Tabletop Industry: Competition is Good

spy-vs-spy

Every month the major companies keep expanding into each other’s markets. That’s good news for consumers.

Remember back in the day when GW ruled tabletop miniatures and everyone else didn’t.  It looks VERY different out there in the market.

Take a look at the major product lines and tabletop sectors the following companies are expanding into:

games-workshop-logo

Games Workshop

Miniatures Sci-fi: Warhammer 40,000

Miniatures Fantasy: Age of Sigmar (some argue it’s Sci-fi)

Board Games: Many with more on the way via Specialist Games

vendor-FFG-2001

Fantasy Flight Games

Miniatures Sci-fi: X-Wing, Armada

Miniatures Fantasy: RuneWars (rand and file no less)

Board Games: Too many to count

RPGs: Star Wars

privateer-logo

Privateer Press

Miniatures Fantasy: Warmachine

Board Games: Level 7 (Sci-Fi)

RPGs: Warmachine (Iron Kingdoms)

 

Mantic-Logo-NL1

Mantic Games

Miniatures Sci-fi: Warpath, Deadzone

Miniatures Fantasy: Kings of War

Miniatures Historical: Kings of War Historicals

Board Games: Dungeon Saga, Walking Dead, Dreadball, Mars Attacks

 

vendor-Warlord-2001

Warlord Games

Miniatures Sci-fi: Gates of Antares, Judge Dredd

Miniatures Historical: Bolt Action, Hail Caesar, Black Powder, Pike & Shotte

Board Games: Several

 

paizo-horz

Paizo Publishing

Miniatures Fantasy: Pathfinder Battles Minis

Board/Card Games: Pathfinder Adventure Card Game

RPGs Fantasy: Pathfinder

RPGs Sci-fi: Star Finder

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Battlefront/GaleForce 9 Games

Miniatures Historical: Flames of War, Team Yankee

Miniatures Fantasy: Dungeons & Dragons (via GF9)

Board Games: Several (Star Trek, Dungeons & Dragons, etc… via GF9)

cmon-horz

CMON

Miniatures Sci-fi: Dark Age, Wrath of Kings

Board Games: Arcadia Quest,  many many more.

 

There are of course dozens more but over the last 5 years we have seen not only a tremendous amount of growth of quality products and game lines in the industry, but the aggressive expansion by successful companies into the various segments of the market:

  • Table Top Miniatures
  • Board/Card Games
  • RPGs

Companies are no longer sitting on thier laurels in a single niche, but instead pushing their wholly owned or licensed IP out into new markets, often setting up dramatic head to head competition with the other big companies out there.

Some Market Battles to Watch

Here are just a few of the new competing ranges we are looking forward to:

star-trek-fight-triskelion

Pro Tip: Always bet on Kirk

Age of Sigmar vs Runewars vs Kings of War.  We are all eagerly waiting to see how FFG’s entrance into the rank and file fantasy tabletop miniatures fares. With the youthful Age of Sigmar and Mantic’s Kings of War already in the market it will be one to watch.

runewars-miniatures-game

How will the newcomer fare in the market?

Kings of War Historicals vs Warlord’s Historicals. Historical gaming has always had a disconnect between the companies making the rulesets and the companies making the miniatures.  Mantic’s latest offering of a historical army rules expansion is moving the company into a new market currently dominated by folks such as Warlord Games and Battlefront.

kow mantic historicals

Intriguing market move…

 

Boardgame Shootout: Everyone vs Everyone. We have things like Privateer Press expanding into Sci-Fi with Level 7, GF9 doing Star Trek and D&D titles, and Games Workshop ramping up Specialist Games to do battle with FFG’s ever expanding board game line (with a heavy Star Wars emphasis). Then we have CMON growing strong. You can’t walk 10 feet without stumbling across a high quality boardgame with great “mini” playing pieces these days.

GF9_STARTREK_Game_Spread_M

Modern board games have come a long way since Sorry

 

sorry-classic

Role Playing is Growing Like a Weed: Paizo and D&D are obviously the dominant players, but FFG and Privateer are knocking out RPGs, and GW has a long history of RPG efforts.  All eyes will be on them in the months ahead with their exhaustive IP to mine and the FFG license expiring.

Pathfinder-core-softback-cover

Is Brand Loyalty a Thing of the Past?

Years back it was fairly common to see players latch onto a single company and devote themselves to all of its products.  These days I see a lot more customers who are compnay agnostic and devoted instead to market segments. So instead of a “GW Customer” who would buy up everything from Gore Chosen to Battlefleet Gothic, you now see “RPG Customers” who are happily snapping up everything from Storm King’s Thunder to Star Wars Force and Destiny and Iron Kingdoms.

