How to get new players (ex. "I'm afraid this game has no way of getting any new players.")

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  • How to get new players (ex. "I'm afraid this game has no way of getting any new players.")

    Kristian wrote:

    I'm afraid this game has no way of getting any new players.
    It might get a handful, when someone succesfully convinces a friend to play, but that is it.

    This way of playing fantasy games is outdated, and to top it all, the barrier of entry keeps rising. You may kid yourself that people can play with empty bases, cardboard, UB, but at the end of the day, if you want to go to a tournament or play at a club, you need miniatures, not neccessarily painted, but assembled and stuck on bases. And as the rules evolve, you need more and more miniatures.(yes there are outliers, but generally you need 10-15% more miniatures than warhammer 8th)
    Some say that they want bigger armies, as they feel that is what massed battles is all about, which is fine. Just accept that the game gets harder to get into. And that it moves away from any modern games design. A massed battle is way better represented by a smaller scale.

    Making an army is hard work. Even to just assemble all the stuff. It takes so much time(and money). It takes skills to do, and you need someone to teach you. Youtube guides are fine for some, others(most people in fact) needs a live person to show them how.

    My point is that 9th is a game made for a dying breed of gamers. And all the stuff we love in the game are what keeps new players, modern players, from loving it. Maybe spending less time focusing on stuff that can't be helped and more on the stuff that makes making the project fun is a better use of energy?
    This resonates well with my fears. I do not agree 100% with the conclusion that game is beyond repair but still.

    Most of us came here form Warhammer Fantasy Battles. We were drawn to the hobby by what I call magic. Magic of well painted armies, magic of larger than life Background, magic of seemingly endless possibilities to design your army. None of us was attracted by rules.

    Manufacturer of the game has decided to discontinue it. It was a marketing decision and probably one not taken lightly. The game was dying, with incomes from WFB much below 40k. I've skipped 8th, hardly played any 7 and for me units and even factions introduced then are... well... I am not a fan of them. They are prove the world around 6th became complete and each new design was more bizarre than the previous one. It was the reason to destroy Old World but it was not the reason of falling incomes. Lack of new players was.

    For decades WFB was a gateway to wargaming world. A lot of people that later moved to SF or historical systems had started with painting their first dozen of greenskins for WFB. But the game lost that function somewhere it stopped attracting new players and became elite legacy game. The fault was on manufacturer side - at one point it decided to focus sales on existing player base and started to pump the size of the armies required to play. The game became "too big to survive". When GW has taken this path there was no way back, they could not make the game smaller again: even if they gained new players market would be flooded with second-hand miniatures and their sales would suffer even more.

    How has T9A addressed the issue? In most suicidal way possible, at least looking at it from VS POV. Starting unit sizes have been increased even more. It is not enough to purchase a box called 'regiment' to create a single unit. Starting box EoB which contained two units of clanrats a unit of ratogres and allowed you to start your collection (47 models including weapon teams and characters) is just enough to create a single unit, you need two of those to START playing. For me: common sense sacrificed on the alter of balance.

    Project attempts to address it. The Quickstarter rules are sign that there are people who noticed the problem and look for solutions. People propose teaching the game with paper proxies. However do you remember why you started playing WFB? The magic part? For me QS and playing with tokens kill the magic. QS gives you no option to customize your armies and army building is for many people better half of the fun they ever had with WFB. It does not address unit size issue as it tries to provide unit legal for full game. And playing with paper proxies... are our rules really that cool to win with paper proxies agains AoS/40k starter? I doubt it...

    On the other hand we can't reduce size of our game. Most of the community would view such change as betrayal. For Old Guard the sheer weight of their armies is a value, Quantity becomes Quality. So it seems we are more or less in the same spot the GW was...

    My proposed solution I already posted in a few places is to rework format of the game called warbands to make it introductory stage for new players. Implement rules tweaks that will allow half the number of models on table but not the number of units. Size of the unit 0,71 x number of units 0,71 will give you the same effect. It will allow players to create their first playable unit faster. To extend their collection with new units, to explore endless possibilities each army offers without having to paint each time models worth $100 to be able to field a new unit.
    Homebrew: Hetmanate of Ukray_____________Report your battle results using mobile app: T9A Magic Flux!
  • New players will come how they always have. People who play will inflict this on their kids, get breeding wargamers and the future is assured. Just battled by three year old daughter on the breakfast table. Alice in wonderland slaughtered my chaos knights ;)
    Take a look at my painted army so far. Feel free to share a pic of yours!

