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Monday, March 10, 2008

An Interesting Miniatures Game Survey


If I find some time, I would love to comment on this beast of a survey. For now, I am just posting the link so others can read it.
Some of the results I found surprising, though much was common knowledge anyhow.

A notable one is Lord of the Rings, Games Workshop's supposed "Third Pillar". It had around 3.7 % of the respondents playing it, putting it on a rough tie with Rackham's recent prepaints game AT 43. LotR has more players than any of the GW Specialist Games line that were also write in votes from what I can tell, and even more players than Battletech, which has been around almost a quarter century now.

(Most people suspect the only reason LotR miniatures keeps getting any support is because the liscense DEMANDS IT. The main reason I keep buying stuff is because its on clearance and the game shop is all but begging me to buy stuff when they saw me go through the tub of blisters! Which is a shame, because its a GREAT GAME. And even at MSRP its a fair deal. This is a good value for the cash: http://store.us.games-workshop.com/storefront/store.us?do=List_Models&code=305975&orignav=305053&ParentID=259519&GameNav=16 )

Also interesting is the general dislike and apathy for prepaints. But not surprising. The existing miniatures games community was pretty much founded on painting and elitism. Read almost any miniatures forum or blog and the level of paint snobbery will be all too easy to see. Of course a survey advertised to MINIATURES GAMERS is gonna come out that way! Now if this was sent to more general gaming forums the odds would be a little more reasonable.

(One of the reasons I gave up on RPGnet was due to the paint snobs. Some of those people actually got rude and abusive if you even attempted to mention prepaints, and defending it with valid reasons why some folks might not want to waste hours coloring toy soldiers was simply MADNESS.)

Since as of this edit I have decided I really don't want to comment on a seven or so page document, I will add a couple extra comments here:

I noticed that the UK and US represented most of the respondents. Not surprising given it being an english language survey. What was surprising was the US being around 60% of those who took the survey, and the UK having 20% more. If this is what we can consider a rough guesstimate of the worldwide miniatures paint n play market, it means Games Workshop's continued insistence on doing things UK style is another of the many reasons they are continually falling down and out. The US market is NOT the UK one. We aren't serviced by lots of GW branded stores nearby, nor (going by other results later on in the survey) is it preteen oriented as GW seems most interested in selling to. Its largely ADULTS, with 20-30 somethings being the overall largest market. People with jobs and starting families. (Given their insane pricing on most products and a third of the LOTR line this is no big surprise. Most kids and preteens can't afford the 200+ dollar startup costs! Hell, most adults can't unless they are DINKs! (Double Income, No Kids.) )

It also shows the other UK style of play as a member of a games club is another thing that is simply not as big as the UK crowd considers it. Its another thing that works there in the tighter geography and culture, but has spit all to do with anywhere else. Maybe Japan if it was a bigger minis gaming market (but their nerds are generally complete social shut ins, too busy lusting after cartoon high school girls so its doubtful!), given they also have an activity club background growing up.

Most places do not. Here in the US, its mostly pick up and play or tournament style gaming. There are organized game groups, but usually comprise friends who play in their homes and are rarely anything like an actual club. The drama of managing to get everyone together on a semi consistent basis is trouble enough without any silly club politics or financial issues!

Also for my last thought I will go on to the list of popular games. Warhammer 40K is the king. No surprise there. What is surprising is the percentages under it. Outside of Warmachine/Hordes and Warhammer Fantasy, I haven't seen a single one of the big list games played in over a decade!

I will repost that list so I can comment on it. (Hopefully the survey's creators will not mind me excerpting it.)

Warhammer Fantasy 29.72%
About a third of the responders play it. Not too surprising. Where Warhammer Fantasy is popular it tends to be VERY popular.
Everywhere else its a nonstarter.

Flames of War 20.12%
I've heard of the game, and one guy at Sarge's was pimping the game a bit. I have little interest in it as I have hex and chit wargames covering WW2. Cheaper and don't need miniatures to play.

DBA 15.48%
I know of it, but I have NEVER seen it played or anyone with a rulesbook. It is playable online, but its a wierd setup to do so.
Its well regarded. Its an Ancients/Medieval ruleset.

Warhammer 40K 38.39%
Its the top dog, but not top enough in regard to the world as I have seen it. Almost every store that has miniatures gaming has 40K gaming in it, or has had at one point.

Warlord 11.46%
One guy at Sarge's speaks highly of it. I have never seen it played or any of the products available for purchase at a store. Reaper makes some great minis at a fair price though.

Warmachine 19.81%
Compared to Warhammer Fantasy this percentage seems about right. Its tied if not getting close to beating it as being the other game besides 40K played.

