Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Hawk Wargams Dropzone Commander Launch


  
Could this be the next recognised brand name tin the Industry?

Well I guess Dropzone Commander from Hawk Wargames has been one of the most anticipated launches of recent years in our hobby. Definitely for a new game from a new company. Certainly it's one of the launches that I myself have been most anticipating, probably because I caught a glimpse of the miniatures at Salute 2012 and thought they looked superb, but beyond that not much was really known. So when the website went live on the 8th June there was bound to be a big response, and the response was always going to be interesting to watch. Prior to the launch Dave Lewis, the one man dynamo it seems behind Hawk Wargames had said the miniatures would be comparable in price to the products released by Games Workshop. Given how happy everyone is with them right now over prices, that wasn't possibly the wisest thing to be saying. Perhaps the first full-time employee of Hawk Wargames needs to be a PR Manager. But, depending on the quality of the miniatures, and indeed the amount you need to play Dropzone Commander then that comment could be quite frankly be really reasonable, or outrageously expensive... you see without some contextual information such statements like that are meaningless, and will only serve to cause more 'debate' not less.

Wonderful evocative scenery, giving off a sci-fi B-Movie vibe.

So yes, the website launching has at least answered some pretty important questions for people. In fact I'm just going to post a link to the FAQ on their site, as I'm sure it'll answer some questions for you. The most obvious question the site answered though being about price. Now there's been a bit of discussion on various Blogs and Forums as to whether the cost of the miniatures is worth it, and whether the game has been priced out of the reach for many. Is it too expensive? Is it about right? Well nobody really knows as we actually still know bugger all about the game, or indeed the physical quality of the miniatures. It's only once reviewers like me get them in their hands, and you guys see them for yourselves in the shops that you'll really be able to judge what you think. Judging a product with so little information just seems a little bit unfair to me and foolish in the extreme. I'll be honest some of the prices have raised my eyebrows, considerably so, and others seem comparable to other game systems. Here, let me break down the price banding a bit more:

Troops - these are from £8 to £12 ($12.50US to $18.50US) for between four to six stands of 10mm troops between, which is between 12 and 30 troops cast in white metal. I'm going to be brutally honest here, I think the asking price looks a little bit on the steep side. Especially when you compare it to other companies, For instance Dream Pod 9 sell a single 10mm trooper at an average of 31p, while the average Dropzone Commander 10mm trooper costs 51p. Obviously that's not including a quality comparison, but I'm more than happy with the quality of my Heavy Gear Blitz troopers, on the face of it though it seems a bit expensive. As others have pointed out you can actually find 10mm miniatures even more reasonably priced, at around 16p per trooper. No matter what way you slice it Dropzone Commanders infantry options look a little bit on the steep side, and without seeing the rules to the game we're not really sure how many we'll be required to buy to play a standard game. Any way, currently each race seems to have two infantry options. The United Colonies of Man have the Colonial Legionnaires at £12 for 30 troops (6 bases of 5 troops) and the Praetorians at £9 for 20 troops (4 bases of 5 troops). The Scourge have Warriors at £12 for 30 troops (6 bases of 5 troops) and Razor Worms at £12 for 18 troops (6 bases of 3 troops). The Post Human Republic have the Immortals at £9 for 20 troops (4 bases of 5 troops), and the Siren Corps at £8 for 12 troops (4 bases of 3 troops). Finally the Shaltari Tribes have the Braves at £9 for 12 troops (4 bases of 3 troops) and the Firstborns at £9 for 12 troops (4 bases of 3 troops).


Land Vehicles - Now while I can sort of understand the ruckus over the price of the Infantry in the game, I'm not so sure I get the complaints about the price of the land vehicles, I really, really don't. People have been saying these are 10mm miniatures, like that actually means anything, with the vehicles it's about the size of them relative to other miniatures, and for me the tanks that I've seen are roughly similar in size to Heavy Gear Blitz tanks, and not all that much smaller than Flames of War based 15mm tanks, and in some cases they're actually significantly bigger. So considering you can get as many as 3 decent sized 10mm tanks for £11 I'm going to say we're talking a fair price here. In fact going on what I saw at Salute I'm calling it very reasonable. For instance the United Colonies of Mankind have 7 Land Vehicle options, ranging from 4 Wolverine Scout Buggies for £7.50 to 1 Kodiak ACV for £11, that all averages out to about £4.20 a vehicle. The Scourge currently have 6 Land Vehicle options, ranging from £9 for 8 Prowlers up to £11 for various two tank type options, this averages out at about £3 per vehicle, although to be fair those Prowlers really bring the average down. A more accurate average would be £4.30. Meanwhile the Post Human Republic have a veritable smörgåsbord of options available to them, from 7 options for large bipedal walkers at around £5.25 per miniature, to small tanks at around £5 per miniature, there are also the Janus Scout Walkers that work out to about £2.50 per miniature. From what I saw at Salute this year, that's actually cheaper than I expected them to be. Where many of the naysayers for prices have turned there attentions, as far as land vehicles go, though are the Shaltari Tribes, and more specifically their Warstriders. The Jaguar, Ocelot and Coyote Warstriders all cost £11.50 for one miniature, and when coupled with people thinking '10mm', that seems to have made certain people apoplectic with rage, but yet again they're thinking scale not size. These things are about 5cm tall and fairly long and wide too, in short they're way bigger than your average 28mm or 32mm miniature, and when you look at it like that I think its a pretty darn good price. Meanwhile the various Shaltari tanks come in at around £3 per tank, again very reasonable in my humble opinion.

One of those Shaltari Warstriders I mentioned.

