition, armor saves were modifiable - that is, they could be directly reduced by weapons fire, just like in Warhammer. 2nd Edition Terminators had a 3+ save on 2D6 - in other words, they WERE practically invulnerable to anything short of a lascannon, and even that they had a 7+ on 2D6 to save.

Come 3rd Edition, the designers gave them a 2+ armor save, but on a single d6. Now, that's still pretty tough - but they didn't consider that the metagame is one where most people play Space Marines. ALL the players want guns that go through the Space Marine armor save of 3+, and that most weapons were either AP4-6 or AP2 - in other words, if it killed a Space Marine it would kill a Terminator just as easily. Cue public outcry, and in one of the bigger retcons of the early 3rd Edition (back when they still listened to customers), the designers gave them a 5+ invulnerable save as well.

However, that still didn't fix the biggest problem with the Terminators on the table - their armament was too awful for their points cost. Melee was even worse for Termies, especially after the introduction of the Choppa rule in the Ork codex. In 3rd, just as in 2nd, the Terminators were armed with power gloves; however, in 3rd power gloves are distinctly inferior in infantry-on-infantry combat. Yeah, they'll splutch anything they hit, but going on I1 is a huge disadvantage. In the early days, I had a horde of gretchin(!!!) kill an ENTIRE squad of Terminators before they even got to attack - yes, he rolled unluckily, but the sheer weight of fire dragged them down. Also, their support weaponry, for lack of a better term, stank on ice - heavy flamers, cyclone launchers, or assault cannons, they were all wretched.

So, in 4th, they gave Assault Cannons Rending, because Rending was the "Special Rule of the Day" for any unit that was underpowered for their points cost - Genestealers, Daemonettes, what have you. It gave a reason for Terminators to exist - min-5 squads with two Assault Cannons, whoopie! Kills any vehicle in the game faster than a lascannon! There was a time when an Assault Cannon bit would go on eBay for almost $10, that's how popular the damned things were - right around the time they killed the bitz service if memory serves. (conspiracy? probably not. That would imply forethought.)

Now we come to 5th Edition, and they gave too many units Rending in 4th, so they tone down Rending AND limited special weapons to 1 for 5. Eleven years after this farcical saga began, they've FINALLY reached a point where maybe, just maybe, a Terminator is almost worth its points cost, or is at least close enough that it isn't going to cripple a player if he wants to put Termies in his army.

Now, compare that to Battletech. Clans get introduced. Oops, 2/3 is too powerful even with the zelbrigen honor system, better bump them to 3/4. 5 Clan 'Mechs = 12 Inner Sphere level 1 'Mechs, just about, and did so almost right from the introduction of the Clans. No need to fiddle about with the rules of the Clans: While they were more powerful, they were TESTED and found to be at just the right level of power before introducing them.


If Games Workshop had a central, balanced framework, a solid foundation, to build their game upon it would avoid issues like that. Not just for gameplay, but actual rules for unit design they USED instead of saying, "Well, this feels about right...." Instead, their rules are more like the Tower of Barad-dur - looks mighty imposing, but one problem and the whole tower shakes like a leaf in the wind.

lanrak
16-05-2009, 23:16
Hi again.
Yabbadaba,
Ok I exagerated a bit ,yes I included ALL the pages you have to flip through to find all the instructions to know how to play 40k. Thats 40k rule book all the codexes FAQs, etc.:D

No edition of 40k has been that great as reguards to rules efficiency.IMO.
However as RT and 2nd ed had far more narrative bias , the 'extended wordy rules' seemed more appropriate some how.

As the current edition of 40k has VERY straightforward game play.(A good thing IMO.)
Keeping the 'cram as much narative based exclusive rules as possible' ethos , seems out of place.

Chaos and Evil.
Maybe some people think over compllicated rules add something to a game system other than than wasting time?

However most 'gamers' ,(who make up a significant proportion of GW customers.)Prefer best game play with the fewest rules, if they get to have an informed chioce.

Erolas.
It is not a particular 40k rule or USR or special rules in particular. I can follow how to play the game of 40k.

Its just that the game play of 40k could be achived in much more straight forward ways.

I 'see' rules and game mechanics like others see sculpt and production quality of a minature.

IF the 40k rule set was a minature.
It would be poorly proportioned, have horrendous mould lines, vast amounts of parts that only resulted in a few possible viable poses, and leave gaping holes and gaps between joints crudely covered with poorly cast bling.

And when people pointed out the short commings compard to other companies products, the GW apologists , just say buy some (GW) modelling tools some (GW) green stuff and put it right yourself!:rolleyes:

iamfanboy.
Thank you for understanding and explaining my point !;)

I appreciate the feed back so far.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
16-05-2009, 23:25
Chaos and Evil.
Maybe some people think over compllicated rules add something to a game system other than than wasting time?
Yes, GW believes it adds inspiring character to the game, which in turn makes it appealing to the core demographic.


However most 'gamers' ,(who make up a significant proportion of GW customers.)Prefer best game play with the fewest rules, if they get to have an informed chioce.
Firstly, 'gamers' are in the minority as regards GW's customers (Most of their customers are kids 11-14).

Secondly, people are always free to vote with their feet. :)

Sooner or later, the disenfranchised few start buying either the advanced SG's, or from other companies.

Everyone else keeps on complaining, or happily playing in ignorance of the greater vistas beyond... oh are there are also many who quite like the rule set and don't want anything more streamlined / more tactically complex.


IF the 40k rule set was a minature.
It would be poorly proportioned, have horrendous mould lines, vast amounts of parts that only resulted in a few possible viable poses, and leave gaping holes and gaps between joints crudely covered with poorly cast bling.
Yeah, but a noobie doesn't see the flaws, he only sees his first miniature, and for all its flaws that miniature is inspiring to him.

lanrak
17-05-2009, 16:33
Hi Chaos and Evil.
I can conceed that GW corperate managment may think adding lots of 'speshul rulz for da kiddiz' improves sales.
(Though this still has to be proven.)

This is what this thread is supposed to be discussing.:D

I would like to make some points.

Some of GW customers are not gamers.They collect, build convert and paint minatures for thier own enjoyment -display.
Any rules are of NO interest to these customers.
These people will buy minatures PURLEY on the asthetics of the sculpt and maybe the background to influnce thier choices.

Any customer that plays GW games are 'gamers'.And as such given the choice generally prefer minimum rules maximum gameplay.(This is just based on my own experiances of 50+ new players at our games club over the last 19 years....)

Art inspires , function instructs.

The 40k minatures/kits do not have to be functionaly restricted,(LMR turret!) they have to be inspiring !(To go with the inspiring background of 40k.)

As the background and minatures/kits are EXTREEMLY inspiring the rules DO NOT NEED TO BE!:eek:

The 40k rules do not need to be inspiring, they need to be functional!

You seem to have the same disreguard for new 40k players as the GW corperate managment.
'New players are infinatley ignorant and will buy up any dross GW prints, as long as its look and sounds cool.
Why bother giving them a better rule set, they would not appreciate it.'

My point is that the lackluster 40k rules, put ALOT of people off 40k/GW at some point.
And alot of these people do not try any other wargames at all!
'If the 'self proclaimed world leader GW PLC' can not produce elegant and efficient rules for its 'best selling' game , who else will?'
This false assumption , means that lots of people leve the wider wargaming hobby behind without even looking at any thing other than GWs 40k.

Even JJ recognises this, and in a reply to a fellow gamer leaving GW behind, he said to look into the wider wargaming hobby.(Which has restored my faith in JJ a bit.)

GW PLCs corperate managments short sighted and condesending view of its percived core market , is in fact adversly effecting GW , GW staff and GW customers .
Not to mention detering many potential wargamers from the wider (non GW) hobby.

I dont for one mintute expect GW PLC to acknowledge they are making mistakes.

I am sure the game developers want a new better rule set for 40k.(No legacy issues , more transparent cause and effect.)

And that new players would be just as happy with a new rule set written with game play in mind.
(They dont know any better,acording to you, C&E.:D)

And more experainced players might stay longer if they could see actual rules development. (They do know better and would appreciate the effort!)

Why do GW PLC negativley effect so much, for unproven amounts of limited gain?

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
17-05-2009, 17:07
Hi Chaos and Evil.
I can conceed that GW corperate managment may think adding lots of 'speshul rulz for da kiddiz' improves sales.
(Though this still has to be proven.)
I think it's pretty obvious.


Some of GW customers are not gamers.They collect, build convert and paint minatures for thier own enjoyment -display.
Any rules are of NO interest to these customers.
These people will buy minatures PURLEY on the asthetics of the sculpt and maybe the background to influnce thier choices.
Indeed, but those customers form a tiny, tiny percentage of GW's customers.

Most hardcore 'modelers' find themselves proper model kits to build and paint, instead of GW's chunky heroic-proportioned kits.


Any customer that plays GW games are 'gamers'.And as such given the choice generally prefer minimum rules maximum gameplay.(This is just based on my own experiances of 50+ new players at our games club over the last 19 years....)
I agree that many 'gamers' want maximum gameplay, minimum rules clutter.

But most of GW's customers aren't 'gamers', they're tweens with a passing interest.

I see a 'gamer' as someone who has been in the hobby for a while, what GW calls a 'veteran'.


The 40k rules do not need to be inspiring, they need to be functional!
GW clearly believes that 'functional' rules doesn't sell as many models as 'inspring' rules, to the core demographic at least.

GW's 'advanced' wargames have much more 'function-focused' rules, so they certainly can design a 'true' wargame when the fancy stikes, but financial considerations have obviously led to the Core games being examples of 'form over function'.


You seem to have the same disreguard for new 40k players as the GW corperate managment.
'New players are infinatley ignorant and will buy up any dross GW prints, as long as its look and sounds cool.
Why bother giving them a better rule set, they would not appreciate it.'
I genuinely think that an inspiring ruleset is 'better' for kids than a 'functional' ruleset.

I play a lot of Epic, and Epic is a fantastic, tactically complex wargame... but it'd make a crap 'first wargame' for a kid to play.

Every game he played against a 'veteran', he'd lose hands down, the tactical considerations are just too deep for a beginner.

With GW's strategy-based core games (as opposed to tactics-based like Epic), a noobie can gain a very firm grasp of the rules and the way the system plays after only a few sessions.

I view the Core games not as 'worse' rule systems, but as game systems with the training wheels on, helping the new players to learn how a wargame works... maybe in a few years they'll even take the training wheels off and play some more advanced wargames, whether Epic or otherwise.


My point is that the lackluster 40k rules, put ALOT of people off 40k/GW at some point.
And alot of these people do not try any other wargames at all!
'If the 'self proclaimed world leader GW PLC' can not produce elegant and efficient rules for its 'best selling' game , who else will?'
There are several other companies that offer rules for 30mm space soldiers...


This false assumption , means that lots of people leve the wider wargaming hobby behind without even looking at any thing other than GWs 40k.
I believe you're refering to the fact that Gw only tends to keep a hold on its customers for a year or so before they move on?

I reckon that that's always happened, and always will, regardless of the nature of the rule system... so GW could either:

- Provide a tactically complex rule system.
or
- Provide a rules system that inspires the player to collect certain 'killer combinations' of units.

Financially speaking, GW has no incentive to provide the former (for their tweenie customers at least).


