|(Beautiful fantasy miniatures, painted by a 9th-ager)|
Original blog here.
I’m Napoleon in Elba aka Leftblank. I think most of you hate me.
After publishing my blog I was immediately permabanned. I still am. I log in with a different account this time. I will probably be permabanned again. However I would like to reply to some weird accusations and assumptions.
1. I’m not a troll. I published a link in your forum to give you the possibility to reply, to react, to exchange views, to disagree. I can be very cynical and sarcastic if I want and I have been before. I plead guilty. But this specific post a troll post? It’s dry. I analyze risks that were taken (some I don’t understand) and I at least try to find solutions for your biggest problem, you’re losing connection with the original fanbase of WHFB 8th ed. players. The fact that I’m fearless or stupid enough to return to this forum and tell you I’m not a troll will to some confirm the idea that I am anyway :-(
2. I’m not a shill. In fact I didn’t know what a shill was :-) and had to look it up. I understand it’s a covert advertiser. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just a regular beer drinking wargamer from Holland, a friendly wargame dad, very independent. Rule collector. Sadly, nobody pays me for my smalltime independent ‘nothing is perfect’-opinions.
3. Some of you accuse me of cherry picking. How many more forum posts do I need to quote? Maybe I should quote the thread Getting Hate out of the System: Food for Thought for Those Embittered at Games Workshop that was started by Karak Norn Clansman because he had seen "a lot of antipathy towards GW on here". Or Giladis from the Executive Board who wrote about Age of Sigmar “It is simple enough for what I need to entertain a little kid and draw him to later be interested into more complex stuff”.
What concerns me is that the AoS-haters that I quote are involved as pretty important team members and that forum regulars say that the anti-AoS-tone is the dominant tone.
4. One of the weirdest accusations was by Blonde Beer, PR Team. I just once mentioned a few months ago nothing more than his common first name in a common Dutch forum where his first name is common. It’s something I corrected immediately when he asked. However he still blames me and thinks all my arguments are false, he doubts I’m a lawyer and describes himself as “a man who has received several threats, ranging from pretty, to pretty dark ones, thanks to my work in the pr section of the staff”. Is he suggesting that I threatened him? I absolutely did not. Never. BTW, Blonde Beer, if you want my apology again, here it is. Please accept it. Please attack arguments, not persons.
BTW, Wombat, please remove the home address of the old Phil Barker in Cambridge :-)
5. Google Trends: before publishing I indeed checked google trends for both “9th age” and for “9th Age Warhammer” and compared this query with KoW and AoS. 9th and age are very popular queries in India and Pakistan because of the age of 9th-graders. So I dismissed that first query as irrelevant and used “9th age Warhammer”. Not that it really matters, even with the India/Pakistan queries, '9th age' is rarely queried compared with the two others. It’s not that I have an ‘agenda’ as Tiny suggests, but apart from other data I checked Google Trends to get an impression of the popularity of the system. It’s important, because I think that the lifeblood of the game is not the generation of hardcore 9th-age ETC tournament players, but the much larger group of casual players and newer generations.
6. Some readers mention tournament numbers as an indication for success. I don’t doubt that T9A has a future as a tournament game and that players will play it for years to come, just like DBA and WRG and Oldhammer. And that’s nice! Great! But this game that started so ambitious will not attract new gamers anymore and slowly wither away. Number of tournaments in 2017 or 2018 is not decisive for the long term future of the game. In particular not if the stated ambition is to be the ‘leading’ (or at least ‘important’) fantasy mass battle game.
7. ‘Cam’ said: “I think the fact he doesn't allow comments says a lot”. I allow comments in my blog, check the original link. But the original link was censored by the mods and altered in a google archive link that was published instead. Because I was branded a troll or shill by them. Feel free to comment, however.
8. A GW-fanboy? Me? I’m too old for that. I love the small independent designers. Wargames Research Group, Too Fat Lardies, Warmaster, Sam Mustafa. My most recent buy was Dropzone Commander last week, last ruleset the 6mm Fasto Furioso chariot race game from Ghanesha Games. T9A, AoS and KoW are more or less interchangeable IMHO. I think I rate AoS the lowest of the trio, I don’t like skirmish games so much. Much better than all three is WRG’s Hordes of the Things, but that’s a personal opinion. I wrote this blog because I sincerely believe that this project is heading in the wrong direction due to overambition and tunnel vision.
9. IP problems. I don’t claim that IP problems are impossible. If my client would ask me: I want to clone a wargame and sell it to the world, I would say: know what you’re doing, beware of the law. T9A had two reasons to drop all original background:
a. If T9A continues as homebrew WHFB 8.5 rules, GW might send a cease and desist letter and then all is lost. So we must.
b. Everybody will play WHFB 9th Age and the leading position of WHFB will be taken over by the far superior T9A. GW will not tolerate the continuation as free and popular community game.
The first reason is/was simply not true and at not tested and exaggerated. GW tolerates many homebrew sets. I forgot to mention in my blog, but the Warhammer Armies Project has been updating and reusing GW IP and WHFB since 2010. The author is publishing rulebooks, updates, army books, just like the T9A-community. No cease & desist.
The second reason is overambitious and becomes more overambitious with every lost player.
Anyway, there’s no turning back. Consequence however is that T9A has drifted further away from mainstream casual (Warhammer) fantasy wargaming, instead of uniting it. I leave it to your American IP lawyers if 9th Age has distanced itself enough. If the answer is yes, you could cautiously move forward and gain a little bit money with Kickstarters and/or crowdfunding.
10. Some wonder about my conclusions. Maybe they hoped that I would conclude that T9A is doomed and will die within a couple of years. It’s not that black, wargame fan communities can survive for a long time. But this T9A community lost connection with a larger group of casual players, I think. And it’s vulnerable because so connected to the ETC. As said above by your forum member Warboss_R'ok, you need a certain density of players per city.
If you would publish a more integrated ruleset with a basic version and a more advanced tournament variant, campaigns, fun games and easy conversion from/to AoS, KoW, the non-WHFB-army & rulebooks might become interesting for more casual gamers outside the T9A-community. Marketing should help as well. For marketing T9A needs money. New generations are not going to buy your story, you need to sell it. So think about crowdfunding and other ways to make small profit, to pay the website and small ads to increase visibility. That is my general idea. Or more: hope.
Feel free to disagree.
And think twice about censoring or incivilities. It’s only toy soldiers, you see.
Update: this reply was indeed rejected by T9A and I was indeed permabanned for a second time. They have every right to do so, it's their forum, but why are they afraid for opinions?
The Facebook group allowed this post, but apart from some mature reactions others place memes or are derogatory.
Anyway, what goes around comes around, I said what I want to say and I understand that many hardcore fans are annoyed. Such is life. I wish the community all the best and I hope that they will think about the general direction of the project.