I’m putting this up after noon today so that you’ll know this isn’t an April Fool.
Just thought I’d mention this in case you hadn’t seen it.
DB Kick-Off is a sort of DB lite edition that is aimed at people who are sitting on the fence. In the video Ronnie explains more about what’s in and what’s not in the box. Also see their earlier post.
I think it is almost a great product. The £30 price point is important as I see a lot of games aiming for that – well it is less than that considering the internet stores undercutting shops by 20+%. But it is still a board game for wargamers/miniature gamers. If it had had 2 sets of one piece models, each in their own colour I would have bought 4 and sent them to my siblings to play with their sprogs. Not pre painted like battleball (for those that aren’t wierdo’s who play lots of these types of boardgames its this https://www.funagain.com/control/product/~product_id=014331/~affil=SUBV and revolves around a mechanic of the dice you use to set random movement – D4, D6, D8, D10 etc – is the same you use to block/defend with the lowest winning, its very much a kids game…) but certainly similar quality nice, no assembly required, pieces of plastic, each team a different colour. Currently the models as is would be a barrier to many of those who would otherwise enjoy the game.
This is a classic production problem: what kind of models to include?
Basically, whatever you pick you will upset and potentially alienate some gamers. On the one hand you could include pre-assembled or one-piece models in set colours for each side. Judging by the normal reactions, these models will be criticised for their quality and gamers will dismiss the whole thing as a toy (rather than the serious stuff they’re used to).
If you include multi-part models then people must assemble them the first time they play, which is off-putting to those customers who want something they can play straight out of the box. This market doesn’t want finely detailed models, they want colourful playing pieces.
Of course, this is a simplification and many individuals are happy with both. However, there are significant numbers at both ends of the scale who will not buy products at the opposite end, so changing as you suggest simply swaps one lot of gamers for another. It might make the game great in your personal opinion, but for others it would move it from great to rubbish. I’m not saying you’re wrong, just that you’re only right from one viewpoint, and the gaming marketplace has several conflicting stances on such things.
In this particular case, if Mantic had gone for the detailed ones in their big box and single piece models in their Kick-Off edition then they would have had to re-tool the lot, which would have made reducing the price impossible.
If the main edition had been single-piece bendy coloured pieces it would have been dismissed as a kids’ game and I very much doubt we would have seen the rapidly growing tournament scene we do now.
The answer is that there is no right answer for everyone. You will inevitably not be everyone’s cup of tea, whatever you do. Mantic have resolved this by focussing on the quality of sculpting and leaning towards their core audience who want the detailed models rather than the colour coding.
That is true, however it does limit the game to that core audience. I guess I am always looking for products that I can use to enthuse people who aren’t already into miniature games and lots of those people like sports games. Yes I can use my set with people but I know it is a big hurdle to clear in the future if they like it. Just one piece models would have been an improvement (like Reapers bones or Impacts elfball teams). And yes of course if it means new sculpts the cheap set goes out the window. Still I remain hopeful that dreadball is one of those games that could work well with a major games company and appear in the argos catalogue!
You’re right, it does limit its audience. But as I said, doing it as you suggest limits the audience just as much – merely to a different audience.
If DB is as popular as I would like it to be, then a more family friendly single piece edition could be done. That’s some years away though, at a guess. Not ruled out though – it’s just getting to a position where the cost to do it was warranted by the market – like any product.
Another way of looking at this is as a means to encourage people who have to date only played board games to dabble with the miniatures hobby. You could walk them through assembly, or do it for them the first time. None of the models are very complex. Some will hate it, others will be taken with the options it offers. Given that Mantic is primarily a miniatures company that would not be a bad thing for them.