Monday, 5 December 2011

Why is HoMachine becoming so popular?

Not quite as well known as some logo's, but still...

Note: I know the convention is to call Warmachine and Hordes WarmaHordes but I’m trying to shift that to the far funnier HoMachine, so that’s what I’ll always refer to it as!!!

Right I think its pretty clear that both Warmachine and Hordes are experiencing quite a bit of a surge in popularity, especially when Privateer Press put out statements like this:

Any company that has to take a pause to catch their collective breath to try and catch up with demand, is clearly experiencing some serious demand for their product. And there have been other similar statements since. So why now and will the popularity continue?

Most of you will recognise this logo, and that's down to hard work and effective arketing

In my local gaming circle I think it is quite fair to say the Warmachine MKI wasn’t the most popular of games, not because it wasn't very good (it was good fun) but because we just didn't play it, and part of the reason was almost certainly down to the MKI monicker. Let me explain before you think I'm bonkers. Here in the UK it's pretty difficult to have a discussion about wargaming without bringing in Games Workshop into it, in fact perversely a fair few people refer to none Games Workshop games as ‘alternative wargaming’ it is almost like Games Workshop wargaming IS wargaming!!! I might have mentioned before how this riles me. For those of you not living in the UK that might seem odd, but for those of you living in pretty much any town in the UK you will have a Games Workshop store that pretty much has an iron grip monopoly on our hobby, although that is sliding and slipping a bit.

This monopoly does make it difficult for other game systems to get noticed or get a foothold. The reasons for people not taking up ‘other wargames’ are mainly as follows:

  • ‘There’s no where to play them’
  • ‘They’re not supported properly'
  • ‘Nobody plays them’
  • ‘The models / rules aren’t as good as GW’s’

All of which, can be traced back to Games Workshops monopoly, in short us UK wargamers have become pretty lazy, and if we're honest us humans will normally take the path of least resistance. Games Workshop is that path of least resistance for many, in pretty much every town in the UK their is a Games Workshop store, and they are somewhere you can play their games easily. They provide tables and scenery and because of that a ready supply of opponents with whom to hobby with. This creates a ‘safe bubble’ in which to feel comfortable within your hobby, it’s easy, and a damn fine and until now effective business model to boot. Conversely though this approach also makes people worried about trying other game systems that are out there, because you could spend a significant amount of your hard earned dosh on a game system that dies. It's not an idle or unfounded fear either, as I'm sure there are a lot of you out there right now who have done it, and most recently there are people who are currently mourning the sad loss of AT-43 and Rackham, it does happen. So peoples reticence to try something new is an very understandable reaction.

However, people are starting to play other games systems now, chief amongst these are the two Privateer Press games, or HoMachine as I call it. What are the reasons for this shifting attitude amongst us wargamers then? It could be a perfect storm of things, a blend that has finally meant people are willing to look elsewhere for their wargaming fix. Have Games Workshop dropped the ball? Yeah sure, they've pissed lots of people off in Australia and New Zealand, as well as messing up a few other things. But, truth is it's not like they haven't done this in the past now is it, and I've never seen the migration levels I'm witnessing today. Has it been a slow build up? Yes and no, sure for some of you you've put up with what you perceive as slights for years, others have just quit the hobby altogether. That's always happened and I've always seen it, but now those apathy quitters are becoming rage quitters and they're going to other game systems.

Maybe it's not as recognisable as its stablemate, but it's not far off
So why or how has Warmachine and Hordes seemingly got around this here in the UK and maybe other parts of the world? It might sound odd but I think the phrase MKII just might have helped. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard or read the following on message boards or somebody has said it to me in person I’d probably have at least a tenner, ‘Well it’s onto the second edition now so it’s established’. That phrase or words to that effect show that some gamers are concerned about games becoming established. None of us want to get burned by games that disappear as soon as they're released do we? So having witnessed that Privateer Press have kept Warmachine going since 2003, and released a second edition in 2010 that looked successful, I think they've convinced many that they're here to stay. It's starting to happen with Infinity now as well. What a game needs to do to reach that tipping point. that critical mass,  to attract enough early adopters or pioneers to keep a game ticking over nicely and allow it to develop.

