Are the Big Games Dying?

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I’ve noticed over the past year that games such as Batman Miniatures game (BMG), Frostgrave (FG) and the new (to the club anyway) Marvel Universe Miniatures game (MUMG), seem to be grabbing more and more players, now what’s this down to? Well I’m sticking my neck out and saying the following.

  1. COST: I would say first and foremost this could be the main reason, the 3 games mentioned above need very few figures, a starter set for MUMG only cost me £35 and that includes the rule-book in the pack, and with FG you can easily use nearly any old fantasy miniatures you have. Compare this to Warhammer & 40K, a starter army isn’t going to leave you with much change from £100, and that’s not counting the rule-book and in a lot of  cases a separate army book.
  2. Transport:  face it, it’s easier to carry 10 figures than 100.
  3. Something different: any of us that have roleplayed D&D or the like can relate to a small band of heroes doing battle and grabbing treasure, FG brings this with and easy to use tabletop form in a fantasy setting, and what with the success of the Dark Knight and Marvel movies, I’m sure we all what a piece of that action on the tabletop. Where the only new stuff we get for 40K is bigger and more expensive tanks, knights and more rules. Fantasy has tried to move on, but (in my opinion) limited success, but still new releases seem to yet again be big kits containing special characters or monsters.

I might be right, I might be wrong, maybe the two Warhammer games need to go back to their skirmish roots.

2 thoughts on “Are the Big Games Dying?”

  1. Interesting stuff. I’ve persoanlly found myself out of love with 40K for a while now, the addition of formations hasn’t helped as it seems to result in more ‘power armies’ which simply aren’t fun to face.

    I’ve perosnally always been a big fan of skirmish games as it a) allows me to field a fully painted force and b) gives a greater connection to the figures on the table, take LoTR for example having the Fellowship take on bands of Orcs was great fun where as War of the Ring did nothing for me.

    In relation to the article, cost can be subjective using BMG as an example you can play the game for £25 but that can quickly increase, especially if like me you end up making themed boards etc… Transport has the same point, it’s easy to teansport the lower number of figures but the increased terrain demands of small games can make it more difficult to carry about.

    I think ‘something different’ has a lot to do with it, I’ve always been a bit of a magpie gamer so have been attracted to new things, there is a bit of fatigue with 40K, I’ve been playing it since 2nd Ed was released so it’s possible to just have played it too mkuch, but saying that I’ve been playing it since 2nd Ed so it definately has long term appeal.

    I’m torn over whether 40K/WFB should go more skirmish, I love the idea of massed armies, I think its the big stuff (or over use of big stuff) that makes the game suffer. AoS is more skirmish but that has had a polarising effect on the player base and tbh, I like the idea of block regiments…

    Time to bring this ramble to a close! What do other poeple think?

  2. I think cost is the primary factor in this, Along with choice/availability.

    15, no, not even that… 5 years ago, there wasn’t a great number of games available in the main stream (if you knew where to look, you’d be surprised just how many there are and have been since the 70’s!)
    Readily available rulesets & miniatures to go with them was always a bit of a rarity, I think thats one reason why Games Workshop have been so successful because everything you’ve needed to play has been right there to get. The ease of obtaining the stuff means you can actually just go for it and play the game without any hassle.
    Now though, there’s been such an explosion of rules & miniatures available that it is really really easy to get a starting force & the rules to go with it that people are starting to branch out more and more.
    That ease of branching out, with the exponential increase in the number of games, but with people’s hobby budget not increasing exponentially to cope, means that smaller games will probably be more appealing.
    I chuckled when you said £100 for a 40k starter force. To actually play the game will probably cost more like £200-250 for a decent game.
    with that same money (lets say £250), I can but X-wing core + 1 large expansion & 2 small (£65), Batman Starter + 2 blisters & Rulebook (£75), Marvel starter (includes book) (£35), Frostgrave Rulebook, henchmen box & Wizrd+Apprentice set (£45)
    There’s FOUR games, with starting sets, all the rules, + some extra bits for less!
    It’s no surprise that people are choosing to do that than put all their money into one game.
    That being said, there are other games, manufacturers & scales that are still popular & growing.
    Warlord games are growing year on year, their games are all large scale. The smallest being bolt action, which is really popular, but still requires 40-50 models per side. for an average game.
    The cost of a full bolt action force is still significantly less than the classic 40k force though, which again, is probably a reason why it’s doing so well (that, and the rules are all written by the same people!)

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