Thursday, April 28, 2016

Kings of War at the ETC

After last year's ETC, a vote was held to determine the major Fantasy gaming system for the 2016 tournament. Not surprisingly - given a lot of the authors were voters - The Ninth Age was selected.

This must have been disappointing to Mantic as they had made efforts - including supplying a free Rulebook giveaway at ETC 2015 - to get Kings of War selected.

By way of consolation, it was proposed that KIngs of War be included as a two day side event to increase European exposure and position itself for future growth. Initially this seemed to gain good traction and it looked hopeful that a significant event would be held.

I was checking through the ETC forums on TWF the other day and saw that this KOW event appears to be in trouble. It was initially envisaged that there be four man teams arranged along ETC national lines. Some countries, notably France, pushed for multiple teams from each country. I note now that there appears to be less than half a dozen committed teams and three of these are French.

Again this looks like a massive missed opportunity for Mantic. I appreciate that they must have been disappointed to miss out on the big dance but they did have a real opportunity to widen their community. However the company, and their marquee players have put what appears to be little or no effort into build a foothiold at what is a substantial gaming event. There was no reason that given support by the existing playing base that the side event could not have grown to a "main ev enter" like Flames of War did.

To me this is real symptomatic of what I have seen from Mantic since I have been interested in KoW. They get an opportunity and then they fail to capitalise on it to the extent they should.

At present they seem to be relying largely on the adoption of KoW as the system for the US Masters as their key KoW growth mechanism. I've seen little evidence that there is real growth in the UK despite the opportunity they were presented with WFB's demise. In the rest of the world the push is purely from motivated individuals rather than from any efforts by the company as to how they can help. Yes, I know they see things as community led but I am seeing no evidence that they reach out to the community.

Here in New Zealand, for instance, the game is in a delicate state. It could easily flounder in the next few months as competition from other systems - T9A, possibly a revamped AoS - come online.

Mantic really need to do some community intelligence because as I see it they are letting things slip through their hands......regularly.


  1. The ETC organizers screwed over the side event, changed its dates etc which meant a number of teams dropped out.

    1. And a number weren't going to play unless they changed the dates. Went both ways.

    2. I think both groups t9a and kow need to work together more to keep people playing table top at etc or anywhere for that matter. I think this side of the world should run both at the same event. The games and the people championing them need to see the games as allies more than rivals. Anything that isn't aos is worth supporting

    3. I think running both at the same event may be more problematic. I would say there are several people on the fence, or looking in from the sidelines to which community picks up more, and others that would like to play both systems. One would potentially cannibalise the other.
      Personally, I like a lot about KoW, like the multibasing potential, the competitive balance etc, but then 9th age pulls on all the familiar old world strings, and my Chaos Stunties are a fully fleshed out force now!
      I dont like many Mantic models atm (the new centaurs look great), but thats not stopping me as I have discovered so many great alternatives (like RA, Blood keep) for my evil stunties, and the Raging Heroes Dark Elves are about to come out soon...

    4. I wish Wellington had a population of 5 million.

      then I could have communities of both T9A and KoW ;-)

  2. I don't quite get what you're expecting from Mantic here Pete, as it comes across that you think that because the full fantasy gaming community didn't all embrace KOW that this means Mantic has somehow failed.

    More people are playing KOW than ever, Mantic have released 2 expansions for 2nd editon thus far- Uncharted Empires & Destiny of Kings, along with a bunch of new non-kickstarter models & units for a number of armies plus KOW Historicals. Historicals being something which a lot of people in the community asked for.

    They have the Pathfinder system in the UK & the US to help grow the community, Mantic staff and the rules committee work closely with event organizers & pod casters, they work actively on FB and Ronnie is constantly jetting around to big events. You can't really ask for much more from what is a pretty small company by any standard.

    1. I'm saying a number of things David.

      That there is little evidence of growth in the UK if event numbers are anything to go by.
      That once ETC did not vote for KoW as main eventer they seemed to lose interest and effectively have done little to support those guys who were keen to get a KoW presence at ETC. it now looks like it will flounder.
      That they promised a tournament pack and that is yet to eventuate.

      i guess I do think they've underachieved in the UK and in Europe and I worry that they may rest on laurels in US. Uncharted Empires was a good move but it needed to be built on.

      Here in NZ they had enormous goodwill but people are drifting away from the game. I expect it to come under increased competition when T9A drops. If the same happens elsewhere then another growth opportunity is missed.

      Surely that should worry Mantic long term?

  3. "They" being the Rules Committee with regards to the tournament pack who have said that it is still being worked on and that they are currently prioritizing the development & testing of the historicals expansion. Along with getting more info/data from events.

    Think you're forgetting Pete that Mantic don't have a big full time rules development team like other companies. And KOW is just one of a number of systems which currently are being worked on big time. Maybe that's not good enough for you but it's a bit over the top to start saying the sky if falling.

    1. Nice hyperbole David :-)

      I haven't said the sky is falling. I've said that Mantic have missed opportunities.

      Yes I understand their size and their focus on other projects but that doesn't change my view that the KoW opportunities are being missed.

      Look, I get you are defensive about a game you've played for a significant period. It's galling to you for "Johnny-come -lately" gamers to come in and start agitating change. However it is just as annoying when you visit a forum, blog etc and are told that as a WFB "refugee" you should be grateful for what you've got.

      My belief is that if Mantic want to play with the big boys - and every indication is that they do - then they need to take opportunities open to them. You can't always play the plucky underdog card.

      Now I'm saying that as a single focus Mantic customer - and as someone who has spent considerable effort trying to grow the KoW community. If that's not a message the company believes is valid then that's fine.

    2. I'd say its more a case of Mantic biting off more than its resources can handle. Too many projects being attempted at the same time with too few resources to support them.

    3. I agree with that Tim.....the money is in Kickstarters relative to straight retail. They effectively use it as a pre-order system.

      Not so much incentive to issue product outside this

    4. Except for the fact they sold more copies of Dreadball & Deadzone through retail than through their KS, plus have been releasing non-KS stuff for KOW etc. Its having the capital for tooling a bunch of things all at once which Mantic don't have without using KS.

    5. Yeah that's what I was saying. The pre-order from Kickstarter provides the working capital.

  4. The I'd suggest passing the message directly onto Mantic and/or the RC. Provide them with the "community intelligence" you think that they are lacking.

    1. It's not rocket science

      - Aspire to more than 30 people at UK Clash of Kings

      - Support US community through running multiple CoK events in USA to ensure US Masters a success in its first KoW year

      - have some form of presence at ETC to get exposure in Europe.

      Contact Mantic or RC? not sure why I'd do that. They are the one with dog in the fight/skin in the game. They should be well aware of this.

      And as we can see people are very defensive to any comment that is not overwhelming positive.

      I guess at least consistent. I've had a poke at Mantic, T9a and AoS this week :-)

      It's nice being an irresponsible commentator :-) Read, whinner

  5. Has ideas about stuff which is wrong or things which could improve the game. Doesn't want to send them to the people who could implement said improvements. Seems kinda strange to me that's all.

    1. Mantic have been linked to the thread so if they are interested I'm sure they will see them

  6. Sometimes seems Mantic have a problem holding onto great staff, which must complicate strategic planning.