Articles by Calisson 52

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The latest issue of the 9th Scroll is here! You can read all about it in the news.

Our beta phase is finally over. Download The Ninth Age: Fantasy Battles, 2nd Edition now!

  • 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:
    warhammer.org.uk/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=98&t=129642

    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
    Chinese Translation! - Nov 7th, 2018
    ... 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.

    Meanwhile, we started to prepare the 2nd edition.
    We decided to involve the community deeply, not only for brainstorming several important aspects (like the whole Magic system), but also for a long phase of beta testing.
    The first beta edition was delivered on Dec 17th 2017, immediately followed with updates to every army book. The beta process was explained in detail, and the Gold second edition was delivered 0n 21st December 2018.


    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.
    Scrolls deliver regularly some more background. See in particular the Issue 12 of the 9th Scroll

    The first Full Army Book made for the 2nd Edition (then in its initial beta release), Warriors of the Dark Gods, was released on Dec 24th 2017
    The second 2nd Edition Army Book was released (in its public beta version) immediately after the Gold 2nd Edition rules: Daemon Legions, on Dec 24th, 2018.
    At the time, the designation "Full" Army Book was replaced by "Legendary" Army Book, which included rules, artwork and background.

    We started to create some Seperate Supplement: Åsklanders Auxiliary Army List on Jan 1st 2018
    Rules supplements were created as well: T9A Scenario Supplement Alpha Release on Dec 10th 2018,
    T9A Supplement: Lands of T9A on Jan 2nd, 2019.




    -=-=-
    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[Read More]
  • <crowd gathering from the break after the visit of the Factory (see previous blog article) - kids slurping their drinks and licking their ice creams>

    Is everybody back with me? Don't get lost. The second part of the visit is our Front Office.
    <opening a door - a silly jingle loops endlessly - everywhere can be seen attractive posters on the flashy colored walls - crowd says "ahhh!">

    This is in that big hall that we deal with customers and suppliers.

    On the left, you can see our division in charge of taking our production to the customer, and providing the after-sales service.
    The public loves to discuss with the creators, did you know?
    This is where our commercial engineers (RTS, ACS) bring the product and provide patiently all the desired explanations.
    They are complemented by helpful hostesses providing various useful accessories (TS) and instruction booklets for the dumb (LXT). Of course, you need ALL of them, why not?
    Ah, and yes, we have our own security service (MT), please behave. If they walk their dogs, better talk to the dogs first. Politely.

    In the center, you find our Market Developers.
    Our very helpful employees with the strange head cover (HAT) guide the users to discover the subtle multiple usages of our product - we call that: The Hobby.
    They have special learning courses for beginners (see more in Information for Beginners!). The do perfection course for the more experienced. They animate customization workshops. A whole, comprehensive Hobby, as mentioned - better have a large garage!
    Next to them, you can see our international team in charge of our exports worldwide (TT, UN).
    Did you know that we export nearly everything we create? Ah, of course, our production is scattered across five continents anyway...

    The small department here, from where you can hear coming a lot of din... strange sounds, is always trying to make the buzz (CT, SoMe).
    Quite noisy for those who work nearby, but they get to be used to it. You should see their creations! Well, actually, you can, just follow us on FB or Twt.
    You could also simply discover our blog - nah, I'm kidding, if you read this then you are already in our blog.

    We are very proud of our competition division, to be seen out there on the right.
    They adapt our product for tournaments (9TO). They love to race (TST)! They run really competitive engines!
    You could not believe the amount of data they collect in their daily measurements (DA), to get the best of the best.

    Unfortunately, our company lounge in that corner is off-limits (PST, LGSCS). This is only for selected professionals.
    I heard that it is rather active, with all the salesmen coming back regularly. Sometimes, they leave some goodies!


    -=-=-
    We will not be able to visit today the Back Office.
    Too bad, we have a luxurious Executive Board meeting room (we call them Execution Board, but please do not disclose...). <wink>
    Next to them is our HR department, then further down the corridor is the Legal office and finally the IT Administration.
    Nothing too original. Please do not make noise as we move in vicinity.


    -=-=-
    This is the end of our visit. Please take your time while you stroll in our forum before leaving for home!
    And don't forget the guide...

