Monday, June 6, 2011

Finally, Some Real Hope!

by SandWyrm

I've been pretty down on the hobby lately, what with my disgust over GW's price increases, embargoes,  and the load of BS that is "FineCast". Oh, it melts in the sun? How wonderful! We should have charged even more for that!

I'm still playing 40K, but the spark has left. I'm not buying anything new or planning expansions to my armies. But at least I don't HAVE to update anything to keep playing. Unlike Farmpunk, who's dealing with the new Grey Knights and the upcoming (rumored) Sisters of Battle update. Fortunately, he's been able to offset the costs with some tourney winnings. Though he keeps coming back to wanting to start Flames of War with whatever he has left over.

Something's really wrong when I start dreading the release of new books. Because it always means money out of pocket.

Which has really had me wondering how much longer I'm going to stick with 40K. I've been here before, three times. Once with Fantasy back in collage, and twice with 40K. In every case I quit the hobby because of a GW price increase combined with something else I didn't like. Such as unbalanced rules or true-WAAC players.

The fact that I can remember when I could buy 5 metal Dwarves (or Elves, or Empire Knights) in a (same size as today) blister pack for $7.50 doesn't help matters. Yeah, GW has always charged high prices for their wares. But this naked greed of late has me really ticked off.

Then Mantic made me smile again today.

I talked with these guys for a bit at Adepticon, where they were giving out samples and showing their latest plastic ranges. It was all Fantasy stuff, but I was floored. The quality was fantastic! No, you didn't get as many options for customization, but the designs were great! And, best of all, the minis were dirt cheap. How cheap?

The Dwarf Army set was $79.99 for 85 plastic miniatures. Wow!

These 10 METAL Elves...

...are only $29.99!

While these fine looking undead, all 20 of them...

...are only $24.99!!!

These are prices that I haven't seen from GW in almost twenty years! You can look at their website here, but suffice it to say that if I were to re-start Fantasy, I wouldn't be buying more than a hero or two, and maybe the odd creature or war machine from GW.

Of course that is all fine and dandy, but I don't play Fantasy anymore. I play 40K. So I couldn't take advantage of these fine deals. But now, Mantic has announced that it will be launching a Sci-Fi battle game (Written by an Ex-GW designer) to compete with 40K. Said game will include 8 different races to start and will presumably have Astral Marines, Imperial Army, Space Orcs, Xeno-Bugs, and whatnot. Which means...


"But..." I hear the Fanboys saying. "...They're just copying GW!!!"

No, they're not. They're copying and re-imagining the same Sci-Fi and Fantasy tropes that GW has stolen borrowed from Tolkien, Lovecraft, Heinlein, Herbert, Azimov, and other great writers of the past. If the minis they produce happen to be compatable with another well-known Sci-Fi wargame... Well, more power to them.

Why? Because it goes both ways.

If Warpath minis are compatible with 40K, then all of our 40K minis will also be compatible with Warpath. Depending on the quality of the rules, that might just be the way to pull disgruntled GW customers over to their system (and it's unique models/rules). Because being 40K-compatible lowers the cost of entry to their new system at a time when money is tight for everyone.

Pull you in with the models, keep you with the rules. Sounds great to me!

Are you listening GW?


  1. Well, most of us knew this day was coming. It was only a matter of time until there was another Sci-fi game to compete with 40k. But I'll admit I am surprised that it is Mantic games that is the first.

  2. Don't expect much out of Mantic as their Fantasy line has been out about a year now but their gaming systems for it has yet to take firm roots. Their announcement for their Sci-fi is their beta not in any means a full blown tested and model supported game. Don't get me wrong as their models are extremely nice but their speed/reach is quite the opposite.

  3. With a lot of people looking for GW alternatives currently though, this might be the system a lot of people are looking for. And if Mantic comes out and says "hey your old GW minis? Ya you can use them with our system too!", I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of people don't at least try it.

  4. <3 Mantic.
    Free rules, awesome models, insanely cheap and their messenger bag and carry cases are the best way to transport my small, foot eldar armies around without looking like a complete wierdo!