Even JJ recognises this, and in a reply to a fellow gamer leaving GW behind, he said to look into the wider wargaming hobby.(Which has restored my faith in JJ a bit.)
Jervis is a great guy, and has actually helped me with some advice about games design over a mug of Coffee in Bugman's, from time to time.


I am sure the game developers want a new better rule set for 40k.(No legacy issues , more transparent cause and effect.)
I agree the rule set could be better... with a clear re-think (still focused on a strategy-emphasis instead of an 'advanced' tactics-emphasis) that made the game more streamlined to play, I think they'd serve both their Core and older markets better...

...but it's financially impossible for them to replace the whole game system at this point.


And that new players would be just as happy with a new rule set written with game play in mind.
I dispute that... as I said above, Epic is a great wargame for experienced gamers... it's a crap wargame for noobies.

The increased tactical depth that comes with a more 'advanced' game engine means that noobies would be bamboozled by the game... I honestly think that game systems that level the playing field (by boosting the abilities of poor players through the use of a 'trainline' strategy-focus, and hindering the abilities of skilled players by narrowing tactical options) provides a better service to newbies.


(They dont know any better,acording to you, C&E.)
They made Epic, Warmaster & Battle of Five armies for the adult gamers, using a smaller scale (as is common in more simulation style / tactically complex wargames). Big surprise, the adult gamers didn't want to play with the big boy's toys. :)


And more experainced players might stay longer if they could see actual rules development. (They do know better and would appreciate the effort!)
I agree, but I believe that GW thinks it would lose more than it would gain.

GW had a recent chance to make a wargame from the ground up with no legacy issues with War of the Ring, yet again they went for a Strategy-focused, tactics-lite rules system. They clearly believe that making the game more tactically complex would harm their agenda.


Why do GW PLC negativley effect so much, for unproven amounts of limited gain?

Well, to return to Epic...

Epic's 1st and 2nd edition was a mess of a game, similar in approach to the current Core games it was Strategy-focused and tactically simple.

Epic's 3rd edition (Epic 40,000) was a complete re-design that made it into a more adult, tactically complex wargame.

What happened?

The customers abandoned it in droves, partially due to price rises, and partially due to the new rules system. Within a year support was withdrawn, and it went from being the Third Core Game to being a Specialist Game.

Epic's current edition (Armageddon) has finally found its footing as an unapologetically adult-focused wargame, but it'll never regain the mass market appeal that it had as a Strategy-focused, simpler game.


Perhaps GW remembers their costly experiment with Epic, and understand that 'flash and thunder' strategy-focused games will sell better than a more adult wargame system.

lanrak
18-05-2009, 10:33
Hi Chaos and Evil.
Maybe we have been talking at cross purposes?

Although my own preference for a war game is a 'tacticaly challenging' one.And this may be influencing your thoughts as to what I am suggesting .

I was proposing a re-write KEEPING the current 40k game play more or less as is.
Just achive it with less rules!

I have only had a quick glance through WoTR rules set, and it seems to be a lot more 'straight forward.'

It is possible to write a new rule set that keeps the 'essential' strategic heavy bias,without devolving into 'Shiney new model= shiney new rules that no-one is quite sure how they work with existing rules' syndrome.:D

I belive the early versions of 40k and Epic as 'heavily narrative influenced' game play and rules.

I refute the opinion that Epic Space marine was tacticaly simple.It had the 'order counters' and alternating activations, that were found in other modern games.
Infact to be precise about it the Epic SM orders were tactical focused, and the E.A, orders are more strategic.
In the sense that Epic SM gave squad actions and action timings , and the E.A is more focused on commands issued.(Both are great games IMO.)

Epics 3rd encarnation was as diametrically oposed to Epic Space Marine.

Heavily narrative inspired to pure nuts and bolts.(I could use better terminology , but I hope you know what I mean.)
This lead to 'culture shock'.Along with the changes in price was the death knoll of Epic as a core game.

If Epic Space Marine was replaced with Epic Armageddon , then EPic would still be a core game IMO.:D

IMO the reason E.A. is not appealing to newbs -younger players is simply the model scale.
It has NOTHING to do with the rule set.
The 40k minatures are more inspiring, because they are bigger and carry more detail , therfore sell more models.

There ARE lots of great rule sets to use 40k minis range with.
Unfortunately GW dont write any of them.:(
My point was that 40k players that think GW are the best at everything , may leave the wargaming hobby without TRYING anything else.(Even the much 'better' SGs,:eek:.)

I dont expect GW PLC to take any chances with 40k rule set anytime soon.

But I was speculating that if the game play was higher priority than 'short sighted' marketing ploys, then GW PLC, GW staff, and 40k gamers would benifit.

TTFN
Lanrak

IJW
18-05-2009, 10:59
Depends on your definition of 'short sighted'. The transition from 2nd ed. to 3rd ed. was manageable because 40k didn't have anything like the percentage of GW sales that it has now - 4th ed. Warhammer was really strong at the time, as was 2nd ed. Space Marine/Titan Legions.

Going through the same disruptive process now, where you invalidate every codex, rulebook and expansion in existence could easily be commercial suicide. From a business point of view, that would be short-sighted.

Chaos and Evil
18-05-2009, 12:45
Hi Chaos and Evil.
Maybe we have been talking at cross purposes?
At minor tangents perhaps.


I was proposing a re-write KEEPING the current 40k game play more or less as is.
Just achive it with less rules!
And I think that might hurt the financials, if taken too far.


I have only had a quick glance through WoTR rules set, and it seems to be a lot more 'straight forward.'
It is still 'marketing over gameplay' however (Noob-focused, tactics-lite), even if it doesn't have quite as many bamboozling special rules (yet... it's only the first edition after all!).



I refute the opinion that Epic Space marine was tacticaly simple.It had the 'order counters' and alternating activations, that were found in other modern games.
I think it began as a fairly complex game, but by the end of 2nd edition it was a strategy-heavy nonsense game, where years of 'Shiny new toy' rules additions had piled up to cause massive imbalances in the system.



IMO the reason Epic .A. is not appealing to newbs -younger players is simply the model scale.
It has NOTHING to do with the rule set.
The 40k minatures are more inspiring, because they are bigger and carry more detail , therfore sell more models.
Yes the Warhammer 40,000 models are more inspiring, but for the rules, I contend that rolling six dice (comparing weapon skills and S&T stats) for your character's attacks is more inspiring than rolling one dice and needing a 3+.

Mechanically they might achieve similar end results, but Warhammer 40,000's 'lots of dice' system is more... well it's more appropriate to a kid's game.

The same with the Orders system, or the Crossfire bonus, or the Overwatch rule, or any number of other rules that appear in Epic... they're appropriate to an adult's wargame, but are unnessesary to a Core game.

Epic's rule system, however superior it may be for an adult, is simply unsuitable as Core game material.


My point was that 40k players that think GW are the best at everything , may leave the wargaming hobby without TRYING anything else.(Even the much 'better' SGs,:eek:.)
I agee that GW should take a little care to say "These three SG games are more meant for adults" instead of ignoring them competely, they might indeed keep some customers.

But keeping those customers isn't critical to the core business, and with the company being in the financial situation it has been in for the last few years, I can see why they'd stick to concentrating on their fundamentals (selling Core games to the Core demographic).


I dont expect GW PLC to take any chances with 40k rule set anytime soon.
Neither do I.


But I was speculating that if the game play was higher priority than 'short sighted' marketing ploys, then GW PLC, GW staff, and 40k gamers would benifit.
I believe 'gamers'/'veterans' would benefit... the company might not.

lanrak
19-05-2009, 19:13
Hi again.
How would keeping the game play but reducing the number of 'spurious' rules hurt the finacials?

It would lower the bariers of learning /aquiring rules, decrease lead time on codexes and help retain/re-call players.

I agree if the 40k rules went from 'narrative-cinematic' to ' flat mechanics' it would deter the core demograhpic.
(Like Epic Space Marine to EPic 40K did.)

But I an NOT proposing changing the game play am I?:D

WoTR has not got as many 'special rules' as 40k because the rules were written with game play in mind.
Strategic focus and easy to learn/use.

So WoTR is exactly the sort of rule set I mean, it supports gameplay AND promotes marketing.;)

Good game play and marketing promotion are NOT mutualy exclusive you know!:D

GW PLC corperate managment may feel that customer retension -recall is not critical to the buisness plan.

This means GW PURPOUSLEY deter customers ?
Average new players drop 2 years Bday and X mas money then leave with generaly neutral or negative feelings towards GW.(Just a fad / complete waste of money.:evilgrin:)

Buisness oppinion is divided on this issue.

Every other company out there belives customer retension and customer statifaction is pivotal to growing thier buisness.

GW do not.:evilgrin:
May be this is why GW is not doing so well?

Anyhow perhpas we agree that a 40k re-write done well, would enhance the 40k game, player base and turnover.

A 40k re-write done badly would negativley effect the game, player base and turnover.

I am promoting the idea that the former would be a great idea.
You are promoting the idea the latter would probably be the result?

TTFN
Lanrak.

Master Stark
19-05-2009, 21:20
Hi again.
How would keeping the game play but reducing the number of 'spurious' rules hurt the finacials?

Because most of GWs current gamers believe that bukkake-ing special rules all over something makes it better and different.

So if you streamlined the ruleset, and pruned away all the uneccessary clutter in the 40K and WHFB mechanics, many of the gamers would become upset, and GW might take a nosedive as their current crop of gamers flee the company en mass.

lanrak
19-05-2009, 22:24
Hi Master Stark.
I am not saying that your statment is not a generaly held view of GW PLC corperate (and others).

Along with many other self perpetuating problems.

Army X will not be updated because it doesnt sell well, (Because it hasnt been updated/suported for 8 years!)

We dont get any letters of complaint.
(Because people dont waste a stamp to send you a letter of complaint your going to ignore anyway.)

Veteran gamers are not our target customers.
(New players are far more vunerable to our cheap marketing ploys and iffy rules .Veterans can find much better VFM elsewhere.)

Have you any proof that new-younger players dont want more elegant rule sets?

In my experiance gamers prefer more elegant rules, whether new players or vets.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
19-05-2009, 23:22
But I an NOT proposing changing the game play am I?:D

Well, you would need to cut down on the gargantuan number of Special Rules if you wanted to make a more 'gameplay-focused' game system, so you might end up with a game that played in a similar manner, but the gameplay itself would be different.



Good game play and marketing promotion are NOT mutualy exclusive you know!:D
Agreed, but it's clear that the GW studio ethos is to provide the latter over the former, all else being equal.


GW PLC corperate managment may feel that customer retension -recall is not critical to the buisness plan.

This means GW PURPOUSLEY deter customers ?
Average new players drop 2 years Bday and X mas money then leave with generaly neutral or negative feelings towards GW.(Just a fad / complete waste of money.:evilgrin:)
Most customers drop out of the hobby after much less time than that.
They also leave with a pretty positive memory of the hobby, in most cases.

For most people, GW gaming is just something they do as a kid, which they will never return to because it really was just a stage they were passing through as a child.


Every other company out there belives customer retension and customer statifaction is pivotal to growing thier buisness.

GW do not.:evilgrin:
Recruitment and Retention are the two foundation pillars of GW's market strategy...

...but they know that for most customers they can only retain them for a few months. They attempt to retain them a little longer, not retain them in perpetuity.


May be this is why GW is not doing so well?
GW ain't doing so well because they over-expanded during a boom and were left with large overheads after the bust, a common business story.