    -=-=-
    If you are interested to know more, you will find some more exhaustive information in our leaflets:
    New Process for Army Design and Balancing!
    T9A internal organization for The Hobby Hub (TM)

    Would you be interested in joining us? Of course, who would not?
    Instead of joining the Army, join the Rule team! Epic battles everyday!
    Instead of joining the Navy, join the Background team! Explore the world, and reshape it!
    Instead of joining the Air Force, join The Hobby Hub! A never ending show!

    T9A Human Resources will be gladly receive your application @Pixie, @Mr.Gobbo, @ForsetisMuse ... and maybe process it, if you feel lucky!
    :girlcry: :handshake: :orcohmy: :girlout:
    [Read More]
  • We have seen the philosophies behind the creation of the rules and the background.
    Would you be now interested to pay a visit to the factory where these principles are applied?
    Yes?
    Let's go!

    <transportation to the (web)site of the factory - lucky you are, a tour is about to start>

    -=-=-
    Attention, Miladies, Milords, Lordlings, all those who registered for the guided tour, please come here, we are about to start in a minute.
    I am Beatrix von Ueblingen and I will be your guide today.

    Thank you for visiting this virtual place where everything concerning The Ninth Age is elaborated.
    The company is populated by an army of real persons that you will not see but who spend real time on their computers.

    Our workforce is divided in three groups:
    The Blue Collars work in the Factory.
    The Receptionists in the Front Office take care of the customers and the suppliers.
    We also have White Collars working in the Back Office on internal processes.

    -=-=-
    At first, we will visit the Factory.

    In the earliest days, when we were creating our new product, everything had to be invented.
    Structures were found insufficiently adequate as the product took shape, and patches and fixes were added as needs arose.
    Progressively, the Factory had become a bit.. complex, as you can see in this archive graph.

    <visitors say "oooooh", smartphones take pictures>
    At the time, we had to work with existing collections of (top) models and usual standards of gaming.
    The most prestigious customer, ETC, had a single overarching criteria: balance. So we created a product which was balanced.
    But the product would not fit all other customer's needs: they wanted us to fluff it more.

    So we had to refine the product.
    We took the opportunity to change completely the Factory, improving from our first experience.

    Today you can see the brand new Factory, with lots of space and a greater rationalization.

    <opening a door - visitors stay stunned and note the smell of fresh paint and bleach>


    Nowadays, we undertake a continuous loop of refinement of the antepenultimate release. <some visitors express a desperate lack of understanding>
    I mean, we just take our existing product, in its previous edition, and we improve it. <sight of relief>

    You will be certainly pleased to learn that now, we can put most of the emphasis on the storyboard.
    In a sense, we ask Pininfarina to improve the attractiveness of a powerful product designed by Diesel. <"wow" heard in the crowd>
    Balance is still a concern, but it is already there, so we just need not to fall... off balance, if I may. <few laughs at the pun>

    Several specialists work around the design. Some create the background (BGT). Our fabulous Jacks-of-all-trades (STT) are able to take on any task deemed useful. They make coffee, too.

    Now for the mechanics. The engine of the game, the rules, is in the hands of our best specialists. Our engineers (RT) supervise the whole division, with specialists (ADT) taking care of each specific part. Our crash testers (PT) make sure that the balance is held under the most icy conditions. The delicate tuning is made in a secret lab by a team of mad scientists, fed exclusively with Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches (BLT).

    The product goes back and forth between these two divisions until it reaches the desired standards. This could take months, you know!
    A few more checks are required in the quality control and expedition division, where the product gets its final shape. Our conformity managers (RRT and LCT) make sure nothing can hurt the final user before the packaging specialists (LT) shape the final aspect.

    When the product is ready to be delivered, it is given to our commercial engineers. They could be generalists (RTS) or specialised in various parts (ACS). All of them are considered as part of the Factory team: we want them to know the product as if they had made it themselves!

    We are now about to leave the Factory and head towards our degustation break.
    The company T9A is utterly pleased to offer you a free sample!

    We will convey back after the break.
    Enjoy!

    [Read More]
  • Besides the game's rules strictly speaking, the Background is developed with similarly tough constraints.
    As I type, the background has not yet been released, but it is getting close.


    Existing models is the predominant constraint.
    Many players have vast existing collections of miniatures. We want to provide rules and background adapted to those collections, albeit with new names and different spirit.
    This forces the background to support these models, as a starting point.
    In the future, we intend generally to avoid the introduction of new units or factions, which would not be supported by model companies.

