Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sunday Sermon: Don't play this game it'll die!!!

Where all good games are put out to rest eternally

Ah yes, this old chestnut! You've all heard it right? You're in the local Games Workshop or games club and you mention that you've seen this really cool little game that you really want to play. It's got awesome miniatures, the mechanics look fresh and new, could be really fun... then somebody trots along and tells you you're mad, that the game won't be supported and that it'll die. I know I have had that happen to me, I've been told it repeatedly, hell I've been told it repeatedly about Warmachine. It's a genuine concern for many gamers out there. We're not all made of money and dropping £150 on a game that goes the way of the dinosaurs, or Soda-stream machines (whatever happened to those?) isn't the sort of thing any of us would like to face. So this state of mind persists that you can only rely on Games Workshop to be true and loyal, and always be there for you... like the frumpy girl at school who fancied you *shudders*.


How about I flip that idea 180 degrees on its head for you? You think it can't be done don't you? Well over the last few months I've spoken to an awful lot of you in the comments section about what games got you started in the hobby, and also what your favourite games are. Now I'll admit, there's a lot of you who started with 40k, thonestly here are, I'm not going to lie about it, there's no point, but the amount of people who have said Space Crusade, Hero Quest or Space Hulk and Warhammer Quest are what got you started is impressive. Who killed those games off? No, not MB Games, it was Games Workshop who ended that relationship after they felt they didn't need them anymore, and it was certainly Games Workshop who kicked both Warhammer Quest and Space Hulk to death. Hell Games Workshop even re-released Space Hulk again recently, only to let it die yet again!

First it giveth then it taketh away!

Some of you might need a little more convincing though, some of you Games Workshop stalwarts who brought team after team for arguably the greatest board game there has ever been, Blood Bowl... lets not get into a debate as to whether that statement is even close to being true, and just agree it was bloody popular! Or those of you who loved your Necromunda campaigns... you know where I'm going with this one right? Yep two of Games Workshops most loved and successful games mercilessly culled and brutally murdered. Why? Because they weren't 40k or Fantasy and they certainly weren't Lord of the Rings. It didn't matter to Games Workshop that these games had massive followings of loyal fans. That there were people out there whose entire hobby revolved around these two great products. They killed them dead! In the case of Blood Bowl they even tried killing the fan supported living rulebook off a number of times, and actually got really quite nasty about it with some diehard gamers who just loved a product that they had made, and who wanted to keep it alive.

Many will remember the site of this very fondly indeed!

In fact Games Workshop have a history of cutting support to products that makes them look like the unstable, neurotic, pill popping loon of the industry. Hell the idiots even tell us now before a game is released that they're going to shoot it in the head before it has had a chance at life, á la Dreadfleet. They're serial killers! Just look at the rest of their motley list, Mordheim, Epic (all variants), Warmaster (arguably their best game), Inquisitor, Battlefleet Gothic, Man o' War, Gorkka Morkka (OK that one I understand) and many, many more besides. The truth is that over the period of my Games Workshop hobby I have definitely played more games of Man o' War, Epic, Necromunda, Blood Bowl and Battlefleet Gothic than I have 40k. That's not adding all those games up, I mean I've played more games of each of them individually than I have played games of 40k. So I asked myself this question, how many none Games Workshop games that I loved have actually died on me? Turns out it's a fair few...

There's the obvious one is BattleTech (now resurrected), Hell Dorado (sort of resurrected, come on Cipher pull your finger out) and then of course Confrontation (soon to be resurrected). Actually I've been pretty damn lucky over the years when I think about it. I never got into AT-43, so that didn't hurt me at all, and as I say most of the games that I have played from other companies are now going strong. Does anyone really think Privateer Press are going anywhere soon? What about Battlefront and Flames of War? I can't see either of them disappearing can you? Infinity by Corvus Belli is rapidly approaching a decade in existence and just seems to be getting stronger by the month. Wyrd with Malifaux have got a very loyal following and have made great strides in the last 5 years. All around us on supposedly new game systems, but if you were to ask business analysts they'd call then long established brands, or in the case of some of the younger games systems, stable brands. Make it past two years as a new start up and you're considered sorted if your business plan is washing its own face and making a little profit.

So where the hell does this blind panic about other companies game systems dying come from? Honestly, I don't know, sure there have been some big examples, but not as many as people think. But even I've fallen foul of it. I was one of the many people I know who were initially highly reticent about getting into Confrontation. Part of me feels in that games particular case it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Confrontation deserved a much wider audience and a much wider success, but it was people like me dithering that probably killed it... no who am I kidding, it was Age of Rag'narok! But still, I look back over the years and there is one company that has consistently killed the fun. Destroyed games and made me waste my God damned money on product that was made obsolete before its time... Games Workshop! It has always been their Specialist Games that I was more interested in, I'll admit it. Even way back when I was a young whipper snapper it was always the next new game that excited me, not their big brands I was playing and enjoying. So I played every Specialist Game I could get my hands on.

