Thursday, April 14, 2016

Privateer Press and Mark III

So things don't happen in a vacuum.

On one hand, Privateer Press announces a policy to handle online discounters to grow the hobby.

On the other, they shortly announce the upcoming release of a new edition of their core game lines, Warmachine and Hordes.

I can imagine someone waiting off on making a purchase after the discounts going away, deciding that they were going to buy X, Y, and Z, and then seeing this and throwing their hands up in the air.

The two are interrelated on all levels. Trying to push through more gamers with the hopes that showing they are 'serious' about stopping online discounting to get more material through the front door of local hobby stores so that 'players' are brought into the game.

There are already a lot of people talking about the new edition.

I'm optimistic because I hope it can fix some of the problems with the game.

1. Focus vs Fury: People can hash this out all day but when you have Fury 5 war beasts and routinely have 4 fury and multiple initial attacks and animus that don't interact like spells do, yeah, it's a problem. The new edition starts off with some interesting ideas in granting all warjacks in a battlegroup an automatic focus and in providing warlocks a free fury for every dead warbeasts in their battlegroup.

2. Huge Models: Some of the huge bases, mainly in the gargantuan and battle engines, get little to no play. They have a fairly high point cost and don't bring a lot to the game. There appears to be something in the air about good things happening to fix that.

3. Unplayed Models: Privateers were an interesting option when they first dropped and some of the solos see a lot of play. The actual jacks though? Outside of say, the Galleon which isn't really a pirate model? Not so much. Now there are some 'jank' list that do have fun with say the Buccaneers but overall? This doesn't count light artillery. I've watched a lot of battle reports. I've played in tournaments. It's very rare to see something that isn't there specifically for a theme list.

4. Premeasuring: So much salt being spilled on this one. You'd think the firstborn of children were being sacrificed. I get why some like it as a 'skill'. It does add a bit of uncertainty. I've benefited from it in the past like having Behemoth charging into my Hyperion and fail the charge. I'm also terrible at measuring things with the old eyeball and while you can get around it by measuring your control area and by looking at the control zones for certain scenarios, I won't miss NOT premeasuring.

5. Theme Forces: Here's a big one. One of the things I like about theme forces are the little bonuses in exchange for the lock. But some of the more... interesting theme forces allow you to have more models than you can normally ever field. This will be a tricky thing for Privateer Press to address. If I want to take a theme force that I've already bought three units, one more then normally allowed, will I ever have use for that third unit? They'll have to tread carefully here.

6. New Battle Boxes: Huge m'eh from me. Not that it's not cool that we have new casters. Not that it's not cool that they are packing it with a ton of stuff. It's just a lot of the actual contents of the battle boxes look exactly like the original ones with a different caster. There's also a lack of mercenaries and minions. I get why on several levels. Not a lot of plastics for the minions although that is changing slowly but surely. Maybe in the far future.

7.Fiction. Ironically enough, this is one of the things I thought was pushing towards a new edition. You can only keep the storyline going so far in one direction before you have to move onto the next thing and usually that indicates some type of new edition. I personally thought we'd get some campaign rules this summer or something along those lines, like Mighty Empires. That campaign play in the No Quarter was interesting but certainly not robust enough to replace an actual summer release. Now they don't have to as it'll be a new edition.

The split between fiction going into the books and not in the core books remains to be determined. The new rule books for example, is probably going to be similar to previous books with enough setting information to get players up to speed.

The "no one safe" thing will also be interesting. I believe Privateer Press will allow people to keep playing all their models, but I'd wager that if Stryker dies in a book in 2017, all "official" tournaments will disallow that figure to match the meta. I could easily be wrong there though.

Me? I regularly play Retribution and Mercenaries with a toe dipped into Khador, Circle, and Minions so I've got my eye on several factions and will be curious to see how it unfolds..

What's everyone else looking forward to?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Privateer Press: New free rider policy

Privateer Press is a miniature company that in addition to its two flagship items, Warmachine and Hordes, also does board games, card games, and hobby supplies. 

I’m one of those weird people who sees events and then poses questions. One of those I posed recently was why isn’t Privateer Press doing Kickstarters? Well, they recently did one.

On the other hand, Privateer Press has also recently decided that they don’t like online discounters. They sent out a public memo if you will detailing that such actions were unwelcome and could harm the industry.

Sounds very much like Games Workshop to a point.

Now I buy things all over the place. I buy them from Games Plus, a FLSG. I buy secondhand from people. I buy from gaming auctions at Games Plus. I buy them online.

Some I’d never buy if it wasn’t deeply discounted.

And on some level, Privateer Press knows this because they deliberately make design choices to encourage the purchase of goods beyond a normal usable level. There are even jokes about “Doom Reaver spam” for example as the amount of models required for a “tier” list goes well beyond what is normally allowed on the table.

I understand why Privateer Press is doing this but I think it’s a mistake. Now they know their own business far more than some fat man on the internet.

On the other hand, you cannot put the genie back in the bottle. 

E-Bay and Amazon are a thing. 

Secondary markets are a thing.

Stores that continue to sell at the heavy discount and get the products later? That WILL be a thing.

And one of the online stores that quickly changed policy to adhere to the new maximum discounts? 

They were doing a lot to provide information and expand the hobby to begin with. 

And here’s the thing, remember when I said that Privateer Press recently did a Kickstarter? Yeah… all of that money the Kickstarter raised is essentially coming out of the retailers end of things. It’s huge doublespeak for do as I say, not as I do.

When Lock and Load comes up, there will be early releases. 

Again, what about the retailer? See last comment.

It’s not on the level that online retailers can push through, it’s only for a limited event, but at the same time, it is sales taken directly from retailers.

This doesn’t count exclusive only miniatures that can only be bought from Privateer Press. Currently the number of such figures is small overall but at one point included the pricey “Extreme” sculpts.

I hope that the policy doesn’t bite them in the ass. 

Some people will stop buying expensive items. They may have a threshold tolerance. For example, the new version or resculpt of Behemoth is something like $69.95. If you have a threshold of $50, buying it at the old 30% that was easy to find means you could get it at $48.97, just under your threshold. On the other hand, the new standard means you’re going to be getting hit for $62.96.

It could also cut into ‘jank’ list purchases. Something that you’re not necessarily going to run in a lot of games or indeed, outside of some tier force lists that, again, encourages you to buy excess models.

For example, if you want to run a bunch of battle mages in a Retribution army in a “Charge of the Battle Mages” tier force. Now though, paying close to full price? You might just skip that whole list. 
There will be those who say for the dedicated player that these are minor issues. That if you are playing to win, you will spend that extra money.


I know several people, including myself, which have held off on making any new purchases since that announcement went into place. I have a lot of models to assemble and paint and that’s how I primarily came to the game to begin with. I don’t need to spend a ton of money on say, battle engines that I’m not going to be using a lot of.

What about everyone else? Good idea? Bad idea?