Monday, June 6, 2011

Mantic's Plans For Competitive Play

by SandWyrm


Here's an interesting interview from Beasts of War with Mantic's head honcho and Allessio (formerly of GW). The best parts are in the middle of the video where Kings of War and their 3-year plans for the game are discussed. While towards the end they tease us with Warpath, their sci-fi game which is coming in October of this year.




 Some take away points:
  1. Their games are being designed from the outset with competitive play in mind.
  2. They have specific strategies for attracting new players to the hobby.
  3. All rules are free to download. They'll release a printed book next year for KoW.
  4. The simple rules are designed for speed of play. 
  5. Tourneys will use Chess clocks. No more slow playing!!!
  6. All rules are being beta tested for balance. 
  7. They're following a very definate Design -> Test -> Refine methodology.
  8. Feedback and fan-rules are encouraged. They said they will incorporate good ideas from fans.
  9. The next edition of KoW will have minimal rules changes, but more fluff.
  10. The next stage in KoW will be to fill out the armies with more detail. 
  11. 8 Armies are planned for both KoW and Warpath.
  12. The Warpath beta will launch with 3 armies. Including 'Space Dwarves' and 'Space Orcs'.
  13. Warpath is designed (like KoW) for large battles.
  14. Their games are also designed to scale well and be playable with just 2-3 units.
  15. Each army's list will be about 4 pages in the main rulebook.
  16. They are committed to having every single army be competitive!
Wow! It's like someone took my laundry list of gripes about GW and built a company around them! Go Mantic!!!

12 comments:

  1. Just give it time, is all I'll say. You could end up with another Conflict or AT-42 as readily as the best strategy game ever.

    Also, not all ideas of "competitive" are well-designed; if you wind up with a system built around win margins and ties, the game is just as "not tournament competitive" as anything else.

    Patience, though they are SAYING the right things.

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  2. True enough. We need to see if they deliver. But I'm stoked. :)

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  3. Just pointing out here that it was Alessio's competitive rules that nearly killed WHFB in 7th edition and that he's responsible for the two blandest codices in existance as well.

    Not saying that lightning can't strike, but so far I haven't been impressed with the rules for KoW, with them being an amalgam of the worst parts of LotR and WHFB :/

    I hope they succeed though, a competitor in large scale games is what the hobby needs, but given AC's previous trackrecords, I'm not getting my hopes up.

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  4. I've always heard that 7E WHFB was actually quite good and that the game was murdered by it's horribly unbalanced army books. No?

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  5. Difficult to say. I think I would simply urge caution and restraint.

    While GW's business practices may frustrate many, the game is still growing stronger with each new Codex release, in terms of its readiness for competitive play. I'll be far more interested in other wargames when we close on the release of 6e, as that's where you can see potentially game-breaking changes in things, and/or "tourney revolution."

    The 40k competitive community is such that you'll see an almost 7ed ETC rules level of homebrew rules population if they alter the game to the dramatic level done by Fantasy 7-8.

    I think it's just a little soon to be lighting hair on fire is all; proxying more? Using non-GW models more? Not buying new armies? I can get behind those as a first step reaction to corporate policies you don't support.

    Leaping into full on optimistic support of an unreleased game whose rules and details are completely unknown? Patience, Daniel-san.

    Not to overread, though ... I don't think you're being cray cray here; I'm just suggesting a lil more patience. I will again restate my serious interest in (and maybe even burgeoning practice of) community-built stand-alone "use-whatever-models" full-scale tabletop wargame.

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  6. I can't wait for PP to release a sci-fi game.

    Also, there's a game called Infinity. AWESOME models, and rules seem pretty solid.

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  7. I've heard great things about Infinity, and though not sci-fi Warmahordes and Malifaux are both excellent. The general issue with all 3, though, if you're a 40k lover ... they aren't wargames. They're relatively small skirmish games.

    I think the excitement here is around the notion of a full size wargame, akin to the size of 40k.

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  8. From what I have played of infinity it is a fairly good game but it break down (think space shuttle challenger break) if you do not have a crap ton of terrain. LOS blocking movement hindering terrain.

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  9. @MVB

    Considering that trying out KoW or Warpath will be free, I don't see a problem in exploring those options. If it's fun, it will catch on. If not, well at least we get low-cost minis for 40K/Fantasy. Either way, it's all win for us players.

    Success for Mantic wouldn't kill GW. It would cause them some pain, sure, but in the end they'd just pull a Microsoft and modify 40K to more closely resemble the competition. While lowering (or at least freezing) their ridiculous mini prices.

    I have no problem playing both games if both are fun and reasonably costed. :)

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  10. I think that Mantic is a really good thing for GW for two reasons:

    1 - Lower barrier to entry means more people have access to the hobby and potentially new customers who were otherwise put off by high startup costs.

    2 - It forces them to compete which means addressing the problems with their current operation. It actually helps them if they deal with this stuff.


    I've been looking though Kings of War. I really love it. It gives me hope that there's a system where I could play my nible Wood Elves as they're actually meant to be played rather than having to spam treemen while the rest of my units bounce off stupid "steadfast" blocks of guys.

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  11. Mike...

    I'm not trying to nit-pick or start a flame war here, but I've got to comment on a couple of things that you wrote...

    "While GW's business practices may frustrate many, the game is still growing stronger with each new Codex release, in terms of its readiness for competitive play."

    Ummm... 40K has had five editions and numerous codexes (codecies? codi?) written thus far. If the game is not strong enough and not balanced for competative play by now, it's never going to be.

    "I've heard great things about Infinity, and though not sci-fi Warmahordes and Malifaux are both excellent. The general issue with all 3, though, if you're a 40k lover ... they aren't wargames. They're relatively small skirmish games.

    I think the excitement here is around the notion of a full size wargame, akin to the size of 40k."

    Infiniti and Malifaux are, as you describe them, skirmish-based games. Warmachine/Hordes? I beg to differ. In terms of scale, a standard sized Warmachine game (750 points old scale, 50 points new scale) is fairly equivalent to an 1850-point 40K game.

    Under such a point level, I can easily field as many models in Warmahordes (if not more) as I've seen in many 1850-point 40K games.

    I understand model count is not the only criteria for determining what a "wargame" is, but as a player of both games, I feel that Warmachine is very much a wargame that can be scaled back to be a skirmish game.

    As for the Mantic stuff, as a game store owner, I'm taking a wait-and-see attitude. I like what I'm hearing so far, but I know of too many games that sounded great, then fell flat upon delivery. (Arcane Legions, anyone) =P

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  12. "Ummm... 40K has had five editions and numerous codexes (codecies? codi?) written thus far. If the game is not strong enough and not balanced for competative play by now, it's never going to be."

    I don't think that's a true statement at all. Because something hasn't happened yet is not proof that it will never happen. 5th edition releases have been a marked improvement over previous edition releases in terms of balance. The main issue I think that remains in their rules quality is dealing with edge cases which is more of a FAQ issue really.

    "Under such a point level, I can easily field as many models in Warmahordes (if not more) as I've seen in many 1850-point 40K games."

    I don't know what kind of 1850 point games you've been seeing, but I find that hard to believe. 50 point games of WM are about 20-30 infantry scale models and 4-5 jacks of various sizes. 1850 points of 40K is 30+ infantry models and 8-9 vehicles. A very small model count 1850 army might be in range of a very large 50 point Warmachine force, but the average sizes are way off. Plus 50 points is getting to the upper limit of what a game of Warmachine can handle in a reasonable time frame. 1850 is on the small side of the ideal 2000 point 40K game.

    Anyway, I'd consider Warmachine a skirmish game based solely on how the game places importance on single model interactions/activations. 40K is more unit oriented and simplified to scale to larger model counts.

    I don't want to begrudge people playing different games, but the whole "X is such a better game than 40K" is always some apples to oranges type comparison. Warmachine is great but it's not the same genre or type of game as 40K. This Mantic stuff sounds great from a theoretical game-to-be prospective, but it doesn't really exist yet does it? And Flames of War is essentially an adaption of 40K changed to 15mm scale.

    Get into any other system and your are going to find balance issues, price issues, you name it. The problems people have with GW and 40K are not unique problems. Switching to a new game might be fun for a while, but it's a rare game that has the staying power and popular appeal of 40K.

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