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 Sqorgar wrote:
...
It exists. But in order to play it, you need willing participants. Also consider that there is the Journeyman League which is an option to run.

What is the battle box new player experience? My past experiences with the game were nothing but pressures to build up to a SR full tournament army as soon as humanly possible. That's also the message that Journeyman Leagues send across. "We'll play small games for a bit, but only as long as you are working towards the REAL game".

My personal preference is that I LOVE starter sets. More than anything else. I'd rather have small forces from five or six armies than one static tournament army. In fact, I generally don't work towards tournament level games and instead buy models I like across the whole range and, if I end up sticking with the games long enough, eventually build a full army almost by accident. And it is never tournament competitive, since there was no rhyme or reason to it.

Warmachine doesn't support this style of collection and exploration AT ALL. Not in the rules, not in the products released, and not in the way the players actually engage with the game. It's not enough to simply support small games, small games have to be fun to play and feel worthwhile when you are done. The thing I hate the most are starter sets which don't even let you play the game. If your starter set just has "quick play rules" and two scenarios designed to teach movement and combat, see the $40 rulebook for how to actually play, then I will most likely never move beyond the starter set. My other turn off is $290 starter boxes, so I recognize that sacrifices have to be made - but there's no reason why a starter experience can't be a representative sample of the full game...


To my mind the biggest difficulty with the battle box experience in Warmachine is that there are mechanics and abilities that really don't scale down to small games well, consider feats like Thagrosh1's resurrect-a-heavy, or Ashlynn1's "I hit everything for a turn, you miss everything for a turn", or Caine2's "kill target warcaster". The battle boxes exist to be a subset of the game that is more balanced at 0pts, and it's great as a tutorial experience, but your only available force is this specific list of 3-5 models you've probably played a thousand times before in battle box games because they are the tutorial experience, which is why experienced players are reluctant to go back and play battle box games with newbies except as a tool to teach them how to play the full-sized game. And if you wanted to bring in list-building at 0pts or 15pts or whatever the problem is that warcasters are all balanced around the 50-75pt level, so some spells/feats don't have enough to interact with and don't work properly, and others are wildly overpowered because the tools to deal with it don't exist.

If you wanted to revise Mk.IV to scale down to a starter product better you'd need to do a way bigger/more comprehensive overhaul than either of the edition transitions so far.
   
Made in us
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Astonished of Heck

Sqorgar wrote:I think non-competitive play needs to start from the new player experience. Once a norm becomes entrenched, you can't look to the people who standardized it for help supplant it.

But who provides the new player experience in the store? The same ones who are the problem.

Sqorgar wrote:What is the battle box new player experience? My past experiences with the game were nothing but pressures to build up to a SR full tournament army as soon as humanly possible. That's also the message that Journeyman Leagues send across. "We'll play small games for a bit, but only as long as you are working towards the REAL game".

Do you have any of the Mk 3 Battleboxes? It comes with a single player tutorial book called Basic Training to use with the materials provided in the box. The provided rulebook provides scenarios to play other players with, including the basic Mangled Metal/Tooth & Claw scenario that is for 0 point games.

You may think that the JML can have a tournament feel, and to be blunt, it is designed to encourage building up an army up to the normal limit that other players play. If YOU (or the hyper-competitive wackjobs in your group) don't consider them real games, the onus is not on Privateer Press, but the individuals involved. After all, EVERY starter set comes with the concept of, this is a small taste, but there are bigger things in store. This isn't an all-in-one board game like Risk you're dealing with here.

Sqorgar wrote:Warmachine doesn't support this style of collection and exploration AT ALL. Not in the rules, not in the products released, and not in the way the players actually engage with the game. It's not enough to simply support small games, small games have to be fun to play and feel worthwhile when you are done. The thing I hate the most are starter sets which don't even let you play the game. If your starter set just has "quick play rules" and two scenarios designed to teach movement and combat, see the $40 rulebook for how to actually play, then I will most likely never move beyond the starter set. My other turn off is $290 starter boxes, so I recognize that sacrifices have to be made - but there's no reason why a starter experience can't be a representative sample of the full game.

You are half right. Most of the players do not engage with the game very much on the narrative, build as you want, style. The Themes are not technically required, but you are hindering yourself against someone who has built their army using them.

Warmachine's Battlebox games are designed to familiarize you with the most unusual aspects of the Warmachine, the Warcaster and the Warjacks. No other tabletop system really utilizes a similar system, but this often gets brushed off. By comparison, unit and solo interactions are relatively simple.

Moving on from there, both Warmachine and Hordes both have a 2 player box which do add units to the list, and there have been All-in-One Army boxes which provided a distinct variety of options, at about $120.

The Oblivion set even comes with a build up campaign which is pretty good, from what I've heard (I don't have a lot of money to toss around, even back then). But again, the problems lie in getting other players to engage. No Quarter had a lot of ways of playing WarmaHordes, but you'd never know it talking to most of the current players, as they are either the die-hard Steamrollers, or were trained by them.

Sqorgar wrote:My suggestions were largely about changing Mk3's new player experience. Since the game doesn't really have any 3D terrain rules (I hear Oblivion even removed hills), making the game 3D would probably require a Mk4 rewrite of a lot of the rules.

Neoprene mats can be expensive, up to the price of the starter box! But the Mk3 Battleboxes do come with a terrain map (albeit one that has a hard time being flat).

Sqorgar wrote:War Room charges like $100 to get access to all the cards. I'm not sure how much it cost to develop the program, but given how ubiquitous the program is, I'm sure they could recoup their costs easily for a tenth of the cost. Multiple other games, like Song of Ice and Fire, Infinity, Age of Sigmar, soon 40k 9th, and so on all have free apps with no additional cost for army building and model rules.

Edit: I'm not sure if the Warhammer 40k app will incur no additional costs. It is Games Workshop, after all. But they did say that buying physical books will give you digital versions for free, which is uncharacteristically generous for them.

War Room 2 is technically a 3rd party application, and if you don't know how much it costs to make, and maintain, a good program, then you shouldn't complain about the costs.

Of course, there is an alternative route, don't buy all the card decks. As it is, I had to buy the Merc Deck twice because it didn't recognize when I bought it for War Room 1, or because they added so much more. As it is, the army builder sucks for Merc Themes because it can't handle how weird they can get. I mostly use it as a collection and army builder app right now because I hate using it for fights.

AnomanderRake wrote:To my mind the biggest difficulty with the battle box experience in Warmachine is that there are mechanics and abilities that really don't scale down to small games well, consider feats like Thagrosh1's resurrect-a-heavy, or Ashlynn1's "I hit everything for a turn, you miss everything for a turn", or Caine2's "kill target warcaster". The battle boxes exist to be a subset of the game that is more balanced at 0pts, and it's great as a tutorial experience, but your only available force is this specific list of 3-5 models you've probably played a thousand times before in battle box games because they are the tutorial experience, which is why experienced players are reluctant to go back and play battle box games with newbies except as a tool to teach them how to play the full-sized game. And if you wanted to bring in list-building at 0pts or 15pts or whatever the problem is that warcasters are all balanced around the 50-75pt level, so some spells/feats don't have enough to interact with and don't work properly, and others are wildly overpowered because the tools to deal with it don't exist.

To be fair, Thagrosh1, Ashlynn1, and Caine2 are technically not supposed to be in Battlebox games any more. Still, it would be nice to have Warcasters and Warlocks be set up for certain levels of play. The Battlebox Controllers get a lot of flack for being worthless, but they are actually pretty decent up to the 25 point mark, which is usually when the JML opens you up to using another Warcaster or Warlock. This would be a good direction for Mk 4 to take in terms of limiting model options, imo.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/05/31 00:22:48


 
   
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 AnomanderRake wrote:

To my mind the biggest difficulty with the battle box experience in Warmachine is that there are mechanics and abilities that really don't scale down to small games well, consider feats like Thagrosh1's resurrect-a-heavy, or Ashlynn1's "I hit everything for a turn, you miss everything for a turn", or Caine2's "kill target warcaster". The battle boxes exist to be a subset of the game that is more balanced at 0pts, and it's great as a tutorial experience, but your only available force is this specific list of 3-5 models you've probably played a thousand times before in battle box games because they are the tutorial experience, which is why experienced players are reluctant to go back and play battle box games with newbies except as a tool to teach them how to play the full-sized game. And if you wanted to bring in list-building at 0pts or 15pts or whatever the problem is that warcasters are all balanced around the 50-75pt level, so some spells/feats don't have enough to interact with and don't work properly, and others are wildly overpowered because the tools to deal with it don't exist.