Air Vehicles - Yet again I've heard many people wail and moan about the price of the Air Vehicles in Dropzone Commander. People have likened the price of such vehicles to ridiculous. Hmm really? A bit dramatic perhaps? Some have even gone further and suggested that Forge Worlds Aeronautica Imperialis miniatures are far better priced. So are they? Well comparing the the United Colonies of Mankind Seraphim Strike Figheter at £11 to the similarly sized Imperial Thunderhawk Gunship at £19 I think yet again the argument of the detractors falls down a bit on a one on one comparison. Yet again we don't know exactly how much stuff Dropzone Commander will require us to purchase to play the game... but for now I'm going to say I think it all seems relatively fair as a one to one comparison. Any way the United Colonies of Mankind have three options in the Air Vehicle category, the Archangel Interceptors at £11 for 2 vehicles, the Falcon Gunships at £10 for 2 vehicles and the aforementioned Seraphim Strike Fighter at £11 for 1 vehicle. The Scourge also have 3 Air Vehicle options,  but in many respects their options aren't really comparable to the United Colonies options. For starters there's the positively huge Desolator weighing in at 11cm or thereabouts at £17.50, and then at the other extreme you have the Minder Swarm at £12 for 8 miniatures, which works out at £1.50 per miniature. They do also have the Corsair Fighters, which come in packs of 2 for £10.

The Corsair Fighters for the Scourge

Moving onto the Post Human Republic, they currently only have the one Air Vehicle option, The Athena Air Superiority Fighter, which is £10 for a single 8cm long miniature. You can see it pictured above and to the left, at the start of this section. The Shaltari Tribes have 2 Air Vehicle options, the first is the Warspear Heavy Fighter at £8 for a single miniature and the second option is the Thunderbird Gunships at £11 for 2 miniatures. All in all I'm going to say I personally feel the cost of the various Air Vehicles doesn't look too bad if you look at it a bit deeper, certainly not on an individual miniature basis.

Dropships - Yep, finally I make it to the eponymous Dropships, the USP if you will of Dropzone Commander, and the things that Dave Lewis the games creator says will set the game apart from many other games currently on the market. I think it's fair to say that some of the prettiest miniatures from the range are definitely in amongst the Dropships. The size of the various options though do vary quite a bit, from exceedingly large Heavy Dropships Like the Scourges Despoiler to the Light Dropships like the Post Human Republics Triton A2 Strike Dropships. So in reality there are 3 classes of Dropship, Light, Medium and Heavy, while the Shaltari Tribes do things a little differently, which I'll discuss a bit later. The United Colonies of Mankind Dropships are the Albatross Heavy Dropship (£19), the Condor Medium Dropship (£11), the Raven Type-A Light Dropship (£10.50 for 2) and the Raven Type-B Light Dropship (£10 for 2). The Scourge have the Despoiler Heavy Dropship (£20), the Marauder Medium Dropshi (£10), the Intruder Alpha Light Dropship (£10.50 for 2) and the Intruder Beta Light Dropship (£10.50 for 2).

I absolutely love the Aliens Colonial Marines look of the UCM stuff.

The Post Human Republic also follow the trend of having three classes of Dropship, they have the Poseidon Heavy Dropship (£19), which happens to be one of my favourite miniatures in the whole range, the Neptune Medium Dropship (£11) and also a very sexy miniature, the Triton A1 Strike Dropship (£12 for 2) and finally the Triton A2 Strike Dropship (£11 for 2). Moving on to the Shaltari Tribes, they seem to do things very differently, their options are called 'gates', which are actually teleporters rather than the Dropships used by the other 3 factions, and they do look pretty unique and physically different too. I'm not too sure how differently they'll play in the game, but I'll be interested to find out if they are significantly different in function to the other races, and if so how this impacts upon the game balance, if at all. They still come in the same 3 classes, so we have the Gaia Heavy Gate (£18.50), Eden Medium Gate (£10.50) and the Spirit Light Gate (£10.50). They do look splendid in my humble opinion and I hope they work a bit differently in the game to dropships, but don't unhinge things.

How Halo does that look? Dave has done a great job selling his 'universe'.

I'm going to admit that if more were known about the game I'd probably be writing a 'Game the Intrigues me' article, but as it is not much is really known at all. Aside from the fact that most of the miniatures look gorgeous we really know sod all about the game. All I can go on is what I saw with my own eyes at Salute 2012, and what has been posted on the Hawk Wargames website, and the answers Dave himself gave on a recent Q&A session on Facebook, it's a long read but if you're interested in the game it might be worth checking out. I have asked Dave for a demo game / playtest of the current rules, and he indicated he'd be up in Birmingham at some point and he'd arrange something with me then. I've also asked him if he'd mind answering some questions with regards to the rules and he indicated he would be in a position to do just that shortly, so hopefully I'll be able to give you all more concrete answers answers to your questions soon. For now though here are some things I've gleaned from the FAQ's and the answers Dave gave on the Facebook Q&A:

  • Gameplay - The game uses D6's and alternating activations. There's also a 'Battle group' structure to army building. Games are said to last around 2 to 3 hours depending on size of game, mission and familiarity of the players with the rules. The game is scenario based, and Dave believes the game should suit tournament type play. There are also command deck cards for each race, which apparently add some tactical spice. I'm going to hazard a guess that they might be somewhat similar to those used by Spartan Games products.
  • Army lists - Well this is a bit of a mixed bag if I'm honest with you. Dave hasn't really intimated what the normal sized game will comprise of yet. We have the vague answer to 'look at the Army deals' to see what games sizes will be like. So you can see the UCM Army deals Here, the Scourge Army Deals Here, the PHR Army Deal Here and the Shaltari Army deals Here. But, Dave has told us the Army deals aren't based around points and are more about giving each faction a similar number of miniatures... so... how long is a piece of string? People seem to be suggesting that the Large and Premium Large army deals are the average sized game. So that's £140 to £170, if that's all you need I guess it's actually pretty reasonable.
  • Scenery - Well this is something that so many games fail miserably to be clear on. Looking at the picture of Dropzone Commander on the Hawk Wargames website they seem quite dense, but as we know that can just be for show. Dave has said the game will play fine on a 4' by 4' board, but will play better on a 6' by 4' board. Pretty standard wargames sizes now. The whole scenery issue is very up in the air though. Dave has said the game can be played on an open table, but it's not designed for that, he's also said you can play with about 3 buildings and some line of sight blocking scatter terrain, but that he himself has been playing with 10 buildings. Some clarity and pictures of actual games in play on boards would be really awesome.
  • Modular Buildings - Speaking of the scenery Dave has intimated that the buildings we've all seen in the pictures are fully modular and that there are 10 different building types or designs to choose from when they're released. It will apparently all be available later this year... but no clue as to prices yet.
  • Future Expansion - Obviously Dave is trying his hardest to get what he has already revealed out of the door as rapidly as he can and I'm guessing he'll be trying very hard to keep up with demand initially... but he has intimated that there is at least 1 other race in current development, and that we haven't yet seen all the options for the current races.