Anyhow perhpas we agree that a 40k re-write done well, would enhance the 40k game, player base and turnover.

A 40k re-write done badly would negativley effect the game, player base and turnover.

I am promoting the idea that the former would be a great idea.
You are promoting the idea the latter would probably be the result?
I don't think GW's strategy would allow the studio to produce a wargame that was more gameplay-focused, a new edition might begin with that aim theoretically in mind, but sooner or later the Special Rules and awkward rules patches would come creeping back.

Anyways, as I've said before, I don't think Warhammer 40,000 particularly needs a re-write.

I think that the GW studio's efforts are better-spent on creating the next Apocalypse, or whatever. That kind of OTT wacky-fun obviously pleases the customer base much more than having a well-balanced game.

Chaos and Evil
19-05-2009, 23:24
Because most of GWs current gamers believe that bukkake-ing special rules all over something makes it better and different.

So if you streamlined the ruleset, and pruned away all the uneccessary clutter in the 40K and WHFB mechanics, many of the gamers would become upset, and GW might take a nosedive as their current crop of gamers flee the company en mass.
Horrible visual, but I agree with the sentiment.

GW's customers aren't interested in the balance/flow of the game system, they're more interested in models and wacky statlines/Special Rules.

If GW's customers were more interested in the rule system, then Epic/Warmaster/BoFA would be a lot more popular...



In my experiance gamers prefer more elegant rules, whether new players or vets.

I know a chap, a typical GW staffer.

He likes both 30mm and 6mm models, but he much prefers the brainless fun of Apocalypse over the tactical challenge of Epic.

He doesn't give a damn about whether or not the system is streamlined or clunky, or whether it's tactically challenging or not, just as long as large Strength D explosions and wacky events happen, he's happy.

He's a very experienced gamer with years of gameplay under his belt, yet he prefers the clunk and squeak of Warhammer 40,000 over the smooth play of Epic...

IJW
19-05-2009, 23:29
How would keeping the game play but reducing the number of 'spurious' rules hurt the finacials?
Because it would require a revamp as big as the 2nd to 3rd ed. one where all the codices, rulebooks and expansions are made obsolete in one go.

Even if you're aiming for a game that feels near-identical, removing all the 'spurious' rules is going to mean invalidating the current books.

Like I said before, this was a pretty big risk back then - these days, with 40k outselling WFB, LotR and WotR put together, it would be an insanely large risk.

Chaos and Evil
19-05-2009, 23:31
Like I said before, this was a pretty big risk back then - these days, with 40k outselling WFB, LotR and WotR put together, it would be an insanely large risk.
And they have a very scary precedent (the sudden demise of Epic 40,000) hanging over them too, as if they needed any further incentive not to re-write their game...

Tarax
20-05-2009, 07:03
... Most customers drop out of the hobby after much less time than that...

...but they know that for most customers they can only retain them for a few months. They attempt to retain them a little longer, not retain them in perpetuity...


While I don't disagree (nor do I agree) with this ...


...GW's customers aren't interested in the balance/flow of the game system, they're more interested in models and wacky statlines/Special Rules.

...and with this,

I can't help but notice that if it IS the policy of GW to have customer for only a limited time (max 1 year) than they are in the wrong business.
Like I said before, it takes me more than a year to finish one (1!) army. And that is today, not when I started. Because now I know how to assemble and paint the models.
For new customers, as you said the 10-14 years, buying models is the easy part. Assembling them and painting them will take a far longer time. They will never finish an army within a year and, according to you, they will have left by then.


If GW's customers were more interested in the rule system, then Epic/Warmaster/BoFA would be a lot more popular...


If they are more interested in rule systems, they wouldn't even go there. Remember that you're talking about 10-14 year old kids. The do not have the attention span to learn all the rules and tactics of these games. To them playing with larger models is more appealing. Also, with the little backing of these games, you won't find them in regular stores.

Or are you saying that veterans will move from 40K to Epic? Just because of game-play? They will abandon their models they have collected, painted and played with for many years? :wtf: I don't think so. I certainly won't.

Master Stark
20-05-2009, 07:11
Have you any proof that new-younger players dont want more elegant rule sets?

In my experiance gamers prefer more elegant rules, whether new players or vets.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Well, no proof per se, but you only have to take a look at player reactions on the forums whenever people suggest pruning away the excess clutter. Look at the nerd-rage generated by the switch from 2nd to 3rd, or the reaction to the Chaos codex and the SM codex respectively.

yabbadabba
20-05-2009, 08:11
Well, no proof per se, but you only have to take a look at player reactions on the forums whenever people suggest pruning away the excess clutter.

Hahahahahahahahaha - its on the interweb therefore it must be true eh? We can't even be civil to each other on this site, using such tags as "fanbois" and "haterz". Sorry, but th'internet forums is the last place I would want to gather information unless it was additional circumstantial or anecdotal evidence to back up good research.

This is often like listening to drunk people argue. Elements of truth wrapped up in long slurred pointless rambles. GW cannot be compared to any other wargames company as they are all cottage industries, making scales of costs, production, development all irrelevant. GW's games are designed to be marketed a certain way, to produce certain financial results for the company. This is because the company is owned by shareholders who want their cut of everything. And this is why, despite any anecdotal evidence, money won't be thrown at SG's because the money and the profit margins aren't there.

GW games are actually good at a variety of things. They're easy to teach kids a newbies. They are easily accessible. All their core rule sets are easy to strip down and rebuild if you want to change the focus of the game, but keep the core mechanics. They can be used in big games, little games, tournaments and giggle games. And the fact that it is a make believe game, in a make believe world based on the most common dice in existence makes it appealing, and popular.

I am backing C+E on this one. At a time when GW could afford to give the customer a choice, in their stores, the customers refused to get into games of great rules and miniatures - SG's. Instead they prefered games systems which have always been clunky and counter-intuitive, WFB and 40K. Complaining about it now is ridiculous. If you want to show GW that its customer base needs a more challenging, intuitive set of rule for 40K or WFB, moaning on the web ain't going to do it. Get into SG's in a BIG way, or make the most popular downloaded set of advanced rules amendments.

Chaos and Evil
20-05-2009, 10:30
I can't help but notice that if it IS the policy of GW to have customer for only a limited time (max 1 year) than they are in the wrong business.
They built their business on selling to that demographic.


Like I said before, it takes me more than a year to finish one (1!) army. And that is today, not when I started. Because now I know how to assemble and paint the models.
For new customers, as you said the 10-14 years, buying models is the easy part. Assembling them and painting them will take a far longer time. They will never finish an army within a year and, according to you, they will have left by then.
Yup, I didn't finish my first army as a kid either (Never reached my 2000pts).
I sure bought an army though!
Then I quit for a few years.

That's the most common GW customer right there. Someone who views Wargaming in an aspirational light.



...are you saying that veterans will move from 40K to Epic? Just because of game-play? They will abandon their models they have collected, painted and played with for many years? :wtf: I don't think so. I certainly won't.

That was GW's original intention.
- Core games for kids.
- Epic/Warmaster/BoFA for adults.

However, just like you, the average adult GW customer doesn't want to move on from using his 30/28/25mm models, regardless of the suitability (or lack thereof) of its associated rule system to an adult sensibility.

Therefore GW (quit rightly) decided to forget about specifically serving the adult market, in the knowlege that they'd (semi?)happily continue to play the Core games regardless... which is the essence of the whole 'Marketing over Gameplay' topic.




I am backing C+E on this one. At a time when GW could afford to give the customer a choice, in their stores, the customers refused to get into games of great rules and miniatures - SG's. Instead they prefered games systems which have always been clunky and counter-intuitive, WFB and 40K. Complaining about it now is ridiculous. If you want to show GW that its customer base needs a more challenging, intuitive set of rule for 40K or WFB, moaning on the web ain't going to do it. Get into SG's in a BIG way, or make the most popular downloaded set of advanced rules amendments.

yabbadabba has it spot-on ; if you want to avoid the 'Marketing' influence on your 'Gameplay', that's what you need to do... get into Epic/Warmaster/BoFA, or start patching/re-writing the rules.

Tarax
20-05-2009, 13:34
C&E, I think we're finally getting there where we agree on everything.

The main part we agree upon is that we both disagree with the GW policy.

At the moment I am working on some rules based on WFB. With some tweaks here and there. My biggest problem will be when I start on the different army lists. And then the Herculean task of finding people who want to quit GW and start playing my version.

Chaos and Evil
20-05-2009, 13:50
C&E, I think we're finally getting there where we agree on everything.

The main part we agree upon is that we both disagree with the GW policy.

I think we both agree what GW's policy is...

...but I don't disagree with GW's policy as regards their Core games... I think it's eminently sensible for them to focus on making the maximum ammount of profit off them!

If that means filling the games with inspiring Special Rules and clunky mechanics, then so be it, Marketing must take priority over Gameplay.


At the moment I am working on some rules based on WFB. With some tweaks here and there. My biggest problem will be when I start on the different army lists. And then the Herculean task of finding people who want to quit GW and start playing my version.

Indeed ; YMMV, but you may find it easier to simply adapt the Warmaster rules to work with Warhammer models.

Alternatively there are other game systems already intended for 28mm Fantasy... I believe 'Armies of Arcana' enjoys a solid reputation, though I haven't played it myself.


Or you could, y'know, play Warmaster. ;)

IJW
20-05-2009, 14:24
Yes, AoA is quite nice - it's also fairly easy for Warhammer players to pick up, given how heavily it's mechanics and game-play are inspired by older editions of WFB.

I've looked at tweaked Warmaster rules using 28mm figures, but unless you're using huge tables or stands with only a couple of figures on there just isn't the amount of open space for manoeuvring that Warmaster requires. :(

Tarax
21-05-2009, 09:58
It's already hard to find people in my gaming group to try other games. Although it worked with some for A&A Miniatures. (They quit WFB and subsequently the group as they could play that at home.) So I think it will be easier if they see more resemblance to WFB.

And even though WFB-rules aren't always consistent, the core is still good.

lanrak
21-05-2009, 20:42
Hi again.
So GW put marketing over game play in 40k due to awful buisness decisions made in the past then.

GW PLC decided a core demographic of 'fickle minded Tweenies' with the 'attension span of a gold fish,' would be 'best', as older/wiser people tend NOT to be so vunerable to 'lowbrow marketing' and tend to be far more critical of lackluster rule sets.

They only get to 'gouge money' out of their core demographics parents for a VERY short time.
As the advent of the internet means information is widley available , GW HAVE to adopt isolationist policies , as they do NOT compare well.
They HAVE to run very expencive B&M stores which drives overheads and 'short term turn over' requirement even higher.

High cost raises barriers to starting up 40k ,this decreases customer base , so GW raise prices even more , which decreases customer base even furhter.
This moves GW further from the economies of scale it SHOULD be in a prime position to exploit.(Being the largest company in a small market.)

This means that rather than correct any problems, GW PLC appear to simply adopt the path of least short term effort.:rolleyes:

If they had written a NEW rule set specificaly for 3rd ed in 1998.(Not just hacked up 2nd ed and patch it up ad hoc.)

Perhaps then more gamers would have stayed with 40k for longer?
Wow a new game with NEW rules.
Rather than WTF have they done to MY 40k (2nd ed!)

If all 40k armies had equal support , this would generate more long term interest and therfore greater revenue.