That's why I'm saying that it should be something specific to the battle boxes. If I'm not mistaken, they all have new warcasters created specifically for the boxes, and are generally relatively balanced against each other. So you should be able to create some sort of set of scenarios or a mini-campaign that can make playing just battle boxes fun. I think a starter product should get you about 10 games, at least, and as a new player experience, you want existing players to be able to play with new players without feeling like they are giving up something to do it. Miniature games aren't just about building armies and getting new models - there are gameplay mechanics that can be used to get more out of what you already have (something which most WMH players apparently do not choose to use).

Honestly, I think the thing to look towards is Warcry. It does really well with set warbands. You can mix up the warbands, but the game works fine if you just buy a Warcry box and play it. With the mission and terrain cards, it randomly generates a new scenario with every game, and with a campaign system, you have a reason to play a bunch of games with the same, improving warband.

If you wanted to revise Mk.IV to scale down to a starter product better you'd need to do a way bigger/more comprehensive overhaul than either of the edition transitions so far.
Creating a small point game is a very different thing to having preset battle boxes that you use in interesting ways. There would absolutely have to be additional limitations to army building making only a subset of models available - but if you are playing themes, then you are already on board with something like that.

Moreover, I'm not sure that you'd have to change much. For instance, lower point games make warcasters far too powerful (and killing them an even more dominant strategy). If you just ignored feats, dropped the focus by half, and make it so a caster kill doesn't instantly win the game, you change their relative power to something closer to a strong solo. A few more simple changes to how armies are built (units taken at minimum size, no attachments, make field allowance 1 for everything, no themes, half your points must be warjacks, etc), you can probably make low point games less choked by minmaxing. By using different scenarios with different conditions, you can punish players who build their armies too narrowly, such that minmaxing becomes about building a well rounded army rather than just assassinating warcasters.

WMH players would never go for it (they still complain about themes, even though theme reward you greatly for using them), but that's why you have to start with the new player experience and set early the expectations that WMH is not a single sport, with one set of goals, but more like korean variety show, where one day you are solving a murder mystery and the next playing hide and seek in the national public library.
   
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 Charistoph wrote:
But who provides the new player experience in the store? The same ones who are the problem.
I really think there's two different ways new players come into a miniature game. The first is to be brought in by players at a store, and the other is to pick up a two player starter with a friend and grow from there. I think the goal of making a good battle box game is not just to introduce players at a store, but to give those two people starting it without outside interference a way to get into the game.

My own experience starting Warmachine was before it even launched. We were given a demo game at a con in Orlando. They had tiny little 1'x1' tables with painted miniatures and nicely made terrain to demo the game on, and my wife and I played against each other while someone from PP explained the rules and walked us through it. I don't even think it was a battle box level game. Just a warcaster and one heavy jack. Between the demo tables and the painted models in the glass counter, Warmachine looked absolutely beautiful - when was the last time you heard someone say that? I think we ended joining a mailing list to be informed when the game was actually released.

So we did have a demo game, but it was a few more months before we actually had models in hand, and for the first few months, it was just the two of us painting models and playing. We brought in a few friends too. Unfortunately, my first kid was on the way, and we stopped following the game, but that first year of Warmachine's life, it was a group of 2-4 people playing with minimal models (they weren't many to get early on) - and the game worked like that. When was the last time anyone suggested that you could play Warmachine with a handful of models for months at a time?

I think the new player experience must factor in not just playing in a store, but playing on kitchen tables too.

Sqorgar wrote:Do you have any of the Mk 3 Battleboxes? It comes with a single player tutorial book called Basic Training to use with the materials provided in the box. The provided rulebook provides scenarios to play other players with, including the basic Mangled Metal/Tooth & Claw scenario that is for 0 point games.
I have a few of them, and a few other ones going back to Mk1. The Mk3 ones are a huge improvement. Including tokens and a digest rulebook makes a big difference. I don't remember the Basic Training pamphlet having a bunch of scenarios. It had a few "here's how you move" scenarios, but I don't remember any unique or fun scenarios. But I do remember a pamphlet on your faction with tips on how to expand it.

You may think that the JML can have a tournament feel, and to be blunt, it is designed to encourage building up an army up to the normal limit that other players play. If YOU (or the hyper-competitive wackjobs in your group) don't consider them real games, the onus is not on Privateer Press, but the individuals involved. After all, EVERY starter set comes with the concept of, this is a small taste, but there are bigger things in store. This isn't an all-in-one board game like Risk you're dealing with here.
It's not that I don't consider Journeyman Leagues to be real games, but I just think a new player experience should not immediate require more effort from you. By the time you read the rulebook, assemble (and possibly paint) your models, you should get a few games out of it.

There are a few terrible started games out there. Malifaux 2e and Wrath of Kings' two player starters just did not feel like you could get more than one game out of them before they got old. But Infinity and most GW games feel like two players can start off and have a lot of fun well before you need to branch out. Warcry, for example, can last you dozens or even hundreds of games on just the starter box alone.

Monsterpocalypse, assuming you use two starters, only really feels limited by only have 5 units per side - but not that limited. The game includes two maps and lots of cardboard apartment buildings, taking care of the biggest obstacles to play. It makes it so that every future MonPoc purchase feels like it meaningfully changes the game. That's a very different experience to "here's a taste, but you won't fully experience the game without spending another $600".

Neoprene mats can be expensive, up to the price of the starter box! But the Mk3 Battleboxes do come with a terrain map (albeit one that has a hard time being flat).
Both MonPoc and Riot Quest include paper maps (that are way better than the Mk3 maps, which feels like someone folded a magazine in quarters), but also make neoprene options available. It doesn't have to be neoprene (though it is a huge quality step up from paper), but a variety of map options should be available. I mean, go look at the Riot Quest maps and tell me they don't instantly make the game feel more thematic and interesting.

War Room 2 is technically a 3rd party application, and if you don't know how much it costs to make, and maintain, a good program, then you shouldn't complain about the costs.
I mean, I've developed iOS apps before. The majority of what they are doing in that app - most of which they brought over from War Room 1 - is not particularly challenging stuff, with the biggest challenge being the card images and data, which are most likely supplied by Privateer Press directly. Again, I don't know how much it cost, but I don't think it took more than one or two guys a month to make that. Hell, get me the PP data, and I'll make War Room 3 for free (well, not really, since my developer license expired, but I could do a web version). Problem is, PP doesn't make that data for free. Why should they when they can charge people $100 for it?

Of course, there is an alternative route, don't buy all the card decks.
I personally own models from every faction. If I were going to use War Room, I'd have to buy everything to play everything.
   
Made in us
Second Story Man




Astonished of Heck

 Sqorgar wrote:
I really think there's two different ways new players come into a miniature game. The first is to be brought in by players at a store, and the other is to pick up a two player starter with a friend and grow from there. I think the goal of making a good battle box game is not just to introduce players at a store, but to give those two people starting it without outside interference a way to get into the game.

My own experience starting Warmachine was before it even launched. We were given a demo game at a con in Orlando. They had tiny little 1'x1' tables with painted miniatures and nicely made terrain to demo the game on, and my wife and I played against each other while someone from PP explained the rules and walked us through it. I don't even think it was a battle box level game. Just a warcaster and one heavy jack. Between the demo tables and the painted models in the glass counter, Warmachine looked absolutely beautiful - when was the last time you heard someone say that? I think we ended joining a mailing list to be informed when the game was actually released.