I loved the look of Confrontation.

I'm sure many of you, my readers are the same. Hell I know you are, you've all told me you are! So if you can point that accusing finger anywhere it'd be Games Workshop surely? I can already hear the counter arguments, but Fantasy and 40k are here to stay! Are they? Are they really? True I think we'll see Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 branded products for many more years yet... unless Tom Kirby et al really screw up... BUT ask an avid player of Fantasy like me, who really started playing properly during third edition Fantasy if they recognise eighth edition as Fantasy and they give you an interesting response. They'll say it's a vastly different game now to the one that it was, and quite often between editions there are deliberate, and thought out changes made to the rules designed specifically force customers into buying more miniatures, because their last lot are now crapola. Those business analyst types will call this planned obsolescence. Sure Games Workshop are a business and they want us all to buy new stuff, but they should do so via producing awesome new sculpts that 'make' us want to buy new stuff.

Man I loved Epic... not so much the silly huge titans, but I did love epic!!!

Then there is the phenomenon that is 'army death'. Ask Nid players what they think of their Codex, they'll not be best pleased most of them. For nearly a decade Dark Eldar players were left out in the cold, likewise Necron players. It's how Games Workshop run their business, they leave armies to wither on the vine, and it sucks. The old Codex creep thing is just another way of making certain armies obsolete. Isn't that just like killing a game if you happen to be a Tau player? It's certainly not fully supporting all their product range now is it? If you look at it, they're the worst culprits in the industry for pulling support and leaving hobbyists holding an expensive collection of useless plastic junk. I bet if we were to ask for a show of hands right now, many of you will have had to go through a difficult period of pain with an uncompetitive Codex or Army book, many accept that it's part of the hobby cycle. I'm saying it's not and it shouldn't happen, and that other companies don't treat part of their product range like some stinky outcast tramp.

The other argument I hear, and that I actually have some sympathy with is that a game only dies if you let it. Think of it this way, how many people do you ever really play at 40k or Fantasy, or any game for that matter. I bet quite often it's the same old faces that you play week in week out. So if you and your friends have their Necromunda Gangs or Blood Bowl teams what's stopping you from playing those games? Well the answer is surely bugger all. I mean I've played Necromunda campaigns long after Games Workshop pulled support, likewise Man o' War, my Elves, Bretonnians and Chaos fleets all sailed long after they'd had their sails trimmed by those at Lenton Lane. So here it is, if you can do that for Games Workshop's specialist games why couldn't we do it with Confrontation or Hell Dorado... seems a bit silly to me to say otherwise. So isn't it about time we stopped trotting out the tired old excuses for not buying into other companies games? If you don't want to buy them because you don't like them then say so. Just please don't tell me Warmachine will die out, and that Flames of War is a flash in the pan, because you'll look like an idiot. Peace out!


  1. You can add Soda-Streams to your "resurrected" list - there's one of the new ones sitting in my kitchen after Helen was given one to review on her blog.

    Sometimes I can understand this attitude - Dropzone Commander looks good, but I'm not buying in without knowing I can get games. I'm lucky in that I have two circles of gamers (one friends, one Warlord) who play a wide variety of games. For those who only get to play at a GW store I can see the concern.

    This is the reason I start skirmish games easily, but not army-level games. I'll give you £50 to play a game for a few months. I'm not giving you £200 unless you show me a lasting product (be that via fun value or company support).

    1. Yep I understand that, but what I'm saying is that's its nonsense. If you can get a group of friends together it doesn't matter, because you have a group of friends playing whatever game it is. Even if it's home brew rules.

    2. That depends. If I convince my dozen-or-so gaming friends to drop £200 each on a game, then it dies not long after, that's not a good situation for me. Yes, I can still get games, but that game is never going to grow or change and I've not got time to redo official rules and hash out the balance with those friends (or at least, not to the satisfaction of all). I've essentially wasted £200 and the money of those I evangelised into the game.

      Sometimes, waiting to see if a game has longevity is a way of trying to judge long-term quality without buying into it. Firestorm, for instance, is a knife-edge game for me - it's rules are pretty shaky, the costing formula is wonky, the models aren't amazing enough to justify purchase without the game, and it has a fairly niche market. If it had been a army-level game I would have waited to see if it made it to the second-edition stage of life. As it is, you can field a half-decent fleet for £50ish quid so I didn't mind taking the risk (though I'd dearly love a second edition). I'm glad I took that risk, but there's no way I would do that again if it had been a £200 buy-in.

