Tuesday, 29 August 2017

A Return and Several Departures...

Hi!

Well after a month of silence, we've finished moving and actually have interwebs again!

We've still got tons of stuff to shift around, be it unboxing, tidying, painting and so on but we're in our new place and thats the main thing!

It's been interesting to peruse the internet again to discover that several fairly large, or at least well known miniatures companies have ceased trading. First Spartan Games (I must admit that I wasn't too surprised given their penchant for not being able to support any game they produced for more than about six months!), and then Tor Gaming, the company behind the utterly wonderful looking Relics game.


Relics was a game and range that I'd always intended to delve into and pick up some small forces for but sadly never quite got round to it, which I suppose is part of the reason that Tor has shut its doors. How many others felt the same way and indeed how many other wonderful ranges will vanish because the market is just so diverse?

For myself, I still sadly remember Vor, Warzone, Chronopia, Star Mogul and lots of others who blazed brightly before vanishing into obscurity. Even games and ranges that have never properly gone out of production such as Leviathan, Void 1.1 and Kryomek to name but a few seem to simply shuffle on, zombie like without support, interest or releases to breath life back into them.

Looking at the miniature gaming market, it's looking increasingly like there are two types of company. The big boys like GW and Privateer Press and the small, cottage industry types which seem to stand the test of time. 

Is there anything we, the collectors and gamers can do? Well unless we're willing to explore new games and ranges, it's likely that more companies will rise and fall but it's always a genuine pity when good ranges and rules don't get the notice they deserve until too late.

Sadly I don't think my own buying habits are going to change too much. I don't have the spare income to really sink my teeth into a game and my gnat-like attention span will, I suspect, mean that my limited means will constantly wander into new projects that will start and stop almost constantly.

What I can do is try out some of the rules I do have and hopefully encourage a few folks to try them themselves and once I have my gaming board back together, I plan on really trying to review, game and explore some of the gems of games that have been released down the years!

In the meantime, enough of my ramblings!

All the best!

4 comments:

  1. I recently purchased a warzone starter pack from PrinceAugust. Its an old set but I was lucky to find one still available.

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  2. Hope the move went well, Richard. Especially all of your minis. :)

    I've seen so many companies come and go over the decades (!) that I've been collecting and painting miniatures.

    Warzone and Chronopia had their legs cut out from under them when Target's parent company decided to get out of the gaming industry.

    Grenadier just kind of petered out in the early '90s, but some of their minis are still being made by other companies.

    Ral Partha has morphed into Iron Wind Metals and RP Europe. I still mourn the loss of all of those beautiful AD&D minis when Wizards of the Coast pulled the license in the late '90s and ordered the destruction of the molds.

    Relics never really appealed to me, apart from a couple of their minis.

    I think Spartan could stand as an object lesson to other companies. As you note, they didn't seem to support their games after their initial offerings, but I have no problem purchasing miniatures for and playing "unsupported" games. (I'm looking at you, Man O' War.) I think focusing on fewer games might have helped them establish a presence in the industry.

    Spartan's miniatures were also in atypical, larger sizes and scales that weren't compatible with other companies' lines. I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to mixing similar sizes and scales, and I did buy a few of their Uncharted Seas forts and other structures for use with MoW, but most of their pieces were just too large to work well.

    On top of that, Spartan's minis were ridiculously expensive. If they had gone with more typical sizes and scales - 6mm vs. 10mm; 1/1200 vs. 1/600 - they might have been able to charge less and sell significantly more.

    Or maybe that wouldn't have made any difference in the long run. Who knows?

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  3. I have the horrible feeling as GW continue their renaissance, more and more of the 'smaller' companies will fall by the wayside.
    I know droves of gamers who in the past spent money on smaller companies miniatures, which produced proxies for games GW no longer supported (like Bloodbowl)have now returned to buying GW products recently. There is only so much hobby money out there and GW are collecting a bigger and bigger pot as time goes on.

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  4. Thanks for the comments folks!

    Sadly it's a bit of a challenge to choose what game to go for at the moment as I've been caught out with Warzone, Void 1.1, Chronopia, Leviathan, Vor, Star Mogul and Crucible. All great games in their own rights but each has either ceased trading or entered the dreaded zombie state where while still technically still in production, they do nothing!

    As for Spartan, I did work there briefly and it's a shame to see them shut up shop but their bizarre obsession with new games, mostly in scales that nobody really wanted them in may not have helped.

    I just read that a third company has announced it's shutting up shop. On The Lamb Games, producer of Endless: Fantasy Tactics has announced it's going to cease trading at the end of this year.

    I actually backed the kickstarter for Endless and it's a really great fun game but again the scale is a bit odd and the miniatures produced are somewhat pricy for the quality.

    I think I am going to have to do a bit of pondering on my next post about trying out some games I have in my collection!

    Sadly GW has finally cottoned onto the fact that it had a rather large untapped market of folks who went elsewhere when they went a bit mental with the culling of Specialist Games and have done a great job of luring them back. While it's fantastic that Bloodbowl, Necromunda and even 40k are getting interesting again, it does mean that folks hobby money is going to the big companies again.

    All the best!

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