Much of the artistic output in support of HoMachine is easily comparable to the market leader

HoMachine clearly achieved that, I knew of at least 4 people who played MKI HoMachine and swore by it, I have to be honest, at first the game didn’t appeal to me but slowly and surely as the model range expanded I started to feel more comfortable with the idea of taking the plunge. However, this wasn’t achieved by accident, Privateer Press had their Press Gangers, and these hardy individuals did the hard work of encouraging people to get into the game in the States. The fact that it happened in the States though isn’t a surprise, the size of the country means that unlike here in the UK companies like Games Workshop just simply can’t have a store in every town. This coupled with the often quite ridiculous price of Games Workshop products in the USA means that it was always likely to be the furtive breeding ground for the ‘next big thing’ in wargaming. The fact the USA is also giving us Malifaux and others bares this out. As for me I took the plunge for good the second time around, when they finally released the Angry Elves, the Retribution of Scyrah.

Getting the game established or sustainable was clearly a big effort but it's clearly paying off big time now for them and I’m chuffed to bits. However, hard work isn’t the only reason HoMachine has taken off; lets put it bluntly if their product was rubbish it wouldn’t have sold in the first place. You can argue about whether or not the Iron Kingdoms miniatures aesthetic is your cup of tea or not. But honestly you can’t argue that for detail and quality of product it's at the very least the equal of Games Workshops product. I personally love the 'American football' feel of the Warjacks with their 80’s shoulder pads, and its clear that they’re getting into their stride more and more as sculptors like Ben Misenar, Edgar Ramos, Todd Harris and Benoit Cosse (sorry if I’ve missed some of you out) learn their trade. They're starting to set the Privateer Press ‘look’ they’re getting better and better, yes its ‘heroic scale’ but it looks fundamentally different in style to Games Workshops product and has its own ‘vibe’.

Look it's a core game... familiar tactic no?

Obviously for me the important part of the hobby is getting those miniatures right, as it’s really the painting that’s the main part of the hobby for me. However, the rules aren’t too shabby either if any of you have played the games you’ll all know about page 5, I’m not going to write it down here, but if you haven’t yet read page 5 then I’d urge you to go read it. Page 5 encapsulates what the Games Workshop is trying to achieve with its 8th edition Fantasy, and has tried to achieve with 40k over the last few iterations. To cut it short HoMachine is designed for competitive fun and if played in that spirit (and given the rules it's hard not to) it’s a quick fun game that’s easy to play and have fun with. It is though still tactical enough to provide a challenge for those hardcore tournament gamers we all know, and love (well maybe love), I’m no tournament gamer really and others will have to tell you whether it makes a good tournament game, but I think the ingredients are all there.

So they’ve got a fine miniature range and a great solid rule set, which if any game wants to be successful is the most vitally important thing! I still don’t think you can under estimate all that hard work and effort Privateer Press and their Press Gangers put into promoting the game, Warmachine is now the first game many people think of if asked for a none Games Workshop wargame and that’s down to their hard work promoting their products. They had a clear plan and they new what they wanted to achieve, and they went out there and did it in an enthusiastic and effective manner, did they mess up? Yeah sure some things could've been done better, but they learned quick and kept their eye on the prize. One part of that plan actually seems to be mirroring some of Games Workshops methods, primarily with army books, it's a simple yet very familiar concept to Games Workshop customers. Its this familiarity which I think makes many comfortable in taking the plunge with HoMachine. Other great games have come and gone, but right now it feels as though HoMchine really is here to stay. There are enough people playing it to keep it going and there are plenty of people I know who are looking to get into the game to keep it growing.

I personally think Warjacks look super cool

The final piece of the jigsaw for me though is the Internet. Yeah I know, I know the last time I mentioned the Internet and a games company I wasn't very flattering. But, I think the Internet has helped Privateer Press as they've embraced it. Firstly their official website has an official forum, they even allow voices of dissent and answer them in a calm and rational manner. Their website also makes it easy for others to find out about HoMachine without the need for their to be a local branded Privateer Press store in their local town, or indeed an independent game store. After you've found out about there product then there are a number of routes you can take to get hold of their stuff, but yet again here the Internet helps out, online retail! No question it's easier to get other companies product now than it has ever been, that's the Internet effect. Privateer Press have embraced that change.