    3. Say I take that point Ant. But could you name me a game with a £200 buy in that isn't established already? HoMachine, FoW and... I'm struggling here. Maybe KoW and Warpath, but even there you're talking £100 to £150 tops. Plus if you already have fantasy / sci-fi armies the rules are free. I'm going to say it's bloody rare that there are these games which require a massive initial outlay, and those that do as I say are established and aren't going anywhere.

    4. That's a fair point. Even WFB/40k try to keep the initial buy-in low.

      The only potential example I can think of is Dropzone Commander - given that the statements have indicated "expensive, but shy of GW" and "about the buy-in for a 40k army", that's a fairly expensive game we're talking about. Lots of excitement for it (myself included, though 15mm infantry make me want to scream), but it might be one I wait on to see how the community develops.

    5. I'm going to adopt a wait and see approach with Dropzon Commander in all senses. The miniatures do look splendid, and I've been lucky enough to see them in the flesh at Salute. I'll wait and see what the game plays like, and I'll wait and see what the price is like... but as always if it is a game I like the look of I'll buy a few factions maybe and try to do what I always do... pimp the ass off the thing... you have been fairly warned my good man!!!


    6. If it's good, I'm in. I love the premise, and it's about time futuristic games started to acknowledge the importance of air power their tech would bring.

      You go ahead and buy it, just make sure you find some time to pimp it to me :)

    7. Ant it'll be a pleasure my good man!

  2. Yay for me!
    I play Tyranids and Tau!

    Oh, wait...that needs re-phrasing....
    I USED to play Tyranids and Tau.
    Now I mostly sit around in my own bitter tears, as far as 40k is concerned. It's been so long since I've played I've forgotten the rules.

    1. Yeah I know matey. I feel for you... but hey at least you're playing FoW now... although I read something now about US Shermans being OP somewhere. ;)

    2. Not Shermans...Easy Eights and Jumbo's.
      The Ultimate Rival linked that post in the FoW forums, hence all the 'anon' comments.

    3. lol.

      I was going to comment but I though is I did I'd just exacerbate the situations. I very nearly got my Flame on with some of the comments, but I just about restrained myself as I didn't want to turn yours and Lo's Blog into a war zone. Some of them were very, very touchy though weren't they?

    4. Yeah, they were a tad touchy.
      FoW fanbois, waddayagonnado?

      I always laff at the 'learn 2 play' comments.
      Old school FoW fans have no great love of my opinions. My disinterest in the historical aspect, my complaints about their missions and tournaments, etc.
      You shoulda seen their comments on the forum!
      Hysterical stuff.

    5. I'd rather not buddy, angry forum dwellers bring me out in hives. I just can't be doing with it if I'm honest with you.

  3. I play Tau, and I know that feeling. It's pretty appalling, how GW makes no effort to maintain balance in 40k. I sometimes wish they'd just up and admit that they were squatting the Tau. I could put them in a box and move on.

    One thing you might be forgetting, by the way, is that for a lot of people it's less the fear that the company will drop the game and more that the local meta will drop the game. At least, that's what came up in conversation with a friend when I tried to get him into Infinity. He said he'd seen so many games rise and fall in our area that he wasn't prepared to buy into this "new" game yet. Privateer Press can be a strong company... but if no one in your area plays Warmahordes, that won't do you any good.

    I still think that a lot of players are too cautious by half, especially since you can always take it upon yourself to ensure the survival of a new favorite game. I've already converted several friends to Infinity!

    1. Cautious is OK. Cautious stops people wasting precious funds, and isn't a bad way to be. But when I have had people I know say "I love the look of Infinity and Warmachine, and the rules look good too. But I'm worried they just won't last as game systems" I get so frustrated. They've already 'lasted' in effect. Stop procrastinating and stop missing out on some awesome games you clearly want to play! Arggghhh.

  4. I think the game dying out is just one of many concerns, another being a lack of a group to play somthing, or just limited hobby funds. Now,I've shaken that and am fairly happy to buy into anything that takes my fancy. With mixed success:
    Warzone (bust)
    Void by I-kore (bust)
    Confrontation (disastrous overhaul, bust)
    Warmachine (didn't like it, sold)
    Dark Age (didn't like...died? Now showing signs of life?)
    Infinity (dormant for me at the moment)

    Nowadays, I tend to stick to historicals...

    And yes, soda streams have been resurrected. But is it just nostalgia that makes us want them?

    1. Not too sure Dark Age ever really died actually Phyllion. I know it went a tad quite before the revamp of the rules, but that lull is standard in most games and most companies. Normally because their focus is elsewhere, trying to get their product out of the door!

      Confrontation is the most frustrating for me. There was a product that was killed by bloody idiocy, not because it was starved of customers or money. No it went bust because Rackham was run by criminally insane gibbons with about as much business acumen of George Ratner!!! If you don't know who I'm talking about look him up, I bet he's on Wikipedia under 'idiot'!!!

