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Made in at
Brooding Night Goblin





Does Mantic lose it's touch with their fans?

Let me start by saying, I am a fan of the company. I think KoW is great, I love Vanguard, I own a Warpath Asterian starter force including the Warpath and Firefight rulebooks AND the backstory book, I own "The Walking Dead" and when the new Mantica RPG Kickstarter launches, I will definitely back it even though



a) I dont do RPGs anymore

b) i am pretty sure they will NOT use savage worlds rules system even though it would be PERFECT



My biggest love is definitely for Kings of War / Vanguard. I love their "Mantica" fantasy approach (not EVERYTHING is sooo grimdark) and I love what they did with the rules. Their rules are SIMPLE, clear, make for fun games and still offer much for tactics. I love that its a company that doesn't rip their customers off. They put out great products and great rules. (I started with Mantic products when their KoW 2nd edition came out)



That being SAID...

There are a few things that happened recently which made me wonder. First thing was when they took their forum down. In my caveman mind (meaning: i am over 30, which makes me a fossil as far as the internet is concerned as some might argue) that meant for me they cut a bit of their possibility to talk with their fan-base. When they did close the forums, they mentioned to keep in touch "via social media":

I think relying on "Social Media" is a fatal mistake. It is easy for WHOEVER to live inside a bubble by relying solely on "Social Media" for getting feedback and communicating. You only get a distorted sense of whats really out there. This holds true for politicians, the press, people and... companies. And in this case its the company Mantic.


The second time I wondered was when I read... Clash of Kings 2019.


When I play KoW (and that's less often than I want), I play Vanilla KoW without supplements. It makes it easier for all parties involved:

We just want a simple quite balanced game, and vanilla KoW offers just that!



That also being said, I own ALL extension books because I love reading the lore, looking at the pictures and reading rules. I loved reading Destiny of Kings, I own the battlefield cards, etc.



I found the addition of of "formations" smart when they were introduced.



Formations...
Now, thats when I wondered about Clash of Kings 2019.



In that book they made a complete list of all formations. Put a complete list for all the formations for all races because they wanted to have everything together, because before that it was in so-many-places. They were proud of this to have it all in one place. they were proud that the rules committee worked hard on this and that they have an actively balanced list for the heavy tournament players out there. this they told on the blog and on podcasts.



So I read the book. But I do not find ANYWHERE in that book how formations are supposed to be used? I also do not find that info on the rules on their website.





I own the Edge of the Abyss campaign book, so I KNOW how they can be used.

The heavy tournament player also knows, because I can assume he also owns all necessary books that are out there. A player following Mantic on Facebook will know too (I guess).

A player in a big town / in a country with many fellow players will also know (soon... via gossip).

But a new player? Two friends who come into the hobby? A casual player, picking up the book at their FLGS and then at home reading through it and wondering how to use a formation?



How are they supposed to know?



No official forum to go to.

Nothing on the Mantic website.



I think Mantic expects them to use Facebook to ASK. I am not sure if that is a smart approach. And i am not sure they are aware of this "problem".



Do they live inside their UK/Facebook bubble?


I a few times stubled accross the term "Nottingham bubble" (https://johnstoysoldiers.blogspot.com/2016/10/this-writerslife.html as example) with regards to tabletop wargaming, I will here refer to it here as "UK bubble" as one part of a possible problem. But the location being only one part of it, the other being "social media" as [single] point for feedback. So let's assume that yes, there is a bubble:
I could not blame them if they lived in it, it's easy to fall into that trap. They talk to their hard-core tabletop fanbase just in the adjacent towns, which they see each time they make an event at the Mantic company (they advertise those very well on their blog, but who but UK based players will really frequently go to those events?). They talk to their hard-core fanbase on Facebook who are all frequent players (i can only guess they are as i don't do social media. I might be wrong.)




But what about those casuals? The system is GREAT for newcomers or casuals, but do they "address" those players enough?

Wasn't that group one of the reasons how Mantic was able to get where they are today?



I said the system is great for newcomers and casuals, I LOVE the EASY fast streamlined rules. NO exceptions which makes it SO much faster to play and you so rarely have to look something up. The good flow was of utmost importance when they designed this. I felt the rest (fluff/balancing) had to WORK with having that good flow as the utmost priority.



Up until CoK 2019 I had the feeling that this "good flow" was the utmost priority.

