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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!

And on December 24th, Father Chaos brought us... A brand new army book for Daemon Legions!

Von Blonde Beer,

Hello community,

This is usually the time of the year when we wish T9A a happy birthday (Actually it was back on June 30th!) and have a review of the last year. It is actually our 3rd birthday and T9A is incredibly impressed with the progress we have made so far. We've been rather busy over the summer, so we've only just got around to writing this, but here it is, our feeling about the state of T9A.
Last year it was done in the news The Second Year of T9A in Review.

Let's start with a big THANK YOU,to the team naturally, also to YOU, our beloved community, whose support is vital to make this game a popular one, who have participated significantly to the work done, and who have invested considerable resources to side projects related to T9A, and lastly, to all the companies in growing numbers who trust us with their support.

1. General feeling

1.1. Beta!
The first idea which springs to mind when thinking about this past year is a single word: The Beta.
Beta was indeed our greatest achievement. Let’s detail a bit what is in there.

Our game can be understood as:
  • Game’s base rules
  • + Background
  • + Army books
  • + Measured values.
Sadly, not everything is updated at the same pace!

Game’s Rules.
This is the part which T9A wants to get right as fast as possible, so that it can stay unchanged for a long, long time. We have heard the call that many people are not wishing to participate in a game that is ever changing! T9A gets that, we really do and here is a little secret for you, T9A wants the mechanics of the game to be super-stable as well. We are achingly close so please hang in there!
The beta rules have been played in many tournaments across the world, from Europe to US, down to Oz and even in China! These are consistently praised for being so clear that a referee is hardly ever needed anymore (Sorry Refs!).
Thanks to a great involvement from the community last year, we implemented many ideas in phase with what plenty of gamers wished, for example the ability to select freely spells for magic-users.

What remains to do before we can declare the work completed is an effort in the wording department: a recurring complaint tells that the wording is too cumbersome and over wordy. Whilst this helps with ensuring the lack of need for refs, on the flip side, it’s a little off-putting to new starters. So, with the help again from many community members (which is immensely appreciated), we should end up with a set of rules which are as unambiguous as the current beta version, but easier to read.

T9A wish is to publish the main rules of the BRB before the end of 2018, so that no modification needs to be made in the coming years.

For the Paths of Magic, the background should not change.

Another well heard criticism is the lack of background. T9A had grand plans to be able to deliver a Background Compendium this year. This did not happen as intended but a great amount of background has been delivered in various documents, in particular the 9th Scroll, which has become hugely popular beyond our wildest dreams. However, the plan is still to cover all 16 armies sufficiently, so the compendium is still in the works. We still would like to complete that work before the end of 2018.

Army Books.
We had envisioned that with beta would come only minor adjustments to most AB.
Instead, we have been pressed hard by the community to take the opportunity to update all the army books significantly, and, after much debate, we have done so!
The positive, it proves how deeply attached the players are, to the faction they play and to the game in general. We see this in the many passionate discussions that we have with the community. With every up, comes a down, and the drawback is it has taken a very heavy toll on the team, putting them under severe pressure to complete the impossible task of pleasing everyone.
Either way, as a result, most AB show a significant improvement over their 1.3 version.
In the coming years, these AB will be fully revised, one after another, torn down to the bare nuts and bolts and rebuilt until all 16 are up to the standard established with the new Warriors of the Dark Gods army book. We will start once we have the Main Rulebook out of the way. We hope to be able to achieve four complete reworked AB per year. There is currently a lot of planning going into this so stay tuned for more news on this!

Measured Values (point costs, power levels…).
This is the most delicate part. The cost of all units, as well as common objects, and the power level of spells constitute what is referred as the balance of the game. It affects directly which units will be played more often, and which will more likely remain on the shelf.
To determine the balance when we release the 2nd edition, we have enlisted significant help from a multitude of the most experienced players, many of them not team members but accepting nevertheless to provide their well-educated advice to get the best balance between the 16 official factions.
The result is already better than what we ever had, and close to what we will ever get.
This is the part which we will need to keep updating until the release of Gold, and even after.
However, we are also aware of the need to be a little less frequent with these changes.

The plan for future years is to keep track of the balance and how it drifts, as we understand that the meta (as in what is currently being taken and how it’s being used) changes from country to country.
At present, what is in discussion is to publish a yearly update, which would cover mostly small changes in point costs and spell power levels, so that underused units may see more light and overused units become less prevalent (but still interesting to use). This slight adjustment should not alter significantly most army lists, which may need to add or lose an occasional model, but should not see whole units become useless.
In the Paths of Magic, the balance adjustment may affect the power levels, the exact wording of spells and their effect. As elsewhere, the wish is to keep all these changes to the bare minimum, so this should not force any significant change, just alter subtly some balance.