  5. I think there is also an escalation of commitment at work for some people. People spend alot of both time and money on gw. They don't want their large investement to be in vain.
    For example, I haven't been into this hobby for long. I only have 1000 points of nids. So it was easy for me to cut my losses and search other games. A friend has been playing both 40k and fantasy for years and has several armies for each. It is very difficult to get him to look at other games, because you can't follow everything (I agree btw) and with 6th around the corner, it might only be a small investement to get his Tau up and running again. I have my doubts.

    1. Aeria+Gloris I know, but I feel that in some respects your friend has a valid reason for not trying other things. If he is still enjoying his games, and he is honestly happy why should he look elsewhere? Plus if he has heavily invested in them then they're all valid reasons for not wanting to move onto other games.

      What I'm talking about is when people say to me they don't want to move to other game systems because they 'might die'. What I'm pointing out is that's just nonsense in most cases. I've had plenty of game systems die on me, and most of them have been Games Workshop games. I'm just pointing out that there are games out there now, other than Games Workshop games that are definitely here to stay.

    2. Hmm, you have a point. Looks like I overreacted a bit. It won't stop me from trying to get him to play new games though. Just like he won't stop mailing me pics of fantasy and lord of the rings!

    3. It's a dance my dear chap, and the best way to dance is to decide who the lead is and let them get on with it. ;)

      eventually you will get tired of one and other if you both try to lead. Quite often I let others think they're in charge and I happily go along with their plans. Eventually most realise that I was in charge all along and end up following my lead. :P

    4. I actually believe that having several armies for one system is something that should make it easier to change systems.

      I used to have 5000 points of Dogs of War, and another 5000 points of Vampire Counts (Lahmia-Bretonnian style army) - nicely painted and with a few conversions as well, two armies I built and played with passion. Once upon a time I swore to myself that I would never sell any of my armies since I invested so much passion, time and money into them, but that all changed last year as I sold the above two armies and kept only my High Elves for WHFB. The main reasons were:

      - 8th Edition wasn't as interesting as I had hoped for, and I felt that GW was generally going in a direction that I am not sure I want to follow, marketing the game to younger and younger players, swapping strategy and tactics with "excitement".
      - A lot of interesting non-GW miniatures and systems showed up (or I just started noticing them...), and seemed to be gaining popularity. I was considering starting Malifaux, Infinity or Freebooters Fate, but didn't want to spend any more money.
      - GW models were getting expensive, and GW did not always offer better quality compared to other manufacturers.

      In the end I got the following for my two armies, after some successful selling and trading.
      - Two whole factions for Malifaux, four sets of Teraclips + Clips.
      - One full Freebooters Fate faction + rulebook.
      - Almost a full Infinity faction + rulebooks.
      - About 150 points of Warmachine models + rulebooks etc.
      - About 3000 points of Battlefleet Gothic (the best GW game ever ;)) stuff.
      - Three Zuzzy 4'x4' mats + enough terrain to play most of the above systems effectively.
      - Quite a few Battlefoam bags.
      - A lot of different templates and accessories.

      I played only two WHFB games in the last two years, while I enjoy the other systems on a more or less regular basis. Yes, painting the new stuff is time consuming when you have family and work as well, but since I would've anyway been buying and painting more zombies, ghouls etc., I am quite happy with how things are. It also gives me options to play and switch systems on demand, without really getting bored with any one of them. Quite a few local gamers have also started playing the various games as soon as they saw that there is someone else around to play with.

      I guess what I'm really trying to say is that while GW has it's good and bad points (the letter being more in the spotlight recently), one should keep an open mind and consider how much fun you could get with the same investment in another game system. Even if it dies out in your locality, it was not such a big investment to begin with, and trading has never been easier thanks to the wonders of the internet. You'll probably have to shed a few tears for the time lost painting, but that is a small price to pay now that I look back at the whole thing.

    5. That's something I'll need to learn then ;)

    6. @ Samriel I wish more gamers had your attitude. I've clung onto my WFB Dwarfs just in case I fancy a game or two. Although I'll be honest it's not optimised for 8th Ed and I don't honest;y have the stomach to fiddle with them to make them work better. Actually I might as well sell them. But getting back to your point, I think what you've expressed is a very personal view, you seem to view your investment as investment in fun, so if it's not generating fun for you you're willing to change tack. Others see their investments in armies as investment in the game system, and they feel like 'owners' of that system. That's a very different mind set. Neither is right or wrong, although my own personal viewpoint on these things is way more similar to those expressed by your good self. Thanks for taking the time to comment, you raised some interesting points.