Are they now abandoning this?



The "spell rule" change

Suddenly some magic spells do not hit on a 4+ anymore. So now you have to remember or you will have to look up WHICH spells are hitting on a 4+ and which are not. Was that REALLY necessary for balancing? The only way to "fix"? When I first read the KoW rules I was like: Magic is just a shooting attack and it hits on 4+? That's it? Yuk...

It was too simple for me and I was very skeptic. I thought it did not give magic enough "credit". Then after first time playing, I realized the beauty of it.



So why suddenly more complication? I understand how this happens. If you have rules, they tend to get more complex over time. Not only STUFF is added (like new spells and items), but also exceptions to core rules, e.g.: more rules. Its somehow in human nature (not only in tabletop, for me this is an extension of the Parkinsons Law). If you have a rules committee, over the course of time they so much "KNOW" their stuff, they do not see an issue with complicating things after some point. Plus you only can tweak "so-much" in a simple system.

Die-hard fans that play a system for a long time will also not object when changes (complicating something just a bit) are discussed. They are just glad something they see "imbalanced" gets fixed.



But I am concerned this simple "spell rule change" might have been the bursting of the dam and now it gets more and more complicated and KoW loses one of its true greatnesses: SIMPLICITY.



And with the stuff i mentioned above, i fear that Mantic also does not even see this problem or find that its an issue because of the "bubbles" i talked about.



I might be wrong with all of this, maybe they make 80% of their revenue with die-hard players in the U.K. (and then some in the U.S.) so they do not need to think about the rest. And they make money via the tournaments players. Maybe I am wrong and Facebook IS the way to reach 80% of their target audience. Maybe I am wrong and 80% of their fans DO live in big cities, all talking to each other and keeping on the pulse via their FLGS.



Now, with rumors about KoW3 rules around the corner I wanted to voice my concerns. I hope they will do the right thing with it.



Now, I do have some more grief with them to how they present and handle new releases (example: the new Vanguard Goblins), but that is negligible with this and for another time.



So what's your take on this?

Am I concerned over nothing? Do I misjudge the bulk of the KoW players? Is something like the "standard" KoW player even existing?
   
Made in nl
Crazed Flagellant




Netherlands

Hi Mate,

I think you're definately up to something. That said, I do not agree with your overall conclusion that Mantic loses its connection with the fans.

All-in, Kings of War is getting bigger, so, and we're forgetting that Mantic is not a multinational company. It's a limited amount of people making games from the UK.
There is a reason why Mantic is usually focussing on one or two projects, currently Deadzone and Vanguard. (see https://manticblog.com/)
This means that the Rank-and-flank Kings of War is not getting anything this month.

While I also don't like the closing of the forum, I can understand why they did it. The Mantic fora (forums?) didn;t get much trafic, just as the dakkadakka Manticforum doesn;t get much trafic either. As much as I hate Facebook (and do agree with your bubble theory), the community there is far more lifely than this forum.

You correctly pointed out that the formation rules were left out of the Clash'19 book. I think this was just a mistake. there's only a handful people working on the Mantic books and mistakes have been made before. It's just because Mantic isn't GW.

That said, I hope your post wakes up the Mantic community representative as there's some room for improvement. Let's just give them credit for making great games and not focus on the negative aspects.


Now I've posted a bit of nuance to your post, I'd like to add two gripes of mine.

-The first is pricing: While Mantic has always been the cheap alternative to GW, the newer releasesare getting pricey quickly. For instance: http://www.manticgames.com/mantic-shop/kings-of-war-vanguard/goblins/product/goblin-mawbeast-pack-5-figures.html, Ouch, € 5 per model for a rank and file troop? It's not GW pricing policy, but it's getting closer to the maximum amount I am willing to pay for a model. The new fiends http://www.manticgames.com/mantic-shop/new/kings-of-war/product/fiends-regiment.html are pretty, but € 13,30 per model is on the steep side if you want a horde.

-the second is the amount of project Mantic runs. Mantic has a whole range of project that they have been running. Recenly as much as Vanguard, Walking Dead, Hellboy and Deadzone. Some projects (such as Dungeon Saga) seem to have been forgotten a year after release. I'd strongly suggest to limit the amount of projects to whatever Mantic actually can keep supporting.

And of course, as a Kings of War Fanboy, i'd like more Kings of War coverage, such as the 2017 summer campaign. Can we have one again? Yes, please?