So we did have a demo game, but it was a few more months before we actually had models in hand, and for the first few months, it was just the two of us painting models and playing. We brought in a few friends too. Unfortunately, my first kid was on the way, and we stopped following the game, but that first year of Warmachine's life, it was a group of 2-4 people playing with minimal models (they weren't many to get early on) - and the game worked like that. When was the last time anyone suggested that you could play Warmachine with a handful of models for months at a time?

I think the new player experience must factor in not just playing in a store, but playing on kitchen tables too.

While it is true that starters should be looking at early development, one can get some variety out of the Battleboxes, and the current battlebox does provide a couple ways of doing that. Furthermore, PP has provided other assets to support them, they just aren't in the initial box, such as the JML first scenario as well as Oblivion's scenario, and there have been a few in No Quarter when it was live (from what I understand).

My brother-in-law and I have had a couple of rumbles with his Trollbloods and my Skorne (I changed up my group based on the Mk1 box for the second go around). His son wanted to join us for the second match so I lended him my Retribution box. My kids have shown an interest, so I got them each their chosen Battlebox, which they then painted up last Fall break. They've shown an interest in D&D, and I've been thinking up a type of D&D style scenario using their models, stats, and the WMH engine to operate the combat scenarios.

So, basically, scenarios are only as limited as the people presenting them.

 Sqorgar wrote:
I have a few of them, and a few other ones going back to Mk1. The Mk3 ones are a huge improvement. Including tokens and a digest rulebook makes a big difference. I don't remember the Basic Training pamphlet having a bunch of scenarios. It had a few "here's how you move" scenarios, but I don't remember any unique or fun scenarios. But I do remember a pamphlet on your faction with tips on how to expand it.

That's because the scenarios are in the rulebook, not the training guide. You may have missed it based on how I said it, as it kind of was tucked in without any capitalization.

 Sqorgar wrote:
It's not that I don't consider Journeyman Leagues to be real games, but I just think a new player experience should not immediate require more effort from you. By the time you read the rulebook, assemble (and possibly paint) your models, you should get a few games out of it.

I won't argue that a couple more scenarios could be added for flavor to the Battleboxes, but I mentioned the JML as an option for a path of bringing a player up to speed. The players get to decide how they proceed, and they even present options on how to slow it down for those who may not be building as quickly. As I mentioned earlier, it also provides a scenario that's in the tournament vein instead of just the smash and grab.

Unfortunately, Warcry is also as much a boardgame as it is a tabletop game. It's not really designed to be expanded beyond its own, so it needs to have more ways to play what's in the box unlike the Battlebox's expectation that you will be building beyond it for future games (aside from new Warbands). Riot Quest is the same way, which is partly why they have those map set ups to work with.

All that being said, I would not be against an array of 5 scenarios in the Training Guide that have the simple Mangled Metal, two tournament scenarios (ala the JML), and two narrative-style scenarios to give new players ideas on what to expect from the game as they build up. Of course, some things would be limited, as units are too expensive for Battleboxes at the moment.

 Sqorgar wrote:
Neoprene mats can be expensive, up to the price of the starter box! But the Mk3 Battleboxes do come with a terrain map (albeit one that has a hard time being flat).
Both MonPoc and Riot Quest include paper maps (that are way better than the Mk3 maps, which feels like someone folded a magazine in quarters), but also make neoprene options available. It doesn't have to be neoprene (though it is a huge quality step up from paper), but a variety of map options should be available. I mean, go look at the Riot Quest maps and tell me they don't instantly make the game feel more thematic and interesting.

I'm not against maps, I'm just saying that the cost of maps should be considered when looking at setting up starter sets, and neoprene ones are just too expensive for that right now.

From there, this is a tabletop game, and that usually means using other things to "create" the terrain, such as using the actual boxes to be buildings or hills (did that with my brother-in-law, actually).

But hey, I've had large collections of maps before, on that old stiff paper, too. Look up the old mapsheets for Battletech. That was my first tabletop game. Talk about your starting hurdles!

 Sqorgar wrote:
I mean, I've developed iOS apps before. The majority of what they are doing in that app - most of which they brought over from War Room 1 - is not particularly challenging stuff, with the biggest challenge being the card images and data, which are most likely supplied by Privateer Press directly. Again, I don't know how much it cost, but I don't think it took more than one or two guys a month to make that. Hell, get me the PP data, and I'll make War Room 3 for free (well, not really, since my developer license expired, but I could do a web version). Problem is, PP doesn't make that data for free. Why should they when they can charge people $100 for it?

My guess is that they are padding for the cost of updating the card database and programs for the Themes as well as providing cloud storage for army lists and collections. While the base program itself could be relatively cheap, the ongoing costs would be my concern on the company's side, so either a subscription system or a higher buy-to-play model would be the options.

I have far more complaints about War Room 2 than the pricing model, though, which is really makes me wonder at its cost (like the inability to do a battle over network).

 Sqorgar wrote:
I personally own models from every faction. If I were going to use War Room, I'd have to buy everything to play everything.

But you don't play everything all the time, right? For those you don't, you don't buy the pack and use the card database. You can still army build with packs you don't own, after all.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/05/31 02:59:41


 
   
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 Charistoph wrote:
So, basically, scenarios are only as limited as the people presenting them.
Arguably, that's kind of Warmachine's biggest flaw. That's why I think that broadening the new player experience is how you fight that. The problem is really when certain attitudes become entrenched.

MonPoc 1.0 was a game that had Warmachine's problem of being too tournament focused, but it seems like 2.0 has largely avoided that fate. There's several potential reasons for this. One of the big ones is that early in the lifespan of a product line, the limited number of options make the tournament mindset more difficult. It is hard to minmax when you only have 4 models in your faction (some factions have 1 model). Tournament players are never the early adopters, and they couldn't bring their 1.0 army forward. Couple this with resurrecting a dead game long after the fact, this gave MonPoc 2.0 a chance to push a broader mindset among its players. The Smashville campaign and Monster Mashup coop packs just came out on Friday.

Warmachine has it difficult because the entrenched have all the models already. A new Mk4 version comes out, and they'll try out their favorite army and complain that it isn't as good as it used to be, thus Mk4 is a worse game than Mk3. Worse still, any attempts to expand Mk4 with stuff like Oblivion or the like will be seen as frittering away goodwill, as their army is still bad and they need to fix that flaw before the game adds new content. It's like PP needed to create the CID in order for Mk3 to ever release new models under the guise of a balance pass.

That's why you got to get to the new players. They have no expectation of what the game should be, so you can offer them more potential experiences than the entrenched. And Warmachine is a game which just does not have any new players, period, giving the entrenched even more power over the direction of the game.

I won't argue that a couple more scenarios could be added for flavor to the Battleboxes, but I mentioned the JML as an option for a path of bringing a player up to speed.
I fundamentally reject the premise that Warmachine is not a full experience until you reach 75 pts (or 50 pts). The idea that playing JML is to "bring a player up to speed" is, I think, part of the problem. I think the new player experience of playing a game, getting curb stomped, told what to buy next if they want a chance at winning, and not feeling like they are up to speed until they spend another $500 is a bit of a turn off. It isn't just a Warmachine problem, but I think Warmachine takes it to the extreme edges of the problem. Some games feel like every new purchase fundamentally contributes to their experience, but games like Warmachine make buying those first models into a chore that you have to live through before you are having fun. I think they can do more with the battle box experience without requiring more models to be purchased, or to graduate to units and solos or whatever.

But you don't play everything all the time, right? For those you don't, you don't buy the pack and use the card database. You can still army build with packs you don't own, after all.
I do generally play everything all the time. When I played Mk2, I brought a different army (from a different faction) every week. I hate painting models that are too similar, all in a row. After I painted my Spriggan, the last thing I wanted to do is paint another red model. So what good is using an app for only one or two armies and not the other five or six I have?
   