      @Aeria_Gloris, I'd offer you dancing lessons but I have two left feet!!! :P

  6. I was looking at getting into fantasy after years of playing 40k and various other games and was surprised at how much the new[er] editions focused on huge units, massive creatures and warmachines. This put me off as now its looks like a game of warmaster with figures 5 times the size on a board 2 times the size.

    1. yeah, that's a complaint many Fantasy players of old make about the game as it stands now. It might have some of that old DNA still kicking around, but I'm not convinced it's still the 'same game'. If I were to whip out my 5th Ed Wood Elves they'd be hopelessly outmatched nowadays and my army build back then just bears no resemblance to what you're seeing in 8th Edition now.

    2. Both WHFB and 40K have grown out of their original scale; and the sheer number of figures required these days is a little off-putting. I know the popular conspiracy theory is that GW has been reducing point costs to increase sales, but a lot of people were crying for mega-battles, so I'm not altogether convinced that they weren't in some small way responding to customer demand.

      But, that aside I agree with you: these days the figures seem too big and the tables too small for the size of engagement WFHB and 40K now support.

    3. They've both become a cluttered mess. I'm sure both have their moments of entertainment, but hold none for me at the moment. I await with interest what 6th Edition 40k will bring. Methinks it will very much follow the pattern of fantasy, just inserting flying vehicles in the place where big monster are in Fantasy... how predictable... and how very, very dull.

  7. Public concern about game dying out (or being killed off) is one of the major flaws in the Games Workshop business model and has been a problem for a lot of companies that have tried to follow in their footsteps.

    Rules that do not have an accompanying model range, or model ranges that are more or less generic are far less dependent upon ongoing support than rules and models dedicated to a specific IP. Compare Homachine and FoW. If PP goes belly-up there isn't a lot you can do with a Warjack (RPGs maybe). Likewise, if the model range goes OoP players won't be able to expand their forces and new players won't be able to get into the game. So, without PP Homachine seems doomed to whither and die. On the other hand, if Battlefront went out of business there are plenty of other WW2 rules sets that accommodate BF models, and plenty of other manufactures that make figures you could use to play FoW. Therefore, with the exception of allowing easy access to the rules the FoW community could survive and grow without BF. And even if everyone gives up on FoW, FoW armies remain usable.

    Of course for a wargames company the big (comparatively) money isn't in generic figures or rules sets, its in creating a complete package that insulates your products from competitors and simultaneously raises the barrier for entry to other games by limiting or eliminating cross-over.

    1. Well you've summed the conundrum up pretty well for new companies there. Which path to take? I know BF are currently smarting about the Plastic Soldier company and Forged in Battle, but you can't copyright the Sherman tank!!! lol. So as you say it's a double edged sword, but for us gamers there is some stability in it as a business choice, at both ends of the spectrum.

      As for the original IP model, well you're isolated from initial competition and you have control over your product, but as you say if it goes belly up can I really use my Mulg mini in a game of Infinity? Nope. The point is though you won't have to. If you own some Homachine stuff and they went belly up, there are more than enough peopleout there who would be in the same position as you and would help keep the game alive. Just like people keep Blood Bowl and Necromunda still going.

      Plus in the case of most games I feel it's a moot point. PP, BF, Wyrd and Corvus Belli don't appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Certainly not in the case of the first three, Corvus Belli seem sound at the moment, but given the perilous state of the Spanish economy you never know what might be in store for them. It could be something entirely different to them not selling mini's that could scupper their business plan right now.

  8. Another related issue is of games changing (though, of course, this isn't specifically a non-GW issue). Me and a couple of mates used to play Void back when I-Kore were a company still, and we enjoyed it. It played quite differently to 40K, and the miniatures were nice. I took an extended period of time away from gaming as you know, and Void was one of the games I looked at recently to see about getting back in to.

    Turns out that the game has been given a complete makeover. The rules are still basically the same, but it has a new name and has been split into two games with different rules to support different size battles. Not only that, but the miniature range has been restyled in a way I don't like, and the factions have been expanded with some quite unimaginative new ones that don't fit the original feel of the game.

    All in all, I'd essentially have to re-buy into a new game.

    1. Yeah, it's certainly not a GW only affliction. I-Kore is an interesting one, although I never got involved with them because I never got the sense they were 100% sure where they were going. I still don't you know. I also agree with you with regards their changing product line, I'm not convinced.

  9. Ahh, the joys of dead-systems...

    Battletech: Just recently started the game, missed it the first and second time around.
    A friend said, he wanted to play a giant robot game like BattleTech... we had look at different games, but they just didn't light the fire. We looked back at BattleTech and the next thing I remember was ordering a ton of mech lead... We even introduced new players and started a mercenary campaign.

    Helldorado: still playing, gets better with practice. The minis and the background are way cool. Beats a lot of other Fantasy games.

    Sky Galleons of Mars: still playing the game, even if the company went the way of the dodo.