In some respects Dave at Hawk Wargames has given us a lot of information, but clearly he's not given enough information to judge the product properly. There has obviously been a focus on the pretty miniatures and the 'battle scenes' Dave has created, as visuals are clearly the strong suit of the game so far... it is pretty! That could be a very shrewd move, but I think it's far more likely that it's just a necessary move as he's a one man band trying to launch a game that's gained far more coverage, and notoriety than I think even Dave would have envisioned in his wildest dreams.

The cityscapes show thus far are simply awesome looking.

It is both an enviable position to be in and a pain in the backside I'm sure. When Dave turned up to Salute 2012 I'm sure he knew there was going to be some serious interest in what he had produced, I'm sure he knew his miniatures were highly attractive. I'm just not so sure he was prepared for how intense the interest was going to be, and thus how intense the scrutiny was going to be. While I'm sure he wouldn't swap his current position for anything in th world, he has created a bit of a rod for his own back. Obviously he had to show his product to the world at some point, and Salute 2012 was almost certainly the best opportunity for him to do that, and it almost certainly created a huge buzz. However, he's not currently in a position to actually show us anything concrete of the game at all, and that's regrettable. I criticised a certain big industry player a few months back now for putting a game up for pre-order as a limited edition run, without telling anyone what the game was about or like. That very same criticism can be levelled here at Hawk Wargames.

The Post Human Dropships are my favourite.

I fully appreciate Dave will need to start selling miniatures soon to pay for his nigh on 2 year investment into Dropzone Commander, but realistically it amounts to the same sort of blind buy without an inkling of what the rules actually look like on the table. There is clearly a balance to be struck between giving information starved gamers too much information and swamping them to the point of decision paralysis... and giving too little information and frustrating them. I can appreciate that Dave is working his ass off right now, he must be, and I can see that with the website finally up, the FAQs and the Facebook Q&A session he really truly is trying his bloody hardest to get the information out there as quickly as he can and be open and honest about things. But, without those rules or a battle report or something he's opened himself up to a fair old amount of criticism from gamers who are now getting used to having this sort of information from Games Workshops competitors. He has said he's considering providing some free quickstart rules for download, and that would be a wise move I think, and I'd heartily endorse such a move.

I love the ruined civilisation look of the Scourge pictures.

As for where I stand on the Dropzone Commander debate? Well I'd hope after reading all of that you'd know by now! I loved the miniatures when I first saw them, as more and more pictures have been released there has been nothing to actually change my opinion that this is indeed a beautiful range of miniatures, that Dave should feel rightly proud of, especially as he's responsible for sculpting every single one of them. I personally love the look of all the races, my favourites being the Post Humans and the Shaltari, but I have a real soft spot for the United Colonies too and despite what many people say about them, I dig the B-Movie vibe of the Scourge as well. I can see the justifications of the criticisms of price people have made, especially with regards to the infantry choices, but on the whole I think the range compares favourably with similar scaled products, although of course we still aren't entirely sure how much of it we'll need for an average game. I want to see the rules before I judge the game, I'll be honest if I was employed and had the money the shinies would probably be enough to entice me and I'd already have large Post Human and Shaltari forces myself, but I'm not in that position right now, and will need to see the game and almost certainly get some more work soon before I even contemplate it, but yes I'm intrigued. Peace out!

83 comments:

  1. Whilst as you know my typical reaction to games of all varieties is 'eh?', that scenery is amazeballs. Would love to know how they did it!

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    1. The scenery is actually made by Hawk Games and will be modular terrain that you'll be able to buy. God only knows what the price will be like for it though. Could be anything from £10 per building to £100 right now. We simply just don't know. All will become a little bit clearer hopefully shortly.

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    2. Per the updated FAQ Dave had this to say about the scenery:
      "When will the modular resin scenery be available?

      The high quality modular resin buildings will be out later in the year (going into moulds right now!) We'll also be producing other scenery at lower price points (and probably earlier), since buildings are important in the game and you shouldn't have to invest a lot in scenery if you don't want to!"

      So while that doesn't address what the cost will be exactly, it suggests to me that Dave is cognizant that he'll need to produce something at a price point that will entice folks to purchase the terrain. That said, the scale is close to N-Scale trains so I need to do some research to see what there is out there in that scale that would be suitable or easily converted for a 10mm sci-fi game.

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    3. Yeah I rread that before I posted the article. As I said it could still be anywhere from £10 to £100 per-building. There isn't any information so sadly no one can really comment with any certainty. So until I see prices and how many the game really needs I'm not really going to say anything one way or the other. Except to say the buildings I've seen so far look splendid.

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    4. I really like the ruined building shots. More than any other those grabbed my attention. If nothing else about this game I will give props to Dave for his dedication to the game and single handily sculpting every model and every piece of terrain for this game. That is quite an achievement.

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    5. Beasts of War said they'd asked about the buildings and they're resin tiles over a foam board cube. That way you can stack the tiles up to make massive skyscrapers or mix designs to add variety. Sounds good and pretty easy.

