Pendraken Miniatures Forum

Wider Wargaming => General Discussion => Topic started by: Leon on 26 August 2017, 09:09:20 PM



Title: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 26 August 2017, 09:09:20 PM
This past week has seen several companies either closing down or selling up; Steel Fist Miniatures is up for sale, Spartan Games closed down unexpectedly and Tor Gaming has announced that they're shutting down.  In the US, On The Lamb also announced their closure.  So is this all just coincidental timing or are we entering a difficult period for wargames businesses?

There's a variety of factors at play and no real way of knowing which was the cause of each company's issues.  Over the past 5 years there's been a huge amount of wargamers spending money going to Kickstarter campaigns, money that would have previously gone on existing companies/products.  This year's Games Workshop financial report showed a huge turnover increase of over £20 million I beleve, so are more gamers heading back to GW and not spending with the smaller companies?  On the historicals side of things, are people still looking to smaller skirmish games like Saga that don't require as much investment, or pre-packaged boxsets that are easier and simpler to get on the table?  Down here in 10mm, we're always operating within our own niche, so larger market trends don't seem to affect us as much but it is something I'd spoken to other traders about.

Since the global crash I've noticed how many new companies have appeared, some successfully, some not.  With people being made redundant or worrying over the security of their day jobs, I think a lot of folks turned to their hobby to see if they could make a living from it.  Obviously the more companies we have, the more diluted the spending power becomes and everyone has to fight harder for every sale. 

From a business perspective, we've seen costs go up quite a lot in recent years.  Metal prices (priced in $'s) have gone up 20% with the fall of the pound, taking raw material costs up to 20% of our turnover.  Staff wages, utilities, business rates and shipping costs all creep up annually, taking more and more money out of the pot.  Are all these factors slowly pushing more companies towards the brink?

I've wondered for a few years whether we'd see a 'crash' of sorts, where a lot of the new businesses we've seen over the past 5-10 years reached a point where it wasn't viable for them to continue, leading to a phase of mergers as bigger companies picked up the smaller ones. 

So, what does everyone else think?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: T13A on 26 August 2017, 09:49:15 PM
Hi Leon

Interesting.

Having been a wargamer for over 50 years now and one who has absolutely no experience of running a business there has been one thing that has puzzled and amazed me for the last few years. That is the variety of ranges, scales, periods etc now available. I look at some of them, particularly the fantasy/science fiction/role play type ranges, and really wonder how there can be a market for them and how a company can actually make a profit from producing them. The same goes for companies producing some terrain/buildings and of course some historical ranges as well. Without wanting to offend anyone, and purely a personal opinion, but Aztecs, really?  :d

I'm also not familiar with the companies that you mention or what they produce but are some  companies wondering too far from their 'core' business and what they are really good at. A certain set of WWII wargame rules produced by a figure company springs to mind.  ;)

I know companies have to change and evolve but in the current financial climate I suspect they need to be very careful.

Then again, what the hell do I know!

Just my tuppence worth.

Cheers Paul 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 26 August 2017, 10:07:26 PM
I remember a piece in WS&S by Rick Priestly which, to my mind and IIRC, was lamenting to move towards SAGA style games as they were having a detrimental effect on the business side of the hobby. One box of plastic figures giving a complete force compared to many times that for a Black Powder type game and you don't have to be a genius to see what impact that would have on a business.

With regards to my reply on the topic of Spartan Games closing, I re-iterate that I think it is extremely difficult to keep small/cottage type businesses going at present. Add in the boon in Kick-Starters and the pot of money is being increasingly diluted. Long term I do not believe this is sustainable. How long these 'smaller' players carry on depends largely on the will and the drive of the owners. I would love for them to carry on trading, but when I see yet another 'Space Marine' type figure being developed, I do wonder the rational behind it.

As Leon has said, costs have risen a lot of late post-Brexit, with the devauling of the pound having a major impact (it has already affected the company I work for). Add in business rate rises, the minimum/living wage and other pieces of legislation and you have to wonder that many businesses are able or willing to carry on. Maybe the companies already mentioned have reached the point where they simply can't be bothered anymore.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Fenton on 26 August 2017, 10:09:10 PM
I think one of the problems is the huge amount of Kickstarters is pumping out too many products for too few buyers. I think  many of these Kickstarters produce good games but gamers get it play it a couple of times then a new Kickstarter appears and the former game is forgotten. Spartan Games though not through crowdfunding jumped from game to game with no real development band in the end nobody was satisfied

On another point the companies that are closing seem to be mostly ones  that produce figures and rules in one package rather than just figure manufacturers


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Sandinista on 26 August 2017, 10:22:47 PM
If a company can't operate unless it pays poverty wages then it does not deserve to operate.

Cheers
Ian


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 26 August 2017, 10:38:37 PM
If a company can't operate unless it pays poverty wages then it does not deserve to operate.

Cheers
Ian

You should Tell All those big sport brands who let sweatshops produce their over priced shoes!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Sandinista on 26 August 2017, 10:53:10 PM
It is not just the sports brands, but that is a wider discussion.

Many hobby based industries exist due to owners not taking a liveable wage, relying on partners incomes to subsidise their hobby business. Not a viable business model and one that has a negative impact upon those trying to make a living out of their hobby, as pricing does not reflect real costs.

Cheers
Ian


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Norm on 26 August 2017, 10:59:35 PM
I do not have any insider or business knowledge, but can only offer some observations that I see from this Command Post!

I boardgame and figure game.

For boardgames, my local store tells me they have 150 new items on pre-order, that is almost unbelievable and when one takes into account a lot of that is either kickstarter or P500 type commitment, then that represents a lot of money taken out of todays pot for games that will be made tomorrow. Companies all seem to need 'a game out and one in pipe' to maintain cash-flow. Kickstarter is flooding the market, while by-passing the bricks and mortar stores.

A lot of these games are big systems that need some game time to appreciate the nuance of play and that should be favourite regular games, but it is hard to have a regular, often played game because we are too quickly being bombarded by the next shiney new thing. I could stop buying games and have enough game time with what I already have, to see my days out! and I think some people are seeing that as realistic way to manage their time and money. For my own part, I have become quite selective on boardgame purchases and now support a narrower range of companies and make far fewer speculative purchases. I am also buying more series type games, so I learn a single set of rules for a period or genre and then buy the games in that series as they are released.

Down-sizing of collections seems to be a popular thing at the moment.

Figures, the lead pile is likely having exactly the same effect as the big collections of boardgames ...... some people can say, I have enough.

At shows, scale diversity is being lost. On the show circuit, just three big names are doing 6mm, 10mm and 12mm. 15mm is spotty and then 28mm is everywhere, with several stalls essentially selling exactly the same product. Have we reached saturation point in some scales / periods and are the collections of dead gamers starting to influence market forces.

GW is re-inventing itself with game systems that are more playable and require fewer figures. I forget the name of their latest system release, but I do know that for some shops this was massive with the likes of 350 pre-orders. A generation of GW fans from the 80's may have left wargaming to have a life and kids and all that sort of thing and are now are returning ... with money and new enthusiasm.

The mature, but young gamers are playing magic the Gathering instead of buying and painting figures.

Skirmish gaming is increasingly popular.

Black Powder et al talks to us in a language of 12 x 6 tables, while in reality, most of us are gaming off kitchen / dining tables.

My 5 days 11 hours and 58 minutes spent so far on this forum significantly represents lost painting time :D

Bottom line, storage and available gaming time may be the two biggest factors that dampen down buyer enthusiasm.

On the upside, at shows I see plenty of people younger than me, so I do not think the term 'greying hobby' is an accurate portrayal of where we are. We still have 3 wargame magazine titles on the shelves of the high street newsagent and blogging is providing some inspirational material to encourage  gamers to improve their terrain and to try new periods / scales and also I am still growing my figure collections.  


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: FierceKitty on 27 August 2017, 02:24:58 AM
T13A - have a look at 15mm websites. Aztecs do have their support base.

For the rest, I don't understand the major forces very well in economics, though I do understand enough history to distrust those who claim they do understand economics, then get caught with their pants down every time things go wrong. But it is certainly easy to mistake a minor cold for a terminal case of TB (and if it's what you live off, no great wonder!). From where I'm standing, looking back at a gaming life that began about 1974, we're doing very well indeed.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 27 August 2017, 07:55:27 AM
I think that part of the problem is the influence of the internet and the way it can twist things.

Years ago you would go to a show and buy the figures you wanted off of trader A because you liked his figures. Lets just assume you have bought  WW2 Russians.  After several shows and having the bulk of the army you are chatting to the trader and say “I would really like a female sniper team, will you be making one.  Trader A replies “ I have thought about it and you are the third customer to request this in the last few shows”.  A couple of months later having had requests from several regular customers to produce a female sniper team he releases one.  This then sells reasonably well as he has produced a figure that people who regularly buy figures off him requested it.

What seems to happen now is that Trader B has a website with contact details and a Forum. Somebody on the forum requests  an American Civil War Negro sergeant with a wooden leg and smoking a pipe. This is immediately seen by everyone on the forum  Because of the ease and speed of reply 1500 people say “Wow yes that would be a cool figure, please make it”  without any real thought as if they would actually buy it , giving the impression of at least 1500  sales.  

The reality is very different, of the 1500 people 150 have never bought anything from the manufacturer at all, and actually only 100 have ACW armies with only 50 of them actually have a negro unit. In the end only 5 of them actually buy the said figure.  Resulting in the manufacturer having a large outlay for very little return despite what looked like huge interest. Recovery of just his costs will take years.
A while ago there was much interest in Pendraken producing a Marching band.  From the picture it required 10 different masters.  I wonder how many packs they have actually sold and how long it will take to cover their costs?

Likewise Ebay and forums allow the redistribution of figures easily and quickly.  When you fancy a new period rather than wait for the next local(ish) show to see what manufacturers have on offer, you can pick up the base army from the wilds of Scotland at  a fraction of what it would cost from the manufacturer from somebody you have never met and would never see at a show.

There is also a growing culture of wanting things instantly and expecting manufacturers to invest heavily in the next range before they have covered the costs of the ones they already have.


P.S Like T13A I am sceptical about the Aztec range


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 27 August 2017, 08:09:17 AM
I also think that the current run on Skirmish games is not helping as you can have a good evenings game with a handful of figures.

We are playing a lot of the Rule sets released by Osprey at club. The cost involved is around £10 for the rules and £50 for the figures. Consequently we all buy the rulebook and most buy an army.

For the same reason we do Chain of command at club, you get the rules, main army lists and scenarios for £22, Other army lists are available as free downloads, campaigns are £3.50 a download

 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 27 August 2017, 08:33:21 AM
Quote
Many hobby based industries exist due to owners not taking a liveable wage, relying on partners incomes to subsidise their hobby business. Not a viable business model and one that has a negative impact upon those trying to make a living out of their hobby, as pricing does not reflect real costs.