Look it's an angry elf! Grrrrrrr!!!

Much of this growth here in the UK is arguably less down to the work and effort of Privateer Press and their Press Gangers, but is probably more clearly linked with some of the online stores that there are now here in the UK who have made their product more accessible:

Religious people are always trouble...
and there are now way more Local Game Stores (LGSs) popping up all over the UK, and dedicated (possibly mad) gamers like myself who had forgotten that the hobby used to take some effort, and that Games Workshop have just made us lazy. Well we've all found HoMachine for ourselves and built up little gaming groups to get our hobby moving in a more pleasing direction.

This is where many other companies might owe Privateer Press a debt of gratitude. Privateer Presses hard work has driven a wedge nice and deep into enemy territory. They've created a beach head in which others can follow in their wake. They have got gaming clubs willing to play other games, they've convinced people like me to build their own 8' by 4' gaming table, and have a dedicated gaming room so I can play the games I want. We're self sufficient because Privateer Press have weened many of us off of our Games Workshops dependency. I can now pretty much start whatever game I want, I have my own resources I can call upon, and because I have my own gaming table my friends have been more willing to try new things. Many have followed suit and gone and built their own gaming tables and I'm hearing of others doing the same almost on a weekly basis now. There has been a shift and I don't think Games Workshop will get that genie back in the bottle.

Whatever the actual truth behind the rise in popularity of HoMachine, it is a great little game system with pretty cool miniatures, and if you haven’t yet tried it I urge you to take the plunge. It might take more effort to wargame outside of the Games Workshops comfort blanket, but all that effort is more than worth it. So what does the future hold? Well in June Warmachine got its Wrath expansion that had lots of new toys for every faction and kept the game fresh for us all, and we've just had Domination for Hordes. It’s a clever system that I discussed at length in my first ever Sunday Sermon, it's a system that keeps us interested and gives Privateer Press the opportunity to readdress any imbalance between factions that may have occurred (Games Workshop take note). It also means your faction doesn't get left behind and maintains your interest in them, clever and sustainable. Peace out!


  1. Nice read. I think PP is hear to stay, however I don't think 'homachine' is... lol

  2. @Lord Azaghul, i will get HoMachine to stick, you mark my words!!! lol. Thanks for the compliment.

  3. I think you're absolutely right about the GW comfort blanket in the UK and it seems to me that the PP systems are making that slip for many people. Firestorm is actually my local hobby store (I'm very lucky!) and I've been in there when they are shipping out tons of warmachine stuff on a weekly basis.

    I'm happy to see some diversity in the UK market; but with one caveat. It does annoy me that people seem to think that to enjoy 'homachine' is to hate 40k and WFB - it's a big and diverse world of gaming out there and to become a GW-hater because you play another system seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  4. Maybe....WarmaHo?

    I actually dated a chick named HoMachine.
    Well, at least that's what I called her.

    PP certainly has made an impact here in the states.
    At websites like (please don't get mad at me for mentioning this here) Bell of Lost Souls, the level of GW Fanboy hate for the game is hysterical.

    I really think PP has taken off here in the states because, well....we're a competitive lot, and the legendary 'page 5' speaks to us.
    Also- big mechs and the occasional bad-ass chick never hurts.

    GW, with their 'beer and pretzel' attitude and their obvious aversion to 'bad ass chicks' (there's ONE in the entire game)just aren't cutting it anymore.
    As an American gamer, I see it as GW being lazy.
    As I see it, they've relied on their 'legacy players' to pull new gamers into the GW fold.
    'Oh, my older brother plays 40k- it's so cool!'

    Those are the same gamers GW has tossed to the wayside over time. GW dumped the specialist games they loved, GW went all Space Marine crazy, GW went and screwed up Fantasy, and has made their two primary systems require about a thousand dollars worth of minis.

    Americans also don't really wanna play LoTR, and that was a massive bust here.
    I've NEVER seen it played, even at a GW store. Ever.

    It's only gonna get worse for GW, and they can thank themselves for their troubles- they dropped the internet ball.
    Pretty much every company has used the internet to leverage their position.
    GW shut down their forums, and won't even let retailers display a jpeg of their product.
    Holy crap- so friggin' stupid!
    Massive, massive facepalm. Seriously.