So with a wider target demoghraphic and being able to take advantage of economies of scale , GW could compete openly on the web.
This would mean less dependance on isolationist policies allowing greater access to more potential customers.

In short , putting short term marketing requirments over the long term benifits of game play (quality rules development ), is eventualy going to bring GW down?

Probably IMO.

TTFN
Lanrak.

IJW
21-05-2009, 21:26
So GW put marketing over game play in 40k due to awful buisness decisions made in the past then.

GW PLC decided a core demographic of 'fickle minded Tweenies' with the 'attension span of a gold fish,' would be 'best', as older/wiser people tend NOT to be so vunerable to 'lowbrow marketing' and tend to be far more critical of lackluster rule sets.
Not quite.

At the end of the Eighties/start of the Nineties (when their target market was substantially older than it is now), GW basically had a choice of expand or die* - the target market of older gamers was already saturated by GW/Citadel for tabletop SF&F wargames, which left aiming at a younger demographic as the main possibility for expansion.

That business decision is what made GW the biggest TTG gaming company in the world. No matter how well or badly the transition from 2nd ed. to 3rd ed. 40k went, the decision to aim at a younger audience can't be described as 'awful' from a business point of view - it's what saved the company.

*Hopefully someone more in the know can give more details - all I can remember is that it was some kind of consultation project where the management ended up being told that their target market wasn't sustainable and if they didn't expand in a major way the company would shrink drastically.

Chaos and Evil
21-05-2009, 21:57
I don't know about 'saved the company', but it certainly allowed GW to go from being a power player to becoming the single most dominant force in wargaming.

lanrak
21-05-2009, 22:12
Hi IJW.
I agree that ADDING younger gamers to GWs customer base was essential .

Just the awful way GW went about achiving it meant they excluded/drove away an awful lot of customers they could have kept, and in doing so set themselves on the path of costly isolationism and premuim price to a smaller (ever decreasing )customer base.

This is the problem IMO, GW PLC decided to target 'Tweenies specificaly', rather than gamers of all ages.

A 40k re-write of similar quality to WoTR , still focusing on strategic elements, but with straightforward rules, would have been better at appealing to ALL gamers IMO.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Havock
21-05-2009, 23:12
Though I would liek a '40k advanced' ruleset, it's not going to happen. It costs a lot and I am fairly certain the average 40ker doesn't want to.
Hell, most 40kers I know consider BFG/Aeronautica as 'too much thinking', as said, the average gamer wants to game. Roll dice, see stuff that dies removed from the game.

Without trying offend anyone or make a gross generalisation, there does seem to be a certain amount of intelligence involved. I have no experience with epic, but I heard it is as involving as BFG, which is quite much. Even moreso than with fantasy, you have to plan ahead, no battle is lost pregame. I have beaten a necron fleet (arguably the strongest) with a marine fleet (arg. one of the weakest). I don't see a necron army defeating an ork nob biker army anytime soon on the fields of 40k :)

AI is a mind game. It goes into a "does he know that I know that he can't do this because I would...", completely different from either fantasy, 40k or BFG and I can reccommend it to everyone who likes to try something new. Anyway, less gamey systems.

IJW
22-05-2009, 00:00
I agree that ADDING younger gamers to GWs customer base was essential .

Just the awful way GW went about achiving it meant they excluded/drove away an awful lot of customers they could have kept
I still think you're exaggerating a bit, but on the whole I agree.

yabbadabba
22-05-2009, 07:44
This is the problem IMO, GW PLC decided to target 'Tweenies specificaly', rather than gamers of all ages.
Don't make this mistake Lanrak. Just because GW isn't targetting you, doesn't mean that they are exclusively targetting 12-16 year olds.

Chaos and Evil
22-05-2009, 13:10
Don't make this mistake Lanrak. Just because GW isn't targetting you, doesn't mean that they are exclusively targetting 12-16 year olds.

Indeed, they have their primary focus (I'd say it's slightly younger, 11-14), and then their ancilliary focus (everyone else).

Where the two come into conflict, the former must rule.

Erloas
22-05-2009, 15:59
I still don't get all this "GW is targeting 10-16 year olds" since my playing in two completely different areas that have nothing in common and I have yet to see more then a very few people that fit in that range. I see it more in LOTR then fantasy or 40k.

It just doesn't make any sense in so many ways. Most younger kids are not going to be interested in something that takes as much work as GW games take, and that has a lot more to do with painting and modeling then it does with rules and gameplay.

And while tweens have a much higher percentage of disposable income, they have a lot less income in general, considering that a lot of people don't have jobs until they are 16, or at very best something like a paper-route that pays next to nothing.

The game has always been portrayed as a full hobby, and hobbies aren't something people get into when they are 10-15.

I can very much see that GW isn't targeting the more... not sure how to say it... "elite" maybe, sort of tabletop gamers. They aren't targeting the sort of people that would likely write their own system or are going to try a hundred different systems until they find exactly what they like. They are targeting the more casual gamers, and of course there is a big misconception in all gaming venues that "casual" = "young kiddies" and "elite" = "hardcore vets" when that isn't the case at all. In fact it seems that the older players get the more casual they get and the more they are interesting in something they can pick up and have fun with. You don't have to play any online game more then a little bit to find out that 95% of those people complaining about "noobs" and are going on about how "elite" they are, are all the tweens. I see much the same thing here too.

Then there is also the whole "if a game company doesn't make changes I think they should make then they are obviously catering to all those whiners and complainers and little kids" that happens all the time too.

yabbadabba
22-05-2009, 16:18
It just doesn't make any sense in so many ways. Most younger kids are not going to be interested in something that takes as much work as GW games take, and that has a lot more to do with painting and modeling then it does with rules and gameplay.

You need to visit a UK GW store - it will change your mind.


And while tweens have a much higher percentage of disposable income, they have a lot less income in general, considering that a lot of people don't have jobs until they are 16, or at very best something like a paper-route that pays next to nothing.

A well known retail phenomenon - whinge power.


The game has always been portrayed as a full hobby, and hobbies aren't something people get into when they are 10-15.

I disagree. Maybe it's less likely in this day and age as it seems a lot of kids don't have attention spans anymore, but they are out there.


Then there is also the whole "if a game company doesn't make changes I think they should make then they are obviously catering to all those whiners and complainers and little kids" that happens all the time too.

Now that I thoroughly agree with.

Tarax
22-05-2009, 17:38
I agree that ADDING younger gamers to GWs customer base was essential .

...

This is the problem IMO, GW PLC decided to target 'Tweenies specificaly', rather than gamers of all ages.

Adding younger gamers may have been essential. Bringing a whole gaming system down to fit that new customer group, was not.

Heroquest/Talisman and SpaceHulk were (and probably still are) good games which could bring in young gamers and be a step up to WFB and 40K. After all, Heroquest and Space Hulk were easy to assemble and learn games. Models didn't have to be painted to be recognisable on the gaming board.

GW made a mistake to make WFB and 40K games for new and young customers.

lanrak
22-05-2009, 17:42
Hi Folks.
I am not saying that GW targeting 'twenies' younger /new players is wrong because I am older and feel 'left out.'

I was trying to point out that more focus on game play would appeal to ALL gamers , no matter what age group-experiance.

GW beliving they have to pick younger inexperianced players over older veteran players is a false assumption.

For example Blood Bowl gets played regularly by everyone at my club,by 'teenies' to 'fortyies.'

No one differentiates BB as a newbie game or a vet game, just a great fun game!

GW PLC have specificaly taylored the 40k rules to appeal to what they think an 'average 13 year old boy' wants.IMO.

If they taylored the game to what the 'average gamer 'wanted ,(with possibility to expand the game in different directions,)they would have done a lot better IMO.

I hope that helps explain my theory better.
TTFN
Lanrak.

Erloas
22-05-2009, 19:57
Well, I would say that while I was living in a big city with a GW I was playing fantasy rather then 40k, so I didn't run into a lot of the 40k players. I know it was a bit younger of a group but from what I saw of the players, it wasn't that much younger of a group.
Also most of the people coming through the store when I was playing were generally not that young. However since I was usually in there at fairly similar times, it is possible that they had higher traffic of young kids at times when I was never there.

In terms of whining for stuff and getting it, that does happen all the time. However that is generally limited to cheaper things from what I've seen. It might work for someone to get an extra character or small unit, but not enough to get into the game in the first place.

I can see one good reason for GW to target younger people though. It is very easy for someone to "grow" out of playing games without ever having found the sorts of games that are more interesting to older audiences. I work with someone that is pretty much the same age as me and he used to play games as well, but as it is he really hasn't played much of anything for maybe 10 years now. Some of it has to do with getting married, but a lot of it also has to do with him never having made the transition between gaming as an activity kids to do a real hobby.

If you don't catch the attention of kids after they move away from some of the simpler games, like CCGs, and start moving solely into consoles or away from gaming in general, there is a very good chance they will not pick up the hobby at all.
I can see the need to target these people. To some extent I think GW is with some of their armies, but I think it is just a few specific armies rather then the whole system. Of course the better thing to do would probably be to make a completely new system for that to get them familiar with the GW brands. Which is I think a lot of what LOTR did. Maybe GW should make their own CCGs based on fantasy or 40k. Maybe they should make another system. They need to make something that is usable out of the box and individually cheap (like CCGs are, each pack is pretty cheap and easy to beg for but there isn't really an end to how much you can spend on them).
I think GW is doing that more with licensed games from other companies. They seem to do a pretty good job at drawing peoples' attention to 40k and Fantasy.

I don't see most of the changes GW has been making lately to be targeted at younger people. I don't see how any of the rules added in the last few armybooks/codex that were released are targeting young kids. I could see how some of the armies are done in such a way that they are going to be attractive to kids, but I also don't see any of them being done exclusively to attract kids at the expense of driving off older players. For one, a lot of things things that people find interesting stays fairly universal for a good portion of someones life. Super weapons and soldiers and dragons tend to draw the attention of kids, but they also tend to draw the attention of lots of older people too. A lot of what makes someone interested in Sci-Fi or Fantasy is the same when they are 12 as when they are 32, although some specific aspects of it change. You can find a lot of cases of people liking something like Star Wars or Star Trek when they were very young and still liking it many years later.

I'm just saying that just because something is make in such a way that kids find it attractive doesn't mean it was directly targeted at them and doesn't mean it was designed that way to the exclusion of others.

IJW
22-05-2009, 20:01
Maybe GW should make their own CCGs based on fantasy or 40k. Maybe they should make another system
Been there, done that, closed the sub-division... ;)

Do a bit of searching for 'Sabretooth Games'.


I'm just saying that just because something is make in such a way that kids find it attractive doesn't mean it was directly targeted at them and doesn't mean it was designed that way to the exclusion of others.
++

Deus
27-05-2009, 06:35
Read the whole thread, very interesting read, thought I would add my testimonial:
I'm 23, picked up 40k at 20 because I liked what I saw. Yes, it is inspiring, and fun, and while I can see it lacks the tactical level of BFG (the only other game I have played) I enjoy the tactics all the same. I don't always want to be thinking such critically all the time, I play 40k for fun and its light-tactical level - I play BFG and chess for deep tactics. I would love an advanced 40k ruleset, and even if it existed I would play both it and regular 40k because it is simply fun.