Only too true as my point earlier about my friend and his business. If I work as a freelance modelmaker, I can earn £20 - £30 p/h. I have scratch built terrain for friends before (see the link below) but there is no way I can charge myself out at this rate. The average working wage roughly equates to £8.50 - £9.00 p/h take home. Again, I simply cannot charge that rate to make things. I'm sure the same applies to many of the small scale businesses that operate in the broad wargaming sector.

http://wwiiwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/bespoke-hill.html (http://wwiiwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/bespoke-hill.html)

I can only echo both Norm's and Orc's points.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 27 August 2017, 09:23:06 AM
I think there are a lot of factors at play here:
  • The hobby is that it is dominated by gentlemen of an older persuasion. The Great Wargaming Survey shows the "greying" of wargames*, as well as the increase in "new" gamers. This would suggest that people are trying gaming and then dropping out. My perception is that a number of the new forum members are those who have returened to the hobby after a number of years.
  • The hump that is Games Workshop. For me Games Workshop dominated the hobby by attracting new people to it in a the early 2000s. These are the people who came into the hobby being  presented with everything in one place. If I may be rude, GW offered people the ability to take part without having to think too much. The GW bubble has burst a bit (though I notice stock prices are at an all time high) and I wonder where next for these people.
  • Again, the Great Wargaming Survey shows that younger game are more likely to be in it for the social aspects, and less for the gaming and research.
  • The diversity of rule sets and figure ranges present the novice and the not so novice with a huge range of choice.
  • Again, younger gamers prefer SF, Fantasy and other non-historic periods, only WWII getting a look in at the top 5 - possibly due to Flames of War?
  • As technology gets better, the figures will get better and so we're going to see bigger battles with smaller figures - 28mm will be relegated to skirmish games as BBB will be fought more aesthetically with 6mm and 3mm figures.
  • The increasing complexity and quality of computer games offer a time-cheap and easy way to game. Why bother with a table and painting and researching when you can just pop in a disk? (Don't even need to do this now.)

So whither the hobby? TBH, I think it could do with some trimming down.

As the "Old Guard" die out, then the next generation will expect convenience gaming. Everything in one place - rules, figures, terrain, paint and information.






*https://www.karwansaraypublishers.com/wss_gws/gws-2017-time-tally/


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 27 August 2017, 09:38:36 AM
I really have no idea, other than the market may well be saturated. I rarely go down my club now as games tend to be either boardgame (not what I'm after), role play (no interest at all), fantasy/sci fi (no interest at all) or historical stuck in the 70s/80s. Tried introducing some new styles of gaming such as BBB, Neil Thomas style rules, Impetus, Altar of Freedom but it seems too much like trying to prise a limpet from a rock. Went on the club's face ache page yesterday (not visited in a while) and 90% of the posts were along the lines of ooh I've discovered this new kickstarter for (goblins, faeries, ridiculous future machines - take your pick, they're all there), and within a couple of months ooh I can't wait for the next edition of (faeries, monsters, silly machines). I suppose the most consistent thing I've seen down there over the last five years or so is WH40K. In other words maybe the punters are too fickle or too unwilling to change. All I can offer is that I now do most of my gaming at home or during the day down the club with a select group of about half a dozen people.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 27 August 2017, 10:23:51 AM
First up, i'll start by saying this:

I don't know steel fist
i don't know tor gaming
i don't know On the lamb

I do know spartan games, but was put off with buying from them when they decided to limit uncharted seas (wich i was really appealing for me)

So with that, i have been dabbling with minis for about 23 years now, and visit a lot of wargame sites and regularely look at what's coming and what's out and in, and i don't know 3 out of the 4.

You can't buy if you don't know it exists.

Now about spartan games. They had a nice company, and i remember seeing uncharted seas doing very well. I was contemplating to start with the game and then saw a message on their site that they would we cancelling the distribution of the game. from that announcement:

Our people have got lots of great ideas that we want to keep bringing you, but we recognise that Spartan Games – and just as importantly the wargames market itself – can only support so many games through an indirect sales model. Although we re-sculpted Uncharted Seas 18 months ago, incorporating all the skills we’ve learned in model design and making since the original launch, customers’ interest has moved to our other games.

"Because of these factors we have taken the difficult decision to discontinue Uncharted Seas from distribution from July 1st 2013; thereafter it will continue to be sold mail order only. Whilst we understand that deleting a game brings about issues for our customers, we feel that it is the right thing to do and we hope you understand the above reasons. "


No more distribution = no more window shopping/impulse buys. Less new people into that game and so harder to find someone to play with. I thought it was a stupid move. IF you don't want to distribute, you can always keep it simple, starter box and starter fleets to get people playing and more 'specialized' items through your website.

For me, i just didn't want to start on a game that was unsure of it's future. After all, canceling distribution probably means it's no longer of interest to the company AS MUCH as their new games.

I saw their new product coming out and never got the idea of them dropping uncharted seas out of the back of my head, and so never bought their stuff.

On another note, the Halo license was a pretty bad move as well i think. Computer games are much better off to be brought out as boardgames, not wargames. I don't know about the sales on that one, but i can imagine that it's more of a 'niche' IP than star wars and the walking dead for example. I know halo By name but have never played it and it doesn't interest me one bit. I imagine there are a lot of wargamers who are like me, and don't know it.

Looked like a niche IP in a niche market. Not the best thing to build your company on.





Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 27 August 2017, 10:37:17 AM
Also, i am very sceptical about game IP in the First place. I think you have to get lucky, as big IP not always means big sales. Look at the terminator genesys game from warlord games. They even priced it at 20 £ for the starter once. I don't think that was a great succes, and it's based on a BIG franchise.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Techno on 27 August 2017, 11:05:59 AM
For me......

There probably ARE too many 'little' companies, which do dilute 'things'.
As Leon mentions above, there are those who have tried to start making a living out of their hobby. A lot of them don't seem to realise how much money (AND TIME) you have to expend before you even break even.....Some, with their heads screwed firmly in place, look for niche markets...and some, I believe, will do very nicely.

(Much easier at the 'larger scales' because of the profit margins...But they still have to be careful.)

I'm far too old and lazy to even think of starting a company myself......But a few years ago I reckoned I would need something like £30,000 - £40,000 set by, to live on, before everything was up and running, and starting to make me a 'living'......Basically because of the time lag in making whole ranges of models, getting them cast up...and then getting a decent customer base....and then selling enough of the figures.

In the past, Leon has mentioned he usually needs to sell about 300 of each of the figures we designers make.

In certain cases, WITH a decent customer base...an absolute piece of wee - wee...With others.....I'm sure I'll be pushing up the daisies before Leon gets close to making back the money he's already paid me.....Then he's got to spend time and MORE money making the moulds and casting the wee chaps.

I've known (Ahem) 'gentlemen' who have basically conned investors by, just pointing out the profit made on a single figure......."Hey.....the metal cost on this figure is 'X' pence, and we sell it for 'Y' pounds." (Don't worry about the design and manufacturing costs.)......These companies make very nice figures for a year or two, then fold owing LOTS to various 'contractors'.

I'll be back later.....I haven't finished yet....Time to do 'Brunch' and then go and repair some fence rails.

Cheers - Phil.







Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 27 August 2017, 11:53:06 AM
Many hobby based industries exist due to owners not taking a liveable wage, relying on partners incomes to subsidise their hobby business. Not a viable business model and one that has a negative impact upon those trying to make a living out of their hobby, as pricing does not reflect real costs.

This is very true, we've discussed this in the past on the Forum a few times.  We don't make a liveable wage from Pendraken, even after 25 years.  We pay the casting guys a reasonable hourly rate but there's not enough left each month for us to take a proper salary.  We do OK, it's probably about minimum wage but nowhere near the national average salary.  To get a comfortable living from this we'd need to put prices up or stop getting new ranges produced, neither of which is appealable to the customer base.

The GW bubble has burst a bit (though I notice stock prices are at an all time high) and I wonder where next for these people.

A year ago I would have agreed but their recent financial report came as a big shock, turnover up by 10's of millions and profits up considerably.  Their recent releases and strategy have paid dividends, quite literally!  If they've taken an extra £20 million in one year, that's a huge amount of money not going to the smaller guys.  That's the equivalent of £50,000 in sales being taken off 400 different companies, imagine what that would do to the average wargames business?

A while ago there was much interest in Pendraken producing a Marching band.  From the picture it required 10 different masters.  I wonder how many packs they have actually sold and how long it will take to cover their costs?

I think we've shifted about 50 packs of those so we've not recouped the money on them yet.  They're a nice little set though and it's nice that we can do odd things like that now and then.

I'm far too old and lazy to even think of starting a company myself......But a few years ago I reckoned I would need something like £30,000 - £40,000 set by, to live on, before everything was up and running, and starting to make me a 'living'......Basically because of the time lag in making whole ranges of models, getting them cast up...and then getting a decent customer base....and then selling enough of the figures.

I think you're spot on there, but this is something that people aren't having to worry about as much with the advent of Kickstarter.  There are so many companies running entirely on continual KS's now, and for me they're playing with someone else's money.  All of the risk is removed for them so I think some of them operate under a false impression of how hard you need to work in this industry.  Some of them really need to look at their sales and ask themselves whether they would still be in business if KS didn't exist.  KS serves a purpose but if that's your main revenue stream then you're stuck in a cycle of continual investment for the next KS, having to discount your product heavily to get the backers, then surviving the sales lull while you work out your next campaign.  That's very unsteady ground to be on in our niche industry.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 27 August 2017, 12:42:04 PM

I think you're spot on there, but this is something that people aren't having to worry about as much with the advent of Kickstarter.  There are so many companies running entirely on continual KS's now, and for me they're playing with someone else's money.  All of the risk is removed for them so I think some of them operate under a false impression of how hard you need to work in this industry.  Some of them really need to look at their sales and ask themselves whether they would still be in business if KS didn't exist.  KS serves a purpose but if that's your main revenue stream then you're stuck in a cycle of continual investment for the next KS, having to discount your product heavily to get the backers, then surviving the sales lull while you work out your next campaign.  That's very unsteady ground to be on in our niche industry.

Kickstarter is a mixed blessing i believe. I think it's good that it exists, because it saves people from a lot of misery. I am not talking about the succesfull ones, but about the ones that fail. Knowing from the start that your idea is not going to work can save you a lot of problems later on.

I do hate companies putting in one kickstarter after another though. Take mantic for example. I love mantic games, because they make some nice games and are pretty affordable. I went heavily into deadzone and i enjoy playing kings of war. But i have never backed any of their kickstarters. I feel that after one or two kickstarters you should be able to handle the next new product by yourself or you are not a healthy company. I get the feeling that it all goes well for the moment, but when one kickstarter will go wrong, what will they do? How will they cope? Not to mention the logistic issues that come with it. I once had 3-4 month wait from them on a small order because they were 'up to their heads' in orders. Apparently they were shipping the dungeon saga kickstarter packets, and combined with poor stock management on an item i bought, this meant they had not enough time to sort it out.

Letting your 'regular' customers wait because you are managing a kickstarter is a big no-no or me.I only ordered from them once ever since, instead preferring to buy their stuff from online retailers where i am sure they get their stock right.

I still buy their product so all is well, but do they turn the same profit if i buy discounted from a retailer instead of directly through them? I think not!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: gizmok24 on 27 August 2017, 12:47:17 PM
Hey all.