    Star Wars D6 (Westend Games RPG): A treasure trove of sourcebooks, adventure modules and stories... we tried out the newer D20 (now OoP, too) and it killed our Star Wars gaming enthusiasm faster, than you can say "classes & levels"... went back to D6 and everybody is fine again.

    As you can see, "dead game" is a misleading term: Games are notoriously hard to kill... people are still playing Senet after 4500 years (okay truth be told - the rules had to be re-imagined, because somebody managed to loose the last copy in existence).

    As long as we play 'em, they won't die.

    1. I use the term endangered and extinct when discussing games, but I'm guessing those phrases aren't heard in the wider gaming community lexicon, which is shame because I think I'm awesome and have describe the situation far better!!! But then again I would because I'm a narcissistic :P

      An endangered game is a game that is no longer produced or supported by the original parent company or any other company. Instead it's up to the community to 'preserve' it and do 'conservation' work. That's where Blood Bow;, Necromunda and the games you discuss probably sit.

      Extinct games are just that. Games that have no support from a parent company or the community. These are actually really quite rare. Hopefully these two additions to our gaming language repertoire will take off... although I doubt it.

    2. Finer distinctions have a habit of being too complicated for the "crowd"...

      But you never know maybe your (insert adjective of unconditional approval) definitions will take off... .

      The bottom line for me remains the same: Every game that manages to attract someone who cares to play it survives.

      How can we (the gaming community at large) help those endangered specimen?

      1. Making our voices heard... the companies should know that there are players out there...

      2. Get over the angst of starting a game that may "die". In the words of Alfred Adler: "The chief danger in life is that you may take too many precautions."

      Maybe you should start a gaming lexicon site?

    3. Yeah and they might not take off because they're also rather crap!!! :P

      Nope I think you're right and I'd certainly support any of the games that I'm playing now if they ever went on to fade or lose support from their parent companies, because I think they're worth the effort. I think the getting over the initial hurdle of taking the plunge is the biggest things hobbyists can do. It's so funny to hear a room of 15 gamers all say they want to play a specific game, but they're all worried they won't get a game or it might die out... o.0

      Seriously that happened. WTF. Was my response... "look around" I said "if there are 15 of you wanting to get into the game that's at least 14 other opponents you'll have if you all agree to do it together". Just seems a bit funny to me, sometimes a group just needs a few early adopters.

  10. Huzzah, and much love from me! I agree with everything you've said. I've seen games come and go, mostly from GW. Still one of my favorite bloggers. Preach on brother, preach on!

    1. Why thank you, I do try my best... and as long as their are Sunday's I'll try to be here and preaching some nonsense about something or other.

  11. Most other companies don't come out with game after game just to tread the waters. DP9 realized that years ago and reformatted themselves down to only a couple games instead of 10+. Even PP doesn't really support their games outside of WarmaHordes since you can look at Monsterpocalypse and see that it is mostly fan supported. The difference between GW and other companies though is that other companies tend to be far more supportive of fans taking the reigns and running with them.

    GW will easily let a game flop over and die, but heaven help you if you try to get a fan site made for that game, as their will be a swarm of attorneys and Cease and Desist orders on your doorstep. This makes getting official documents much harder then it is for other games. Strangely enough, this drives players to more 'less then legal' methods to obtain those documents then if GW never stepped foot in the first place. Look at how the Warhammer Quest Museum and how GW ordered them to remove all official documents from their website or close the website down entirely. Now that leaves players without access to those official character modules like the Elven Ranger, Witch Hunter, or Chaos Warrior unless those people already had the rules, wanted to torrent the rules, or simply not want to grow the game beyond what was in the box.

    Companies should be proud if they get a fanbase strong enough to keep the legacy of a game going, but GW goes out of their way to make sure the exact opposite happens to their 'sidelined' games.

    1. I'd say amen... but I'm the preacher here!!! On yer bike!!! :P

      I think the attitude of GW towards the guys who were trying to keep Blood Bowl alive was partly understandable and at the same time just so OTT.

      Here were a group of fans who loved their product and were willing to devote an insane amount of their personal spare time to a project that GW didn't want to do. I'd say let them do the hard work for free and live off of the spin-off sales they were generating. But GW wanted the game dead and forced them into further and further extremes to the point that they were forcing some enthusiasts into doing some legally iffy things. Doesn't make any sense... unless you live in Lenton Lane.

