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Poll
Question: Which option would you prefer to fix the issues?  (Voting closed: 08 May 2017, 09:10:41 PM)
Option 1 - Errata - 9 (7.8%)
Option 2 - New PDF Army Lists - 43 (37.4%)
Option 3 - New Printed Army Lists - 5 (4.3%)
Option 4 - Full Reprint - 58 (50.4%)
Total Voters: 115

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Author Topic: Important Announcement about BKC-III - Please Read  (Read 6229 times)
Leon
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« on: 01 May 2017, 09:10:41 PM »

Well it's been an interesting week here at Pendraken HQ.  From the highs of Salute just 9 days ago, with all the excitement and anticipation for the new rules, down to the lowest days in our 25 year history as we've watched the negative feedback build.  I think it's important to say from the start that a huge amount of work went into this new edition, from the author, from myself, and from the feedback group.  I've seen comments about it being 'rushed' or similar but that's simply not the case.  There were some last minute tweaks and edits which have caused a niggle here and there, but that's the same with any publication.

So what's gone wrong?  The obvious starting point is the army lists and at the moment I don't have an answer to that question.  The author spent hundreds of hours on the stats to put together the new army lists.  When we received them we checked the basics, do the correct nations have the right kit, do the obvious vehicles/guns appear in the right areas, etc.  We checked a bunch of units with their BKC-II equivalents and then put together some matching battlegroups using both old/new lists to see how much they differed points wise.  Nothing glaring jumped out during that process.  Other people went through them and brought back a few queries which were then discussed further and we made some edits.  Clearly we didn't do enough though.  I've asked the author to send us the info/research he did on the army lists so that we can address some of the queries but I've not heard back from him yet.

Elsewhere there's an annoying number of errors that have managed to get through the extensive checking process, some a result of the last minute tweaks, others a lag over from the merging of BKC-II and the first BKC-III draft.  Some simply mistakes.  There must have been twenty sets of eyes that looked over the book, which shows how easy it is for a sentence or word to get through and change the context of a particular rule. 

One thing worth mentioning at this point is that not every change is automatically a mistake.  It's easy with all of the negative feedback for this to become an 'All pile on' mentality and put every change down to errors and bad judgement.  We knew from day one that not everyone would like BKC-III, which isn't being defeatist, it's being realistic.  Over the past two years we've had every opinion from 'Don't touch them, they're perfect' through to 'They're awful and we won't use them' so there was no way we could ever have produced a new edition that everyone loved.  We tried to make common sense changes that either made a process clearer to do, or simpler to execute.  The FAO/FAC query that's been mentioned is a good example, that was a deliberate change that some people won't like, but it was done on purpose to simplify the off-table support process.

However, the end result of all of this is that we've not done a good enough job and BKC-III is not up to the standard that everyone wanted it to be.  And while I know it's frustrating for those who've bought a copy and been disappointed, I can guarantee it hurts a lot more here.  Just for me personally it was nearly 4 months working solidly on this, not to mention the 10,000+ invested so far, and to have this response and damage to our reputation is about as bad as I've felt in the 8 years I've been running the family business.

So what happens next then?  Well that is entirely up to you as our customers.  We've not spent 25 years building this business up on a solid base of quality products and excellent customer service for us to allow BKC-III to damage that.  We will fix this and you can decide how we do that:

Option 1 - Errata
We simply continue to address each and every issue in the Errata list, discussing the points raised and coming to a conclusion on each one.  New purchasers would be directed here to find solutions to any queries.

Option 2 - New PDF Army Lists
We work with some new people to redo all of the army lists and then we offer those up on the forum here for people to download.  The downside is that we'd have to direct everyone to this revised pdf when buying a new rulebook, or throw away the remaining stock and only sell hardcopies through Lulu in the short term.  Anyone who bought a pdf would get a revised set of the army lists sent through to them.

Option 3 - New Printed Army Lists
As with the above option, we work with new people to redo the army lists and then get them printed into a hardcopy, which would be sent to everyone who bought a copy of the rules.  Folks who bought a pdf version would get sent a revised version through Wargame Vault.  Each new purchaser would get the original book and a copy of the revised army lists.

Option 4 - Full Reprint of BKC-III
We would again revise all of the army lists and also address every piece of feedback and errata brought up so far, fixing the whole lot and getting the book reprinted.  Those who bought a hardcopy would get a new version sent out, those who bought pdf's would get a new pdf sent through to them.  The remaining stock we've got here would be thrown away and we'd have new stock going forward.