For me the way things are going is worrying having got introduced into wargaming through GW as a young teen I only ever really gamed in 28mm as I got older the constant price hikes and everything turned me off from gaming and I stopped altogether, a few years ago I came back and now I only game really in 10mm scale and have interests in some other niche companies for RPG figures the thing is with the huge companies safe as they have a monopoly on the market I worry about the future of wargaming in smaller scales or for the rule sets and company's we love.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Ithoriel on 27 August 2017, 01:00:23 PM
I played my first board wargame in 1962, my first figure wargame in 1965 and my first computer wargame in 1985 and I don't remember a time when there were so many figures, board games or computer games for wargamers to choose from. Which is a good thing in terms finding things you want but surely has to reduce the spend per producer.

Gaming in all it's aspects seems to go from strength to strength.

Looking at my kids and their friends, there seems to be much more interest in fantasy and sci-fi than historical table top stuff. They are also hugely more likely to be playing board games than I and my friends were at that age. All of them play computer games, mainly RPGs and shoot-em-ups.

As to "Kickstarters", or more often "Indiegogos", I've backed or am backing 5, to date.

Devil Pig's "Heroes of Normandie" which was exactly what I was looking for to replace "Memoir 44" which we'd kind of played to death. Because of the experience with that I'm backing their operational level version.

Yann's "Evil Men" which came along just as I was looking for something to fill the ranks of my Warmaster Chaos army.

The revamp of the "Cortex" RPG system which I spotted just as I was about to buy the current incarnation.

A "Not-Ogre-no-sir-definitely-not-infringing-Steve-Jackson's-copyright-not-at-all" set of 6mm sci-fi vehicles where the guy suddenly realised how much work he'd be taking on and gave us our money back.

These were all things I went looking for rather than seeing the kickstarter and thinking "Ooh! Shiny!"

On the figure side, despite having more lead than any sane person should have and despite bagging up and selling my 28mm GW stuff as and when I can, I am still buying more lead than I'll ever get painted. Doh!

To me the future of wargaming looks bright, the future of individual producers maybe less so.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: jimduncanuk on 27 August 2017, 03:07:59 PM
One thing I have noticed is that in the 'greying' of the hobby there are more old gits like me around.

My disposable income is not what it used to be, roughly half of what I used to earn but I spend proportionately more of it on the hobby and less on other things like wine, women and song.




Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Norm on 27 August 2017, 03:35:10 PM
I spend proportionately more of it on the hobby and less on other things like wine, women and song.




Stop spending money on wine and song :-)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Chad on 27 August 2017, 03:58:29 PM
My own view is that the hobby is becoming increasingly saturated. When I started in the early 70s there were fewer manufacturers, fewer scales, fewer rules and scenics were extremely limited. Historical gaming was the order of the day. Now there is far more choice across all these areas, all competing for what is probably a pool of wargamers which has not grown to the same degree and, given the prices of products, does not have the resources to invest across such a broad spectrum of suppliers. Inevitably some of these suppliers will go to the wall. Does anyone remember Lamming, Greenwood & Ball or Mikes Models?

Fantasy and SciFi can be partly explained by the fact that new gamers do not need to invest in historical research which is necessary for historical gaming, in itself costs money and would probably have to rely of 'the bank of dad' to support such costs. I suspect that the current majority of historical wargamers are greybeards like myself.

Skirmish games have arisen, in my opinion, because many 'historical' gamers have limited space and time and the appeal of small quick games, with limited investment, is very attractive.

I don't think this situation will change and would expect other small businesses to fold.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 27 August 2017, 05:59:23 PM
Mike's Models were bought out by Essex, who, as far as I'm aware, still hold the moulds and will cast to request.  I used to have a beautiful Italian Wars army using their figures but today it would probably be sold as Renaissance dwarfs.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Poggle on 27 August 2017, 06:02:04 PM
I have run a small business and understand the general factors involved. It's never easy starting a business and sustaining it thereafter. In general terms if a business makes it through the first year it's doing well. Kudos to Pendraken for passing 25 years!  :-bd

Hobby-wise I do think we are in a Golden Age, with figures and models available that I could only dream of when I began 'serious' wargaming in the early Seventies. Even so,we do seem to have reached something of a saturation point with a number of companies producing the same period in the same scales and competing for a small and declining share of the market.

I've looked at a number of kickstarter offers over the years. On the whole there have been very few I would've subscribed to. Most seem to be geared towards too much of a niche aspect of gaming for them to be of any interest to me.

The other factor is the general economic climate. Here in the US the average income has dwindled markedly over the past thirty years and it's still declining. After paying for necessities, people have too little disposable income to spend on hobbies, even one as relatively inexpensive as wargaming (seriously - check out the costs involved in golf, scuba diving, sailing etc. then compare and contrast). College graduates in particular are labouring under a horrendous burden of student loan debt, and can scarce afford to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head. If they spend money in the hobby at all it's likely to be skirmish-level games since these require fewer figures.

So in conclusion I think we will see a number of closures yet. On the whole it will probably mean a leaner hobby manufacturer base, but a core will survive. I hope Pendraken will be around to supply our needs for many years yet.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Ithoriel on 27 August 2017, 06:23:56 PM
Stop spending money on wine and song :-)

I suspect you save more stopping spending on women! :-)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 27 August 2017, 06:40:44 PM
Mike's Models were bought out by Essex, who, as far as I'm aware, still hold the moulds and will cast to request.  I used to have a beautiful Italian Wars army using their figures but today it would probably be sold as Renaissance dwarfs.

I have several hundred Mikes models renaissance painted and about the same unpainted that I picked up about 4 years ago to "finish" the Italian Wars armies.

They have something of a cult following causing Essex to bring them back into their catalogue


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 27 August 2017, 06:42:40 PM
I suspect you save more stopping spending on women! :-)

Only if he is lucky  :)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: kustenjaeger on 27 August 2017, 08:50:33 PM
Greetings

Some random thoughts.

1.  I haven't backed many figure Kickstarters but do back quite a lot of RPGs - mostly in PDF. 

2. From my perspective I have too many unpainted figures from too many periods. So I personally am pretty saturated.  I am also short of time. So for this year I haven't spent much on figures.  Basically filling in existing projects - so Pendraken will get some money!

3.  However I have bought some WWI biplanes - prepainted and 'skirmish' sized - with the intent of doing a few games this Autumn.  I suppose this could be an equivalent of SAGA.

4. In the past I have suggested 'specific' figures being made - in one case bearskin wearing 10mm French SYW cavalry (of which I have two regiments - Royal Cravattes and Raugrave) and in the other 20mm late war WW2 Russian infantry with SVT-40 rifles (which I happily bought when the manufacturer quickly produced some).   I thought it worked well.

5. Exchange rates in the UK are not helping unless there is a significant export market and the lack of certainty in terms of Europe is impacting UK corporate investment.   Further the potential impact of changes in tariffs also hits confidence in terms of cross border sales vis a vis the UK. 

6. This is compounded by the postage charges from the US - I've stopped ordering from the US for example.

Regards

Edward




Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: FierceKitty on 28 August 2017, 12:17:34 AM
Mike's Models were bought out by Essex, who, as far as I'm aware, still hold the moulds and will cast to request.  I used to have a beautiful Italian Wars army using their figures but today it would probably be sold as Renaissance dwarfs.

Mike's Midgets, as we used to call them.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: FierceKitty on 28 August 2017, 12:21:22 AM
I suspect you save more stopping spending on women! :-)

Older men have the advantage there. Women value their experience and proven stamina.

(Next week, how to make 6mm wargaming armies from a bar of soap. Stay tuned.)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Terry37 on 28 August 2017, 03:56:08 AM
Interesting observation. I probably don't fit the mold of most wargamers in that I found a set of rules that fit my gaming needs almost 15 years ago, and my painting speed, so I am not interested in new rule sets. I am also a very happy 15 MM gamer, but due to the limitations of base sizes allowed in my rules I use many 10 MM, as well as some 6 MM figures to create my armies. I have absolutely no interest in game rules that push their line at high prices, i.e. Bolt Action, Konflict '47, and GW. Nothing wrong with them if they work for you, but they leave me cold.

I read some and scanned most of the replies here, and one thing I liked, which I believe FSN said, that is many of today's gamers seem to lack the desire to research and be creative - just give me what I need and what you say must be gospel. I think they miss a major part of the fun of the hobby. I love to research a project, and then to turn that research into a viable army with as many details as possible included. I also love the challenge of a conversion,and believe me, they don't all work out - but I don't give up and think about how to re-engineer it to make it what I want.

Lastly for me is the point of service. I've said before and still say it. If I receive what I feel is true customer service, then that vendor has me for life. For example, when I first placed an order with Pendraken, I was looking for bits to make flying horse. so needed some small-ish wings to fit to a 15 MM horse. I contacted Leon about a figure he offered, and told him why I was considering that figure. His reply not only gave me the dimensions, but said he'd be happy to send me just the wings at a lesser cost. That right there made me a life time Pendraken customer. Leon's interest in helping me with my project rather than just selling figures said it all. I only recently joined this forum, so feel a newbie still, but I've read such over and over in other's posts.

Locally I'd like to see more young people gaming, as it does seem to be a graying heritage these days - I played my first wargame in 1954. Will never forget it when my Renwal atomic cannon fired at an enemy truck and was determined to have done NO damage! There were some confusing rules in those early days.

So, I am probably not one to add much insight into this discussion except as things affect me directly. I will say I've given up ordering overseas made figures in the US because they seldom have what I want and so I never know when I am going to get what I need. I now order everything direct from the maker and it has worked beautifully, and for me it's worth the postage.

My thanks to and wishes for a long and prosperous business venture to Leon and the staff at Pendraken, and say thanks to the members of this forum, and to a few other great vendors who I feel are a step above so many.

Terry


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Norm on 28 August 2017, 06:15:06 AM
Nice post.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Ithoriel on 28 August 2017, 11:21:15 AM
Interesting post Terry.

Lots there that chimes with my own experience ... however

Locally I'd like to see more young people gaming, as it does seem to be a graying heritage these days - I played my first wargame in 1954.