My blog on Kings of War:

http://kingsofwarvince.business.blog 
   
Made in ca
Grumpy Longbeard





Canada

Schmendrick wrote:Does Mantic lose it's touch with their fans?
a) I dont do RPGs anymore

They're diversifying, not for all the fans I suppose.
My biggest love is definitely for Kings of War / Vanguard. I love their "Mantica" fantasy approach (not EVERYTHING is sooo grimdark) and I love what they did with the rules. Their rules are SIMPLE, clear, make for fun games and still offer much for tactics. I love that its a company that doesn't rip their customers off. They put out great products and great rules. (I started with Mantic products when their KoW 2nd edition came out)

I appreciate their more "oldschool' approach too.
First thing was when they took their forum down. In my caveman mind (meaning: i am over 30, which makes me a fossil as far as the internet is concerned as some might argue) that meant for me they cut a bit of their possibility to talk with their fan-base. When they did close the forums, they mentioned to keep in touch "via social media":

It was barley being used. I liked it but there just wasn't much going on.
When I play KoW (and that's less often than I want), I play Vanilla KoW without supplements. It makes it easier for all parties involved:

I recommend them, they really improve the game.
So I read the book. But I do not find ANYWHERE in that book how formations are supposed to be used? I also do not find that info on the rules on their website.

That was a mistake, Mantic could do a bit better with editing in general. Still have better books than GW though.
The "spell rule" change

Suddenly some magic spells do not hit on a 4+ anymore. So now you have to remember or you will have to look up WHICH spells are hitting on a 4+ and which are not. Was that REALLY necessary for balancing? The only way to "fix"?

Yes, shooting that ignores modifiers was easy to abuse.
But I am concerned this simple "spell rule change" might have been the bursting of the dam and now it gets more and more complicated and KoW loses one of its true greatnesses: SIMPLICITY.

not quite that bad, but Mantic should definitely be careful. New thing have to be added to keep a game fresh though, to generate new interest in existing players. I'm glad that each CoK replaces the lasts, so that there isn't a bloating pile of stuff building up from the process.


Resurrectionists
Nightstalkers
Dwarfs  
   
Made in at
Privateer




Austria

Closing the Forum was a thing, but it died long ago as a lot of people were not able to visit it for more than a year and FB was the used alternative back than.

CoK is a good thing, the tournament players get new stuff each year that shifts the meta and prevent the game become boring
the casual player can ignore it or use it


Of course I would like Mantic to have more contact to the players outside of Facebook as it would make things easier

I hope the best for 3rd Edition KoW, meanwhile ordering the Star Saga bundle and wait for the RPG to release (and hope that it will be translated to German)

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in at
Brooding Night Goblin





Thank you for all your input on this. I really was wondering how others were seeing this, I did not try to just "rant" in general.



I think you're definately up to something. That said, I do not agree with your overall conclusion that Mantic loses its connection with the fans.


Yes, I do hope you are right, I am just afraid they might fall into that "trap".

Forums


While I also don't like the closing of the forum, I can understand why they did it.



It was barley being used. I liked it but there just wasn't much going on.



Closing the Forum was a thing, but it died long ago as a lot of people were not able to visit it for more than a year and FB was the used alternative back than.


You are all right of course, I also saw that not much was going on there.
And that of course can be an embarrassment for a company, so I can partly understand the decision. Maybe they could have solved the problem by just making 3 sub-threads (Scifi, Fantasy, Zombie) or something, then it would have looked like "more". Or tried to revive it with some incentives to post: "We do a semi-official campaign, tell us about your results" or: "Lets see if we can post cool project updates of all you guys daily, lets see if we can keep that rolling for half a year!? we will start, look: ron just painted those awesome new trolls we just released!". But if that would have helped is of course questionable! And it would have required manpower on their side!

I liked the forum because I had the *feeling* I could TALK to them in comparison to GW. When they released the new Goblins now and presented the new flyer and the Sneakit, a few hours after they published that post, I asked if the new rule for the TRAPS also applies for flying units (after all can a flying unit be trapped in a bear trap?). no answer...

Formations


You correctly pointed out that the formation rules were left out of the Clash'19 book. I think this was just a mistake. there's only a handful people working on the Mantic books and mistakes have been made before. It's just because Mantic isn't GW.



That was a mistake, Mantic could do a bit better with editing in general. Still have better books than GW though.


Sure, it of course takes a lot of effort to proof-read everything. And I think they made a GREAT job of writing their books. And I also think they do it better than GW.

Other


Let's just give them credit for making great games and not focus on the negative aspects.


100% agreement! But I wanted to adress it because of my "bubble" paranoia.


Mantic has a whole range of project that they have been running. Recenly as much as Vanguard, Walking Dead, Hellboy and Deadzone. Some projects (such as Dungeon Saga) seem to have been forgotten a year after release. .


True that. They also took Loka from the shelves. But you don't know, maybe it does not sell? At what point to pull the plug?

With Dungeon Saga I have the feeling there are some negative reviews out there about rules (confusion) and maybe they are at an impasse with this one: How to continue with the product without alienating the guys who currently already own it:
Make a reprint with the models and board they have and just new rules? People might get angry at that, and how many people would go ahead and buy (apart from me)?

So far I do not own it, but I would definetely get a "deluxe" edition, with all FAQs included, a revised Solo Play mode more in the lines with Star Saga, (maybe some of the expansions inside...)



I'd strongly suggest to limit the amount of projects to whatever Mantic actually can keep supporting


On the other hand... if they can deliver a great standalone product, thats also cool, isn't it? Like there are other companies out there making just one game via kickstarter. the game is great, so why expect anything more? maybe we are all already spoiled because we got accustomed to that kind of thing.

But: You are right, it can happen that a company takes a bigger bite than they can chew, especially if they have visionaries at the steering wheel. But in general thats a great thing to have!

Unfortunately I see this too that they have "too much going on" for the manpower they have: With the Vanguard release of the Goblins and before that Forces of Nature, things could have been done better!


I'm glad that each CoK replaces the lasts, so that there isn't a bloating pile of stuff building up from the process.


That is actually something that I wondered about for a long time if it completely replaces the lasts. And I agree that's a good approach.


CoK is a good thing, the tournament players get new stuff each year that shifts the meta and prevent the game become boring
the casual player can ignore it or use it


Also so true! It is a great format!


   
Made in at
Privateer




Austria

There are romours for a new Dungeon Saga or kind of Upgrade to the game

and KoW changed a lot from the first release and a RPG is coming, so a new game that is more in line with the RPG and Vanguard would be a thing (or maybe we just get the Boardgame that is directly connected to the RPG)

But yes, support is a problem and pushing one system while the other one went silent won't work out
But now as new Vangaurd units get into KoW and Star Saga stuff gets rules for Deadzone this not as big as it once was.


PR is another thing. One can only push one format at a time. The Facebook guy cannot push a Forum at the same time as RC is not likley to answer questions on both.

And I guess that Mantic just don't have the money for a dedicated person pushing various Forums with news and FAQ's.


Another problem is that we are fragmented community, there are small groups playing their game all over the different countries without a real connection between each others

FB (or Whatsapp) does not help here but make it worse is the communities make their thing in local closed groups and use the big public ones just for news


PS: Guess in Austria we would need a bigger Mantic Weekend Event in Austria, maybe together with some other games (like Bolt Action) to get the different groups together

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

M41 - Alternative Rules for Battles in the 41st Millennium (40k LRB Project) 
   
Made in us
Stubborn Eternal Guard





Alaska

OP you raise many good points. I too have been supporting Mantic since I learned of them in 2013. Ihad great respect for their pioneering of publishing FREE rules and army lists (aka codexes) online. Their generosity inspired me to do several KS.

The downside to KS is that retailers have been somewhat out of tbe loop. With Vanguard recent releases this seems to be changing for the better. I hope they can improve their visibility and attractiveness to retailers in North America. Bringing new guys into the hobby is the specialty of the FLGS, it is often "a bridge too far" for game design/manufacturing companies.

As for FB/social media, it is great for instantvisibility and feedback but with the total lack of archiving it is pretty useless for any activities that take time to simmer and brew. I really hope that Mantic and the player base doesn't become too reliant on it.

May the dice be with you!  
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut





As one of the Mantic forum admins I mourn its passing but as the Facebook groups became more popular the forums got correspondingly fewer posts. I had some fun times over there and miss some of the discussions and the posters who don't do social media..