    In a way, GW created this perfect storm themselves.
    Strangely, it seems as if they're not tring to 'compete,' it really seems like they're in some weird 'denial' mode.

    Did anyone else notice that Warmaho(-_-), Malifaux, Infinity and Flames of War will ALL BE AT NOVA NEXT YEAR?
    All these tiny predators are biting at GW, and they've got their fingers in their ears going 'I can't hear you! La-La-La!'

    Tiny predators can hurt you over time, especially if you choose to just ignore them.

  5. @Davey, I too don't get the whole PP vs GW thing either. What I will say is that I'm not enjoying WFB and just can't stand to play it anymore. Sure I like HoMachine, but that's not the reason I dislike WFB if you catch my drift. 40k was never really my big thang, I played it but not as much as WFB or other things. Plus I find it a bit too simplistic for my tastes. But like I always say it takes all sorts, and my Kryptonite might be your radioactive spider!!!

    @SinSynn, hello you sexy devil you! Page 5 does speak to the competitive gamer, but I also think it speaks to the casual gamer too, it just tells you to get the fuck on with it and enjoy the game for what it is. A game.

    I think PP and their games HoMachine, have been taken on board as much as they have in the USA because they're home grown. Lets face it, you yanks like nothing more than a home town kid made good do you? And PP have made real good!

    I think slowly but surely the GW stranglehold is slipping. they're still clearly the big boy in school but there are other cliches forming and the cool kids are joining them. Not too sure what GW are supposed to do about it really. I mean they have a strategic direction they believe in and although this year I'm told poor figures are being massaged by licensing revenue from third parties, they will actually make an opperating profit.

    I also know from speaking to some peeps at head office that they think GW have carried the can of promoting the hobby for everyone else for far too long. I agree with that. They also think that other companies like PP, Wyrd, Corvus Belli amongst other might stand a chance of growing the hobby to different people that GW normally wouldn't reach and that can only be a good thing if that starts to happen, for them and the wider hobby.

  6. Well, from New Zealand I can tell a slightly different story based on our local perceptions.

    1.) Games Workshop never got a strangle hold in New Zealand. They have stores in Auckland and Wellington only. In Wellington, where I am, there is a FLGS (Boardgames, GW stuff, WM, Roleplaying) and a dedicated model store (Tamiya kits, trains, WWII scale kits) within 500 Metres of the GW.

    2.) Some big markets (by NZ standards) never got a GW. Christchurch (2nd biggest city) and Hamilton (4th biggest city) for example. Hamilton also has the best LFGS in New Zealand. Mark one has a free mail order system and beats everyone else in the country on price. The owner is also a smart business fellow who listens to his market closely. Hes coming up to nearly 20 years running the store.

    3.) GW's pricing model has been causing simmering resentment for years. But recent changes in how we can mail order have caused a lot of anger

    4.) A fair number of WMH players i've talked to have come from Warhammer fantasy who don't like 8th edition. This seems to be a big growth area.

    5.) My personal opinion is this. The game has better rules, the model range is comparable (asides from the lack of plastic kits), the books are far better quality

    6. )Its all a lot cheaper. A 2000 point 40k army will cost you at least 4 times what a 50 point WMH will cost. You have flexibility in who you buy from.

    7.) Our press gangers seem to be doing a fine job of getting people into the game.

  7. another fantastic article, i'm sitting here scouring through wrath and domination wanting to get some more games in. frontline gamer aware of my feelings on 8th edition.

  8. Good article, and I do have a Khador starter set tucked away somewhere, I ordered it the same time as my Infinity starter; if I was gonna stick a knife in GW's back, it might as well be two knives. There were some medium flyers for my pre-existing Dystopian Wars fleet in the same order, to make it thoroughly non-GW.
    But I'm having some problem assembling the Warjacks, they're either resin or crappy plastic as glue does not seem to work. Other than that, the gaming scene over here is extremely quiet in any case, even at GW, so I am content to practice painting for now.

    Btw, HoMachine = pure win. I shall forever refer to it as so from now on.