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    6. Absolutely, and I've said as much in the article multiple times. He can be very proud of what he has achieved thus far and I do really hope it pays off for him, I really do.

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    7. @Jabba, I know... but we still don't know how much!!! :P

      That's the real question, and the one most people would like answered. I guess it's great for Dave that so many people desperately want to know even more about his product. I guess if everyone had shrugged their shoulders and gone 'meh' he'd be fair more concerned... they haven't, quite the opposite it has just fueled the curiosity even more!!!

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  2. Nice article!

    Damn cool design.
    I will buy.Question is how much points I should buy.
    Maybe I should read rule book first.

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    1. I think those are the questions people are asking all around the globe Sir Motor, not just in Japan.

      The rules and average game size will determine much for most people. If I were employed I'd already have brought the Shaltari Mega Deal and the PHR Mega deal... and I'd no doubt be eying up the UCM and Scourge too.

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  3. Your conclusion is exactly my thoughts at the moment. Rulebook is £15RRP which I'm perfectly happy to "throw away" to have a read and a few proxy games to see if I want to buy an army or 4.

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    1. Yep, if I get some dosh I'll probably try to pick up the rulebook myself. Have a bit a look through it and see what I think. I sort of collect rulebooks any way... because I'm a nerd!!!

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    2. Its nice to know I'm not the only person who collects rulebooks. Much to the chagrin of my wife.

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    3. Tell her it's better than being an alcoholic wife beater... just.

      :P

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  4. I like the look of the models and the price seems better than I had feared. But indeed, both the rules and the 'normal' gamesize will be the deciding factor.

    I do know that it'll either be this or Heavy Gear Blitz.
    Giant mecha or dropships.. Decisions, decisions..

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    1. Well for me HGB is a known quantity and I love giant robots and hover tanks. So HGB is always going to be in my gaming repertoire and I'm guessing from the sounds of things Dropzone Commander will play very differently to HGB any way.

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    2. True, I'm not implying they play the same way.

      The problem is that lately I've been buying alot of hobby things and it's just not sustainable anymore, so the time is coming to make some choices I fear. Not to say, I'll never play the 'other game' but it'll be a while.

      With Heavy Gear Blitz the whole thing just sort of fits (I do love me some mechs). But since so little is known about Dropzone Commander at the moment, I'm giving it the benefit of the doubt.

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    3. Unfortunately, it's an either or thing for me as well (HGB v DzC). I just don't have the time or money for all the games out there now.

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    4. @Aeria_Gloris and neither was I, and nor was I suggesting you were. I was just pointing out the two games are likely to play very differently, and as such for me, if I have the money I might make room for both.

      @Goreshade, I can understand with many people it being an either or situation. Especially when cost is considered / factored in. While neither game looks to be as expensive as say either of Games Workshops main games both nevertheless do sort of require an outlay by the looks of things of around £150 to £200 for a force.

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  5. I love the look, while I am not looking to jump into a new game system at the moment, I don't see any problem with picking up the rules....Oh and I love the PHR and Scourge.
    This is new for me, because I am usually always "Earth First!" Screw the alien baddes but, they caught my eye.

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    1. Well I'm not so sure there is an Earth First faction any way. The Scourge forced humans from earth centuries ago in the fluff I believe. They then became the PHR or UCM. So no earth human faction... in fact that arguably makes the Scourge the Earth First faction.

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  6. I was only keeping an eye on it to scour vehicles for my 15mm armies, and honestly, those prices are a bit much for that.

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    1. Where do you get your 15mm vehicles from PMMDJ?

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  7. Thanks for a very interesting, balanced viewpoint. Food for thought.

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    1. Well I do try to keep things balanced. I'm excited to see the mini's and I'm excited for the game in general. I think the prices on some things are a bit more than I'd have liked, but on the whole aren't as bad as some are making out. However, there is a slight lack of useful information with regards the rules.

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  8. I felt better about pre-ordering once I found out the WarStore here in the US was carrying the line. I plan to get a UCM starter and a rule book. The minis should be fun to paint and if I like the rules I'll invest in some PHR. If not, I'll just it off and move on. It looks like a game changer though...

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    1. I was very pleased to see that the Warstore would be carrying the line. The cost is definitely up there and it is certainly higher than I had hoped. That said I really like the models enough that I am willing to take a risk and pre-order the rulebook and one of the smaller starter sets. Now to figure out if I'll pre-order the Shaltari or the PHR.

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    2. For me the look of the mini's have sold themselves and I hope for Dave's sake given the clear amount of time he's invested that it does work out well for him. But when money is tight you don't want to spend your limited resources on a product that might play rubbish. As to it being a game changer? Well maybe, that's been said of many projects and games before, and while they've all had their places and chipped away at the GW hegemony none could really be described as a game changer... not even HoMachine!

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  9. It is awesome, but it´s expensive...Investment of +/- 180 pounds + scenery for a new game to try is a lot.
    Here in CZ it´s practically GW monopoly. In last 2 years, there was a little uprising of Infinity/Malifaux, so we could see how hard is bringing in the new game....So it seems no Dropzone comander around.

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    1. Yeah its a perenial problem for many game systems that aren't GW games. THe vice like grip they have in certain regions / countries chokes the life out of any creativity or variety in the hobby. It's a shame but I'd urge those hobbyists out there who believe in these sorts of projects to chip away at people and be pioneers, just work for the hobby you believe in!

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    2. Problem here is that many people don´t belive, most favorite argument is "But I would have noone to play with, WH/WH40K ftw."
      Thank god, that FOW/Infi/Malifaux/Dystopian wars are playable here.

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    3. You can flip that right back on most people. Ask them honestly how many gaming buddies / gaming opponents they play against on a regular basis. 9 times of of 10 i've found it rarely goes above 4 or 5 people. So ask them how many gaming opponents they'd really need to be for them to play a new game. Normally that stumps naysayers and gets them thinking a bit.

