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So, uh... Fighter combat.

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Despite the panic board-games are ideal for Spartan because they are not spreading in the same way as a full game. A board game should be a complete unit in itself and thus once released its "done". Expansions might come but the core boxed set should be a finished kit anyway. 

 

Done right they are an ideal way to add products without needing the long term support that a miniatures game requires. 

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Hi All,

Going to resume kinda where I left off earlier now I have done my cleaning chores and taken off the rubber gloves.

Clearly the issue of having multiple game systems is something that I've not coped with, and Child9 makes a fair point about that. It is not, however, about ignoring what people like him say, but it is about looking for growth and how you deal with saturation of a game amongst its customers. And I'm not going to type here and say I've got it all right, clearly I have not and I have made mistakes along the way.

Some games succeed and make great revenue for a company, some struggle and trying to identify why that is the case is not always easy. DW is an excellent example of a game which accelerated the company, but even back then our size [Spartan has ways been a small company] felt the strain and it impacted the games around it. We literally couldn't make all of it and also make other models.

Legions is an example of a game which I got wrong, and I mean that from a rules perspective - great set of models. Twice I have failed to hit the mark with the rules and this is very frustrating for our customers.

What this leaves you with is making some tricky choices: do you just kill it, unfair to those who invested in it, or do you do your best to keep moving along while you try to sort the issue out. if we stay with Legions I took the call to keep going, but I have not been able to allocate the needed resources to implement the new rules and models it needs yet. The resources are needed elsewhere. I am ever confident that I will sort the issue out, so I keep trying.

Let me share an anecdote about Legions with you. Just before Salute 2017 I took a bunch of models, scenery, game boards and dice home to spend a couple of days trying to bolt down the new rules ideas to give to testers. I figured if I couldn't do it in work time I could try to get at it at home. Off I pop to Salute, have a great time despite feeling rubbish, and come home. I then find myself in intensive care for around 2 weeks and sadly those Legions boxes are still in the corner of my kitchen waiting for me to get the rules into a format I can send to testers. Luckily I didn't die, so my brain keeps telling me I need to now finish those rules!

Now, could I ask someone else to do it? Well I have 2 other main rules writers that I trust and rely on and one is solidly on FA 3.0 and PF 2.0 and the other is on DW 2.5 statistics and alliance nation expansion. So sadly the answer is no. Which continues to manifest the frustration for the customer and will therefore continue to impact the ability of Legions to generate revenue.

Let's bounce to Dystopian Wars for a bit. The new 2.5 rulebook is done and on its way to customers, which is excellent news. We're are in the process of shipping our Kickstarter, which is also good news, and we need to accelerate that process of delivery. Now 2.5 is done and the statistics work is being rolled out for folk to look at the game can settle down into a nice roll out schedule. Which is a nice thought. When we did our survey last year it helped me get past my paralysis of not knowing what to do next for DW. Folk wanted lots of new models, which surprised me. With 600 plus models I was worried that we had literally made everything folk wanted. Well I was wrong.

With DW we have responded quickly to the top two clear wishes of folk: they want more models and they want us to give us more narrative/campaign settings. We're on it and we now know what we want to roll out for the rest of the year for DW and into 2018.

Jumping over to FA and PF now. Last year saw me change the development of the games. With FA I had took my eye off the development side of the game, allowing it to be done externally and this just didn't work. I was foolish to think it could, but when I originally made that call it made sense to me. Hindsight is a wonderful thing though. I had also taken my eye off PF and for that I do apologise to anyone frustrated and angry at us over the game. Changes are coming to PF, but clearly not fast enough for folk. You need new rules, new models and for Spartan to tell you more about our plans for the game. And you need to see it and not just hear us say it is coming.

The issue is here is that the guys my end who will make all those things for PF are also the same folk who need to sort FA 3.0 and all we are doing for FA. Some of it thankfully overlaps, but I won't deny resourcing it is complex. But you will see a lot of things answered with the Kickstarter for both FA and PF and I really am hoping things will settle down for PF players.

I want to quickly discuss Taskforce and Fleet Action. They were a response to our attendance at GenCon a couple of years ago when we were asked for ways of simplifying entry to both FA and DW. I felt they were the right thing to do, and I'm sorry if they looked like we were trying to keep spreading ourselves too thin, but they were my best effort to simplify entry into my game systems. We most definitely made some folk happy with their arrival but sadly agitated others. The rules have a place in our downloads section and our next two key updates for them effectively draw a line under both.

So, back to our new board game. Overread is correct in his assertion that when the game rolls out it is pretty much done. Expansions are easy to handle and as a board game the rules are fast to sort, with the decks demanding more attention. I wanted this game announced before it was drowned out by all of the noise generated by the Firestorm Galaxy Expansion. The way to view this is, if we are simply direct about it, is that this style of game takes less development (which we are thankful of) and can sit as a revenue generator which almost looks after itself. And all companies need revenue, simple as that. The engine has been built in such a way that any game with fighters in it could create a spin-off with minimal development because the vast majority of the work has now been done. It becomes a job of overlaying a personality on the game engine if you will.

Going to end now as this is a lot of text. Still got more to say, but happy to keep engaging with folk on discussing things.

All the best,

Neil

 

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1 hour ago, Paradomutante said:

hell stop the crying its a board game not a clasical wargame.

This. Strike Force isn't a wargame that requires ongoing support, tournament support etc. etc. It's a board game. It could get an expansion every 6 months, or every 2 years, or never, and that'd be fine. It's not a core product, it's supposed appear on the radar of those who'd think "Wargame? Ugh, no thanks. Lots of collecting, too much money!", but if you were to offer them a board game they might be more receptive to it. (I fully appreciate the irony of people who spend hundreds on board games turning up their noses at the cost of wargaming, but that's not the point here.)

Also, I've already said this on Facebook but might as well repeat it here: Strike Force doesn't remind me of X-Wing, it reminds me of Battleship Galaxies, a great board game that Wizards of the Coast stupidly cancelled expansions for right after release. The two games look so similar that I'd recommend hunting down a copy of BG to get a taste of the style of game that Strike Force might present. Actually, I'd recommend playing BG anyway because it's a fun game.

4 hours ago, Spartan Neil said:

Just to be clear, the Expansion revolves around my 3.0 rulebook. This is my vision for where I am taking the galaxy and FA game and delivers on improvements I want for the game.

Neil, this is the part of Firestorm that concerns me the most. Firestorm should belong to Spartan Games (intellectually and legally) of course, and also to the community that plays it. Look at how Blizzard Games talks about Overwatch. They always say things like "it's your game and we love to see what you do with it." They even acknowledge that fan art, fiction and culture helps to drive the overall narrative of the game, it's part of the franchise. A recent example is the colloquial term for a bunch of Symmetra turrets, called a "car wash", making it into the game as a voice line. That's amazing.

Firestorm shouldn't be all about you. What would happen to the Firestorm franchise if you were unable to work on it, or even if you were to pass away? Make Firestorm about all of us. Let go a little. The Firestorm games would be better for it.

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First its great to her from you with regard to these matters Neil and I really hope that we get to hear more from you; more positive things but things in development as they go. I know many companies don't like talking about their problems in the open, however  there's always lots to speak of even if its mechanics of development in progress. Regular news/contact is important especially when fans are starved of it (and yes that's the good old missed release dates aspect). 

 

I will say that at this stage its going to be a tough up-hill struggle; not out of spite, but more because many forum fans and those outside have heard the talk before. I don't think anyone thinks that neither yourself nor anyone at Spartan wants to see the games die. However at this stage I think many feel bitter about missed dates (and honestly I'm sure you guys at Spartan also feel equally, if not more so considering that its not just a hobby but your 9-5 every working day and beyond). I think the boardgame will suffer early from this; it IS news and it IS good news but its not news where people expected nor wanted it. However boardgames being boardgames I think it will survive; esp once the FA kickstarter pre-release news* starts to come out and when the KS itself launches

 

As an aside about the approaching KS whilst I'm sure much is already locked in I did notice the other day that Reaper Bones 4 is approaching - I say that only as something to keep in mind as Reapers tend to be very powerful KS - ergo wallet draining/dominating for the month they are in. Hopefully the FA one can avoid Bones 4 either by coming before or after.

 

*least I expect there to be loads of pre-KS news to build up a nice big hype train! 

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@Spartan Neil -

 

First and foremost, thank you for coming to the forums and sharing some of your insight.

I have been a fan of Spartan Games since the Uncharted Seas 1st edition, and I've bought every game.  I am a fan.

But I'm also critical, because as a fan, sometimes I feel like Spartan Games doesn't really give much consideration to my support.  I know you've asked for our feedback now across several surveys.  I know that I've said it, and others have said it - you seem to bounce from game to game and make no one happy.  

Promises and made and not kept.  Things never feel "finished" - the release of Dystopian Wars 2.5 cannot be considered "finished" when the ORBATS are are not anywhere near fully released.  I know the rulebook printer disaster was out of your control - the ORBATS are 100% in your control.

There was a vigorous thread about Firestorm Armada 3.0 that was getting good updates - and then it went silent.  And then some news from a podcast came out and made it sound like the game was RADICALLY changing - why?  What's the point of this?  Why not give longtime players, fans, SUPPORTERS of Spartan Games in on the design process?  Why "surprise" us?

We were promised that the rules for Firestorm Planetfall would be out by now.  

Dystopian Legions - I have bought in and have two armies for this.  I like the rules as they are currently - but with no releases, the game is doomed.  You've promised there would be more releases, direct-only, but that hasn't happened.

 

Please hear and understand our frustration.  We are your hardcore fans.  We are not asking for you to move mountains.  Just please support your games.

 

--Robert

Edited by themailedfist
typo fixed

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Hi Again,

Thanks guys for your replies. Cannor I agree about FA and I commonly am heard to say that once you guys have bought my models who am I to tell folk what to do with them. Last year when my illness came to a head and Derek stepped forward to assist me I needed to take more control over the Firestorm Galaxy, bolting it down internally was a must. When I say Firestorm is my vision, it is in as much as the buck literally stops with me. That said, we have always looked to listen to the gamers, but your comments show I have not been doing a good enough job of that.

When our new Firestorm campaigns are unveiled you will see a strong new direction in embracing your ability to shape the galaxy. I very much hope you enjoy.

Overread, great feedback and thanks for taking the time to make it. I will watch out for KS timings - thank you for noting that. themailedfist again thanks for replying. Your comment on the DW stats is an interesting one and I have emailed to get more info on that for you. I'll come back to you on that one. Rref the Planetfall rules I need to double check on that as I wasn't aware we had said the beta rules would be made available by now. So I need to chase that for you as well. It is nice to hear you have a couple of DW armies, and I am sure you are talking about the Russians, CoA and French models I am sitting on. I have held off on taking those to production until I sort the rules out, but your comments have me thinking this is a mistake.

Neil

 

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@Spartan Neil Finally! Thanks for this post (6:42 pm), a hundred times. I'm not pleased with everything you said, but you said it. This is totally different than repeating "Great stuff is coming, be patient guys!" and this is totally the kind of communication I want, and I guess everyone here wants. I know it's more time consuming than just saying "wait guys", but it's a thousand times more informative and can really buy you time from us the players. So again, thanks for this post.

We all know that SG is a small company. We all know that it can't handle every game it made. And we're well aware that, when a game don't work the way you hoped and don't make cash, you can't reasonably invest in it again and again. We understand all this. But please, tell us this kind of things. "Folks, we are sorry but we are forced to stop (for now or forever) supporting "choose your game". It's tough to hear, but it's way better than letting us wait for months or years, hoping for the best, to finally learn this is over (I didn't played TUS, but I know that was a real bad surprise for a lot of people, because you announced things that never happened). When you miss a deadline, don't keep silent. Come here, explain us what happened and give us another estimation, even an approximate one. And when announcing a deadline, don't put yourselves too much pressure on. I prefer a far but respected release date than a close one which is postponed multiple times (like you did with PF for almost a year...).

I used to be one of the biggest fan of SG, I really did, but all this slowly fainted as you were making the same mistakes again and again. For now, I really have low estime for SG because I consider that you fooled me as a fan and a customer, as well as a lot of other people, and this way too many times. But please, all we ask is that you better yourselves and solve the issues that a lot of people pointed at. You'll be surprised how easy we players can forgive, if we're just a bit pleased. But you have to do it right now, because in 3 months, there might be no turning back. I'm myself on the verge of selling every bit of SG I own (and that's a lot of stuff ^^') and focus on other supported games.

Come back here again soon (you or one of your coworkers) to post messages like the one you just wrote. To let us know what's going on at SG's. That's step one, and that would really be a good thing to helps us trust SG again. Then move on at your pace, and deliver us the cool games and minis we know you can get out. That's all we ask! :) No more silences, no more political cant and no more lies/broken promises. Communication is the key.

 

P.S: Sorry for bad english, had to write it quickly!

 

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Thanks for the feedback child9. And your English is fine - no worse than mine!

Now you've invited me in I may have to keep annoying you all with my ridiculously long threads...

All the best,

Neil

PS: don't sell your models. You will need them to kill the Pathogen and Saurians....

 

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@Spartan Neil-

 

Thank you for listening and taking our feedback directly.  It's appreciated.

If you aren't happy with the Dystopian Legions rules as they are, why not open the floor to proposals?  Perhaps you'd get some pitches from fans that intrigue you.

I might even be among them.

 

--Robert

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4 minutes ago, Spartan Neil said:

Thanks for the feedback child9. And your English is fine - no worse than mine!

Now you've invited me in I may have to keep annoying you all with my ridiculously long threads...

All the best,

Neil

PS: don't sell your models. You will need them to kill the Pathogen and Saurians....

 

Being annoyed with the kind of things you brought in your second message is all I ask for, along with keeping my minis and playing with it :)

Just give me reasons to do so, and I could even become again the compulsive SG buyer/player I once was!

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Hi Robert,

Thanks for that. Drop me an email to neil@spartangames.co.uk and do you use Skype? We could kick off a dialogue and I can share my Legions ideas - then you can tell me if I need my drug intake reduced...

chile9 - done deal.

Neil

 

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So, @Spartan Neil- one of the bigger concerns with this new game is that while it sits in the Firestorm Universe and thus supports the setting, it does not mechanically support the two games themselves. I was noticing that in the images the fighters look quite a bit smaller than the hex tiles- if it is at all possible to resize the figures at this point so that they're appropriately sized for Planetfall, supply them with the appropriate bases, and get them statted, you could market the game as "hey look, here's this cool boardgame set in the Firestorm universe. Also, Planetfall players, these models are definately compatible with your army!" I firmly beleive you would get a 99% positive response with this and any future board games if the models being compatible with one of the major game systems was a part of the deal.

 

EDIT- In other words, yeah, double dip. Taskforce was good for a select group of players, but not for a good chunk of the Armada community. You still sold boxes to Armada players though because they got something out of it for their own fleets. Note that the biggest complaint about that release was the odd model count in the two-player boxes- people wanted something to use right off the bat, and were excited enough about the new toys to be bothered by the odd composition.

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@Spartan Neil, thank you or a breath of fresh air. it is truly amazing how the tone changes with good comms and understanding.  your replies and response are most welcome and bring a sense of hope and i only ask that in the future lets not let things get this far outa sorts with comms. all many of us want is to be timely informed about the games we love.

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Hi Hive and Alamo,

The scale idea is a good one but we're too far down the design route to change - sorry about that. The game mechanics use the fact that multiple craft can exist in the hexes, hence their size. This is also to accommodate the Bombers and Boarding Craft and also how we deal with things like Frigates. On the plus side there is overlap on models that will benefit both FA and PF long term.

Alamo - thank you, most kind. And agreed. If you ask my children they will tell you I am a dinosaur when it comes to social media and based on this interaction... it appears they may well be accurate.

Quick follow up for you all: you happy if I just roll pictures out of new toys but don't always have a date set when they will ship to you? Example being the new Hawker and RSN ground forces for PF - I can show you new models and discuss them, but their release is subject to timings of the new rulebook so I may not be able to bolt all timings down.

Cheers,

Neil

 

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OK,

As I am on a roll bugging you all, could I propose that I enlist the assistance of the FA players amongst you? I have created a new flight stand arrangement which I was going to unveil as part of the Kickstarter, with the Saurians and Pathogen sporting the new flight stands. But the components are capable of being retro-fitted to existing bases.

I am wondering if it would be prudent to enlist some feedback from you. If anyone would mind being a bit of a guinea pig for me would they email me at neil@spartangames.co. uk so I can make up a contact email list and we can kick off some dialogue.

Thanks in advance,

Neil

 

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Niel - I would suggest that at this stage its best to stick to release information that has a fixed date - a date that will be kept to. Pre-release stuff at this stage should only be the stuff for the KS or anything else you're going to launch in the next few weeks. Teasing us with model renders won't help matters - long term fans have seen many model renderings that have never seen the light of day (eg the leviathans for FA).

We know you guys can make some fantastic designs and renders, that is without question. However teasing them to members without release dates is torment and torture. If SG had a better reputation for releasing stuff or you had a general turn around of showing renders and then seeing the in-the-flesh model X weeks/months later without question then I'd say a resounding yes. But that's not the case and you admit yourself that the release date is not fixed and reliant on other releases first. 

 

Right now everything should be Kickstarter focused. Building hype on what's to come in the release so that we are all ready to throw our wallets at you. Build hype for things Certain to come with a Date.

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1 minute ago, Spartan Neil said:

Thanks Overread, that makes sense. Well once we've gained more of your trust on announcements we can go back to more image teasing.

Neil

 

I'd consider taking a leaf from GW's book - they hardly if never release pre-release information. Most of their model releases today are released only a week before they are launched. Whilst I'd not suggest quite as short a period is required; I think that a fixed period is good. Gamers know that when they see a pre-release or a rendering in a White Dwarf that there's a date generally X number of weeks to come.

I think Spartan needs that approach; I know how exciting it is to create things and to want to share those creations with the world is. As a company though I think you need to pull back so that those exciting releases are only a short time away from being products in your gamers hands and on the table. 

 

As an aside if you're trying to think of content for blogs/messages consider that you can talk a lot about things that aren't releases. Go into talking about how a model is made or how older designs came about; or casting process or game theory etc... Regular news snippets interspace with details of how models come to be etc... can be a neat way to connect with your fanbase. It helps give you more content to post about each time its posting time (week/biweek/month); and it means that you're not left feeling like every post has to be hinting at future releases; then overstepping and showing things months down the line that then get pushed even more months down. 

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