I do feel that GW has shot themselves in the foot somewhat by ONLY appealing to the kiddies and that they could make up alot of ground by remembering their returning customers. Interesting statistic: If a company kept just 5% of what customers it loses each year, profits would double.

isaac
27-05-2009, 08:29
and 80% of statistics are made up on the spot ;)

But I would be interested if you had anything to back that up.

Deus
27-05-2009, 09:35
and 80% of statistics are made up on the spot ;)

But I would be interested if you had anything to back that up.

6 years of uni and a statistics professor with 30 years experience that I trust :cool:

IJW
27-05-2009, 09:49
I think we need something a bit more specific than that. ;)

I can believe that a specific company could double it's profits with 5% better retention, but there's no way that it's true as a blanket statement.

Chaos and Evil
27-05-2009, 12:28
If GW kept 5% of the customers it loses each year, the change would be profound.

In any one year, GW loses the majority of its customers for that year.

But most of those are kids 'just passing through', and it's really difficult to get them to stick around...

Lord of Worms
27-05-2009, 12:43
If GW kept 5% of the customers it loses each year, the change would be profound.

In any one year, GW loses the majority of its customers for that year.

But most of those are kids 'just passing through', and it's really difficult to get them to stick around...

I think you just summed up what I've been trying to stammer through ulcer and neck-vein rage. Excellent. :)

Deus
27-05-2009, 12:55
The 5% retention I think (Been a few years since I heard it) is a long term outlook, so maybe over 5-10 years it will be true, over any 1 year it won't be.

It comes about because getting new customers is hard, keeping them is easier. If you can keep more it means you spend less on advertising. etc etc.

Like many generalizations, it works in general, specific business types will be exempt from it, but retail is part it.

Specific numbers aside, keeping customers has a profound effect on profits.

Deus
27-05-2009, 12:55
Sorry, double post.
<Space reserved for future post>

Lord of Worms
27-05-2009, 13:08
The 5% retention I think (Been a few years since I heard it) is a long term outlook, so maybe over 5-10 years it will be true, over any 1 year it won't be.

It comes about because getting new customers is hard, keeping them is easier. If you can keep more it means you spend less on advertising. etc etc.

Like many generalizations, it works in general, specific business types will be exempt from it, but retail is part it.

Specific numbers aside, keeping customers has a profound effect on profits.

I think that keeping customers through steady improvement in quality and service (this is the big one) would justify future price-increases. I mentioned in another thread, that WD's prices are inversely proportional to it's quality, but if it was actually a good magazine again I would pay even $15 (CAD) per issue. I've payed that much for electronics mags before, and I'm fully willing to shell it out again if I actually get some thing for my money. Same as the stores. If I can buy everything online for cheaper, why would I travel for an hour on public transit to hang out with a bunch of douches who don't shower? If I actually got service I have no problem with paying extra when I buy my dudes.

Tarax
27-05-2009, 13:51
... a bunch of douches who don't shower?

LOL. In some countries a 'douche' translates to 'shower', eg Dutch and probably French.

Lord of Worms
27-05-2009, 14:01
LOL. In some countries a 'douche' translates to 'shower', eg Dutch and probably French.

Wow. And here I am in the process of becoming a pro translator and I completely did not realize that. I can be pretty amazing sometimes:rolleyes:

EDIT: That wasn't sarcasm, I actually should have known that.

Templar Ben
27-05-2009, 14:23
German as well

Bloodknight
27-05-2009, 16:37
We spell it differently, though. Dusche.

/off topic



nteresting statistic: If a company kept just 5% of what customers it loses each year, profits would double.

I'd like to see how that works, or what the variables are in that.

lanrak
27-05-2009, 21:06
Hi folks.
Are we in agreement that focusing on game play,( and gamers in general,) would be better for customer retension and revisiting, than focusing on the most fickle age group?

Sorry to drag the post back on topic after the enlightening linguisitcs .:D

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 02:14
Nope, I think GW is doing the right thing by focusing on their fickle core market.

It inspires sales, and it's what keeps them in business.


If I was gameplay, I can play Epic. If I want to turn off my brain and have a laugh, I play a core game.

Deus
28-05-2009, 06:17
I'd like to see how that works, or what the variables are in that.

It comes about because you don't need to try as hard to get new customers.
Don't need expensive advertising campaigns, salaries to pay those people in marketing.

A good person and topic to look up is Edward Deming and TQM (Total Quality Management). His philosphy to business is what brought post war japan out of the slums and into an electronic manufacturing powerhouse.

IJW
28-05-2009, 09:24
It comes about because you don't need to try as hard to get new customers.
I don't think anyone's arguing against the concept, just the overly-specific figures of '5% retention = 100% increase in profits'.

Deus
28-05-2009, 10:39
I had to research this a bit, so my statement was not as accurate as it should have been, I apologize.

Assume you lose 10% of your customers every year.

If instead we only lost 5%. (Which in reality a drop of 50 percent in customer defection = 5 percentage points)

This is equivalent of losing 10% and gaining 5%. Over 20 years, an extra 5% customers compounds to 1.05^20 = 2.65. Assuming the customers spend the same amount each year then profits from customers increases 165% compared to if we lost 10% customers each year.

If we do not compound then 20*0.05 = 1 = 100% increase.

Of course there are other things to consider, and this is a fairly quick and dirty explanation but you get the gist.

IJW
28-05-2009, 10:55
Thanks.

It might have been better to state it a different way - halving customer loss would (probably;)) double profits.

My assumption is that GW's annual customer loss is far higher than 10%, maybe as high as 40-50% - so you can see why I was questioning your 5% retention figure doubling profits!

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 12:18
My assumption is that GW's annual customer loss is far higher than 10%, maybe as high as 40-50%...

I've heard it's higher than that, from a GW regional manager.

In any one year the majority of GW's customers have been playing the game for less than a year.

Brother Loki
28-05-2009, 12:31
Which begs the question why do GW seem satisfied with such a high customer churn?

On the one hand it seems self evident that improving retention should be good for profitability. On the other hand GW's strategy of acquisition over retention has led their growth into the biggest hobby gaming company in the world by a significant margin (with a turnover of nearly double WotC, the next biggest). No other company even comes close.

I guess the question is whether improving gameplay (which is a pretty subjective idea anyway) is the best way to improve retention, and whether or not this will actually improve profitablility. Perhaps other strategies are more desirable?

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 13:55
GW have made steps to improve retention to some degree, to whit:


1 -
Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse & War of the Ring (provides an 'end point' for kids to aim for beyond collecting a 1500pt / 750pt army list*).

2 -
Citadel Terrain & Gaming Table (makes it easier to have a good looking gaming table at home).

3 -
Introduction of Foundation Paints & especially Washes (to allow an unskilled painter to paint to a good standard quickly).

4 -
A greater emphasis on the background in the Codexes / Armybooks than with the previous edition(s) (to provide extra inspiration to the customers).

5 -
An even greater emphasis on Strategy (army list building / collecting) and a lesser emphasis on in-game Tactics (inspires the collecting of certain 'killer combinations' and list themes to win games, rather than expecting the customer to learn tactical skills to win games), than existed previously (and the games were already very Strategy-heavy).

6 -
Expansion books like Cities of Death & Planetstrike (keep the customer interested for another couple of months by providing a new way to use the same miniatures, whilst also promoting the sales of CoD/Pstrike terrain kits).


So GW have been taking steps to improve retention, just not retention on a 'permenent' basis (because they know that kids will grow out of GW games sooner or later, and 'veterans' will become dissatisfied with the Core games sooner or later and look to the advanced Specialist Games like Epic or another company to provide games more suitable to their level of experience**), so they're trying to increase average retention by a matter of months, not years, and certainly not decades.


* Note that White Dwarf now considers a 1500pt Warhammer 40,000 game as 'very small'... build the dream and the customers will follow?

** There are exceptions to every rule, of course.

isaac
28-05-2009, 14:18
Even though long term veterans are guerrilla marketers, inspire new players, help them out and they keep spending! Especially just for conversions and buying minis just to paint.

Zink
28-05-2009, 14:28
I've got a small question. Over and over we hear that GW's target market and largest age group is 14 year olds. How did GW determine that age as the largest group buying their products?

I don't remember ever being IDed at a GW store, while buying direct mail order from them or even seeing questionnaires about ages. Always seemed to me the largest age group playing where I was were 18-25. Kids(I'm old enough now to calll young adults kids) that hadn't "outgrown" games yet, weren't married with kids and had decent incomes for the first time that they could spend on whatever caught their fancy.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 14:45
Even though long term veterans are guerrilla marketers, inspire new players, help them out and they keep spending! Especially just for conversions and buying minis just to paint.

GW staff are much better at Recruiting new players than the veterans who only turn up for a couple of hours a week for a game.

Do 'veterans' :

- Explain what the hobby is to everyone who comes in the store.
- Offer intro games to everyone who comes in the store.
- Help the noob paint his first ever model (for free).
- Teach the noob the rules of the game after he's bought his starter set, in scheduled classes, along with their peers who are also just learning the game.



The answer is of course no.

'veterans' do the following:

- Play games at the store once or twice a week. If their armies are painted (and that's often a big 'if') then they may help display the hobby in a good light.

Too often 'veterans' play with unpainted armies, which helps to dissuade Recruitment as parents at least partially want to see their child engaging in a productive hobby, not a game.

Likewise with a 'veteran' who paints a model at the painting table, he displays the hobby in progress for a few hours a week... but he doesn't act as a primary Recruitment tool, and he doesn't do so actively (unless the GW staffer is not doing his job properly and is handing tasks off to the 'veterans' (which would normally be legally iffy too as all GW staff have had police background checks whilst a 'veteran' volunteer would typically not have)).


The main thing 'veterans' do for the hobby is inspire other 'veterans' to be Retained in the hobby... they don't Recruit noobs, at least not actively.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 14:56
I've got a small question. Over and over we hear that GW's target market and largest age group is 14 year olds.
11-14 year-olds, but carry on...


How did GW determine that age as the largest group buying their products?
Market research.
Just because you've never been polled by GW yourself that doesn't mean they have a good idea of who's buying their products, and how the volume of product sold swings according to what demographic they target.

GW's current target demographic is the result of 20 years of refinement in focus, a concious drift from the older to the younger market.


(it) Always seemed to me the largest age group playing where I was were 18-25.
Playing the game, yes, older gamers are very prominent, especially in the US market.
Buying product, no, the 18-25 year-olds buy less product than the core demographic; the kids 11-14 buy the most.

Pop into any UK GW store on the weekend however and count the gamers... older guys will be outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1 (at the least) by the noobs... and those noobs are ever-refreshing, dropping in and out of the hobby over periods of weeks and months, not years.

Deus
28-05-2009, 15:40
Thanks.

It might have been better to state it a different way - halving customer loss would (probably;)) double profits.

My assumption is that GW's annual customer loss is far higher than 10%, maybe as high as 40-50% - so you can see why I was questioning your 5% retention figure doubling profits!

Well I was going from what my professor said...that will teach me to listen :p Now that I've clear it up for you AND me it makes much more sense.

Zink
28-05-2009, 15:55
Chaos and Evil, thanks for the reply. What sort of marketing research do they do? Is it done by independant firms or in house by GW? Counting how many kids are in a store on any giving day doesn't seem terribly accurate to me as most of the players I know that spend thousands don't or can't get what they want from GW direct. I'm just wanting to understand their process better. Hard to make a judgement on their opinions without knowing how they formed those opinions.