  9. Ok first things first, why do people keep saying excellent article like it's a surprise? Should I be paranoid that not every article gets that sort of comment? o_0

    @Vomkrieg, you might not have the same level of market penertration in New Zealand that we do in the UK but having chatted t a fair few New Zealanders over the past few months, I think my main points still ring true in New Zealand. Obviouldy there are bound to be subtle marketing differences between nations, and good comanies recognise this. Bad ones don't. I'll leave you to decide what that comment means!!! ;)

    @Unique Geek, I do indeed know your thought on eight and it starts something like this "it's a complete pile of...' and then enters into a stream of profanity that would make jarheads blush!

    @GoldenKaos, good to see you back commenting. I don't view playing other games as sticking the knife in GWs back. No I view it more like removing the one they put in my back many, many years ago!!! lol. Oh and yes HoMachine is made of pure win, and everyone needs to use it!!!

  10. Well, perhaps I see it as knifing them back then!

  11. GoldenChaos

    Use superglue, or greenstuff. The standard plastic glue doesn't work.

  12. I have indeed tried superglue, and even some basic pinning, though you may be right, it may be time to escalate into green stuff technology...

    Incidentally, as I am a petty soul, I've spelt Kaos with a 'K' for a reason. Quite churlish of me to point it out, I know, but my real name is of similarly mainstream-divergent spelling (coincidence), therefore I have a gut-reaction to correcting people over it. Sorry. It was either sheepishly correct you or kill a kitten in barely contained nerd-rage...

  13. I've just got into WM and am loving it; I still play 40k but I like the fact that I don't have to drop £1000 to get an army, I don't have have to paint tons of identical(ish) models & the armies are made up of the cool models you want to paint and buy, and PP has a great online prescence and method of updating the game.

    Saying that, I'm not about to pack away my Nids yet....

  14. @GoldenKaos, if you're having problems with the plastic resin kits may I suggest two things:

    1) Wash the miniatures in some luke warm water with a dash of washing up liquid. I've found sometimes this helps the super glue to dry quicker when they've been washed. Not 100% sure why that is but I'm guessing it's something to do with the ejection fluid.
    2) Rapid cure for your super glue, helps the stuff set in seconds. It's a God send it really is. Not sure how people do without it.

  15. @yhe 6th degree, Wow you're sticking by 40k for the nids?!?!?! o_0 You sir might just be my new hero. When I saw the new Nid book I have to be honest I kinda wanted to cry. I love me my gribbly Nids but I felt the last codex was a bit lame. Still if you're doing OK with it them more power to you my good man, as long as you're enjoying your hobby that's all that counts in my book.

  16. Warmachine is just a really, really, really fun game. Thats all the secrets I think PP are keeping to keep getting bigger and better. A fun game overall. Im not talking about the basic rules, the balanced armies, the way even the first model ever released is still playable, competitive and available, or the competitive edge. Just a good fun game. The other company rarely filled all the blanks.

  17. @GoldenKaos

    My bad, decades of spelling chaos that way has produced an autonomic response. I don't even think my brain noticed the K

    And the greenstuff works well, just make sure you get a putty shaper to smooth the edges out. gets rid of those horrid finger print impessions as well.

  18. Er . . . good article ;)

    I reckon SinSynn has a good point as usual. To me as an Australian, the PP games just seem more "American" in tone. Which is no surprise - they're American games, designed by Americans, with the features that appeal to Americans: Healthy competition, straight-up fights and er, bad ass chicks as SinSynn said.

    When you're designing a game I assume it's like any other creative product: you have a better chance of making a product people like if you make what you would like to play, not what you think the market wants.

    I feel like the PP designers have done that. The GW designers on the other hand are trapped within their games own history. They've spent the last ten years telling us what we want, and now that's stopped working they've started trying to guess what we want.

    They're meant to be games designers, not keepers of a sacred relic. They should just design a good, new TT wargame. Only it's too late, and PP have already done it for them.

  19. I think skirmish games have a lot going for them. Fewer models means less commitment in time and money. Allows for more casual gamers which helps fill out the player base.

    I never really liked the warjack look which is strange since I have these two models in my collection already:

    And they look pretty similar to prototype warjacks.

