Warhammer, Kings of War and competition

By tgn_admin
In Age of Sigmar
Aug 7th, 2011
134 Comments
799 Views

Editorial

I have been spending a fair bit of time recently thinking about Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy, Mantic Games’ Kings of War and the nature of competition. Specifically competing with a company the size of Games Workshop and what it takes for a smaller company to develop and prosper under the shadow of a behemoth like GW.

The latest iteration of the Warhammer Fantasy rules is an interesting change for Games Workshop. They appear to have looked at the deterministic, tournament driven gameplay of the 7th edition of the rules and incorporated elements from their War of the Rings game to create a far more random and chaotic game. The changes in the rules have generated a lot of debate and controversy among some competitive, tournament gamers but has also brought in many new (or returning) players to the game.

I am one of them.

I have been skirting around the outside of the Warhammer Fantasy game since the 3rd edition hardcover was released along with the Ravening Hordes army book. And I have had a few armies, Lizardmen, Tomb Kings, Skaven, during that time. I was never especially interested in the 6th and 7th edition of the rules due to what I thought was a game that was driven by exploiting the rules to maximize your combat odds in the game. I also didn’t really see that people were enjoying the game. I know that I didn’t enjoy the few games I played. So when the new rules came out and I saw many of the old players complaining about the changes made I knew that I needed to check the rules out. Many players were complaining about the removal of “tactics” in the game that I had always thought were tedious or lead to boring games (such as the redirection “tactic”). They also complained about things like random charge and other elements that sounded like fun to me.

In a nutshell my decision to check the game out was determined by the fact that if the old-timers didn’t like the new rules then I should be more than happy with them. And so I tested the water with a few games, checked out some new miniatures and then finally decided to take the plunge and build an army for Warhammer. Games Workshop deserves a lot of credit for doing this. They don’t seem to have the nerve to do this sort of change for 40K which has a much larger market of competitive gamers but for whatever reasons, GW has seen fit to make a deliberate turn away from rules aimed at tournament play with Warhammer 8th edition. Its a matter of personal taste but I think that the new rules are far superior to the 7th edition and provide a far more interesting game. A game I was more than interested in spending time and money on.

It is the money aspect of this process that is problematic. GW figures are not cheap. Games Workshop also have odd, differential, pricing for their miniatures that is partially based on the number of figures they plan to sell. So Rare or Special figures tend to be more expensive per miniature than Core troops. GW has also been spending a lot of time and money on developing and using 3D tools to create plastic figures. The recent Island of Blood figures as well as some of the new High Elf and Storm of Magic releases are exceptional miniatures that are generations ahead of anything that their competitors are making. Comparing the new High Elf plastic Dragon Prince cavalry models to the old plastic Silver Helm cavalry is like comparing models from different companies. The Dragon Princes are highly detailed and assemble in such a way that there are almost no gaps. On the other hand the Silver Helms are impossible to assemble without gaps, especially where the horse head connect to the body, and have terrible looking fills making the models look blocky and unappealing.

Games Workshop also still sell a boxed set of plastic Vampire Count Zombies that are not only the worst plastic models in their catalogue but also probably some of the worst plastic models on the market. The quality of GW’s plastics is not consistent but looks to be improving (dramatically) but these figures come at a cost. A box of 5 Dragon Princes is $35.75 Cnd and a box of eight Silver Helms is $45.00 Cnd. $7.25 for a Dragon Prince doesn’t seem that bad a deal once you realize the quality of the figures but $5.65 for a Silver Helm miniature does seem to be an imposition. The plastic Zombies are available for $2.10 Cnd each in a box of twenty and these seem to be overpriced no matter how many you get in a box.

Which is where Mantic Games comes in.

Mantic sells Elf, Orc, Dwarf, “Evil” Dwarf and Undead plastic figures. On average Mantic sell their figures for half the price of what GW sell their figures. Or sometimes even less. A unit of 30 Mantic Zombies with command is available for $39.99 US. 20 Ghouls with command is available for $27.49 US and ten are available from GW (without command figure) for $24.99 US. One can argue that the quality of the Mantic figures isn’t the same as the GW miniatures or that they have lower operating costs but the fact remains that Games Workshop makes a mass combat fantasy game and sells some expensive miniatures for that game. Mantic have seen a clear market demand for cheaper troops and models for this game and have stepped in with their own lower cost figures. You now have a choice when building your Warhammer (and soon 40K) forces. You can pay for GW figures or you can pick up some cheaper miniatures and perhaps not be able to use them in a tournament. I suspect that there are a lot of people that care more about their pocketbook than they do tournament legality of their forces.

I recently started building a Vampire Counts army after trading and bartering to build a High Elf force. I need some bad guys to play and I have always been fascinated by the Warhammer Vampire Counts. What I am not enamoured with are the prices for the Core troops and how abysmal some of the models like the Zombies look. Mantic makes a wider range of troops that can easily be used for the Vampire Counts (Zombies, Ghouls, Skeletons, Cavalry, Heavy Skeleton infantry) at a better price which leaves you with more money to buy figures from GW that Mantic doesn’t provide. And they make much better looking Zombies.

I don’t think that Mantic is just in the business of providing cheaper alternatives for GW gamers though. I suspect that Ronnie and the team at Mantic are looking at this market opportunity as a way to build their own company, miniatures range and games by providing an alternative series of miniatures. Cheap Warhammer minis is a means to an end for them and simply the vehicle they are using to build funds and also a way to expand in a market dominated by Games Workshop.

It is effectively impossible to compete directly with GW. They are too large, too established and they can, and do, create much better miniatures (at least in plastic) than most of the industry. If you want to release a mass combat fantasy or sci-fi game with an accompanying miniature range you typically have to either be satisfied with a niche market or… well or nothing. There are many mass combat games on the market but not a single one has the reach or market awareness that Warhammer does.

So if you are a game developer how do you survive and build your own properties all the while having to deal with Games Workshop? One answer is, as Mantic is doing, is to compete by not competing. Their market plan is almost Taoist in its action through inaction plan of expanding their game and miniatures. Mantic offer models but they can be used with Warhammer Fantasy. They then release their own rules that contain new units that are specific to their Kings of War game but can easily be played with Warhammer miniatures that gamers already have. Kings of War is a game that is free in the sense that Mantic gives the rules away but also “free” in the sense that gamers do not have to choose between their existing fantasy mass combat system in order to play or explore the rules. If you have a High Elf, Dwarf, Orc or Vampire Counts army you can play Kings of War and if you build an army for Kings of War you can create a Warhammer army with very little additional investment.

It is this removal of the element of choice that is what is going to, in my mind, make Mantic successful and allow them to prosper. Games such as Void, Chronopia and many others have attempted to enter the game market to compete against GW for gamer’s dollars and all failed. Not because these games or figure ranges were not as good but because they have asked gamers to choose between their game and GW’s. Mantic doesn’t ask you to make that decision. Kings of War, and the upcoming Warpath, are games that co-exist with Games Workshop and even compliment GW games by offering gamers a cheaper alternative to GW miniatures.

This is clearly a business model that works. Some gamers may complain about the fact that Mantic isn’t creating a full roster of original miniatures and games but I suspect that their goals are much larger than the inevitable niche market that an original game is typically doomed to in this hobby. Mantic has been able to create four ranges of plastic figures, a mass combat rule system, two board games and is now expanding into sci-fi mass combat with a new rules set and two more ranges of plastic figures. They are already probably the biggest “competitor” with GW in terms of size and, more importantly, market presence and they have done so not by direct competition with Games Workshop but by using market opportunities presented by GW.

Sometimes you don’t have to take on someone directly in order to build a competing game.

And it has clearly worked for me. My new Vampire Counts army is going to be filled with Core and Special choices that are built from Mantic Games figures. It will still have Games Workshop miniatures in it but only for character models (which I think GW does a better job on) and some models that are unique to GW such as the Corpse Cart and the new Zombie Dragon. This army would not be economically feasible for me if I was to build it with only GW minis. So both companies really win. I will be playing Warhammer and Kings of War with two armies built with figures from both companies.

Everyone wins in the end and Mantic continues to expand.

  • Sejanus

    While I agree with much of what you are saying in a well written article, there is one concept I never tend to side on. This notion fo GW being too big to fail or even take on.

    I think history has shown time and again that in a world of enterprise if someone comes along with a better idea and sticks with it…things can happen.

    Anyhow instead of belabouring that point I do feel that GW’s light is fading. Will it go out utterly…who knows. Mantic games has come up with a plan either by chance or design that seems to be working well. I hope they win and place well so that if nothing else…it shows gamers and companies that being responsive to customers in a practical, measurable way is not just a fun thing to pretend to do..but by actually doing so..everyone comes out ahead including the businesses involved.

    Certainly in gaming circles it means games get played, enjoyed, and purchases are made.

    We stand at the cusp of a wonderful time in gaming history when nearly uncountable games are being offered ranging from a huge variety of settings back stories. Is it practical to support them all…of course not, but I will say this.

    If I have a choice between sending my cash to a company that does little for me as a player vs. to a company that supports the game, hears my concerns and offers opportunities for feedback…I think you can figure out where the dollars go.

    As for Mantic not creating completely new niche games…I say let them create what pays the bills and allows them to experiment down the road. All too often game companies dont focus on making money first and are instead too concerned over serving their core values…While that may be fine..you need money to pay the bills and keep doors open so you can become idealogical down the road. IN short, you need people..alot of people who want to shell out for what you have.

    Thanks to the net, we now have a greater chance than ever before to see what games and figures are out there. Who makes what, who overcharges, who charges fair value, who turns dollars back into their communities and who does not. It’s a great time to be able to take on some great games and see how we show our support with the dollars we spend, and the responses from manufacturers we get.

    Play on and take that high ground.