It will be interesting to see how customer loyalty evolves in our ever expanding industry but one thing is clear – there has never been a better time to be a tabletop gamer than now.

~ What kind of gamer are you and do you shop around, or stick to you favorite company?

  • WellSpokenMan

    Locally, WarmaHordes and Infinity are facing off with the edge currently going to Infinity. I ‘m curious to see if that plays out other places. Guild Ball has growing at a really fast rate as well. Malifaux on the other hand never really took off.

    • Moik

      I’m going to infinity, and beyond.

    • ZeeLobby

      Guild Ball came out of nowhere it almost feels like but it’s HUGE at my LGS. Infinity is def winning vs WMH though. I just can’t do the anime.

      • This happened at my FLGS (and Jesus do I not get the appeal) and it’s definitely been reflected in the store’s priorities.

        • ZeeLobby

          Luckily my FLGS is pretty open as far as priorities go. That said, MtG is still top dog, and definitely takes over the space whenever an event is running.

    • Agent OfBolas

      In my city, and even country, games that are played recently are X-Wing, Infinity and Bolt Action. Nothing more.

      I can’t name a single player of AoS, I know guys are buying some models from time to time but it’s marginal (even shops stopped to fill their shelfs with AoS). Sometimes there is a big WH40k event, but players are moving towards Infinity and Bolt Action, mostly due to costs and … fun.

      • Hawt Dawg

        No just no.

  • NovaeVox

    *Ahem* Privateer Press’ RPG is Iron Kingdoms.

    • Xodis

      They dont even have WotC listed so not too much thought was probably invested lol

  • ZeeLobby

    RuneWars man, my body is ready.

    • Hawt Dawg

      Cheap as usual I see.

      I love it!

      • ZeeLobby

        Haha, I missed my ranked combat. And while KoW works for some, it’s pretty shallow for me.

        • Muninwing

          i think it’s funny that GW bought into the idea of “we need faster, smaller games that are based on skirmish style rules, like the other ones that are succeeding!”

          and now we are seeing the older rank-and-file ones springing up… almost as if the two are fundamentally different, and as if GW owning that market for so long was a force of dominance… and when they just abruptly exited, they left plenty of space to be snapped up that they realistically could have held on to…

          • ZeeLobby

            It’s really just the sheer number of models they required. It’s like they can’t help starting small and rapidly progressing to larger model counts to sell sell sell.

          • Muninwing

            that was one of the things that always attracted me to it… the look of a fully ranked-up army was always impressive to me.

            and while i get that skirmish games are faster and they have fewer parts (and less buy-in), that was always fine with me. if you want a smaller game, play a smaller game.

            but i liked larger games. i like throwing down 2000 points and spending a few hours. that’s the allure to me, not a drawback.

            and sure, i had a 2500-point list for 40k that contains 32 models (none are superheavies either, and all from one codex), but i’ve faced 2500 points or orks before and seen how many models that is. again, that’s what i like.

            i do think that GW really missed the boat on setting up fun play styles — but as cares for more than meatgrinder missions began to emerge in other games, GW cut prize and tournament and club support, meaning they relinquished their hold and made it all about sales instead… which paradoxically is a great way to kill sales.

            i’ve always liked the idea of a 40k General’s handbook… with missions and guides for creating more, with some structures for setting up narrative leagues and tournaments, with resources for both players and admin for running tournaments, and with some great options for styles of play options — including small-count, killteam/skirmish, and the like. with that, and had they done comparably for WHF, there would be reasons to play now-points games to try out new armies before committing to a huge outlay.

            there’s scales. and you’re right — GW focusing on bigger and bigger has only hurt their results. more importantly, fans have consistently predicted this time and time again, and they have not learned to listen.

            but forgive me, i do see some possibilities… and it’s maybe even more frustrating because i can see just how bad GW screws up because i have some idea of what it could have looked like.

          • Aezeal

            Now GW is increasing model sizes not count if you are honest.

