Thursday, September 29, 2011

Taking a moment to ponder



















I"ll end my all Lord of Rings SBG month of Blog Talk, with some food for thought. Our local tournament I have been talking about all month Bilbo's Birthday Bash, now has 33 registered and paid players. yes you read that correctly 33 "paid" players with 5 weeks to go for Lord of the Rings SBG. If you follow Lord of the Rings at all, you know its tight group nationally that travels alot. so half of the attendees are from out of town. Still 16 local players with 600 point painted armies..is blowing my mind, I have to tell you. When I started dabbling in this game in 2008 it was already waning as a GW core game, at the height of 7th Edition Warhammer, the first tournament I played in BBB 09, had 7 players and a ringer.  You never saw the game being played in GW store. The National events in 2010 were at an all time low attendance wise, resulting in the worst turnout in years at Adepticon this last spring.

So what the hell happened in the last six months.??? Well we all have our own opinions I am sure, but for me it has alot to due with WFB's 8th edition wearing out its welcome for alot of people (which was not helped at all by GW recent behavior in the customer relations department, (aka, Failcast, insane price increases, and price fixing'/gouging in AUS/NZ)  It's not just WFB defections, as for the record there are only a handful of people I know on the list who are former or on-hiatus WFB players, who did not choose to attend last weekends Core Competency event, which is "the" WFB fall tourney around here and only had 30 players turn out. Yes, you read that right 30..so three less the LotR current sign ups. If you told me 6 months ago, that BBB was going to outsell Core Comp, I would have told you I have a bridge to sell you. Now this isn't a slight at Core Comp, which is as great of a Warhammer event as you can get, (having played in 3 of them myself) but indicative in a change in player behavior.

Of course LotR SBG is still a GW game, yes rarely supported and treated as the red headed step child of the core games, and relegated to "Specialist Game", status for sometime now. Its large format cousin War of the Ring gets whatever attention GW has decided is merited and if your lucky you get updated SBG stats in White Dwarf. It easy to look the other way with this game and Games Workshop, its not their IP, with the majority of the sculpts by the Perry Twins and some of the better rules GW has written for game, and its the only game with low cost entry point, So there isn't much not to like, Company lack of support or behavior aside.  This game is 100% fan supported by fans, guys who like this game who have supported through thick and thin. I think most fans of the game, as well as non fans of game where hoping GW would drop the game when the contract was up, hoping someone else who wanted to support it would pick it up.  But with the new movies coming out next year GW eagerly persued and signed deals with Warner Brothers and renewed options with New Line Cinema. I dont think people realize there are lot of people out there who dont even play the game but collect the models, and people who do both have huge collections...as in "everything', not just an army or two. As result GW is all over the LotR for the new films, if the releases are SBG or WotR related I have no idea...part of the new cone of silence around GW new lack of information sharing has to do with strict confidentially agreements signed around the WB deal, so we wont see or hear anything on new releases I am sure until next fall at the earliest.

So much to the chagrin of various haters in both 40K and WFB camps the Lord of the Rings as a GW property isnt going anywhere anytime soon , in short its growing in popularity out a long period of neglect and stagnation because its something "good" thats been untainted by the years of GW bad decision making, The SBG has remained unchanged since the release of the big book. I think people are finding something consistent-refreshing. Compared to games you have thousands of dollars invested in that have army books that havent been updated in close to a decade and poorly written rules that can't keep pace with the splash releases or stand the test of multiple editions. In fact this game, is only damn consistent thing Games Workshop has done going back as far as 2007. I think people, around here anyway ,are catching to that fact. I have to ask you guys..is it just here? or are you seeing a resurgence of this game however minor in your area?

5 comments:

Tim Kulinski said...

John,

As you know we have a good group of folks out here in Phoenix AZ, and we have been attracting a few new folks to the game.

Also with me running Gathering in the Desert for the 5th year (Holy Crap batman, 5 yrs already!) we are staying strong on our numbers.

I think your right, I think folks are fed up with GW and are looking for other smaller games. We are seeing a ton of other games being played now (Helldrado, Infinity, Heavy gear, etc) as well.

By the way, when are you going to come to GitD? I have an open room for you man!

Back on topic, also with the Legends games (High Seas & Old West) being played more we are seeing folks come over to LotR.

My biggest worry though is that GW will start messing with the rules and change the game we love into something that they screw up.

Scott said...

I think you raise some good points there: The game 'works' without need for further tinkering with the rules (this is evident in spin offs like Legends of High Seas and Old West, and Rising Sun?).
Also you don't need a lot of models to get an army together, and a lot of those basic figures are cheaply available via ebay etc.
Plus as you say there is the fan base who just like the figures, and may get drawn into the gaming, once they've got them painted up... I hope it all bodes well for the future, and The Hobbit, brings more releases.

Tiny Legions said...

Well it seems that the old saying of "If its not broke dont fix it," seems to ring true here. GW has a bad habit of fixing something that is perfectly fine while not fixing the broken. I dont play LOTR but this seems that this is an example of being ignored and getting no support is a good thing.

xenite said...

It seems that the GW specialist games are their most interesting ones. They have honest fan support, and a more open feel to them. They seem to be GW's better rule-sets as well. The attitude on the gamer's part is vastly different as well. While not getting new models regularly, becoming a specialist game is all but the best thing to happen to one of GW's games!*

*OK, I am not being totally serious about this, but I do think that there is something very refreshing about the specialist games that WHx doesn't have.

Hilbert said...

My friend Lotr needs more love at most areas of the world

 

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