    • Cergorach

      GW is selling $200M a year, I would be highly surprised if Mantic sold $1M a year. Imho Mantic is in the same market, but they aren’t really GWs competition, maybe in 5-10 years. Privateer Press would be a better candidate for GW competition imho. The strength of GW has always been endurance, they persist where other companies go bankrupt (Target Games, Rackham, etc.). Mantic did some wonderful work with the plastic Undead, the rest is Meh, either due to meager sculpts (Elves & Dwarves) or due to very limited options (Orcs). ‘Meager’ sculpts I can forgive, that’s often a matter of taste, but fewer and fewer options I really can’t. Also their failure to produce plastic cavalry really made Mantic second choice again (for me), metal was horrible, but the resin/plastic isn’t much better imho. What Mantic has promised for Warpath is promising, here’s hoping they deliver. Hybrid models, Brrr!!!

      • I agree with PP being a stronger challenger. I like what they do even if I don’t play any of their games (I tried to start a Menoth army a few years ago but dropped the project due to lack of time and assembly skills).
        For those who have missed it here’s is a recent video open letter to GW from Mini WarGaming. Very clever and respectfull :

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isXNJMhBteY

  • This is really weird.

    I started thinking by the same ideas and I arrived at the very same final conclusion.
    I do not play Warhammer Fantasy, but being a WH40K, when I saw Warpath news, I started to think what I can do.
    Try to think to “cheaper” WH40K figures even when you think about the very good Scibor range.

  • Trent

    Zac, if you’re correct, in that Warhammer has stepped away from hardcore tournament play, then they dug their own grave vis a vis Mantic. Certainly they have regrouped at fortress-UK and are not trying to run huge events in North America anymore.

    It would be ironic if GW chose this path because they didn’t want to compete directly against Privateer Press for the hardcore gamer market. In effect, Privateer Press helped Mantic to rise.

  • Trent

    I should clarify…I think one of the main reasons that GW was able to prop up their sales was by enforcing the GW-only-figures policy at tournaments. If they’ve stepped away from tourney play that just allows players to fill in their army lists with competitor products.

    • Zac

      I think that tournament players will play regardless and just come up with their own comp and house rule “solutions” for the issues they have.

      I think the new edition will bring in more players than it loses.

      • KelRiever

        Actually, despite that I think GW is handling getting rid of tourney players in entirely the wrong way (see below), I do think what the cultural definition of a tournament has become is, in fact, an anathema to all miniatures games. If tournaments keep coming up with their own comp rules and other house rules, that would at least be admirable. But sadly, I think more and more tournaments are just going to have less requirements, become more about buying figures without painting (maybe even assemling) them, and become more and more the domain of a tiny group of store trolls rather than encouraging the fun hobby and atmosphere that miniature games can provide. Call me a cynic, but I think that more and more that beloved atmosphere of miniature gaming will dwell more and more in basements and at non-tournament events/conventions. jmo.

        • Zac

          Call me a cynic, but I think that more and more that beloved atmosphere of miniature gaming will dwell more and more in basements and at non-tournament events/conventions

          Not sure why that would be a bad thing?

          • Mooniac

            The problem with things going back into the basement is that there are parts of the world that have no basements!

            Stores and Cons are where the gaming is at. Some social networking has helped gamers find each other outside of stores and cons, but it’s no substitute for simply being able to play in the stores. Store play inevitably leads to leagues and tourneys in the US. Can’t be helped.

            There is always a chance a game can lose it’s feel if it’s too easily swayed by luck. Designing for tourney play prevents this, as well as many other bad outcomes that used to plague the hobby. Lack of balance is a real killer for one.

      • Trent

        I disagree; if GW is closing stores in NA and running far fewer events then tourney players will just find another game…including getting sucked back into video games or Magic. The barriers to entry in the former are minimal and game stores get larger sales volume on the latter.

        I think the new edition will bring in more players than it loses.

        It would be better if they could retain their tourney players and reach out to the narrative players as well. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, considering GW’s considerable resources.

        • Zac

          It would be better if they could retain their tourney players and reach out to the narrative players as well. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive, considering GW’s considerable resources.

          It would be better but I don’t know if it is really possible.

          I disagree; if GW is closing stores in NA and running far fewer events then tourney players will just find another game…

          I think that the trend for players to move to new games precedes this new edition.

          Time will tell if the rules move more players out than move it in but I know of more people locally that are getting into the game again based on the new rules. The players here are not hard-core tournament guys though

  • KelRiever

    A game is not more fun because it is more random. If it was, then flipping a coin would be the best game in the world. The options of Warhammer Fantasy make it entertaining, but the withering lack of game balance and attempt to fix it by adding randomness screams a desire to avoid doing the hard work. And therefore, leaves the door open to those who accomplish the same task and yet write better (meaning better balanced) rules which reward skill and still allow for all the options.

    Don’t be fooled. Yucks does not equal good game. It just equals yucks.

    • Zac

      If it was, then flipping a coin would be the best game in the world.

      That is a pretty big oversimplification.

      The options of Warhammer Fantasy make it entertaining, but the withering lack of game balance and attempt to fix it by adding randomness screams a desire to avoid doing the hard work.

      Or it could just be a difference in opinion about what makes a game fun?

      Are I said in the article, personal taste matters a lot but I will take random over the overly-deterministic rules of 7th edition any day.

      • Longbow

        Hehe, then you must really hate chess, Zac!

        I guess I’m on the other side. I was quite excited about a new edition of WH but then as I read the rules… all the randomness – random this, random that, really put me off. I understand a certain degree of randomness makes for some interesting tension and possible heroic events but too much randomness is really frustrating to me. eg. a game like WM/H has just the right level of randomness for me.

      • SirAngry

        Well I disliked 7th edition, not because of the core rules but because the army books ruined it. Funny thing is the same old army books are still ruining 8th except we now have random crap to deal with and mega infantry units that kill the game dead for me. 8th Edition WFB is about as fun as having a chainsaw vasectomy!!! 😛

    • Veritas

      I like the little bit of extra randomness as it adds in the whole fog of war element. Things don’t always go as planned and I think the new Warhammer makes you think more about risk vs. reward.

    • Marauder

      Kel sounds like the game you are looking for is Chess. No randomness, perfectly balanced, clear rules and no need to buy more than one army ever! 😉

      As you can see by comparison, any miniature tabletop game will have some randomness and will never by as perfectly written or clear as Chess, but we still love them, and likely we love them because of these reasons as well.

      -Tim

      • KelRiever

        WARNING: TL;DR 😉
        And I’M being accused of oversimplification? Okay, how about this: ‘Oversimplification,’ is entirely USEFUL in making a point, whether it is comparing my interest to Chess or comparing random games to coin flipping.

        Let me say this. I LOVE Chess. And I love games with a random element. I do not love games where random element exceeds a player’s own skill in winning a game more often than not. It happens, fine. But that isn’t the point of a game with flanking, and maneuvering, and all that stuff. After all, if it was, why include all that? Rhetorical question, but answer it if you want. That’s my ‘opinion.’

        Quite frankly, though, it sounds like Zac is taking this personally, but correct me if I am wrong. Whether he is or not, I find too often people take the critique of a game as a personal critique and I am not saying that. There is a difference of opinion, but let’s recognize that when the majority opinion gets big enough that a game is not ‘fun,’ that game disappears from being produced. Don’t really care myself what opinions people have on whether WHFB is fun, but I frankly do not believe that most people these days are finding it fun regardless of critieria. At least not fun enough to keep Games Workshop as popular as it was in the best situation, and at worst, maybe enough to get them gone.

        It took how many years for GM to go bankrupt? But they did, and for reasons that had been around since the 80’s and before. So it was a failing company you could say for 30 ish years, or you could say it was fine, right until 2008. If forced to choose between these two extremes, I find the second reasoning that they were fine up until 2008 quite improbable. So, though there are many differences between GM and GW, one common point is for years now, the population of WHFB has dropped everywhere I’ve seen and heard about in North America. From the point of view of number of players, at least. If you want to argue how randomness is going to save 8th edition, you certainly are entitled. I myself think it is not what is great about 8th edition, and will only continue to move it further down the path of unpopularity, because despite the certain crowd that loves the randomness, I think that they have gone too far in that direction for most miniature gamers to consider them fun anymore.

        • Zac

          ‘Oversimplification,’ is entirely USEFUL in making a point

          We disagree on this. I don’t find it very useful at all.

          Quite frankly, though, it sounds like Zac is taking this personally, but correct me if I am wrong.

          You are wrong 🙂

          • Not to jump in but I’m pretty sure the indication of Zac taking it personal wouldn’t be a response but rather content deletion..

        • SirAngry

          I’m with you on the points you make about 8th Kel and that people do seem to take it personally. In our area, the West Midlands I have watched as 8th edition fantasy has fallen flat on its face at all the gaming clubs. Ironically I witnessed a game of Kings of War being played a few weeks back using GW miniatures… I’m not too sure that’s how Mantic or GW envisaged things happening. 8th Edition is too random and they’ve gone way too far with infantry units. I’m not tournament player but I do want a tactical challenge and to be able to say that it was more skill that won the day as opposed to my opponent rolling and I quote a game 3, 2 and 4 on charge rolls that in 7th ed he’d have managed because he was close enough. It felt totally cheap to win that game and as such for meI derived no fun from it. GW are in trouble because people are leaving their game systems in droves and the local managers round by me are all worried about it.

      • Veritas

        Exactly, the closer you get to an actual “war-game” the more you HAVE to allow for random variables and chance. I’m sure you know the old saying about a battle plan only lasting until the sides meet. Most tabletop games don’t have enough randomness. Especially in terms of movement and morale.

        • KelRiever

          @Zac, I am happy to be wrong on that.

          On a related but separate topic, if gamers can get away from the strictly point balanced and official scenario only model, based on their good relationship with each other, I think some very creative people can make up scenarios and games that far exceed the entertainment value of what is provided in the books. The GW of old, and to some extend, the current incarnation, encourages this, despite the tendancy (I find at least) for people to just play the basic spoon-fed stuff.