Made in us
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Astonished of Heck

 Sqorgar wrote:
 Charistoph wrote:
So, basically, scenarios are only as limited as the people presenting them.
Arguably, that's kind of Warmachine's biggest flaw. That's why I think that broadening the new player experience is how you fight that. The problem is really when certain attitudes become entrenched.

You can have all the scenarios you want in a starter box, but if the people in a meta are determined to go after a competitive mean, they will.

For those outside of a competitive meta, there is still the options and considerations I mentioned. Really you're putting an onus on the wrong group of people at this point, especially when I've said that PP has partially addressed this (though, not as fully or in the formats we might desire).

 Sqorgar wrote:
MonPoc 1.0 was a game that had Warmachine's problem of being too tournament focused, but it seems like 2.0 has largely avoided that fate. There's several potential reasons for this. One of the big ones is that early in the lifespan of a product line, the limited number of options make the tournament mindset more difficult. It is hard to minmax when you only have 4 models in your faction (some factions have 1 model). Tournament players are never the early adopters, and they couldn't bring their 1.0 army forward. Couple this with resurrecting a dead game long after the fact, this gave MonPoc 2.0 a chance to push a broader mindset among its players. The Smashville campaign and Monster Mashup coop packs just came out on Friday.

A poor comparison. MonPoc was a dead game when 2.0 came out. WMH will need to be completely dropped for over 5 years to have a chance of accomplishing this. The alternative is completely dropping every model from the line and starting anew. Talk about developing bad will.

Of course, there is one alternative, and one that I don't see PP doing: Completely drop Steamroller and not introducing any other tournament formats. The problem being is that groups will develop their own format for it, probably based on the last Steamroller packet that was released. Games Workshop hadn't had a tournament packet for years, but we see the ITC and ETC doing it anyway. GW brought out a Matched Play ruleset, but ITC still insists on their FAQs and adjustments despite them.

 Sqorgar wrote:
I won't argue that a couple more scenarios could be added for flavor to the Battleboxes, but I mentioned the JML as an option for a path of bringing a player up to speed.
I fundamentally reject the premise that Warmachine is not a full experience until you reach 75 pts (or 50 pts). The idea that playing JML is to "bring a player up to speed" is, I think, part of the problem. I think the new player experience of playing a game, getting curb stomped, told what to buy next if they want a chance at winning, and not feeling like they are up to speed until they spend another $500 is a bit of a turn off. It isn't just a Warmachine problem, but I think Warmachine takes it to the extreme edges of the problem. Some games feel like every new purchase fundamentally contributes to their experience, but games like Warmachine make buying those first models into a chore that you have to live through before you are having fun. I think they can do more with the battle box experience without requiring more models to be purchased, or to graduate to units and solos or whatever.

I didn't say it was a full experience, I said to bring a player up to speed. Honestly, in order for a true full experience, you should be looking at multi-caster games for that. You also seemed to completely ignore that I agreed that more scenarios could be introduced with the purpose of bring the different facets of tabletop gaming in mind.

That being said, and as I said before, 75 points is right about the upper limit the current system can handle without being too far bogged down, and the game is balanced at that point set. That is why JML has it an end point and Steamrollers operate at that level. It is a good point where you can bring in a good collection of every model type without having to cut yourself off from any specific one.

I enjoyed playing at 25 points, and had people tell me they enjoyed the game at 35 and 50 points, too. Do not think that I am as limited as the Steamrollers. You seem to be, though, in the opposite direction.

 Sqorgar wrote:
But you don't play everything all the time, right? For those you don't, you don't buy the pack and use the card database. You can still army build with packs you don't own, after all.
I do generally play everything all the time. When I played Mk2, I brought a different army (from a different faction) every week. I hate painting models that are too similar, all in a row. After I painted my Spriggan, the last thing I wanted to do is paint another red model. So what good is using an app for only one or two armies and not the other five or six I have?

I don't see how having armies to paint and armies you play equate to the same thing. I have 7 Battleboxes in my garage specifically so people can have options to try the game out with (2 of which are my children's), but the only ones I want to play with any regularity are Mercenaries and Skorne, which are the only decks I have. And even then, 5-6 packs cost less than all of them. While more expensive in the long run, it is easier to handle buying the packs of what you actively play rather than everything you own.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/06/01 01:47:16


 
   
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 Charistoph wrote:

You can have all the scenarios you want in a starter box, but if the people in a meta are determined to go after a competitive mean, they will.
I don't think the meta applies to new players. Most of them want to try out a new game, not invest in it fully. I don't think most players are planning out their next two dozen purchases after a single game.

And I think Warmachine has a lack of new players coming in, or at least staying in, and I think addressing the new player experience is probably pretty important to keeping Warmachine successful over the long haul. And since I can't convince tournament players to not be tournament players, I don't think we can ever address the albatross hanging around the neck of WMH directly. Instead, we create a welcoming, fun experience that players can have with minimal investment that doesn't unnecessarily push them towards tournament play before their first game.

A poor comparison. MonPoc was a dead game when 2.0 came out. WMH will need to be completely dropped for over 5 years to have a chance of accomplishing this. The alternative is completely dropping every model from the line and starting anew. Talk about developing bad will.
I don't think we need to go that far. I really think keeping new players will solve the problem. A rising tide raises all boats, as they say. It will be an uphill battle digging out the entrenched norms, but you don't have to get rid of it, just make it one voice of many.

GW did a really genius thing when they came up with that "Three Ways to Play" thing, but made a crucial mistake. It is good to remind people that tournament play is but one way to play the game, and that there are other equally valid ways to play. But I don't think GW managed to identify and codify the right three ways to play. Match play is the only one which is remotely accurate, with narrative and open play being so broad and eclectic as to be practically worthless as categories.

I enjoyed playing at 25 points, and had people tell me they enjoyed the game at 35 and 50 points, too. Do not think that I am as limited as the Steamrollers. You seem to be, though, in the opposite direction.
To be specific here, I'm talking about the new player experience, which I think you'll agree, isn't an appropriate place for Streamroller-style play, or even 25-50 pt games. I want new players to start the game, I want them to enjoy their first games, and I want them to stick around when those games are over. That's what happened to me with Mk1, but I had the exact opposite experience with Mk2.

I WANT to like Warmachine. I have fond memories of its early days. It was literally my first miniatures game. How can Warmachine turn away an eager and determined player, high on nostalgia and hype? It's the weirdest thing, but it did. It didn't just turn me away, at times, it felt like it actively hated me. It's so weird because I've never experienced that with another miniature game (40k players have been less than welcoming, but the game itself is overly welcoming... to those with money).

I don't see how having armies to paint and armies you play equate to the same thing.
Why not? I enjoy painting and I enjoy playing. When I play, I want to paint, and when I paint, I want to play. I get a new model, I want to both paint and play. It's all one experience for me. I don't even stick to one game.

While more expensive in the long run, it is easier to handle buying the packs of what you actively play rather than everything you own.
I want to play with everything I own, which is why I own it. War Room 2 is just not a welcoming way to manage the game for me, and feels like it is actively punishing people for going outside their designated lines. If you play 3 factions, War Room 2 costs more than if you play 2 factions. I own and would play 8 factions (not including a few mercenaries), and if I come back to the game, I would probably add Circle and Infernals to the list too, because I like the models and that's what drives me. Using War Room is now prohibitively expensive because, instead of having a lot of models from one faction, I have few models from every faction.

It only adds insult to injury that cards are available for free online, while stupidly expensive for War Room - how hard would it be to have an app which literally just downloads the cards you want from PP's website, stores them offline, and cuts them out into virtual cards that you can flip through and write on with a virtual marker?

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/01 02:44:01


 
   
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I had WarRoom2 for Mk2 and so got something of a discount when Mk3 came around. I paid at the start of Mk3 and have had every card and update for free since. So i feel like i have got my money out of it over the last few years.