  5. I am a big Mantic fan. I prefer Kings of war (KoR) to 8th edition. I just have not managed to get many converts to try it yet. I shall be interested in seeing what they do with Sci-Fi.

    As for buyig GW models, just buy second hand from ebay. You may not get the new hotness models but there is plenty of choice of cheap models.

  6. @HOTPanda

    I don't think you can expect everything at once. Rules take a long time to refine properly (which is why GW skimps on their Dev and releases half-baked stuff). Just look at how long it took Rogue Trader to evolve into 2nd Ed, 3rd Ed, etc.

    If I were Mantic, I'd do exactly what they are doing now. Release lots of profitable 40K/Fantasy compatible models, with a few loss-leading pieces that show off their own imagination and attract attention to their own ruleset. Which will start small and simple, but be refined (publicly) over time into something much more substantial.

  7. @Lyracian

    I haven't tested KoW yet. Anybody want to? I have a whole army of old GW Dwarves that I could use. :)

    I like the look of the ruleset. It's missing some of the character that you'd get from proper army/campaign books; but it's clear and simple. Like the old 5th Edition Fantasy that I remember without all the needless complexities.

    The army lists are also nice, as they have set unit sizes and fewer options. Which is the way that GW would have to go to make 40K more competition friendly. :)

  8. Mantic really seem to be following in the GW footprint and they defiantly seem to be the most viable alternative because they produce comparable products with a better cost.

    There's a guy at our club who uses the Mantic Dwarfs in his fantasy army and they look great. I'm really looking forward to seeing what they do with their scifi range and if Alessio does the rules for that system too, then it may end up being a true contender to 40k!

  9. Have to admit I'm kind of looking forward to Mantic's rule set... I've played a few alternate systems (Planetstorm and Demian Rose's Starslayer/Defiance were really good, but...) over the years, but for the moment at least, 40K is pretty much the only one played locally in any numbers... If nothing else, having more stuff out there will be good for folks to "bulk up" their armies...

  10. For me it's "wait and see" on this, what keeps me in 40k is the setting above all. Everything else I've seen just doesn't have the same draw except for maybe Warmachine's Iron Kingdoms. If not then at least I've got another good place to look for models if they're cool enough.

  11. I've been thinking about looking into Infinity. I love the models, and skirmish games are always cheap to get into.

  12. Hahaha. The first link was pulled and replaced with a better explanation because of "ill-informed rants."

    "However it seems that their are just some people out there who just hate the Games Workshop so much that they are incapable of looking at the incident in a clear and rational way"

    I don't know what the original blog said, but this is hilarious either way.

  13. I'm hoping the current batch of Finecast issues are just early production problems. The first few batches of Spartan Games' resin Firestorm Armada fleets had some very poor quality as well. The resin mix has to be just right, and different batches of resin can have slightly different properties. Their factory staff probably still has lots to learn about the differences in quality control between resin and metal.

  14. Infinity looks too cyberpunkish for my tastes, and I don't care for cyberpunk. Looking at kings of war, I really like how it is essentially Warhammer Fantasy Lite, and I also enjoy how I can use my unused Vampire Count models as an undead force very easily. If I decide to learn the rules, I might be down for a game sometime.

    While I did mention that the setting is what got me in 40k and is keeping me interested, the fact that I haven't been able to find much of a setting for KoW (if at all) is even better since it means my army isn't tied to any kind of fluff or characterization and can be what I want.

  15. The OP decided that he overreacted because he'd pinned the model in question. As if nobody ever pins anything in this hobby.

    He says another model didn't deform. But it's pretty clear to me that Gandalf deformed where he did because the model was top-heavy and the resin couldn't support the weight on the horse's ankle when heated. The other model didn't deform because there wasn't weight-stress on one thin part of it like there was with the Gandalf sculpt.

    The take-away being that future models will have to be designed with Finecrap in mind because the strength characteristics are different than with metal. So simply re-casting sculpts that were originally designed for metal will risk the same problems.

  16. Haent you heard of 'melta' marines?


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