          “War-games” of old, particularly historic, weren’t always about mimicking the exact situation of a (historic) battle, or making sure it was ‘balanced.’ Well, at least I should say the point was to be balance based on victory condition, and not something like firepower. They were more interested in having creative and fun challenges, regardless of forces on either side, and never lacked an objective besides killing all your opponent’s forces.

          If you want to drive people crazy, but force them to get creative, tell people to make up a scenario and disallow them to use the point values in their books. Don’t know if it is a good way to play regularly, but we’ve done it in our group and it has been a lot of fun.

        • Zac

          I’ve been using the word a lot but the less deterministic a game is the better the experience is for both gamers. If I can’t discount that you’ll be able to make that 1 in 12 chance to charge across the table and hit my troops then I have to take more into account and plan for a more varied game.

          The added randomness also makes the game more varied. If I can launch my High Elf can 17″ in a charge and my opponent can get off a difficult spell but blasts his wizard and part of the unit to smithereens it adds drama and makes for a more interesting story.

          Too much randomness is bad but I think that GW struck a good balance with the new WFB rules

          • Randomness in spellcasting and the core mechanic of dice being a random number generator for combat is fine. For me the random charge thing really took a lot of the strategy out. You had to be able to outmaneuver the enemy, but now it’s more of “boy, I hope I don’t roll badly for this” which just doesn’t feel right. That’s all my opinion, though. Randomness is a core mechanic of a miniatures combat game since we use dice as a random mechanic(and cards if you want to count those blasphemous diceless systems), but there has a be a line drawn.

            I think that myself a good number of other people feel that maybe GW didn’t strike that great balance you speak of. If you enjoy the game then more power to you, but not everyone is going to enjoy all the same mechanics.

            I think that was Kel’s point in a nut-shell.

    • Indeed. Yuck equals yuck. I’ve gone from being one of the world’s most passionate promoters of the game to complete disinterest over the course of this last year.

      I can’t even count how much I’ve spent on the game since the eighties or how many armies I’ve converted and painted. How many plane tickets and hotel rooms I’ve paid for traveling around the tournament circuit…. how manyhours I’ve devoted to running tournaments for the enjoyment of others.

      My opinion is that the game is dumbed down to the point of being almost a spectator event. That’s fine as a form of entertainment but I game because I like to be in the driver’s seat. I get adrenaline rushes like nobody’s business when I’m on the top table in round 5 squaring off against a Jason Johnson or a David Bowman or a Bill Edwards or a Marcus Martin. Bluff, counterbluff, feint, flank, and swoop in for the kill.

      I’m one of the ones that’s waiting for the next edition. One thing certain in Warhammer: there’s ALWAYS a next edition 🙂

  • I love editorials like this, keep it up..

    Its interesting to see GW getting away from tournament play. They could easily do it for 40k, those players arent going to play anything else, most of them anayway.

    GW games were never playtested for tournament play anyway. There is always a top 4-5 armies. If you field those, you have a chance. Codex creep doesnt help…

    If you really want to be a “competitive miniature game tournament player” there are a few games that will give you the “chess game” you think you are getting playing GW games.

    Try Field of Glory…..

    • AKE

      I’m totally lost on the “GW moving away from tournaments” thing. Don’t they do (I’m guessing) hundreds of those Golden Ticket events and the finals in Vegas and I don’t know how many Games Day events? How is that moving away? I’m not arguing the point. I just don’t follow the scene so I don’t know what has changed.

      • Zac

        The point was that the rules were not aimed at tournament players not that they weren’t running events.

        • AKE

          Then which miniature games are doing the opposite and targeting tourny players and not casual players?

          • KelRiever

            The failure of a game is certain, in my book, when it designs a game for only one kind of player. When setting out to design a game, it is best to make it as entertaining as possible with as tight a set of rules as you can to avoid arguements between players. If it is good enough in these regards, it should be profitable. But any company designing a miniature game to avoid ‘tournaments’ or to pander to them is down a road that leads to being less successful, as far as I can see.

          • Veritas

            So since Warmahordes is a tournament-centric system it should fail?

          • KelRiever

            It is NOT a tournament centric system. It happens to be a good game. And if you listen to what people in the company say, they do not pooh pooh not tourney players. Nor do they look down on tournaments.

            You are calling it a tourney centric system, but that is an opinion. Certain Games Workshop staff have been quoted as saying the game is not meant for tournament players. Huge difference between a point of view and then someone at the company saying something.

          • Veritas

            Warmahordes is very much tournament centric. Admittedly they’ve been trying to tone down the page five mentality to be less aggressive, but it’s not like they’ve made it magically disappear. I’m not bashing PP. I think they do a good job, but by your reasoning Kel they should be doomed to failure in the next few months since they cater to a specific subset, (the no holds barred competitive players,) of the gaming community. I mean, I’ve seen people on PP’s forums put up fluffy lists and they tend to get evicerated by the majority. Some ARE gentler than others, but all have similar outlooks that PP games are designed for aggressive tourney play and if you’re looking for narrative sort of stuff you should get out of the pool. Like mentioned, PP is kinda like Magic in that their games are based on finding the abusive combos and smacking your opponent over the head with them. Basically, when I want a fun, relaxing game I play Warhammer, when I want to play aggressive and ruthless I play Warmahordes.

            And last, I might be more inclined to believe your examples if you gave names or links instead of saying “Certain Games Workshop employees” said such and such.

          • Every game system or game or company can fail 😉
            Il like what PP’s doing but I wonder how they’ll be able to expand their games and universes in the years to come.
            – Introducing larger scale battles (they started to introduce rules for larger battles yet “for fun” only)? Kinda “Apocalyptisation” of the game if these houserules become official game formats one day – mmmh?
            – Introducing new races (the universe is already reach and its history too they’ll have to be carefull)
            Sooner or later you just can’t offer resculpts of previously released models or overpowered avatars of characters…
            – Lastly it’s a combo game (more thant just a competitive game but combo games tend to be competitive games) there’s always a risk for game balance in the developpment of such systems.
            I have the same fears for Malifaux though I love this one and have many of Wyrd’s Minis.

          • KelRiever

            Jervis Johnson has been quoted on several occasions as telling store owners and players that they are not designing Warhammer Fantasy or Games Workshop games, in general, for tournament gamers. I didn’t link because, frankly, the information is fairly common knowledge. But here you go:

            This is good to see from GW, because not too long ago Jervis Johnson (head of the GW developer team) was ragging on tournament gamers despite allowing rulebooks to be churned out that put some armies miles ahead of others in a competitive environment.

            http://www.area52.com.au/articles/ttg/whfb8th.html

            And no amount of finger wagging by Jervis Johnson, in his standard bearer column, that the game is not meant to be a point based tournament game makes much difference to the ‘generals’ (self described) who ‘represent’ the ‘community’.

            http://elfnhappiness.blogspot.com/2011/06/something-i-will-no-doubt-repeat-and.html

            Most of Jervis Johnson saying this has been in person to people, or in his column in White Dwarf. Discussions ad nauseum can be found on Dakka Dakka, warseer, and a number of other sites.

            I have never heard of a source quoting anyone from Privateer Press saying they want their game to be tournament centric, OR denouncing non-tournament play.

            So, again, your view of PPS as a tourney centric system is an opinion, perhaps valid, but not backed up (as far as I can tell) by any public statements from a top company staff. If you want to say that behind the scenes, this is the way they are headed, fine. But I don’t think they are, and that is why you are not really snaffu-ing what I am saying.

          • AKE

            I’ve been wondering the same thing lately. The release format PP and many other skirmish games use nowadays lends itself to bigger and bigger games and more bloated rules. I wonder how long they can keep it up. The more models and stat cards released then the more special rules they have to come up with and constantly check all those previous releases to make sure there are no borken combos. It’s a house of cards. SO what do you do? BAM! Hordes! The exact same game. Just erase Man-o-war from that card and write in Trollblood instead. Of course that just delays the problem, so what’s next? BAM! Space game! Jacks with ray guns! Erase Trollblood and write in Ice Pirate. Rinse and repeat. But how long can they keep it up? Eventaully they will have to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch again. That’s when 3.0 comes in…

  • scarletsquig

    One other little nugget that I feel compelled to mention:

    Mantic is completely fine with anyone using an army made 100% from GW models (or any other manufacturer) in their own tournaments.

    From what I’ve seen they are the exact polar opposite of GW in every possible way. This is the main thing that makes me like them.

    Also, it might not seem very obvious, but mantic are fully commited to “tournament playable” games, but doing it properly instead of the GW approach of not bothering to balance or update their army books, either internally or against each other.

    Yearly free rules updates to the rules and all the army lists are a standard mantic practise. If something is too cheap in points, it gets fixed, it doesn’t stick around for another 5 years of players building their trick lists around an error in the army book and dragging them to tournaments.

    • AKE

      Mantic is completely fine with anyone using an army made 100% from GW models (or any other manufacturer) in their own tournaments.

      Let’s be honest, do they have a choice? Show of hands… who here has a 100% Mantic army?

      • SirAngry

        Me my Orcs. sticks hand up

      • scarletsquig

        raises 3 hands, one for each army

  • Guinny

    I don’t think that Mantic is just in the business of providing cheaper alternatives for GW gamers though.

    Really? Please show me one single model that they’ve produced that isn’t a direct analogue of a Games Workshop model. I don’t see Mantic making anything other than a token effort to produce a set of rules so their lawyers can point to them and say “Look – we’re not trying to horn in on Games Workshop’s IP – honest!” They’ve put no effort into producing any sort of background or context for the miniatures, and definitely haven’t come up with any new concepts of their own as far as miniature design.

    It’s quite easy to undercut a company like Games Workshop if you don’t have to foot the bill for a complete retail chain (where the majority of Games Workshop’s, and by extension Mantic’s, customers are first introduced to wargaming), the investment in new technologies, and the creative world-building work, which is the reason so many of us play the games in the first place. GW are often accused of being a profit-driven machine (as any successful company has to be, to some extent) and yet this is never levelled at other companies who take this minimum effort, maximum profit route.

