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Too many games with miniatures in it?

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  skodamarine 10 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 14 posts - 16 through 29 (of 29 total)
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  • #1345913

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    I should also point out I play Conan and Mythic Battles with entirely unpainted miniatures and I still think they still improve the experience, even in their unpainted form.

    #1345915

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    Is it also worth considering that one reason why Kickstarters don’t offer a miniatures only deal might be because in terms of cost, stripping away card components doesn’t noticeable reduce the cost of a game that contains a lot of miniatures therefore it’s not really worth doing?

    #1346083

    phaidknott
    Participant
    3186xp

    Not sure on that one, after all BattleTech looks fine with the minis and has a good visual aspect even though it’s played on a hex board.

    I think it’s more of an issue over the past decade and the advent of the Kickstarter that many of these games designers seem to focus on the miniatures and world first, and the rules become more of an after thought.

    BT has a GREAT set of rules (although many players these days might say they are too complex), and it’s the rules that have added to the longevity of the game over the “look” of the Mechs themselves. There’s been MANY mecha games come out over the years (some with better looking Mechs, take Dream Pod 9’s Heavy Gear for example), but for some reason BT still proves to be the main one.

    I think it’s the drive to make rules “casual friendly” perhaps, or simple that removes all character from the game (indeed if you look at many of the historical skirmish level rules, you could use them for any period…just change the equipment).

    It’s only when you get up beyond a skirmish level game where the period starts to affect things, Blackpowder and ACW for ranked volley fire, WW2 for the advent of massed tanks, Moderns for wider CinC elements and airpower. When you get up to operational level the changes in period and theatre become more evident and gives the rules more differential aspects from other sets of rules at the same operational level but covering different periods.

    To me it’s all about the rules, the minis are nice but it’s the rules that have me playing a game again and again. Nice minis just means they go on a shelf or not. Rules means how often they come off that shelf and onto a table.

     

     

     

     

    #1346104

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    I think what I am saying is that miniatures don’t add to the game itself, but they do add to the experience of playing the game. Tactically and strategically a Boardgame will be the same whether you use miniatures or not. Miniatures neither add to nor take away from a set of rules . But they can definitely add to the enjoyment you will get from playing it. As can a quality set of meeples – it’s not just about miniatures. We’re sensory creatures and things that are aesthetically pleasing generally improve our experience of things. Would Battletech still be Battletech if you switched everything out for tokens? Tactically, Probably yes. Would you enjoy it as much if you weren’t looking at your beautiful little mechs blasting each other into oblivion in 3D represented my tiny plastic models? No, it wouldn’t.
    It’s a bit like buying crystalware. Do I need a crystal drinking glass for wine or fine spirit? No. Is the experience of enjoying that 15 year old single malt enhanced by holding a nice crystal glass while you savour it? Absolutely. I have taken a similar approach to painting – I have purchased some items that are definitely luxury items and not essential. I bought a wet palette, I could have easily built one. I bought a hand turned, wooden paint grip. I could use wine bottle corks or even pay a fiver for the GW one. But I bought the items because I found them to be visually pleasing and they enhance my experience when using them. I am even happy simply to have them sat on my desk when I am not using them. I think we need to not be so quick to strip everything back to purely its function because art has no function. Sometimes a bit of artistry here and there just makes things better just by being there. Miniatures fall into that category.

    #1346221

    angelicdespot
    Participant
    3410xp

    I tend to agree with @onlyonepinman

    I think it probably helps to think of miniature-heavy board games as a separate genre to other board games. We don’t ‘need’ games.   We don’t ‘need’ any one specific game.   Most of us tend to enjoy particular types of games, not all games equally, and those people who like almost any games don’t have the time to play them all and/or presumably conclude that some games are simply better versions of very similar ones.

    So while there are plenty of good games that don’t need miniatures at all, and plenty of good games that don’t play functionally any differently as a result of having miniatures, there are plenty of gamers who like miniature-heavy games.

    Some will be much better than others.   Quite a few have fairly unremarkable rules, but that’s no different to non-miniature board games where the huge range and volume of games, and rapid release of new games means that plenty don’t get taken off the shelves much after the initial buzz has worn off.

    And while there are quite a few miniature-heavy board games that don’t last the test of time (or even probably last more than a year or two), there are very definitely some miniature-heavy board games that are truly excellent games.   Mediocre miniatures board games are not just a sign of market demand.   They’re a sign of a successful (sub?) genre of games which includes some really amazing examples.

    #1346234

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    @angelicdespot I think that one of my favourite miniatures boardgames is Dungeon Saga and the models are decidedly hit and miss. The game on the other hand I cannot recommend highly enough.  But even with mediocre miniatures I still wouldn’t want it any other way.

    #1346236

    mecha82
    Participant
    6441xp

    That is interesting question. I do think that it depends on who you ask. Way I see it for boardgames that are in KS miniatures are necessary evil to draw in backers. After all those are first thing that people tend to get exited about. Sure those are not everyone’s cup of tea but those have enough draw to make sure that those boardgames have easier time to reach KS goal than ones that don’t have those.