          • ZeeLobby

            Haha. Too true. “Well reduce model count by taking this unit of 3 models that cost $40 per model out, and introduce this one model that’s 3x larger than one of those for $120”

          • Aezeal

            To be honest.. I’m pretty happy with my Allarielle, Drycha, 3 quite different poses for my treemen and my Kurnoth hunters.. I’ve got plenty good looking archers and dryads and was lacking these nice big models. What GW produced seems tailored for me 😀

    • Do we know what material their minis will be made with? I really wanted to get into their Star Wars game but the models are really disapointing

      • ZeeLobby

        I think all we know is plastic, but the detail looks great. I’d say definitely better than Mantic, and on-par with Warlord/PP. X-Wing and Armada minis were built to be pre-painted. These are meant to be modeled, and painted, so I’m guessing the detail would have to be crisper. At least that’s what I’m hoping.

        • That’s good to hear, the material for imperial assault tends to warp In funny ways

  • Jim Morr

    Age of Sigmar vs Runewars vs Kings of War? And where have you lost T9A? Sure it’s not a miniature company but there are a few miniature ranges dedicated to that system with next to come. It is a competition. No later then yesterday in ‘Wargames Illustrated’ poll T9A got more votes then AoS, KoW and warhammer 40k together…

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      T9A will not take off. You need to sell models to make local stores interested in your product. If and when they get their own range of models, more LGSes will take the game seriously and not view it as a squatter game.

      • Jim Morr

        T9A will never have its own range of miniatures understood as produced by T9A. But a number of companies do support the game, at least 4 Kickstarters have been launched.

        In fantasy traditionally game was bound with dedicated miniatures. But it is not true for historic wargaming – games like Bolt Action or FoW are miniatures (and sometimes even scale) independent. I hope T9A will break standard introduced by GW and will become first game not created to sell more minis.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Game stores won’t support it. Models are where the money is. Why support a game that doesn’t have models that people can get excited about? Supporting T9A means you are supporting a singular book.

          Unless you want to bring in a lot of 3rd party miniatures. But there is no guarantee they will sell. Not the way a game line’s models would. Especially not for the size of the games that T9A is shooting for.

          • Draecarion

            Shieldwolf Miniatures are now releasing an Orcs & Goblins starter set. See their current Kickstarter. Specifically intended to be used for T9A. More will follow.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Kickstarters are good and bad. They fund the games/models so we get to play with them but Kickstarters also tap a large percentage of the potential audience and therefore make it more difficult for shops to sell product. Give and take.

          • Draecarion

            I think you are overestimating the importance of LGS in this case.

            “T9A will not take off” is a statement I’ve read several times in the past … but T9A is growing and growing. So the LGS may not be as important for the success of a system that doesn’t sell models itself as you think. People increasingly just order models directly online and play in clubs, not in stores.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Clubs are not the go to here in the US. Our experience is dominated by stores.

            Clubs are indeed the environment that T9A can thrive in.

          • Draecarion

            Ah, ok. European perspective here 😉

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            Totally different environment, hehe.

          • Agent OfBolas

            All stores in my area supports T9A allowing to play it and they also organize tournaments = so your argument is invalid.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Never seen any 9th age games, but I hope it takes off. I think there is still room for a good fantasy R&F game with good models.

          • Agent OfBolas

            So you are really unlucky. In my country, whole WFB community switched for T9A, also in casual games just because it’s best version of Warhammer ever was, even if T9A guys are saying “it’s not a WFB” 🙂

            On top of that, T9A started to be the official tournament ruleset for all competitive, big WFB tournaments, like ETC.

          • Hawt Dawg

            i think you meant lucky.

          • Agent OfBolas

            not here – everything is dominated with T9A, everyone plays it, every single fantasy player jumped in this cool train called T9A.

            I’m checking a lot of games, and nothing comes even close to T9A ruleset. Especially for WFB fans.

          • Hawt Dawg

            I have no doubt about that.

            These days R&F is just not worth it.

          • Muninwing

            this might be true, but it does not invalidate the argument that the miniatures are still a huge issue — the reason stores support being sales means that if there’s nothing to sell there’s no reason to support.

          • Agent OfBolas

            Nope.

            Actually stores in my area works in different (better IMO) way. They are grouping gamers, no matter what they are playing, and they are making feel good beeing there – as a result, always someone will buy something, especially for T9A where basically ALL models are in line with rules because you can use any manufacturer, there is no limits, there is even no WYSIWYG.

            And all 3 large shops in my city are doing great, although the fourth, the one focused only on GW “because its best” and with very prohibitive attitude … was closed recently.

      • Agent OfBolas

        actually … T9A is HUGE. Literally huge in both – project and playerbase.

        All “old” WFB tournaments shifted officially for T9A, same in my club, if any R&F game is played, it’s T9A.

        Lack of required miniatures is great advantage, not disadvantage. T9A Ruleset is pure gold.

    • Hawt Dawg

      Dunno about 9th, but Runewars isn’t even released so there shouldn’t be any VS.

    • How would they even evaluate T9A’s success, it’s not like the few mfgs officially supporting it have much of a retail footprint, and since mantic GW etc are all making compatible minis it doesn’t really seem like there’s a valid metric for gauging how the system is doing

  • frankelee

    Warlord should release a quick reskinned 40K supplement to go with Konflikt ’47. Who wouldn’t want to use all those beautiful models to play a game that’s actually good?

  • Andrew O’Brien

    No infinity? Also, I don’t think brand loyalty is dead, I just think some companies have lost site of it. It’s hard to be loyal to GW when there are cheaper equivalent paints, there models are split between GW & FW, and other brands have more affordable business models for their games.

    If one company provided me an easy and competitive means of getting everything I needed, or most everything, in one stop then I would be extremely loyal.

    • WellSpokenMan

      BoLS aren’t big Infinity fans. Not sure why, but the game doesn’t show up much on their radar. My guess is that Infinity is only big in a few markets and is non-existent in others

      • JPMcMillen

        I think Infinity was left off because it’s the only thing the company has (at the moment). I remember there being a KS for an Infinity RPG, but until they expand into some other area’s, they’re a one trick pony (but it’s a good trick).

        • Certs

          And the RPG is by licensed to another company (Modiphius) at that.
          Supposedly, they’ve stated in seminars that they’re actively looking at expanding into another game – but they’ve beening talking about it for years now and unsure if at the moment it’s just filler “wow” content for their seminars.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    The big wargames right now seem to be:

    – 40k
    – 30k
    – AoS
    – Infinity
    – Warmahordes
    – Malifaux
    – Bolt Action/Konflikt
    – Gates of Antares
    – Kings of War
    – Heroclix
    – X-Wing
    – Armada
    – Frostgrave

    I love having all these choices!

    The problem with so many competing game systems is that they will develop smaller followings, most likely becoming popular in particular stores or regions while being completely absent (or near to it) in other stores/regions.

    I myself feel like I play too many games. I cannot delve deeply into any of them because I am constantly switching between different systems.

    • Thats what has happened here. We have a bunch of small groups now with 4-5 people in them instead of a large pool of players in a smaller set of games.

      • JPMcMillen

        True, but with many of those choices being truer skirmish games, the cost of entry is lower so it’s possible for people to have forces for multiple games. If I had the time I’d definitely be up for playing about half the games in that list.

        • Yeah that’s absolutely true. I’ve noticed that a lot of guys will get a lot of forces for a lot of games but tend to stick to just one or two (their favorites).

          • JPMcMillen

            But eventually burnout can set in. So it’s good to have backup forces for other games.

          • MPSwift

            ^This. I’m a big fan of GW’s work but I think narrowing their scope to the “Big 3” of their instore games was a mistake. Used to be if you got hobby burnout you could pick up some BFG and paint spaceships or Blood Bowl and just paint a handful of models and have a complete different gaming experience to wargaming – essentially internal burnout mitigation within a single company. It’s great that they’re bringing it back and I’ll definitely be getting involved but I dipped into 3 other gaming systems to scratch that burnout itch in the interim.

        • Hawt Dawg

          I play with older people like myself, 40-50, and price is never an issue. Time is! Rank and file is out of the question and several people are still stuck with the same games because they have plenty already painted up for a few armies. The other half I play with that change games like most people change underwear, are looking more at games with low model count. We are talking a dozen models at most per side.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Which is going to be the death knell of these small communities. You need lots of players to drive diversity and innovation.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Same here. It is extremely divided. I play in two camps, 40K and Warmahordes. The 40K dudes are loyal as hell, so you know they will stick with that. but the Warmahordes dudes change games monthly.

    • blackbloodshaman

      But the pool itself is expanding…Malifaux has brought in players that wouldnt dream of playing warhammer due to model count

      • Aezeal

        I never minded the WFB rules and I like the AoS rules and current balance.

        • blackbloodshaman

          With WFB and 40K rules are not even the biggest problem…dropping 700+ on an army + books and paints and then spending the time to paint ~100 miniatures is.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Cheaper than my Minions for Hordes.

          • Muninwing

            you know you don’t have to do it like that, right?

      • Hawt Dawg

        Let me guess, they would loooooove to play Kings of War right?