    There’s no reason a company has to set out to compete with Games Workshop. I don’t think any soft drink company thinks as soon as they start they need to be competing against the Coca Cola corporation. If they can provide a product or service that is new, innovative, or simply different to whatever is already out there and find a market for it, then they’ll grow naturally.

    The same goes for wargaming. If any company makes something new, exciting and most of all inspiring, then they’ll get my money! The two obvious examples of this are Rackham (who for a time were proably producing the best miniatures in the world but, for me, were let down by a badly-translated set of rules) and Privateer Press (who, along with Battlefront, would probably take issue with your claim of Mantic being GW’s biggest competitor!). Both companies have/had some great talent, which they used to create their own distinct and inspirational worlds and ranges of miniatures, and for these reasons both built up highly passionate customer bases, not because they tried to pick up scraps in the wake of the big shark in the pond.

    • Zac

      Really? Please show me one single model that they’ve produced that isn’t a direct analogue of a Games Workshop model.

      I think that you’ve missed the thrust of the rest of the article.

      • Guinny

        No – I maybe just started with something a bit tangential because it was at that point that I felt I had to comment.

        Your entire thrust seems to be that any company that wants to do well shouldn’t try to take on the biggest fish in the pond, but to make no innovation, to do nothing original, and make sure that everything they produce is generic enough to be used in other games, or that their rules system can be played with almost any figures.

        I don’t think I could be any less excited at the prospect of that being the future of the wargaming industry.

        • Zac

          Your entire thrust seems to be that…

          Your are taking my discussion of a specific example and making it into a general point which wasn’t the case.

          Mantic is not directly competing with GW but that doesn’t mean that it is the only way to do things. It is certainly a lot safer.

          Other companies have just got into different market niches. PP for example. Fantasy but not mass combat.

          In fact a lot of companies do a lot of interesting games but don’t really get into the mass combat arena that GW does. There are more fantasy and sci-fi skirmish games than there are mass combat games. There are a lot of reasons for this but I suspect that the primary one is that people don’t want to compete with GW.

          The track record of companies that have done so isn’t very good. Mantic is trying not to add anther company to that list by taking a different approach.

          • SirAngry

            Zac I disagree Mantic are directly competing against GW. They are producing massed rank fantasy plastic miniatures. Who else does that? Now I take issue with the idea that producing a dwarf means you’re just copying the GW because dwarfs as a concept in fantasy pre-date the GW and quite frankly all of us alive today.

            Wyrd producing a small skirmish game (Malifaux) are not directly competing, ditto Corvus Belli and Infinity. They have gone out there to avoid direct comparison and to forge a niche as did Privateer Press and I think all of them are being relatively successful. The amount of new gamers on the official Infinity and Malifaux forums tells me so. As you say yourself in your post. I found the article an interesting read but it does raise more questions than it answers (good for debate) and in some cases really over simplifies what’s going on out there.

            To be honest I’m not too sure you could have covered the topic properly in 5 articles or more!!! lol. I think the idea that Mantic set themselves up to initially parasite off of GW until they were of sufficient size to challenge them is a fair one, but I do think that from doing my own research into what gamers want that actually not many want massed combat games anymore, they’re after multiple different systems and skirmish games that all offer unique experiences, or that’s my experience.

          • Guinny

            You are taking my discussion of a specific example and making it into a general point which wasn’t the case.

            So what was the point? If there’s no general issue under discussion, that makes this entire article a paean praising Mantic’s marketing plan, at which point I’d be expecting to see this under the heading of advertorial and not editorial.

            I assumed it was written as a discussion on the general ideas, as your entire article seemed to be couched in that way. You set out the premise, including examples of GW’s pricing structure and, in particular:

            I have been spending a fair bit of time recently thinking about Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy, Mantic Games’ Kings of War and the nature of competition. Specifically competing with a company the size of Games Workshop and what it takes for a smaller company to develop and prosper under the shadow of a behemoth like GW.

            ..

            It is effectively impossible to compete directly with GW. They are too large, too established and they can, and do, create much better miniatures (at least in plastic) than most of the industry. … So if you are a game developer how do you survive and build your own properties all the while having to deal with Games Workshop?

            ..

            Sometimes you don’t have to take on someone directly in order to build a competing game.

            …and you seemed to be highlighting Mantic as an example of how to do this.

            Among my issues* with this are:

            Sometimes you don’t have to take on someone directly in order to build a competing game.

            I don’t believe that Mantic are making a serious effort to produce a competing game. See my other posts about their lack of new miniature concepts. If they were serious about Kings of War being such a great game, why is there no mention of it at all on their front page? The only way to get to the KoW ranges is through the generic ‘Fantasy’ link, and I’m pretty sure that when most gamers interested in this range hear the word Fantasy, then it’s preceded in their heads with the word Warhammer.

            Going back to a previous point:

            I don’t think that Mantic is just in the business of providing cheaper alternatives for GW gamers though

            Based on their current ranges and the army lists they’ve already released for Warpath, why would anyone assume otherwise, unless they have some inside information on Mantic’s future plans? You’ve already made the assumption yourself in this article that the new Warpath game will be providing alternative miniatures for 40k gamers.

            As further evidence, their games don’t use figure removal as a mechanic, but they don’t even make the simplest of things – a 10-figure tray to be able to move around the game’s basic tactical unit.

            My main issue though, is that I’m always disappointed when a company has some very obvious talent at its disposal, and chooses to follow a well-trodden path, rather than produce something new. Yes, it’s hard to make a mass battle game straight out of the gate. Anyone out there want to work out how many years it took Games Workshop before they released their own one? Because they certainly didn’t do it in their first couple of years.

            From the recent article in No Quarter on playing larger games, I suspect a future iteration of the WarmaHordes rules will cater more towards mass battlegame players than their current game. It might not be the next version, but carefully building a game and player base over time is far more likely to be the successful way forward.

            (I’m probably rambling now, having been backwards and forwards in this tiny editing window for far too long! 🙂 Time for bed!)
            *I cut the whole Spanish Inquisition-style count of my issues for the sake of space 🙂

          • Zac

            If there’s no general issue under discussion, that makes this entire article a paean praising Mantic’s marketing plan, at which point I’d be expecting to see this under the heading of advertorial and not editorial.

            I don’t reply to straw man arguments.

        • KelRiever

          I think regardless of what got Guinny to write his post, he does have a good point and I happen to agree. And I’ll add who knows the odds if you go out there and create your own innovative set of rules instead of a swap out for GW games until you make your way in the world? BUT, I can tell you I tend to pay a lot more attention, personally, to the company with the new rules set. Guinny may not like Confrontation rules, and its a dead game, but our group will still play it at least as frequently as WHFB, and that trend doesn’t look like it is going to end.

          If you are going to step into the world of making games, while it is a business, clearly there are better things to do if only making money is your interest. So I say go in style! If you are in the game industry, you already decided that at least some of it is a labor of love. I say go the whole way and create something entirely new!

    • and definitely haven’t come up with any new concepts of their own as far as miniature design.

      Really? So you think that Mantic’s Elves look exactly like GW’s? If so then that leads me to believe you’ve never once even looked at a Mantic miniature. Are there similarities in certain aspects? Sure, but that’s the cost of nobody being willing to go beyond the established cliches. But to say they put no effort into model design is a blatant lie and trolling at it’s worst.

      • Your quote there doesn’t say what you accuse Guinny of saying. In fact, he doesn’t anywhere say that ‘Mantic elves look exactly like GW elves’. Those are your words (and emphasis); to then go on and accuse him of being a troll for saying it is disingenuous. To then agree with what he did say is…muddled?

      • Guinny

        I’m not saying they look exactly like GW’s elves, but at the end of the day, they’re tall, thin, with pointy helmets and long tapered shields – no different to any other generic Elf. Apart from their aesthetic choice of making the elves bone-thin with no concept of anatomy, how are they different to any other generic ‘Elven Spearman’?

        Just off the top of my head, they’ve re-done Dwarf Hammerers, a Bull Taurus character, Chaos Dwarf Blunderbusses, a Dwarf Flame Cannon, Orc Boar riders, a winged Nightmare and a Skull Catapult, but not one single, original troop type. Not one model unit that isn’t designed to directly replace a Games Workshop model.

        (And yes, I’ve seen the models first hand. Although it’s not not really the issue being discussed here, I thought the elves were rubbish, but their sculpting for their subsequent ranges has improved by leaps and bounds. Their Skeletons, Dwarfs and Orcs are actually pretty nice models)

        • “making the elves bone-thin with no
          concept of anatomy”..

          .

          Well they’re Elves. They’re a, fantasy, different, living species, how can we estimate if their anatomy is realistic or not?

          • Guinny

            When I looked at the models, they looked like an armature that someone had put a head on top and covered in armour – it really didn’t look like there was a living creature under it at all.

      • Zac

        We don’t do strawman arguments here and wendon’t accuse people of trolling.

    • youlooklikeanail

      It’s quite easy to undercut a company
      like Games Workshop if you don’t have
      to foot the bill for a complete retail
      chain (where the majority of Games
      Workshop’s, and by extension Mantic’s,
      customers are first introduced to
      wargaming)

      This is really only true in the UK. Everywhere else in the world, not so much.

      There’s no reason a company has to set out to compete with Games Workshop.

      Really not sure where you’re going with this. There is clearly a market for miniatures which are compatible with GW’s rules, but don’t suffer from GW’s massive markups; why shouldn’t someone exploit that? GW’s pricing model is based on the assumption that people will pay a higher price for their goods. The better Mantic does, the more that assumption is demonstrated to be incorrect. It’s not Mantic’s fault that GW doesn’t know how to price their product.

      Lots of people are expanding the market by bringing in interesting new games (Wyrd, Spartan, etc.). Others are going to exploit GW’s mistakes. There’s room for both.

      • Guinny

        It’s maybe not quite so true now but, pre-internet, when GW made the transition from little hobby company to something huge, this was how they grew. Most of the focus on bringing new gamers into the hobby is still through introducing new people to the game first hand, not through a web site.

