This post is targeted at professionals who wonder if there is a possibility to establish some kind of partnership with T9A.
Although T9A project is not making any profit itself, we fully understand the usefulness of having profitable companies providing players with everything they need!
In particular, since the beginning, we looked for miniature companies who were able to provide the necessary models.
In the very interest of the community of players, we are keen to establish some deeper cooperation with companies willing to support T9A.
There is a caveat: we cannot become contracted partners; and we cannot be exclusive. T9A will not be affiliated with, associated with, or take part in any joint venture with any of the cooperating companies.
We want no money from that cooperation, because the risk of altering the game in order to favor some partnership would be too high and would not be in the interest of the community of players,
This said, it seems natural and mutually beneficial to help somehow those companies who decide to embrace T9A and make special efforts to support our game.
Any company can join, not limited to miniature companies, as long as they propose a product or service useful to play Fantasy Battles, directly or indirectly. Any company can join, regardless whether there are already other companies offering similar products.
If you would like to consider having your company providing support to T9A, here is what you need to read: T9A and Company Support
We look forwards to reading your presentation mail!
There are various ways to contact the team or remain in touch.
If you are registered as a member of T9A, you may start directly a conversation with any other member.
Sometimes, you know which team you wish to contact, but you do not know who is the relevant person.
There is a trick:
Top right of your screen, click on "Members", then look in the middle top and click on "Staff Members".
You will see the list of each group. Most often, there is a different tag for the team leader. Click on the name, and start a conversation.
Alternatively, you can send us e-mails:
firstname.lastname@example.org - to be used for anything official; it will be read by someone from the Executive Board.
email@example.com - to be used for public relations issues.
Also, you will find us on various Social Media.
The 9th Age has a thriving community, with people from all over the world interacting with each other.
You can follow 9th Age on Twitter and Facebook, and soon also on Instagram and YouTube, to further enrich your hobby experience.
Stay up-to-date with the latest news from #T9A, be it community contests or crowdfunding campaigns by supporting companies.
News can also be found on popular blogs like Bell of Lost Souls and Faeit 212.
Or get in touch with the wide network of bloggers and podcasters that 9th Age is growing.
We want the wargaming community closer together and social media allows us to do just that.
Join 9th Age on social media and spread the word, because this a community-driven project and you can make a difference.
Note: our enthusiastic supporters have opened T9A accounts in various languages, in particular on facebook.
If you are more comfortable with one of these languages, you can of course use these accounts as an intermediate for a first contact. We will then figure out how to establish a better link.
Even if they do not represent T9A officially, they provide a wonderful help.
Stay in touch!
In this post, I would like to highlight our value of tolerance and our wish to be equally welcoming to women and men, majority and minorities.
It is not that we have any particular political agenda: we only create games and serve a community.
But we want our creations and our community to be adopted by all potential Hobbyists, no matter who they are or how "different" they may be perceived.
It is not necessarily so easy. When you think about it, games of Fantasy Battles are about war.
The setting is a world inspired by our collective past, from the Dawn of Civilisation to the Age of Exploration.
An epic past if any, often violent and reckless, very far from our present days and modern values.
Many authors in the Fantasy genre have accentuated in their descriptions the excesses of History and legends to a caricatural point. We are no exception.
But the worst values displayed in battles, in fantasy or in history must not result into some unwelcome demeanor in our website.
We must be clear that we make the distinction with real life.
This is what the post is about.
In the T9A team, we want everyone to feel welcome.
We do not want intolerant people to spoil the rest of the community. We will never accept any offense towards anyone because of what she or he is,
No matter who you are, enjoy The Ninth Age, and the community which makes it live!
You are welcome here.
This post is a recollection of the principal milestones achieved during the project,
So many events happened, it is hard to trace them all. Fortunately, the News structure allows to recall most of them.