To achieve that, we are going to move the list of Special Equipment, and the associated point values, out of the base rulebook. This will allow the BRB to be printed with no risk of quick obsolescence and maintain that stable ruleset the community longs for. Given the historical past and gauging how other systems work, we believe this is the best course of action to move forward with.

A popular success already!
T9A has been pleased to see that the new rules, despite being still in the beta stage, were nearly unanimously preferred to the previous version, 1.3, which has been maintained as the official rules, now unchanged for one year and half.
The protest from many in the community against too many changes testifies that they have moved to the beta rules. We hear that, and the base rules written in plain sentences should not change anymore after the publication of the official 2.0 version, known as the Gold edition.

Of course, we did not only work on the beta. Other products are presented further down, at “achievements”.

1.2. Relations with the community
As we committed last year, we tried to engage our community more. Of course, we did not implement every suggestion made by everyone (if only because many countered other suggestions), but a substantial number of them were used for the work done this year.
T9A has learned a lot in the process, and first of all, we learned that it’s not easy, not even by a long shot! We’re still trying to wrap up all the lessons learned, so that T9A becomes more obviously associated with its community.

It has proven to be a very demanding process for several reasons:

First, and most importantly, it is impossible to please everyone. This results in lots of people accusing us of not listening them or not paying sufficient attention to their meta.
Second, the daily contact with demanding fans who express their negative feelings takes a hard toll on our team and other community members.
Additionally, the outcome is never delivered fast enough, and when we push harder to deliver it, it is never of sufficient quality, which forces us to adjust it, and then we face the protests of those who dislike frequent changes.
As you read, it is impossible to solve. This is probably a good reason why normal companies pay less attention than us to what their customers have to say directly. But our spirit is still to thrive to address your concerns, despite how hard it is. If only because the whole team is made of customers as well!

Meanwhile, we are pleased to see our community appropriate the game, not only with the passionate comments, but also with a blooming of Homebrew add-ons.

2. T9A Team

The team did a fantastic job once more, we can never say enough about our own team made up of purely volunteers.
In addition, T9A has tried to improve our internal processes to progress our work faster and in a more efficient way. In particular, we implemented seven Councils, covering all the teams, to help the Executive Board to follow all teams scattered in various responsibilities.
We have said farewell to a few friends and made quite a few more. We have seen a larger turnover this year and despite that, our staffing level now resides around 335 staff members, a net gain of 39. As we move into a different phase of the project, we will not be doing so much simultaneous work as we did, and we hope that our staff can benefit from better working conditions.
If you feel that you would like to assist our budding team, then please get in touch!

3. T9A Community
The growth on the forum, as predicted, has significantly slowed down, with 13,552 members on June 30th, a growth of 2283, to compare to 3476 the previous year. We do not track the growth on other media such as Facebook or Instagram, both of which have seen many new followers, or in independent forums dedicated to T9A, especially in languages other than English.
Still, the feeling is that we have made the most of our growth with the production released so far.
T9A hopes that the release of the background compendium, the stability of the rules, new products such as campaigns, possibly hard cover rulebooks made by various supporting companies, and greater welcome to community’s initiatives will all converge to increase our community.
We noted that after the release of the new beta AB, the forums became much more positive. Obviously, it shows more and more that the team and the community are talking to each other.

Graphics about who you are show no striking evolution compared to previous years:

This nice map shows that there is some interest for T9A in nearly every country on Earth!

4. T9A Achievements

For our main game, completing the creation of a new rulebook and the associated paths of magic is already an impressive achievement.
T9A entered the beta phase of our rules where we went through v2.0, v.202, & v.204.
The magic phase, in particular, is totally new and represents a considerable step for us, yet still retains that familiar feel to it. It also helps cement magic in the game, where as before, it really was down to the luck of the dice to see if your wizard was a grandmaster in spells or could just warm up a pot of tea!

This is not all, for we have one very large other achievement:

We released our very first completely re-written Army Book - Warriors of the Dark Gods!
Let's not be too modest here, as many have praised us for the artistic feat, starting with the cover and including awesome pieces of background and drawings. For the gameplay, we had immediate reports from players telling us what was outstanding and not so outstanding and need some tinkering, which we did, and got praises as well for that. Not everything pleases everyone, for example increasing the number of dark Gods to seven took some of our fans off-guard. But overall, we consider that for a first second-edition army book, it is very encouraging.