        What I meant by not having to set out to compete with Games Workshop, is that no company starting out – in whatever industry – should feel they have to take on the big guy head on. Surely the best plan is to make something new and original, and carve out their own little niche in the market.

        Yes, it’s possible to (incoming mixed metaphors alert!) follow the same path after someone else has done all the heavy lifting and thereby produce something cheaper, but that route requires no innovation or exciting new concepts, and that really doesn’t get me excited at all.

  • lordofexcess

    Its not just Mantic that is going to cut into GWs bottom line. Don’t forget GW does biz in publication, video game licensing, board game licensing (thanks Fantasy Flight … the real emerging behemoth). As your site showcases there are hundreds of new mini game companies now competing with GW. I would also argue that Privateer Press vastly dwarfs mantic at the moment. For years Privateer Press has been cutting into GWs profits and growth potential.

    Its part of business. If a company is making money then others see opportunity to jump in and make money too. The odd reality of hobbies though is you have hobbyists who on a lark just decide to make a company of their own to make products for their hobby. How many GW iconography knockoff companies are out there now simply making things to be used to play with GW games, hundreds. My big question to GW is why don’t they make note of this stuff more and act accordingly. Its odd they keep raising prices and they aren’t packaging their product the same way many of the knockoff places do apparently they know things about the market that isn’t apparent to the rest of us (I’m sure they do, they have alot at stake).

    I think Mantic is another issue all together. I agree completely with your assessment just from my random layperson’s perspective. They seem to have found a better way to start a mini game company in terms of true viability out of the gate. I do like to see some cheaper alternatives and some free rules. For well over a fifteen years I’ve been a dyed in the wool GW fanboy and the past two years I’ve become more and more disillusioned with GW. The root of my discontent is simply the turn of GW games from a miniature game hobby into a competitive pursuit … not unlike a collectible card game. Most of the new players I’ve encountered seem to be more focused on graphing the statistical breakdown of the game than they do with painting the figures and enjoying the hobby. So I’ve moved off to other games more and more. For me the high water mark for my own Games Workshop experience was in the late 90s early 2000s back when they had Gamesdays and GTs on the west coast (yes I know they still have some elitist event in Vegas) and at those events as a thank you to the fans they did bitz ordering by the graham, etc. people were more concerned about their cool conversions in their next themed army than winning the tournaments. It was a fun era. Now its all epeen and net list o’ the month. I’m just hoping that Mantic skirts the hardcore tourney side of things a little farther towards hobby than GW has. I love tournament play and I have run many tournaments over the years myself, but to me there is a balance. I miss the days when even at the GT 99% of all armies were painted by the people playing them. Those days are long gone.

  • lordofexcess

    I think alot of people are kind of spoiled in terms of their view of business when just looking at mini games. Econ 101 … if someone is making money doing something … expect direct competition. Whats the difference fundamentally between Wendy’s and Burger King and McDonalds. Not alot. GW has made alot of money out of mini games and thus they’ve attracted now direct competition. Apparently they can’t sue Mantic away so it looks like they are here to stay. Perhaps it will be a new era that will improve everything across the board for all of us gamers. I am really not to worried that GW is going to fold up and go away. I’m pretty sure my grandchildren will be able to buy GW games (well if the zombie apocalypse hasn’t occurred by then).

  • For me, the counter culture nature of Mantic is more the draw than their miniatures. Some of their models are utter rubbish while others are happy stand-ins for a GW equivalent. With some of the concept art released for Warpath and rules that some are happy with while others find them to be way too outside the box, I don’t know that Warpath will do anything for the company. Most 40k ork players are not like WHFB Orc players.. The people at the-waaagh and other ork communities are extremely picky about the look of their greenskins. Notice that all of the companies that are making supplemental to GWs Orks go very far out of their way to get the general feel of GWs sculpts, despite being fundamentally different than the GW product. Couple this with the fact that Squats aren’t even officially supported by GW and you see that unless Mantic has something ground-breaking, Warpath could potentially be the Hindenburg, Spruce Goose, or Titanic of the newcomer.
    Like I said, I like Mantic because they are jabbing GW right in the eye by going directly to what the more hobby-minded (non-tourney) players have been asking for and complaining about.

    • scarletsquig

      This is a good point.

      If Mantic makes models that don’t look like GW, all the people who want them to provide cheaper models for their GW games will be unhappy and say that the models look terrible because they don’t match their established idea of how an orc or an elf or whatever “should” look. I have seen this comment loads of times… people calling the weapons too small and the heads too small because they aren’t heroic scale models like the ones that GW makes.
      If Mantic make models that do look like GW, then people will attack them for not being original and “stealing the hard work of GW”… the amount of times I’ve seen that comment come up, whenever Mantic posts a news item over on BoLS, 90% of the comments section fills up with that exact comment, repeated dozens of times over in different phrasing.

      I don’t believe it is possible for Mantic to please everyone, they really are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

      There seems to be a great sense of entitlement from GW players who want Mantic to be exactly what they personally want it to be.

      Honestly, I am constantly surprised at the amount of negative comments mantic attracts online despite the fact that they are doing none of the things that people dislike about GW.

      Their prices are low, their rules are both free and regularly updated and carefully balanced to prevent “cheese” list-building or broken combos.

      They post up previews of models being sculpted and rules being written and ask the public for feedback throughout that process, which gets listened to and acted on.

      The same people who complain about GW complain about Mantic. I really do not understand, it’s like half of the internet will never be happy with any company ever, no matter what it does.

      • artbot_24

        The same people who complain about GW complain about Mantic. I really do not understand, it’s like half of the internet will never be happy with any company ever, no matter what it does.

        You’re describing human nature, not GW customers. Take any topic, and would you surprised half of the people are pro- and the other half anti-?

        I don’t believe it is possible for Mantic to please everyone, they really are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

        Nobody pleases everybody. Companies pick a market and pursue it. Mantic has decided to market to disgruntled GW players. Obviously, they’ve found enough of them to make a decent profit.

        Why do you feel people who still prefer GW have any obligation to cut Mantic any slack? Shouldn’t they be required to earn trust and respect?

    • KelRiever

      I might have missed something, but the one appeal of Mantic to basement gamers is that they can use them instead of GW figures, which wouldn’t be allowed at most tournaments. Beyond that, however, the mentallity of Mantic seems to not really be oriented to the hobbyist much. That’s where I see the inaccuracy, correct me if I am wrong.

      Mantic is like a toy soldier company and seems to embrace that. More power to them. But as a hobbyist, their miniatures range from somewhat acceptable to make me cry. From a strictly figure perspective, I am happy to pay a higher price for a beautiful miniature. But if I wanted to toss my figures in a bag, or just paint them up quickly, Mantic has much more appeal than a $40 box of nonsense from GW

      • artbot_24

        Yep, that’s my thoughts on Mantic. Quantity over quality. They aren’t particulalry creative, definitely not innovative or inspired, but they have an acceptable price point.

        I’m glad their cost helps people get into the hobby, but as a hobbyist their entire range leaves me cold.

  • Glassboy

    GW’s marketing strategy has never been to target the established gamer. For a long time it’s been to get the newbie, often a tween spending their parent’s money. Talk to anyone who has worked at their stores for any length of time and ask how much sales of starter sets were pushed.

    If you go back and look at the company’s financial statement you can see them riding the newbie wave – i.e. Lord of the Rings – left them with increased costs in the business without the flow through into 40K or WFB that I suspect they counted on.

    GW has also consistently failed to harness the power of the Internet, both for sales and in creating a community. According to GW they have been creating a “hobby” through their stores, and the consumer should accept the extra expense this adds to the miniatures because of this.

    Along comes Battlefront and captures a significant chunk of the war gaming market, targeting not the n00bs but older less fickle gamers. Gamers who bring you repeat business. Gamers with consistent spending power. Battlefront don’t have to use mechanisms like codex-creep to drive repeat business. They just expand the selection across the early / middle / late war divide. And the customer is happy, not angry that there is something new to buy.

    They’ve shown the market that established gamers are a sustainable market and that the Internet works for sales and building a community to expand your sales and improve your rules.

    Then you have a large number of ex-GW game designers and sculptors out there in the market working for themselves. Some little more than cottage industries, but others like Mantic and Warlord Games, bigger and showing signs that they have learned from the institutional arrogance rampant at GW.

    I dispute your point that GW can make nicer miniatures. They haven’t for years. Not since they lost sight of why people liked their miniatures more than those for Warzone for example. They have some technically competent sculptors, but they no longer have any real artists.

    Mantic and Warlord on the other hand are making some really nice miniatures and their production qualities are good.

    And these companies are getting better, and they are cheaper (and bigger). And they have names like Rick Priestly, Jervis Johnson, John Stallard, and the Perry brothers et al involved. And those names are tied inexorably to the Warhammer brand (back when it was fun).

    They don’t have to be GW to compete with GW. Already historical gamers are brushing off their WFB armies and creating fantasy lists for Hail Caesar. And why not there’s an unbroken rules development chain from when they first started playing. Are they going to go to GW to fill in any gaps or create new units. Hell no. They’re going to buy from ranges that offer value for money, like Mantic.

    So in my opinion, and this is just an opinion, Kings of War and Hail Caesar will make a big dent in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. GW will need to drastically reduce the cost per mini, and they’ll need to stabilise the codex creep and version churn and create a set of rules that everyone wants to play. But it may be too late. Finecast might have been the final straw.

    • AKE

      Have to disagree on Battlefront. When it came out most older WW2 players hated it because of simplified, dumbed down rules… the same thing historical players say about Fantasy. It became popular because they hit the market hard and spent a ton of marketing ala GW. That was a first for a WW2 mini game. Unlike Mantic, Battlefront copied GW’s business model and marketing plan, not just their miniatures.

      • Glassboy

        Saying it became popular because of marketing is far too simplistic. Marketing helps, but FoW took off because people can play it.