The initial impetus for the project can be found here, in a post on The Warhamer Forum written on June 30, 2015:
The first versions of the rules were created very quickly:
Pre-alpha sneak peek version 1.0July 11, 2015
The 9th Age - Version 0.1 Alpha - Aug 4th 2015
It included Rules, Balance, Lores, and the first army book, Beastmen- v0.1
Temporary Army Compendium - Sep 11th 2015
Translations were made at a very early stage of the project:
First translation: The 9th Age - Italian - Aug 14th 2015
The 9th Age - Spanish - Sep 3rd 2015
The 9th Age - German - Sep 4th 2015
The 9th Age - French - Oct 19th 2015
Non-English Forum Section - Oct 30th 2015
The 9th Age - Polish v0.11.x - Jan 6th 2016
... and probably more to come!
The rules evolved progressively towards the first version.
the Fantasy Battles: 9th Age rulebook is finished - Sep 9th 2015 - This is the start of a new Age - the 9th Age.
Update: Beta version 0.6 - Sep 15th 2015
The 9th Age - Full Beta release v0.9 - Nov 2nd 2015
The 9th Age - Beta release v0.10 - Dec 8th 2015
The 9th Age - Magic Cards v0.10.1 - Dec 11th 2015
The 9th Age 0.99 Release - Mar 8th 2016
0.99.4 Official Announcement - Apr 15th 2016
Release of Fantasy Battles: The 9th Age V1.0 - Apr 30th 2016
But V1.0 was hardly released when the next move was considered: Changes to the Rules, Army Books and Project Structure - Aug 10th, 2016.
V1.1 is a minor change including some quick fixes and a few corrections on the balance: The HOTFIX is here! - Sep 2nd 2016
Release of Fantasy Battles version 1.2.0 - Oct 25th 2016 - included an overhaul of magic paths and army composition; unit's points basically doubled and templat disappeared.
Version 1.3 is out! with the explicit intention to improve on the previous version's changes.
As this pace of changes prove too fast for our community (and our team) to follow, we gave them an Important News! Freezing the Rules! on Jan 17th 2017.
Tournaments have been using T9A rules since before the V1 version. In particular, we are proud to mention:
The early decision to trust T9A: ETC 2016 goes 9th Age! Oct 1st 2015
And here it went: First Impressions of the ETC 2016 - The Glorious Battles at the ETC 2016 in Athens - Aug 09th, 2016
Our own T9A tournament is planned: First Official Annual T9A Masters! scheduled Nov 11-13 2016 in Herford, Germany
with the First official T9A tournament trailer, Jul 17th
The background took longer to deliver. It started with two army books before the full fulebook itself.
Release of UD full army book in Version 0.11.0 Beta - Dec 24th 2015.
The Trewi: Sylvan Elves! - May 17th 2016
Paths of Magic full book 1.2.0 - Oct 25th 2016
Full Basic Rule Book Release (FBRB) was provided, as sheduled, on Dec 24th 2016.
We developed a second game: on Apr 16th 2017, The Quick Starter is Released!
Designed to be easier than the main game, it targets both beginners and casual players interested in short games.
This QS game became the first game to get a company to create a package with rules and models (and terrain) on Oct 26th, 2017: Something really extrordinary
The forum constantly evolved to provide always more services to Hobbyists.
The 9th Age forum - Sep 7th 2015
Models - Sep 10th 2015
Map Search Function - Sep 22nd 2015
New 9th Age Gallery - Nov 15th 2015
Weekly blog update - Dec 7th 2015
The 9th Age - Lexicon over 1000 articles - Dec 10th 2015
The 9th Age - IRC Chat - Jan 6th 2016
Mailing-List - Jan 18th 2016
Release-Info Mailing-List - Mar 8th 2016
Shieldwolf Miniatures supports The 9th Age - Apr 18th 2016
Links to external faction forums - Apr 19th 2016
First edition of The 9th Age Supporting Companies Newsletter, July 13th 2016
We first presented The Hobby Hub (TM) on Aug 19th, 2016
A magazine was created, The 9th Scroll,
T9A has been present on Social Media
9th Age on YouTube - Sep 27th 2015
The 9th Age on Bell of Lost Souls - Jul 14th, 2016
We also started our own magazine: The 9th Scroll! - Oct 10th, 2016, 1st edition.