Templar Ben
28-05-2009, 16:10
Given the volumes that move via Independent retailers and online stores how does GW have a good idea of what their customers look like?

The retention actions you gave would work presuming the kids leave because they get an army and then quit and not because of 10 others reasons such as no friends in their area, online gaming, girl moved in next door, or can no longer afford the game. I am curious how GW concluded that a 12 year old will stay if only they have a book that tells them how to play a 4000 point game.

isaac
28-05-2009, 16:24
I wasn't talking about veterans in GW stores, but veterans in general. A veteran introduced some people to the hobby (including me) and we have been hooked.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 16:36
I am curious how GW concluded that a 12 year old will stay if only they have a book that tells them how to play a 4000 point game.

To take that one example, kids used to be encouraged to collect a 1500pt army (as that was the 'standard' army size). Now they're encouraged to collect an infinite sized army.

I can't see how that would be harmful to the business.

Harmful to the game perhaps*, but not the business.



I wasn't talking about veterans in GW stores, but veterans in general. A veteran introduced some people to the hobby (including me) and we have been hooked.
You and your friends are in the absolute minority as far as GW's customers go.

Yes some 'veterans' introduce their friends into the game, but they barely register on GW's sales compared to the turnover of core market customers introduced to the hobby by GW store staff.



*Apocalypse is silly-fun nonesense for kids, and adults with their brains in 'idle' mode, not a tactically challenging wargame.

Zink
28-05-2009, 18:14
You and your friends are in the absolute minority as far as GW's customers go.

Yes some 'veterans' introduce their friends into the game, but they barely register on GW's sales compared to the turnover of core market customers introduced to the hobby by GW store staff.


This is what I find hard to believe and why I'd like to know where the numbers came from. Out here we have no GW stores anymore yet had a large(compared to other games) GW gaming community before there were GW stores in Canada. If it wasn't for "vets" and other players forming clubs and talking their friends into trying it out where would these people have joined? Indies did some pushing for GW but mostly it was stock the minis and let the customers decide which games they would play and minis to buy. I've been around long enough to remember when GW wasn't the collosus it is today. Do the majority of players in the UK only play in GW stores? Is there any way to accuratley know?

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 18:23
It may be unnessesary to say it, but Canada is not the UK.

The UK is GW's biggest market, and in the UK noobs always outnumber 'veterans' by an order of magnitude.

GeneralDisaster
28-05-2009, 19:10
Erm...can I fight the case for the midgets?

I'm 14. If any of you have kids, you doubtless want to get them into 40K? My father did, showing me his copy of RT, and I still have it. I've never dreamt of leaving the hobby once, even through his death. I have brought six new people into the hobby, all of whom are in it for the long run, already having given a year's supply of cash to GW. We do not 'duck in and out' of the hobby. Maybe you are thinking of the younger kiddies, because the munchkins at Northampton GW really **** me off, treating my local GW club (we have actually joined the school league) like a playground, screaming, running, deploying but not ACTUALLY playing.

So please, think more realistically about the ages-8-13, even though it sounds unlikely, is the age group you want to refer to.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 19:20
Hey, you're not 15 yet so you've still got time to quit before you cross the edge of the demographic. :)

GW set 11 as the youngest target age for their core demographic because that's the youngest age they're allowed to have kids in a GW store under staff supervision (without an adult present).

Plenty of kids play GW games at less than 11 though, just as plenty play at more than 14, it's just that the core of GW's customers lies between those two ages.

Fenlear
28-05-2009, 19:28
I keep seeing 11 listed as the core demographic when their own boxes say 12 to adult. If 11 year olds were part of the core demographic wouldn't the boxes say 11 to adult?

While they may market to teens adults are the major purchasers. Kids don't have thousands of dollars to build full sized armies. Only time I've seen a kid with more then a couple of boxes worth of troops is at a tournament where they had a rich parent that was also in the tournament playing.

And an 8 year old may drool over the models, but are you honestly going to tell me that an 8 year old is going to sit there, read, and memorize 300 pages worth of rules? I'm not saying you couldn’t find a genius somewhere that can muster the feet but it’s not very likely. I tried to get my 13 year old brother to read the rules and it wasn't happening. In my time only 1 person under 18 has ever bested me in strategy; he was 16 and had played almost as long as me. He even admitted he didn't understand the finer points of the game until he was 15.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 19:33
That's just packaging, it also says don't give it to 3 year-olds because they'll eat it. :)

GW stores' demographic for their Academy clubs is explicitly 11 and over.

Templar Ben
28-05-2009, 19:40
To take that one example, kids used to be encouraged to collect a 1500pt army (as that was the 'standard' army size). Now they're encouraged to collect an infinite sized army.

I can't see how that would be harmful to the business.

Harmful to the game perhaps*, but not the business.

I wasn't trying to suggest it was harmful income wise. I was just saying that I didn't see it as a retention tool for that age group as that age group according to all accounts just quits for life reasons and not because they think they are done.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 19:43
I partially agree.

It (promoting larger games) is partially a Retention tool, but mostly I agree it's a simple way to get more sales out of the customers during the period they are around.

Erloas
28-05-2009, 20:55
It may be unnessesary to say it, but Canada is not the UK.

The UK is GW's biggest market, and in the UK noobs always outnumber 'veterans' by an order of magnitude.

Are you absolutely sure the UK is their biggest market? I mean it is obviously a very important market, but the simple fact that the USA has 6x the population of the UK means people living there would have to be much more likely to buy the game then someone in the US.

Well I found this on GW's investors relations site:
http://investor.games-workshop.com/latest_results/Results2009/Interims/default.aspx
Six months to 30 November 2008 /Six months to 2 December 2007

Continental Europe €27.3m /€28.6m
United Kingdom £21.1m /£18.5m
The Americas US$24.8m /US$23.3m
Asia Pacific Aus$10.0m/ Aus$9.2m

So I guess adjusted for currency exchange the UK is more, but not necessarily by a lot.

It does however show that the consumers actions in the rest of Europe and the US are very important.


I have a hard time believing GW's target market is 11-14 no matter what though. If you want to call the gameplay design marketing, as many people here are trying to do, then its still arguable. But most of GW's marketing doesn't really fit that. I haven't seen anything about the stores themselves that would seem to target a young demographic. The store staff that I knew showed everyone that game into the store the game regardless of age, although they do tend to be in malls with a higher level of teenagers, but malls tend to be a lot more 14-20 then the do 11-14. Most of their secondary marketing doesn't fit either. Their licensing, to games like DoW, WAR, Mark of Chaos, are targeted at teen (13-19, most of which is over the 14 mark people seem to have settled on) to mature. Their are all predominately PC games which is an older demographic mostly (like 18-30) rather then targeting console gamers and hand held gamers (which tend to be younger) although they do have some there. Its not like you see GW licensing a lot of games for the DS and Wii. Most of their books are also in the older teen to more mature range, and not at all written for tweens.

Their other main marketing is local game shops, and those can cover a large range, but most of the ones that specialize in TT games instead of CCGs are older. There are two fairly different types of local game shops (at least that I see) the ones that focus on anime, CCGs, and comics, and those that specialize in TT games. The younger crowds are concentrated in the first ones and the older groups in the second one, and guess which one GW products end up in?
The youngest game demographic is pretty much CCGs, and as you can see with them, they are just as likely to be picked up at some place like Wal-Mart as they are being picked up in a specialized shop. If GW were targeting tweens, why aren't they marketing in any of the usual Tween marketing ways? Do they have viral YouTube marketing, spots on Cartoon Network, dedicated MySpace marketing, do they have their start boxes next to all the toys and CCGs at places like Wal-Mart? I don't see any of that. They do have some stuff in magazines, but those have pretty much gone south, especially for the younger demographics.

The design of the game is actually a fairly small part of marketing, because people have to know about the game and learn the game before that is ever seen. Once you've got people into the game marketing is a much smaller part of it. You can't have marketing based on people already having a high level of familiarity with your products, it simply doesn't work that way. And almost every aspect of GWs real marketing is directed at an older demographic and not tweens.

IJW
28-05-2009, 21:25
Are you absolutely sure the UK is their biggest market? I mean it is obviously a very important market, but the simple fact that the USA has 6x the population of the UK means people living there would have to be much more likely to buy the game then someone in the US.
Yes, we're absolutely sure that the UK market is bigger than the North American market for GW, let alone the US market.

http://investor.games-workshop.com/latest_results/Results2008/full_year/businessreview.aspx

Europe as a whole has a slightly bigger proportion of GW's turnover than the UK, but the USA and Canada combined fall quite a long way behind. If you don't live here, it's difficult to grasp quite how pervasive GW is in the UK - there's more than one GW store for every thousand square miles...

Potential markets is another matter totally - GW have repeatedly failed to really get going in the North American market for a number of reasons.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 21:48
I have a hard time believing GW's target market is 11-14 no matter what though. If you want to call the gameplay design marketing, as many people here are trying to do, then its still arguable. But most of GW's marketing doesn't really fit that.

Have you read White Dwarf at any point since Issue 316 (the issue with the release of the Warhammer Giant, when the intended demographic of the magazine clearly shifted downwards in age)?

White Dwarf is GW's primary printed marketing method, and it's made for kids.


I haven't seen anything about the stores themselves that would seem to target a young demographic. The store staff that I knew showed everyone that game into the store the game regardless of age, although they do tend to be in malls with a higher level of teenagers, but malls tend to be a lot more 14-20 then the do 11-14.
Have you ever tried dropping in to a GW store on one of their 'Academy' days?

Try counting the number of kids then, and realise that those kids form the majority of the 'new starters' that that particular shop has attracted that month.



Most of their secondary marketing doesn't fit either. Their licensing, to games like DoW, WAR, Mark of Chaos, are targeted at teen (13-19, most of which is over the 14 mark people seem to have settled on) to mature. Their are all predominately PC games which is an older demographic mostly (like 18-30) rather then targeting console gamers and hand held gamers (which tend to be younger) although they do have some there. Its not like you see GW licensing a lot of games for the DS and Wii.
All of which is ancilliary licencing produced by different companies with different intended demographics.


Most of their books are also in the older teen to more mature range, and not at all written for tweens.
Again, ancilliary licencing.


Their other main marketing is local game shops, and those can cover a large range, but most of the ones that specialize in TT games instead of CCGs are older. There are two fairly different types of local game shops (at least that I see) the ones that focus on anime, CCGs, and comics, and those that specialize in TT games. The younger crowds are concentrated in the first ones and the older groups in the second one, and guess which one GW products end up in?
As I've said before, your local market is very different to the UK market.

In the UK market, there are relatively few 'comic book' or 'CCG' stores. For the most part, there's GW, or there's nothing... and GW stores are flooded with 11-14 year-olds.



The youngest game demographic is pretty much CCGs, and as you can see with them, they are just as likely to be picked up at some place like Wal-Mart as they are being picked up in a specialized shop. If GW were targeting tweens, why aren't they marketing in any of the usual Tween marketing ways? Do they have viral YouTube marketing, spots on Cartoon Network, dedicated MySpace marketing, do they have their start boxes next to all the toys and CCGs at places like Wal-Mart?
No, because GW doesn't believe in marketing their product through conventional means. GW stores and White Dwarf are their marketing methods.


The design of the game is actually a fairly small part of marketing, because people have to know about the game and learn the game before that is ever seen.
And they don't learn the design of the game by playing the game?