So that's where we are.  After all the time and effort that went into this we were looking forward to seeing the new interest in the rules, new armies being bought and more people enjoying the game.  Instead we've let you down and now we need to put that right.  Please be honest about what you would prefer us to do and make your vote at the top of the page.
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Wulf
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« Reply #1 on: 01 May 2017, 09:37:50 PM »

I haven't bought a copy yet, although I intend to. Thing is, knowing there are errors & problems, how long will it take to shift existing stock? Who'll buy it? Scrapping & reprinting may be the expensive option, but it may be the best way to get your money back...
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Steve J
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« Reply #2 on: 01 May 2017, 10:20:39 PM »

Well, firstly may I say what a frank and honest statement from you Leon, which is to be applauded. I don't think you could have put it any better.

So where do I stand with regards to BKCIII? Over the past few days I've been reading the new rulebook an awful lot, given the various posts on the forum, to try and get a handle on the issues raised. As one of the feedback group, I share some of your pain that this release hasn't gone as well as planned. I will try and put down my thoughts in a number of points below:

I think it would be a good starting point to clarify some things that were deliberately changed (such as the FAO/FAC merger) so that we, as players, can understand the authors thoughts processes. We would also know that these were intentional, rather than mistakes/typos. Neil Thomas of One Hour Wargames etc is great at setting out his stall at the start of his books, so you know exactly where he is coming from. You may disagree, but at least he has told you.

Some of the issues raised on the forum are down to the odd poorly worded phrase, or lack of clarity, or a simple typo. The point raised with regards to Opportunity fire is one that springs to mind, IMHO. Re-reading of the book tends to help, but it is frustrating none the less. It is worth noting that when BKCII was released, it was not perfect and there were some cut and paste errors from BKCI. For these issues an ongoing errata would be the best way to solve them.

Areas that need more attention IMHO are the scenarios in terms of points per side, costs for field defences etc. As they stand at the minute you can't really play them. Experience as a BKCII player allows me to figure out what might work, but for a newbie I think this is a tall order.

Now onto the Army Lists. I voted for new PDF lists as the easiest, and to be honest, the most cost effective way of sorting these out. Personally I've mainly used the British, Russian, German and Italian lists for my games. So for me updated versions would suit me fine.

The fact that the book is not perfect is not too big an issue for me, but that maybe down to the fact that I'm an experienced BKC player and can sort most of these things out for myself via BKCII. Whatever people vote for, I hope this can be sorted out to most people's satisfaction. You will never be able to please everyone, but then that's life. I look forward to others thoughts on this.
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Shedman
Playtester
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« Reply #3 on: 01 May 2017, 10:25:13 PM »

Well done Leon et al

I've played very few games of BKC1 & 2 but I've played many many games of FWC & CWC so for me it's more the engine than the stats so I will leave that to others.  

Reading through BKC3 I've been looking at it from the point of view of the engine and how it will work when you address CWC & FWC

In general the rule changes all get thumbs up - grouping all of the attributes into a list is excellent as there were vagaries in the previous rulesets

However reading thorough the rules I've found a  lot of inconsistencies and contradictions - my overriding gripe was the fact that green and veteran troops cost the same  even though they are markedly different

So my view would be to go for a general playtest of the rules over a given period - say a month - and then collate all of the issues  and address them

At the end of the day you, and I having bought both the book and the pdf, may well have to write BKC3 off as a loss.

The Commander series far surpasses any other ruleset on the market and I'm prepared to invest money in a revised version of BKC

Alan



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AJ at the Bank
Playtester
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Posts: 48


« Reply #4 on: 01 May 2017, 10:32:20 PM »

Leon

First - Let me congratulate you on a very honest, clear and considerate response to the comments/points being raised by customers, yourselves and others since launch.
This must have been an incredibly hard note to write ...and you should be supported in both trying to do the right thing....and not just sticking your head down.
Thank you.

Personally - Its Option 4 - But given your note - I feel compelled to explain.

I think the 3 areas you focus on (Subjectivity : Army Lists : Rule Errors & Mechanics) all boil down to one thing ....do the rules hang together, are balanced and work well as an improvement over the previous version (recognising this is a new edition of an existing game)?

Let me sum up with my own experience-
My long-standing gaming buddy and I have played WWII games with BKC2 exclusively since it's launch - and love the rules (including Errata and a few house rules).
We have contributed to the debates and clarifications on the previous forum over the years ...and have been v excited in looking forwards to playing BKC3.
Got our copies last week - and met up on Sunday to play our first game.
We wanted to do this as a tester for the new rules - and knowing that it is all too easy to remember old rules - put away all old sets - and went with going from scratch with BKC3...and started with the Set Up & Scenarios.
We didn't get to play a game at all I'm afraid....and ended up instead with a 12 hour session on working out if the rules hung together enough, with an immaterial number of errors in the book alone, to make them workable.