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  10. Im intrigued too, but that's a lot more than I usually invest. I'll likely buy choice miniatures for my new 15mm SciFi project though.

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    1. What's your new 15mm Sci-Fi project? Anything good?

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  11. I agree with you about the prices. While the infantry per model are more expensive than people might like, the vehicles are fine. From what I've read so far, I think you won't need much in the way of infantry anyway.

    A play test write up would go a long way to helping me decide on how much to buy into the game. I've pre-ordered a few random mini's I want to paint, but I'm not shelling out for an army deal until I've a better idea of how the game plays.

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    1. That's what I've asked Dave if I can help him produce, but so far I've had no response from him. I'm guessing he must be swamped with things, and I'm guessing it must be selling well any way, so why would he need to put out the information right now? I guess if things tale off he'll start drip feeding more information.

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    2. I think a lot of it comes down to time! The dues been working solo for the vast bulk of the tine (I have absolutely no reason to disbelieve him) and getting as much as 2 hours sleep In suspect he simply overlooked this.

      But here's the good news. He is engaging with people he is working on a video, and a ruleset to download (abridged) so if people aren't sure then for heavens sake it only opened for business three days ago we could just wait, no?


      PS.

      Every time my son sees your Avatar he says "Oh you talking to Mr Cat again"

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    3. Mr Cat hey... hmm... I approve! :)

      Trust me I know Dave has been snowed under for two years working on this and I'm guessing the last two months have been an absolute nightmare for him. Like most people coming towards the end of a project with the finishing line in sight yourself things will start getting easier once you've done A, B and C... but you completely forget that it just means you'll have to do X, Y and Z.

      Part of me thinks he shouldn't have gone to Salute this year if he was in a position to share a bit of the game with people. I'm willing to give him the time and the benefit of the doubt. But I remember waiting to get a response out of FASA about Battletech!!! :P

      While I admired his commitment and drive he will need some employed support pretty damn soon to help him. Even if it is pickers and packers, or a sales rep. The levels of interest his product has produced mean he's not going to be able to continue to do everything. He'll have to delegate at some point.

      Also on behalf of the mothers alliance (my mom just phoned me) I bet he has had help from his mom. He might not think it's help as sons hardly ever do, but I bet she's helped. Even if it is cooking him dinners and washing his clothes.... his mom will have chipped in.

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    4. Very true! Lets hear it for mums of wargamers! Huzzah!

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    5. Indeed moms rock... except hen they tell you to eat your greens, tidy your room and do your homework!!! Boooooo

      :)

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  12. The terrain looks pretty but too crowded to game on.

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    1. Well you see it's relative isn't It? Games are designed and balanced with very different types of terrain. I've seen people look at Infinity boards and ask how the hell we play on it. But when they get going with Infinity they love the fact that it feels like they're playing in a real urban environment. If the game really is about rapid transit and redeployment en masse then actually that density of terrain might make sense. However I think what we're looking at is evocative studio shots designed to make the product look good.

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  13. Obviously I want to take a look at the rules before i commit, but I'm looking at the Post Humans, I love their look.

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    1. That'll be you and a lot of other people. If your quick though Angus you could create a really nice niche for yourself in the Bloggiverse buddy. Showing people how to make awesome 10mm terrain at a fraction of the cost... you can have that tip for free!!! :P

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    2. I see to have got a reputation as a terrain guy. Not really sure how that happened. But yes I could, and I may very well. Need to get me those rules and starter box first... might have to do a scaled down shanty town... sort of District 9 type environment.

      Been a lot of talk at my local club about DzC and what kind of terrain we would like as a group. I think something Afgan-like seems to be winning at the moment.

      But your right I need to get my blog back on track, perhaps I need to separate my RPG writing stuff on to a separate blog.

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    3. Indeed you have. That's probably because your terrain is actually quite good! :)

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  14. I'm very curious about the gameplay. If it runs smoothly and has a neat mechanic, then no matter the cost, I'll be picking some up just cause I have "new-game-itis".
    On another note, Those buildings definitely have some cross-game usage built-in due to their style... Depending on the size they may work for city terrain for HGB or even Flames of War....
    Yep, I'm definitely curious about this game.

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    1. Yep you and me both. I'm just trying to keep my feet firmly on the ground, I really really am.

      My fingers are crossed it's awesome, but I don't want to get hyped and end up a sad panda because it doesn't live up to the hype.

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  15. Dear Hawk Wargames-

    Without doubt, I like what I see here.
    However, you would be wise to heed Frontline's words- get yourself some PR help immediately.
    Comparing your game to GW products pricewise is CRINGE INDUCING.
    Literally, I cringed.
    Also, how hard could it be to film a lil' video batrep, explaining the core concepts/mechanics of your game?

    Your models are nice. Good for you.
    Unfortunately, there's a LOT of companies making nice models nowadays, and it will be the game itself that garners and retains fans (and thereby customers).
    I, for one, won't be buying a rulebook, or anything else, before I know what I'm getting into.

    Sorry for the harshness, but seriously, GW is not the company to be emulating in this case. Trying to sell a NEW system 'sight unseen' is not the best idea.

    Still...nice Xenos. Now let's see how they work.

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    1. SinSynn the world would be a much better place if everyone listened to me!!! Admittedly cats would get the vote, but hey they're far more discerning than humans any way.

      As to DzC and Hawk Wargames, I can see part of what they were saying and why. But a little bit of PR nous would have been able to say it so much better and in a way that wouldn't have set people frothing at the mouth.

      Thing is my break down shows that the game just isn't half as expensive people first thought. I'm keeping my fingers crossed the game is good and that Dave manages to get his message across.

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    2. Really, really good post, by the way.
      Your impartiality and constructive (not negative) criticisms are appreciated by your readers...including myself.
      Dude, keep up the good work.