  12. this time i dont understand your sermon

    It is a common, known and accepted strategy from GW since at least 20 years ...
    Back to the future ? Ok ... 1993

    In 1996 (we will see 1993 after) i was visiting a friend who was working in GW France stocking area. He told me ... "you want to see something crazy ?" ... we just enter in a small room full of box and blister from the greatest of the so called "Specialist" game ... "Mano'war"

    Mano'war was released in 1993 ... two extension one in 1993 and other in 1994. The game was popular, best selling ... and the incredible
    is that even after 1 year ... the sells were still higher than WHB and W40K ..
    And then they stop ...
    Stop Demonstration in shop
    Stop Article in WD
    Stop promotion in shop
    They ask to not release stock for other shops and finally few months after for their own shops ! GW simply kills the game.

    Specialist games ... which i will rename "Short Live Games" is just a marketing strategy. These games are just tie-in product to attract new costumers. And this strategy is efficient ... looks around ... "who begin with a "short live game" ?

    Short live game must be
    - Simplier
    - Well writen (in term of rules)
    - Cheaper (for the minis)
    I dont call this "Specialist", i just call this "Better Game" and that's the weak point.

    Confrontation was created by guys who have worked at different levels with GW France. They took the success of Necromunda ... and what about
    "First ... can we skirmish in heroic fantasy" ?

    If you want to challenge GW ... dont create a Warhammer ... create a Space Hulk, create a Necromunda, create a GorkaMorka ... that's my rule

    1. Well I'm pretty happy with this sermon, because everyone else gets it. lol.

      The point is simple. People often tell me they don't want to try Infinity, Warmachine or Fow... almost any other game because they're scared it will die. Yet many of these same people still play Blood Bowl and brought Dreadfleet. My point is they're used to a company (GW) regularly killing games off, yet they buy their stuff. So this fear and anxiety issue many gamers have is a false one.

      Also I take issue with your selective reappraisal of GW history. Man o' War was never meant to be a short terms sales bump, in fact none of the GW Specialist Games were ever intended to be that. Having known people who worked on those games and at specialist games at GW the intention was actually to launch these different games get them popular then step away and allow fans to drive them while supporting them.

      The issue came about when it was felt certain specialist games were causing problems for their main lines. Man o' War for instance was very, very popular. But a game could easily take 3 to 4 hours to play. In a GW store on a games night that meant an entire table was tied up with 1 game. the same was true of BFG. That's why they took them out of the stores and tried killing them. They were cheaper to collect for AND that impacted on their main product lines. They weren't cash cows, they were viewed as hobby retention tools. Keeping people invested in GW if they got bored of 40k or Fantasy.

      It's only very recently that GW have moved back to specialist games of a sort with the re-release of Space Hulk and Dreadfleet. It is important when looking back at events that we don't allow current opinions and perceived wisdom to colour our understanding of them. GW really did support specialist games very, very heavily for a very long time. They even threw some of their big guns at it like Jervis Johnson, Andy Chambers and Jake Thornton. You don't do that if you're not serious about it as an endeavor.

      Hope that clears it up for you. Cheers :)

    2. dont worry we are on the same side

      And concerning changing game ..

      For a new game it is far more difficult to find the 20 first players than increase player base from 100 to 200 ...

    3. lol.

      It wasn't about sides, I was just taking my time to explain where I stand on the issue because I felt I might not have made it clear enough for you.

      That's all


  13. I also quite like the challenge or the rush when you find one of these Old Games at a Bring-and Buy or in a local charity shop. In my case it is usually a matter of "I use to have this game 10/20/30 years ago - it would be great to see if it was actually as good as I remember!

    Strangely the old games that I have once owned and now sold - the ones that are either too rare or too expensive are the ones I have the fondest memories of.


    1. It's often the way... they, whoever 'they' are, often say absence makes the heart grow fonder. I'm guessing the same is true of board games and wargames.

  14. Some time ago, I took the stance that if I really liked the models for a system, I'd pick up a small force, and hopefully another small force of another faction for the same game, regardless of having opponents. Then, at some point they'd get painted, and at some point, I'd get a chance to get those models on the table.

    I've played with at least 16 different gaming clubs over the 25 years I've been a gamer, ranging from half-a-dozen guys in a basement, to the 1st Company Veterans at Warhammer World, and I expect I'll have played with more before the heart attack gets me. And in those clubs, I expect to find folk who'll play me at my old, dead games.

    I do have an awful lot of unpainted lead/plastic/resin, and for a number of defunct systems (I painted a Nurgle Man-o-War fleet a couple of years ago, and I was painting BFG cruisers last night), but it keeps me happy. And, if I can't get a game of the original, dead, game, I can always use the models in a more universal system, like Gruntz, Hordes of the Things, Giant Monster Rampage, Song of Blades and Heroes, or whatever.

    1. I'll still play games if I have the stuff and people want to play it. I'll try and keep games alive if I can... but hey even my pimping skills fail sometimes.