Personal conclusion :
BKC3 has a lot of good ideas in it - and that is to be applauded. So thank you for those.
but...BKC2 was a pretty well played/ refined set of rules & lists once you take into account all the work on the Errata, rule decisions/clarifications/good optional house rules in the Forum ..and updates to published army lists.
The problem was that it was all too spread out and needed putting into one place with some simplification and embedding the best house rules.
However -
(1) I don't know who proof read & edited BKC3 for you - But there appear to be too many errors in the book it would seem - to not end up with the need to refer to a serious errata.
I'm only talking about errors here (not subjective issues) and have raised a few myself on this forum already - as have others - but they seem mostly to relate to changes made to the previous version. This is going to make the book quite hard to use as it is and as a standalone from BKC2.

(2) I'm not confident BKC3 will produce a balanced and play-tested game I'm afraid (and I SO didn't want to say that!).
We got as far as the Set-up and Scenarios ...and as experienced players, it just doesn't appear to have been thought through / play tested enough. E.g. (a) No instructions on forces balances in different scenarios (vital relying on playtesting) ...example - Should Attackers have more points / units in Deliberate Attack vs Assault...(b) De-linking amount of defensive terrain from scale of game (c) Unlimited flanking ...(d) Unit relative values and ability issues (although have not really checked to see if these are only minor issues).... I could list more fundamentals - quite a few unfortunately - but wont.
Adjustments that are made to any ruleset - or publication of new ruleset  (errors in books aside) need all (well nearly all) rules to (a) work stand alone and together (b) produce a well balanced game / outcomes.

It would appear that as it stands, BKC3 simply has not had enough rigour in either editing or playtesting to serve as a standalone game.
I hope I'm wrong - but personally - Although happy to help point out and suggest corrections for simple errors (proof reading/editing)....
I simply don't have the time (or will really) to go through the whole thing and use up my valuable (limited) gaming time to see if it all plays properly together. That's the job of the author and play-testers.
For me BKC3 is exactly that ....edition 3 ....and I personally would like it to be a build on the prior version - rather than a brand new ruleset that needs me to test it out, materially adjust etc.

The thing I really want to know is - does it work (as an improvement or stand-alone) well as a set of rules? I'd like that confidence.

So for me - It needs more editing and playtesting - unless it is possible to explain / answer the fundamental challenges on whether BKC3 works already.

Finally -
This and other replies will be hard to read I'm sure. Please keep positive and know that the gaming community are (in the vast majority) good and supportive people and wish you well.
Thanks
Adam
 
   


 
 
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AJ at the Bank
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« Reply #5 on: 01 May 2017, 10:47:40 PM »

What's happening here ...


Over 300 views .....but only a handful of votes to help Leon and team work out next moves?

Either the clock is counting wrong - or people are not voting.

C'mon VOTE .....it's one of the best votes you will make in the next 6 weeks!
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sediment
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« Reply #6 on: 01 May 2017, 10:50:06 PM »

Thanks for the clarifications Leon.

Interesting to have your understanding of what are deliberate changes and what appear to be errors/lack of clarification in BKCIII.  The latter is really a matter between you, the author, play testers and proof readers.  However, it might be worthwhile actually deriving statistics and army lists from people who know WW2 well, rather than derive a "formula" for calculating points based on a FWC model - what works for Sci-Fi (fantasy) isn't portable to actual WW2 situations, where FW190s simply weren't available in 1939, as anyone able to pick up a text book will know.

Unfortunately, your stated aim of simplifying the rules is interesting.  If by simplifying, you meant clarifying some of the basic concepts in the 2nd version and maybe making them more elegant, then more power to you.  However, by treating FACs and FAOs as a single type able to call in anything, to name but one issue, you lose the basic WW2 aspects of the game and make everything as flexible as 1990's NATO.  It appears that simplifying has become dumbing down.  If I wanted special abilities and a simple mechanism for play, I'd pick up FoW 4th edition or Team Yankee (for moderns).  BKC was, quite simply, about the best WW2 game providing the "feel" of actually commanding a brigade or division in WW2 that I've ever played.  It beat the opposition into a cocked hat.  Sure there were some clunky mechanisms, but the rules worked beautifully in so many ways.  I fear you have now thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  The new version is, to say the least, a real disappointment for me.  Perhaps I had too high a level of expectation, but I did still expect it to provide the right feel for WW2 regimental and divisional level combat.

What you now choose to do as a business with your copies of the rule book is a decision for you and the management team, rather than us as purchasers.  Personally, I'd recommend a pdf download of the revised lists, simply because they will be editable and you can issue upgrades as and when changes are identified.  In a set of lists covering the troubled and highly innovative years of WW2, there are bound to be vehicle stats that need to be added/corrected as the lists are poured over by people who love their particular corner of that war.  That will limit the expense of a new print run.  Clarification of wording in the rulebook can be fixed with an errata/clarification - I'm sure the level of actual errors are minimal.  Most of the comments relate to "changes" which you've already said are by design.  If this makes BKC III sell more copies for you then great - good job.  For me, it's lost a lot and I will probably stick with BKCII as long as I can.