Warhammer Historical 24.46%
I've seen books, but never seen it played. Its the Warhammer Fantasy rules modified to do the same stuff DBA covers.

Warmaster 9.29%
Haven't seen the pieces since it first came out and haven't ever seen it played. Its 10mm scale Warhammer Fantasy.

Fire & Fury 15.48%
Never heard of it.

Warmaster Ancients 12.07%
Warmaster rules to play 10mm scale ancients/medieval combat. I'm not sure there is a point to it existing, and not in such numbers.

Hordes of the Things 8.36%
DBA rules converted for fantasy games. Its nearly impossible to get the ruleset in the US (I have tried since I wanted a generic set of fantasy rules.) but it seems to be popular in the UK.

Other 66.25%
This sort of skews the HELL out of the whole survey.

In addition to the selectable options, write in answers were accepted for this question. The results were as follows:
(Im just gonna leave the games I know of here and delete the ones I don't know about.)

AT-43 (3.62%)
For a game roughly a year old and with now gone distribution problems this isn't too bad!

Battlefleet Gothic (1.64%)
For a game so highly regarded, THAT'S IT !?

Battletech (1.97%)
This should be way higher. I've seen more Battletech players recently than I have most of the games on this list. COMBINED.

Blood Bowl (1.97%)
It seems as if all of GW's Specialist Games line products are in the barely there category. Can't believe AT43 is doing better or that Battletech is doing worse though.

CAV (1.36%)
No way Battletech's secondary competitor is close in popularity to Battletech. NO WAY.

Confrontation (3.62%)
Seems about right. Given that it is going to prepaints might either hurt or help it.

Dirtside (1.64%)
Its supposed to be pretty good. Its free to DL the rules now too. Not bad for a generic scifi minis 6mm.

Epic 40K (2.63%)
Given that there are 3 different rulesets that fragment the fanbase ( I prefer Titan Legions or the fanmade revisions known as Netepic over the later ones.) having this big of a percentage aint bad.

Full Thrust (4.93%)
Like Dirtside, in spaceship combat land.

Hordes (2.63%)
Inaccurate. Should be combined with Warmachine as its effectively the same game and both are totally compatible. Its big beasties just use a different magic system. Most people play both. I have played more games with my Warmachine Cryx against Hordes armies than Warmachine!

Lord Of The Rings (2.96%)
As I mentioned above, this should be much higher. Or the explanation of why GW is in such a fix.

Mordheim (2.63%), Necromunda (1.97%)
Mordheim bigger than Necromunda? NO. WAY. Lots of people play and love Necromunda. Mordheim not so much.

Stargrunt (1.64%)
Same developers and concepts as Dirtside and Full Thrust but with 40K sized minis. Also free IIRC.

Warzone (1.36%)
Not too surprising. Used to be 40K's biggest competitor but mishandling and gamer fanboyism killed it.

Given that Star Wars Minis, Heroclix, Heroscape, Battle Lore, and many other well known games were in the less than 1 percent category, I have to conclude overall that this survey is a good indicator of the core miniatures paint n play market, it is NOT a good indicator of the general gamer market and miniatures games played overall out in the "real world".

Heroclix and Heroscape should possibly be top 5 if not THE top played games. Until recently you could buy Heroscape from any Walmart or Target. Heroclix is sold in bookstores, and almost every comic book store. Even Toys R Us and Target have carried it. Its market is mainly kids and busy adults, who were not serviced by the survey.

This survey mostly was aimed at core gamers, and something like 60% of the respondents came from The Miniatures Page, which has spit all to do with most minis players. (They mentioned avoiding reporting about the survey to any game specific forums. Which means most of the 40K/Fantasy forums, the LOTR gamer forums, Battletech forums, scifi or fantasy games forums, RPGnet, Boardgamegeek, Heroscapers, Warmachine forums, or anything else was left out.

Basically hardcore multi game players are recorded, and the majority of gamers were completely left out. Hell, I hadn't even heard of this survey and I play a TON of minis games.


scrapyardarmory said...

I agree with your sentiments, especially regarding Classic Battletech. I'd expect more than 1.97%.

With only 1778 respondents, you need to take this information in with a grain of salt.

1% is only 17 people.

Captain Rufus said...

I actually emailed the guy with my comments.

According to him there is a huge and heretofore unseen group of 40+ year olds who are totally ignored by the gaming population as a whole yet who spend the most and apparently make most of his retail sales.

These people only play at home, never recruit new people, aren't interested in the flavor of the week as he puts it, are totally underserved by game companies (yeah, bitter old men who don't actively promote the games they play are a market I would want..), yet spend more than any other group.

And also they get to declare what is a miniatures wargame or not.


Sometime this week I plan on going into more detail about this. The guy was nice enough to reply to me, but I haven't had the time to respond properly.


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