​The Ninth Age is the coolest game in the world – why aren’t there more people playing it?

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  • ​The Ninth Age is the coolest game in the world – why aren’t there more people playing it?



    Hi,

    My name is Koronus, I am the founding god of the Ninth Age. The other day I read about Warhammer and its plans to revive the Old World in the times before the great war against chaos. To be honest this made me a little concerned about my job. I hate it when people criticize without contributing so I started writing down the history of my creations. When I expressed my concerns to a friend who organizes tournaments in your reality he replied that he could easily fill a gymhall with Age of Sigmar players, but not so much with gamers from the 9th Age. I really didn’t understand why, Age of Sigmar is total crap fluff-wise with its endless realms. How can this be? After giving it some thought I think I have it.

    Here is my solution. Before I delve into it let me say that I really dig this game and I really love the community, I see the effort and love people put into creating the fluff and balancing the armies and if I hurt your feelings then I’m sorry, that was never my intention.

    My solution for a gaming system is: lets be better than the rest. Lets be the best gaming system on the market!

    But we are, I hear you think. We are the best system! True:
    • We have the best balanced tabletop fantasy wargaming system in the world.
    • Price-wise we are the best! We are the best because it is a free game. Better than free isn’t possible. Tournaments do not force competitors to buy expensive models.
    • We are the best because we are creatively the most diverse. I saw a guy fielding a lego army which I really loved and on the gallery I saw paper models coming by, respect!
    • We are the best because we have people with all kinds of expertise. Some sculpt mini's, some build armies, other develop digital solutions like Warhall. Come on guys, that’s awesome!


    What are we not yet the best at?

    • Well fluff ofcourse! If we can build a world from scratch with the only restrictions being the armies and their various units, why does the world we come up with look like earth, just like the Old World in Warhammer? Why don’t we come up with something a little bit more rewarding? Instead of SelexiA, VetiA, AugeA and TaphriA we make up any other name that doesn’t end with an A. This is the best game system and should have the best fluff. So instead of one planet, we have eight. Instead of one dimension we have three. Instead of repeating concepts we find new ones like travelling from planet to planet. Also our community is not restricted by an age group, we do not have to sell models to young children, so why not a little more sex?
    • Our name! The name ‘the Ninth Age’ is bullsh*t. It was fun in the beginning after 8th edition Warhammer but come on! Let’s hear some of our competitors. What kind of names did they come up with? Flames of war, Kings of war, Warhammer, that sounds more powerful then the Age we're in right? Age of Sigmar is a sh*t name but even that roles from the tongue better than the word “ninth”. I gave it some thought. For emotional reasons we could use it as a subtitle. I think we should call our game “Red God”. Why? Because the word “war” is milked to death. I think we are the best so players of t9A are also the most intelligent. Red means war and blood. God means… well nothing beats a god!
    • Models! How can we have the best models if we don’t have any? Maybe we can change a piece of the webpage into an area where people can look at models from retailers. I know, I know, we can do that now, but it’s a little bit strange to scroll through loads of player-comments before you can admire pictures of models. Lets make a shiny piece of website with stuff from model-makers without comments and a little bigger and easier to click on. Something like the gallery.
    • We don’t have enough art. We need Youtube fluffvideos like Astartes to show off on the Internet. I understand that we are a non-profit organization but crowdfunding something to pay some artists to produce art for the Ninth Age is something I would like to see.


    So those are my two godly cents. I think I return to my story corner of the webpage now, good day to you all,

    Koronus

    The post was edited 5 times, last by Koronus ().

  • I still say the missing fluff is the worst part.

    It's hard to introduce this game to people.. "Yeah it's a game in a Fantasy world, but the admins won't share the fluff yet so we're not allowed to know the background on our races. The Infernal Dwarfs seem to like fire? And I guess they live in the same world as Ogres and Ice Monsters? Although I don't understand the relations between them... Oh and the map? Well, take a look at the map of Europe and randomly spread around some Fantasy races."