    Pics of my ever expanding warriors army
  • I would encourage you all to influence your local 9th club to make more use of the warband rules (as they are), and arrange 3000 points tournaments. Yes, the game is balanced for 4500 points, but if you are playing with new players, or with friends for fun, does that really matter? In my opinion, no - you can still have a great time.

    Here in Oslo, several beginner friendly tournaments are heald each year, where the army size is 3000 (and I know of several new players who's participiated in these, who would not be able to field 4500). It is also the prefered format for weekday gaming in my own club, as it is less complicated to stack on top of having dinner with your family, while also leaving more time to socialize. In my own experience it tends to have a more prevalent element of rock, paper, scissor - but that doesn't really bother me too much. I get the more serious and competative gaming done in 4500 tournaments anyways (which may be a bit too much for new players).

    So, to summarize: contact your local 9th club, and throw a beginners friendly warbands tournament this summer!

    Army Design Team

  • Minimum unit sizes is definitely a problem, if they don't line up with what's available to use then players are going to look to other cheaper companies that don't require you to buy several box sets to get up and running.

    At the other end of the spectrum, we've got too many 0-1 or 0-2 things that would be able to be 0-3 or just unrestricted in normal size games, people do want to be able to buy the big silly monster/machine/thing and get to use it or at least hope to use it. Without that possibility further down the line for players to aim for they're going to be less inclined to play.
  • theunwantedbeing wrote:

    At the other end of the spectrum, we've got too many 0-1 or 0-2 things that would be able to be 0-3 or just unrestricted in normal size games, people do want to be able to buy the big silly monster/machine/thing and get to use it or at least hope to use it. Without that possibility further down the line for players to aim for they're going to be less inclined to play.
    I agree with this. People want fun, so why take the big stuff and slap a 0-1 on it?

    Like, the ID train. It actually has 2 modes, yet a 0-1 restriction. You can't even use both of them at the same time. It's quite disheartening to players.
    (Although some local players would have a heart attack if I could bring 2, so it might be for the best hehe)
  • Interest that Para Bellum, Oathmark and Song of ice and fire has created in people do speak against the claim that this type of game is outdated.

    Far from it. Ranks and flanks is the go to style of gaming in historical games.

    Para Bellum follows the steps of 9th age as the rules have roots in the mechanics from Warhammer. Rules are written by alessio cavatore so the connection to the predecessor is obvious.

    All of the above mentioned games are focused on massed combat and people are required to buy and paint more than a handful of miniatures. Song of ice and fire isn't cheap to get into. 12 man unit box costs 35$. Still the game was funded in short time on kickstarter.

    Oathmark on the other hand has cheap plastic miniatures. Unit boxes have 30 models in them so I'm guessing army sizes are around 100 miniatures.

    All these examples speak against the argument that 9th age has too high entry level.

    These games that are coming out now provide acces to plastic models that can be used in our game too. Not to mention fireforge which is going to produce their own fantasy line and their sneak peeks so far have been stunning. Their prices are very affordable too if one looks at their historical line.

    So I don't see much grounds for these arguments that we won't get new players in. We aren't depending on GW miniatures anymore which wasn't the case few years ago when there was way less manufacturers out there producing fantasy miniatures.

    I see the growth of 9th age more as a challenge to the community. We need to get ip from our behinds and start spreading the game.
    All things wargaming. My super entertaining hobby blog where anything wargaming related can happen.

    "I heard a television interviewer once suggest that the use of dice made battlegaming on par with Snakes and Ladders and such like games of change. Well, he was being just stupid, or trying to take a rise out of his guest. It is in fact the imponderable which does give reality to 'Battle' and, as we shall see, does cause the players to make proper allowance for the unlikely or even seemingly impossible, which, as we read, did happen surprisingly frequently in the annals of war."
    -Charles Grant
  • Easiest way: makes a scratch 4x6 table (IKEA cardboard boxes are good for this), print some terrain, glue to cardboard.

