Tuesday, June 27, 2017

KOW - Competing With A Steamroller

First up, a caveat. This post is in no way a criticism of Mantic Games. Rather it is an observation of the reality they operate in.

The last fortnight has seen the release of the new edition of Warhammer 40k. As well as that it has been a vivid demonstration of the resources Mantic's main competitor, Games Workshop, can throw at the hobby.

Make no mistake, Games Workshop is a steam roller. The resources that they have been able to throw at this release have been staggering:

  • Daily news items through their community page for the past two months
  • Videos on how to paint your models
  • Multiple 24 hour Twitch streams on the game being played
  • Community engagement through their Facebook page
  • Wall to wall podcast support where known UK gamers are funded (through product) to promote the game by detailing their hobby.
  • Company events at Warhammer World
All this comes on the top of a top-notch product and the presence of their retail outlets.

Now I appreciate that a lot of this is relatively "new" for GW but the one thing you can't deny is that this time at least, they are doing it right.

This is what Mantic Games is currently facing with KOW in the battle for gamers' "hearts and minds". The scale of the operation they are facing is staggering.

So what can they do? Well pretty much more of the same. They need to continue to throw their resources into their two main markets - the USA and UK. TBH anything outside those two markets in terms of sales is likely a rounding error for them. 

They will need to increase promotional activities not just on the ground - local FLGS level - but also at the headline level. This means a significant presence at at least the six largest gaming events (read conventions) in the USA and ensure that they get buy-in on attendance from the US tournament community. 

Lonewolf GT is a great event but those that attend are already captured. If Mantic wants to grow it needs to showcase its tournament game at conventions where it can expose its product to new players, people who already are happy to throw down $$$$ on game purchases.

It probably needs to develop a starter set - like Dark Imperium - showcasing its best models in an easy to play out-of-the box format.

And it needs to upgrade its social media presence. If the cost of 1-2 extra dedicated social media resources is a 3-4 month delay in the release of a new KOW figure range than IMO that would be a solid investment. Build the hype around a range, release, campaign whatever. For instance, the upcoming Summer Campaign needs daily commentary to maximise its potential.

All this pre-supposes that KOW is viewed as a key long term revenue earner for Mantic. The success of The Walking Dead and the ease of launching a Kickstarter around an established storyline/franchise may convince them that long term that that is a better business model.


  1. Very good points. I know in Brisbane a lot of players are getting swept by the hype of 40k again.

  2. Oooo, I get it. Everyone in my neck of the woods is ALL over 40k. I even game it a look but my mistrust of GW runs deep at this point in time and I can get an Enforcer ARMY for the same price as 16 orcs and a Dreadnaught. Besides, I've been nothing but happy with the Warpath stuff from the Kickstarter since December. Still, I hear you.

  3. I'm a LONG time GW fan... that said it hurt my feelings too much when they destroyed their own world and identity in a petty way to try to copyright basic fantasy tropes that had helped make them a leader in gaming. Only way I will buy GW in a meaningful way (ie books, armies, etc.) is IF Teclis wakes up from a nightmare in a cold sweat and the End Times and AoS were all just a dream and everything is the way it was.

  4. Well Mantic have a good presence at Gencon, Origins & Adepticon, so that's 3 of the big US events covered...

    1. The Adepticon presence was haphazard. Four people in the teams I think.

    2. 15 teams this year according to the TOs blog. Might have been a different story when you were there 3 odd years back though.

    3. My bad...it was the Campaign event that got four

  5. Mantic can certainly do with more PR.
    I think making sure they offer something Warhammer does not is a good path for Mantic. As far as I (and some disillusioned Warhammer players) can tell GW's games are not really suitable or or designed to be for competition. KoW most certainly is though. Mantic offers a mental challenge where GW seems to be going for games that are exciting above other aspects.

    1. I believe the KOW rules are great and so I'm personally disappointed that there hasn't been more take up locally. Tried a lot of different initiatives but locally community is not growing. Still intend to keep playing KoW but the tournament scene has been a hard uphill push.

  6. Mantic should also try to increase model quality. Many of their models are decent, but in comparison with what is available on comon kickstarter for example, there is way for improvement.
    Still the game mechanics are far way better than AoS ones!

  7. First and foremost, for me and my friends is the look of a game. The models need to excite, which in turn, will draw people. I'm a huge Mantic fan and plan to ride them all the way.