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    3. Thank you, it's appreciated. I do try and be as well balanced as I can be. Still totally psyched for DzC, but I'd look a bit foolish if I said yeah everything is awesome cool amazeballs now wouldn't I? Because clearly we don't know whether it is or not! I hope Dave does get back in touch with me to discuss the game and maybe help me to produce a few more articles for you guys all to read. I've had a hell of a lot of emails off of people asking me to get some of these mini's to review, and to try and interview Dave / get more info on the game. I'm up for it.

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  16. Interesting article frontline. I've been following DZC with interest on the 6 inch move blog and I must say the miniatures and apparent quality of the products is astounding - for a one man band anyway. I suspect also that he's been a bit caught out by the level of interest shown. I do think that it would have been shrewd to have a set of basic quick start rules available for free to coincide with the release of the miniatures. I definitely think that rules would have helped move the miniatures out the door, and oils have set up a market for a full chrome rule book when its released - much like with infinity. I just can't justify the investment without a look at the rules and seeing what others think of them. I remain very interested though.

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    1. I think that's how a lot of gamers are feeling. Judging by the mass of emails I've had from people interested in the game, but desperate for more information and literally begging me to force Dave Lewis to tell them stuff I think it's safe to say there's a lot of interest. I just wander whether some of it is 'flase' interest generated by a lack of information. Most other games companies now post everything in detail and get information out there as quick as they can. SO if you want to know something about a game, 9 times out of 10 you can find it no problem. I think with DzC that's not the case and many gamers aren't taking it too well at all.

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  17. DzC was a game that certainly was interesting to me, as the terrain could be used for both HGB and DzC (I have far, far too much terrain in the house right now), and they field requirements are about the same.

    Ultimately if DzC has anywhere near as decent cover/LoS rules as HGB blitz, then a table full of terrain should be fairly smooth flowing. In HGB if you see a table to a lot of terrain, you just no that it's going to come down to point blank fire fights and indirect fire due to the massive amounts of cover and concealment, but the game doesn't really get slowed down or any harder to play, just changed. Of course, until we can find out how well they do cover terrain, this is all in the air.

    Of course, I had to make the call between KoW, DzC, and FS:A, and in the end, FS;A just won out of being different from other ground based games (and frankly the Relthoza and Zenian League just look amazing).

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    1. Yep I'll be very interested to see what the terrain is like in the flesh and also how it is priced. I too wouldn't mind seeing it on a HGB board. I have a lot of terrain, but I need more. It's part of the curse of playing all these damned games.

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  18. This is a tough one - I love the look of the models and was always a big fan of Epic. But not sure I can rope in any players locally, and the price "to get started" does feel on the high side being over here in Canada (ie with shipping etc).

    Still in "wait and see" mode at the moment, but very interested. Especially if they get those buildings out in a reasonable time frame for reasonable cost. I think it's a big boost in the appeal to be able to set up a table with those for this game!

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    1. I think most people I've spoken too are now in a 'holding pattern'. That's understandable, buying a game blind has burnt more than a few people recently I'm sure. Still excited personally and I'm still keen to get my hands on it regardless, because the amount of interest shown here, and in emails to me for this game has been nothing short of phenomenal. I've now genuinely had more requests for me to review this stuff than ANY other product... trust me that's impressive. I've had people begging me to review the Mega and large army deals... for all the race equally (OK so no as many have asked after the scourge, but still I'm up to 19 people). So their are a lot of people wanting information out there still, and it seems a lot of people want me to give it to them. I'll try my best, but when you literally have no money that's going to be very hard to do indeed.

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  19. Look! I'm not dead! Much.


    This game does intrigue me. I've gone and read all of the fluff straight away, because I'm a fluff guy. I like the down to earth and utilitarian look of the United Colonies of Mankind, as well as their "kick those slimy aliens off of Earth no matter what!" attitude. On the other hand, the Shaltari Tribes have an amazingly nifty look about them. The almost fragile looking elegance is a real draw for me. Hm.

    But, much as I might like them, I'm going to take a wait and see approach. If I like what I hear about the game, I'll probably pick up the rules and a starter force in January. I would commit sooner, but Leviathans releases (finally!) in August/September, so that'll be soaking up a fair amount of money and time, as I'll be buying two core sets and both fleet boxes, and painting up at least half of my British ships in Victorian livery. If the terrain proves reasonably priced I'll almost certainly get that as soon as it's released though.

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    1. I'm glad to hear you're not dead, and I'm sorry you missed out on the Victorian Darling Kraken hunter... but I had to give it out to somebody.

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    2. As for DzC, I'm interested to see the models in the flesh. Dave's told me they have a fair degree of flex and that they are near unbreakable... we heard the same thing about Finecast. But I know only too well that one flexible polyurethane resin is very different to another flexible polyurethane resin... and I'm not even sure DzC is using a polyurethane resin!!! The flexing I've seen so far though is impressive.

      The look of the mini's themselves is just downright sexy. I love the PHR and the Shaltari, they're equal first for me can't be separated. But the UCM are a really close third place, literally snapping at their heels. As to the Scourge, even though they're my least favoured of the races (it's their dropships) I still really, really like them.

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    3. Not to worry. Pin-up style minis for display aren't really my thing anyway. Nice to look at when someone with talent paints them up, but I'd prefer a T-34 or mech of some sort on my shelf (since I seem to have trouble actually getting games in here).

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    4. Well that's OK then. Still sorry you missed out, but I think I publicised it enough!!! :P

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  20. Damn you all for being in upside down land and carrying on without me - rude I calls it!

    So...here's the thing. I think the look I had over the weekend these prices are a fair reflection of the the initial costs and time invested.

    Comparison to GW? Sure why not? There's a large element of naysayers but you and I both know there an equal amount to whom GW = Quality (I know, I know) to whom this would be a rallying sign.

    So on those two facets a yeah I think the price is fair. I would pay that price - It doesn't feel unreasonable which is more impressive as normally I won't even look at it if its 25mm scale or less.

