Pushing the Edges

By Polar_Bear
In Editorial
Mar 6th, 2014

The Shell Case has an editorial posted up by Gav Thorpe about where gaming is headed and the boundaries that are being redefined.


From the article:

I was going to write a fairly snarky post about some of the childish, narrow-minded, reactions in the community to the announcement of the Storm of Vengeance mobile videogame. On reflection I decided that rather than challenging one of the less desirable traits of the wargames community (or parts of it) I thought I’d go for a celebration of something altogether more positive.

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  • Now that was a lovely missive. Go Gav! Thanks for reposting here, Jason

  • hithero

    It’s worth checking out this Kickstarter for the model shown, the rules are really novel and different. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1280484354/world-of-twilight-travels-through-anyaral You can download the rules here: http://www.worldoftwilight.com/Rules.html

  • Great read!

  • Well done.

  • scarletsquig

    Great post, as much as I like Mantic I do wish they’d get away from “Alternate Warhammer” and “Alternate Warhammer in space” as the core of their two main IPs. The latter is particularly frustrating, with space orcs, dwarves, elves and skaven, along with proxy IG/SM taking priority.

    I can’t wait for their Nature army for KoW, and for Rebs/ Nameless/ Teraton/ Crystallan stuff for Warpath. It would be nice to get something on the table that isn’t anywhere close to being a proxy for GW models. If they do a sprue of gnomes, slyphs or naids as their Nature army list suggests, it’ll mark a turning point where the company starts to properly break away from the GW proxy apron strings.

    An interesting note at the bottom of the article, Gav noted that his research into interesting alternative games resulted in a lot of dead companies. Unfortunately, the bottom line is money, and to make it you need to be compatible with warhammer or its very difficult to survive.

  • Soulfinger

    Glad to see Zombiesmith’s stuff included in the list.

  • mangustheix

    I am sorry, but i cannot agree with most of what he said. While there are copycat companies out there, he has disregarded a huge amount of different systems which make good games. It seems he just wants to ignore a lot of the larger companies such as Corvus Belli and infinity, which has a fantastic background which differs heavily from the gothic distopia of 40k. He disregards all steampunk et al games as something established where as i feel this has got fantastic areas to explore and has produced one of the best game systems out there (malifaux). GCT have created a lovely game blending eastern mythos and history into Bushido, and when it is released i think kingdom death: Monster is another unique background.

    As far as i am concerned i think the games market is looking pretty healthy from the point of view of a gamer. I was definitely not impressed with most of his selection. While i can understand that historical gamers come for the setting and purchase miniatures to play, i know nothing about the background of most scifi and fantasy games. The only guidance i normally get is the miniatures, and most of those sculpted look like they were done 30 years ago. It is sad since miniature design has come on such a long way and these companies are not going to survive unless they up their game.

    • Soulfinger

      I think you read the article, but perhaps the point didn’t really click. Yes, he was ignoring the larger companies. Malifaux and Infinity are well-known games with plenty of shelf space and print coverage. Taking your word for it that they are great games, they still aren’t pushing the boundaries of gaming. Infinity may not be WH40K, but it is still genre derivative, although I am confused on how you can say these have great backgrounds and then say in the next paragraph that you know nothing about the backgrounds of most scifi and fantasy games. Your basis for comparison is?

      Him saying that steampunk is part of the furniture isn’t saying that it is bad or without room to explore, just that finding a “new” idea is pretty hard in a genre like that. Really, who is ever going to do Steampunk better than Talsorian games did with Castle Falkenstein? Even Malifaux owes a LOT to the first steampunk wargame that I bought back in 1997, Deadlands: Great Rail Wars.

      The underlying concern, I think, is that most game companies feel that they have to compete by offering GW compatible products, which is a well-founded attitude, as all too many gamers won’t buy in on a new product line unless they can kit-bash the stuff into a GW army. That doesn’t preclude there being some great game companies out there who are putting out wonderful product (personally, I feel you left Spartan Games off your list), but a “successful” game company is a tiny-tiny economic entity compared to corporations in other fields. There have been times when a single failed product launch has bankrupted corporations that were cornerstones of the gaming world.

      Regarding the minis looking like they were done 30 years ago, in at least one case, that was the point. Those Otherworld orcs are EXACTLY what orcs looked like in 1977, except with vastly better sculpts. None of these companies need to “up their game.” Some of them are single person, part-time enterprises. They are catering to a niche market within a niche market.