And as for CoK2019 omitting the formations rules I have to put my hands up and say that as one of the proofreaders I totally missed that. I was busy checking stats etc if I recall correctly.

The rules for formations were added to the most recent version of the FAQ on page 11.

   
Made in at
Brooding Night Goblin






And as for CoK2019 omitting the formations rules I have to put my hands up and say that as one of the proofreaders I totally missed that. I was busy checking stats etc if I recall correctly.

The rules for formations were added to the most recent version of the FAQ on page 11.


Thanks for your post Maccwar! Can't blame you too much for that. When one is professional, its hard to check if all the "basics" are correclty in place and accessible enough.

I will bring an example is found at computer games because it's easy to understand:
Indie game developers have a risk that their products get too confusing or complicated or too hard for new players to get into. The Devs are so much INTO the game they develop for so long that the difficulty they then go for is suitable for them and they lose the sense to counter-check if a novice player would enjoy it.
It is EASY to forget to counter-check such things and find means to put into place to get the PROPER feedback:
Imagine that above mentioned Indie Game Developer always gave his 2 best friends (maybe also Game Devs) his game to test after adding new content. For 2 years. He listens attentively for feedback and makes changes accordingly. Those 2 persons are also not the best source to check if the game is great and has everything it needs: They are already ACES in it and know it in-and-out.

Promo/Releases


But yes, support is a problem and pushing one system while the other one went silent won't work out
But now as new Vangaurd units get into KoW and Star Saga stuff gets rules for Deadzone this not as big as it once was.


True that. Actually they did that with Dungeon Saga and KoW too: having Dungeon Saga heroes inside of Kow, I found that pretty cool (though I didnt use it, I do not own DS).
Maybe it is quite telling that they did not do such a thing with DS and Vanguard so far.

Community


PS: Guess in Austria we would need a bigger Mantic Weekend Event in Austria, maybe together with some other games (like Bolt Action) to get the different groups together



The downside to KS is that retailers have been somewhat out of tbe loop. With Vanguard recent releases this seems to be changing for the better. I hope they can improve their visibility and attractiveness to retailers in North America. Bringing new guys into the hobby is the specialty of the FLGS, it is often "a bridge too far" for game design/manufacturing companies.

As for FB/social media, it is great for instantvisibility and feedback but with the total lack of archiving it is pretty useless for any activities that take time to simmer and brew. I really hope that Mantic and the player base doesn't become too reliant on it.


I think they have somewhat found this to be a problem and tried to address it with:

a) their Pathfinders:
https://manticblog.com/2018/12/29/12-days-of-christmas-pathfinders/

To summarize, they tried to reach out to the community to find enthusiasts who would try to go out and show their games to people. I thought that idea was smart and exiting. I even thought about volunteering, but I realized I feel I cannot explain games very good and that I am too self-concious about my paintings and I more enjoy playing at home with my buddies than meeting new people and playing with them.
I hope they got some mantic preachers to go out into the world and evangelize though!

b) second they have those infos and support for tournament creators. That is probably also a smart way to go about this.


seems to me their idea is that they get new people into it via those means and get tournaments and events running.


   
Made in gb
Ultraviolent Morlock




SW London

Hi, agree with a lot of what you've said.

(a thread I started on the lack of formations rules: https://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/769318.page)

I don't want to use Facebook which is a real problem with Kings of War.

Just found this forum today: https://www.kowforum.com

Looks to be about a month old but it's just what I was after.
   
Made in us
Dakka Veteran





Central Valley, California

Forums are for the most part are going extinct. They are troublesome to run and rarely used for most companies.

With that said, I am unsure -- is Mantic active on Instagram, Discord and twitter? those three are essential for companies IMO.

Rolling 1's for over four decades

~Shrap  
   
Made in us
Decrepit Dakkanaut






Baltimore, MD

 Shrapnelsmile wrote:
Forums are for the most part are going extinct. They are troublesome to run and rarely used for most companies.

With that said, I am unsure -- is Mantic active on Instagram, Discord and twitter? those three are essential for companies IMO.


Yeah, forums have been slowly dying for years, despite their many advantages over social media (ability to search, readability, etc.) because they lost traffic and require a lot of effort maintain. I think most companies have shut their forums down.

My Painted Armies
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Made in us
Awesome Autarch






Companies for sure...but there are plenty of solid forums out there - you just can't expect more than an occasional visit by a company regular.

 
   
 
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