I think this is probably true of historical tabletop figure games but for tabletop gaming as a whole and indeed gaming in general I don't think there have ever been so many 20 and 30-somethings involved in wargaming as there are now.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Redstef on 28 August 2017, 12:20:58 PM
Many times I have thought that the hobby is on its last legs. The instant gratification of PC games, older interest group and lack of interest from younger potential gamers. But time and time again my views are changed when I visit major shows. They are packed with all ages with huge arrays of products to choose from. On reflection I feel I am judging the state of a hobby from my own immediate circumstances. My club, whilst well attended and active is composed almost entirely of people around my own age. The younger gamers I know tend to game around each others houses, even though I invite them, and prefer as has been said scifi /fantasy (both gamed at the club). Maybe it's a confidence thing. But I think the club's have a big influence on the industry side as well. I game and own many more periods than I did when I started simply because I played new games at a club.
  The everything in one place is less concerning to me. I feel it has its place in starting interest in new things which often expands out from there. I do agree that the research aspect will be missing but that will follow I'm sure with all its highs and lows finding out you've painted something wrong and deciding whether or not to repaint as you know it will be jumping out at you every time you use them. Luckily I'm past that now but it was probably a right of passage 😊. I prefer to use figures from the same manufacturer in my armies so tend to wait for the range to expand to cover most of what I want if it is a new range rather than have an incomplete one I can't use as the line is not finished.
 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: agtfos on 28 August 2017, 08:32:54 PM
I think its just saturation. There are more companies and more startups (thanks to ks) than ever before. Back in the bad old days a show consisted of half a dozen stands and games and the choice was limited. Ive watched the availability of stuff grow and grow over the last 30 years, so now stuff that was very niche back then (spanish civil war) is now passe. We can now source virtually anything in one scale or another and the availability (and relative costs) of plastics have tempted some to scale switch - leaving them to dump old armies via ebay. For all of GWs dominance of the scifi and fantasy block, many upstart startups have moved on them, grabbing ex gw customers who, thanks to the internet, have discovered that there is a whole new world out there. Ditto Warlord, who have introduced historical gaming to a 28mm familiar audience of grown up GWers. From a buyers point of view we have never had it so good.
But, those who live by the net, die by it too. Whilst theres always another niche for the historical gamer to explore, for sci fi and fantasy things are pretty much of a muchness. Different models yes, different backgrounds yes, but unless theres a big IP behind it (star trek / star wars), then your audience has to be generated from the ground up. Your idea may be great, but so is the one of the guy/gal on the next stand. Differentation is the problem. There seems to be too many companies fighting over the same pot. Something had to give.
I think that the hobby is pretty healthy right now, and i was surprised how well it weathered the 2007/8/9 etc crash and austerity. But right now supply has outstripped demand growth. With brexit and global uncertanty We live, as the chinese curse says 'in interesting times',
Meanwhile look out for Stonk Games first kickstarter, coming soonish. LOL.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 29 August 2017, 08:15:16 AM
What's happening at shows. I went to St Helens this year and it was less crowded than in previous years. Is this the same at other show, or did I just strike it lucky?

IIRC the Great Wargaming Survey suggested that although SciFi/Fantasy was predominant amongst the young, there is a migration to historical wargaming at about age 40.

I wonder also if there's a generational thing. "Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat" by Harry Pearson put it into context for me. I had grandparents and uncles who fought in the war, and as a child watched those classic British films like "The Dambusters", "Above us the Waves" and "Ill Met By Moonlight". Warfare, particularly WWII, was the background beat to our lives - with the imminent threat of WWIII and those nasty Commies sweeping across West Germany given half a chance.

This pattern took a kicking in 1977 when Star Wars made its appearance. Suddenly, SciFi was not all rubber tenticles and polystyrene rocks (yes Star Trek, I'm looking at you - and stop grinning Dr Who, you're not entirely innocent) and could be grandiose and exciting and ... cool. Add to that the advent of D&D in the '70s, the fall of the Berlin Wall and by the early '90's the entire zeitgeist had changed.  (For me the Radio 4 versions of "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" made me a fantasy player for some years.)

When did the explosion in the hobby happen? If I look back to 1974 editions of Military Modelling I see adverts for so few manufacturers - Hinchcliffe, Lamming, Peter Laing, Greenwood and Ball, Minifigs - but when I look at a magazine today there are literally hundreds of companies advertising.

What do I think will happen? I think there will be a few full-service systems dominating. As I hinted before, Games Workshop seems to have risen Zombie like, and Flames of War seems to do a good job at capturing WWII gamers. I nearly fell foul of it myself, until I found the one true scale. There will be a market for WWII, SF/Fantasy, ACW and possibly Napoleonics. I suspect some of the more esoteric periods may wither somewhat as budgets become tighter.

What could change that is another "Star Wars" moment. I wouldn't mind betting that sales of fantasy figures go up with viewing of "Game of Thrones".  If HBO does that for "the Illiad" then we may have a flash of interest in the Trojan Wars. I sense that the superehero genre of films and TV series is peaking - though the good work done by "Wonder Woman" will undoubtedly be undermined by the rash of very poor Marvel TV offerings ("Jessica Jones", "Luke Cage", "Iron Fist", and whaterver that new series is that ropes poor Daredevil in with those 3). Westerns bump along but haven't sparked, and despite being the centenary poor old WWI never seems to be a popular period.

So why am I whittering about popular culture? Because that's where the next big thing will come from. What's it going to be? No idea.



Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 29 August 2017, 08:30:05 AM
Quote
What's happening at shows. I went to St Helens this year and it was less crowded than in previous years. Is this the same at other show, or did I just strike it lucky?

Well Salute was certainly busy well into the afternoon, whereas last year it seemed to slacken off a bit. But then Salute is an exception in terms of size and place in the country. To be honest I haven't attended a show, other than some small local ones, for a few years now. I no longer feel the need compared to say 10 years ago. So many manufacturers now have a good online presence, which wasn't the case then. I know 2-3 companies have given up attending most, if not all, shows as the costs are too great, talk less of the time and effort involved.

I go to shows for the games and not really the shopping side of the hobby. I normally pick up a pre-order from Pendraken and that's about it. Will I continue to attend shows? Only if the quality and variety of games increase. From what I've seen on Blog show reports, there seems to be a greater variety of games and scales 'up North' compared to 'down South'. I would love to attend Partizan and some other shows, but given current work/life balance, they are simply too far away.

I know my friends are of the same opinion, so this is not good for the hobby as a whole. Maybe we are a minority? It would be interesting to hear what others think on this.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 29 August 2017, 11:28:31 AM
The shows could be a whole discussion of its own I think!  There are too many of them in the UK, over 50 I think now so almost every weekend of the year.  I know some traders who go to the same region of the UK 3 times within about 6 weeks, which is crazy.  People don't have the time to attend (or money to spend at) that many shows in close proximity, but the trader is spending three lots of travel, fuel, accommodation and stand costs to go to them all.  If those three events were merged into one, you would have a bigger event with more visitors, a bigger spending pool for the traders and only a single set of costs to attend the show.  

For about 5 years now we've seen the shows drop off after lunch, as a lot of people prefer to walk in, buy their stuff and leave.  I suppose time is at a premium in all facets of life now, so a lot of folks don't have the time to sit and play some games, or walk around socialising.

I believe that there'll be a turning point in the next few years where we start to see shows disappearing from the calendar, either because the organising clubs/individuals tire of doing it for little to no return, or they run out of volunteers to help on the day, or they lose traders and the event isn't sustainable anymore.  Almost every trader I speak to on the circuit is looking to reduce the number of shows they attend, so it's only a matter of time before that has an affect on the shows themselves.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 29 August 2017, 11:40:02 AM
Now I only visit crisis, but I can honestly say that I'm a drop in, spend 500, get out kind of guy.  :d

Nothing to do with the show, just with the fact my son has a soccer game on Saturday (usually).

I don't think that's a bad thing though, spending is spending, no matter how fast or slow you do it.

Also, something worth nothing, shows like crisis give free models to the fist 1000 or so entrants, so this might explain some of the 'busy early on' mentality.



Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 29 August 2017, 12:40:26 PM
York and Derby have given free figures in the past, and York also has the advantage of letting the over-60s in for free. Although Phalanx is my local show it must have the worst lighting on the circuit.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 29 August 2017, 12:45:58 PM
How much of a draw is a free figure?  We've considered it for Battleground but by the time you've spent a couple of hundred £'s getting it sculpted and moulded, you've then got to supply 500-1000 of them for free, costing another £200-£300.  I'm not sure that much outlay brings in that many extra visitors?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Nick the Lemming on 29 August 2017, 01:30:28 PM
It's always nice to get a freebie, but it's not something that would entice me to go to a con otherwise, and since most are 25mm, and often fantasy or sci-fi, they're of absolutely no use to me.

It's been a few years since I've been to a con, and a few more before that too since the last one, whereas I used to go to at least 3-4 a year if we go back 20-odd years. Too many are just variations on the same 25mm stalls and games that I have no interest in, so it just isn't worth it to me. If I was back in England, I'd go along to the Joy of 6 one, maybe one of the big London ones like Salute (though that's a very big maybe), and maybe Battleground or hammerhead (depending on where I lived).

It's interesting that Joy of 6 and Hammerhead both had all-day crowds and not just the wander in and out that's the sign of most cons. Hammerhead has an emphasis on participation games rather than demos and Joy of 6 is a niche market for dedicated 6mm wargamers. I think that sort of thing is the way forward.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 29 August 2017, 01:48:03 PM
How much of a draw is a free figure?  We've considered it for Battleground but by the time you've spent a couple of hundred £'s getting it sculpted and moulded, you've then got to supply 500-1000 of them for free, costing another £200-£300.  I'm not sure that much outlay brings in that many extra visitors?

For me it's not a draw per se, but if you get freebies when you go early, you might as well go early. Just a case of explaining why the mornings are packed and the noons less crowded.

Mind last year I got the free figure and a sprue of warlord marines. Since then I bought a marine army. The year before I got a plastic hanoverian sprue, and I picked up a hanoverian box and a command blister. So you can't say it doesn't work as a form of publicity, especially n a fickle wargaming butterfly like me.  ;D


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Sunray on 29 August 2017, 02:59:36 PM
What a mature and serious discussion to conduct whilst sober.  I enjoyed the comments to date.  Thanks for opening the topic Leon.  It reminded me of reading Peter Tanner and his prophecies of doom way back in the 1980s

For six long years (before escaping into the security of academia), I worked in Corporate Counsel in London's square mile.  Our client base was the sport & leisure industry. A lot of big names plus the trade federations.

The start up funding will cause local bubbles but only redistribute the spend within the sector.

Leisure and hobby are markets that depend on disposable income.  The demographic that supports it - and is the target audience - needs to possess such income.  Now in terms of cash outlay it is at the lower end. (Although our wives/partners would probably  dispute this assertion).
I will come back to this disposable income factor as it impacting the entire hobby sector.

 Wargaming is a hobby with the twin attractions of (a) modelling/paining and (b) gaming. The first activity is generally solo, the second is a collective act of human agency. You can qualify that in that some clubs paint together and there are some solo wargamers.  A one level, judging from the Q&A on this forum, the Pendraken Forum is at one level a virtual club, serving needs in terms of advice and help that was once the role of the local club.

We are fairly immune from  fashion or "must have". We pick a period (largely determined by availability of figures/scale, we pick our rules, add a green mat, bits and bobs and role the dice.  Games, figures and table can be packed away, although a spare room is bliss.

One of the things Phil/Techno and I have been very aware about is that Korea is not everybody's game, hence the generic approach that with a decent paint job will allow figures to proxy from late WW2 to 1960s.

The demographic customer base is generally aging, but whilst the private pension cohort is around it has the cash to spend, and the time to indulge.  The cohort approaching 50 is generally not as secure and will have less to spend on hobbies.  This will be reflected across the entire hobby and modelling sector.

10mm is in a strong place. 1. Range and quality of figures, 2. proximity to 1/144 ships & aircraft 3. proximity to N gauge.  The detail is amazing on Phil's recent sculpts.