    Intellectual Property.
    Of course, we respect Intellectual Property rights. To that end, we have created an entirely new world. That is even more exciting for us!
    Luckily, many players have expressed a taste for a rather realistic fantasy setting, which allowed us to use the very rich folklore taken from the world heritage of stories and myths as an inspiration for us, and as a gap filler for hobbyists.

    Some realism is a desired quality.
    We do not want to have a background describing small villages producing every year vast invasion armies, or highly civilized societies sustained despite a permanent cut-throat sadistic temper. The world must be believable.
    The reference for the quality has been set very high by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Lord Of The Rings. It will take us many years before we achieve anything of that quality!
    Another source of inspiration was Forgotten Realms, created by game designer Ed Greenwood around 1967 and made famous thanks to the Roleplaying Game Dungeons & Dragons (D&D).
    Those two settings are a great source of inspiration for the level of detail. However, we deliberately made our universe geographically more similar to Earth to enhance the sense of familiarity.

    T9A must be playable according to the background.
    All factions should have a believable reason to fight all other factions, and must be physically able to reach them.
    Every unit described should be transposable to playable rules. We do not want nearly all players in a faction to use all the time a one-of-its-kind monster.

    The background is not designed for eternity.
    That would be boring!
    There will be campaigns, leading to some evolutions in the World.
    Potentially every 5 years or so, the world's History will move forwards, some special characters may die, new ones may appear, new technologies or new tactics may be developed in various factions etc.
    Meanwhile, we will provide always more depth to our world.

    More in: The 9th Age Background


    End of the teaser.
    I am sorry for all of you who are waiting for T9A background to be released. A little more patience is required. The release has been planned sometime next fall.

    [Read More]
  • Rules creation and modification is an all-favorite topic for discussions.
    But behind the rules, there are many constraints! This post is intended to help interested people understand why we made some decisions about rules.
    Some are obvious, others are better explained than left to guess. Here there are.

    -=-=-
    The game The Ninth Age was created with several constraints and goals, which - of course - partially contradict each other…

    Legacy.
    One overarching concern was that T9A at its start wished to cover most of the needs of existing players, owning large existing collections, which often included old models which had been very popular in the past.
    Additionally, rules needed to remain reasonably close to player's expectations.
    Basically, the first version of T9A had to provide immediately to players the feeling that it was "their" game, addressing "their" needs.

    See also: Existing and new models usable with The 9th Age

    Clarity, simplicity, no ambiguity.
    The greatest care was taken to avoid the frustration that comes from badly written rules, which would result in the need for numerous FAQs and erratum. A permanent focus is to get a simple system that is easily understood. One of our overarching design goals for the 9th age is "simplicity, without removing tactical depth".

    Balance, both internal and external.
    External balance (all armies of equal power level) is something we value highly. As you can probably imagine, balance is a very difficult thing to get right without extensive play testing; the search of balance is a never ending task, and the more the factions and options, the harder it becomes.
    Internal balance (choices within the army of equal power level) is something we also value highly. No unit in any army book should be auto-include, and every unit or option in the army book should be useful at least in some builds. This means that all units should have a role to fill in the army.
    For the rationale for balance adjustments, see also 2.0 General Discussion

    Appropriate risk reward; controlled randomness
    Randomness is a part of the game. But the result of the confrontation should not be decided by a single, all-important dice roll! We strive to reduce the worst random elements (not all, just the most game-breaking effects of completely random stuff that the players have minimal control over). We value better educated tactical choices taking into account risk.

    Background, customizability and diversity.
    Beyond a desire for perfect balance, what makes the charm of this game is its diversity. Each Army Book must have a unique feeling, as reflected in its background. Of course, if the background described a unit or a faction to be so skilled as to be nearly invincible, that would not be playable; but a part of that "invincible" flavor would need to be (mildly) reflected in the rules.
    We strive to allow more than one play style for each faction. On a related note, we also want to limit so called RPS (Rock-paper-scissor) effects, i.e. very matchups dependent lists. We don't want a game where the outcome of a match is determined before armies are even deployed. To achieve this, we are looking at making very one sided armies (pure gunlines, flying circus etc.) less attractive.
    A great fun is to create customized army lists. The more the options, the happier the player. We will maintain this flexibility as much as we can. However, this is to be balanced against the necessity to test out all the possible options as much as possible.
    See full detail here: Armybook design philosophy #1, Armybook design philosophy #2