If that was not sufficient, we did actually deliver a second Army Book, that one being an Auxiliary Army, not designed with tournaments in mind, but rather to exploit and expand many interesting ideas linked with the background. This concept is intended to be explored again in the future with other Auxiliary Army Books. Whilst, as noted before, there are not designed with tournaments in mind, we have had several reports of these being allowed in tournaments, a testimony not only to the different ways the community is willing to play our game, but to the stability and balance of the basic rules we build upon!

We wished to have finished this year the second Army Book, Daemon Legions, but there seems to be always more work to do on that book. It is currently going through a few internal playtesting phases.

The 9th Scroll keeps being delivered and downloaded in ever increasing numbers. We have now put out no less than 8 issues of The 9th Scroll in its two years of existence and it has become a regular updated magazine now. We’re happy to read your enthusiastic comments after each issue.

On various Social Media, we appreciate the support provided by many fans who interact with us there. We can report that various national communities keep growing as well. As mentioned earlier, our Asian player base has been strongly growing and we are hearing more and more that people are picking the game up as the rules settle down and become more stable. T9A often hears of people complaining that there is no one in their local area who plays, but it’s often the case of people just needing to connect, especially in large cities! Our community is our greatest set of ambassadors out there, so get the word out around your local area, it may be surprising who turns up!

T9A continues to be found in many large and small tournaments around the world. Currently, it is the largest game system played at ETC. To all the tournament organizers, you all deserve a big thanks, and we need to reiterate this experience.
We were enthralled by the great success of the English Championships!
In the US, we have seen Corner Hammer replacing Adepticon as well as a successful 100 man tournament at Buckeye Battles. Upcoming events on the East Coast continue to being filling up.
More tournaments in general were played in Australia than last year, and Asia Pacific singles champion is coming up in November.

Final technical note, we changed our server, to allow for more growth in serene conditions.

For the number nerds out there, the forum statistics are the following:
11,076 threads started this year, totalling 338,482 posts; the trend last year of less threads and more posts is confirmed, which seems to indicate more focused conversations.
145 News articles were made, with a more focused mind set, hence the decrease from last year.
New Lexicon articles were fewer, only 279. Wiki articles were 501, which is to be expected as the game system matures.
Reversely, there were more images than ever to be uploaded, 5029 this year.
Overall, T9A interprets it as our game system is continuing to mature, with a lot of the groundwork now laid out and now on, we can become more focused.

5. T9A Supporting Companies.

T9A is pleased and humbled to be supported by an ever growing number of companies:
Miniatures Company are 36, compared to 27 last year.
Hobby Supplies Companies are 14, the double of last year.
Painting Companies are 8, the double as well.
Besides a few well established companies, a majority of these companies are in the start-up phase or using kick-starters.
We are happy to see T9A inspiring entrepreneurs, and we wish them a great success, for the benefit of our community.

6. Finances.
We would like to release a more detailed financial report in the near future, explaining our costs and income as a project, so our community that is gracious enough to donate their money knows what is being done with it.
In case you wondered whether we need money to sustain our server, the answer is yes, we do, which makes each of your contributions a vital one. For those who cannot find the "Donate" button, it is because we changed its name to "About Us" in order to give some information to benevolent readers.
Just to be clear, none of our staff are paid and we have no intentions of ever charging for our rules, they will always remain free to download, slim or full, it’s the same!

That's about it for the past year.

7. Now we've got an interesting year ahead of us!
Of course, you’re wondering about our intentions?

When will Gold be released? When will Daemon Legion Full Army Book be published? Which Army Books will be revised first? Will there be some high quality hard copies sold in shops? Will there be some new Auxiliary Books? Will there be some derived games for fun? What will be done to make the website friendlier? When will we see Hobbits? What happened with our Mascot? Will the Quick Starter be updated at the same time?

Wow wow wow! Not so fast!
All questions are great, but remember, this news is about the third year, not the fourth.
Anyway, for most of these questions, T9A still needs to make some decisions, so we are going to hang fire on these answers.
What we will do is to keep you informed when decisions will be made.

Thank you for your support, and remember to make this game truly yours, by participating to its creation, and spreading it to new players!
See you on the battlefield!

T9A Executive Board
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