And within 10mm is Pendraken.  Now the clear market leader.  Thanks to generous attitudes over the BKC fiasco you have a solid reputation and generated enormous good will.  The falling pound- whilst cutting margins - could open up the lucrative US market, but a lot depends on agents/distributors.

 I would be confident about the future of Pendraken.  Change your packaging to reflect play - ie 4 HMGs, 4 Mortars  NOT 3- and acknowledge the current trend for small scale battle groups ( 4 tanks, 2 armoured cars, 4 APCs/lorries, and a reinforced infantry platoon plus support platoon/A/T unit.) I have now five such groups for BKC period  games.   



Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 29 August 2017, 03:24:14 PM
A free figure (even a Pendraken on) would probably not be a draw for me. It's probably a 28mm space marine, and I'm there for 10mm Spartans.

A card making show (don't judge me) that I used to go to would do a draw. Contributers chucked some goodies in and you'd end up with a bag of £200 worth of stuff. One year I won it. Probably the only male in the whole place. Talk about walk of shame.

This though would not work as a suffcint draw with wargaming. You'd end up with a 28mm space marine, some 10mm Gurkhas, fine desert sand and a 15mm Pak36.

No use to man nor Orc.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: d_Guy on 29 August 2017, 03:30:36 PM
Catching up on thread reading.

Unless free figures are already painted not much of a draw for me. You already have your starter armies which are a good value.

Terry expresses much of what I would add. I order direct from Europe any product that originates there. Hard on US distributors but much more timely as inventory is at hand or can be quickly spun up.

Good product and excellent customer service are essential for me. (Have just had a bad experience with a manufacture on this side who is not only WAY behind in delivery but almost pathological in not communicating.) While I've had great experiences with manufacturers on both sides of the pond, Pendraken is absolutely top drawer.

Having an active forum where you can quickly get questions answered is another huge plus.

With the exception of his opinion of Aztecs (thanks for jumping to the defense, Kitty  ;) ) I agree with T13A concerning a concentration on core business. Do you have to stay aware of trends in your industry, yes, but you simply can not coast on the development of your core product lines (assuming you're not making typewriter ribbon or some such). Once you've lost the good opinion of your long term (and hopefully high volume ) customers you may as well close the doors.



Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: barbarian on 29 August 2017, 03:40:49 PM
About shows : I think UKs members of this forum don't appreciate enough how lucky they are to have that many shows !
I don't only speak from the pro side of things but how I would like to stroll a weekend in one of those.
The only wargaming club here didn't fit the bills for me (too much competitive play ) so I just don't play anymore.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 29 August 2017, 03:41:33 PM
This though would not work as a suffcint draw with wargaming. You'd end up with a 28mm space marine, some 10mm Gurkhas, fine desert sand and a 15mm Pak36.

No use to man nor Orc.


Presuming to know what's of use to me now ??





Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 29 August 2017, 03:51:14 PM
A free figure is no draw to me. Normally it is a period or scale I have no interest in.  I just pass it on if I know some one its useful too.

Shows can be difficult for me to attend due to shifts.  Of late their has been  a lot of duplication trader wise.  when you get 3 of 4 traders all doing 28mm MDF terrain as their main products it does dilute the interest.

I would like to see show organisers actually organising what traders attend and what their products are.  this would benefit the attendees in a wider range of products available and should increase the takings of the traders.  - I am not sure if this is actually viable though.  I know of at least one show where the offer of "freebies" to the  Committee members of the organising club does wonders for what position your stand is in and If you invited to attend at all.

I will happily attend a show to put on a demo game and socialise, I go less now to shop as getting stuff online is so much easier and most of the traders cannot bring all  their stock to the show.  I know you can pre-order, but sometimes seeing  some examples on the stand creates the "Must have some of those" feeling.


 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 29 August 2017, 04:43:20 PM
I would like to see show organisers actually organising what traders attend and what their products are.  this would benefit the attendees in a wider range of products available and should increase the takings of the traders.  - I am not sure if this is actually viable though.

This is something we've consciously done with Battleground for the same reasons.  We don't operate a 'First come, first served' policy, instead when a space becomes available I pick through the waiting list and find the best trader to suit the show.  This will usually be a manufacturer firstly, or a retailer bringing something different second.  If we'd done it simply in the order of the waiting list, we'd have about 10 second-hand or third-party stockists selling the same stuff, which I think is no use to either the visitors or the traders themselves.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 29 August 2017, 05:24:13 PM
While I like bringing diversity in the traders, I think it's a hard decision to make.

Take 28mm mdf for example. Look at sarissa precision. Nice buildings, great price, no interior detail whatsoever.

4ground also makes 28 mm mdf, a lot more costly, complete interior detail and pre coloured mdf.

For games with interior movement I would go with 4ground, for things like napoleonics where you have big battalions fighthing around the buildings with almost no movement inside I'd go with sarissa.

Saying they bring the same thing is not always true, but I understand your point. It's a fine line.

I understand the point about retailers though, crisis has a bunch of those and I usually skip past them unless they bring something the others don't have. Last crisis there was one with three racks of reaper bones blisters for example, spent a lot of time picking what I wanted from there!  Also do pre order some times with a board game shop, just because I buy a lot from them and i like saving on the shipping.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Nick the Lemming on 29 August 2017, 05:50:49 PM
My problem (and it's an individual problem with wargaming that I have, you might not agree), is that we're saturated with 28mm skirmish games. Almost everything that comes out these days seems to be yet another 28mm skirmish game.

I have absolutely no interest in 28mm skirmish games. If they become the only thing played at the clubs, then I just don't bother going to the clubs. If everything for sale at cons is 28mm skirmish, then I don't bother going to cons. If all the rules are 28mm skirmish, then I don't bother buying rules. If all the wargaming magazines just show 28mm skirmish games, then I don't bother buying the wargaming magazines.

 My spending on wargames this year so far has been less than I used to spend on a monthly basis. I doubt that's going to change much.

I have quite a few projects I'd like to do, but it's going to mean buying all armies for them since either others I know won't buy in in the first place, or like the Waterloo project we were going to do for the anniversary, people buy the figures but don't paint them up because they're too busy with their 28mm skirmish of the week. I'm still the only person in our group that has any Napoleonic 6mm painted up for that project. So if I want to do a 10mm SCW mini-campaign, I'm going to have to buy all the figures and paint them up myself. Getting other people to play isn't that much of a challenge if you can supply everything like that, but it's a) expensive to do so and b) time-consuming to paint everything up yourself.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 29 August 2017, 06:13:20 PM
I feel your pain Nick. On a positive note, I have just bound my recently bought printed out copies of Basic Impetus 2 (Ancient to Early Renaissance) and From Shako To Coalscuttle (Napoleonic to early WWI). I have also bought into To the Strongest and am looking forward to For King And Parliament - both big battle sets. Further, two relatively recent big battle sets are amongst the best I have ever played, i.e. BBB and Altar of Freedom, both of which are aimed at big historical battles with small scale figures, and both of which knock skirmish games into a cocked hat.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: d_Guy on 29 August 2017, 07:56:52 PM
About shows : I think UKs members of this forum don't appreciate enough how lucky they are to have that many shows !
I don't only speak from the pro side of things but how I would like to stroll a weekend in one of those.
The only wargaming club here didn't fit the bills for me (too much competitive play ) so I just don't play anymore.

Preach, brother!  :-bd


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 29 August 2017, 07:59:43 PM
Well to quote just about every US muscial from the 1950s -"why don't we do it ourselves? We'll do the show right here."

(Cue song and D_guy tapdancing whilst dressed as a chicken.)

Yes, it's been a long day. 




Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: d_Guy on 29 August 2017, 08:51:10 PM
Well I DO like things that wear feathers - Philistines, Dinosaurs, Aztecs...

I actually did do it here once, along time ago, but now live in a remote area where I am viewed, charitably I think, as "the eccentric that plays with toy soldiers".


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 30 August 2017, 08:32:40 AM
I like feathers as well, but usually on a bunch of C16th gendarmes.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: FierceKitty on 30 August 2017, 09:32:05 AM
I hereby pledge my support to both the immediately previous posters.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 30 August 2017, 03:53:35 PM
. . . We are fairly immune from  fashion or "must have". . .

Heh! You may be, others are not so fortunate. I have boxes of stuff that I bought because I absolutely must have them, there and then. Odd things I'll likely never use for anything, but I had to buy them at the time because "bright idea". Usually I've moved on to the next thing before they've even arrived.

Cheers, Martyn
--
* Currently fighting the urge to order Shermans, M3 half-tracks, Jeeps and Tigers because I watched Kelly's Heroes on Monday. Luckily I can't decide on either 6mm or (plastic) 15mm, so the urge will probably pass before I spend any actual money . . .


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Sunray on 30 August 2017, 04:42:51 PM
Heh! You may be, others are not so fortunate. I have boxes of stuff that I bought because I absolutely must have them, there and then. Odd things I'll likely never use for anything, but I had to buy them at the time because "bright idea". Usually I've moved on to the next thing before they've even arrived.

Cheers, Martyn
--
* Currently fighting the urge to order Shermans, M3 half-tracks, Jeeps and Tigers because I watched Kelly's Heroes on Monday. Luckily I can't decide on either 6mm or (plastic) 15mm, so the urge will probably pass before I spend any actual money . . .


I think we have all been there. I recently flirted with 3mm, due to a give a way 1/600 Ark Royal at a charity shop !   But the investment tends to be penny packet in relation to other leisure hobbies. And 10mm does resell .  Stick it on ebay or the forum.  X_X X_X :!!

The new South Korean  & US sculpts will give some "character" to Kelly, Oddball et al .   And in a decent scale.   I have a scenario game somewhere called "bootiful bridge" based on the movie !


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 30 August 2017, 08:28:14 PM
Currently fighting the urge to order Shermans, M3 half-tracks, Jeeps and Tigers because I watched Kelly's Heroes on Monday. Luckily I can't decide on either 6mm or (plastic) 15mm, so the urge will probably pass before I spend any actual money . . .

And of course, typing the above made me remember that I already have some 6mm US WW2 stuff (for a Hollywood 50's B-movie 'National Guard vs the flying saucers/irradiated insects' type of game, using the Epic: Armageddon rules if I remember correctly), and included in there are M3 half-tracks and Jeeps. Shermans also, but they're all M4A3E8s - no good for Oddball's platoon, but 1 could become 'Fury' . . .

Aaaah, so many started projects, so few actually get anywhere.

Cheers, Martyn
--


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: pierre the shy on 30 August 2017, 10:49:08 PM
Good Morning

A lot of very good points have already been made in this thread but can I add a couple of points from an NZ perspective? Gaming in NZ appears to generallly mirror trends that are happening in other parts of the world.

The main thing gaming in NZ relies almost totally on sourcing figures/rules etc from overseas, in most cases from the US or UK. I have dealt with many traders over the years and I might have been "lucky" but I've never had a really bad experience with any of them.  In fact the customer service levels that some go to (I unashamedly include Leon and the PM crew here) ensure an order is filled is incredible.

I have never been able to attend a major UK or US show but have spoken to Kiwi gamers who have. They say having 20 or 30 traders in one place makes it very easy to spend lots on stuff because it looks shiny/tempting etc.  ;) Maybe a little bit envious here as most NZ conventions are lucky to have a couple of traders, though I have picked ups some good bargins from the bring and buy table. Sold a fair bit of excess stuff that way too.

