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Tuesday, 17 January 2017

2017 - What will it bring for us gamers? Part 5: The Best of the Rest

Well a long week in Germany delayed my final instalment to this series, which covers the other game companies that are relevant and prevalent out there. There are a lot of them! I don't approach these in any particular order, and my predictions are limited due to my lack of familiarity with many of them, so take it all with the proverbial grain of salt - I'd also be interested for others feedback here too :-)

Fantasy Flight Games

FFG have had a great time since the rise of X-Wing, and have plenty of other irons in the fire as well. They know how to do marketing, they support tournaments and they have had fantastic exposure of the public to the Star Wars universe with a whole new generation from the great new Star Wars films. It's hard to see how they can get things too wrong in 2017, and I don't expect them to. Predictions for FFG don't really go beyond this, since their release announcements are so far in the future you know what they're doing way ahead of time (which is a great thing).

Wyrd

Malifaux has something of a cult following, as it appeals to a particular subset of gamers from what I see. Their no-dice card mechanics are interesting, but the universe holds little appeal from me and I also don't know a local playgroup, so I've never taken the plunge. However they're a slick company and from what I see are very involved and supportive, and fans love their stuff. They're kickstarting another game - "The Other Side" right now, and some of the factions look pretty cool, but with the fall in value of the pound, it's an expensive exercise to just get some cool minis...I can wait and buy what I want when they come out, since its already well over funded ($265k from $75k requested as of today). I expect it to be successful as a game in the same way Malifaux is, and you never know, I may pick it up in the future at a show.

Warlord Games

Warlord have kind of sat under my radar for a long time, principally because I've not played WWII games in a long while (Oscar has no interest here). They are the owners (of course) of Bolt Action, and in 2016 they introduced Konflict '47, which I think is a very smart move on their behalf, since it opens an established game to a new set of players as well as expanding it for existing ones. I expect Bolt Action to continue in its popularity, and Konflict '47 to do really well too. I love WWII wargaming (it's how I started), and I might try to get Oscar involved with the zombie/werewolf appeal of this alternative history game.

Now their Sci-Fi skirmish game (Beyond the Gates of Antares) I've not seen a lot of - Oscar and I did see the game a long time ago, and the minis looked uninspiring and flat, but since that time I think Warlord have put a lot into the game. It's difficult to say without being part of the community that plays it just how it might be going, but Warlord seem determined to make it stick. I'm still not really convinced, but we'll see in time.

They also have a ton of other games, all 28mm and going from lots of historicals (from Romans to Napoleonics) to more the outlandish like Project Z and including some licensed products such as the not-very-well received Terminator Genisys and the forthcoming Doctor Who: Into the Time Vortex games. I'd say they probably have enough on their plate for 2017!

Others and Kickstarters

So there are plenty of games companies I've not mentioned here, plus there's a shedload more stuff coming in 2017 by way of Kickstarters that are to fulfil (Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 2 from Peterson Games, the Dark Souls game from Steamforged Games, Shattered Void by White Dragon Miniatures)...the list goes on, and that's just what is available now. Who knows what Kickstarter will bring in 2017?

So as I've said many times before, it is indeed a golden age for gamers, which for me means that games companies need to be at the peak of their abilities to be able to keep up. With Brexit on the horizon, a new and supremely unpredictable weirdo inhabiting the White House, is it any wonder people are focussing more on their gaming than their real lives?