Getting new people into the hobby, and then...oops

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  • Getting new people into the hobby, and then...oops

    So, this is just kind of a recounting of something that happened recently and made me think more about all the threads and discussions going on about getting new players interested in 9th Age.

    Steve and I made a number of new potential contacts/gaming friends at our local store. We're planning on organizing future 9th Age gaming days where we host several games spread across several tables where we let new people play on our terrain and try out armies while we act as rules and player support/referees/guides, etc.

    After one of the games that Steve and I played I stayed afterwards at the store just to see what else was going on and what was being played, and just to chat with folks. There had been a 40k game going on while we were playing. There was also a D & D group playing as well as quite a bit of magic.

    Any way, one of the guys I talked to about 9th Age seemed genuinely excited about seeing huge, painted armies on a tabletop and love the scenery and the whole aesthetic of it all. He had collected and painted some 40k over the years. Seeing a fully modeled terrain board and fully painted armies genuinely seemed to reignite possible interest in painting and gaming again.

    So the problem was that when I saw him again, he had indeed gotten back into painting and gaming again. And he chose GW's 40k Kill Team and GW's Shadespire. The reason he chose those games was because he absolutely loved painting but hated the idea of having to paint a hundred + models for an army. He was totally honest about the fact that he loved GW's new games precisely because he could paint 5 or 10 models for a skirmish game, have the experience of doing highly detailed painting jobs and be able to play pretty quickly.

    It was hard to argue against that! I mean, here's a guy who we helped get excited about painting and gaming again - and then he proceeded to choose skirmish-level GW games. And it's pretty simple to understand why. He wanted to be a part of the painting and modeling experience again and to actually game again. But he couldn't practically do it with a game on the scale and scope of 9th Age. He especially enjoys that he can put all his effort into making a small squad of miniatures look really great and then have a ruleset to support them.

    And I have to admit, recently I too have become very interested in Kill Team and smaller-sized AOS games like Shadespire. And it's for precisely the same reasons. I don't have the money or resources to do full-scale 40k(well, at least not beyond owning more than two factions to play minimum-sized games), so Kill Team is like an ideal thing for that problem. To put it plainly - it's fun to know that I can paint up like ten 40k orcs or Cadian troops or a squad of 5 space marines and have that be my whole force. The games are fun because they are small and fast and manageable. In that regard what GW has been doing is absolutely brilliant. Allowing players to experience the hobby, experience building and painting stuff, but within a manageable scale of time and space limitations. I admit that some of my 9th Age energy and time have been siphoned off for these smaller games. I'm able to play those smaller games with my girlfriend's grandson here at home and playing them at stores and clubs there's a guarantee of finding lots of other players.

    NOW, that being said - I am personally a hybrid, an anomaly. I love BOTH the smaller scale games AND the huge, epic games. I'm still painting full-size armies and I'll always choose the aesthetic of the mass-battle first over anything. Skirmish games don't replace my bigger games. But they have become an addition.

    So...I guess what I'm trying to say is - I don't know if what happened with that guy would be considered a success or failure on my part. Yes, he got back into the hobby - but he didn't choose 9th Age. And it wasn't because I didn't give it a good sales pitch, I gave it a great one. And I was balanced in my sales pitch. To be fair I also mentioned the possibility of doing smaller games to get back into the hobby, and of course I mentioned Shadespire and Kill Team - because I think those are great games too. Why would I not mention them to someone who wants to get back into the hobby?

    So this guy is now painting and playing again. But he chose two GW games over 9th Age. So...does that mean 9th Age is failing or that I failed? I don't think so. I think it rather points to a truth we have to face. People are going to have different wants and needs. They might love LOOKING AT a huge, sprawling battle of 9th Age spread out before them. They may indeed get inspired looking at a huge clash between hundreds of dwarves and orcs. But that might personally inspire them to get back into the hobby in a much different way that in the end doesn't include mass battles.