It seems that T9A got players' interest, as shown in a poll from wargamesillustrated.net/your-favorite-wargames-rules-are/, 12 Sep, 2016: "Interestingly, the entirely free, fan-produced Fantasy Battles: The 9th Age has made a good showing". Indeed, T9A scored 3rd, after two WW2 games. This makes T9A the favorite Fantasy game rated by the magazine!
We got our Wikipedia page in 2017, an initiative independant from the team.
Finally, if you wish to have a snapshot at what T9A was after exactly 1 year, here it is:
One year of The 9th Age project June 30th, 2016, with a descriptions of many achievements and stats at that time.
The Second Year of T9A in Review updates that description at the end of June 2017.
We were proud to reach 10.000 members in the… [Read More]
Oh, I know that many people will read this with avid curiosity. There has been some speculation and interrogation about this issue!
I will first tell about the relations with ETC, the largest and most famous tournament using T9A rules.
tl;dr = excellent informal, nothing formal.
Next, I will make clear the relations - or rather, the lack of - with the late Warhammer game, to which T9A is quite often compared.
tl;dr = nothing, neither formal nor informal.
I am not aware of questions about T9A relations with other games or organizations. I will address our relations with some model companies; please ask if you see more need.
tl;dr: see our website: only link provided = no relation; more than a link provided = informal relations, no contract.
-=-=- T9A and ETC -=-=-
Some persons wonder about the relations between T9A and the tournament European Team Championship (ETC).
Indeed, ETC, the largest event in the world for Fantasy Battles, has adopted T9A as its main game for 2016.
Actually, ETC and T9A are two associations completely independent from each other.
This said, some strong and long lasting informal relations were established since the very start of T9A project.
Many of T9A early members have been avid ETC participants for many years. Actually, a big reason for them to start T9A was to address the needs of the next ETC and preserve as much continuity as possible, despite the sudden loss of their main game, at a time when all alternatives implied a steady change to the competition. This is why on the very day of the foundation of T9A, ETC was already mentioned as a goal.
Reversely, as early as at the end of 2015's ETC edition, contact was made with ETC stakeholders, to promote T9A as the next main game.
ETC showed an impressive act of faith when the national team captains voted to adopt T9A as the official rules for the bulk of the event, at a moment when T9A was still in its very early development. Fair to say, T9A matched perfectly most of the teams' secret dream, to have a game designed by the community with their needs in mind.
As the T9A staff grew, a large part of the new members proved to be highly interested in ETC, either willing to participate or wishing they did. A good spirit to foster the reciprocal interest!
The development of the rules has been made in a time frame specially adapted to the needs of ETC 2016. This concern remains valid for future developments, where provisions are taken for T9A official rules to be voluntarily frozen every year during four months, only to address the needs of the ETC.
After adopting T9A, the ETC organizers never interfered with the development of T9A, except to confirm the required calendar of release of the stabilized version (V0.99), and, of course, to confirm after the release that T9A fitted the needs of the Championship. Which it did! The adequacy of T9A for the needs of the ETC was satisfactory.
This sentence highlights well the main relation between ETC and T9A:
ETC acts as a de facto external quality inspector for the rules of the game T9A (not the background).
Today, the future of T9A and the future of ETC are closely associated.
T9A will obviously benefit in the long run of having the most important Fantasy Battles tournament use its rules. This sets a high goal of progress for competitive players around the whole world.
Likewise, this informal close association is the best guarantee that the rules of the game are and will remain balanced.
From ETC's perspective, it is very beneficial to have a game which developers fully understand and naturally which supports all their needs.
It is a symbiosis, i.e. a mutually beneficial association, with clear benefits for both parties in terms of sustainability in the long term.
All of these reasons explain why T9A is particularly positive about ETC.
Note, this relation is not exclusive. Other games may be played at the ETC, and T9A is keen to support as much as possible the needs of all kind of tournaments around the world.
-=-=- T9A and WH -=-=-
Many people wonder what is the relation between the game Fantasy Battles: The Ninth Age, and the late game Warhammer Fantasy Battles, which was previously the dominant Fantasy miniature wargame.
The answer is simple: there is no formal relation at all. There is no continuity.
If the game T9A was to be a successor, that would be only spiritual.