However.........

I also play Malifaux and the app for that is free and provides all the functions that Warrom does but for Malifaux. Its mostly without bug, works smoothly. And its free..... As are the companion apps for things like Infinity and other such games. Just a sign of how PP has become out of touch.

I really LOVE WM/H. And we have been able to get some new players into our basement group. But that because we are VERY casual with it and are all happy playing smaller point games and to teach. or to play the Oblivion campaign or scenarios over a beer rather than grinding for the next SR, 2 list pairing win. And we had some armies kicking about that people who have left the game just left us without any attempt to sell or recoop money.

Right now, I would struggle to recommend that a persons invests into WM/H in a big way over say, Malifaux due to the direction of the community and the company. Or at least I would make sure that they know what they were getting into.

Im really hot and cold on PP. Hot on the game and rules, cold on the companies strategy and direction. Also wary of much of the communities focus and direction.
   
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Sunno, what kind of device do you have or use? Finding a list of supported devices for War Room 2 is a nightmare, I just know that while they will take my money, I cannot get the most recent updates on my Kindle.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/01 12:48:39


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 Sqorgar wrote:
War Room charges like $100 to get access to all the cards. I'm not sure how much it cost to develop the program, but given how ubiquitous the program is, I'm sure they could recoup their costs easily for a tenth of the cost. Multiple other games, like Song of Ice and Fire, Infinity, Age of Sigmar, soon 40k 9th, and so on all have free apps with no additional cost for army building and model rules.

Edit: I'm not sure if the Warhammer 40k app will incur no additional costs. It is Games Workshop, after all. But they did say that buying physical books will give you digital versions for free, which is uncharacteristically generous for them.


Age of Sigmar definitely isn't free. It feels like it is, but you need to buy something if you want to know what the relics and spells and battlegroups do. For the sake of completion, Malfaux and Guild Ball also have excellent 1st party apps.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Charistoph wrote:

The odd thing is, Privateer Press has supported non-competitive avenues of play. There has been numerous narrative campaigns, including one where the development of a single solo was determined by the players. From what I understand, the Oblivion campaign even has a developing campaign which was very good.


It's worth noting that PP has ALWAYS supported these things. I've run them from years with the associated prize support and the works. The problem has just been that nobody really seems to like playing the game that way. Even my group of players that insist the game is too competitive and that we need to run these things sputter out around the second week and go back to Steamroller.

I think it comes back to the primary issue with the game. It takes a lot of effort to get a good tense game. Those games are an absolutely spectacular experience, but it takes thousands of games to weed out all the one sided blowouts and get a force that really works. There's just too much stuff, both for players and PP itself, and while there's vastly more options that are competitive than most players believe, few players are willing to stomp through the weeds to figure it out on their own.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/01 15:47:33


 
   
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 LunarSol wrote:

Age of Sigmar definitely isn't free. It feels like it is, but you need to buy something if you want to know what the relics and spells and battlegroups do.
Fair enough, though all the unit warscrolls are free in it. At the very least, you can browse what they do, so you can plan future purchases or check what a new model your opponent puts on the table does. But the AoS app is not great, and there are much better examples.
   
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By the time they really supported casual play, they'd already driven away casual players.

And don't start with battle boxes, those are the biggest misleading representation of Warmachine in existence.

But, Mk4 is already here, it's called Warcaster, and you can expect changes from that to trickle into Warmachine if it turns out to be a success.

   
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 Vertrucio wrote:
By the time they really supported casual play, they'd already driven away casual players.


I didn't play in MK1, but the entirety of MK2 had at least one often 2-3 narrative league events a year with unique prize support that were definitely not aimed at the competitive crowd. PP always supported it, the community just didn't. Why that is is worth a discussion, but the support has always been there.
   
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 LunarSol wrote:
I didn't play in MK1, but the entirety of MK2 had at least one often 2-3 narrative league events a year with unique prize support that were definitely not aimed at the competitive crowd. PP always supported it, the community just didn't. Why that is is worth a discussion, but the support has always been there.
They supported it in Mk1 as well. If I remember correctly, the second book they released (Escalation, maybe?) spent about half the book dedicated to a campaign.

As far as I'm concerned, not doing the book releases anymore was the big change in the game. Part of it was, they started releasing the units before the books, so for competitive players, there was little worthwhile for when the books were actually released. And I think they probably thought No Quarter was an acceptable substitute for getting content out to players (good luck trying to find the back issue that had the one alternate play mode that you want, much less a new player knowing that it exists). I think they spread themselves too thin and diluted their messaging to potential players, leaving only competitive content readily accessible.
   
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Sqorgar wrote:I don't think the meta applies to new players. Most of them want to try out a new game, not invest in it fully. I don't think most players are planning out their next two dozen purchases after a single game.

Unless you have no meta, they will always apply to new players. They will be the ones playing all the fancy toys in engaging ways to attract new players in the first place. They will largely be the ones to train new players and help them learn how to play the game.

So, trying to ignore the meta (aka the local groups) would actually not work. The hard part is getting the meta to engage in the new player experience, but far too many of them can't or won't. And I'm speaking from a "new player" position. While I have collected for some time now, the number of actual games has been remarkably low. I'm just more in the know of the past than the average "new player".

This albatross NEEDS to be addressed and considered when creating the new player experience. Without addressing it, the new player situation will never change until the game dies.

Sqorgar wrote:I don't think we need to go that far. I really think keeping new players will solve the problem. A rising tide raises all boats, as they say. It will be an uphill battle digging out the entrenched norms, but you don't have to get rid of it, just make it one voice of many.

GW did a really genius thing when they came up with that "Three Ways to Play" thing, but made a crucial mistake. It is good to remind people that tournament play is but one way to play the game, and that there are other equally valid ways to play. But I don't think GW managed to identify and codify the right three ways to play. Match play is the only one which is remotely accurate, with narrative and open play being so broad and eclectic as to be practically worthless as categories.

It really wasn't that genius when you consider the fact that they've always existed and it was something that had been talked about numerous times on numerous forums (including their own when they existed). You want to know what the other funny thing is, even though a lot of people TALK about wanting the different ways to play (which actually was just different ways of creating your army, actually), they almost always go back to doing Matched Play here in the States or using TC rules if there is something coming up. This is why it is such an Albatross on the neck of the game.

Age of Sigmar (which was the alpha ruleset for 40K 8th Edition, really) pretty much didn't exist here until the points in the first General's Handbook came out. You know the point values which are used to create armies for Matched Play? The only reason other people even knew it existed is the old Fantasy Battle people were using 9th Age more than they ever used Fantasy Battles!

Sqorgar wrote:To be specific here, I'm talking about the new player experience, which I think you'll agree, isn't an appropriate place for Streamroller-style play, or even 25-50 pt games. I want new players to start the game, I want them to enjoy their first games, and I want them to stick around when those games are over. That's what happened to me with Mk1, but I had the exact opposite experience with Mk2.

I know you are talking about the NPE and not the Steamroller, which is why I said you are in the opposite direction. Part of the problem is that the Steamroller is as much a part of the full WMH experience as the Battlebox, Oblivion, and Company of Iron options are. Just as the Steamroller-exclusive players are ignoring those other aspects, you are ignoring everything but the Battlebox.

The NPE NEEDS to consider the possibility that the new player wants to build up to Steamroller. To which we point them towards the JML. The new player may just want to fiddle around with the Battlebox till they get the Warcaster/Warlord mechanics down, which is fine, and the meta needs to help them. The new player may want to work with just the story, so I'd direct them to the Oblivion campaign, which does have scenarios at the low model count level. And others may not want to fiddle with Focus and Fury, and just play with units, to which we would direct them to Company of Iron.

The problem is getting the local groups to support these initiatives, and frankly, most are too small and locked in to their Steamroller to move past it.