        They can play it with their friends and they can play it at tournaments. They can play it with normal people and they can play it with beardy types (you know the ones who have historically accurate number plates painted on their vehicles). You can even convince the Warmachine fans to have a go.

        Short story, you can find people to play it with. Which is what makes it a game and not “the hobby”.

        Meanwhile your average 40K\WFB players trend more towards those odd types who don’t know what soap is.

        Also saying they followed the same marketing practices as GW is either disengenious or myotic. Simply compare Wargames Illustrated to White Dwarf! Compare the official Flames of War forums to the official GW official forums …… oh no that’s right you can’t, GW moderated their forums out of existence.

        Must search the way back machine for those awesome posts where GW staff called customers too stupid to understand the finer points of the game

        • KelRiever

          Must search the way back machine for
          those awesome posts where GW staff
          called customers too stupid to
          understand the finer points of the
          game

          😮

          Lol!

        • AKE

          They can play it with their friends and they can play it at tournaments. They can play it with normal people and they can play it with beardy types (you know the ones who have historically accurate number plates painted on their vehicles). You can even convince the Warmachine fans to have a go.

          Er. so it’s popular because it’s just like GW games and every other “playable” game on the market? Huh?

          Short story, you can find people to play it with. Which is what makes it a game and not “the hobby”.

          Ah! So it IS just like GW games which one can take anywhere and find a game! Thanks for ageeing.

          Meanwhile your average 40K\WFB players trend more towards those odd types who don’t know what soap is.

          Stay classy!

          • Glassboy

            I think either we have very different experiences or you’re deliberately missing my point. My experience and talking to people online from the US, Australia, and places in Europe like France is that you can’t go anywhere and just play a GW game.

            FoW yes, Warmachine yes, Malifaux yes but GW games aren’t happening anywhere but GW stores and specialist tournaments.

    • Sejanus

      I feel you have to give credit where credit is due. GW still makes some very attractive models….what tends to skew the appeal is the price and as you have pointed out..Finecast.

      Having said that…they have also allowed some very talented people to go on to fire up their own businesses after leaving GW (side note I am looking at YOU Crocodile Games 🙂 ).

      I suppose what I find most troubling week in week out is what I see in my local game shop, People come in, complain about 40K, and yet proceed to put their money down on more and more of it. I ask myself why. They hate the rules…buy another tank. They hate the cost…buy a bigger monster. They dislike the company and how it treats customers…pick up that new codex. All this cuz many times there is no alternative sitting on the shelves in front of them or else they are too blind to see what gems are there.

      What it often comes down to is store owners who are unwilling to see other systems, or risk bringing them in….or god forbid have become so detached to what is going on in the hobby that ordering GW is simply…easier. It is up to the gamer to drive the games that are good. Players have the right to vote with their dollars and time.

      Now while some may say you can always play in a basement…yes that is true…but with one small point. My current group of good friends and players, I met at my LGS. Without it I would not have found this unusual collection of people who mean a great deal to me.

      So while it may be said that games going into basements arent a bad thing…sure..but only if you wish to play with one group…and never broaden your circle to include more and newer people you havent even met yet. I did that years ago, and when the group changed and mutated…it was no party trying to build from the ground up again.

      But back to GW….

      Prices there will never reduce…they will only go up.
      Codex creep will continue.
      Great talent will sip through their fingers.

      These are good things….as they will allow the market to find its level and allow talented individuals to bring us wonderful things like Mantic, Crocodile Games, Infinity, and many many more.

      Play on and take that high ground.

      • Glassboy

        Some of the new Dark Eldar models are nice, most of their new releases have been bland or simply silly.

        • KelRiever

          Devil’s Advocate. Prices did drop at GW at one point, and that was when metals went to plastic for things like Marauder Horsemen and Chaos Knights. Quite a bit, in fact. Of course, since then, the prices have risen again…

          • Yes but metal characters or special units, figures or troops have always existed and been more expensive.

  • winter

    I’ve been thinking much the same way about mantic since they put out the KOW ruleset. So far it looks like the no competition plan has been a success with fantasy. I don’t know if they can pull the same thing off with Warpath, but I’m delighted to see them try.

    The company I’ve staked my my money on is Fantasy Flight Games and their shot to the mass battle market with Dust Tactics. They didn’t take on the market straight on, but started out with a hybrid board/minis game that seems to have a stable following. They are now looking to put a toe in the water by releasing a set of full tabletop rules as an option with Dust Warfare. I’m hoping its another indirect approach that will work out as well as Mantic have done.

    • Longbow

      Yes, that was certainly an interesting play by FFG. I’m looking forward to their tabletop wargame rules for Dust.

      • Urlock Gaur

        The Dust Warfare game is basically the boardgame without the grid. I watched the demos at Gencon. It uses the same stat cards and dice. They are adding some suppression and command points along with weapon destruction on vehicles. Demos looked cool, but only if you like the boardgame so far.

  • IMHO the improvement of GW’s miniature aesthetic to reach the top ranks is something very recent. They have long been of inferior quality than many SME’s or smaller businesses production (except Forge World but that came at a price).
    Take Rackham miniatures for example (and now Legacy Miniatures) ; Back when Chronopia and Warzone appeared their minis were more appealing (to me) thant GW’s… OK Rackham never managed to comptete seriously with GW an thougt they could be more cynical with their customer base without being hurt in return BUT their miniature were, years ago, as good (or even better) as the latest GW’s productions. Not to mention Finecast QC issues…
    GW’s success has several explnation :
    – The rule system though not very innovative is accessible to younger players
    – You’re more likely to find a GW store in smaller towns or cities (or next to them) than a general hobby store
    – It’s easy to find opponents
    So people get in when they’re young because they have friends who play 40K or WFB and..
    Finally, because GW game became sooo expensive, most of them can’t afford to keep playing GW games and discover a couple of new games.

    • Sevej

      If a miniature were to judged on aesthetic alone, you’re probably right. But for me it’s not. GW plastics are the best in its field due to several reasons: multi-part plastic kits with poseable figures, multitude of extras, and extensive range. Nothing has came close to this, except for Mantic. Not even PP.

    • You’re more likely to find a GW store in smaller towns or cities (ornext to them) than a general hobby store

      Uh, no.

      • Well maybe that’s just my European experience. When I was young (back to 1994), I lived in a small town in the countryside (2000 inhabitants…) the only available miniature ranges available at a store located 15 miles away from home were GW ranges. I think that a GW store has opened since then but at the begining the local store was mainly selling GW products and was the official local support for GW.
        Actually there are a few more ranges at the “general” LGS and GW products are handled essentially by a GW store. But even so there is very few choices of alternative systems at the LGS (mostly collectibles) – I’ve just checked it out and there are mainly boardgames now, a few RPG and a destock of AT-43 products…

  • I understand the freedom given by plastic multipart kits.
    But as far as I’m concerned if a company produces nice minis with fewer parts to assemble, various dynamic poses I’m OK – there’s no need for the absolute “freedom” of full multipart models (sometime multiparts just had complexity to assembling without really allowing to “improve” the model : see some PP releases such as Knight Errants…). Back when GW did not produce multipart plastic kits (I was a WFB 4th ed player) they were already slightly behind other miniature manufacturers. Moreover GW (fantasy) figures have always been pretty “classical” while some other companies tried to had a more personnal touch to their ranges. But this last point, like aesthetic considerations are very subjectives I admit.
    On the other hand aesthetic considerations can be relatively important when you have to pay for minis that are part of the most expensive ranges on the market 😉

    • Sevej

      I’m not familiar with PP range. Do PP Knight Errants have extra parts/accessories? Swappable parts? Or they are multi-part due to casting necessity? Price-per-model though, no way PP is cheaper than GW plastic kits. Although yeah, their minis are a tad bigger (I think?) and you don’t need to field as much.

      • The case of Knight Errants was worse because parts were not even swappable.
        And yes on a sigle figure base their more expensive but if you consider a them as a unit AND the number of units necessary for an intersting game, the investment is clearly at PP’s advantage (and you can find them at cheaper prices on web stores).

  • I think on a whole, being inherently multi-part breeds a certain amount of ugliness in a kit. If you’ve ever drawn, painted, built a 3d model, or sculpted something, you will know that artistically something is supposed to flow. It’s the concept used when doing gesture drawings and similar.. When you look at multipart kits they are simply just random things stuck on. Companies make efforts to have the randomness look like it’s in motion but to me, unless you are very careful about the construction, it’s rather difficult to pull this off. Yes, people hack apart Space Marines to make them dynamic.. but they shouldn’t have to do that. They should be dynamic right off the sprue. If all you want is little lumps of plastics that represent a Space Marine or Guardsman, or whatever, then you might as well be using the little green army guys you can get in buckets of 100+.

    • artbot_24

      I think on a whole, being inherently multi-part breeds a certain amount of ugliness in a kit.

      Depends on the kit though. I have a strong dislike for the old Dark Elf spearmen because they are bland and chunky. Compare them to the more recent corsairs, which have been designed with a dynamic foward-moving pose, or the anatomically-plausible DE Cold One Knights, and you can see what a talented designer can put out.

      Bad kits = bad designers, not an inherent problem with multi-part.

      I still think the Space Marines are one of the best plastic kits produced for wargaming. You’re correct that if a person chooses not to do any conversion work, they lack variety (variety, not dynamism; you can create a model clearly moving forward or firing a weapon without any conversion at all). But that’s a reflection of the modeler, not the kit. They have a choice of how they want their models to appear, and plastic multi-part models are the absolute best conversion fodder.

      • Yes. But somehow the point is : why make multipart plastic kits if people still have to convert their models to get dynamic models? Well they’re easier to convert… Yes… But on the other hand you can produce dynamic models with fewer pieces to assemble that will rejoice all the gamers that don’t have a personnal taste for conversions and modelling. And when you see the average quality of assemblies, paints (when the armies are fully painted) of many gamers… Well… Not sure there’s a need to target modelling lovers…

        • artbot_24

          why make multipart plastic kits if people still have to convert their models to get dynamic models?