    #1346239

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    I have backed several games on Kickstarter that didn’t have miniatures.  Thunderbirds, Clans of Caledonia, Dinogenics and Mountaineers just use wooden or plastic meeples or standees.  I don’t think miniatures are a necessary evil, I think they’re a conscious, creative choice on the part of the designers.

    You’re right that in the case of a miniatures game they’re often the thing people get excited about first but people still get excited about games that don’t have them;  it’s just a different audience.

    #1346250

    orlandothetechnicoloured
    Participant
    2318xp

    During the first Cthulhu Wars KS campaign they offered the minis as a pledge option aside from the game (because during the pre-KS research lots of people had asked for the option) but in order to do so the extra logistics (boxes, packaging lines at the factory, SKUs etc) they looked expensive compared to the game so they sold poorly and they’ve not offered the same option in any of their following KS

    During Gencon a couple of years ago Kingdom Death put a number of copies of Kingdom:Death Monster that had lost (well had them stripped for replacement parts) up for sale and they didn’t sell terribly well either

    so I suspect that while there may be a vocal demand for mini free versions of games, and minis only options when it comes down to actually spending money the demand isn’t really there (especially as a fair few of the mini heavy games on KS are probably only ‘average’ in terms of rules),

    and also once you’ve paid for your mould (so via a KS, this isn’t going to apply for games made in the real commercial world) i’m not sure that the actual manufacturing cost of this minis is far off that of several sheets of decent ‘token’ quality card

    #1346267

    limburger
    Participant
    8727xp

    I think there are 3 types of players :

    1. mechanics focused : they don’t care about miniatures, may consider them a distraction.
    2. visual focused : they ‘need’ miniatures or something similar, rules may be secondary
    3. the rest : the ‘need’ for miniatures depends on their mood and/or the specific game. They won’t mind playing with tokens, but they might even pay to upgrade their games to be more visually interesting.

    Are there ‘too many’ ?
    I think there are always ‘too many’ things of the stuff you don’t like. Especially if you start focussing on the stuff you don’t like.
    It’s how the human mind works … once you think of stuff you will notice it a lot more than before.

    Kickstarters need every bit of extra they can get in a crowded market. As such it is logical that they add miniatures, because they make for pretty marketing material. Tokens never quite capture the fickle attention span of the average consumer with money to burn. Even the ‘token only’ types of games tend to add something that ‘feels expensive’, because it works.

    I’d argue that this happens because few people can appreciate the work that is needed in something as ‘boring’ as rule/game design, but they can appreciate the need for money for something that has more physical presence.
    It’s something that is often mentioned in shows like ‘the profit’ and ‘bar rescue’ : something that looks expensive makes people more willing to spend money.

    #1346417

    angelicdespot
    Participant
    3410xp

    @limburger – good point.   But there are lots of things board games can do to ‘look expensive’ besides add miniatures.   And many kickstarted games do just that.   In fact, with the possible exception of some of the cheap card games like Exploding Kittens, my guess is that most of the recent wildly successful board games that _don’t_ use miniatures haven’t been particularly cheap and have invested in ‘looks expensive’ quality.

    #1346447

    limburger
    Participant
    8727xp

    @angelicdespot : of course there are lots of options.
    Miniatures do represent a easy (and potentially cost effective) method of doing so.
    Anything else tends to require the customer to be an experienced boardgamer to recognise and appreciate those features.

    #1346456

    onlyonepinman
    Participant
    10630xp

    I think it depends on the game as to whether it needs miniatures or whether tokens and meeples are better.  I currently own two games with wooden meeples, both from Kickstarter and both with really high quality components.  Neither game would work with miniatures.

    Personally I think miniatures work best in games that combine narrative stories with action.  Obviously you can still play narrative games via other media than miniatures but miniatures are best suited to those types of games if they’re being used.

    #1346521

    skodamarine
    Participant
    1959xp

    I guess it depends on the game – the 5 mini’s really add to the feel of Fury of Dracula, but other games like Waterdeep would just get too cluttered if all those little cubes were replaced by 28mm sculpts…. Then again, lots of people (me included) complain that watedeep just doesn’t feel very thematic, and maybe that’s because it’s hard to relate to a wooden painted cube?

    For marketing reasons, so they can appeal to wargamers, lots of games use 28-32mm miniatures nowadays, when using smaller miniatures would make games easier to store and the board less cluttered when playing. Miniatures make it nicer to play a game sometimes, but often they are just way too big for the board they are being used on.

    On the other hand, I bought a Kickstarter game second hand that used card standees, and it was totally unbalanced and unplayable. The rules were so bad I find it hard to believe it had even been play-tested. If it had at least some nice miniatures in it I could have painted them up and wouldn’t have totally wasted my money.

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