T9A appeared when the community was wondering how best to keep playing rank-and-file fantasy war game.
It was not possible to carry on with a game which had just been discontinued. So we just designed everything, rules and background, with a vision to making the best possible game. Every single game mechanic has been analyzed and tested so as to make the gaming experience as smooth and entertaining as it deserves to be.
A whole universe has been imagined from a blank page to describe the models to be played (nearly all of them pre-existing).
Everything is newly written, and designed to make large rank-and-file… [Read More]
Having the goals in mind is one thing. To achieve them is another story!
With little manpower, no money and pressing time, the whole extent of the project could not be achieved immediately.
The long journey had to start somehow, and it did. Step after step, progress was made.
In this post, I will detail how the project was divided in major steps, all undertaken in slightly more than one year of project.
The first target was tournament players.
This is where the founders come from, and more importantly, having the most renowned tournament endorse T9A was the best guarantee that the game would be balanced, and that it would be sustained in the long run.
This is how the game earned its first quality: balance.
The second group to become interested was made from all players of Fantasy wargames.
Those who were still participating to online forums were quick to understand that they could take their old armies off the shelves, and use them again! Furthermore, and contrary to their past experience where some units were must-have and others must-shelve, with T9A, care was taken so that all units would be playable. They loved that, and spread the word in local gaming shops.
This is another quality of the project: legacy.
Simultaneously, modelists were addressed by a very extensive research for various model companies.
Together, they would provide an extremely diverse array of possibilities to select from. While not tying T9A with any company, some forms of cooperation were developed in the interest of both players and companies.
Another quality of the project: impartiality versus model providers.
The presently undergoing step is to recreate the whole Hobby atmosphere.
T9A endeavors to create in its website a welcoming atmosphere for players in their whole diversity, with special attention for female hobbyists or those who belong to various minorities or beliefs.
We want our members to discuss freely about their Hobby: T9A of course, but is it fine to discuss about other Fantasy games as well; or to develop their own rules.
We want them to show their artistic realizations, or to get the help of professionals to improve their collection.
We wish them to ask directly T9A authors about the universe; or to develop their own stories.
We help them to find other players, in various tournaments, in local shops or at home.
We offer them our website to discuss about all of this, and we facilitate access to other specialized websites they might prefer.
That quality of the project is wide: a comprehensive Hobby support, taking care of all of the aspects of the Hobby, and facilitating contacts from hobbyists with other hobbyists and with Hobby-related professionals! We call that The Hobby Hub (TM).
The next target will be to reach out storytelling players.
This is for their sake that a whole universe, with an incredible care given to realism, has been created, to be released somewhere during Autumn 2016.
A superb quality of the project is the realism in Fantasy.
Step after step, we deliver! Thank you, the Community, which gives us our so dedicated team members!
Our ultimate goal is to have a thriving Community of passionate people around the world, united by their Hobby: Fantasy Battles.
This is our best quality: a passionate sense and care of the Community.
During discussions with the top management, I investigated for which ultimate purpose the team - our team - was spending so much energy.
And it turned out not to be that simple.
Indeed, there are multiple goals for this project!
I would like to disseminate these findings and explain to a wider audience what are our goals in the project T9A.
What are we trying to achieve?
A New Impulse to the Hobby:
In 2015, many Hobbyists were wondering how to maintain their Hobby alive.
Some players decided to take action. And the goal is not to barely maintain, the goal is to expand!
We firmly believe that the Hobby community has all reasons to thrive, and we wish to give all Hobbyists always more reasons to paint miniatures, organize campaigns and play tournaments.
The do-it-yourself spirit:
The Ninth Age was founded by six players, experienced in two of the most popular systems which provided patches to their favorite game in order to adapt it for balanced competitions: the ETC and the Swedish Comp System. The philosophy - of doing yourself what is not given to you - has just been extended... to a whole new game and to a wide community!