    I really hope he does well purely from a creative point of view I admire his drive and the fact he has put it all on the line.

    I mean gosh we could use another 6 companies with that verve and boots-'n-all attitude couldn't we?

    I will wait for the rules to be reviewed and suggest others do the same it couldn't hurt aye?

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    1. About the price probably being fair and waiting for the rules, I think most people here agree with you. I also really hope it's a good game so he can succeed, more variety is good in my eyes.

      But I do think the GW comparison was unfortunate.
      In psychology there is a concept called anchoring, where an initial piece of information influences the rest of the thought process.
      Because the creator stated the game would be expensive, at least a portion of potential buyers will view it so, regardless of other information.

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    2. @Aeria_Gloris... that's MY job!!! I'm the resident psychologist around here. :P

      You are 100% right though. That's why I thought it was a really dumb move to actually give people such a negative benchmark to pin them to. As soon as he said that I knew regardless of what the actual prices were, or indeed the relative cost of the miniatures themselves people had been pre-primed and pre-conditioned to think they were expensive. Even though actually despite what people say they're not. I've checked the average tank price against Critical Mass etc. 15mm stuff and the vehicles for DzC on a per miniature basis actually compare very reasonably. As I've said in my article I think the prices, on the whole, are fair. But, others have gone out to try and justify his original GW statement.

      @Minitrol, I said in the article that the prices seemed fair, except for the infantry, sorry they do look steep at that price.I've also said I'm in wait and see mode, and urged others to do the same. I took my time to digest the information given and the prices, I looked around the internet and found that the prices are comparable to other product in the main, favourable in some places and unfavourable in others.

      Effort and investment doesn't come into it from the consumers perspective. Does Bob in Sacremento care that Dave has been pulling 12 hour days on average for two years? Probably bot. He cares whether he can afford it and whether it is more or less expensive than his current games he's playing. Or whether it is more or less expensive than another game he wants to start. Does he understand the effort, even admire it? Yes, probably, but when it comes to transaction psychology it very rarely has an effect on people... unless it's part of a wider campaign that is linked to things far beyond just one product, Fair Trade for example.

      Also going for the GW are great crowd is pointless for any new product, and this has been proved time and time again. Dave sitting in his home in London doesn't own a store in Slough, Norwich, Stoke or Sunderland. He can't compete in a comparison with GW to those people. Foolish tactical error. He can however lose big by comparing himself to GW with those dissatisfied customers out there who are currently annoyed with GW. I hope he does really well, I really, really do, he's clearly a very driven guy and quite creative... but he needs to start thinking about getting a team of people around him who compliment his own skills and who can give him support perhaps where he's weak. That won't be easy for him though, especially as for two years this has been his baby and his project alone.

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  21. I do hope he takes you up on your offer of help though...

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    1. I hope he takes a few peoples offer of help. There are people out there who want to help him, and there is clearly an awful lot of goodwill sloshing about for the guy, I have a bucket of goodwill for him too.

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  22. Kudos to Dave (how many other company bosses do we know on a first name basis!) for putting his heart and soul into a project that will bear fruit very soon. I'm a relatively new returnee to the wargaming scene but it does appear that the excitement generated by the launch of DZC is pretty unique (outside of a big GW launch) and has provided something of a template of how it should be done.

    The concept appears to have been very well thought through down to the tiniest detail, in terms of the miniatures and aesthetic anyway. We all hope that this attention to detail will be present in the ruleset as well and in honesty I don't think the wargaming community will be dissapointed. Dave undoubtedly knows this element has to be right or people will very swiftly vote with their feet. All of the hype and goodwill generated over the last few weeks and months, will evaporate and the last 2 years of work will be for nothing. Ultimately his new-found reputation is on the line and I can't believe he'll drop the ball .

    Price-wise, as you say, there are still a lot of question marks but again I agree with your assertion that "it's fair..." My suspiscion is that those that are shouting loudest about price may be implying (consciously or unconsciously) that because this is a startup or one man band or whatever, the prices should be lower. It may be that if it all launched under the group anonymity of 'Hawk Wargames' without the visual image of Dave toiling away in his living room, people would not be commenting as loudly about prices. Just my thoughts...

    many thanks for the great article!

    theunrealisticartist

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    1. You might indeed be right about those complaining about the price doing so as they view Hawk Wargames as a one man band. But I think actually it's certainly more to do with his GW statement. The language used in such criticisms of the price of DzC actually mirror and mimic the language used in the same anti-GW arguments. They also openly cite the statement and then try to find justifications as to why it's bad. Dave as a one man band is rarely factored into the arguments I've read, either consciously or indeed subconsciously. There are no tell tale sign that this psychologist can pick up on.

      As to us knowing the name of the guys behind companies... it's actually getting more and more common. I'm finding that more companies now are putting a person forward as a spokesperson in the industry, and trying to connect with customers on a personal level. Adam Poots at Kingdom Death, Ali and Mike McVey, Ronnie Renton, Neil Fawcett, Werner Klocke... so forth and so on. It's a trend of the cottage industry firms in the industry that is starting to pass over into some bigger firms. Privateer Press and Battlefront Miniatures are starting to shift more and more this way themselves. So it's not that unique really, still very commendable though of Dave to put himself 'out there' like he has. Very commendable actually.

      Dave might not want to lose his good reputation that he's managed to establish in such a short period of time, and I have no doubt that he'll be working very hard to maintain it as best he can. However, it's very rare that anyone actively doesn't care about maintaining a good reputation. Reputations normally falter not through lack of effort or energy or focus, but a lack of skill in a certain area. Dave might just be a hobby savant, awesome at everything, including writing rules... but I've found over the years that it's very difficult for somebody to be utterly awesome at all aspects of the hobby. It's why companies employ specialists to do different tasks. I've seen plenty of pretty miniature ranges let down by mediocre rules. I'm crossing all my fingers (which makes it hard to type :P ) that, that isn't the case with DzC.