    I mean - how can I be upset about what happened? I got a guy excited enough about painting miniatures again to actually pick up a brush and do it. Isn't that what it's all about?
    There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!
  • Oh, well.

    I'm sure the first models you get to play as Skirmish games can then be used as the core of your army as you gradually expand it.
    My first model ever was a Dread Elf Dark Rider Standard Bearer and in time it got its own little story that sets him apart from my other models, while I gradually built my Dread Elf around that model and its unit.

    We just need to have a good system for transitioning from one game to another.
    And I mean, it's normal to play different games !
    Last weekend I had a friend who really wanted to play 9th Age with me, but then we both got invited to play board games at another friend's, and this is what we did. Cuz it's more fun to play 6 people rather than just the 2 of us.

    I also have a game of Warhammer Invasion (the card game), and I still sometimes feel like playing it over actual model-battle.

    Is that heresy ? I don't think so.

    9th Age does not have to be your only game.

    So I'd call that a victory. :)

    But then, don't forget to keep in touch with the dude, play one of his games, and keep inviting him to check 9th Age (lend him one of your armies), without being too insistant of course. ;)
    GHAÂAÂAÂARN ! — The Black Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young
    First T9A player in West Africa
  • Kill Team and Shadespire are both designed as "gateway drugs" for new and returning hobbyists. They are both very, very good at that, and I think they are both very, very difficult to compete with on that level.

    They're the complete package -- everything you need in one beautiful glossy box, at a great value, with short-and-sweet rules and playing times, and with guaranteed ongoing organised play support.

    From what I can tell, the hobby aspect for both games is designed to peter out after a bit. Once you've got your favourite handful of models painted, your choices are to fill out other teams or to move on to something more ambitious, i.e. AoS or 40K. Those are both obvious choices for extending your existing collection of much-beloved models and painting schemes and GW has very cleverly positioned itself with these feeder games.

    I have to admit, it's a compelling. Seductive, even. And frankly I think it's the smartest thing GW has done in decades. So, respect where it's due.

    There are two things that GW doesn't offer, though.

    First, historical gamers. Their games are so firmly into fantasy and sci-fi that anybody who wants to do any kind of historical gaming will need to look elsewhere. The fact that 28mm and smaller historical miniatures fit well for a number of our factions is a great boon to us.

    Second, rank & flank. GW (obviously) doesn't scratch that itch any more. So if anybody wants a fantasy game with formations of infantry and cavalry, we'll be a contender.

    Both of those are very specific fields of interest, though. I can't say whether the new guys will come around to either of those niches, but I can guarantee that he never could have if you hadn't given him a taste ;)

    It sounds like he might happily play T9A using somebody else's army though. That might help to sell him on T9A over the long run.
  • Well done Baranovich, you had a success!

    I think T9A can indirectly benefit from any new exposure to wargaming.

    1) As described, you introduce them to the universe, of which Kill team is not the extent
    2) You shift the population's interest in wargaming slightly to the positive side, as one more person plays, breaking down the stigma slightly.
    3) You help stimulate the mini economy, not just GW, but all the other stuff you buy to support the hobby.
    4) You help local game stores stay alive by attracting new customers for them.
    5) That person may introduce someone else, who might look into a T9A aesthetic, or dabble with the notion.
  • Ozariig wrote:

    There are two things that GW doesn't offer, though.
    I'd argue three: those of us that are not hot and bothered by SMurfs (Space Marines, and yes, the Sigmarines count as SMurfs), but rather the opposite.

    (Seriously, every time I get a smidgeon of interrest in any GW game these days, it evaporates faster than a snowball in heck the moment someone mentions the fluffing smurfs... which generally happens every third sentence or so)
    Don't hoard the fluff. The fluff wants to be free!