The team of all Hobbyists:
Beyond their interest for competition, these entrepreneurs knew from the start that they had to reconvene the whole Hobby in its full extension, if they wanted the result to be sustainable. And they did it! They have been progressively joined by a wide community of Hobbyists whose concerns embrace the whole Hobby. And so here we are, me who wrote this post, you who read it now, many already and more yet to join. Everyone is welcome, who has an interest in some part of the Hobby. It is not even necessary to play! We receive overwhelming support and feedback from enthusiasts of all parts of the world, who ensure with their feedback the quality of our work.
A new game has been designed completely, recognizing the strengths and standards established progressively in the past decades, already well known by the community, while at the same time ever seeking to improve them. Our goal is to create the rule system people deserve, a rule system that is designed to be played competitively or casually alike, without patch, a rule system build by the community for the community.
Our design philosophy is to stay true to experience-proven principles on the one hand, and to streamline the rules, balance units and magic on the other hand. We strive to create a gaming system which is centered on tactical skill and risk management - rewarding players who deploy and maneuver strategically.
Starting from a blank page gave us the rare opportunity to develop a universe as close as possible to the desires of fans.
In the early steps of designing the new universe, we asked veteran players on various websites about their wishes.
The resulting T9A universe, compared to the most familiar one used in fantasy battles, could be described as less fantasy and closer to historical/legendary folklore found in various European, Middle-East or Asian cultures; it is much more realistic as well; finally, each faction develops the traits which has been polled as the most desirable among their respective fans.
Our goal is to create a gaming experience which allows players to keep using their existing collections, and to be able to select as many of their models as possible. The rules could change, the background could change, but the models used for the game should be maintained as a legacy.
Since the beginning, decision was made not to produce any model, but to help players get in contact with the many talented model companies. Not only it removes one complex task from the project itself, but also it addresses one concern, which is that the need to foster sales should never compromise the quality of the rules or the background.
Our experience is that players from around the world have great ideas and are currently providing the massive amount of feedback we gladly receive. We want to deliver the best product possible and are certain that including the community, implementing their feedback and informing them about our reasoning regarding changes is the best way to secure this goal. In this context, we always wish to include more community members - if you, reader, know anybody with the will to contribute to this project and who would have useful knowledge, please point him out to us.
These are some of the many goals that I have been able to collect in the last months.
But I am sure that you, reader, have in mind other goals that T9A is helping you to achieve.
Please do not hesitate to post below what, in your opinion, is or should be the goal of the project T9A.
EDIT: See an updated communication about T9A goals:
An explanation about the Project Direction
Here, I would like to elaborate a bit about what is "The Hobby".
This is a very important concept for us, as it is the environment wich caused the game's creation and which still nurtures it.
Let's trace back a little bit in History.
Wargames were initially created as training for officers, played as preparation for contemporary wars. They have become since a leisure, and extended their simulations to non-contemporary conflicts. Embrionic Fantasy wargames existed as early the 70's, with Gary Gygax's "Chainmail" rules. It was an evolution of these wargame rules that led to the first role playing game, Gary Gygax's Dungeons & Dragons in the 70's. Fantasy wargaming and role playing both started to gain in popularity during the late 70s and early 80s. Games Workshop released its own role playing game that also included tabletop wargame rules, "Warhammer" in 1983. This was followed up by a supplement in 1984, "Forces of Fantasy", which focused on the wargame aspect rather than the role playing aspect. Games Workshop over the following decades was able to effectively refine and market Warhammer so it became the dominant and ubiquitous fantasy battle system that would be played during the following 30 years, in successive editions.
"Vince Venturella's history of GW series, worth watching" describe a vivid relation of these early times.
Within a few years, a whole Hobby emerged.
If you think about it, there are several distinct components in the Hobby:
- the first pleasure is collecting models, customizing them, painting them; participating to competitions for models or whole armies;
- then comes playing games with these models, in epic battles including hundreds of models aligned in multiple regiments, or in small skirmishes;
tournaments were organized, and progressively, independent organizers created specific adaptations to get more balance in the games;
- many enjoy telling stories around these models, writing or drawing legendary battle reports or humorous stories;
professional authors developed narratives in series of romances which were avidly read by fans; derivative roleplaying games based on wargame universes were developed;
- derivative games were imagined aside of main wargames, which allowed to use the same models or new specific ones, in the same universe; for example, a fantasy football game named Blood Bowl became particularly popular, but there were also naval battles, alliance games, small warband games, skirmish games, video games…
- a whole community developed around The Hobby. They would gather in local game shops or in large conventions. Fans discussed all aspects of their Hobby in more than a hundred of ultra-specialized websites and created many facebook communities in various languages.