      Cheers for the comment, as you can see it sparked some further thoughts in me, which is always good!!! :)

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  23. Intresting post about this, Mtself and a fair few of the local guys saw this at salute and started frothing pretty much straight away,

    then the price was seen last week and we've all walked away until we see a rule book, the models are spot on and scenery you could get away with epic stuff, but 70 quid for a small starter set and no idea how the system will play I'll happly sit on the fence....

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    1. Everyone who I know is more than happy to sit on the fence right now. I'm guessing its the initial outlay Vs not knowing what the game is actually like. I've heard a worrying rumour that the game has only been developed for two months and playtested behind closed doors. Firstly I can't believe that is the case, I really, really can't. Especially as the miniature range seems so specific and integrated, I'd suggest Dave at least had an idea of the rules while he was sculpting the miniatures range. But if it is true then he needs to give the game a hell of a lot more time to breath and develop.

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  24. I like what I see. This looks good but I would like to see how the game is played. Maybe an intro video on game play? I'm impressed by the solo driven aspect and the product that has come out of those same efforts I wish DzC the best luck.

    If the gent from DzC reads Frontline, by the by he should, take what a lot of these people are saying and make some changes. The comparison to other products does one thing, make people think about the other product. People automatically compare products, the owners and producers don't need to help even if to defend their own position. There are other ways to show your strengths and promote the lack of comparable weaknesses.

    Post-Humans look awesome. Mega deal looks real nice... but for $350+ (CND), I'd be more willing if it was a wee bit cheaper for us chaps outside of the UK. I'd sugest that you look up some distribution solutions so you can tap into the rest of the world.

    I'm going to keep my eye on this and see what happens, the work so far is awesome. Let's hope it grows into another game of the 'golden age' and not a footnote of good product falling short.

    Congrats DzC, Frontline thanks for the report.

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    1. No problem, it's what I'm here for after all. :)

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  25. The FB chat answered a whole bunch of the questions that have come up on here, they've now been incorporated into the FAQ too.

    It's been an interesting ride since Salute hasn't it :-) Hawk were definitely one of the stars of the show for us from Hammer'N'Ales in Nottingham. We've been following their goings on since then with some avidity.

    As far as the pricing goes, Dave was saying at Salute that it would be priced at the premium end of the market, that's been borne out but I'd say that the prices are pretty fair for the quality of product having seen production casts. Infantry apparently aren't a massive element of your force so I'm not too bothered by their pricing, especially as some other stuff seems very well priced to balance it out.

    From the Q&A the large and mega sets should be good for 2-3 hours of gaming between two opponents who know what they're doing. The price on them raised more than a few eyebrows on the club FB page but when people heard they were pretty much a whole army for the size of game we can get through on a club night most thought they were pretty much fair enough. The premium options got a lot of favourable comments as well.

    We want to see some battle reports and some idea of how the rules work before committing but I'd say there are a fair few of us with a finger on the go button...

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    1. I haven't actually seen any pre-production figures, or held any in my hand. All I can go on is what I saw at Salute, and that impressed me.

      I watched and read the Facebook Q&A while it happened, and I think what it confirmed for me was that Dave wasn't as prepared for the level of interest as I'm sure he'd have liked to have been... not that he'd want it any other way I'm sure!!! :P

      I'm not sure anyone or indeed any small firm with multiple staff could have been prepared for the response DzC has got. All the points you've raised from the Q&A are actually in my article. The reality is though that he hasn't answered the questions that people really wanted answering. As such there will be those who will be critical of him and what he's doing. I don't think some of the comments are and I'd go as far to say much of the criticism is way over the top and unfair... but that's the Internet for you. It's a very harsh place.

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    2. Same here, I think a lot of people were expecting a complete package on the preorder date with all the bells and whistles.

      I've only seen what they had at Salute but talking to them on the day they said a lot of the models they had there were actual production casts :-)

      As an aside, I know there's an over saturation of crowdfunding campaigns around just now but it strikes me that a useful one would be to raise funds to get those building tiles put on a plastic sprue.

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    3. PMSL

      It's amazing how us geeks all think alike! I said yesterday the exact same thing to a friend re the buildings. A Kickstart to turn those buildings into plastic buildings would certainly help. I just can't see decent resin cast 'plates' like those costing anything under £50 for a decent sized building. I fear it'll be more too, because the potential for spoiled casts with something like that is astronomical. Perhaps we should suggest it to him.

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    4. Yeah, I know Maelstrom had a bunch of really nice resin buildings made that they use for tournament scenery that have never made it on the market for sale because they couldn't get the prices down to a level they were happy with. It's twice as hard for scenery to force its way into a release schedule because so many of us magpies would rather grab the new miniature shinies rather than invest in nice terrain...

      I think dropping a suggestion would be a grand idea :-) it would be easy to build reward levels out of the products they have and build in stretch goals that unlock building sets for everyone, new release minis, etc.

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    5. Well if two geeks in two different places had the same super-awesome idea at the same time it must be a good one... right? I actually think it really really is. Right I'm sold, I'm going to drop Dave another email.

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    6. I dropped him a Facebook message this morning. No reply yet but I imagine he's snowed under so I wasn't particularly expecting one :-)

      I think it's a great idea, the tiles would be pretty much perfectly suited for steel moulds. Plus it would let you really cover a table with buildings for a reasonable outlay.

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    7. Yeah I sent him an email too, so maybe the pincer movement might make him consider it. You / I are right though, it'd be a great campaign for him, raise the games profile even more and let the community get invlved with giving him a helping hand. Because there are clearly people who want to help him. I do.

      And Id assume that his stuff is digitally sculpted and that would probably go for the buildings too. So even if there are undercuts on the wireframe meshes of his buildings digital sculpts I'm sure it wouldn't take too much effort to shift a few poly's or add a few here and there to ensure they're suitable for plastic moulding.

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