…And then there was Citadel Miniatures…
Back in the days of yore, it seems that games workshop had the lock down on miniatures gaming. When I was a wee laddie, I would marvel over bare pewter figures in the mall wishing 1) there was something more to them than looking cool and 2) I had them all. Thus when I discovered Warhammer, I was hooked.
Like most gamers, Games Workshop was at the root of all our addictions. Somehow, and it is not really a mystery but I won’t get into it here, we all became jaded with the cold-hearted British company and moved on. However, for a good long while there was nothing else to turn to and we all suffered under the GW tyranny. I equate this to Leto II’s reign and Golden Path from the Dune series by Frank Herbert.
In the books, Leto keeps a stranglehold on humanity for thousands of years, essentially suppressing religions and free thought. Not quite the same as Games Workshop, but a general parallel can be drawn in that we were an unheard consumer to a company that only had their own interests in mind.
Enter Privateer Press onto the scene. I don’t know if they were exactly the next company in the succession, but I feel they were the next biggest. PP combined dreadnoughts and wizards into the same game, i.e. the steampunk world, drawing in both Warhammer fantasy and 40K fans alike. The fast paced, aggressive game style appealed to many miniatures players, especially those that were growing tired of extensively long games of the Warhammers and an environment filled with power players aka douchbags. In addition, the company boasted something that GW never offered; they claimed to listen to their fan base! Not only did they claim it, they did it and still do! To be quite honest, PP basically looked at every gripe the from the GW fan base and made it a point to avoid the wrongs GW made. This was unprecedented for gamers; a company that listens! Many a man, woman, and child flocked to the banner of Privateer Press, shedding off their malcontent like a snake shedding its skin.
Essentially, this is the scattering period from the Dune series. Humanity finally freed from Leto’s ten-thousand year reign spreads out across the universe. New colonies and planets are inhabited, new religions based on ancient roots spring up, and new technologies are unveiled without rebuttal.
This is similar to where we are now. Privateer Press acted as the catalyst to create the scattering. Game companies began to spring up all over, all based on the business model of not doing what Games Workshop did (with the exception of selling lots of minis).
Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the most recent Templecon located in Warwick, Rhode Island. It was staggering to see how many new and different miniatures game companies are out there. I’m not the most a la mode gamer out there, so I wouldn’t consider this an authoritative viewpoint. However, there must have been fiteen to twenty different game company representatives showcasing and selling their products. This, I imagine, is small compared to GenCon, but it’s a visual feast for the miniature lover, or as my wife says “doll lover”.
Interesting to note, Privateer Press reported a smaller turn out for their events compared to last year. I imagine this has something to do with the years most recent releases, colossals and gargantuans, which are very similar in size and cost to the massive titans and baneblades from Games Workshop. I feel like these additions may have lured some of the less than desirable players from Warhammer 40K in particular, to the Privateer Press realm. The player based, more heavily saturated with douchebags may be driving away other player that left GW to get away from the douchebaggery and broken-ness that existed in Warhammer 40K. All this is speculative, but while walking around gazing at the myriad of Privateer Press armies there, I noticed that most players had a Colossal or Gargantuan, or at the least a battle engine.
What does all this mean? I have no idea. I just see a rise in new miniature games and I hear reports that privateer Press had less interest than last year. Maybe the rise in other games is due to the facilitation of computer aided sculpting to create miniatures and the ability to print them with 3D printers. Maybe with so many games out there, it’s easier to find a game that appeals to exactly what you are looking for. Or perhaps, this is all part of Games Workshops master plan and someday we will return from the scattering to the realms of the Warhammers. Whatever it is, as a miniatures gamer, I like it.
As a final note I’ll plug a new upcoming game that has a very successful and LivetoCRUSH funded kickstarter: Wild West Exodus