My other point is that we play multiple periods, each with its own ruleset, yet the market seems to always apparently to have room for more. Surely there must be a limit and there is sure to be some comings and goings of traders over time for various reasons? How many different rulesets does one really need?





Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 30 August 2017, 11:11:32 PM
The problem we find with playing multiple rule sets is the tendency to transpose  rules from one rule set to another.  Today I played a BKC2 game at Sunjesters with Albie Bach and another friend Henry.  On one occasion I tried to apply the collateral damage rule from Peter Pigs AK47 rule and another time Henry applied the Breakpoint rule from Flames of war.  In both instances we had to look it up as none of us were sure it was not part of BKC2.

We are getting old but It does happen frequently


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: petercooman on 30 August 2017, 11:57:35 PM
The problem we find with playing multiple rule sets is the tendency to transpose  rules from one rule set to another.  Today I played a BKC2 game at Sunjesters with Albie Bach and another friend Henry.  On one occasion I tried to apply the collateral damage rule from Peter Pigs AK47 rule and another time Henry applied the Breakpoint rule from Flames of war.  In both instances we had to look it up as none of us were sure it was not part of BKC2.

We are getting old but It does happen frequently

Nothing to do with old, but the amount of rules you use. I have the same problem sometimes. A shelf full of wargame rules will give you that.

Yes i'm only admitting to one shelf, you never know who reads these posts  8-} 8-} 8-}


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: d_Guy on 31 August 2017, 05:03:47 PM
Yes, it's been a long day. 

Hope what ever caused your long day has now diminished, fsn.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Sojka on 19 September 2017, 01:01:31 PM
Down here in 10mm, we're always operating within our own niche, so larger market trends don't seem to affect us as much but it is something I'd spoken to other traders about.

Im very happy things in 10 mm are stable, and even growing! It is the perfect scale I think for combined arms WWII gaming (Though I do go back and forth to 15mm in my mind at times.) Though does anyone know what is happening with the other big name 10mm manufacturer whose name begins with "P" and ends with "ithead"? I do like many of their models as well, but they have not been taking orders for most of the summer.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 19 September 2017, 03:15:23 PM
Only one's I'm aware of are Pendraken, Old Glory, Irregular and Magister Militum.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 19 September 2017, 03:19:43 PM
Though does anyone know what is happening with the other big name 10mm manufacturer whose name begins with "P" and ends with "ithead"? I do like many of their models as well, but they have not been taking orders for most of the summer.

I've not heard anything I'm afraid, I know he temporarily shuts down from time to time as he's got a full-time day job, so maybe it's taking a bit longer to get up and running again?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 19 September 2017, 03:19:57 PM
IIRC he does it part time and sometimes shuts up shop for holidays, when work is busy etc. I've a couple of his vehicles and they are really nice. Don't like the figures though, which is a shame as he has a good range.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 19 September 2017, 03:27:45 PM
Which still leaves me wondering who the hell he is!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Wulf on 19 September 2017, 03:28:49 PM
His figures have loads of variety of poses and... not much detail...

His Stalingrad Fountain is... ambitious. And big.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 19 September 2017, 03:37:10 PM
Which still leaves me wondering who the hell he is!

Pithead Miniatures, WWII stuff mainly: http://www.pitheadminiatures.com/index.php


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 19 September 2017, 05:39:13 PM
That explains my lack of knowledge then.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 19 September 2017, 06:16:45 PM
My other point is that we play multiple periods, each with its own ruleset, yet the market seems to always apparently to have room for more. Surely there must be a limit and there is sure to be some comings and goings of traders over time for various reasons? How many different rulesets does one really need?

Ah! But you forget that we need 3 rulesets for every period! Skirmish, company and division!

I agree. The hobby seems to be getting wider and thinner.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: mad lemmey on 19 September 2017, 06:48:20 PM
No, that's just the players


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: toxicpixie on 19 September 2017, 07:10:42 PM
You fprgotniperational/army level ;)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 19 September 2017, 07:25:06 PM
. . . fprgotniperational . . .

Eh ?!?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Nick the Lemming on 19 September 2017, 07:56:39 PM
You fprgotniperational/army level ;)

Pixie's drunk again


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: toxicpixie on 19 September 2017, 08:12:43 PM
Phone posting at bath time :D

Ironically I did manage to correct "/army level" but missed the front bit of total incomprehensible gibberish!

"You forgot operational/army level" if that helps ;)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 19 September 2017, 10:27:28 PM
What about Corps?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: toxicpixie on 20 September 2017, 12:01:55 AM
They're the manoeuvre element of the operational level game ;)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: fsn on 20 September 2017, 08:03:01 AM
Gentlemen, like an expert needle sharpener, you're making my point for me. 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: toxicpixie on 20 September 2017, 09:01:49 AM
Surely they just enhance the point?

For *making* it you need a needle maker!

On the topic, you can go very deep if you want - either into fiction based games with established backgrounds (W40k etc), or into historical games where you dig deeeeeep into the period for a long time (recent 1866 Wargaming in History springs to mind, well done chaps! Or Bruce Weigle around the similar period)  or even your own imaginations.

OR with the huge breadth you can scream around periods and systems and scales like a loon, leaving a trail of half finished projects and only mildly creased rule sets behind you :)

I celebrate both - a hobby that can be either is a pretty neat thing!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 20 September 2017, 12:35:00 PM
They're the manoeuvre element of the operational level game ;)
You can tell where my interest lies - not in military organisation or theory. Get em on the table, have a scrap and lose.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 20 September 2017, 01:06:45 PM
Looks like another company might be shutting it's doors, Forlorn Hope have posted on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ForlornHopeGames/


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: toxicpixie on 20 September 2017, 01:21:08 PM
Dang, that's a shame :/

Sounds like it's a going concern, just too much work on stuff he doesn't want to do? Shame, I'd just had some excellent samurai dwarves from them!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 20 September 2017, 03:39:16 PM
Another company I've never heard of, probably because it does faeries and the like.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leon on 20 September 2017, 04:19:46 PM
They do some French Indian War stuff and some Chinese I think?  Nice sculpts as well.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: VonGottschall on 28 January 2018, 09:07:00 PM
From a business/marketing perspective, a Recession like we have had that spans more than a handful of years causes consolidation and shut downs in any industry. The exception being New industries/segments.

Wargaming miniatures is a mature market, meaning that growth of consumers is directly related to population growth and EXTERNAL factors. External factors being things like Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, Kingdom of Heaven or blockbuster films or television shows bringing new people into the hobby.

 Until last Spring, I taught martial arts. The original Karate Kid movie years ago caused a 12X initial signup of new students for one 3 month period and 6X the following 3 month period for our organization. Nothing has brought this growth back so we are essentially pre-Kickstarter for the last 9 years or so with actual enrollment declines of 20% over "normal years" now. There is more to the story than just the Recession but it definitely effects expenditures.

With wargaming, it cannot be emphasized enough how much video games and now phone/tablet games have effected the market. You also have mass online combat games that require daily if not hourly interaction over time. There are many such games plus the Farmville types for those that prefer more timid gaming. Couple this with games that mimic offline wargaming well (DBA Online and FoG electronic releases are prime examples) and we have additional competition.

I happen to own some ready to play games as well. Fantasy Flight: X-Wing, Wings of Glory, Sails of Glory, also LotR Hexgame, HeroClix, etc. No modeling needed except for terrain and tables, etc. Quick to get into plus available at book, game and big box retailers (Target). For me they supplement my hobby, not detract from it. For others they supplant raw figure purchases.

I am not sure how much skirmish gaming is effecting the hobby. I think they make great intros to bigger games. Many I know newly starting get attracted to historical through skirmish and many move on to bigger battle games.

GW has changed their approach to very easy, easy and light medium complexity. They have small intro sets, medium intro sets and large sets for the hard corps buyer. They still charge too much for one off and specialty sets but it has become more affordable. More importantly, they attract the youngest players now just like Fantasy Flight has managed. GW stores have free paint clinics weekly and you even get a free figure. Books are published for reading in their genres too. I came back because my son prefers the shiny stuff but will play historical too, just less often. GW has newer leadership and it us working for them. They also have one of the best distribution networks around to include company stores.

Back to 10mm. From being semi-active to active again in Ancients/Medievals and about to be more active in Napoleonics again, I noticed an odd lull in the hobby. I attribute a lot of it to missteps in rules editions or petering out of new launches. FoG had gone in a poor direction with V2 for many including me. V3 wants us to re-invest in expensive revised army list books. Being that I dropped FoG and am now involved with Mortem At Gloriam, I won't be coming back to FoG and I wonder what the result is for remaining adherents? MeG is bringing players out of the woodwork here in Texas, even some that dropped the genre decades ago.

With Napoleonics, Napoleon at War has just been reprinted. General D'armee seems to be getting good press and at least regionally there is renewed interest again in the genre after a long lapse.

Bolt Action brought a lot of people over from Sci-fi. I actually prefer Chain of Command for this level of play. But I again prefer big battle when possible. New gamers seem to lack the patience or the desire to paint up figures. Myself, I am heavily involved with my 10 and 13 year old with their sports and Scouting activities. Luckily my son likes to miniature game too. We are still working at painting though....😉

I talked with a GW manager. He stated that GW is a lifestage company with customers entering, exiting and re-entering multiple times in their lifespan. I fit into this as I bought in the 80s and 90s, went away and came back with my son.
 
So, I believe that we are about to be on an upswing due to better economics but I am also sure that the industry is so fragmented with competitors that more will still shut down or sell. Quality sells though, I really cherish my Pendrakens😎

My take is price hikes are necessary. I prefer the self run New release incubator you did with Mongols over external online venues like Kickstarter. So, consider raising prices enough to get you guys making a decent living. One competitor of yours is almost 30% higher and still gets customers. I am not suggesting GW hikes but you have to charge enough to be sustainable, grow and pay yourselves too. The benefit would be more releases too for us and less stress for you; possibly being able to hire more so that ownership focuses on planning and strategy. And your purchase of Blitzkrieg Commander was the right move as well.

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Dave Fielder on 28 May 2018, 10:39:14 AM
I liked the idea of a Kick-starter in martial arts training  ;)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 28 May 2018, 06:34:45 PM
 ;D ;D ;D Reminds me of the couple of acres joke.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: steve_holmes_11 on 01 March 2019, 02:06:33 PM
Having a retrospective read-through.
A few thoughts on the main points arising.

Kickstarter:

Has very little interest to me, and seems an excellent way of spending half your life glued to a screen where a fraction of the pages are of any interest.
Having said that, it's clearly a thing and a thing that is changing the shape of our hobby world.
Working in Information Technology, it seems to reflect the economics of my day jobs:
Companies that make little profit, and live form quarter to quarter on venture capital, employee goodwill and state handouts. - Everybody hoping they'll be "in at the bottom" at the next Microsoft / Google / Amazon.

