Tor Gaming – Maker of Relics – is Shuttering

The 7 year old company based in the UK announced its closing its doors.

Tor Gaming started offering Relics 2010, and over the years has added several expansions to it. The most recent, C’thu, was launched with a successful Kickstarter campaign. But, it’s gotten difficult for smaller, more niche manufacturers to keep a toe hold in the current crowded market. The owners of the company announced their intentions to close on Friday; not too long after Spartan announced they are closing.

The announcement:

Unfortunately, the last few years have been a difficult trading time for Tor Gaming. Running a business in a niche market is never easy but the gaming industry has become very crowded in the last few years for a number of reasons. As such, I have made the difficult decision to close Tor Gaming and sell off the Relics IP and product range.

The reasons for Tor Gaming closing are many faceted but as I mention above the gaming market is a much more crowded than it was when I started out. The arrival of crowdfunding platforms certainly shook up the industry and made it even easier for new companies to appear and vie for the limited funds our customers have to spend in this hobby of ours. I have made use of them a number of times for Relics and whilst they are good for raising funds I have found each time I ran a project I had a nasty taste in my mouth afterwards.

Coupled with the fact that the traditional ‘distribution model’ of selling product to end users through retailers is a difficult task in this industry as retailers have only so much shelf space and as such are less inclined try out every range that comes along makes continuing to trade in this industry as a producer is difficult.

Over the last couple of years we have seen a steady decline in sales and as such Tor Gaming no longer has the resources to spend on the marketing and advertising required to make our voice heard over all the other voices in this industry. This has ramifications on our ability to develop and produce new products to support the Relics line. We could continue by making use of more crowdfunding projects and moving away from the more traditional ‘distribution model’ for selling but I feel that would be the wrong decision as I am not happy putting the financial risk on to the shoulders of our customers.

It’s been a fun journey but as with all journeys, there has to be an end. For Tor Gaming, that end is here. The journey has been fun and exciting, even frustrating at times. But along the way we have met some great people in this hobby and I am proud to call many of them friends now!

They are looking for a new home for the Relics IP, which is filled with whimsical creatures and has a fair amount of lore behind it, and 28mm skirmish game. Those interested – and players with questions – can find contact information on the Tor Gaming website.

Friday proved to be a bad day for tabletop gaming. Hopefully this won’t start a trend.

  • Talos2

    THAts a shame, some of their stuff is really nice

  • Jared Swenson

    I think he says what every game developer is thinking: the market is extremely flooded right now. It’s ironic that while kickstarter has made it easy for new game companies to start producing their product and get some buzz going for it, it’s also made it extremely difficult to have an lasting impact or traction on the market.

    • CloakingDonkey

      I would actually argue that it made it much worse for these manufacturers of small fantasy/sci-fi skirmish games… They simply can’t compete with the insane kickstarters that f.e. CMON puts out every few months and their prime market, little groups of friends that pick up the game despite a lack of “regional meta” gets taken over by the likes of Super Dungeon Explore, Zombicide and Massive Darkness.

      • ZeeLobby

        Er… Some of those “insane kickstarters” are smaller companies though, for which it has been great. I think it’s suicide to launch a miniature game without Kickstarter these days if your a small studio though.

        • CloakingDonkey

          Some… most are definitely the big boys raking it in.

          • ZeeLobby

            Most is probably a stretch. Just browsing through most funded for tabletop games, I’d say only about half are big boys. Of course you do have to actually have good marketing and a quality product, but there have been one-man designer teams that simply never would have existed without KS. Considering in the past I’d Have never heard about, seen or been able to actually purchase any of those in the past, I fail to see how known companies on KS is the problem. KDM, Gloomhaven, Shadows, etc. It’s clearly a tool that works. The bigger question is why haven’t some of these struggling companies adopted it? In the end we don’t know “why” Tor and Spartan went under. It could just as likely be due to why most companies go under: poor marketing, bad management, etc.

      • JPMcMillen

        Well, there’s a chance that KS fatigue will begin to set in as people get tired of backing yet another $100-$150 board game (plus add-ons).

        Personally, I’ve been taking a lot longer look, and have let some KS games that I had some interest in just slip by. I’ve been trying to look more at smaller games ($50 and under) or single/small groups of mini’s.

        • CloakingDonkey

          Well seeing how Zombicide Green Horde just made 5 million dollars, I doubt the CMON kickstarter train will stop any time soon 😀 100-150$ every 3 months or so isn’t that much and they are absurdly good deals… The challenge is releasing stuff people want a good deal on 😀

          • JPMcMillen

            The problem is, CMON isn’t the only company releasing games like that. And while I have backed some CMON games, I’ve let way more pass by.

  • euansmith

    Ridend Knights are lovely minis. It is a shame that the Kapolop’s were such a pain to assemble.

    • Bran D

      Chocobo riding Skexis Knights, whats not to like! 🙂