    A local blog of sorts for what I'm modelling, converting and painting that's related to 9th age can be found here
  • Well I guess my main problem was that for years and years I had close to zero interest in 40k or any kind of futuristic wargame. My interest was nearly 100% fantasy. Then when 8th Edition came out and all the new Primaris stuff came out for the space marines, it suddenly and somehow sparked my imagination and suddenly I wanted to build and paint some of it, which of course got the inevitable ball rolling with terrain and expanding the collection. Then Kill Team offered an even easier way to get into the 40k universe, which got me even more engaged with it. I genuinely credit GW's marketing for that. A compelling world with compelling miniatures that made me want to get involved with it.

    Interesting thing for me is that being a non-competitive player, I don't love the Primaris because of their stats or because of their competitive potential. I bought them purely from a hobbyist's perspective. All of the community's complaints about them being overpowered, over the top, too extreme, etc. aside for a moment. I just love their LOOK and their AESTHETIC. That Macragge blue color that they are often painted in I think is just awesome. I'll probably be horrible at playing Primaris and lose all the time, but it's all good because it'll be a blast building and painting them.

    But you all make really good points about the topic! The fact that those kinds of smaller skirmish games like Kill Team and Shadespire are quite intended and hoped to be gateway games that you get you hooked in the hopes of moving into larger games. No question that Shadespire is a game that GW hopes gets you hooked into fantasy so that you are compelled to move onto AOS (and spend more money of course!) There's at least some chance that the guy I talked to will maybe want to expand at some point if he finds the size of skirmish armies to be tiresome and wants something larger and more expansive.

    At least his foot is in the door again!
    There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!
  • you did a great thing, man! and imagine what happens if next time you bring along two tiny QuickStarter premade armies.

    i just had a game with a friend from the translation team, it was incredible fun! 10 Elven archers, 5 Dryads and 5 Huntsmen, versus 3 Shabtis, 15 Necroguards and 16 Archers. and of course Druid versus Hierarch. too many models to be a true entry-level skirmish? possible. but definitely just enough to give you that epic Rank and File feel.

    i'll show you what i mean with a battle report, i'll take a bit of time.
  • You have no idea... I live in a very small country and even then you get wargamers of all type and flavors, fanboys of one game company or another, skirmishers only, large armies only, historical only, the guys that abhor historical and some that like to play whatever you bring.

    But for each "class" you get about two to five guys at most :D most are of a "class" for a while then jump to another "class" as their moods change. Most are also "multi-class", but don't play games out of their favorite type much if at all. So you show a new game, they like the learning experience and the fun demo game, but may end playing something else or saying something like "it's cool, but what about this other game from this company? I was looking for something like that".

    As an old game demonstrator I have seen a lot of cases where the people get hooked but jump to what they really want, encouraged by your "sales pitch", sometimes your demo teach them what they really want, that's OK and I still get happy when I see these people enjoying what they like.
  • Let's not re-do GW mistakes.
    Also, let's not hesitate to emulate what GW does well.
    Let's make a Kill Team-like game! :P
    .... oh wait, we'll get QS soon. :largegrin:

    Seriously, that is what I expect from games such as what special task teams are preparing at the moment, but shhh, that will come in due time.

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves
  • @Baranovich
    Welcome to the world of sales.
    Keep working him - this is a long haul. You got him to admit that he has a need, now you need to get him to admit our 'product' is the best long term solution to that need.


    Frostgrave and Dragon Rampant.

    Heres the thing - T9A is cool and has amazing potention as a platform. I hope we expand upon Blonde Beer's 'Pirates Peril' skirmish game as well as the QS to allow smaller games.

    But right now, right away, there are amazingly good products from OTHER companies that use similar generic fantasy. The key is to broaden the horizon outside of GW - do that, and its much more likely they realize that T9A is the better solution.

    So - keep at him. Maybe even play kill team with him (like @SkavenInAZ suggested) Kill team sounds like fun - I'm just off 40k after a few years of it being my hobby focus. But keep with him and others. Run more demo days, share the scroll, keep showing them that the hobby is the WARGAMING hobby, not the GW hobby - and they will keep their mind open to the wider market, which of course includes us.