  20. I tried to like 40k but i'm not sold on it. I had a demo of warpath from mantic and enjoyed it , but i'd need more games to make my mind up. Homachine is great, if you want a small game fine if you want a large game fine. And the minis are very nice.GW are slowly destroying themselfs from the inside. Opening doors for the likes of PP.

  21. Great article... I think there is an argument to say that GW did drop the ball. Back when I started 40k (around whitedwarf 136), you had 40k, Confrontation (later Necromunda), Advanced Space Crusade ... you had a lot of varied and different game system to play in.

    Now I play Infinity for its amazing skirmish game system.

    I've also started collecting Flames of War, as its cheap to get into (same as infinity) and actually delivers real world game system which allows tactics and approachs to make 40k's ears bleed.

    21 tanks on a battlefield? Proper Artillery and 'dug in' troops that are harder to kill than tanks?

    It's not the prices, or the slights, or the crass 'we're the only system' behaviour that's killed it ... its the RSI that comes when every codex is designed to sell models more than actually balance the game.

    I faced multiple Terminator armies in a single tourney ... Paladin spam. It was depressing and frustrating and well, boring.

    40k is boring.

  22. @Dugai, I don't think PP have any 'secret' formula but I do think there have been fun and engaging games in the past that have struggled for room in the marketplace against the monolithic GW. So there is something clearly different about what is happening right now.

    @James S, I don't think GW are designing games for anyone other than the accountants and shareholders. They have this belief that we're all addicted to their games and that they can push more and more toy soldiers on us and we'll just take it. They're clearly wrong. I don't know anybody taking it right now. Obviously PP's games feel more Americsn, although not everyone there at the begging was American... but it has it's own unique vibe that I like.

    @eriochrome, I agree I think skirmish scale and style games have a significant advantage on a number of fronts. Firstly there is the cost element, secondly there is the time element and thirdly they can be more detailed games that speak to gamers on many different levels. You can buy resin bases for skirmish games and ake your armies look pretty without remortgaging the house, and you can afford to play ultiple skirmish games that'll keep your hobby fresh for you.

    @Pancake, I too understand your 40k stance. I don't think I've ever been sold on 40k myself. HoMachine is fanbloodytastic at really small 15 point games and just as good at 35 to 50 points. Then there are the unbound rules for truly massive games. Its a fun system pure and simple.

    @Suneokun, Of course they've dropped the ball. GW have dropped multiple balls over the years, but that isn't enough to explain what's happening now I believe. Sure you've had the 8th edition exodus, but this was happening before then. I think my Imperium as metaphor for Games Workshop possibly sums a lot of the reason up for many people.

    There are now though far more great games than there ever were before, or maybe they're just more visible now because of the Internet and bloggers like all us. Who knows, it's interesting to watch and be part of though.

  23. Fact of the matter is: Thanks to disfranchised feeling from GW I have been willing to try lots of new games, and found lots that I like, from other table tops to lots amazing of board games.

    @Suneokun, I've been following you're FoW blog, the game looks neat, and seeing as how I've been obsessed with WoT, I'm a WW II history buff, and a table top gamer - it does kind of seem like a next logical step! I might have to look into it again. I know my area used to have a group for that game.

  24. Yeah I didn't mean the American feel as a criticism - I think it's the main reason it's so popular. America is a lot larger market than the UK or any other developed nation, and American culture and media saturates the english speaking world. We all "get it", so HoMachine (there you go!) seems refreshing and has an obvious appeal to a wider audience.

    GW games have a long history and still have a tinge of the good old British "model railways and a nice cup of tea" vibe. HoMachine definitely lacks that. In other words, it's cooler.

  25. @James S, it's interesting you say the GW games feel British to you. We certainly don't feel that way round here. In fact we had a discussion about it a few months back and if anything we felt that companies like Spartan Games, Mantic, Studio McVey, Warlord Games, GCT etc. etc. felt more British. We've always done bespoke and niche very well as a Nation. The whole Empire thing was a bit of a historical aberration, we're far more at home as the lucky under dogs. I think GW's problem is that it has become something else, it's identity is so caught up in it's history that it doesn't really feel like anybodies baby anymore. That's the real issue I think with GW.