    But maybe people don't really care about the 9th age at all, and they just want to keep playing the same game they've always played. That would also explain the hatred for Age of Sigmar.
  • Koronus wrote:



    So what was your conclusion? Why isn't anybody talking about this game?

    why isnt anybody talking about this game?
    because we suck at outreach.

    is this a shortcoming of the Project or of the Community? who's responsible?

    both

    but arent some people doing great job?
    sure, we have individuals doing great work, like Calisson (general) or Ghiznuk (facebook) or nflqt (9th Scroll) or ProxyTableGaming (youtube). but to produce hype, we need two things: leadership and spadework.

    what do you mean by spadework?
    doing small things to increase attention to T9A. this can mean organising a demo game with a friend (at the real local scale), or spending ten minutes each day sharing T9A related content on social media (at the digital global scale).

    why dont we have good spadework?
    because many T9A players are too busy or too stingy or too entitled to realise that their support is needed. so they expect, rather than give. show of hands: you, readers! when was last time you played a demo game with someone? in the course of last week, how many of you talked about T9A to someone who doesnt play it? have you liked / commented / shared T9A content on social media today?

    what do you mean by leadership?
    oh, right, it's called Discipline now.

    why dont we have good leadership?
    because it is not necessarily a good idea to invest in outreach, if the product is not mature yet.
    the Project is still working on the content (as you see from the missing background). and for as much as we'd all want beautiful stories and pretty art in our 20 legendary armybooks, these things take time. you cant force writers to do too much, or they'll do bad work. and you cant let their work get out in unfinished form, because when you share your work, you want to do it with pride.

    so are we doomed?
    wrong. as of last month we have a new staff member helping out in the coordination of outreach, and he's doing great work already. but even if things change in this domain, a new and competent coordinator of PR can only provide leadership. the spadework will still have to come from the many people who enjoy T9A, and would like to see it thrive, but sadly are too busy to actively do something to spread the word. let me ask again: are you organising a demo game with someone new? how many T9A youtube channels did you visit today?

    geez, man, why are you so bitter?
    oh, dont get me wrong. this is just my dysfunctional way of stoking the flames. trying to awaken some passion and to generate some active reactions. i know, im bad at it. after all, that's exactly why i havent applied for a leadership position in this domain. i think i can give a better contribution to the Project as a game designer (hence the tag).

    who are you anyway, and why should your opinions even matter?
    i am a simple man: when the founding god of T9A asks me a question, i answer.
    check out our webstore
    formerly known as piteglio
  • I agree with everything. Great post. My biggest issue when I try to recruit players to our club is that the «starting investment» to get started with the hobby is so damn large. It is expensive to buy 4500 p worth of minis, the rules are hard and it demands many many hours of painting.

    Also the name thing you hit right on the head. «The nith age» is just very cumbersome to say. I usually have to repeat it several times over which is awkward

  • If The 9th Age is too hard to say just use the name of the game then :)

    Do remember The 9th Age is the name of the Project. The name of the main game supported by the Project is Fantasy Battles.

    Advisory Board

    Background Team

    Dread Elves LAB TT

    Art Team Coordinator

    Layout Assistant Coordinator

    Moderator

    THE SAUCY QUILL INN
  • well, i mean, in that case, we can also mention the name of the other game supported by the Project: Essence of War.

    sure, it has "War" in it, so it doesnt solve one of the issues raised by Koronus.
    but the rules are 20 pages long, and starter armies have as little as 16 miniatures, so it might help with Ondjage's problem.
    next iteration of the alpha rulebook comes out next month.


    check out our webstore
    formerly known as piteglio
  • The main reason 9th Age doesn‘t attract many new players is that there is no professional marketing. Most of the ressources here are busy with finetuning a highly complex set of rules (which is another obstacle for new players). But even if the project had a different focus and would emphasize marketing more, it would lack the money to succeed. To solve this 9th Age would have to be transformed into something that generates money, it would require a business model. Do we want that? No.
  • I'm gonna be honest. I love the game that you guys have created, and I thank my friend who introduced the hobby and the game to me. We are five people who play it, somewhat often. We've been talking about going to our LFGS and asking them if it is okay for us to play it, hoping to rope more people into the game.

    However, I love Warhammer, and have since I was a kid. I love the lore, aesthetic, writing, models and everything associated with it. If I'm pitching the game to someone, I'm just gonna tell them: "It's Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but with much better rules and balancing!"

    I think that with the recent success of Warhammer Fantasy games, such as Vermintide and Total War: Warhammer, you should capitalise on that. Why focus on creating entirely new lore and art when you can bill yourself as: "WHFB, but revived and improved in all regards". I believe that it would really help to rope in the new Warhammer-fans from the video games that are interested in the tabletop, but are disappointed that they would have to get into a dead (and worse) game, that not many people play anymore.

    That's how two of the people that play 9th with us got into the tabletop game.

    P.S: A big focus should be directed at improving the <4500p experience. It's a huge money and time investment to get into 9th, as others have pointed out. Improving that beginner experience (1000p, 2500p, 3000p) would help a lot. New rules and balancing focuses. Perhaps even variant army books that are balanced around those match-points? Our group still hasn't played (we've been going on for a year) a proper 4500p match due to the time and money investment.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Two Hands ().

  • Two Hands wrote:

    I think that with the recent success of Warhammer Fantasy games, such as Vermintide and Total War: Warhammer, you should capitalise on that. Why focus on creating entirely new lore and art when you can bill yourself as: "WHFB, but revived and improved in all regards".
    Because then GW would send a "cease and desist" letter and shut down T9A.
    They have done such things before to companies that have imitated their art without mentioning GW's game.

    And the sad part is, that T9A doesn't have the resources to get into legal problems with a big company. Just doing the legal work would cost so much money that even without any real argument GW would win that battle.


    Two Hands wrote:

    P.S: A big focus should be directed at improving the <4500p experience. It's a huge money and time investment to get into 9th, as others have pointed out. Improving that beginner experience (1000p, 2500p, 3000p) would help a lot. New rules and balancing focuses. Perhaps even variant army books that are balanced around those match-points? Our group still hasn't played (we've been going on for a year) a proper 4500p match due to the time and money investment.
    There has been good progress for smaller games with Essense of War. its a 1000-1500 point system with a much-reduced complexity but all the essence of T9A. I think its just 20-25 pages long and has half the armies ready.
  • Folomo wrote:

    Two Hands wrote:

    I think that with the recent success of Warhammer Fantasy games, such as Vermintide and Total War: Warhammer, you should capitalise on that. Why focus on creating entirely new lore and art when you can bill yourself as: "WHFB, but revived and improved in all regards".
    Because then GW would send a "cease and desist" letter and shut down T9A.They have done such things before to companies that have imitated their art without mentioning GW's game.

    And the sad part is, that T9A doesn't have the resources to get into legal problems with a big company. Just doing the legal work would cost so much money that even without any real argument GW would win that battle.


    Two Hands wrote:

    P.S: A big focus should be directed at improving the <4500p experience. It's a huge money and time investment to get into 9th, as others have pointed out. Improving that beginner experience (1000p, 2500p, 3000p) would help a lot. New rules and balancing focuses. Perhaps even variant army books that are balanced around those match-points? Our group still hasn't played (we've been going on for a year) a proper 4500p match due to the time and money investment.
    There has been good progress for smaller games with Essense of War. its a 1000-1500 point system with a much-reduced complexity but all the essence of T9A. I think its just 20-25 pages long and has half the armies ready.
    Surely, 9th Age would be legally distinct enough at this point? You wouldn't have to mention GW or WHFB directly, I didn't mean that. But billing yourself as "Massed Fantasy R&F Battles" and citing inspirations would help a lot, if legally possible.
  • Koronus wrote:

    I hate it when people criticize without contributing so I started writing down the history of my creations. When I expressed my concerns to a friend who organizes tournaments in your reality he replied that he could easily fill a gymhall with Age of Sigmar players, but not so much with gamers from the 9th Age. I really didn’t understand why, Age of Sigmar is total crap fluff-wise with its endless realms. How can this be? After giving it some thought I think I have it.
    Hi there @Koronus,

    thanks for your feedback and ideas, constructive feedback and critics are always useful, since they allow us to brainstorm and review our processes, protocols, best practices and policies.

    I don't find your post offensive, I liked the approach, so no worries.

    One thing that I generally advise people to do, nonetheless, is to avoid easy comparisons with other products (and they do not includes only GW stuff).

    I personally know a lot of people playing different games and enjoying different fluffs. I know many people who loved WHFB do not really like AoS fluff. Nonetheless, its fluff is becoming better with time, which is not a surprise: fluff need time to be developed, especially if your customers are hardcore nerds.

    If we talk strictly about "fluff" and "setting", I don't think it's easy to tell if there's something better. It's like discussing who is better between Tolkien and Moorcock: it's a pointless discussion since it's about taste and expectation. The same goes for WHFB and AoS and others.

    If we talk "technically", well, I personally have serious issues with all the fluff from GW since the creation of Black Library, but that is, I would say, about me being an "hardcore nerd" in humanities in general.

    About "numbers", it is really up to geography. For example, in Italy we have more Wh40k players than AoS players and more AoS Players than T9A players, but T9A national tournaments (3 per year before the covid crisisi) are still the bigger by far.


    Koronus wrote:

    What are we not yet the best at?

    • Well fluff ofcourse! If we can build a world from scratch with the only restrictions being the armies and their various units, why does the world we come up with look like earth, just like the Old World in Warhammer? Why don’t we come up with something a little bit more rewarding? Instead of SelexiA, VetiA, AugeA and TaphriA we make up any other name that doesn’t end with an A. This is the best game system and should have the best fluff. So instead of one planet, we have eight. Instead of one dimension we have three. Instead of repeating concepts we find new ones like travelling from planet to planet. Also our community is not restricted by an age group, we do not have to sell models to young children, so why not a little more sex?


    It's not entirely true that the only thing "limiting" us are the units. We inherit a community from a previous legacy, and that community is complex: it's made of fluff lovers and competition lovers, pro players and casual players, and so on.

    I would say we're not limited by very specific things, instead we DECIDED to limit ourselves to AVOID to break apart such community. This means that we should strike a compromise between being conservative and being innovative in all aspects of the hobby. And this includes fluff too.

    Compromises never make everyone happy, we know that.


    Koronus wrote:


    • Our name! The name ‘the Ninth Age’ is bullsh*t. It was fun in the beginning after 8th edition Warhammer but come on! Let’s hear some of our competitors. What kind of names did they come up with? Flames of war, Kings of war, Warhammer, that sounds more powerful then the Age we're in right? Age of Sigmar is a sh*t name but even that roles from the tongue better than the word “ninth”. I gave it some thought. For emotional reasons we could use it as a subtitle. I think we should call our game “Red God”. Why? Because the word “war” is milked to death. I think we are the best so players of t9A are also the most intelligent. Red means war and blood. God means… well nothing beats a god!

    This issue constally arises. But at this point I personally find counterproductive to change the name after 6 years.

    Koronus wrote:


    • Models! How can we have the best models if we don’t have any? Maybe we can change a piece of the webpage into an area where people can look at models from retailers. I know, I know, we can do that now, but it’s a little bit strange to scroll through loads of player-comments before you can admire pictures of models. Lets make a shiny piece of website with stuff from model-makers without comments and a little bigger and easier to click on. Something like the gallery.

    We're working on this to show better the wonderful literally infinite possibilities of the hobby when you are not limited to an exclusive company. More on this in the near future :).

    Koronus wrote:


    • We don’t have enough art. We need Youtube fluffvideos like Astartes to show off on the Internet. I understand that we are a non-profit organization but crowdfunding something to pay some artists to produce art for the Ninth Age is something I would like to see.

    We're constantly trying to solve the manpower issue in some teams, and we're constantly brainstorming about this. I can tell you that some fellow staff members even asked to sponsor themselves artists. But this would generate other issues, such as "why some people are paid and others are not?".

    This project is something really new in the wargaming community, and I would say it's new in general. You'll hardly find an international staff made of volounteers hardly working toward a common project without being paid in such numbers, probably the only other examples are in the IT open source communities. We need time to solve all the issue.

    But we will.

    Thanks.
  • Holy sh*t! Thank you guys!

    I think people in this reality are somewhat lazy, you can just shout something online without consequence, without contributing and there are so many truths outthere you just pick the most convenient one. Super funny that there is even a flat earth theory going around on this planet. But I digress....

    to summerise it all:

    piteglio wrote:

    why isnt anybody talking about this game?
    because we suck at outreach.

    Let's do something about this:

    1. Art

    Art_of_War wrote:

    To solve this 9th Age would have to be transformed into something that generates money, it would require a business model.
    not nesecerilly if we generate art for our beloved game through Kickstarter or gofundme or whatever then the financial shizzle stays out of t9a organisation.
    What do we need?