    Worst case scenario you find another fun game and a new mate to play it with!

    T9A scratches a specific itch, not all wargamers have that itch, but exposure is the key to making them realize we offer something they didnt know they wanted :)

    Head of Lectors

    Quick Starter Team

    "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

    - Grouchy Badger

  • Maybe the better way to gateway drug is something more like a (competitive?) dungeon crawler. Indelibly fantasy. Small numbers of models. Reasons to use square bases (Make facing matter). Could use the basic combat engine we have. Might require substantial development otherwise.

    GW has previously done a dungeon crawler (Hero Quest). FFG has one (Descent). Rather than try to compete straight up with what is basically simplified D+D, have each player send a team into the dungeon and compete with the others to loot it.

    Unlike Fantasy Battles, this would require ongoing support in terms of producing dungeons (maps, features, etc...), as not everyone will want to produce their own.
    Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.



    Chariot Command HQ

  • I think that getting someone back into the hobby is still a victory even if it's not in the game system you had in mind. Having a skirmish system would be brilliant, but it's not enough the main game needs to be less expensive to get into.

    I've said it in another completely different thread, but the T9A rule team didn't help much by keeping the most controversial rule of 8th edition Fantasy: the Steadfast rule.

    We all know what it did and why it was introduced. It came into being because GW wanted to force the longtime player to buy more models. So they introduced Steadfast and Hordes to push people to build very large blocks of infantry. That made and still make the game too expensive for most people to get into.

    But, even if you push the monetary apsect aside, it also changed the gameplay toward something that most people find very unfun: grinding. Because fighting a large tarpit for 3 turns isn't fun, win or lose. It is tedious. It makes every game last longer and push everyone to make very similar infantry armies and makes alternatives, like a cavalry army, not very attractive since the game punishes you for it. It's a uphill battle for you.

    T9A also made the mistake to push the minimum size of many units from 10 to 20. It's foolish especially since the game isn't tied to a particular miniature line.

    So, get rid of Steadfast. Maybe even of Hordes too. At very least, nerf them. And I don't want to hear: "You can easily say that Kovlovsky! You're playing KoE! You don't need either!" Because Kovlovsky might be stalking the KoE section these days, but his main army is actually OnG and MASSIVELY benefits from these 2 rules. My 50 Iron Orcs and my 100 Night Goblins certainly love them very much. :GobboFreaky: :orclove:

    • Orcs & Goblins
    • Kingdom of Breton.. ah! I mean Equitaine! ;)
  • Squirrelloid wrote:

    Maybe the better way to gateway drug is something more like a (competitive?) dungeon crawler. Indelibly fantasy. Small numbers of models. Reasons to use square bases (Make facing matter). Could use the basic combat engine we have. Might require substantial development otherwise.

    GW has previously done a dungeon crawler (Hero Quest). FFG has one (Descent). Rather than try to compete straight up with what is basically simplified D+D, have each player send a team into the dungeon and compete with the others to loot it.

    Unlike Fantasy Battles, this would require ongoing support in terms of producing dungeons (maps, features, etc...), as not everyone will want to produce their own.
    while I agree that we need something like a dungeon crawler (dungeon crawler would be the easiest way to do a roleplay game), I dont think it has to be a gateway drug.
    This would need to have easy rules while I think a RPG is the potential way to have more complex equipment rules....same to a small scale warband game.

    Quick Starter Team


  • The long-term vision I have for T9A is made of:
    - a common background
    - a series of games
    => including entry games such as RPG (individual models) and skirmishes, casual games, competitions, super-large games...

    Portability from one game to the next one would come from
    - common background (especially important for newcomers, and once you invested in knowing the universe, you're hooked),
    - common models (you would just need more of them, but once you have your favorite, you're happy to keep using them),
    - common website (move to another game, keep your e-friends).

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves