Wednesday, November 7, 2012

That's NOT Just The Way It Is

by SandWyrm

Spag I think, speaks for a lot of regular folks when he says that Big Businesses are all the same. It's a fatalistic view, and one that also excuses GW's (and Disney's, and Microsoft's, and Apple's) bad and/or stupid behaviors. But it's just that. Bad/stupid behavior. Which is made worse by the incentives companies have to make bad decisions when they're publicly traded.

Here's what Spag said in the comments to my last post:
"It will never change. Companies go public to survive, to grow, to ensure long term investments from others. Regardless of how you or I or even Sandwyrm feel that is the way it is."
First off, if you're joining us and you don't understand what a Public Company is, read my last post on the subject first. It will get you up to speed so that you will understand what I'm talking about.

Now, a comparison from my own experience within a large private company vs. a large public company in the education industry. In the past, I've taught classes as a salaried employee of 2 different technical colleges. Both are for-profit companies with schools in just about every major US city. One of those (ITT Tech) was publicly owned, and the other (Art Institutes) had been public at one time, but was then bought out by a group of investors and taken private.

The difference was like night and day.

Not the same place I used to work.

At ITT, we were drowning in goals. We had to attract X number of students. The next quarter, it would be X + (X/4), with no regard to our teaching capacity or the needs of the local community. Or to the ability of the students we recruited to actually finish a 2 or 4 year program. Either mentally or financially. To pass the entrance exam, you needed to score 18% or better. Yep. Just 18%. One of our recruiters actually went to schools for the mentally handicapped to get students so he could meet his numbers and get paid. They were nightmares in the classes, but nobody except the students and teachers cared about the disruptions they caused.

Everyone, from the department heads on up would have arbitrary recruitment and retainment goals to meet. After I left the company, my former Dean (best boss I ever had) was fired for not meeting them. It had nothing to do with his ability as an educator. He simply didn't meet the numbers.

In fact, whenever he had to enforce any sort of academic standards, it risked hurting his numbers if a student got butt-hurt and left. Plagarism? Copying another student's work? Slap on the wrist. Expulsion was unthinkable. Attendance was a joke. You could blow off half of the quarter and still demand a chance to do the work.

We would get new equipment from corporate and it wouldn't work. New computer systems and software would be rolled out and not work either. All of our books were outsourced to India and NEVER ONCE checked for accuracy before being distributed. As teachers, we would follow the required outline of the books but never reference them in our lessons because they were complete garbage that would only confuse the students. But the students still had to pay for them.

An entire online education program was launched without any testing whatsoever beforehand. But our students were required to use it because all of the overlapping physical classes were eliminated. So we, at the local level, had to compensate by holding "tutoring" classes and setting up a full time tech-support person in the library (with no additional funding) to help students who couldn't figure out the system or enter their work into it because of all the bugs.

Now, why did all of this happen? Because the management at ITT was focused on it's stock numbers to the exclusion of all else. To keep the market happy, growth had to be X this quarter. Which meant that revenue had to be Y. Which meant that we needed Z students. The numbers could never be allowed to drop or stagnate. We had to show steady growth from quarter to quarter. Even if that growth was largely meaningless.

Books cost money to write, print, and distribute, so they were outsourced to India to cut costs. Nobody at corporate checked them. Quality was immaterial. Costs went down and the numbers looked good, so who cares? It took years to get corporate to use an American company instead. The quality improved, but not hugely. It just wasn't that important to corporate.

Ditto with the new computer systems. Cheaper on paper. No oversight. Gotta keep an eye on those numbers...

Online Education? SURE! I mean, we won't test it first, or make it voluntary before axing our traditional classes, but it's something we can crow about to prospective students and the market. Full steam ahead! Look at those numbers!

Numbers! Numbers! Numbers! Gotta get the numbers up!

Then I left ITT (which is a story of corporate fail unto itself). Later, I got a job with The Art Institutes. Which, here in Indy, is literally right across the highway from ITT. In some of the most unique buildings in town.

Indy's 'Pyramids'. They're kind of cool, but noisy in the rain.
So I got hired at AI Indy (not publicly traded), and...

No Numbers!

They were never once mentioned. I mean, I'm sure that the Dean and the college administrators had goals, including numbers, from corporate. But they never once got mentioned to the instructors or even the department heads. Our staff meetings concentrated on such strange, unusual subjects as:
  • Company Policies and Procedures
  • How To Teach Better
  • Discipline Procedures
  • Attendance & Work Policies
  • Solutions To Specific Problems We Were Having
  • Future Plans For The College (new programs, expansions, etc.)
We would get new equipment or software and... it would work! Instead of dodgy Indian textbooks, we had suggested lists of standard books from high-quality US publishers to use. If we didn't like those we were free to choose our own books. We were even free to construct our own class curriculum if we wanted to and our supervisors approved.

Standards were upheld. Students were allowed to fail if they didn't perform. I had a couple of classes where I failed half of the students and nobody above me blinked an eye, or sat down to discuss 'realities' with me. Attendance policies had teeth. Copying and plagiarism were taken seriously as offenses, even when they could have been easily swept under the rug because only a couple of people knew what had happened.

Visits from corporate were lighthearted and useful, instead of of demoralizing. We actually looked forward to them.

Now, was AI perfect? Heck no. It was still a for-profit education corp with certain problems that all such corps share. There were plenty of warts. Such as spending far more on recruiting students than actually teaching them. Or when my classes were interrupted so that someone could 'talk to' a student that hadn't made a required tuition payment.

But there wasn't the same day-to-day obsession with numbers that plagued ITT when I was there. Corporate was instead focused on what was really important to the long-term health of the business they were in. Next quarter's numbers didn't matter as much as next year's, or the next decade's. Instead, they concentrated on strategies, making sure stuff worked, addressing problems with processes, upholding the school's reputation, and making sure that we were free to do our jobs and help students succeed.

You could see the difference in the Staff's morale, and more importantly, the quality of the student work. Both companies displayed their student work everywhere. But while ITT's displays were awful, amateurish,  and depressing, the work we saw at AI from our students was pretty damned outstanding in comparison.

Yeah, But That's Just One Company!

ITT may have been a particularly bad case of stupid/distracted management. But it's not the only one. Or the worst. I've worked for companies during the tech boom where REALLY stupid things were done simply because the management wanted so badly to go public and become overnight millionaires. Usually that meant that someone wiser and craftier ended up with their company instead.

Why did Microsoft (a public company) try to buy Yahoo a couple of years ago? Yahoo had nothing they needed in terms of technology or services. Buying them wouldn't do anything to help MS compete with Google in search or anything else. Yet Balmer was eager to buy them. Why? Because he was desperate to do something that would goose the stock price. MS had nothing to excite the market with in terms of product, so he was ready to waste Microsoft's cash on an acquisition that would make headlines. Dumb, and driven by an obsession with numbers that help Balmer personally, but not the business.

Or, why did Apple (a public company) recently release a sub-par iOS update? Or 2 sub-par OSX updates? Well, it was to goose their numbers. Apple was sheltered from the stupid obsession with numbers for a long time because Steve Jobs didn't care very much about the market. He was a founder of the company and his desire to make great products and build a legacy were more important to him than the next quarter's numbers, or much of anything else. He got away with it because he kept producing hits that caused the stock price to keep climbing.

Then he got sick and his influence waned. Apple suddenly switched to more regular scheduled updates to it's products (keep the numbers smoother), and the schedule became more important than the product.  Then he died and quality got knocked down a few more rungs on the ladder of corporate goals. Now Apple is scrambling internally to push it back up. But they're fighting their incentives to be numbers-focused instead of product-focused. Because they're a public company that has to balance their market image in addition to their day-to-day business, and Jobs isn't there to magically wave away market realities anymore.

It Doesn't Have To Be This Way

Corporations Don't Have To Go Public. There's other ways to generate cash for new projects without shackling yourself to the whims of the stock market and it's short-term thinking. Some are old, like bank loans. Some are new, like venture capital funds. Where you can control who gets your stock in exchange for cash, and avoid the chaos of the open market.

In fact, going Public is getting less and less popular.

From this article in The Economist:
The number of public companies has fallen dramatically over the past decade—by 38% in America since 1997 and 48% in Britain. The number of initial public offerings (IPOs) in America has declined from an average of 311 a year in 1980-2000 to 99 a year in 2001-11. Small companies, those with annual sales of less than $50m before their IPOs—have been hardest hit. In 1980-2000 an average of 165 small companies undertook IPOs in America each year. In 2001-09 that number fell to 30. Facebook will probably give the IPO market a temporary boost—several other companies are queuing up to follow its lead—but they will do little to offset the long-term decline.
Corporate chiefs complain that the combination of fussy regulators and demanding money managers makes it impossible to focus on long-term growth. Shareholders are also angry. Their interests seldom seem to be properly aligned at public companies with those of the managers, who often waste squillions on empire-building and sumptuous perks. Shareholders are typically too dispersed to monitor the men on the spot. Attempts to solve the problem by giving managers shares have largely failed.
Public Corporations are just one way to structure a business and raise capital. But the rise of investment funds, the one-click attention span of the internet investor, and the downsides of granting stock options to corporate officers (to avoid high tax rates on their salaries) is making it a much less desirable corporate form than it used to be. 

Some famous/big PRIVATE corporations:

  • Lucasfilm (before Disney bought it last week for $4.5 Billion)
  • Nationwide Mutual Insurance
  • Ernst & Young
  • PriceWaterhouseCoopers
  • Mars Inc. (The Chocolate Company)
  • Bechtel Corp. (largest engineering company in the US)
  • Chrysler (now in their 31rst consecutive month of sales growth since going private)
  • Koch Industries (Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny paper towels, various sub-companies)
  • Cargill
  • AMC Entertainment (Theaters)
All of these companies absolutely dwarf GW in sales, profits, growth, and by every other measure. Yet they can make their business decisions independent of whatever the market in general, or any particular investment fund manager, may think. Letting them focus on the long-term goals of the business instead of the short-term whims of the market.

But Isn't Battlefront Becoming Evil Now Too?

Oh please. They made one stupid decision about non-BF models in their directly-sponsored tourneys, listened to the outcry, and then backed half-way down in response. The owner of the company responded personally. Did Kirby or Wells ever apologize to us about Finecast? Or the Australia embargo? Or price increases? GW's stupid decisions are more common than BF's by at least a couple of orders of magnitude. Like ITT, their obsession with market numbers has led them to stupidities like the one-man stores and cutting dev resources for new rules and models.

Battlefront's game is still far better designed than 40K, gets regular updates, has a supported (albeit imperfect) tournament system, and they release cool new stuff EVERY FRIGGIN WEEK! Just like GW used to back in the good old days. Except that they aren't as greedy as GW was, even back in the early/mid 90's when GW was the most professional game company out there by far. Would GW ever have handed out free rulebooks for a new edition? Heck no!

And if I don't like BF's models? (which mostly, I don't) I can still buy models from anyone else I want to, and use them as much as I like in any tourney that BF isn't directly sponsoring. But by their new 51% rule, even my new early war army, with it's 14 plastic Zveda tanks and armored cars, would be perfectly legal. Since I'm still using 18 BF models in the army. Didn't plan it that way, it just happened.

Even Privateer, which gets crap about being a mini-GW, is obviously not as stupid or short-sighted as GW. Their game is still growing in players as GW's shrinks.

So don't just say "That's just how it is!". Because it isn't. Companies choose to go public, or not. The consequences of which will dictate their freedom of action for years to come. Don't let them off the hook for their stupid, greedy decisions. Because there are alternatives out there.

Expect Better.


  1. For-Profit Education = worst idea ever. This is what happens when you rely on the invisible hand to solve all problems.

    Most organizations optimize to maximize the properties that are measured. Anything else tends to be accidental. Companies with strong leadership, passion, and culture can resist falling into the quarterly profit trap. Unfortunately to many managers and CEO's are more passionate about their paychecks than the products they sell.

    1. For-Profit Education has it's problems, but so do non-profit schools. I've seen worse than ITT in the non-profit sector. Ivy Tech comes to mind (worked there too), and I've never been impressed with anyone who's come out of the Herron School of Art down at IUPUI either. I treasure my Alma Mater (a top 10 art school that still had big problems) more and more every day.

      But the whole education sector is in for a rude awakening once the Federal student loan faucet finally shuts off. Which the for-profit schools depend on far more than the non-profit ones.

      Regardless though, any industry is going to have it's good and bad companies. The Public ones just have extra incentives to be bad. It's built into their structure, and is something that they have to constantly fight against. I'm not going to say that public companies are across-the-board bad, but I do think that their usefulness to society is limited by their very real flaws in today's world. And that better options now exist for starting a company without having to accept those flaws as normal.

    2. :-) Working at a "not for profit" school, you get things like tenure, unions, etc... Everything run by committee, etc... Efficiency is not a concern, and in many cases frowned upon..

    3. Every conceivable way you can organize people to perform a task has problems in the long run. Leadership, inspiration, and passion are always in conflict with apathy, ego, and greed. Organizational structures are multipliers not the base value when it comes to human effort.

    4. Some structures are also dividers. :)

  2. If only someone like Andy Chambers had made enough with Blizzard to lead a group to take GW private.

    1. My impression is that the current CEO of GW is trying to do exactly that. Watch the stock percentages over the next few annual reports. You'll see what I mean. He has to do it slow and careful though. Buying too much stock too soon will send the share price soaring beyond his means and simply encourage other minor stock holders to sell up. That would open up the gates for someone like EA to buy up GW because of the successful video game franchise in much the same way (and for much the same reason and with much the same result for the tabletop side of things) as when EA bought up FASA a decade or so back.

      That would not be good.

    2. My own impression is that GW's board knows the vice it's in and wants out. Which is why Kirby was booted from the CEO slot. His large stock holdings make him reluctant to do the things they need to do (lower dividends, get the stock price up) to get out from under the investment funds' heels. By making themselves less attractive to those sorts of investors over time.

      Or maybe I'm wrong and it's simply an accident that their fund ownership has dropped sharply in a year. Or maybe we're to blame for that. Who knows?

      GW is at least moving forward under Wells with digital development. Not in the way that I'd prefer, and the game itself still stinks, but at least they're trying to make improvements.

    3. Yup, those first two paragraph pretty much sum up my impressions too. The only thing I don't agree with in your statement is that the game stinks. But arguing that point would be getting way off topic (and probably futile).

  3. Very interesting article. Someone with some influence at GW should read this and take a leaf out of your book.



    1. Even if they agreed with me, they gotta do what they gotta do. They're trapped in a situation of their own making. The time for choosing a different path was 10+ years ago.

  4. It all sounds good doesn't it? So are you going willing to take a paycut at work to ensure your company survives? Anyone? Of course not! Until society becomes less greedy it will never happen. You can speculate all you want, but it WILL be this way until something drastically changes. I am not saying it is the best way to run a business, but numbers don't lie. They have no prejudice. Everyone who invests wants what? Well? They want money. Do they care where it comes from? NOPE! Would any of you invest your 401K in a compeny or fund that under performs?


    1. Which is why you shouldn't shackle yourself to public investors who only care about some abstract numbers that few of them actually understand.

      You can make lots of money without going public, and numbers do lie. All the time. It's all in the interpretation you wrap them up in.

    2. That being said, you could argue that going public was what saved GW from going bust about ten-fifteen years back. The mistake they made was going too public and not retaining a controlling interest of at least 51%.

    3. In that sense they were lucky. Look what happened to the guy who formed Wargames Factory. He gave away 51% of his company to the Chinese factory that produced his miniatures (in return for getting them to produce his miniatures) and was there-after promptly sacked from his own company.

      Of course, that takes business naivety to a whole new level.

    4. Something similar happened to the guys that founded Pacific Data Images.

      They got in bed with Dreamworks to produce their first computer animated movie after Toy Story was released. Dreamworks became their 'partner' and encouraged them to expand their commercial-making business beyond the amount of work that was available. Of course every time they ran out of money, Dreamworks was ready to help... if they handed over a little more equity. Soon enough Dreamworks had 51% of the company, kicked out the founders, and started running things directly.

      Talking to those guys when I was working there, they had stars in their eyes and were just waiting for their chance to do an IPO. Never happened. Poor schmucks.

    5. Paycut vs being unemployed if the company goes belly up?

      I've been there. The employees got together with the CEO, and CSO. All 40 of us agreed to pay cuts. The administrators took bigger percentage cuts even, because 'a lot of you guys are young, and need the money more than we do'. Then again, we were a small company, and knew each other fairly well.
      Part of the difficulty was that we had to be beholden to investors, not to the founders' longer term vision.

      since the dark days, the company was sold, and is now owned by a giant electronics conglomerate. I don't know how it is now. I left.

  5. I'm not sure it's a good analogy to compare Apple to GW. Apple was creating new markets with each new product launch. iPods, iPads and iPhones are pretty much synonymous with a certain type of product. Apple brought in people who would never have dreamed of owning such things previously and made consumers out of them.

    GW isn't creating new markets with each new codex launch. I don't think the entry of new players really corresponds to new codices at all. Really they're just refreshing their existing product. Who does that appeal most to? Surely it's the existing player base, right?

    The argument used to be that we needed all the codices to be renewed because the old ones were too bad and the new ones were too good, so there was that pressure to release prematurely. But 6th has evened the playing field so much that that's not really an issue any more.

    Releases are a way to entice people who already have a load of figs to buy even more. I think the new flashier, more consistent, more complete release schedule makes a lot of sense and I'm not even convinced that it's bad for the hobby.

    1. I think it's fair.

      Games Workshop COULD be expanding their business into new markets like Video Games, Card Games, etc. They've always had those sorts of opportunities, but they simply don't want to take advantage of them. Like Microsoft, they have their niche that they milk with a regular update cycle. Unlike Microsoft, they're happy not to expand beyond that. Which means that they have a life expectancy. Their niche is aging and dying. Microsoft's is shrinking too, as new kinds of devices steal their casual customers.

      Sony is another company that has a lot more capability then they ever make use of. As Steve Jobs once noted, they should have OWNED digital music. They had both the product (music and movies), and the tech expertise to deliver a device like the iPod and software like iTunes. They just never had the vision to do it. Then it was too late to do it.

      In the same way, GW could be a Video Game, Comic, and/or film powerhouse right now if they had made the right investments years ago. Buying THQ would have been a very good move and gotten them into video games in a very strong way.

      Another good move for GW RIGHT NOW would be to get into 3D printing. They could OWN that market if they develop the pipelines and software to deliver custom miniatures to customers. Or they could just buy a company like Shapeways. Either way, they could turn the 3D printing threat into a win for the company by becoming the established provider. Download their iPad app, pose the model, swap whatever bits you like, and choose your colors. Then Gw prints it, packs it, and delivers it within a day or two.

      But no, instead of co-opting the technology, they'll fight it with lawyers. Ask the music publishers how well that worked out for them.

      Has 6th really evened the playing field? Really? That's not what I'm hearing from local players that I talk to. It has driven away a lot of competitive players though. So maybe that's the difference.

  6. Are you really back to GW bashing? I remember a promise.... You can't point your finger at GW and say, "Bad GW you should have changed what you did 10 years ago" with any real conviction. I guess hindsight is 20/20 and anyone can complain about whatever they want if the money isn't coming out of their pockets.

    This article started out very intereting and is now turning into a one sided cup of haterade.

    1. You can try and wave it off as hate, but that's not what it is. It's more like watching a crazy old uncle do some things you like, and other things that disappoint you.

  7. Calling the iOS update bad is ridiculous. They don't charge for OS updates, it has nothing to do with their numbers. More importantly, the Maps app works fine for most people, bad directions do happen outside of the USA, but Google's data isn't perfect internationally either. The last 2 OSX Updates were sold at lower prices than any other OS release, and both were major improvements. You're being ridiculous with this crap, are you just reading gizmodo or something?

    1. Apple doesn't charge for iOS updates, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't impact the stock (see the recent drop). The market compares features of iOS vs. Android and makes decisions about their relative competitiveness that directly impacts stock purchases. If they didn't, the upgrade wouldn't be such a news item. Does the market go all-a-flutter when Microsoft releases a minor patch? Or does it only take notice when a service pack is released that might fix some notable flaw?

      And iOS6 is a bad update, as it removes functionality that I had before. My iPad and iPhone keep bugging me to upgrade, but iOS6 adds nothing useful that my devices (iPad2, iPhone4) are actually allowed to use, aside from the maps app. But it lacks a street view function, which is a deal-breaker for me. Because taking virtual walking tours of other cities/countries is one of my kids' favorite things to do. I could give a toss about voice directions.

      As for OSX, I upgraded to Lion to get the promised iDevice cloud compatibility and it wasn't there. But it did axe Rosetta (no more Office 2004) and make god-aweful changes to the UI and the way that my files were opened and saved. It slowed down my 2008 laptop, screwed up my workflow, and generally offered nothing in return for the trouble. I spent lots of money on hardware and software upgrades to try and make it work for me, but finally had to down-grade back to Snow Leopard to get any real work done. Like Vista, the OS was fighting me instead of fading into the background and doing it's job. Which is why I switched over to Mac in the first place.

      Gizmondo is crap. I speak from experience. :P

    2. The one time I used the new maps it dropped me more than a mile away from my destination. That was for an address in Ohio. 99% accuracy for directions is good enough right?

    3. LOL!

      In Apple's defense though, the day that iOS6 came out Google maps thought that my local Walgreens was a store in Massachusetts. Then I tried to get directions to a different Walgreens and it dropped me 5 miles away in the middle of some cornfields.

  8. Doh the reply function seems broken.

    Anyway I don't disagree that GW could/should diversify its product. My point was that GW's core products aren't like Apple's and that it's not a sign of GW failing that they go about selling them differently.

    In terms of appealing to new media, GW is pretty stodgy but they're not THAT bad. The partnership with Relic is good because it insulates them from ALL of the risk from this multi-million dollar game development business.

    With THQ's recent struggles I don't think that it really would have been such a hot move to buy them up.
    If THQ goes under then GW should definitely step into the publisher role for Relic though, or at least support the staff and help them to continue to publish GW games.

    1. Well of course GW's products will have to be sold differently. Games are not computers after all. But my point was that if GW had some vision and vitality, there are ways that they could innovate and open up new markets for themselves. They don't have to stay trapped in a niche, any more than other companies do. It's a choice that they make every day.

      Sorry, I meant to say Relic, not THQ.

      The problem with insulating yourself from all the risk is that you also insulate yourself from most of the rewards.

      That's why Pixar went Public, got the cash to fund it's own development, and was able to get a much fairer deal with Disney after Toy Story. Because they were able and willing to take on a larger share of the risk on their films, they got a much larger slice of the profits. After a few more movies (and expiration of the existing contract) Disney had to pay a LOT more for the rights to distribute Pixar's films. Culminating in a very lucrative purchase of the studio by Disney that could almost be seen as a Pixar takeover of Disney's creative management.

      Pacific Data Images never got that chance. They made a top-tier movie (Shrek) for Dreamworks, but were never able to fund their own development. End result: They got absorbed by Dreamworks for a song as their working capital dried up.

    2. I dunno didn't GW make like £1.6m from Space Marine? To put it in perspective, that's around 20% of their total profits for 2011. Seems good to me.

      Gearing up to be a games producer is fine and dandy but I don't think GW actually cares about narrative. They want to make a universe that other people can make stories in. The status quo actually fits that ethos pretty well. I don't think it harms the hobby either, it'd be worse if they decided to make all their own video games and snuffed out Relic et al.

    3. GW paid for that one I believe. It wasn't a licensing situation like with THQ/Relic.

    4. Wow, really? Shows what I know -_-

  9. While you guys are discussing this, don't you realize you hit 500 followers?

  10. 'Expect better'

    Preach, Sandy!

    Now, can we get someone to design decent missions for FoW?
    I played 'hold the line' the other day, as the defender.
    The attacker's reserves arrive behind you, right next to where they'll be sure to put an objective.
    So stupid.

    1. That one is pretty retarded. :)

    2. Oh my gosh! I just knew eventually someone would post about how great FOW is......Oh! Ends up it was just a poor mission from FOW. Man they are going down the drain as a company....LOL

    3. Spag, I'm sorry that I think FoW is a better game than 40k, but I do.
      I have 5 times as much money invested in 40k than I do FoW, and believe me, I would love to be able to tolerate 40k, and GW, enough to pull my two 40k armies outta the closet, but thanks.
      Hey, man- if you love 40k, that's cool. More power to ya!
      Don't be a fanboi, though, okay?

    4. "Oh my gosh! I just knew eventually someone would post about how great FOW is......Oh! Ends up it was just a poor mission from FOW. Man they are going down the drain as a company....LOL"

      yeah. fanboi comments like this are why I don't post anymore.

      I have no interest in spending more money on 40K, and have thought about unloading all of my 40K stuff. I don't see the point in spending that much for 40K, when I can spend half as much, and enjoy a game system as much as not more than I enjoyed 4th-5th ed 40K.
      I haven't played a single game of 6th ed 40K. I'm ok with that.
      While FoW may have it's flaws (some missions and tournament scoring) I find BF's efforts to be exorbitantly more appealing than the 'efforts' GW puts forth.

      I prefer a company I feel thinks about rules and balance before it turns cranks out models, and jacks up prices.
      As the recent interview with Cruddace points out, rules are (and I feel the Game of 40K) are an afterthought to GW. I'm under a strong impression that 40K as a game, merely exists as a sales mechanism for overpriced models.

      now, I'll get back to my Early War stuff.

    5. "I'm under a strong impression that 40K as a game, merely exists as a sales mechanism for overpriced models."

      Of course it does. That's why GW are a successful business as opposed to a bunch of guys putting on product from their garage or garden shed. Do you really think that Battlefront put out Flames of War (or their own miniature line) for some other reason than to make money from their hobby?

    6. I understand that as a company, BF and GW are both in business to make money. I have no delusions about that.

      Part of my point was that for GW, the game, and rules are an afterthought.

    7. Now I understand. To an extent you're probably spot on. After all, GW design a model and THEN design rules for it. Or so I'm told.

    8. @Sin Synn,

      I am the fan boi? You are the one that posted about FOW in a post that has nothing to do with the actual post. But of course since you and some friends decide you like something better, I am the bad guy for writing something that doesn't align with your "preferred game". Come on really? Did I antagonize you? Of course I did.


      There was a reason I gave you my FOW stuff in a lopsided trade. I didn't enjoy the game at all. I spent hundreds of dollars on it and won almost every game but really just didn't like it. AT ALL! Do you see me bashing every FOW post? No. It is a great game to a lot of people and that is cool. The more people playing miniatures is awesome. I even tried to involve FOW in the Indy Open but the people who organize said events weren't interested. I will always speak my mind. And the fanboiism that is FOW has already became annoying enough on every anti GW post we have. We can all coexist in the same arena. There are differences and I can appreciate that. At least FOW players aren't as bad as .......


    9. I'm sorry that you didn't like Flames. But it's not fanboy-ism when SinSynn, Farmpunk, and I will all freely admit that Battlefront does stuff that we don't like. We like their game (but not necessarily their models) anyway. Because the good outweighs the bad by a pretty wide margin. Mostly because we do have other model options available and the rules really are that good.

      Whereas whenever I write something that might possibly be construed as not-nice towards GW, you jump up and down like a cheerleader on crack for your favorite company. Chill dude.

  11. Your statement is wrong. I do not comment on every FOW post you make. Do I defend 40k the same way you do FOW. Let me see, 3 of you "Jumped up and down like a cheerleader on ..." when I made a comment on FOW.

    Kind of Ironic isn't it? Or maybe not because some people cannot see in themselves the same they see in others. Which is when something they like is discussed in a negative manner they want to speak up about it.

    The FACT is that someone made a promise to stop writing negative posts about a certain company as it was a turn off to many but... But I DO APPRECIATE you writing anything as you have a great mind and great insights to this Man Barbies world. I do appreciate FOW as it is another game that helps the hobby.

    SO let's all follow Michael Jackson's advice of "I'm starting with the Man in the mirror".

    1. Spag, my statement wasn't wrong.

      You jumped straight to the insults as soon as one person, SinSynn, brought up Flames. Whereas my first response to that post was to agree with SinSynn that one of the FoW missions isn't that good. Your insults invited response, and I stayed out of it until you persisted. So I don't think that you have any higher ground to stand on here.

      I didn't promise to not post anything 'negative' about GW. I said that I was done talking about 6th on the blog. Which I am. My opinions on 6th are known to everyone here and since I'm not playing it, I have nothing of interest to add to the discussion.

      I'm also way past being angry about the state of 40K, and have decided instead to focus on solving the problems I see in my own way. I would much rather show everyone how a game should be made, than sit here and wish for GW, contrary to all their history, to do it for me. I don't believe in magic.

      But the inner workings of GW are still something that I'm interested in, and have opinions about. Just as I take interest in the inner workings of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and others. So you're going to get the occasional post GW, the company. They're not going to be angry posts (because I'm past being angry), but they might not be glowing compliments either.


out dang bot!

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