Games Workshop

Economically back form the dead, but their repositioning has taken them out of scope of my google searches.
They're selling a different style of stuff. Have they taken their legions of fanboys with them, or recruited new ones?
Did the fanboys ever cross over to "historical" in significant numbers - I was always sceptical of this promise of new blood (for the blood gods). - [see what I did there].

Skirmish / Saga Size

Like Kickstarter, I think this style of gaming is here to stay, and likely to remain the mainstream.
Several sellers are perfecting a model to monetize these games with regular big releases, and a period of "support" for the successful ones.
Combined with Kickstarter, you gave the Crack Pipe of the gaming world.

Consider the advantages for the manufacturer / seller.
Controlled, finite size figure ranges, easy to collect or fit in a starter box.
Simple to author / learn rules.
Infinite potential for new games based on a very similar engine - just ensure your fluff doesn't sail too near a big dog's Intellectual Property.

28mm

Another thing I have found no use for whatsoever.
I associate it with ridiculously foreshortened table distances, tiny units, beautiful painting.
I can't think of one good set of rules developed specifically for 28mm (I'm prepared to be corrected).

My current #1 frustration is planning out the show season, and checking manufacturer's websites.
There's a new company with figures, can I use them? They don't even say what scale/size the stuff is.
28mm is the default, and the rest of us are working in the margins.

The good news is that my marginal scales of choice are each supported by at least one dedicated and long term manufacturer.
I'm confident their ranges will still be available in 12 months time if I wish to expand.
Hats off to Pendraken, Peter Pig, Magister Militum, Splintered Light, Essex, Heroics and Ros and Baccus 6mm.

Competition

I've no doubt that computer games and boardgames are fishing in the same pool of potential customers.
Mini-games, board games and computer games have all upped their game during the last 20 years.
It's hardly surprising that computer games have made the most progress (if you like that sort of thing), given the leaps and bounds of technology.
I've recently purchased a couple of Euro Games, and again I'm hugely impressed by the advances in: component quality and succinct and easy to play rules compared to the old Avalon Hill type offerings.

Tabletop gaming started with a huge lead in presentation and appearance.
We shouldn't be surprised that other styles of game are catching up.

The question I cannot answer is whether this competition is shrinking our market, or whether the pie is expanding at a tremendous rate.
I do see massive increases in professionalism and accessibility for all sectors of the gaming hobby.
I think one effect has been to squeeze out the "gentleman amateur" manufacturer, who might work on a small but otherwise inaccessible range of figures during weekend hours, while maintaining a day job.

Greying of the Hobby / (Pesky) Kids Today

I think there is truth in the greying of our particular sector of gaming - doing mainly historical stuff using miniatures.

A serious look at the young man of today shows massive changes compared to my own childhood.

Far more different interesting things competing for his time.
Combined with the demise of a number of craft based hobbies.

Seemingly higher disposable income (or perhaps the bank of Mum and Dad).
Young teenagers are certainly treated as fully fledged consumers now, not just spenders of pocket money.

All the above draws them toward the Pre-pack / Full Service / One stop shop model of game marketing.
Buy contrast, we greyhairs (and nohairs) are comfortable with  do it yourself model where we shop around for figures, rules, tools, terrain and source material.
WRG didn't do "fluff" because the library had a history section, and Vauxhall / GM / Opal have allowed the copyright on a Churchill / Sherman / Blitz to lapse.

Often a lot less space for his "stuff":
The lack of square feet and storage in a modern home (and often the lack of a dining room) is likely to be influential in preferring computer games.
Those boardgames also pack away quite tidily - compare with our recent chats about storage issues.

They'll generally get interested if their friends are doing it, or if there's a major film creating interest.
I'd be kickstartering a game about superherooes if it wasn't for litiginous publishers and their IP issues.
A cool £100K for the game designer who accurately forecasts whatever film genre that will topple superheroes.

Where Next

Mainstream will be Computer Games followed by boardgames.
Miniatures will be a fairly large (and potentially expensive) niche.

28mm and Saga / Skirmish size / Full service games will be default miniature style
Other scales and game scopes will be a relatively inexpensive niche (Unless you go for the 12' x 6' table).

We will inhabit a niche within a niche.
If Gaming as a whole grows, that niche may also expand.

It doesn't seem like a niche for the mainstream young gamer through.
Perhaps the target market will be the Boomers and Gen-Xers who grew up in a tactile analogue world.




Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: grahambeyrout on 01 March 2019, 03:11:02 PM
Steve Holmes writes that WRG didn't do "fluff" because the library had a history section


I agree that WRG didn't do fluff, but I doubt that it had anything to do with what was or was not in the local library. Today the information revolution has increased available reference by a factor of what? - your guess is as good as mine. We have more information now but even though everything you need is out there with little effort, it is still more effort than having everything presented in one package. The really telling factor however is that the all in one package removes  the effort of evaluation and decision. Why bother to research rules, order of battles, figure availability/compatibility. uniforms/equipment, suitable base sizes etc, and then make a decision, when it can come in one box.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Ithoriel on 01 March 2019, 03:33:00 PM
Interesting post Steve but not entirely my experience. So, some thoughts your post raised.

Kickstarter:

I've backed six so far. All have delivered (late in most cases!) except the last which has delivered electronic versions of the rules but printed copies are still outstanding. I'm pretty sure none of them would have seen the light of day without the kickstarter model of funding.

Games Workshop

Apart from the odd pot of paint I haven't bought anything from them since they dropped support for Warmaster - the last thing they did that I was interested in.

That said they are the most visible face of wargaming for the general public.


Skirmish / Saga Size

The first skirmish games I remember playing were of "Retinue" in the early and mid 1980s so skirmish is nothing new but the emphasis on big battle rather than skirmish is certainly changing.

28mm

Extortionately expensive (IMNSHO) as they are, they make sense if you are only collecting a dozen or so for a game. Beautifully painted and set amongst detailed and (for what they are) inexpensive MDF scenery they provide a spectacle in the, as you say, increasingly compact space available.

Competition

Why spend time painting figures and pushing lumps of lead or resin around when computer games will put you in an ever more realistic and accurate simulation of the real thing.

Currently trying to avoid the siren song of "War Thunder" at the moment :)

Board games, especially Eurogames, appeal to a much wider range of people than war games do.

The big competition that board games, computer games, role-play games and the GW/ Warlord etc. style figure games provide is that they are increasingly attracting female players which gives you a much larger customer base.

Greying of the Hobby / (Pesky) Kids Today

More of my children's generation (30s) are gamers than those of my generation ever were.

Board games, collectable card games, paper and pencil RPGs, computer games of all sorts as well as figure games of various sorts.

Where Next

As knowledge of and views on war evolve and those of us born during or just after "The War" fade away I think historical gaming will fade, at least for the moment, but we are a blood thirsty and savage race at heart and I expect military themed games to be around for the foreseeable future.

Shared experience is a big factor in the games being played by those half my age and under. Look at the take up of Massively Multiplayer computer games like World of Warcraft, World of Tanks, Elder Scrolls Online and the like.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: steve_holmes_11 on 01 March 2019, 04:08:34 PM
Excellent response.

I write form my own point of view, and have explored only a fraction of the gaming options out there.
It's fascinating to see alternate perspectives.

You've jogged my memory on 2 counts:

I had forgotten that I also own Warmaster - so am a GW customer.

It's amazing how the popular films of one's formative years overlap with historic and gaming interests.

For me that was repeats (Often black and white) of Sword and Sandal classics and World War 2 films.
There were plenty of westerns as well, but they didn't appeal in quite the same way.

The cherry on the cake was Waterloo getting televised several consecutive Christmas afternoons, just after we got a colour telly.
(That musical Captain Von Trapp was the spitting image of the Duke of Wellington).


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: paulr on 01 March 2019, 08:28:13 PM
A couple of interesting and thoughtful posts :)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Chad on 01 March 2019, 10:12:15 PM
Intersting points, but one confuses me a little.

If you have no interest whatsoever in 28mm how would you know if there are any or no rules designed specifically for 28mm?

🤔


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Nick the Lemming on 01 March 2019, 10:58:19 PM
Intersting points, but one confuses me a little.

If you have no interest whatsoever in 28mm how would you know if there are any or no rules designed specifically for 28mm?

🤔

Because you can't escape them, they're everywhere?


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: steve_holmes_11 on 02 March 2019, 09:00:30 AM
Intersting points, but one confuses me a little.

If you have no interest whatsoever in 28mm how would you know if there are any or no rules designed specifically for 28mm?

🤔

I have a great interest in rules, and read the publicity blurb for most releases.
I was very specific about good rules (Obviously a highly subjective statement - I could go on, but it's worthy of a discussion of its own).

Most rules have a certain degree of scale flexibility.
Most of the ones that don't are dedicated to a specific figure line.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: grahambeyrout on 02 March 2019, 09:39:12 AM
There is something to be said for looking at the concept of rules specifically for 28mm figures from a different angle. Should we be thinking in terms not of figure size, but table size. Rules for 28mm are governed in a sense by how many figures you can get on a table, as indeed is ground scale. Given a football pitch size table, the rules could and would be different. Ideally rules would independent of figure size. You would just need a bigger table for larger scale figures.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Chad on 02 March 2019, 09:51:49 AM
I think the publicity blurb does at times border on misrepresentation. I recently purchased a new release that suggested it would be suitable for a period I have been working on for some time and for which there has not so far been any rules available. I struggled through them trying to identify the elements that would be appropriate and not until I read the designers notes did I realise that in fact they lacked the knowledge to make the claim in the advertising.

In fairness to 28mm based rules, many of them now acknowledge the existence of smaller scales and give suggestions on how they can be adapted.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 02 March 2019, 12:21:14 PM
Kickstarter:

I backed one - the Miliata Miniature one, primarily as I wanted to support and encourage Pendraken, that said they were excellent miniatures.  I have yet to see another that I am sufficiently interested in that gives a reasonable discount for taking your money up front on a promise.


Games Workshop

Apart from the new Inks and the odd paint , I haven't bought anything from them for several years. last things were a couple of Characters for my Pendraken Lizard army for Warmaster. I have bought a few Lord of the rings Characters second hand on Evil bay.

I do not like going into GW shops as the staff pounce on you and interrogate you.  One of our club members is the manager at a local Toyshop that also stocks GW stuff so I do not have to run the gauntlet


Skirmish / Saga Size


These are fun, quick and relatively cheap even in 28mm.

28mm

No so bad with cost wise with the huge variety of plastic figures for core troops.  However I find putting them together is a pain and still prefer metal figures even with the extra cost

Competition

I paly computer and boardgames, but still prefer a big battle with figures.

Greying of the Hobby / (Pesky) Kids Today

Due to our member at the toy shop we have seen a relatively large increase in the number playing GW stuff at club.  Most are in their 30's and several have been interested in playing historical games.  

Where Next



I agree with Ithorial  that those of us with a direct contact with WW2 or the military within their family, are more interested in historical gaming and war in general.  People are already gaming theatres that I felt were too recent to put on a table, but I have seen Gulf war games and recent Afghanistan conflicts  at several shows,  not my cup of tea, but each to his own.

I think the war gaming as we know it will continue as there is something about a beautiful table and lovely figures that is so much more aesthetically than any computer game.  And Its the interaction and fun you get from a war-game that you do not get online with a computer game.