Everything about the design of the rules is created in an effort to serve the marketing, either passively or actively.


Once you've got people into the game marketing is a much smaller part of it. You can't have marketing based on people already having a high level of familiarity with your products, it simply doesn't work that way.
Really?

So giving the Land Speeder Storm a unique leadership-reducing grenade type is not a marketing manuever designed to help sell the Land Speeder Storm model?

Giving Sternguard Space Marines unique more effective ammuntion is not a marketing manuever designed to help inspire people to buy Sternguard Space Marine models?

Both of the above examples (and literally thousands more possible examples) are places where the rules inspire people who already have familiarity with the rules into buying a new model (or models).

Ie: It's marketing to people who already play the game.


And almost every aspect of GWs real marketing is directed at an older demographic and not tweens.
What real marketing?

They have none beyond White Dwarf and the GW staffers.

loveless
28-05-2009, 22:09
I keep seeing 11 listed as the core demographic when their own boxes say 12 to adult. If 11 year olds were part of the core demographic wouldn't the boxes say 11 to adult?



Clearly GW Marketing went to the same school that Big Tobacco Marketing went to...they just ended up with a less addictive product :p

Fenlear
28-05-2009, 22:14
I really didn't see too many kids on academy day. It was the one day of the year I've seen other people in there but it was 2 teens and 2 adults. All of which just wanted the cheaper army case and didn't even take the class.

Chaos and Evil
28-05-2009, 22:37
I really didn't see too many kids on academy day. It was the one day of the year I've seen other people in there but it was 2 teens and 2 adults. All of which just wanted the cheaper army case and didn't even take the class.

Then that was a failing store.

If a GW store doesn't have any beginners at its Academy day, it is failing in its primary mission (Recruit gamers).

Fenlear
29-05-2009, 00:11
Well I've been to all 3 in the greater area of LA; they all seem to be failing stores then.

Out of curiosity, how many kids show up at a store that does well? 70$ seems like a lot for the average kid to blow on a Saturday.

I’ve always been given the impression that they don’t really expect the stores to get a lot of traffic, as its more about milking the fan boys then it is about attracting a wider audience.

Zink
29-05-2009, 00:55
It may be unnessesary to say it, but Canada is not the UK.

The UK is GW's biggest market, and in the UK noobs always outnumber 'veterans' by an order of magnitude.

I can agree that Canada and the UK are different. What I would like to know is how GW does market research.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 01:01
What I would like to know is how GW does market research.

Be damned if I know, all I know is they have had market research done and after 20 years they know their market well.


Out of curiosity, how many kids show up at a store that does well? 70$ seems like a lot for the average kid to blow on a Saturday.

My local store is a fairly below-average GW, and it probably has 20-25 11-14 year-olds there playing games on a Saturday or Sunday. Maybe four guys older than that.


I’ve always been given the impression that they don’t really expect the stores to get a lot of traffic, as its more about milking the fan boys then it is about attracting a wider audience.
If they were just milking the fanboys, they'd close all the stores and just do business from mail order / the web.

The prime purpose of a GW store is to recruit new gamers, not to make a profit.

Fenlear
29-05-2009, 05:40
I think I'm missing something here; Every GW I've been in can't even fit 25 people. The most I think the small little mall shops could hold is about a dozen. You must be exaggerating, or the condense space is making it feel like there’s more people in the shop then there is.

Templar Ben
29-05-2009, 06:20
GW in the UK is very different.

GW in the US is just a store that sells one company product....badly. In the UK it is different.

Tarax
29-05-2009, 07:17
Chaos and Evil, I wander what your position within GW HQ is.

Because, frankly, all I hear from you are arguments against anything other people are saying. Always defending GW and never taking a position on the other side.

Although you may be right on some (or most) parts of the arguments, you appear to be just like some of the salespeople form GW who force you into something, whether it's buying models or a corporate strategy.

I've heard some good arguments and reasonings, but you always counter them with the same arguments of your own over and over again.

(to all others: ) Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but I feel it had to be said.

IJW
29-05-2009, 08:42
I think I'm missing something here; Every GW I've been in can't even fit 25 people. The most I think the small little mall shops could hold is about a dozen. You must be exaggerating, or the condense space is making it feel like there’s more people in the shop then there is.
No, he's not exaggerating - my local GW store has two 6x4' display tables and a painting area in the front of the store, and 5-6 6x4' gaming tables in the back half, depending on how it's laid out. That's fairly typical for a GW store in the UK, apart from the few that are in malls (malls aren't that common in the UK yet).

25 kids in the gaming area is cramped, but still leaves room for customers to get at the racks in the front half of the shop.

A view from the front of the gaming area through to the front half of the shop:
http://exeter-inquisition.org/images/space-hulk-evening

isaac
29-05-2009, 08:51
6 people in th local GW is cramped and hard to move around in. 12 would be packed like sardines. Any more would be evil.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 11:36
I think I'm missing something here; Every GW I've been in can't even fit 25 people. The most I think the small little mall shops could hold is about a dozen. You must be exaggerating, or the condense space is making it feel like there’s more people in the shop then there is.


Children are small people. :)

lanrak
29-05-2009, 11:45
HI all.
After annalysing 40k rules set and codexes, it is obviuos the main reason they are so stuffed to the gills with counter intuative , confuonding special rules is they are deemed to aid marketing.
Chaos and Evil and many others agree with this assumption.

However , I belive making the rules 'inspiring' is unessisary.

The background artwork and sculpts of the 40k game system are VERY inspiring.

The rule set should be as straight forward as possible , to deliver the straight forward game play of an introduction to table top gaming that 40k is supossed to be .IMO.

This would mean the game devs would be able to actualy develop the game ,(expansions ,) and cycle through codexes quicker.;)

If alternative game mechanics were used , it would be possible to get 40k game play with far less , more straight forward rules .

I have no problem with gamers of any age.
(My gaming groups age ranges from 11 to 58!)

But when GW intentionaly targets an age range (11 to 14) rather than customer type ,(gamer,) I belive they are making a BIG mistake.

Some GW customers just collect and dont game.
But the customers that DO play GW games are 'gamers'

The former dont care about the rules.
The latter DO care alot about the rules.(Even if they dont know it yet.)

The rules are important!They should give the best game play for the least amount of rules.;)
Not the most amount of hype for the newest minatures.:rolleyes:

IF GW want to use stores to recriut new players ,fair enough.
But if they produce lackluster cluttered counterintuitive rules , to try to attract more 'tweenies' , rather than elegant efficient rules to keep 'gamers 'interested.

They are not going to grow thier market share , just generate alot of ill will.IMO.

TTFN
Lanrak

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 11:52
Chaos and Evil, I wander what your position within GW HQ is.
I don't work in GW HQ.

I interviewed to work there as a games designer one time though, got down to the last 7 candidates.



Because, frankly, all I hear from you are arguments against anything other people are saying. Always defending GW and never taking a position on the other side.
Sorry I didn't know 'you must attack GW' was a rule on this forum. :rolleyes:


Although you may be right on some (or most) parts of the arguments,
And I am, because I'm me and I rock. :p


you appear to be just like some of the salespeople form GW who force you into something, whether it's buying models or a corporate strategy.
I suggest you re-read some of my posts... I'm quite consistent in saying that lots of adults (or 'veterans' as GW calls them) would be much better served by dropping their Core game (as they're designed primarily for children) and taking up one of the advanced Specialist Games that use the same setting but are designed for adults (Epic, Warmaster or Battle of Five Armies)... or even to go play another company's wargame designed more for adults...

...that doesn't gel at all with GW's official policy. GW's policy is that everyone should play the Core games, regardless of whether they're 11 or 41.

I often describe Apocalypse as 'Wargaming with the brain set in idle'... also hardly GW policy.


Do I support GW's decision to focus on selling to kids?
Do I support them 'compromising' the rule system of their Core games with marketing ploys?

Yes. It's the most profitable thing to do...

...for some reason lots of people seem to be under the mistaken apprehension that adults are in the majority amongst GW's customers... well they're dead wrong.

Most GW customers are kids 11-14 who play their games at home on the kitchen table, and it makes sense to design the games for them to play, not for the adults.

Adults play the game a lot sure, but they don't buy, not like the kids do anyway.


I've heard some good arguments and reasonings, but you always counter them with the same arguments of your own over and over again.
Oh that's because I'm right. :)


(to all others: ) Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, but I feel it had to be said.
Not harsh at all.

Erloas
29-05-2009, 15:31
Well it seems that those people claiming GW markets only to tweens are also almost all located in the UK. While the UK is their biggest single market, it is also only about 1/3 to 1/4 of their total market. What you see in their local stores does not necessarily mean much compared to their total market though.

When I used to live by a GW they had some kids there but not very many, but I also know that a very large portion of the people in the area also never really went to the GW store. A lot of people went to the 3-4 other local game shops, even if they were playing GW games. For one reason the LGS were not in malls so there were less random people around, they could stay open later (a lot of the LGS stayed open until 10pm or later on gaming nights, when GW had to close by 9pm because of where it was located), and most people went to the LGSs because they were cheaper to get GW products. There were a lot of people too that mostly bought online even with local stores around.

Given that is just a single market, but its probably true in more places. Where I live now, which is a completely different market, we have quite a few players (especially for a population of about 30-35k) and there isn't a GW store for probably 1000 miles and the closest LGS is about 150 miles away.
The simple fact is that in the US the vast majority of the country has no GW stores even close. Their marketing in terms of the GW stores is meaningless here for the most part. But it still makes up maybe 25% of their total market.

And no, I haven't read White Dwarf much. But "marketing" doesn't work if it requires someone to know your product. Getting people to buy new or different models also isn't the same thing as marketing, especially not in the case of attracting new players. How exactly is the special rules for a special Land Raider or how White Dwarf written supposed to attract new players, tweens or otherwise, if someone has to know about the game first? Is some Tween going to go buy a White Dwarf and read it before ever knowing anything at all about the game?
Edit: and as for those special rules, well that is pretty easy to see why they do it. If something isn't selling it generally means it isn't being used in-game, and if isn't being used its because it isn't worth the points cost to take. Why take any version of a land raider over another version? because of the different rules/equipment that each one has, if they were all exactly the same there would be no point in having several of them. You give it a special weapon so anyone uses it, because if anything its older more experienced players that are more interested in how points effective and practical a model is then it is tweens. Most tweens are never going to notice if something is less balanced then something else unless someone tells them it is. They add rules and exceptions to models so that more advanced gamers can find a reason to take them and use them. They give things special rules to make them worth taking, and that applies at least as much to, if not more so, to more experienced gamers then to younger gamers. Younger gamers take all sorts of things that aren't optimal and don't have the best point values because they don't know/care. It is the more veteran players that make extensive use of special rules to find the best combinations and to know which special rules really help with what they want to do./edit

You are also a fool if you think that GW's actions such as game licensing and books are not a major part of their marketing efforts. They draw a lot of attention to the world and get people interested at it and looking into what else the world is about, including the TT games. Marketing is getting your name and your brand out in front of new people. And those games and books do a very good job at that. They get the brand in front of a lot of people that would probably never step foot into a GW store otherwise and don't visit LGS.
It was very easy to see leading up to WARs release that a lot of the people following the game had little to no knowledge of GW or their products, at best a vague idea of the name, and WAR did quite a bit to get people looking into the game. I'm sure it was the same with DOW as well, I just didn't follow that very closely to see.