    • Aezeal

      Some of the games (Besides AoS which is what I play) seem nice. But I hardly see any models which look as good as GW’s which is somewhat important and my wargame time is limited (1 evening/2 weeks I go to the shop max) which means that I don’t really have time to play more games or I’d only play the games 3 times a year each.. also it means that I spend more time looking at my models than playing with them.. and GW wins there :D.

      • blackbloodshaman

        A lot of people are though, I like Malifauxs minis way better. I like the simple elegence of a lot of historical. Most of GW’s stuff these days seems way over the top

        • Aezeal

          Malifaux aren’t bad.. most others are way worse though. I don’t like the warmahorde cartoony stuff at all for example and mantic doesn’t have a lot of good idea’s for models and even the good idea’s have a relatively poor execution.

  • Simon Chatterley

    Are Wyrd not considered a thing? They have a pretty popular skirmish game and an RPG out?

    Genuinely I’m interest to know.

    • JPMcMillen

      Something tells me they were probably right below the cutoff. Maybe the author felt they were just a little too small compared to the other companies. Look at Spartan Games, they have numerous mini games and not a single mention.

      • MPSwift

        Including Halo which you would like to think would be considered quite a big IP to handle!

  • Richard Mitchell

    I am a cosmopolitan player. Its like I tell people I fall in love with systems not companies. I am a customer not a devotee.

  • blackbloodshaman

    Wyrd deserves a mention here too

  • Gunsheeplol

    Mantic will be as unsuccessful in trying to corner the historical market as they have been with the fantasy market, mainly because their rules are poorly written and their games are boring.

    • Aezeal

      From the replies on BOLS I sometimes get the feeling Mantic only survives because of their skeletons 😀 (well I think it was mantic at least… )

      • Muninwing

        actually, i have to wonder how the shift of WHF->AoS will affect them…

        because the reason people loved mantic minis when they played WHF was that you could get a lot of decent-looking cheap filler models. you could get a ton of Mantic stuff, put them in the harder-to-see center of the unit or just kitbash them with some GW stuff, and save a ton of money building up your army.

        now that the rank-and-file is gone, and there’s no real need for that anymore… won’t they take a hit?

        • Draecarion

          There are a lot of people who prefer rank & file over skirmish.

    • Muninwing

      … and their miniatures are pretty lackluster in most cases too

  • Aezeal

    I’m brand loyal no doubt about it. GW needs to really do something terribly wrong before I’d stop .. I’d probably stop wargaming completely then… but can’t imagine it happening.
    I liked fantasy, I like AoS and I just love most of their mini’s.

  • Old zogwort

    Brand loyalty a thing of the past I wish : . GW stores are enforcing 100% brand loyalty and out competing local GW selling gaming stores all over the place reducing the in store options for other games drastically. Also a lot of their customers are brand zealots, just try and post an article about some cool Mantic or kromlech release.

    • Its really no worse than the anti-gw brand zealots that jump on people that post about a gw release.

      Its really just people jumping on people that like different things when you boil it down.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Amen!

      • Muninwing

        i’d say it is worse, if only because it is an applied effect rather than a theoretical one.

        because we can talk online for hours and debate all sorts of things… but i have only so much actual in-person gaming time to spend on playing.

        so if i go to GW’s store because i forget i used a Puppetwars arm on my Dreadnought as part of a conversion, and the lonely dude at the counter bars me from playing, then he’s wasted my time for no good reason.

        GW getting out of the prize support game was one of their biggest fubars. because they could be reasonable and support a “models are minimum 50% GW product” rule for their tournaments and everyone would adhere to it without question. but instead, they removed the reason for such stipulations, allowing the market to flood with third party bitz vendors, and then tried (poorly and improperly) to crack down on the non-gw products.

    • Admiral Raptor

      That must be in Britain or Europe. I can tell you with utmost confidence that GW in North America isn’t out competing anything.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Agreed! Kings of War own everything!

        • Admiral Raptor

          X-Wing actually.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Aw… I thought you would take the bait. 🙁

      • Muninwing

        weird… because i’m in North America, and 40k is still the biggest. there’s plenty of others, and X-Wing is big too, but GW product is still the king of the roost all over the place around here.

  • Admiral Raptor

    Brand Loyalty is utterly foolish. There’s all sorts of amazing people making amazing miniatures and games every day. Why would you tie yourself down?

    • Hawt Dawg

      Because amazing varies?

  • Muninwing

    the number of people who stuck with AoS’s poorly managed release shows that brand loyalty is in fact still alive and well.

    either that or optimism, because who could guess when they’d clear up the mess they created just with how they released the game, never mind the laundry list of issues at the game’s debut?