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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!

Von Blonde Beer,

This news post is to provide some insight into where we are, and where we are going. There have been many different questions raised about what this project will become in the coming years. So our legal advisor, Mr.Owl decided to provide this text to give some insight into what was decided, where we are, and where we are going.

In the beginning …
At the start of the project, a group of people started this project in the aftermath of the demise of Warhammer as we appreciated it. These people were a group that were at the heart of writing the Swedish Comp system and other Comp systems and as such, were very focused on tournament play. There original idea was to “clean up” the old game and make it tournament ready. The excitement of these starry-eyed designers was promptly crushed by the evil, iron-fisted lawyers that told them they needed to do something else (not sure what, just something else).

So, the concept of creating a new game was born …

A new beginning …
It was decided at a very early stage, that T9A: Fantasy Battles would always be a turn based rank and file war game set in a fantasy world. At the top of the list was ensuring that people could play the game with their existing models, most of which were Games Workshop models. But what would this game be? It needed to be something other than Warhammer (damn lawyers …) but needed to fill the void left by the demise of that game. From the beginning there was a commitment to avoid making this new game a skirmish game. No, it had to “feel” like the old Warhammer game, but needed to be new in its own right too. Huh, not an easy task. But those determined designers were not deterred by the limitations placed on them.

Creating a totally new game would be an interesting task. But there was a community out there that wanted to play a game NOW. What do we give them to play? We don’t own Warhammer, so we couldn't give that to them, but it needed to somehow fill the sudden void.

There was a tension that quickly became apparent when looking at this transition phase. Do we provide a fluffy game where balance is not carefully looked at; or do we provide a balanced game that is a stripped down version of what we want to give?

The answer became obvious to us pretty quickly. How long would it take to provide a deeply immersive background? Uh … a while. Damn. Ok. Well, I guess that question sort of answers itself then.

The transition …
There was just no way to provide a deeply immersive world and story immediately. The world would have to be created, all the stories written in ways that were intertwined, artwork had to be made, the list went on and on and on. Additionally, the tournament community needed their balanced game and needed it now or they would simply move on to another game.

So the decision was made to provide a tournament ready game in this transition phase. This decision was really not a “decision” but one of practicality because we just couldn’t offer WH (it’s not ours) nor could we create a deeply immersive world overnight. This decision was, of course, not ideal for the casual player looking for fluff and immersion. Likewise, the idea of trying to get the tournament scene to adopt T9A, potentially years down the line after they had transitioned to a different game, was really not appealing. So the decision was made to simplify the game from 1.0 and go for very good balance during the transition period. There were other factors that played into this, including serious legal issues. So we went the path of trying to provide a highly balanced game and to our delight, T9A: Fantasy Battles was chosen for ETC 2016. This was huge for us and provided a mass appeal for players throughout Europe.

The beginning of this transition period was the move from 1.0 ---> 1.2. There was immediate backlash from some in the community that the game was losing flavor, and was going to become a stripped down version of what it was. Some feared that the game would become something completely unidentifiable.

But this is just not the case nor the intended final destination. This was not a transition to a permanently simplified game. We are only in a transition period as we migrate to the 2nd edition (we will call it 2.0 for ease of reading for the rest of this post), which will be the game that we want to put out as a product to stand the test of time. We saw that 1.2 was received by some … poorly (that’s the nicest way I can say it), so we quickly moved to 1.3 to address some of the worst things that the community was complaining about. We needed to provide something people could live with while we worked our way toward 2.0. The current versions are all adjustments of the transition army books.

There have already been a progressive series of background releases through the various 9th Scrolls. This should give you a just a little taste at some of the background information that is coming.

Additionally, there were many comments about the difficulty of getting new players into the game with such a complex rule set. How do we balance the needs of newer players (looking for simpler rules) with the needs of veteran players (looking for deep tactical / strategic rules)? We provided the starter set rules set for beginners! The community asked for a simpler rule set to help draw in new players and lower the learning curve, and we heard your cries and produced it just for you! The feedback we have received from the community has been very positive. Thank you for that!

Where are we going?

We are rapidly moving toward 2.0. We have been expending tremendous efforts to reach a stable core rule set and 2016 and 2017 have been consumed with those efforts. The 2.0 rule set will be the base rule set that T9A will use for years to come. The long transition from 1.0 ---> 2.0 is finally coming, we just need to be patient for a while longer as we want these rules to be stable. No, I'm not going to give a firm date for 2.0 BRB release. But you will already see some flavor coming back into the game through the army specific items, which should make the items feel more thematic.

But what about the individual army books? How will the stripped down transition books look relative to the new 2.0 BRB?

The army books will need to be adjusted to be compatible with the new 2.0 BRB and PoM. But this adjustment will not be the adjustment to finalized 2.0 army books. They will still be transition army books, just adjusted to be compatible with the new base rules.

The WDG army book, however, will be coming out as a finalized army book first. This will be the first fully written army book that will be a true T9A army book. DL will follow. DE and ID being next on the lists.

How much time will it take for all the army books to be finalized?

That is a very difficult question to answer. I don’t know. We will move though them as quickly as we can. But we don’t want to put out substandard work. It is understood that some books are in greater need of adjustment than others, so it would be logical to assume that those books would be higher up on the list for writing than others.

Updating rules and armies isn't the only thing we have planned either. We intend to keep adding in that fluff and background. So while we started by focusing on a game that could keep tournament communities alive, we will cater to the needs of the entire community.

The Background Team will not stop when the full rulebook is released. They have been working hard at expanding the background (the Background Compendium is coming) and preparing more stuff for the community to digest, as well as being heavily involved in the 2.0 army updates.

In addition, if you haven't noticed the new tags running around, we also have a Campaign Team who are working away in a dark secret corner to provide something to the more casual players as well. We will let you guess what secret project the Campaign Team is currently working on. This is also only scratching the surface, there are even more long term projects in the works that continue this trend of making T9A meet the needs of the entire community. So while we all still have to wait a bit more, we are hoping to make it worthwhile for as much of the community as possible.

I was thinking about adding a part here about how we never could have imagined that the project would grow to this scope and so on ... but the fact of the matter is, from the beginning, looking at the guys that originally started this project, I really did feel it would be widely successful. There were many that said the project was doomed even as it started, yet here we are, over two years later closing in on the 2.0 BRB. Hold on to your butts guys, because we're moving into flavor territory now - broadening appeal and establishing our own unique identity in the world of tabletop war-gaming.

So the project is progressing according to plan, it just seems slow, but we are after all, just a volunteer project. Real life has a way of kicking the door in and demanding our attention. But we have a dedicated staff of people working really, really hard. We have a good community providing excellent feedback and new and useful ideas. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but it’s not bad either. We will get to 2.0 with all the army books done. Will it be everything you ever hoped for? Probably not. But it will probably be pretty darn good. The upside is, we have a community that talks directly to the designers and can say, “hey, I want this …” If enough people say it, guess what, you will probably get "it" or some variation of “it.”

I hope this explanation has been informative to you. Thank you for reading it. Thank you to the community for the support you give the project as the game is only as strong as the community supporting it. Additionally, if you are a staff member, thank you again for all your tireless hard work and the hours you spend in behalf of the community.

You can discuss or ask further questions in this topic here.

T9A Team
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