  26. Good point. I guess as an outsider to both the States and the UK I have a different perspective.

    Just as an aside, I can't think of any Australian games developers off the top of my head. Plenty of video games companies but no TT companies. Even New Zealand puts us to shame with the excellent Flames of War. Someone should get on that...

  27. I oppose the notion that model railways and cups of tea are not cool.
    I think Frontline's on to something there though, Games Workshop used to be the quirky, over-the-top-because-it-could-be dystopian future with jokes and criticism on the real world. It's possibly part of the problem that they've started to take it too seriously, perhaps? That and, their current identity does not factor in competition, which just shows how much behind the times they are.

  28. @James S, yeah but how many of those Australian developers you mention were started by Australians? Team Bondi was a bunch of brits, 2K Marin was Yanks. So on and so forth... I happen to know a few peeps in the computer games industry. But you're right for a nation that takes it's games and competition as seriously as Australia I'm surprised there aren't more wargames companies or games from Australia. In a slightly related note are there any Australia comics?

    @GoldenKaos, early 40k was heavily influenced by 2000AD comics and that sort of humour. It was also a sarcastic take on life in general poking fun at things. Yeah it was dark and had a dark sense of humour, but then came the kiddy friendly nature of the game and the grim dark became more Harry Potter than Judge Dread in my opinion. Then as you say it got all serious, maybe a bit too serious.

  29. Yeah. To me, with the latest iterations, the notion of 40k/FB as "beer and pretzel" games is more accurate than "model railways and cups of tea". You've either got to be drunk or young and hyperactive, to the point where you don't care that the rules are crappy, and you're just happy making machine gun and zap noises.

    I miss playing interesting grimdark sci-fi 28mm company-level games...

  30. @fiendil, funny you should mention company level games, I'm currently putting the finishing touches to an article on such things. It was just some random thoughts at first sparked by reading various comments on here and having conversations with my gaming buddies and it's grown into a fully crystalised article. I'm amazed it didn't go straight into the scrap pile I produce every week!!!

  31. @Frontline Gamer, no famous Australian comics that I know of. The thing about Australia is that we are very competitive - at sport. We are very suspicious (as a nation) of intelligent people and creative industries in general. I routinely meet people in social situations who hear that I am doing a PhD or my girlfriend is an artist and say stuff like "what do you contribute to society?" venemously, to our faces.

    Our media perpetuates this myth that most Australians are working class down-to-earth folks with no use for fancy words, and that the more educated you are the less you know about "the real world". This is despite the fact that 85% of us are pretentious city-dwelling latte-sipping office workers.

    Australia hates intellectual achievement. We are more likely to give the Australian of the year award to a cricket player than a Nobel Prize-winning researcher. I've seen it happen. I have a lot of friends in the creative and academic realms, and nearly all of them now live in the US or the UK. I think it's always difficult financially to be in a creative industry, but in Australia you are also socially shunned by the mainstream. Most people just give up or move overseas.

    Er... rant over. Sorry about that :)

    @Fiendil and @GoldenKaos, I seem to have put you off-side with my "model railways and cups of tea" comment! What I meant was the attitude expressed by the designers in official publications, not really the tone of the game itself. A HoMachine (almost wrote Warmahordes!) book would never have a caption like "just look at these fantastic Blood Angels!" or have a photo of dudes playing like on the back of a Milton Bradley box. Do you get what I mean, or am I imagining it?

    Probably imagining it...

  32. James S: Yeah, I think you're right aboot the books and photos. I can picture No Quarter magazine pics with people playing tournaments, but not the main books. Compared to GW doing exactly that with the pics. Pics of regular opponents of mine are in old GW rulebooks, looking happy about the game they're playing (and sporting significantly more hair)...

  33. @James S, sorry I missed that post. That's something I did not know about Aus. Perhaps that's why I've met so many graphic artists from Aus here in the UK. Bizarre, because as a nation you've produced a few good comic artists over the years, but now I think about it they've all worked primarily for the big American publishers. What a shame. I also got where you were coming from with the Tea and Model Railway comment, you meant a cozy atmosphere right?


    Pics of regular opponents of mine are in old GW rulebooks, looking happy about the game they're playing (and sporting significantly more hair)...

    arguably best comment on my blog EVER!!!! PMSL