Well I think that worked rather well 🙂
I’ve been wanting to include a poll or two here for some time. When I looked previously, the process was something of a faff. Luckily, things seem to have caught up with my degree of laziness, and my poll about SF battle games was pretty straightforward to integrate into the page. I still made some mistakes, but that’s how you learn…
So what did the poll tell us?
Firstly, that I can do polls. Expect more of them in the future.
Looking at the results themselves, Warpath was the clear winner. Personally I suspect that these numbers aren’t what we’ll see in the real world (back to the pro-Mantic bias suggested by several comments). My expectation was something closer in share. That is a guess though. What was more interesting was the tiny number of people who said they only played in 15mm. I expected more than that. Still, we could be talking bias again as I generally don’t talk about that scale, so why would they be here?
What was probably most interesting is the list of other games people mentioned. This was a broad mix, including various games that could have been in other categories or didn’t really belong (Dreadball Xtreme, Gruntz 15mm, etc). Someone said they’d be playing 40K using GoA rules, and a couple of folk have other home-brew rules, which I thought was great. Nice to see that sort of invention bubbling along as that’s where some of our next generation of designers will come from 🙂
The 3 most frequently mentioned games in the other category were Deadzone, Infinity and most frequently: Maelstrom’s Edge.
Deadzone I’m going to ignore. Partly because it’s not really what I was thinking about in terms of scale. While you can play larger games with it, the game’s really designed as a skirmish rather than battle. Plus, its relative frequency is probably only because it’s my blog 😉
Infinity doesn’t seem to be a battle game either. Good, bad or indifferent as it may be, it’s not really in the right category, so I’m going to ignore that too. Which leaves us with Maelstrom’s Edge. That turned up on Kickstarter earlier this year, and has its retail launch soon. I’m told they’re currently up to their ears in busy at the moment, trying to get it in the KS backer’s hands before the end of the year.
Maelstrom’s Edge is something I’ve read rather than played, so I’m not sure how it feels in practice, though it’s plain that they have some fans already. It does look like it’s worth keeping an eye on, if only to see what they produce in the way of models. Their plan is to only use hard plastic for their whole range, which is bold of them. Even if you don’t play their game there may be something for you to borrow for something else. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to Maelstrom’s Edge when there’s something more tangible to look at.
So all in all it’s been a worthwhile experiment for me and encourages me to use polls as a means of dialogue in the future.
PS: having already posted this, I was looking again at my list of other suggestions, and was slightly surprised to see only one vote for Warzone. Seems to have slipped through the cracks.
Polls could be pretty useful for balancing changes during the beta, so its definitely a good idea to try them out now. (thinking about stuff like fiddling with point costs for some units, asking which faction is currently the most overpowered/underpowered, maybe ask which of a number of alternatives would be the most poular, etc…)
Youd still have bias, people voting who didnt try the game, etc, but its still a better option to get a feel of the silent majority. 🙂
Well, at least you have a better view of who is reading your blog 🙂
I’m not surprised Infinity showed up frequently among the other games. It’s not mass battle, but to be honest I doubt many people will play either Warpath or GOA as mass battle games. Maybe later, if they manage to become established games with broader (and deeper) miniature & vehicle ranges, but not in the beginning. Until then, they’re fishing the same pond as Infinity is: 28mm sci-fi gamers looking for something other than WH40K.
I hadn’t heard of Maelstrom’s Edge, guess I’ll go google it.
True about the size of game. I think Ronnie will be deeply upset if pole don’t play Warpath with more figures than Infinity though.
I’ve added a couple of links for Maelstrom’s Edge in the text 🙂
My limited view of the market is that ground combat Sci-Fi is nearly entirely 28mm. I was a bit confused as to what 15mm Sci-Fi games are out there. The only widely distributed 15mm game I’m familiar with Flames of War, obviously not sci-fi. I know Gruntz 15mm is out there, but my limited understanding is that it’s less of a fully developed game system, more like a loose confederation of rules and minis put out by various companies. Are you lumping 10mm and 6mm in there? I can think of Hawk Wargame’s Dropzone Commander and Spartan’s Firestorm Planetfall. I know Spartan is coming out with Halo 15mm ground combat, which I’ll pick up on IP alone, but that’s not out there? I didn’t think it was a very robust niche in the market. I have an interest in 6mm and if I every manage to assemble the Robotech minis, I might play that. But there are so many flipping pieces to every model! Anyway, just wondering what else is out there.
I was just thinking of 15mm.