Sqorgar wrote:I WANT to like Warmachine. I have fond memories of its early days. It was literally my first miniatures game. How can Warmachine turn away an eager and determined player, high on nostalgia and hype? It's the weirdest thing, but it did. It didn't just turn me away, at times, it felt like it actively hated me. It's so weird because I've never experienced that with another miniature game (40k players have been less than welcoming, but the game itself is overly welcoming... to those with money).

You've never had to argue on how Independent Characters work, have you? I've even had arguments on how Flying Monstrous Creatures were different from Flying Vehicles! This is because the rules were bogus.

Sqorgar wrote:
I don't see how having armies to paint and armies you play equate to the same thing.
Why not? I enjoy painting and I enjoy playing. When I play, I want to paint, and when I paint, I want to play. I get a new model, I want to both paint and play. It's all one experience for me. I don't even stick to one game.

I know a lot of people who collect just to paint. So just saying you're buying to paint doesn't necessarily mean that you are buying to play. I like how Circle and Legion models look, but I don't like their play style (give me my hephalumps and woosels in Skorne, any day). So, I would collect them and paint them, but I probably won't PLAY with them outside of the Battlebox experience.

Sqorgar wrote:It only adds insult to injury that cards are available for free online, while stupidly expensive for War Room - how hard would it be to have an app which literally just downloads the cards you want from PP's website, stores them offline, and cuts them out into virtual cards that you can flip through and write on with a virtual marker?

So make it. As I said, the costs of War Room aren't all in card system itself, but the cloud it maintains. It used to have a battle feature, too, but I could never get it to work, and apparently, they had a hard time, too, as they dropped its online battle function.

Vertrucio wrote:By the time they really supported casual play, they'd already driven away casual players.

Not really. There were a lot of casual play options in Mk2, and most of the casual players in my group were driven away by the Themepocalypse of Mk 3. They either went back to SimpleHammer 40K or off to X-Wing. Heck, a lot of the competitive players ran off to X-Wing, including one person who particularly enjoyed not having to paint the models.

Vertrucio wrote:And don't start with battle boxes, those are the biggest misleading representation of Warmachine in existence.

I rather disagree. It's meant to be a training ground for WMH's unique system. Company of Iron certainly doesn't do it, that's for sure.

Vertrucio wrote:But, Mk4 is already here, it's called Warcaster, and you can expect changes from that to trickle into Warmachine if it turns out to be a success.

Not quite. I don't see them getting rid of the Warcaster or Warlock piece from the table. I can't say much more about it, as I haven't perused the rules too much, but I don't think we'll be teleporting units and Warjacks on to the table as a side note.

Sqorgar wrote:As far as I'm concerned, not doing the book releases anymore was the big change in the game. Part of it was, they started releasing the units before the books, so for competitive players, there was little worthwhile for when the books were actually released. And I think they probably thought No Quarter was an acceptable substitute for getting content out to players (good luck trying to find the back issue that had the one alternate play mode that you want, much less a new player knowing that it exists). I think they spread themselves too thin and diluted their messaging to potential players, leaving only competitive content readily accessible.

Not really. They did a book release at the beginning of Mk 3, but nobody was buying them because people were already starting to drop out of the game. Same thing happened to the No Quarter magazine which held a lot of that narrative options, which went down from a monthly release to a quarterly release, and then was just stopped. I think they're still trying to figure out how to monetize such options, or they are limiting them to model releases.

Themepocalypse was what did it for most of the people I know of, and the reason for that was that it seemed to double down on what nearly killed 40K in 7th Edtion: the Themes were the same as Formations, offering free models and "forcing" people to build a certain way. If they were just left to helpful guides in collection, it may have not been so bad, but the added special rules and models without points were the clinchers.

40K 8th Edition did away with all of 7th Edition's Formations and free models and restructured army building to be a more simple system. They've made adjustments which are almost Themelike since then, interestingly enough. You don't have to build a certain way, but you gain access to an army's special rules and Strategems if you do. This right here is what PP needs to consider for the next Mark release as well as army size and how heavy of a ruleset they want to roll with.
   
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It's a shame No Quarter Prime didn't work out. It was a really excellent publication better in step with the way models were actually released. As much as people liked the books they got stuck making promises that Chinese manufacturing often failed to keep. A lot of stuff in them came out 2+ years after the rules were first spoiled if it was made out of plastic.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
In terms of new players, I honestly thought the theme boxes were a good idea, but they just couldn't revamp their product line around them effectively. I think we got like 2-3 before they gave up on them, though its worth noting how much better the design worked as starter boxes for the limited factions. I'd love it if everyone could get a box set like Grymkin/Crucible Guard/Infernals.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/01 22:27:25


 
   
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 Charistoph wrote:
Unless you have no meta, they will always apply to new players. They will be the ones playing all the fancy toys in engaging ways to attract new players in the first place. They will largely be the ones to train new players and help them learn how to play the game.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't think every new player enters a game via a grognard, and I think we can reach those players before community standards get to them.

It really wasn't that genius when you consider the fact that they've always existed and it was something that had been talked about numerous times on numerous forums (including their own when they existed).
The genius part was codifying it into the game, thus forever ending the argument over who "owns" the game. I can remember seeing multiple Warmachine discussions which basically amounted to "this is a competitive game, and people who don't want to be competitive, get out" (spoiler alert: they did).

You want to know what the other funny thing is, even though a lot of people TALK about wanting the different ways to play (which actually was just different ways of creating your army, actually), they almost always go back to doing Matched Play here in the States or using TC rules if there is something coming up.
I feel this is the case for the larger games, mainly because tournaments tend to be such visible parts of the overall community. It is used for advice on how to build armies, what armies are good, whether the game is balanced or not, etc.

But I think smaller games without much of a tournament scene do not greatly suffer the tournament mindset (for obvious reasons). Also, campaign games like Frostgrave and Necromunda intentionally eschew minmaxing because it ruins the experience. And I think Warcry is probably more narrative than matched due to matched play being an intentionally restricted, lesser version of the game. Kill Team, however, went full competitive almost instantly due to the narrative elements being so slight and inconsequential.

Just as the Steamroller-exclusive players are ignoring those other aspects, you are ignoring everything but the Battlebox.
Well, yeah. I think the unfortunate transition to SR-exclusive player happens before the buy their first non-battle box model. Those first few games are going to be formative, and if they spend them hearing the typical Warmachine advice of "you'll lose your first 10 games", "you will lose if you don't build your army right", "the game is only balanced for 75 pts", or "we won't play anything but SR", they are quickly going to take on idea that SR is the only way to play. But if those first few games are done with "play a few games of this, then try maybe adding a unit or switching out a warcaster", or "there's plenty to enjoy at all point levels", or "buy the models you like, play the way you like"...

I know a lot of people who collect just to paint. So just saying you're buying to paint doesn't necessarily mean that you are buying to play. I like how Circle and Legion models look, but I don't like their play style (give me my hephalumps and woosels in Skorne, any day). So, I would collect them and paint them, but I probably won't PLAY with them outside of the Battlebox experience.
I like variety. I'm, I guess you could say, an explorer. I want to do everything once, nothing twice. The more factions I have, the more variety of games I can experience.
   
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 carldooley wrote:
Sunno, what kind of device do you have or use? Finding a list of supported devices for War Room 2 is a nightmare, I just know that while they will take my money, I cannot get the most recent updates on my Kindle.


I have a Samsung tablet and a Smartphone. Its run fine on there. There was the issue late last year i think where lots of devices couldn't update so i was stuck without warroom for weeks. But apart from that its work "fine". Is it as good as other apps? No. But this far into Mk3, with all the CID and releases, I feel like iv got my money from it. Rather than having to download and print cards all the time.

I felt for my friend who bought the Khador card deck at the launch of Mk3 only to have lots of it change shortly after....

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/06/02 08:08:09


 
   
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 Sqorgar wrote:
 AnomanderRake wrote:
I think the fact that "bland terrain rules" was possibly the most complained-about part of 8e could have something to do with it.
I’d sooner believe that GW did something to sell more product than them actually listening to their customers. If they really listened to their customers, they would lower prices rather than increasing them by 20% multiple times a year.