          Essentially you seem to be arguing that people don’t want to be creative, they just want to assemble models quickly and easily. That may be true, but I’m glad they give people more options rather than less.

          What is a dynamic model that you feel should be a standard? I would consider the dark eldar wyches to be very dynamic with their running poses, where you can complete an entire unit with a lot variety without any conversion, but lots of admittedly fiddly bits. as a unit there is a lot of movement and variety, but it still creates a very cohesive unit.

          By contrast the DE corsairs have slightly less pieces per model, are quite dynamic, but are quite limited in their poses because all of their legs are running in the same direction with the same foot leading.

          Do you feel the marines are not dynamic enough? What about the guard?

          I’m just trying to get an idea of what models could meet your criteria:

          But on the other hand you can produce dynamic models with fewer pieces to assemble that will rejoice all the gamers that don’t have a personnal taste for conversions and modelling.

          • Don’t get me wrong : I’m not telling people that there is no need to be creative and I admire people than can be much creative than I am (and most people are) with their minis. I assemble and I paint plastic and metal minis. I’m just pointing the fact that most people don’t have time, skill or patience to be very creative when they have to build up a MASS battle game army.
            Most people paint : rare are those who could compete for a golden demon.
            Everybody assembles : very few convert their model.

            What’s surprising if that some skirmish game ranges are more dynamic, detailed when you need fewer of them.
            Let’s take an example :

            http://chaosorc.com/images/Khaliman%20Meharists%20Troop.jpg

            Those are 3 parts (plastic/resin) minis. They are designed to be assembled with this pose.
            Technically it’s probably possible. You can have very dynamic minis with 3-4 parts. No need for 5 or 6.
            You can speak of the last dark eldars minis and some of the latest big monsters from Magic Storm. They’re very nice models indeed. It was about time GW were able to produce such models. My point is that despite their corporate speech they always have been late ; they catched up very recently and are certainly not THAT much innovative technically.

          • I’ve decided, a few months ago, to re-discover Confrontation (skirmish editions) and to assemble and paint and acquire 3 warbands (goblins, dwarfs and wolfens), some of the models I found date back to 2001 or 2002 (they’re usually monobloc models and more static) the others date back to 2003 – 2007 and can be compared with actual WFB characters, even Finecast ones without being ashamed. Let,s say that some models that were produced 4 to 8 years ago are stille better detailed or more impressive than most of the actual catalogue of WFB characters. The recent improvements in casting shoul progressively update the entire WFB range but some of their models show their age.

          • jedijon

            Why do you – and oh so many others – assume that figures are getting BETTER, just because time is passing.

            Look at a Conf. figure and tell me there will be cooler figures in the future. Really?

            There will continue to be a mixed bag of neat and crappy figures. Heck, heroscape had a consistent style.

            I hope GW sticks to something, because a fair proportion of their recent figures is stylistically awesome – packing integrity and interest.

            Sure, Rackham managed to get that same joi de vivre into nearly EVERY SINGLE release…but, that’s all we all want anyway–consistent awesomeness. Here’s hoping!

            Remember, things are either getting better (you techie loving crazies : ), worse (oh you cynical grognard old-farts), or the same–(you incorrigible realists). Are you really so sure that 3-ups are going to solve all our proportion and questionable taste issues? There’s Mantic stuff I would throw under a bus for being so far below Heroscape as to be unconscionable, and some GW stuff too. Then, there’s the opposite. Not enough in any given range to snag me as of yet. YMMV.

          • Why do you – and oh so many others –
            assume that figures are getting
            BETTER, just because time is passing.

            I don’t assume that. This topic is about competition isn’t it? Well see how figures from various companies have evolved since back in the 80’s 90’s…
            As i said GW could not afford to have one of the most expensive range on the market without bringing some true improvement to their minis lines.
            While customers see what comes out from either “competitors” or even non competitor mini companies nowadays they would be less and less intersted in paying a high price for miniatures that are aesthetically aging compared to what the rest of the industry can produce.
            In the cas of Mantic they had to produce higher quality models to make sure that they could still justify the huge price difference between their ranges and Mantic’s ranges.
            Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying : the newer- the better (i love certain old school mini ranges) I’m just trying to analyse facts and the customer’s probable perception.

          • mathieu

            Why do you – and oh so many others – assume that figures are getting BETTER, just because time is passing.

            Perhaps because it’s a fact rather than an assumption. Sculpting putties improve, artists share their techniques, and the technology to reproduce these sculpts keeps getting better. Since you like Confrontation examples, just look at what they were producing in 1996 when the game first came out, and what they were able to pull out 10 years later.

            Look at a Conf. figure and tell me there will be cooler figures in the future. Really?

            There already have been, several times around. Le Retour des Dieux figures (contemporary with Conf), in particular Vorag Barbarians were more finely detailed and better sculpted; Hell Dorado models came right at the end of Rackham -> same thing; Studio McVey -> leaps and bounds above Confrontation stuff.

          • KelRiever

            I would say figures getting better over time is mostly true, but there are obvious exceptions. Personally, I like McVey miniatures a lot, but I do not find them ‘leaps and bounds’ ahead of all Confrontation figures. Testament to Confrontation is many of their miniatures are still nicer than what is produced today. Will that last forever? I doubt it. But still, Rackham made a point that you can sell miniatures by making them look as nice as possible, and not just ‘army man’ style, and because of that approach, their miniatures hold well against even most modern sculpts.

  • Urlock Gaur

    I met Ronnie, from Mantic Games, at Gencon and he is a really cool guy. He is upbeat and really seems not only interested in his product, but in what his customers have to say. My first impression of him and his products actually got me to make some purchases of Kings of War products. We’re planning on giving their system a try. Looks like a quick and fun game without a lot of power-gaming. My two cents.

  • cannondaddy

    I actually like the Kings of War rules better. If I’m playing a game with massed rank and file I like to see really big armies. I also prefer to be able to “hang out” and chat with people while playing and not be over-focused on remembering dozens of rules details. As far as being challenging, Kings of War is as strategically/tactically deep as the person you’re playing against.

    • Urlock Gaur

      I agree. Actually, after hearing the many complaints about “Deathstar” units in WHFB, I would say that a game such as Kings of War has better strategy and less uber-units.

      • Zac

        Death stars aren’t actually that big of a deal. People over-react to them

        • Glassboy

          Death stars aren’t actually that big of a deal. People over-react to them
          of a deal.

          I don’t think it is an over reaction to object to something is fundamentally wrong. With the risk of Godwinising the thread if we ignored things that are as blatantly wrong in the rest of life we’d live in a truly terrible world.

          • Zac

            Seriously? You needed to take the topic there?

          • Glassboy

            You don’t leave much choice but to make the brutual direct analogies when you’re so willing to dismiss facts – that even you are not disputing – with a glib wave of your hand.

          • I like to read this kind of editorial (which is not an easy exercise) which bring reflexion and debate. Most people here, regardless of their likes or dislikes, regardless of being Fan boys of a certain trademark or not, have brought interesting point of views.
            I agree that it is not very fair to abruptly contradict someone or refuse its point of view without developping. But on the other hand some people seem to forget that you can debate without being agressive.
            It would be a pity to see these kind of editos disappear from TGN. To me they’re a welcome improvement.

          • Zac

            So you think that dragging Hitler into a discussion about miniatures is warranted? You don’t think that perhaps a discussion of horde units in Warhammer doesn’t require a comparison to Hitler?

          • Glassboy

            Touching on the the point Nemesis has made, I’m not trying to come across as aggressive or rude, in fact the opposite.

            However Zac – this is your forum and you’re entitled to behave how you want – but putting words in people’s mouths is just basically poor manners. I said “at the risk of”. I’m not sure about your particular dialect of English but that means I’m going to make an analogy or comparision but I don’t want it to start down the slipperly slope to absurdity to xxxx.

            This was my first time reading the comments for any post here and in general I’m impressed by the maturity and opinions of the people posting, but if you’re not happy with people disagreeing with you then you should lock off comments on your editorials.

          • Zac

            I actually don’t have a clue what you are talking about at all or what you actual objection is.

        • KelRiever

          I’m having difficulty in finding exactly what a ‘deathstar’ refers to, but let me say the most broken 8th edition rule, by far and away, is the horde rule. If you take 40 Grave Guard in a horde and make sure you have enough spellcasting to keep them regenerated (which really isn’t a problem, as you are going to be taking those spellcasters anyway), that unit will kill anything it hits and it will never, ever be annihilated. You can cast whatever area effect spell you want at it, it won’t kill enough Grave Guard to eliminate the unit once it regenerates.

          Well barring something absurd, you know, like 40 horde GraveGuard swinging every turn and rolling all ‘1’s

          • Zac

            If you take 40 Grave Guard in a horde and make sure you have enough spellcasting to keep them regenerated (which really isn’t a problem, as you are going to be taking those spellcasters anyway), that unit will kill anything it hits and it will never, ever be annihilated.

            Sorry but that isn’t true at all.

          • KelRiever

            I say try it. And I say it is as true as it needs to be. And I’ve seen it used by the most terrible number crunchers out there. Your statement is certainly an opinion worth considering, but this isn’t theory-hammer I’m citing. It is from tournaments. And when it gets beaten at some number crunched tournament event with 20+ players, I’ll stand corrected. Until then, it stands for me.

          • Zac

            I played against a similar formation last week. It acted as a tar it to my Knights for a few turns but I managed to pin it in place while we fought over the bridge objective for a few turns.

            They aren’t invulnerable. You can deal with them.

          • Veritas

            The problem with your 40+ Grave Guard unit is that is entirely unwieldly. The foot print of that unit on the table means it can’t maneuver easily, it’s going to get tagged by at least two units, (one flanking if the opponent is worth his salt,) or just ignored while your opponent hunts for objectives that you can’t contest because you’ve dumped such a stupid amount of points into the unit that you’re lower on overall quantity of units. The horde unit is designed to give extra punch to junk like goblins and skaven. Elite hordes are putting all your eggs in one ungainly basket.

          • KelRiever

            I’ll leave it to you two to do more playtesting. FYI regardless of what is thought, that horde of wights has won both tournaments it was entered in, one with 20+ players and one with 80+. Yes, there was still more to the army than that. Consider it has a track record before dismissing it. And I haven’t heard of it losing any games yet, in the casual games it has been played in with a club in NYC that meets regularly.

          • Zac

            I’ll leave it to you two to do more playtesting.

            Not sure what you mean but since neither of us see a problem…

            FYI regardless of what is thought, that horde of wights has won both tournaments it was entered in, one with 20+ players and one with 80+.

            Maybe they are just a good player?

        • Sejanus

          Every Death Star has a two metre exhaust port or exposed superstructure. 😀

  • I wonder if the actual major improvements in GW’s sculpts (see Dark Elves, some new Tomb Kings or Magic Storm Monsters) and, up to a certain point, the Finecast move are dictated by competition.
    My personnal theory would be that they realised that they were flanked by two kinds of competitors :
    – A new competitor selling average quality models (but fairly acceptable due to a GW aging catalogue) at very reasonnable price : Mantic.
    – A few companies that produce alternative characters and monsters (Scibor, Raging Heroes, Enigma miniatures) that were nicer than GW models but tended to me a bit more expensive. But step by step, due to price increases, GW’s metal models became as expensive as fine cast resin or metal models produced by SME’s.
    In fact, if we consider the “skirmish” games’ companies or independant miniatures makers, or Mantic average-but-low-cost minis it became more and more difficult to justify such prices without a MAJOR improvement of the range.

    • Sevej

      Well, I decided to get down in scale, to 10mm. So I don’t need to worry about sticking parts, detail, or dynamic pose (although the horses can be surprisingly so).

      Awesome looking mass battles with better sense of scale, very quick to paint, and easy storage.

      And a price 28mm gaming can’t beat.

      • cannondaddy

        I haven’t found a rule set I like yet, but I do like that scale.

        • Sevej

          I use Hordes of the Things rule. Simple, army list is a snap to build. It’s a great fun to discover what’s what. Also playing space is merely 60cm x 60cm. While people say there’s practically no differentiation between each army, there’s 20 different elements in the game, and most ‘viable’ armies would probably field 3 or 4 types at a time.

    • artbot_24

      I wonder if the actual major improvements in GW’s sculpts (see Dark Elves, some new Tomb Kings or Magic Storm Monsters) and, up to a certain point, the Finecast move are dictated by competition.

      It all comes down to the sculptors. Jes Goodwin and Brian Nelson started with a great deal of talent, and improved with age. GW has also had their share of average sculptors that never found their stride. Then you’ve got guys like Mike McVey and Chris Fitzpatrick, who left the company and then kept improving to better and better work.

      Technology can have benefits, but only if the people doing the work have creative, innovative minds to push that technology to greater lengths. That’s why GW still has so much variation in their models. Goodwin and Nelson produce awesome kits with beautiful details, but other plastic kits by the same company are pretty disappointing.

      The independent sculptors you mention are quite talented from the get-go. Mantic is improving, but still has a way to go IMHO. Technology won’t fix that, it comes down to the designers.

      • Zac

        Jes Goodwin and Brian Nelson started with a great deal of talent, and improved with age.

        Some of the best 3D sculpts that GW have released have been from Brian Nelson. Skill and talent show through even with new tools.

      • I agreee about Mantic. But my point is that due to the variation between GW models and GW’s aging catalogue ; Mantic minis can be tempting, being of a acceptable (compaired with the average GW models) quality at very reasonable price.

        Up to a certain point people don’t want to pay such a high price for uninspired models : they buy “average quality” models for cheap with Mantic or buy high quaity characters or monsters from talented independant companies (I forgot Avatars of War who started to produce multipart swapable kits for dwarf bersekers units for 35$ while 5 metal slayers cost 29 CAD $).

      • Veritas

        Mike McVey is an OK sculptor, but he is a painter foremost. I don’t think he’s sculpted a single Studio McVey model.

  • the Paper Warrior

    I don’t really see how GW can get many new players. The intro price for an Orc Army is $247 this includes a starter box, the codex, the rulebook, and one hero. That’s a lot to pay up to just get to the table. Throwing in some Mantic models instead shaves about $60 off that price but it’s still high.

    I’m in my 30’s and most friends my age play Xbox and Magic and Warcraft, and boardgmes. When it’s time to play a table top wargame they want to play a game that is easy and cheap to start. I couldn’t imagine asking someone to pay $247 just to sit down and play a game with me.

    You could argue that GW has a starter set but all the guys on GW’s website suggest going in with a friend and splitting two boxes to have a starter army. This seems like they gave us half of what we need to start.

    At least Mantic has starter armies for around $50 and with the free rules it makes the game accessable to new players again. Most anyone can come up with $50 if they want to.

    • Zac

      I don’t really see how GW can get many new players.

      That is certainly a problem that they need to address. The Island of Blood set is good if you want Skaven or High Elves but the high general cost of their figures does make it a bit of a problem to start fresh unless you can get figures on the secondary market.

    • KelRiever

      I really don’t think any miniature game company does this particularly well. Of course the idea is to have people buy hundreds of dollars worth of miniatures is the end goal, but whether someone even begins spending money and time to try a miniature game is still a question answered by the community of gamers that exists. It isn’t exactly that way with most hobbies, but I haven’t seen a company really good at getting people into a game regardless of the gamer community. Once upon a time, I used to think that Games Workshop did it reasonably well. Nowadays, not so much.

      • Zac

        I think that Privateer does a pretty good job. Their starter sets have always been a good value and its easy to get people into the game using those sets.

    • Zac

      This seems like they gave us half of what we need to start.

      Well they do want to sell more boxes 🙂

      But to be fair to GW splitting two of the Island of Blood sets gives each player a really good core army.

  • Trent

    Indeed, what GW really needs is two builder game systems that lead to Warhammer & 40k…a la Mordheim and Kill Team fleshed out fully to support the fully army counterparts.

    • Zac

      I don’t know how effective that would be. Skirmish games have different figure demands and GW has really moved far away from creating unique individual models that would fit into a skirmish game.

      GW really has focused their production to create massive amounts of plastic kits and the odd character figure. Its not like they used to be when they had numerous SKUs of various models.

      Now you could probably build a new skirmish (or low model) game that was based on the plastic boxes that they sold and that might be a useful way for GW to get gamers drawn in.

      I also think that some sort of organized builder campaign is always a great idea. They always seem so successful when local stores do them

      • the Paper Warrior

        GW has the highest startup cost of any wargame by far.

        It runs about $100 to get a rulebook and any starter army of the player’s choice from Privateer Press and Infinity. It looks like that’s about where Mantic wants to be too. Most gamers with a fleeting interest in these games can pay that much and if it doesn’t work for them they haven’t lost that much.

        GW’s army books really make it expensive to get started with them. Adding $41.25 (hardback) right off the start is pretty pricy. (It’s not a question of value, just cost.) This seems like the nail in the coffin to me. I’m pretty sure you need to buy an army book for each army in addition to the starter to really play the game.

        About two years ago GW had their battailons’ priced really good, I think around $70 the rulebook was about $50 and the army book $25. So for about $150 anyone could start playing any army they wanted. Their biggest problem I can see right now is they raised prices on things gamer’s need to play their games not just on luxury items like cool heroes or dragons.

        Only thing I think they could do is sell an alternate, smaller, battalion for $50 and offer army books as free of charge PDF. I don’t think they’ll do either of these things so new gamers will most likely do what this post is about ‘start or supplement their GW army with Mantic models’. The biggest problem is if you buy from Mantic so you can play GW games why not just play Mantic games? If your not doing that now it doesn’t seem like such a big leap in the future.

        • Zac

          Only thing I think they could do is sell an alternate, smaller, battalion for $50 and offer army books as free of charge PDF.

          They are a publicly traded company that is ruled by their bottom line so I can’t ever see them giving away books.

          It would be a great idea mind you but I think that free rules and PDFs are more in line with companies that are looking at expanding the reach of their game.

          • the Paper Warrior

            Most, if not all, of their problems root from ‘they’re a public traded company’. Unfortunatly if they don’t sell more product next year they’ll increase their prices another 20%. Next year we’ll likely see the intro price of an Ork army go from around $247 today to around $296 this time next year just to meet their shareholder’s expectations.

            This may not be where you wanted this thread to go but I love this stuff.

            I don’t think they really have a chance in the long term (maybe ten years) against their privately held competetors who can run on low or sometimes no profit margin for a long time if they have to. Likely GW will sell themselves to an private equity firm or find another revenue source like buying another profitable company in a non-competing market. This is all I can see for their future if they can’t make a product that’s easy and cheep enough for kids to get into without asking their parents for $200 for toys.

            They priced me out as a customer. A couple of weeks ago you posted the upcoming Ogres riding giant beasts. These are some great models but I don’t own any Ogres. I need an army book and a battalion box just to make use of these guys. So I have to pay up at least $130 before I even buy these cool new models. The new models are probably $50 each so there’s another $100. It’s hard for GW to sell that to anyone except a dedicated fan.

            If Infinity makes a new model I want for an army I don’t have, it just costs me $50 for the starter to get caught up and then buy the new model. I know it’s compairing apples to oranges but Infinity didn’t ask me for so much money I have to cut from something other than my toy budget and that’s what they need to do to succeed.

          • Zac

            Most, if not all, of their problems root from ‘they’re a public traded company’.

            I tend to fall back on this as well but I think that you can still be a publicly traded company and not have to resort to the type of prices that GW does.

            I don’t think that GW management have really done a very good job with the company at all and that a more forward-thinking management team could have pushed the company through their LoTR bubble crisis without having to slash the company to the bone and jack prices up so precipitously.