September 22, 2015 at 4:50 am #10449
Mantic’s Warpath is now out on Kickstarter.
Any interest from Deadzone players?September 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm #10454
I feel terrible saying this about Mantic; they seem a bunch of nice people doing good work and sincerely wanting to provide a more cost-effective alternative to the GW behemoth. But the impression I keep getting is that there’s some kind of creative spark missing somewhere; everything seems generic fantasy or scifi and it doesn’t excite my imagination at all. The miniatures are serviceable but lacking flair, and what I’ve read of the universes seems forgettable. I suspect they need an infusion of creativity and some original ideas, and some really good sculptors, illustrators and writers. Of course I could be wrong, Warpath (why use a word that makes you think of American Indian warfare for a scifi game?) and Kings of War might be amazing games – has anyone ever played them?September 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm #10455
I have to agree with you Universal Head on the setting and art direction. I found both Dreadball and Deadzone to be really fun games. However, the D&D/Tolkien fantasy races in space did nothing for me. In fact, I like the setting less because of it. I find Mantic’s sci-fi universe to be founded on several well tread cliches (some good, some bad) and a lot of throw it at the wall and let’s see what sticks combined with an ever reconning background. There has never been, or the appearance, of an unified vision what the setting wants to be. I think serviceable is a perfect word to some up the Warpath setting.
I also think that Mantic seems to be caught on the event horizon of business. They can’t seem to escape Kickstarter which I personally think isn’t a long term strategy that can keep a full miniatures company a float forever. After all, what retailer wants to stock a product that seems to be undercut every six months in a Kickstarter? Heck, I don’t even like the fact that I paid retail for my stuff because it seems to be available when the next Kickstarter happens. On the other end of the spectrum, if Mantic brings the price of their stuff closer to retail during a Kickstarter it is sure to bring in less money. I also think there will be a point where previous backers stop supporting for whatever reason, and fewer new backers put down money on them.
Plus, Mantic is getting to the point they can’t simply bring back an old Games Workshop game with their twist on it anymore. There just isn’t much left in the GW library they haven’t re-imagined.
Now, I’m somewhat of a fan of Mantic, but I am beginning to tire of them going to Kickstarter for just about everything. Almost as much as they seem to be constantly updating and improving their rules and miniatures every year or two. Especially, since the Mantic games I play don’t have rules available for free.September 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm #10456
The redoing of rules is definitely annoying – Deadzone has only been out two years and the designer is already talking about a considerably changed version. Apparently there are going to be changes aimed at streamlining and speeding up the game play (and making it more aggressive). It’s all very well taking on feedback from the players, but I’ve only had the chance to play it a few times and already they’re making major changes to the rules (in fact, as usual, I’ve spent more time making my summary and reference sheets than I have playing it)!
It’s easy to spin this process as the company being fluid and responsive, but surely a game should be able to stand on its own feet for more than a couple of years without a ‘redux’. And if they do go ahead, the rules should definnitely be free.September 22, 2015 at 8:52 pm #10461
Actually, you can still play Deadzone with the current rules, even if Mantic revamp them. If I don’t like the new rules, I can always go back to the old ones… much like what I do with Dust Tactics. They are definitely re-vamping the campaign system. As for the main game rules… I dunno. It’s already bloody enough as it is.
YMMV if you like it or not. If not, there’s always v.1.0 to fall back on.
Mantic seems to have made a name for themselves as the not-GW… so they want to take in feedback from the community. Of course, the problem is: everyone in the community has ideas of their own (because they’re budding game designers), so you end up with a lot of input and what the game designer has to do is to sift through a lot of feedback. What it could end up with is: fixing something that ain’t broke.September 22, 2015 at 11:58 pm #10464
What I’d prefer is, an experienced game designer coming up with a fun game, and apart from maybe a FAQ now and again, not changing the rules. 🙂 Dust Tactics is a good example of this kind of endless revisionism, what a mess that’s become!September 23, 2015 at 12:06 am #10466
Dust Tactics: yeah. You do get your choice of rules, don’t you? 😉
I’m OK to stop at Dust Battlefield. Don’t get the Babylon units, and play with the existing FFG models with the winter kits.September 23, 2015 at 3:34 am #10468
Perhaps much of my irritation comes from the fact that all the miniatures games I have except one are going through rapid fire rules revisions. The sad part is the one game that isn’t getting new rules, Bolt Action, is the one I actually want to get cleaned up.
I’m all for using old rule sets. With Dust (which is the game I have the most stuff for), I would stick with the Warfare (pre-Babylon) rules given the option which I do with my largely non-gaming friends. However, my gaming group plays Dust Battlefield which is a solid enough game that I don’t mind so much playing it either. I’m not sure if we are going to change to latest rules yet, though; I think it is likely since we game at a FLGS in a pick-up game format. This seems to necessitate playing the most current rules since new players should be able to get them and the store should be able to sell them (not as applicable with Dust not having a distributor at the moment).
