Tuesday, 31 May 2011

A new Specialist Game?

I don't usually react to rumours. But I will now. Faeit 212 has reported the possibility there'll be a new GW Specialist Game released. That's big news for a lot of us I'd bet.

Apparently it's not a rerelease of Blood Bowl, Man O'War or Warhammer Quest, or even a supplement for Space Hulk. Then again why would it be a rerelease, not wholly new?

Perhaps wishful thinking, given some of our happiest gaming experiences might have been with the past games. I'd guess most players who've tried one or more of these, or Necromunda, Gorkamorka, Mordheim or Inquisitor say, have fond memories, and the 6mm Epic system was for a time near equal of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.

Epic itself seems an unlikely choice. After all, we have Apocalypse nowadays, which has a similar scope with a higher price per model in real world currency. Warmaster seems unlikely for the same reason, if that's what the coming Storm of Magic means.

Surely the right answer is Killzone? A Necro-Gorka-Mordheim approach blended with wider 40K. It would offer a path into what many see as an increasingly costly hobby, quieting critics on price and simplicity and opening the door to new players, the future.

But then I thought, well, why do we need GW to release that particular game? We already have it. In fact, why do we need a company to release any game if we can just make it ourselves? A public limited company has shareholders to please as well as us.

I really can't answer that. Higher production values maybe, but personally I'd still prefer multiple smaller designers sourcing art or card elements than one large.

A wider player base? Well, we've been there - one guy picking up a less expensive game system can more cost-effectively run demos and get a group interested.

Future support? I don't see much for the Specialist Games. Pure passion seems a better guide to that. Look at the D&D OSR. That's what player love can do. They still have a whole community of new ideas, and revisions and releases, decades later.

Maybe love is all you need?


Paul´s Bods said...

And probably when the game is released it will only be availble in certain parts of the world.
I´ve decided to make up my own gaming rules, using bits and pieces adapted from other games systems. I want to try and get elements of chance and "independant world" action into it. I´ll see.

thekelvingreen said...

We don't need GW to release their own Killzone, but they may be looking at the interest in it and have decided that they need to get a piece of the action.

I'm not sure why people are speculating over Blood Bowl and Mordheim, as they're still living product lines.

I'd love it to be Warhammer Quest, but my money's on Dark Future.

Gotthammer said...

But then I thought, well, why do we need GW to release that particular game?

Cool new minis ;p

Kelvin, Dark Future would be awesome - I've got an original copy and it's very fun. However I don't think the complexity would 'work' nowadays, and I'd be hesitant to see what changes would be made. Still, I'd buy a copy or two :D

Personally, I'm betting on Chainsaw Warrior.

Cronickain said...

AS a small 'other designer' I really appreciate your support

Andy said...

This is one rumour of which I hope very much that it holds some truth. The specialist games from GW have always been very good and I never understood the lack of support.

My favorites are Mordheim and Kill-team so something along those lines would be nice. I'd love to see GW release a new game, but the chances of that are slim.

Making your own rules has it's merits, but the time it takes to balance everything out is time better invested in playing balanced games from publishers big and small.

Porky said...

@ Paul's Bods - Cool. I'd love to see what you come up with, and even know more about those inspirations. Your knowledge of minis goes way beyond mine so I can imagine you'd have a surprise or three in rules terms too.

@ kelvingreen - Wow. Dark Future's a wild card! To be honest I'd almost forgotten about it. Do you have info we don't? I can see the attraction though, in the difference and relative freshness above all.

@ Gotthammer - Chainsaw Warrior goes a step beyond..! The mini argument is a good one. Then again, we've seen with the recent price rises the advantage in supporting a range of manufacturers. I'd say it's good to have as many guys as possible in business, to innovate, to keep us all on our toes, to help stop anyone being taken for granted.

@ ArmChairGeneral - In a sense we're all small designers, whether we're working up house rules, running a scenario or just converting a miniature, but you're definitely the real deal, and When the Navy Walked is slowly lining up everything needed to break into the mainstream. You're a top tip.

That's When the Navy Walked, folks, and ArmChairGeneral's blog is here. I have reviews of the core rules starting here, Quick Play here and the Conflict on Mars! supplement here.

@ Andy - Almost entirely agreed..! On the last point, I do feel balance is overrated, maybe even a bad idea overall. Have a read of this and this if you want some of my thinking on it.

DocStout said...

This is big news for me, as the Specialist Games are my first love when it comes to miniatures. I'll be watching this story develop.

thekelvingreen said...

Just a feeling. ;)

Dark Future is an "almost" line, one which never really took off, but which seems to come back to the surface now and then, and it would certainly fit the Specialist Games profile, complete with small scale miniatures production, downloadable rules and so on; in fact the Dark Future rules are downloadable from the GW site -- if you can find them -- so it's still not a forgotten line.

While I'd like to see Chainsaw Warrior or Lost Patrol make a comeback, they'd probably fall under the Fantasy Flight licence nowadays.

Porky said...

@ DocStout - I'll definitely be keeping an eye open too. I'm another one with those fond memories and it does still excite me to think what might be done.

@ kelvingreen - Intriguing. If it is Dark Future, it may take the rumours longer to coalesce than we might expect, for the less familiar references, potential disbelief and possibly reduced initial interest. It was very pleasantly surprising to see all those games free to download, but I do wonder if the fact GW is making them available means they've been given up on, at least for the time being. I'd imagine a firm would pull the relevant files before a rerelease in case word did get out and a wave of downloading took the edge off sales.

Gotthammer said...

Here's the link to the OOP games section - clicky - and I've uploaded scans of the essential road tiles here.

The best part about the Dark Future download is it has some of the extra rules and scenarios (including WD articles and the White Line Fever expansion). There's some great artwork, stories and even some vague references to Chaos cults complete with 8 pointed stars and psykers emerging! It looks like DF was to be the beginning of the 40k universe in a way.

By the looks of things has been scanned in from someone's personal copy, so it's great to see someone there loves the game still.

Porky, your comment on supporting indie manufacturers gave me an interesting thought. I've noticed with the recent kerfuffle over prices a large number of people saying how they're going to start buying other minis lines now... It seems odd to me as I've always done so.
From Battletech to Cobalt and minis who's makers are lost to the mists of time I can't imagine only buying one company's line - too boring!

Porky said...

There's certainly a lot going on in Dark Future. It's an impressively full game, maybe surprisingly full given the apparent simplicity of the concept, and it has a strong sense of location.

Re mixing minis, the only issue can be differing manufacturer styles. The detail on Citadel say seems to me in general a little oversized, while Corvus Belli are noticeably more slender and to my mind just a little overposed. Of course, this kind of thing can be converted out, and that's something I'd say is always well worth the time.