(I think Privateer Press’ prices are too high too)


It's one thing listening on rules for terrain where changing only helps selling more terrain than listening where profits would drop. DUCY?
   
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 Sqorgar wrote:
Well, yeah. I think the unfortunate transition to SR-exclusive player happens before the buy their first non-battle box model. Those first few games are going to be formative, and if they spend them hearing the typical Warmachine advice of "you'll lose your first 10 games", "you will lose if you don't build your army right", "the game is only balanced for 75 pts", or "we won't play anything but SR", they are quickly going to take on idea that SR is the only way to play. But if those first few games are done with "play a few games of this, then try maybe adding a unit or switching out a warcaster", or "there's plenty to enjoy at all point levels", or "buy the models you like, play the way you like"...


I feel like this is where the community skips a few steps in logic and ends up missing the problem. I actually kind of agree with some of these statements like "the game is only balanced for 75 pts", or "we won't play anything but SR" but the why matters. Players think this way because most of them started out with more of the "play a few games of this, then try maybe adding a unit or switching out a warcaster", or "there's plenty to enjoy at all point levels", or "buy the models you like, play the way you like" kind of experiences and they learn a few truths the lead to those conclusions, but aren't quite right. I think the real issue is the following:

"The game is only balanced for scenario"
"The only balanced scenarios are in SR"
"The scenarios in SR only really work at 75 points"

I think only the first statement there HAS to be true, but the second and third are issues PP needs to address. I think they're aware of it too. Hungerford strongly considered making the new SR packet 50 points instead of 75, but asked on Facebook and the community rioted, as the Warmachine community has essentially determined is their default state these days.
   
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 LunarSol wrote:

"The game is only balanced for scenario"
"The only balanced scenarios are in SR"
"The scenarios in SR only really work at 75 points"

I think only the first statement there HAS to be true, but the second and third are issues PP needs to address.
Well, I don't think the first HAS to be true. I think balance naturally formulates around the goal or goals. So, if your goal is to kill a caster or table your opponent, the value of things that directly contributes to that goal changes compared to if your goal is to hold an objective or to defend against respawning enemies. Because tournaments were primarily driven by SR at 75 pts, that's where the balance was most obviously identified, codified, and reinforced. The CID is primarily driven by tournaments, isn't it?

That's not to say that the game isn't balanced at 50 points with narrative scenarios - it's just that there isn't enough experience with 50 pt narrative scenarios to be able to identify when it is or isn't balanced. Narrative scenarios tend not to be balanced by design, and if people immediately glom onto this fact, it may set up sour expectations that prevents them from playing the scenario multiple times. The end result is that they gravitate towards the existing balanced equilibrium and avoid the stuff that they see as inferior by example.

I hate to keep bringing up Warcry, but the scenario generation tools that it has can create extremely unbalanced, one sided scenarios. That's okay, because there is little penalty for losing and you can still gain glory points for losing, but if you worship at the altar of perfect balance and think winning is the only reason to play a game, that can be quite frustrating. And we saw that, as competitive players were outright offended by Warcry's balance. I haven't checked in a few months, but I doubt the competitive players have taken over that game by now.

Maybe what Warmachine needs most is a reason to lose. Some way to make the game rewarding, even in the face of a second turn caster kill. New players, especially, will lose a lot of early games in a spectacularly frustrating way. It's really difficult to get over the feeling of hopelessness that engenders. Maybe I'll add "losing should be fun too" to the list of messages new players should hear, and old players should work towards.

I think they're aware of it too. Hungerford strongly considered making the new SR packet 50 points instead of 75, but asked on Facebook and the community rioted, as the Warmachine community has essentially determined is their default state these days.
That's interesting, and kind of depressing, but not surprising. If I'm not mistaken, Hungerford is relatively new to being the primary lead on Warmachine (I watched a warcaster interview where he said something to that effect), and I think it is interesting that he even dared broach the topic with the players. That actually gives me a little hope.
   
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 Sqorgar wrote:
Well, I don't think the first HAS to be true. I think balance naturally formulates around the goal or goals. So, if your goal is to kill a caster or table your opponent, the value of things that directly contributes to that goal changes compared to if your goal is to hold an objective or to defend against respawning enemies. Because tournaments were primarily driven by SR at 75 pts, that's where the balance was most obviously identified, codified, and reinforced. The CID is primarily driven by tournaments, isn't it?


The game definitely needs an element of scenario to force engagement. The game does well with limited ranges, but not so well that kiting won't win games in the long run without the need to move towards the center. Caine1 remains completely capable of tabling an army on his own without at least killbox in play. A great many games of the past have relied on the good faith of players to attack one another, but they pretty much all far apart as soon as someone realizes they can just move backwards.

 Sqorgar wrote:

I hate to keep bringing up Warcry, but the scenario generation tools that it has can create extremely unbalanced, one sided scenarios. That's okay, because there is little penalty for losing and you can still gain glory points for losing, but if you worship at the altar of perfect balance and think winning is the only reason to play a game, that can be quite frustrating. And we saw that, as competitive players were outright offended by Warcry's balance. I haven't checked in a few months, but I doubt the competitive players have taken over that game by now.


There's zero penalty for losing in Warmachine. There's zero reward for winning as well. It's all a question of what value you ascribe to it. I think the primary distinction is investment. Warcry's investment is incredibly low in terms of model purchases, hobby time and play time. Those are the things you can feel like you "lost" to a game and Warmachine can definitely demand a lot of all of those things with low odds of success if that's your primary goal. I haven't played a lot of Warcry, but my intro game could have literally been "roll 4d6 at the start of the game to find out there was no way to win" which I found.... kind of insulting, but its a quick game with cool models that I painted over a weekend and got to do cool, if inconsequential things with, so.... whatever; I'd play again, even if there's other games I'd rather focus on. I don't really feel bad losing in Warmachine either exactly, but an army is a good months worth of work that requires dedicated transportation to set up and play all night to the point where even if a game ends early, people rarely want to try again.

I think there's a LOT to gain from 50 point games. I've certainly tried to drag things in that direction but I keep running into the scenario problem. In an attempt to keep them meaningful, they've just kept spreading them wider and making ignoring them more costly. That's fine at 75 points, but when you play 50 there's just not enough stuff on the table to interact with it all, and one side quickly collapses and can't recover. Smaller, simpler scenarios with more impactful terrain would do the game a world of good.
   
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 Sqorgar wrote:
...I hate to keep bringing up Warcry, but the scenario generation tools that it has can create extremely unbalanced, one sided scenarios. That's okay, because there is little penalty for losing and you can still gain glory points for losing, but if you worship at the altar of perfect balance and think winning is the only reason to play a game, that can be quite frustrating. And we saw that, as competitive players were outright offended by Warcry's balance. I haven't checked in a few months, but I doubt the competitive players have taken over that game by now...


I think the competitive players realized they could predict with 100% accuracy who would win based on forces and mission, got bored, and decided to go play something else.
   
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 LunarSol wrote:
There's zero penalty for losing in Warmachine.

As someone who had to sit there with nothing to do for 15 minutes while my opponent just decimated my units on the second turn, I beg to differ. At the very least, when the game is that one sided, it feels like a complete waste of time, is not fun, and you don't even walk away having learned anything or gotten better at the game.

Even more than that, there should be tangible benefits for playing a game in which you lose - especially for a game in which you will lose A LOT during that crucial early learning stage where you are still deciding whether the game is fun or not. Yeah, the grognards could handicap themselves to make it easier for the newbie to win, but I've seen plenty of discussions back over on Lormahordes that indicate to me that this is not on the table. Having tangible benefits for loss doesn't just benefit the newbies, but also gives the grognards a reason to go easy on the newbies, even losing on occasion.