I would bet a good portion of GWs player base almost never goes into a GW store. And just because you see a fair amount of people in them doesn't necessarily mean it is most of the people playing either. Even talking to some people from Europe on other forums about GW games, quite a few of them aren't all that close to GW stores either, they have to plan trips just to go, its not like it is their regular place for gaming. There are a lot of people that play at friends' houses, at clubs in schools and colleges, etc. Even if 80% of the people at UK GW stores are tweens, that does not mean that is even close to the case for the majority of the player base. There is also a huge market for GW products online that doesn't show up in those local GW stores.

The same way that if you took a poll of this site or 40konline, or any of the other forums you would probably get a completely different demographic makeup of them compared to what you might find at any given store. You will also find a different demographic of people playing GW products at LGS and GW stores in one city to the next, especially when you change countries.


And I really don't believe kids are spending that much on the game. I spend more on GW products now every 6 months then I could have bugged out of my parents when I was a kid over the course of a year or two, and that would be if that was all I bugged for, and that never happens with kids. I don't know who these kids are you guys run into that can bug their parents for $300 worth of army every 6 months as well as bug for all of the other things kids bug for.

IJW
29-05-2009, 16:05
Erloas, did you follow my link earlier to GW's investor information? A lot of the figures you're guessing at are there for the reading.

http://investor.games-workshop.com/latest_results/Results2008/full_year/businessreview.aspx

Things like the proportion of GW's turnover that comes through their own stores.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 16:12
Well it seems that those people claiming GW markets only to tweens are also almost all located in the UK.

Not 'only', but 'primarily'.



When I used to live by a GW they had some kids there but not very many, but I also know that a very large portion of the people in the area also never really went to the GW store. A lot of people went to the 3-4 other local game shops, even if they were playing GW games.

Yup you're not in the UK... we don't have FLG stores. Certainly not ones that have space to game in.


And no, I haven't read White Dwarf much. But "marketing" doesn't work if it requires someone to know your product. Getting people to buy new or different models also isn't the same thing as marketing,
Yes it is.

It's marketing to an existing customer base, or as GW refers to it 'Retention'. That is the number two objective for a GW store after 'Recruitment'.


How exactly is the special rules for a special Land Raider or how White Dwarf written supposed to attract new players, tweens or otherwise, if someone has to know about the game first?
During a demo game they get told about the awesome things that their Space Marines can do.


Is some Tween going to go buy a White Dwarf and read it before ever knowing anything at all about the game?
White Dwarf is GW's marketing to existing customers, it's not a marketing tool to bring in new blood, that's what stores and word of mouth is for.


You are also a fool if you think that GW's actions such as game licensing and books are not a major part of their marketing efforts.
Don't insult me.


They (licenced games) draw a lot of attention to the world and get people interested at it and looking into what else the world is about, including the TT games. Marketing is getting your name and your brand out in front of new people. And those games and books do a very good job at that. They get the brand in front of a lot of people that would probably never step foot into a GW store otherwise and don't visit LGS.
Yes GW's brand awareness is raised by the various ancialiary products in the market (computer games, novels etc), but they are largely targetted at different markets (often an older demographic), and so whilst they may raise the brand awareness, that won't nessesarily lead to people buying into the 'tabletop gaming' sub-section of the brand.



I would bet a good portion of GWs player base almost never goes into a GW store.
Player base is different to consumer base.


Even if 80% of the people at UK GW stores are tweens, that does not mean that is even close to the case for the majority of the player base.
Quite true (although tweens are indeed the most common GW Core game player)... but those 80% are an ever-recycling source of money for GW as they constantly hop in and out of the hobby.

For each year an average 'veteran' spends in the hobby, he might buy one army (probably an over-estimate really).

During that same time, if just two 'tweens' get into and then out of the hobby, and each buys an army, GW has sold more to the tween market, and it really doesn't matter that at the end of the year the 'veteran' is still playing and the tweens are not, because two more tweens are just about to start-then-stop playing the game, again spending twice as much as that 'veteran' who now sources most of his stuff from eBay anyway...



And I really don't believe kids are spending that much on the game. I spend more on GW products now every 6 months then I could have bugged out of my parents when I was a kid over the course of a year or two, and that would be if that was all I bugged for, and that never happens with kids. I don't know who these kids are you guys run into that can bug their parents for $300 worth of army every 6 months as well as bug for all of the other things kids bug for.

Well, you're not a typical GW customer... you're what McDonalds would term a Super-Heavy User, and you are part of a small minority of GW's customers.

Brother Loki
29-05-2009, 16:36
I think WD probably does play a part in acquisition actually. It's in nearly every newsagent in the country and many supermarkets - so maybe 50 or 100 times the number of outlets than actually sell GW models. It's the only fantasy/sci-fi related hobby magazine readily available in the UK. If you're vaguely interested in fantasy or sci-fi, you'll almost certainly have seen a copy of WD.

There's at least one GW store in every large town here. You'll have walked past one if you live in the UK and ever go shopping.

Then there's the independent stockists, which in the UK are highly unlikely to be FLGS style games shops that you get in the US and elsewhere, since there's only a handful of these in the whole country. They're far more likely to be toy shops, book shops and the like. They don't have tables, or run games. The fact that toymaster sells GW should indicate that its' primarily aimed at children, not adults.

The thing is, everyone on this forum is the exception whien it comes to GW's customer base. The simple fact that we are involved enough to sign up to a web forum, and most of us have been playing or collecting for years makes us different from 80% of their customers. Our concerns and wishes simply do not reflect those of the majority of GW's customers.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 16:54
Brother Loki spake the truth.

lanrak
29-05-2009, 21:00
Hi folks.
I am not arguing with the proposed reasons why GW do things the way they do.

Just trying to see if GWs 'reasoning' is as sound as they think.

'If we load 40k down with special rules that make the new releases sound cool we can squeese another £50 from each newb before they leave.
We dont have to worry about game ballance or gameplay the newbs do not know thier arses from thier elbows.'
.:rolleyes:

But what about the more experiance players detered from playing 40k , or detering returning players due to such lackluster rules and game support?

If GW targeted '40k gamers' by focusing on 40k game play , they would get and keep more 'gamers' than they do now.

If 80% of thier target demoghraphic leave after a year of dropping Bday and Xmas day money.Surley they ARE targeting the wrong demographic?

Mind you, other games companies can pick up all the dis enchanted 40k players.:D So perhaps I should keep quiet, and let GW get new players into table top gaming , then drive them into the arms of GWs competition.

TTFN
Lanrak.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 21:16
If 80% of thier target demoghraphic leave after a year of dropping Bday and Xmas day money.Surley they ARE targeting the wrong demographic?

GW's reasoning is that there'll be a new 80% (Or whatever) along next year, whilst the remaining 20% already have their army and will be spending less next year to boot.

So why make a tactical well balanced rule system if that's not the best way to make money?

isaac
29-05-2009, 21:34
They could always do a hybrid, several special rules, but well-balanced and tactical gameplay.

Erloas
29-05-2009, 22:12
One thing to wonder about with the charts they have given, is that it is how much they have made from each source, direct order, GW store, and independent retailers, the question is, how do the figure the cost exactly (I read a lot of it, but not all of it), because since they sell to independent retailers for 45% less then retail (or there abouts) then for every box they sell at a GW store they are making a lot more compared to every box sold at a local game store. Since they are earning a bit less then 50% of their money from independent retailers that would mean they are moving about 1.5 to 2x more boxes through independent retailers vs GW direct.


As for how much people spend, depending on the army, you are looking at $200-300 for a 1000 point list. Which is about all the smaller people play at most of the time. You see smaller games, but not a lot. When you consider the other parts of the hobby, the paints, tools, etc. I don't see where kids are able to talk their parents into that. Its not like kids can spend $50 and get anything usable in 40k, pretty much just the starter box. Just a battalion box and codex is a fairly large gift and thats hardly enough to play with.
Even with a lot of disposable income I don't generally buy more then 1000-1500 points a year. Of course some years its next to nothing and some years its 3k. That is of course between several armies in fantasy and 40k.



I also don't see how special rules are supposed to be selling to tweens. Most tweens aren't that great at picking up things like 40k to begin with, let alone see the advantages to special rules without knowing the background to the game. Tweens aren't the min/maxers, they pick what they like and use it regardless of how good it is, or it might get really lucky one game and they decide its always good. At least that is the case with the tweens I know from other activities, and how the son of one of our players is. If anything, to target tweens they would be removing special rules and simplifying everything as much as possible, which some people claim they are doing, but it is exactly the opposite of what some people in this thread claim they are doing but for the exact same reason. People claim all the time that they are simplifying the rules for a younger audience, and at the same time people here are claiming they are making the game more complex and adding special rules to go for a younger audience. I don't see how people can claim doing two exactly different things are being done at the same time to get improve the games appeal to a young audience.

I haven't meet many 10-14 year olds that have the patience to learn a game like this, let alone build it and do even a half-hearted job at painting. It is beyond what most kids want to put into a game.

Chaos and Evil
29-05-2009, 22:17
I haven't meet many 10-14 year olds that have the patience to learn a game like this, let alone build it and do even a half-hearted job at painting. It is beyond what most kids want to put into a game.

That's probably because you're not their age. :)

IJW
29-05-2009, 22:43
As for how much people spend, depending on the army, you are looking at $200-300 for a 1000 point list. Which is about all the smaller people play at most of the time. You see smaller games, but not a lot. When you consider the other parts of the hobby, the paints, tools, etc. I don't see where kids are able to talk their parents into that.
Seeing as the average annual bill for music downloads for UK children is around £380 (and appears not to come out of their pocket money), I don't think £120-180 for an army in a year is going to bother most parents. :(

Although average pocket money in the UK does appear to have fallen from 2005 to 2008.

Source (http://www.hbosplc.com/media/pressreleases/articles/halifax/2008-08-25-Halifaxpoc.asp?section=Halifax)

Fenlear
30-05-2009, 06:47
[QUOTE=IJW;3624913]Seeing as the average annual bill for music downloads for UK children is around £380
QUOTE]

Please show me what you’re basing that on. Most parents would not even allow there kids access to their credit cards to download music in the first place, making me think the figure was coming from upper class families only. I think I'd encourage my kid to start smoking crack before I'd let him spend that much on downloading. That’s the sort of music bill a total fanatic has, spending half his paycheck hearing every new sound and the other half chasing his favorite bands around the country.

IJW
30-05-2009, 07:44
I already gave the link in my last post. Why would I give specific figures like that without a reference?

Anyway, I got things a bit wrong - the £380 bill is the combined music + mobile bill, for the 40% of UK children who are allowed to buy music online. If you want to be scared, follow the link and read up on mobile usage - the average bill is higher than mine is!

P.S. Why is a credit card required for online music? iTunes or Amazon gift vouchers should do the job.

Fenlear
30-05-2009, 18:01
Ok, I see if you’re including cell phones how it would be that high, paranoid parents will pay anything to have an electronic leash. However, I think such parents see the ridiculous costs of the cell phones as being a necessity (it really isn’t) and I don’t think that it would translate to what they’d allow their kids to spend on just gaming or other waists of money.

IJW
30-05-2009, 18:10
If you follow the link you'll see that the average music download bill (for the ones who buy music) is £164 a year. Which is about twice what I spend a year on music.

Anyway, we're veering a long way off-topic by now...