    Split your army into 2 ‘fluffy’ war bands of 800 points, skip magic.

    Invite a friend (who likes fantasy) to play, provide refreshments and background music, make some ‘newbie’ errors to give him/her a fighting chance.

    Target all jokes at your own expense, enjoy the banter, focus on the fun.

    Edit: just lost a game of backgammon to my 6yo daughter (her birthday present from yesterday). Her first game, so she is keen to play again tonight.
    <3 Stepping down to focus on the latest addition to the family! Three kids means we now form a complete rank! <3
  • jirga wrote:

    All these examples speak against the argument that 9th age has too high entry level.
    Para Bellum is played on 48x48" table. That suggests a lot smaller armies. also battle scenes do not show exactly 'massed armies'.



    Oathmark has not been published yet, it is hard to take it as an evidence of anything. May become a spectacular failure. Northstar is making plastic boxes of 20 for skirmisher game Frostgrave, so judging by the size of box in their case may be a bit misleading.

    Songs' success is not it the game but in the copyright they are based on. Probably strongest fantasy copyright since LoTR.
    Homebrew: Hetmanate of Ukray_____________Report your battle results using mobile app: T9A Magic Flux!
  • I agree with everything you've written; this game is going to be hard to "sell" to new players. My own local area (Southern California) hasn't seen much growth since T9A, quite the opposite really. People have either moved out of town, stopped gaming altogether, or moved on to other games.

    Those moving on I'd attribute to the steep entry cost (too many models for them to paint) or the constant rules changes. One of those 2 issues will be resolved at the end of this year, the other might never be solved. I do think one solution might be to help new players paint their miniatures if it's overwhelming for them. I've held hobby days where we all bring a unit or something to paint, bring a bunch of food and beer, and sit down and try and finish our projects. Creating that social environment really helps motivate people, even if they're stuck trying to paint 50 of the same model.

    However I don't think this issue of "not enough new players" is as dire as its been made out to be. Sure, I'd love to have 100+ person tournaments every few months in a nice location close to my home, but I'm quite content with small 16-20 man tournaments at my local game shop as well. In my eyes T9A doesn't have to compete with 40k, AoS, or any other big companies out there. Give me a handful of dedicated hobbyists and we'll make the game fun with regular tournaments, campaigns, painting contests, and special house rules. Beyond that I don't think there's a need to cater to the masses.
    "The old wisdom born out of the west was forsaken. Kings made tombs more splendid than the houses of the living, and counted the old names of their descent dearer than the names of their sons. Childless lords sat in aged halls musing on heraldry, or in high cold towers asking questions of the stars.”

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  • Pah

    Warhammer when I started was THE fantasy game. It gradually became more niche as more games emerged as the Main entry barrierer isnt actually money (its rather cheap), but rather that assembling and painting your first army is a daunting task.

    Its somewhat true that the big amount of models in the game create a bigger barrier herefter than other games, but the real truth is that this game require a dedikation that is becoming rarer.
  • That picture of Para Bellum looks awful lot how big armies were in wh5th ed. :)

    None of those games have been released yet. I'm eagerly waiting to get my hands on units that are in Para Bellum. Songs of ice and fire too.

    On the subject of game sizes in Para Bellum I'd bet there are people who want to up the size of the games once their armies are getting bigger. Rules do support that direction too as they are streamlined from Warhammer.

    Both Para Bellum amd oathmark attract ex warhammer players. Oathmark maybe more of the oldhammer side of the spectrum. They have made it clear though that oathmark won't have silly warhammer aesthetics and leans more to the setting made familiar by Tolkien.

    I don't expect oathmark to fail as they have sizeable following from frostgrave alone and the game has already good selection of models available for basic infantry in plastic.

    They have markets in KOW crowd too as those models can obviously be used in that system.
    All things wargaming. My super entertaining hobby blog where anything wargaming related can happen.