I hope this helps and genuinely want the Commander series to continue to offer the hours of gaming fun I've been fortunate enough to enjoy, more with CWC than BKC it must be said.  It would be interesting to know whether you have won over enough new players at the expense of the existing players of the original versions.

Cheers and good luck,

Andy  PS I'm voting
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Itinerant Hobbyist
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« Reply #7 on: 01 May 2017, 11:17:46 PM »

As one of the proofers, I'm feeling pretty crappy about this. I pride myself and doing good work and I've not done that. I spent my time primarily in the rules (vs the lists) and sent maybe 2-3 pages of questions and changes. And yet some of the inconsistencies  AJ has pointed out in posts, I didn't see in my reading. I found some, but not those.

As to the playtesting of the changes, I was late in the process and saw my role more for clarity and typos. Reference my first two sentences on how I feel I did there.

But most I feel sick for Leon and team. I'm confident you want to produce good work and your whole life goes into this business and I'm sorry that you're going through this.

I voted #4 because I don't want some newbie to come into the hobby and have to find or figure out wher to get corrections. They should get the rules and play as is...or at least close to it. BKCII was my 2nd ruleset and the one that cemented my jump into minis. I want another person like me to have that same experience.

Thabk you Leon for your honesty.
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mad lemmey
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« Reply #8 on: 01 May 2017, 11:26:45 PM »

For ease of life, option 2.
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Astronomican
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« Reply #9 on: 01 May 2017, 11:46:37 PM »

Firstly, a big thumbs up for your post - honesty always gains favour! It must have taken quite a bit of courage to hold your hands up and say what you said. Bravo! You need to start wearing your underpants on the outside because it takes a super-type of person to fall on his sword like this!

My two favourite genres are WW2 and sci-fi - both of which are catered for by BKC and FWC. I want these rulesets to grow and under Pendraken's ownership, I'm sure they will.

I've voted for a new PDF of the army lists - it's the easiest way to rectify things! But I'm also in favour of an errata PDF to resolve the rules issues that have cropped up.

Once the new army lists and errata are in circulation then you can think about a new printing, IMHO. There's not much wrong with the rules that requires the destruction of so many rulebooks when an errata can clarify things.

The biggest issue, for me, is the army lists. You've mentioned several times "author", and I take this to mean one person doing all the lists. That is where the problem lies, IMHO. Several people should have put their heads together for that big task!

Well, enough of the finger-pointing, let's get down to sorting it out!

I've been wargaming over 45 years, and whilst I will never claim to being an expert in any particular era, I do have a lot of knowledge and info about WW2 armies. And to that end I am offering my help, in what ever capacity required, to resolve the BKC army lists. The info from all the books, pdfs, and snippets of information I have are at your disposal.

Onwards and upwards! 👍
« Last Edit: 02 May 2017, 12:00:29 AM by Astronomican » Logged
Jefthro2
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Posts: 1


« Reply #10 on: 01 May 2017, 11:48:29 PM »

Thanks Leon

That was a very honest annoncement.

Since our group tends to play scenarios based on 1:1 ratio we try  to use actual organisations as far as possible so numbers of vehicles allowed in a list is not an issue.  Also this tended not to deviate too far from the lists However we do use the point system and the statistics.
Clarifications around this would be a great help.


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Jammybee
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Posts: 7


« Reply #11 on: 01 May 2017, 11:53:53 PM »

My preference would be a combination of 2 & 4.

Any reprint could be a slim, maybe a5 sized copy of just the rules. Maybe 2 opposing lists to get new people started.

An online library of army lists that can be corrected and revised easily at no cost.
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Tarty
Cadet

Posts: 14



« Reply #12 on: 01 May 2017, 11:59:42 PM »

Very much looking forward to receiving my copy....nothing has changed here.

I've also voted for a pdf of the lists for those needing them. Mind you in the past if there's something I don't agree with (particularly army lists) I've just changed them myself ...can't see what all the drama is about.
Great job on posting this up though....serious brownie points!
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paulr
Lieutenant General
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« Reply #13 on: 02 May 2017, 12:07:46 AM »

Leon, thank you for your honesty. I know the great team, small as it is, at Pendraken will put this right.

AJ, as I don't play BKC I will not be voting. I suspect others will be considering the options and have a few days yet to vote.
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petercooman
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« Reply #14 on: 02 May 2017, 12:11:31 AM »

AJ, as I don't play BKC I will not be voting. I suspect others will be considering the options and have a few days yet to vote.

I'm still awaiting my copy. Had a bank holiday today, so no mailman.

Would be harsh to vote without having seen it!
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