But relax! It is not necessary to be interested in all of these aspects to be a Hobbyist!
Most Hobbyists are interested in several aspects, but each component has enough attractiveness on its own to satisfy many fans.
Some only collect models. Some don't mind to play games with unpainted models, or are happy just to enjoy the atmosphere of a tournament. Some dream fluffy stories. Some let their creativity loose for developing new ideas. Some stick around just because they find the community cool and made friends there.
And all of them are Hobbyists!
In 2015, the main game animating the Hobby ceased to exist.
Collectors were left with discontinued factions, players missed rules adapted to their former playstyle and competitions, storytellers lamented a destroyed and dead universe, and the Community massively dropped the frequentation of all specialized websites.
The Ninth Age project was created in this context, to restore The Hobby into its glorious prosperity.
This is done firstly through the provision of a new game: Fantasy Battles: The 9th Age.
The game is designed to fill the unaddressed needs of Hobbyists, and is made with the help of the Hobby Community.
The second step is to gather the community once again, and to grow it around a solid R&F fantasy game.
We will examine that more in detail in the next article.
Let's start with the beginning.
What is The Ninth Age?
Who are we?
The Ninth Age (acronym: T9A) is at the same time:
- the short name for a game (*), the fantasy epoch where it takes place,
- a hobby community, a project and a non-profit association.
Sometimes it may seem a little ambiguous to have the same name for all of this together, but at least it is easy to remember!
In this post, I will develop the status of the project and the non-profit association.
The project T9A.
The 9th Age (project) was founded on June 30th, 2015 by six fantasy battle players at competitive level, coming from five different countries:
Austria, Denmark, Germany, Spain, and 2 from Sweden.
All but one had routinely participated to ETC tournaments, including one who had been also one of the main authors of the Swedish Comp System.
The six founders have progressively given their powers to an Executive Board, which runs the project and takes all major decisions.
The membership in this ExB is based on cooptation. Neither the founders nor the ExB receive any compensation for their work.
The team has grown in a single year at the pace of a highly successful start-up!
One year after the project started, we were 270 staff members from 29 nationalities, working on various specialized positions.
Some team members display very high professional skills:
- in games development of course, with the help of strong statistical analytics;
- to provide a very believable background, based on highly specialized scientific knowledge;
- to translate the production in several languages;
- or to support the project with real company management experience and business professional skills.
Running such a project faces some unique challenges: this is a 100% telework company; we are scattered on five continents and so many time zones, and most of us have English as a second language.
We receive no reward, not even fame: most of us are known only by our user name, and our work is given to T9A so that the appreciation can be only collective.
The commitment of some members may vary in time, or cease with little notice, as there is no contractual obligation between T9A project and T9A team members.
And everyone works for free!
But despite these difficulties, it has been a perpetual amazement to see so much dedication from this superb team!
Current direction of the project (as of Summer 2017)
Two years after the project started, as we move towards the 2nd Edition, the Executive board provides a clarification about the direction of the Project, which specifies the reasons - including legal ones - for the evolution of the project. You can find this clarification here:
An explanation about the Project Direction
T9A association legal structure
The Association is a non for profit unincorporated association and in no circumstances will the Association engage in commercial activity for profit.
The Association may engage in commercial activity to the extent necessary to advance the goals of the Association,
however, no member or other individual associated with the Association may draw a salary or any other type of compensation,
nor may the Association engage in any activity that would render the Association liable to pay taxes to any government or agency.
The work placed on the website is covered by the CC license.
This should clarify our status. If you have more questions, please ask!
(*) EDIT: The distinction between project and game was not really important in the first year of their existence, as the project delivered only one game: "Fantasy Battles: The 9th Age".
In 2017, the project T9A will deliver another game related to the same universe. At that time, the first game will be more accurately designated by the acronym "FBT9A".