    "I heard a television interviewer once suggest that the use of dice made battlegaming on par with Snakes and Ladders and such like games of change. Well, he was being just stupid, or trying to take a rise out of his guest. It is in fact the imponderable which does give reality to 'Battle' and, as we shall see, does cause the players to make proper allowance for the unlikely or even seemingly impossible, which, as we read, did happen surprisingly frequently in the annals of war."
    -Charles Grant
  • Can I ask how this topic does/doesn't relate to the quickstarter?

    Will the quickstarter not attract new players? Does it effectively lower the barrier of entry enough?
    New rules:
    (1) I will do my best to answer your criticisms, particularly of RT, but don't forget to thank one of the unsung heros who hold this project together: rules clarity team, lectors, website admin, background etc...
    (2) If you tag me and I don't answer you, its because I'm busy, sorry :( . If you still want an answer ~4 days later then tag me again and I will try to do better :)
  • I agree that the game has a high entry level, but who hasnt? 40k is very expensive,and if you want to play tyranids or imperial guard (two of the most competitive and most played) you neef tons of miniatures. So no army is cheap for new players, In my opinion is a matter of marketing, if you develop a product that is nice enough and you can show it to a lot of people the. you would get a lot players.
  • QS is good move. But:
    1. It has fixed armies. A game with a single army list and no customizatiob kills for me big part of the magic.
    2. It allows you to field mostly core units. No cool warmachines or even medium monsters. It is designed as learning tool not as the game teaser
    3. It keeps sizes of units in coherension with BRB. Which actually does little to address entrance bariers... E.g. You have to paint 75 rats to start playing. In Isle of Blood it was 47.
    4. We do have limited marketing power. QS being a separate product forces us to spread our recources even thinner. Maybe if supporting companies created starter sets with QS... In hard plastic... Still can't see clear advantage of QS sets over 2000 pts Warband sets...
    Homebrew: Hetmanate of Ukray_____________Report your battle results using mobile app: T9A Magic Flux!
  • It should be a major concern for T9A staff to make the game easier to access for newcomers, so that our game lasts.
    This requires to understand what attracts new players, and what deters them.
    Once done, we can work on making more of what attracts, and easing what deters.


    What is T9A Hobby?
    First step of analysis could be to define what T9A brings to players as a Hobby.
    - Competition: beating the opponent, being recognized as the best general.
    - Gaming: being in command of a whole army on a battlefield!
    - Socializing: spending a couple of hours in a social interaction.
    - Stories: dreaming about background; living the story of a battle.
    - Collecting: owning always more models and units, for their game potential.
    - Painting (& Modelling): being an artist.
    - Discussions: to argue on social media.
    - Ownership: not a game we bought, but a game made by us.
    I may forget other aspects.

    Where the task becomes a bit more complex, is that many different audiences have many different points of attraction and repulsion.
    In particular, most Hobbyists are not sensible to all the aspects described above.


    Attraction and repulsion for various audiences.

    Former players of WH.
    Our first audience, historically, and still main audience, but dwindling per definition.
    Attraction: ETC and local competitions; rules looking like improved WH; old shelved armies usable again; reviving good old times.
    Repulsion: rules unstability; insufficient/different background; lack of fun rules.

    Current players of other similar (~competing) wargames.
    This is an interesting audience, because games manufacturers make great efforts to increase this audience. Of course, they will do their best to not let this audience go to T9A.
    Attraction: more valuable competition; smarter game (more customizable); maybe more realistic storyline; big part of collections usable; ownership!
    Repulsion: complex rules; new background; too serious; need to rebase; lack of commercial support (companies, local shops).

    New players of wargames:
    Attraction: Socializing, stories, starting a collection, painting a bit, gaming, possibly ownership of armies; free rules!!!; noob-friendly website.
    Repulsion: required skill to play; complexity of rules; insufficient background; cost of models; volume of ideal collection; difficulty to find in stores.

    I am sure I miss many more aspects.
    The point is to highlight that some aspects which some players may find attractive can be repulsive for others.
    There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
    We need to elaborate several paths to T9A.
    I identify here three paths at least, for former WH players, for current wargame players, and for newbie wargame players.
    For each paths, we have to reach out these players where they are (forums, FB, games stores, tournaments...), and make the steps to join us as low as possible.


