Privateer Press Ends Pressgang Program

Normally we’re posting about companies starting up volunteer programs. This one’s the other side of the spectrum. Privateer Press has announced that their Pressgang program is coming to a close. I was never a PG. I actually had my application rejected πŸ˜›
But I was a Mentor and then a Moderator for the PP forums, and most of my friends I have now I got through my time with Privateer. So, it’s sad to see the program go.

From the announcement:

Privateer Press announced today the closing of its long-standing Press Gang program.

β€œThe Press Gang has had an amazing and positive impact on the WARMACHINE & HORDES community during its run,” said Chief Creative Officer Matt Wilson, β€œbut over the years, it has grown to a point that we do not feel we can continue to offer both the Press Gangers and our retail customers the individualized attention we were once able to.”

Privateer Press will continue to support the Press Gang program until it comes to a final close on April 30, 2017.

The company will continue to support a variety of Organized Play events, including several new events debuting this year, at conventions and through brick-and-mortar retail stores. Future event kits are planned with additional support, including premium exclusives available nowhere else. WARMACHINE & HORDES events can be run by anyone wishing to organize the events for a local community, including employees of retail stores. Retailers are invited to contact Privateer Press customer support at with any questions or to obtain help in organizing in-store events.


  • Ghool

    Worst. Move. Ever.
    I wonder what happened to the tournament scene when GW canned their volunteer program…oh wait….

    PP seems to be making a lot of questionable decisions of late – first they can their forums (ghost town over there now) and now they’re getting rid of all volunteers.

    Wow. Just. Wow.

    • ZeeLobby

      It does seem really odd. Like do they not know they’re moving towards the GW that people ran to them to escape from???

      • Ghool

        Couple this with their recent Free Rider policy, no more physical cards, gutting their forums, and now no more volunteers.

        • odinsgrandson

          Yeah- the free rider policy sounds a bit like some of GW’s moves (I think PP handled it better, by a lot).

          But getting rid of the Press Gangers? That makes no sense to me.

          • Ghool

            Did you read the press release?
            Better handled? Sure.
            Better worded? Absolutely not.

    • odinsgrandson

      To be fair- the forums are back up.

      Now, they don’t have their faction communities, which seems a poor a choice…

      • Daniel R Weber

        You wade through those forums before the died out? better no community than the junk that was posting there (mostly). First rule of PR: control the message. You have a bunch of complainers on the forums, remove the forums.

        • odinsgrandson

          Ok, I didn’t dig through the forums a whole ton right before they were closed- I mostly spent time in the painting and IK sections (which are still around. Last time I frequented any of the faction forums, they were far from toxic.

          I suppose I can see the logic, but I think there were probably better ways to handle it.

        • Ghool

          People complaining incessantly is nothing new. It’s how one deals with it.
          They had an army of moderators to take down any message they didn’t care to be spoken about.

          Also, if you’re any sort of ‘adult’, you understand that the complainers are just that – they complain about anything and everything.
          The internet gives them a soap box to stand on.

          All PP had to do was change the ToS, and get the moderators shutting down complaint threads that reiterate the same complaints over and over.

          Instead, they gutted them completely.

          There was a more tactful and common-sense approach to the problem besides shutting down any and all discussion on their forums.

          All they have done is force the complainers to complain on more public places like Twitter and Facebook. I don’t see how that solves anything.

    • Andy Meechan

      Tournament scene? It went from strength to strength as the players few an Indy scene which is diverse and interesting.

  • Alex Hunter

    The volunteer issue is likely due to the class action lawsuit filed by Magic the Gathering volunteer judges demanding to be paid as employees of Wizards. A preventative measure, I would assume.

    This has forced a lot of gaming companies to step back and reevaluate their volunteer programs.

    • odinsgrandson

      Huh. Can’t have a volunteer program now?

      Was Wizards not up front about how voluntary their program is?

      • Davos Seaworth

        You have to read the specifics, but generally: WotC was trying to have their cake & eat it too. The local event judges were subject to WotC rules, even though WotC admitted they weren’t actual employees. So a handful of these volunteer judges sued not to become employees, but to establish a non-profit entity for regulating judges so they don’t get the short end of the stick from WotC capricious rules enforcement (and suspensions.)

        Now there may an additional dimension, seeing as how California has stricter laws as to who can legally be considered a “volunteer” and they very well might look at WotC being a Hasbro (multi-million $$$ worldwide coglomerate) entity and say, “Yeah, nice try corporate overlords, pay these dudes, because we know you can.” But that remains to be seen, if it even goes to trial.

        Other companies have looked at this and said they don’t need lawsuit hassles hanging over their heads over what constitutes a “volunteer” and what constitutes shitty corporate behavior.

        • odinsgrandson

          Ok, I’ve started reading up on this, and it looks to me like the judges have a point.

          There are some pretty severe limits on hiring volunteer labor.

          And especially with how hands on Wizards is with their judges, I don’t think they can win a court battle to prove that they aren’t employees.

          Other companies aren’t so hands on as Wizards, and that might big difference.

  • crazytuco

    The most troubling part about this to me is the fact that based on how they’ve handled a lot of stuff over the past six to eight months, my reaction to this was not as surprised and shocked as I would have expected.

  • Editrod Wargarage

    Point based reward systems for Demos and community building are easily exploited by abusive users. PPress is doing something to actively support brick and mortar stores and community growth as opposed to favouring individuals. good for them, good for us, the players.

    • Ghool

      Sure. But, don’t assume everyone will exploit it just because.

      Having been a PG, you underestimate how much time, effort, preparation and my own money it took to run regular events and expand the community.
      Without anyone to do this ‘job’ with zero reward is asking a lot.

      LGS’s will now have to put money forward to make special terrain, get staff to organize events, they’ll have paid labor to run an all-day event (which isn’t cheap) and more. I expect that if there aren’t any employees to do that job in-store, you can make a sure bet the community will shrivel and die.

      I expect another announcement very soon about them cancelling all events and tournaments outside those run by PP themselves at conventions and so-on.

      Without a community of volunteers to run these events, don’t expect them to stick around very long.

      And you’ll have to excuse me, but your post sounds a lot like corporate-speak.

      • Daniel R Weber

        Was talking to an LGS owner about this today, actually. He shared with me how not too long ago two different PGs were reporting (one) monthly tournaments at his shop, (the other) weekly gaming nights at the shop for months before anyone caught on neither actually lived in the area any more nor had been in the shop actually doing those events they continued to be claiming from many many miles away. So, yeah, there was pretty solid abuse going on. Even back in the early days as this ex-:PG can remember. Almost annual searches for new QMs attested to the stress and turnover in the position of PG organizer as well.

      • odinsgrandson

        Ok, I’ve lived in places where press gangers were in charge of all the local tournaments, and other times where store owners ran everything.

        If Privateer Press support the local game stores well, then they’ll be able to support the scene just fine.

        It will drop off in places where the LGS doesn’t want to run things, though. And I’m sure a lot of places are just out of the habit.

      • Andy Meechan

        In my experience, the player base gathers around and supports a game they play regardless of trinkets.

        With the churn of Pressgangers this program sounded like a pain to administrate. It’s a sign that PP are growing as a company. I believe they’re the largest of the second tier companies after all.

        • odinsgrandson

          From PP’s announcement, it looked like they were simultaneously supporting Press Gangers and the LGS, to do the same thing. Maybe it is just that the two programs ended up being redundant (or in competition for PP’s attention).

          If you have to choose, I think supporting LGS is a good call.

      • gstopcow

        Im not assuming, but theres the reality of bad apples and how they wreck things. Yes, stores will have to engage directly with players to run the community but thats what community building is all about. Kudos in all your work, im certain most pgs were amazing, and that they will continue to support the hobby in a different capacity.

  • Rich McGee

    One bad decision after another from PP lately. At this rate I sincerely doubt we’ll ever need to invest in Warmahordes 4th edition.


      They are out of game design ideas. 3rd edition is pretty much the same thing as 2nd edition, but with the balance tweaked to make warjacks better. There are a ton of clunky things about the rules they’ve had to opportunity to simplify, and they have avoided doing it.

      Many of the recent changes are obvious patches to avoid problems, instead of creative improvements: for example, they used errata to disallow power attacks on friendly models, but not regular attacks. There are defenses that work only on regular attacks, not magic or special attacks. Whether a corpse or soul is collectible is sometimes only off an enemy attack (doesn’t include electroleaps), sometimes always, or sometimes anything other than friendly attacks, depending on the individual power.

      You have to be a rules lawyer to play this game correctly, and it’s very competitive, so people will try to take advantage of you if you don’t know the rules. Deleting page five isn’t enough to change things.

      Maybe they should make a rulebook that actually explains how the complex interactions are supposed to work, and give more examples for things like terrain, charging, and being in melee. The community has always had to figure these things out and guess if they’re intentional – Privateer Press doesn’t always like to admit which interactions are intentional and which aren’t.

      If you’re lucky you’ll get an answer out of the toxic forums, or maybe your question will get buried for weeks, and you’ll be scolded for bumping it.

      The game has never been close to balanced. It swings around with the latest releases and their errata. 2nd edition had to deal with Cryx infantry. I expect 3rd edition will have a blind spot for Cygnar and Storm Lances all edition long. Generally each faction has a few superior units, and the factions aren’t balanced against each other. It’s always been that way. When they do nerf something, they make it unplayable.

      TL;DR – PP never earned their reputation for better rules. It’s no wonder they had to bribe volunteers to recruit players.

      • Ghool

        I think it was more a way to pull players from GW. By giving the PG’s product incentives, it gave them more incentive to be pro-active.

        Looking at the size of the player base PP now has, I’d say it worked.
        It’s not surprising then that they shut the program down, really – they don’t need anymore help growing their community.

        However, it’s the usual PP M.O. – overcompensate and either gut something completely, or make it too good to be true.

        I think they could have continued the program without product incentives.