There's zero reward for winning as well.
I think we both know that's not true, or do you not consider the social or self esteem rewards for being seen as the better player? WMH players, being rather competitive, tend to tier themselves based on winning games - so much so that they ultimately believe that bullying new players is an appropriate behavior. I don't really believe in the tyranny of meritocracy, but WMH does present a compelling case for it.

I haven't played a lot of Warcry, but my intro game could have literally been "roll 4d6 at the start of the game to find out there was no way to win" which I found.... kind of insulting...
In my experience, it may seem like that, but because the game has really swingy dice rolls and unpredictable tactics, there's almost always a way to win. It might be unlikely, but it is more like a 15% chance to win rather than a 0% chance. I've definitely lost games that I thought were impossible to lose, and I've won games that seemed impossible to win.

(It's also worth noting that Warcry's system is a simple variation of the one that is used in RuneWars and Star Wars Legion. I'm not sure why Warcry gets singled out here, except that the terrain is also randomly chosen)

As far as rewarding a loss, with the campaign mode, you still move forward, even when you lose. You get the most glory points for winning a match, but you also get them for killing the enemy leader, killing half his models, and even just showing up to play or fighting a battle against a stronger opponent. You won't progress as quickly or efficiently without winning, but you'll get there in the end. You only technically need to win three specific battles to complete a campaign, but those are explicitly shown to you beforehand, so you can army build and plan accordingly.

I think there's a LOT to gain from 50 point games. I've certainly tried to drag things in that direction but I keep running into the scenario problem. In an attempt to keep them meaningful, they've just kept spreading them wider and making ignoring them more costly.
Not being a master tactician at Warmachine, I can only guess at how random warcaster abilities would screw everything up at the most inopportune times. I'd probably focus on scenarios that work most of the time, knowing that some segment of Warmachine players would find that very, very offensive. And this may be obvious, but have you considered reducing the size of the table to 3'x3' or smaller?

Smaller, simpler scenarios with more impactful terrain would do the game a world of good.
I think having decent terrain rules would help with that. I think that, like 40k, being a large scale unit-based game, having strong terrain rules might bog the game down too much - but with minimal terrain rules, you get the problem of nobody really having interesting tables filled with any terrain. If you shrink the game down, maybe to 50 pts or 35 pts or whatever, it'll make more complicated terrain into something timely and fun. So you don't get terrain unless you drop the points, but you can't drop the points without better terrain. Catch 22.
   
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Astonished of Heck

Sqorgar wrote:I think we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I don't think every new player enters a game via a grognard, and I think we can reach those players before community standards get to them.

And I'm not saying that new players only get in to the game via a grognard, but I am saying that there are quite a few that do, and ignoring that would be just as much a detriment as it would be ignoring the new players starting in a vacuum. That's something you do not seem willing to consider or acknowledge.

Sqorgar wrote:The genius part was codifying it into the game, thus forever ending the argument over who "owns" the game. I can remember seeing multiple Warmachine discussions which basically amounted to "this is a competitive game, and people who don't want to be competitive, get out" (spoiler alert: they did).

Then you, like the Steamrollers, have both missed out on the aspects that they are just as codified in Warmachine, and far better, too, imo. You also missed a considerable point in what I said. It doesn't matter that they codified it when everything else is ignored in favor of the Matched Play/Tournament Circuit/Steamroller by the people playing it.

Sqorgar wrote:But I think smaller games without much of a tournament scene do not greatly suffer the tournament mindset (for obvious reasons). Also, campaign games like Frostgrave and Necromunda intentionally eschew minmaxing because it ruins the experience. And I think Warcry is probably more narrative than matched due to matched play being an intentionally restricted, lesser version of the game. Kill Team, however, went full competitive almost instantly due to the narrative elements being so slight and inconsequential.

I think it it is more the fact that the people who organize most of the tournaments also play Kill Team and avoided Warcry because they organized a lot of 40K games and saw it as competitive while they haven't done so for Age of Sigmar, or even Fantasy Battles for even longer.

Sqorgar wrote:Well, yeah. I think the unfortunate transition to SR-exclusive player happens before the buy their first non-battle box model. Those first few games are going to be formative, and if they spend them hearing the typical Warmachine advice of "you'll lose your first 10 games", "you will lose if you don't build your army right", "the game is only balanced for 75 pts", or "we won't play anything but SR", they are quickly going to take on idea that SR is the only way to play. But if those first few games are done with "play a few games of this, then try maybe adding a unit or switching out a warcaster", or "there's plenty to enjoy at all point levels", or "buy the models you like, play the way you like"...

I wouldn't bet on that, necessarily. There are quite a few people who get in to the game with the goal of getting in to tournaments, and that is before they buy their first model, starter or not. I have literally seen a player introducing a player playing his 3rd or 4th game as a Steamroller, but he indicated that is what he was seeking to get in to.

Of course, when I played those 25 point games last year, we were playing Steamroller scenarios (because that is how the maps were laid out for earlier games), and it was hard to get around some of the limitations involved. Those scenarios weren't designed for the limited model count of 25 points, but the extensive groups of model availability that 75 points operates at.

Currently, if you want scenarios optimized for fewer models, one needs to look up old No Quarter magazines, JML, or look in to the Oblivion scenarios.

AnomanderRake wrote:I think the competitive players realized they could predict with 100% accuracy who would win based on forces and mission, got bored, and decided to go play something else.

I've seen people do this with Warhammer and Warmachine, so I don't think it is that unique to Warcry.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/06/03 06:02:10


 
   
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 Charistoph wrote:
AnomanderRake wrote:I think the competitive players realized they could predict with 100% accuracy who would win based on forces and mission, got bored, and decided to go play something else.

I've seen people do this with Warhammer and Warmachine, so I don't think it is that unique to Warcry.


Not unique, certainly, but in my experience it's a rarer phenomenon in Warhammer/Warmachine usually based on a specific matchup going one way (and is almost totally eliminated by the two-list competitive standard in Warmachine), while with Warcry it's every single game because of how little it's possible to compensate for a bad matchup or unfavorable mission.
   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





 Sqorgar wrote:

I haven't played a lot of Warcry, but my intro game could have literally been "roll 4d6 at the start of the game to find out there was no way to win" which I found.... kind of insulting...
In my experience, it may seem like that, but because the game has really swingy dice rolls and unpredictable tactics, there's almost always a way to win. It might be unlikely, but it is more like a 15% chance to win rather than a 0% chance. I've definitely lost games that I thought were impossible to lose, and I've won games that seemed impossible to win.


I had to defend a point for 4 turns, getting D6 points -1 for each enemy model on the point, winning if I got at least 12. I tabled my opponent by the end of turn 3 without him getting a single model to the objective, and rolled 3, 3, 4, 1 at the end of my turns. Again, I'm not really complaining; my opponent actually conceded when he was out of models, but I wanted to roll it out when I realized I could still lose and had a good laugh at that single pip. I had a lot of fun with the game and its quick and easy to just play again, but it was also jarring to realize that my decision making had zero affect on the outcome.
   
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Halifax

 AnomanderRake wrote:
 Sqorgar wrote:
...I hate to keep bringing up Warcry, but the scenario generation tools that it has can create extremely unbalanced, one sided scenarios. That's okay, because there is little penalty for losing and you can still gain glory points for losing, but if you worship at the altar of perfect balance and think winning is the only reason to play a game, that can be quite frustrating. And we saw that, as competitive players were outright offended by Warcry's balance. I haven't checked in a few months, but I doubt the competitive players have taken over that game by now...


I think the competitive players realized they could predict with 100% accuracy who would win based on forces and mission, got bored, and decided to go play something else.


Not to thread-jack, but it occurred to me that campaign rewards would be better in wargames in general if they were generated by actions that were at a tangent to actions that help win individual games.
   
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I'm actually really interested in seeing how the Monsterpocalypse campaign set turns out. Tying the campaign to base building seems like it works surprisingly well in a system that doesn't seem like it would be an obvious fit for a campaign.
   
 
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