  15. It seems I'm attracted to potentially dead games.

    My collection of Vor: The Maelstrom, Cell's 1999, Void, Necromunda and Inquisitor looks a little sad, wanting to be fielded again, but I no longer have opponents. Sadly they are mostly painted and the armies I do use need a lot of painting hours :(

    I'll keep trying games I fancy the minis... once they are dead is a pain in the ass to get the minis I like... been hunting on ebay for years! and when you get something you wanted it's probably painted with enamels yo need to scrub.

    1. That's not a great skill to have. lol.

      Now if you don't mind never play Infinity, Heavy Gear Blitz, Freebooter's Fate or anything else I like. :P

      Honestly I think it's the times you were living in with those games. Right now the industry feels a hell of a lot different. I'm not sure many of the games that are around now are going anywhere soon.

  16. Sometimes a game dying can be the best thing for a game.

    Look at it this way: when a game dies, it is free. From that moment on, it is free to:
    * Stay the same: if your group likes it as it is, you can keep it without the owning company making 'official' new rules that ruin what you like about it.
    * Be changed as you see fit. You, or your group, or the wider internet community, can take the game where they want it. Granted, you can do that with any game at any point, but it is much easier when a game is 'dead' because the official company isn't making official rules, that other people you meet may not accept your changes because they can't get past the thought that 'official' actually means anything.. which of course it really doesn't, but that's a different issue.

    Both Blood Bowl and Epic are great examples of communities taking a dead game to new heights and developing the game further. I really believe that if GW had not abandoned these games that it would have done much more damage to them, maybe truly killing the games than any official death certificate did. GW has a pattern of making changes for the sake of change (for the sake of profit) that improving the game doesn't appear to be a concern. But people who love the games and are motivated by fun don't do this.

    And like Fiendil above, I like the idea of 'generic' game systems that you can can easily use whatever minis you like or have. If one game dies, the minis can find new life in other games. I converted some khador warjacks to be walkers in a VSF army. They could also make great vehicles in 15mm sci-fi and I've seen them as titans in epic. So even the most IP specific games can have their minis find homes in other games.

    1. I'm giving this one an amen. The only problem with dead games is motivating people to play them - sometimes it seems a rate of new releases is needed to hook people's interests. Which is weird, given everything that Ferret just said in re: the stability and potential for ownership in 'dead' games. *sigh* Viva Warmaster!

    2. @Laughing ferret, I agree. But you have to have a solid group of firends willing to keep it alive. Otherwise you end up being that weird guy at conventions trying to convice people to play Ultrameganippletron Warmageddon 3... I never want to be THAT guy!!!

      @Von, Warmaster rocked... but le sigh... no one brought it despit it being awesome.

  17. God this article brought back memories.
    And me and some of the chaps still break out our (slightly tattered) copies of Warhammer Quest now and again for an ongoing campaign that frequently descends into the silly (remember those Hazard tables?). In fact, getting back into Quest is what led me to Maelstrom and their Banelegions as I was after a decent stand in for the Brettonian knight and just couldn't find anything that looked suitable grim & 'Warhammer'....

    I still harbour a pipe dream that GW might give WQ the Space Hulk 'big box' treatment, and stuff it with some of the lovely plastics from the last few years. Unlikely I know, but I can dream!

    1. It's not jut you who harbours dreams that GW will see sense and re-release a version of Warhammer Quest. In fact I think they could release a 'living bestiary' for teh game to support it and produce compatible profiles for their entire miniatures range. It would spark some sales in their Fantasy line of miniatures I bet.

      Alas I'm not so sure they'd spend the money to do it or even want to.

  18. As a newbie, I was looking for games that sparked my interest and even though they are pre-painted I believe (which I think spoils part of the hobby for me) Mosterpocalypse was a worthy game!

    Until I found out that even though PP havent announced it, everyone is saying it is dead.

    Now that wouldnt bother me so much as myself and the missus could spend forever gaming with whatever has been released.
    Except some of the earlier minis are being sold second hand for a fair bit as there is the assumption that no more shall be produced.

    And that just made me want to leave it the hell alone. As it would probably only get worse.

    Sad times.

    1. Hmmm...

      That's an interesting one. As far as I'm aware Monsterapocalypse is currently being re-done. Or that was very much what I'd been led to believe. I could of course be wrong, but I thought that after they'd sorted out Iron Kingdoms they were going to look at relaunching Monsterapocalypse.

      However, the point about getting into a dead game is a difficult one. Some games die and then their is a fire sale of stuff. Confrontation went through this. Other games die, and then people discover it years later and realise they missed out and demand far outstrips supply. Man o' War being a key one. Certain ships that coast around £5 now go online for upwards of £40 on ebay.

      I'm going to say it very much depends on the game. The point I was making though is that if a game dies when you've already got a little community playing it and you all have your miniatures and stuff then I'm going to say why let it die? If you enjoy the game then keep on playing it is the message I'd give people.