Have a look at this: http://dropshiphorizon.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/playing-by-rules-guide-to-15mm-rulesets.html
The description seems to confirm my understanding, and very much describes what I have understood as the situation for most historic games as well. I also think it is the reason why Bolt Action and Flames of War have done so well. Both offer a complete package in a market traditionally characterized by these loose gaming associations, and fans seem to enjoy that.
I personally think smaller scale is better for Sci-Fi, since you get something at least a tiny bit closer to realistic ranges, but no one has come out with a ‘complete’ 15mm sci-fi package (until Halo releases next year, but that might be a one-off). So do you think that is an opportunity in the market?
Secrets of the third Reich has unlimited range on the rifles. If that counts as sci fi then there may be a realistic ranged game.
I too am interested in Maelstrom’s Edge after I heard an interview with the creator on the d6 Generation ://www.thed6generation.com//d6g-ep-165-maelstroms-edge-preview-star-wars-armada-detailed-review . It aims to be a better version of 2nd ed. 40k (I.e. A midsize game with 30 figs a side) as it seems that there is a hole in the market – it’s either mass battle or skirmish these days… I’ve seen the models and so far I’m not impressed. The humans look off and the aliens aren’t anything I haven’t seen done before (and much better, imho). The thing I like is the suppression mechanic and its effect on the game and that it uses blast markers like epic 40k, but GoA uses that too so it’ll have a hard time competing…. The other aspect is that it’s made by Dakka Dakka – gamers who know what gamers want… supposedly. In any case, it looks like an interesting upcoming year in gaming with ME, Firefight, DZ, Wpath, GoA all competing for my time and money…. or maybe I’ll just choose Ospery and reuse figs to play Frostgrave, In Her Majesty’s Name, et al 😉
At least Maelstrom’s Edge is realistic about game size. Not “mass battle” but what used to be “skirmish” before skirmish shrunk to the size of tactical fights in roleplaying games.
@ Thomas – The definition of skirmish has indeed changed over the years, though my experience of it seems to be different to yours. My definition of a skirmish, in the sense of a skirmish game, would exclude squads. For me, the small scale games with a dozen or fewer models (that worked as individuals) are what skirmish has always meant, and the term has been co-opted in recent years to mean something different (incidentally leaving no word to describe the original games). The difficulty here is that there are more than two things for two words to cover.
@ Mike – sounds like you’ve got plenty to pick from. An embarrassment of riches 🙂
Before I became mostly a miniature gamer, I did a lot of rpgs in the classic “dungeon crawl” style. We used to play out our fights with miniatures in what to you would be skirmish games. To us this wasn’t really wargaming at all. It was typically embedded in a roleplaying session with at least some narrative, even if the tabletop fights could take up quite a bit of time & were sometimes played out with rather nice scenery. Then we got into WH40K, with forces upscaled to 30-50 miniatures and some vehicles per player, and somehow we called that a skirmish, since it didn’t look like a proper battle between armies. Something we sort of vaguely aspired to though, back then at least 🙂
Never heard of any 15mm sci fi games before either. Most of the small scale ones commonly sold are 6mm to 10mm eg Epic40k, Dropzone Commander and Spartan Games myriad ones.
I think that’s why Spartan are doing Halo in 15mm, so it is its own niche.
My sci-fi battle game needs are currebtly being met by Dropzone Commander. Doesnt really fit in the poll though
Not too surprised about Mutant Chronicles Warzone Resurrection. I bought into the KS. Got the minis and rulebook… minis were awesome. Guns were tiny. Rules… some of them seemed a right pain to read. The English used here and there seemed to use twenty words to explain what could have been done in ten. Or had seemingly made up words like modificators instead of modifiers. Really like the old Target Games 1st ed stuff better.
That and changing some of the classic units. Golden Lions were a sorta Blood Berets clone with different focus. Now they’re close assault Wolverine. That and a lot of the older edition models are no longer valid, which is a business decision that makes sense but is a bit of a shame if you want to use your old models WYSIWYG.
Anyone interested in 15mm scifi is doing themselves a disservice if they don’t check out the rules for Gruntz (http://www.gruntz.biz/). It’s a fairly generic set of rules with a comprehensive unit creator that lets you build everything from individual, elite commanders to giant Mecha, artillery and aircraft.
There’s a wealth of wonderful figures and companies making them at that scale, and no single company is big enough to dominate the market. Some friends and I have been building armies for years with infantry from one company, ground vehicles from others, and mechs from wherever we can find them.