    Community-driven.
    The game is made for the community. Unfortunately, it is not practically possible to achieve a high quality game in open discussion forums, where anyone could try to influence the outcome. On top of this, larger groups tend to work slower. This is why most of the work is made in hidden forums, where authors are relieved from the popular pressure.
    Nevertheless, the community input is made in two ways:
    First, in multiple threads where authors are kept in touch with the community, informing the community of the developments and intentions, asking the community for its feedback and opinion. This can go a very long way. Example, in contrast to most game developing projects, we have decided to keep the public in the loop for Playtesting the Beta.
    Second, by the recruiting the authors from the community, and ensuring in T9A boards a wide diversity, geographic or representing various parts of the Hobby.

    Further developments.
    Once all factions will have their own army book, the job will not be considered completed for eternity.
    Rules may evolve for more simplicity or greater tactical finesse.
    Special named characters or units will be introduced for each army. Scenario rules will be introduced (possibly siege, naval battle…), as well as variants (most likely beginners, or skirmish game…).
    Some new armies will be introduced (very slowly, as it makes balancing more complex), some new… [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]
  • After a couple of months working inside the project, I came to realize that there were some strong values shared among team members.
    Some values were chosen deliberately and were widely known.
    Other values were hidden in working habits, nobody had clearly realized them despite these values being widely spread.

    I selected here the four values I find to be the strongest and the most representative of T9A team state of mind.
    The values that I find the most admirable. Those because of which I am so much committed to the project, like so many team members.


    Quality.
    The team is made of perfectionists, not limited by any need for profitability.

    As I can testify:
    The rules are scrutinized, reconsidered and fixed in a perpetual research for the best playability; units and armies are evaluated and constantly measured against each other to always get closer to the perfect balance.
    The background is made as believable as possible, its realism (in Fantasy!) and sustainability is scrutinized by several real world specialists in linguistics, economics, history, psychology...

    The resulting standards of quality are incredible, way above what a normal commercial company would set up for itself.


    Attention to the community.
    The driving factor for all the team's efforts is the interests of players. A lot of time is dedicated to listen to them, and to take as far as possible their needs into account.
    This is helped by the fact that every single team member is also a Hobbyist! And every Hobbyist is welcome to become a productive part of the team.
    Where the needs of the community exceed the scope of the project, it is the project which is adapted! No commercial company goes to that point!

    Furthermore, the community in all its diversity is considered.
    The team commits to respect the highest standards of humanity and to provide a welcoming space for everyone, regardless of any human group he/she may belong to.

    This is the kind of team we are so proud to belong to.

    See also: What Does "Community-Driven" Mean?


    No ego, only collective work.
    Since the beginning, all authors donate their work and renounce even the associated fame - anyway, authors are only known by their user name.

    The production is truly a collective one, where texts and drawings cannot claim a single author.
    Many participants bring their expertise through advice, or only spend a couple of months with the project;
    as a result, nobody can claim any part of the production as his or her own.
    Even the earliest members claim no special recognition, they just pursue their continuous commitment.
    New members are constantly being added to positions of responsibility, based on merit and ability, not on seniority in the project.

    Nobody claims the project as his own. There is no author, only authors.
    If you want to join us, you will be welcome - and anonymous.


    No direct profit (although business-friendly).
    Nobody in the T9A team receives any payment for his or her contribution. There is no investor, no stakeholder to look for a profit.
    This value is paramount in order to guarantee that the search for money will never trump the interest of players.

    However, it well understood that some players needs can be best addressed by for-profit companies.
    The cooperation with such companies is facilitated by T9A, as long as it is in the interest of players: we wish Hobbyists to get the service worth what they are willing to pay for.
    But in order not to fall in the trap of placing money over players, the cooperation with companies is never to involve money.

    The project is truly a community project. And it complements business, providing Hobbyists the best of all worlds.


    Legal constraints:
    The Grand Summary of the legal explanations for T9A


    These are the qualities which I live daily as a member of T9A team.
    These are the qualities you will find if you wish to join us.

    [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.

    [Read More]
  • 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.

    The game:
    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.

    The universe:
    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.

    The heritage:
    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.

    The models:
    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.

    The community:
    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.
    Thank you!


    EDIT: See an updated communication about T9A goals:
    An explanation about the Project Direction


    [Read More]
  • 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.

    [Read More]