Space  

While modern houses seem  to be very small, I can see the use of smaller scales getting round this issue.  I am fortunate that I have a dining room that actually spends more time with a wargame in it than we spend eating in there as we eat at the kitchen table



 

 


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Leman on 02 March 2019, 02:27:18 PM
I’m not so sure about the GW pounce any more. Going back several years this was very much the case and I also dreaded running the gauntlet. However, I went in to buy a couple of paints last Tuesday. A female assistant got up from a game and asked if she could help me. I told her the particular paints I was looking for, then spotted one of them in the rack and picked it up. It was a good job she was there as she told me that that was the version for using in a spray and that this was the brush on version that I was looking for. she then got me the correct version of the other paint I was looking for. I took them to the counter to pay and the chap there asked me what i was currently working on. I told him it was 15mm Italian Wars. He then told me he also did historical gaming as well as fantasy and we ended up having a right good natter.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 02 March 2019, 05:59:00 PM
Quote
While modern houses seem  to be very small, I can see the use of smaller scales getting round this issue.

I think this is one reason for the recent rise in skirmish games on a 2' x 2' table or slightly larger. Alongside this is the fact that you need relatively few figures for theses sort of games, which is easy on the pocket and pretty quick in terms of painting.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Orcs on 02 March 2019, 06:05:08 PM
I think this is one reason for the recent rise in skirmish games on a 2' x 2' table or slightly larger. Alongside this is the fact that you need relatively few figures for theses sort of games, which is easy on the pocket and pretty quick in terms of painting.


Skirmish games like the one I played last night are great and have their place, but I like the look of a army of massed ranks that looks like an army.  Hence my preference for 10mm.






Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: steve_holmes_11 on 02 March 2019, 09:40:18 PM

Skirmish games like the one I played last night are great and have their place, but I like the look of a army of massed ranks that looks like an army.  Hence my preference for 10mm.

Much like Dudley "Tarzan" Moore's right leg - I've nothing against skirmish games.

The best of them provide great entertainment, without the marathon runner's fatigue associated with some of the bigger battle games.
My original reference to Sturgeon's rule was intended to reflect that a bandwagon is currently running, and a lot of purveyors of small beer have jumped on board. (Good luck if you're google translating that).

In a completely different context, the Rock and Roll composer Chuck Berry once explained the attraction of his live shows.
"All my songs are around 2 and a half minutes long, if I play one you dislike, you can go to the bar (or the John), and when you get back I'll be playing a classic that you like."

Good skirmish games are like that, the occasional bout can be a dud if one player starts out with a few bad rolls.
But it's over in 30 minutes, so you can easily reset the table and play another.

A 6 hour big battle may look better, but a dud scenario will burn off a whole day.
The good ones are very good and the bad ones are awful.



I've enjoyed reading the recent responses, quite an antidote to my own gloomy outlook.
That's the spirit fellows, where there's lead there's hope!!


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: FierceKitty on 03 March 2019, 01:26:37 AM
No objections to skirmish games per se, and they're clearly the first choice for many genres - WWI dogfights, wild west gunfights, zombie hunting or dungeon crawling, including most so-called sci-fi, and gangster stuff would be absurd with large forces; in reality there would be no grand tactical intelligence trying to coordinate the action, and it would be silly to try to impose it.

Which said, as one who fell in love with ancients because of a ridiculous picture on the first page of the first Asterix book, showing a massed line of grotesquely anachronistic Romans (I was a pre-teen colonial, so judge me with mercy), I am very much committed to the big battle spectacle. For me, wargaming is about being Wellington, not Sharp; if I want the skirmisher experience, I'll play paintball. I am, therefore, a little worried that there could be a generation growing up who really think historical games involve a cuirassier, two hussars, a grenadier, two howitzers, and Marshal Ney. And I have seen GW-influenced games, put on by people who were experienced enough to know better, that went that way - I recall an alleged refight of Zama in 28mm with one testudo of Trajanic legionaries, four elements of Numidians, one block of Celts, and some proxied Mars-knows-whats. If you don't believe me, Google-check out the overwhelmingly skirmish treatment of Sengoku Japanese combat (the way it gets called "samurai", whereas the ashigaru were about 95% of Japanese armies, is symptomatic).

OK, I'm getting off my soapbox. Off to set up the afternoon's refight of Lepanto (using my Spanish Trafalgar fleet to proxy the Christian forces, and a mix of Jutland and Salamis forces for the Turks). It'll be a grand spectacle, with no fewer than four models a side (two unpainted, but who has time to paint these days?).


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Norm on 03 March 2019, 06:54:16 AM
Hopefully wargaming will continue to be a thing that people can enjoy at the personal level, without that modern compulsion of having to conform to what the latest internet voice is telling you what to do / think etc.

I tend to come from the point of view that we are lucky to have so much wargaming choice today and I am grateful that all the brilliant computer graphics in the world etc, did not destroy this hobby by pushing it into commercial non-viability. Indeed even the 'greying' of the hobby scare-mongering of the past 15 - 20 years has not really come to pass. I am guessing that today, more money is being spent in this hobby than ever before and the wargame shows that I have attended over the last couple of years have shown a significant diversity in age range, with a lot of younger people people present ...... though these days, I am thinking everyone is looking younger .... you know, the old 'policemen are getting younger' sketch.

My local wargame store has a goodly number of young people. the oldies waltz in, buy a bottle of paint and a brush and go, but the younger ones are buying fizzy drinks and playing the games and 'hanging out there' and 'really' supporting the store. Boardgaming is really strong amongst this generation, though there is a greater crossover with boardgames that include figures.

The thing is though, they are not playing 2000 points ancients etc with massed armies of whatever scale and why should they, that's what I like, not what they like. They like the latest mega hit 'all in a box' game with a handful of figures that may or may not get painted - who cares, they are gamers, having fun and keeping a shop on the high street open, that I can still go into to buy my paints and brushes.

I have just browsed another part of the internet and someone new to a subject asked for some broad brushed advice. A kindly soul gave some, then the expert came along and of course put every one right! On another day, if expert opinion had been asked, then that would have been a great response, but in this situation ..... what a wargaming Bore!

I can look at a Bolt Action game and see a Katyusha fire its rocket load 300 metres to attack a truck of infantry or as exampled above, the Testudo taking their place in the battle line and thinking "that's not for me", but that just comes from insight into the subject and a desire to simulate. If you don't know or don't care about the capabilities of the Katyusha, but just want a really good game with your latest pride and joy that delivers 'x' for 'y' points and you are having that ton of fun with your mates ... well isn't that an OK thing?

I have just been browsing the Neil Thomas Napoleonic book and his scenarios are catering for something like a few French line infantry units, a cavalry unit and artillery unit - oh and course the Old Guard, all rubbing shoulders on a 4' x 4' table, producing something like the old teasers ....... but that is exactly the sort of game that brought me into the hobby with my Airfix figures as a teenager and that hobby button was hit just due to the absolute pleasure of the moment and of simplicities, it would only be later that I would need to know how many buttons were on a Hussar's jacket thingy and in truth, there is a big part of me that would be more than happy to go back to that earlier simple gaming.

Anyway, my point is that the hobby still seems like the perfect refuge to be able to enjoy the game that YOU like played in the WAY that YOU like, which rather makes judgement or opinion on the 'real way to play (and there is some) just so tedious and boring.  

In my younger years, we seemed to have 3 main areas of life, work, sleep and play. In 2019, we have work, sleep, play and now the internet ..... the biggest robbing time sink influence of personal creative / relationship time ever and probably the main contribution why we don't paint 300 - 500 figure armies anymore! :-)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Steve J on 03 March 2019, 08:12:03 AM
Quote
the hobby still seems like the perfect refuge to be able to enjoy the game that YOU like played in the WAY that YOU like

Wise words indeed Norm.

Quote
In my younger years, we seemed to have 3 main areas of life, work, sleep and play. In 2019, we have work, sleep, play and now the internet ..... the biggest robbing time sink influence of personal creative / relationship time ever and probably the main contribution why we don't paint 300 - 500 figure armies anymore! :-)

Some 15 odd years ago I might spend about 5 evenings a week painting one Mordheim figure because I enjoyed it and had the time. Now time seems a precious commodity and I can get an easy gaming fix by simply checks various fora (plural of forums?) and Blogs.



Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Paper on 03 March 2019, 08:14:54 AM
This is a force seen the whole world over and in too many markets to mention.

The boons of technology make starting a business easier and that gives rise to lots of smaller businesses that move quickly. The technology is  eventually leveraged by larger slower businesses with greater efficiency and power that can devour the smaller companies.or replace them.

We were in a bloom a few years ago and we are seeing the natural contraction and consolidation. The landscape for board game publishers is also in a contraction with lots of smaller publishers dropping out or pooling together.

As for mass battles vs skirmish it has everything to do with upfront investment. I try to make the latest greatest mass appeal board and card games that get derided on BGG while also being a”favorite of the spouse and kids”.

These lighter games are gateway games. The hobby was nearly dead in America before wizkids’ mageknight / hero clix brought minis gaming into the realm of mere mortals. Those fans later picked up the brush and glue and now we have all kinds of great stuff coming from America. Matt Wilson of privateer press credits Wizkids for the renaissance of American minitures.

Also pricing too low is an extreme danger. Lots of small companies don’t charge enough and either can’t  survive a small problem or provide enough service to make their products worthwhile. High production values are extremely important and desirable. Good Christ the cover art and layout Of DBA likely set the hobby back.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 03 March 2019, 11:00:56 AM
Now time seems a precious commodity and I can get an easy gaming fix by simply checks various fora (plural of forums?) and Blogs.

I know everyone grumbles (or worries . . .) about how much we spend on this hobby, but I reckon most people who are into minis and wargaming are more time-poor (or space-poor) than they are cash-poor.

And there are certainly much more expensive hobbies around. In my office there are at least three golfers, one (amateur) triathelete and someone who does scuba-diving. They can all spend more in a weekend than I spend in a year on this.


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 03 March 2019, 11:05:10 AM
. . . the cover art and layout Of DBA likely set the hobby back.

Oh, you're not wrong there! Truly terrible cover art, the inside doesn't get much better :)


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: Raider4 on 03 March 2019, 11:11:57 AM
I recall an alleged refight of Zama in 28mm with one testudo of Trajanic legionaries, four elements of Numidians, one block of Celts, and some proxied Mars-knows-whats.

I recall seeing an alleged refight of Zama that comprised of about 20 guys with spears & shield ("The Barbarian Horde!") vs 8 chariots with guys & gals in golden armour and armed with repeating crossbows . . .


Title: Re: Current Climate of Wargaming?
Post by: steve_holmes_11 on 03 March 2019, 04:39:14 PM
I recall seeing an alleged refight of Zama that comprised of about 20 guys with spears & shield ("The Barbarian Horde!") vs 8 chariots with guys & gals in golden armour and armed with repeating crossbows . . .


It sounds lie the one where Russell Crowe shouts "All stick together".
Which suggests that inaccurate refights have been with us almost as long as fights.

Confession time: I used to refight Waterloo using 4 boxes of Airfix soldiers.