Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Long Game? Or Incredibly Lucky?

So yesterday I was wondering....Have Mantic been playing an incredibly well planned long game or have they just got incredibly lucky?

Mantic was effectively up in running in 2009, I believe, and over the intervening years they have brought a number of games to the market. I am aware of first hearing about them on the Podhammer podcast when the host was provided with an Elf army by Mantic. From there they launched the first edition of Kings of War and then Warpath. However I think the real growth for Mantic came when they used Kickstarter to launch their follow-up games, Dreadball, Deadzone, Mars Attacks. Since then through clever use of Kickstarter - effectively using it as a pre-order mechanism for upcoming releases - they have continued to grow.

All their main games seem to have a GW equivalent and you don't need to be Einstein to deduce that a lot of their growth has been symbiotic (the less charitable would say parasitic). But the Deadzone terrain was great for Necromunda or 40k, Kings of War for Warhammer Fantasy etc.

So the use of parallel products and Kickstarter has allowed a critical mass to develop.

In what must be the greatest case of opportune timing GW chose 2015 to retire Warhammer and replace it with a skirmish game. Suddenly there was a hole in the market for a massed combat Fantasy wargame. And this occurred just when Mantic had run a successful Kickstarter for the second edition of KoW and were about to launch it to the market with associated expanded model range. You've got to believe that Ronnie Renton gets up every morning and thanks whatever deity he believes in for that move by GW and its fortunate timing. Insert piece here about how it's "better to be lucky, than good".

The timing of Mantic's responses suggests that the products were in train anyway but they must incredulous about how good their timing was.

The release of Uncharted Empires continues the run. The planning for this was well underway when Age of Sigmar dropped but you've got to wonder whether they had a whisper because this must be like winning the lottery two weeks in a row!

The Company has largely not put a foot wrong in the last18 months in their releases or their timing. Certainly they've been helped by GW but unless they are incredibly agile they must have had a got long term plan in place.....the success of which has been magnified by good fortune.


  1. I think it was fate. The Hive Mind decided that my Nids should not be moth-balled and so manipulated the space/time continuum to allow me to play them as Night-Stalkers. Whatever it was, its got to be good for us consumers, right?

  2. Quite a bit of long term planning & then a side of good luck. Remember the KOW2 kickstarter began in November 2014 with a July '15 ship date but it had been in development for quite some time before that.

    Same as Uncharted Empires, that built upon the demand during 1st ed KOW from players for lists to use as analogues for their WFB armies. Then Mantic could see the community reaction to End Times/AOS and could apply more resources to it to speed up the process.

    I think they are just better at listening to & engaging with the community and taking feedback on board about what people are after game wise.

    1. I think Mantic wrote KOW2 with the expectation that they would face a hard, multi-year campaign to gain market-share from an established and entrenched WHFB. GW had a much wider range, a 30 year history and more retail outlets, but also masses of fan support in the shape of forums, podcasts, blogs, the ETC and dozens of tournaments worldwide. And Twitter of course :)

      And then in a few short months, GW threw all that away.

      I think Mantic must have felt like those Turkish soldiers at Gallipoli in December 1915, preparing for another campaign season of hard, bitter fighting. Then one day they wake up to find the Allies had just left, and they'd won. Yay us!!!

      So I think most of Mantic's success is down to their own efforts, but are more spectacular because they've been unleashed into a vacuum. The cider and stolly must have flowed at Mantic HQ once they realised they had no competition (no, AOS doesn't count...)

  3. The flip side viewpoint is what good does it do mantic to have players if they never buy any mantic models?

    That is why GW binned off WFB, it wasn't selling enough. oBviously mantics needs are different and it may be sustainable for them but I worry about their reliance on KS and their potential to have a good game but for it to fall over because everyone uses GW models over mantics own.

    1. Share your concern. Don't understand why they dont concentrate on bringing out Trident Realm and Night Stalker models as priority

    2. True some KOW players don't/won't buy Mantic models, but plenty do. For instance I have 3 Mantic armies & plenty of the players up here in Auckland do as well. Obviously people with large collections of WFB armies may not need more minis but the stuff sells well.

    3. I had a fair bit of WFB models kicking around but have spent a lot on Mantic armies/models since getting bitten by the KoW bug in January. In fact, the reasonable pricing and improving quality of the models (like the new Abyssals) is causing me to spend a lot more than I used to spend on GW. I think Mantic is going to do great.

    4. I think the idea is that if the open nature brings more players to the game, and even if only 1 in 5 buy Mantic, that's 1 in 5 more people buying Mantic than before, and the number will only increase.

  4. I have only had 1 game of Kings of War but have been buying Mantic models for years as they are so much cheaper. I have bought far more new stuff from Mantic than from GW, even playing the 9th age I will primarily buy new stuff from Mantic. However I rely on GW bits to spruce the models up as a lot of the models are quite plain.