    - wel three artist that can generate two pieces of art every week, let's say, in the month of May. And Kickstarter to pay them.

    - people who want to learn 'Blender'. If we want to make a fist in the long run we need to jinx up our 3D buisiness. It's free it's complex just the two things a Fanthasy Battles player likes and excels at.


    2. PR

    pitglio wrote:

    as of last month we have a new staff member helping out in the coordination of outreach
    Who is this guy I need him to ask Majorkill to make a lore video of my lore.
    Maybe he can help us with a more focussed aproach. Maybe we can target every post games workshop has on twitter or something. I know nothing about twitter.


    3. Goal

    And there we have our goal:

    Two Hands wrote:

    If I'm pitching the game to someone, I'm just gonna tell them: "It's Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but with much better rules and balancing!"
    Our goal is that Two hands pitches this system without mentioning Warhammer. Cool name Two Hands.

    greetings,

    Koronus
  • I think there is not enough background yet. We have several hundreds of "design experts" arguing about rules and balance. But we lack people who do the hard work of writing stories and drawing artwork. Not sure why. I think there are only a few people at all capable of good writing and painting, but of those few we utilize only a fraction. The project should put more effort in getting more of those few capable people to contribute. Thus the output of quality background content could be accelerated. Currently we step into new LABs with increasing pace, getting rules and stuff, but the background part seems to lack somehow behind.
    Currently the project focuses on anectotical story snippets, one dedicated to each unit. This is good, but should only be a part. We also need more:
    • Long epic stories of battle, written in a Novel form
    • Explanatory studies referring to certain cultural aspects, not biased by in-world authorship
    • Historical summary tables with dates of all the important events of the past
    • Zoomed in detail maps of the different factions with short descriptions of the relevant locations
    • Outsider perspective texts should be written in a normal font type (don't get me wrong, I like the in-world snippets, but strange font types make them uncomfortable to read)
    • We will need a careful coordination of all this background work to avoid contradictions and misconceptions
    • And we need all this, independent of the LAB creation process, providing a general background framework
    We don't need these things to be absolutely finalized and approved by all stakeholders. There is no problem with updating background material regularly, as soon as details change. Retcon is nothing bad inherently. But we really need more official, generalized background material for all factions, before LABs.

    This is imho even more important that having beta revision after beta revision of LABs. Currently I feel the project puts too much effort in fine tuning rules, but forgets about the great picture. Not sure, but maybe a redistribution of resources could help.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by arwaker ().

  • im no fan of funding for artists, for the very reasons set out by the Visconte (personally im very happy he's in charge now).

    but since i can just say "no" and "caca", a counterproposal: if you have a webcam, let's record an online demo game of the simplified version of T9A. we can play it on Tabletop Simulator (a lifetime license costs 10€ this week). then we can ask the rest of the community to share the video and make it visible to the youtube algorithm.
    check out our webstore
    formerly known as piteglio
  • You want to actract more people ?

    Stop being a Warhammer clone and propose something new.

    King of War despite is original statue of clone, was able to slighty distach from it by proposing faction that divert from Warhammer.

    Oathmark gain a good success, not only for the rule but also for proposing an alternative to the cartoony world of other tabletop fantasy-setting.

    Do more unique faction like the Makhar, pretty sure this will get more attraction.
  • Monsieur Ramior wrote:

    You want to actract more people ?

    Stop being a Warhammer clone and propose something new.

    King of War despite is original statue of clone, was able to slighty distach from it by proposing faction that divert from Warhammer.

    Oathmark gain a good success, not only for the rule but also for proposing an alternative to the cartoony world of other tabletop fantasy-setting.

    Do more unique faction like the Makhar, pretty sure this will get more attraction.
    I feel like this is all part of building an identity for itself. Adding new factions is a part of this, but just having fluff and background stories in general should really help to set this game apart.

    And again, this game should have its own name. 9th Age is linked to Warhammer way too much. And calling it "Fantasy Battles" because that's the name of the game is even more generic.

    Warhammer had a connection to its fluff, the hammer Sigmar used to defeat his enemies and create the first civilisation or something like that. So set up some cool background and grab a name from there. Heck, just calling it Koronus or the Game of the Gods (a Song of Ice and Fire?) would set it apart from Games Workshop games 500% more.