Mantic Games are starting to have a habit of revising their rules (and in some cases miniatures) too often for me. Sure, I can stick with the old ones, and in fact, I probably will since I have no plans to add to Dreadball (I stopped at Season 3) and few to Deadzone that new rules won’t bother me all that much. Like I said though, I am a bit of fan of Mantic Games and would like them to succeed. However, if they get too many customers like me who say, “No, I got enough stuff for the games I like, and I’m okay with the rules I have. I don’t think I want to buy anymore.” They aren’t going to be in business very long afterwards.
Like Universal Head, I want Mantic Games to hire designer(s) who create a solid, fun game with vision and head-space for further expansion of units and/or factions. The I want it heavily play tested to include players looking for loopholes and untended exploits. Finally, I don’t want major overhauls of those rules every other year. Maybe, just maybe with the Rules Committee, Mantic Games is trying to get out of their old cycle of creating roughly-hewn, but still fun games for a much more polished product.September 24, 2015 at 11:17 pm #10488
Re: comments about the generic Deadzone/Warpath background.
It seems from some comments made by Mantic, they are aware of this and plan to improve on that with a dedicated web site for the background fluff and stuff like that.
But who knows? Good intentions and all that. We’ll see what happens after this KS.September 26, 2015 at 4:34 am #10493
“…and help make Warpath possible, and fantastic.” – Last line of the pitch video.
Shouldn’t it be the designer’s job to make it fantastic? A good pitch tells people why they should be excited about paying for something, because the thing they’re paying for is already proven to be worth their money. The game being “good” should not rely on the success or failure of a Kickstarter campaign.
It seems like more and more games are having this problem with rules revisions post-release, and I think that’s based on a backward way of approaching their release. I think everyone is trying to ride the Kickstarter cash cow train led by companies like CMON, who live on Kickstarter. They’re releasing products, rushed through production, in what feels like an attempt to not miss the boat. They get these things out the door, and then find out the rules aren’t that good. A good (non-rushed) design process would weed out these crappy rules, but nobody wants to take the time to do it that way.
It really is frustrating to me.September 26, 2015 at 10:57 am #10494
I agree with you WonderSlug, though it could be said this is closer to the original idea of Kickstarter, which was to fund the development of project ideas. But when it comes from an established company like Mantic and an established game, it’s a bit silly.
We’re all so hung up on ‘user/customer involvement’ these days that things are almost designed by committee. As someone who’s been a graphic designer for 25 years, I know that’s the worst possible way to design something! 🙂September 26, 2015 at 8:04 pm #10497
I’d agree on most points you mentioned, but here’s the thing: making moulds for plastic is EXPENSIVE. I’m talking on the Okko forums on BGG about kickstarting Okko 2.0 with plastic minis instead of metal. I went to a local factory yesterday (the ONLY factory in Malaysia producing games minis). To tool the moulds for plastic minis for Okko (18 minis) will cost in the region of US$50,000! Just for the moulds! So to do an Okko 2.0 re-launch, the project would need a starting target of $100,000. Ouch.
So while established companies like Mantic can do it themselves, they probably can put out 1 or 2 factions at a time. What Kickstarter allows them to do is accelerate product development and launches. Wrath of Kings is a classic example. Launching the game the traditional way, they’d probably introduce 2, maybe 3 Faction Start Boxes at launch, then slowly build up from there. The Kickstarter allowed them to produce 5 full factions including the 2nd wave of troops.
Alkemy is one example of a game that did it the traditional way. It put Kraken Editions under because they couldn’t grow the game fast enough, at a low enough price. Would AT-43/Confrontation 4 have flourished in the era of Kickstarter, instead of going under like Rackham did? Who knows? Beyond the Gates of Antares tried Kickstarter and didn’t make it. So they grew the game the traditional way, but with metal minis. I like the minis, but the faction packs are expensive. Metal minis.
My problem with CMON and Mantic isn’t that they’re using Kickstarter… it’s that they are using it TOO much. 4-5 projects a year??? (For CMON. Mantic is 3). That’s where the games could turn out half baked. Although probably only Sedition Wars turned out that way for CMON, and they learned their lesson from that.
Probably CMON doesn’t need to use it now (not after the $4 million they took from Z:BP). Mantic may be a different story. Their Kickstarters do OK, but not in the numbers that CMON does. So… Kickstarter (to me) is a double-edged sword. It has its pros and cons. And I suppose there will be those that support it, and those that don’t.
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