    For old WH players:
    Reach them on old faction forums, on tournaments, on social media.
    Insist on the usability of nearly their whole old collection, on getting a similar experience as previously, and doing that with no companies' rules but on players own terms.
    Mitigate their reluctance with rules stability as much as possible, development of fun background and fun associated rules.

    For current players:
    Reach them out on social media, on tournaments, on local shops (so having material for sale is paramount).
    Insist on the high quality of the game, and easyness to convert many of their current models.
    Mitigate their concerns by streamlining the rules, making them a bit more fun; finding some movement trays which help to adapt round bases to squared units; sell books in shops (could be derivative games based on T9A).

    For new players:
    Reach them out in gaming places, and on shops (so having something for sale is paramount).
    Insist on the social aspect, on free rules, friendly website, usability of models from anywhere.
    Mitigate their concerns by lowering the threshold (rules complexity, and most importantly, highlight small games at ~1k pts); provide training in tactics and painting, encourage progress.

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - druchii.net contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves
  • can someone explain why the barrier is high? Is it the model choice? Finding square bases? It is most certainly not price or time building and painting. 40k and sigmar armies often exceed 9th age in terms of number of models. T9a usually has between 25-90 models. Is that really a high number of models to paint?
  • JimMorr wrote:

    QS is good move. But:
    1. It has fixed armies. A game with a single army list and no customizatiob kills for me big part of the magic.
    2. It allows you to field mostly core units. No cool warmachines or even medium monsters. It is designed as learning tool not as the game teaser
    3. It keeps sizes of units in coherension with BRB. Which actually does little to address entrance bariers... E.g. You have to paint 75 rats to start playing. In Isle of Blood it was 47.
    4. We do have limited marketing power. QS being a separate product forces us to spread our recources even thinner. Maybe if supporting companies created starter sets with QS... In hard plastic... Still can't see clear advantage of QS sets over 2000 pts Warband sets...
    So you are saying that a learning tool is solving the wrong problem?

    I'm not sure. The distinction between a game teaser and a learning tool seems kinda arbitrary to me when the goal is to attract new players.
    I mean, what good is the lower entry barrier of warbands if the rules are then a barrier.

    Wouldn't supporting both warbands and QS spread our resources even thinner?

    I dno what the answer is here. And the answer might even relate to how things will be used:
    a warband type product would be good for clubs as a way to run leagues etc for new players, where perhaps a quickstarter box is a more obvious product for stores.
    Indeed the fixed army list thing is very similar to something coming in as part of x-wing 2.0.


    Spitballing:
    I wonder if the solution might be to have a version of the rules, in between kickstarter and the full, that is suitable either for warbands or people transitioning from quick starter to the full rules.
    Essentially, just taking out a bunch of the rules. E.g. remove line formation, volley fire, challenges, scenarios, varying deployments, use quickstarter magic (note, I haven't had anything to do with quickstarter, so I might be wrong that it has a different magic system)... etc.

    Then we would have QS, main game, and advanced rules.


    When you talk about warbands, are you primarily interested in having different army selection rules for smaller sized games?
    Is that what you think the key barrier is here?


    Apologies, this is a bit of a stream of consciousness post, but hopefully it makes some sense and some of my questions at least are clear.
    New rules:
    (1) I will do my best to answer your criticisms, particularly of RT, but don't forget to thank one of the unsung heros who hold this project together: rules clarity team, lectors, website admin, background etc...
    (2) If you tag me and I don't answer you, its because I'm busy, sorry :( . If you still want an answer ~4 days later then tag me again and I will try to do better :)
  • DanT wrote:

    Wouldn't supporting both warbands and QS spread our resources even thinner?
    For this we could imagine to tap more onto the community.
    The rules team is limited, but their task is concentrated on making the rules for the main game, with high balance quality. The team in charge of simpler products need not to have the same competitive gaming skills.
    The background team is limited as well, but here, it is the same background, so they are working simultanously for mainstream T9A:FB and for derivative games.
    Where I see the worst limit is in layout. I can only hope that tapping in a larger community would bring more human resources.

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - druchii.net contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves