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Wes Janson

Just how it is here.

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Another one of these posts.

Here is how it is in my local meta. We have the biggest game store in the region. They stock all FFG complete ranges. They had a large following for most of their games.

Current state of FFG lines here in my region:

- X-wing 2.0 has only sold two copies of the new starter set. All other product in stock at similar if not exact levels of initial orders. Enough didn't sell that my retailer is not ordering anymore for this line. There is not a local tournament heavy market for this game, and casual players still only play X-wing 1.0 or have drifted to other things. Most of my regulars sold their 1.0 off cheap on-line and that is that. Even the upcoming Clone Wars has sparked no interest at all. X-wing 1.0 sold out every wave since day 1! I know now the 2.0 investment I made was a big mistake.

- Imperial Assault started hot and burned out by 1st quarter of 2018. Legion was looking so much cooler!

- Haven't seen one game of Star Wars legion played here since its release other then on the demo table at the LGS. This game was birthed just in time to see GWs massive reincarnation as a game company again. Stillborn on launch here.

- I ran the local Armada group. We went from 15 registered regulars to me. Everyone was pissed and frustrated at constant lack of product due to reprints and or none at all and said "I am out."  It took the majority of 2018 to hit this point, but all have gone to GW with their better product support. Can I rebuild it? Maybe, but it took a long time to get it going in the first place and I feel at this moment that I don't really want to. No recent sales and no new players have also seen the decision to stop carrying the line and this sort of made up my mind as well.

- Runewars didn't sell a single copy of anything from day one. Nobody knew what it was or cared. Oops.

- A Game of Thrones card game has more regulars then any of the above games...

Anyway, of course these kind of posts don't help. But neither does lack of support. I myself playing all of the above games have been one of the two investors in X-wing 2.0 locally to no avail. Every dime I have spent with GW in 2018 has seen me able to walk into our local game room at near any night and find players for their range of games. More people play Adeptus Titanicus locally then the remaining FFG locals combined. Pretty sad when Adeptus Titanicus has a start cost of $350+. This tells me right on the spot that starting cost is not a factor in FFG product popularity.

So what caused this once local giant to fall? With a license as big as Star Wars it still can't draw in the numbers here. Not a single organised event is scheduled by my LGS for any FFG line this year. "Well they can just schedule it and promote it." Good idea but 2018 couldn't fill an event so why waste more time in 2019. Honestly, this last year for FFG from my own perspective has been a large belly flop onto asphalt that flattened their local participation and enthusiasm. 

Armada may not be dead. But it is here.

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I have not seen much enthusiasm for X-wing or AI either.  They are not my primary games though, I do occasionally see an X-wing event on my Facebook Feed but not a lot.  Legion just isn't well suited for tournament play, I do own it and we have a small and slowly growing group that plays.  

Armada may be the most popular here but I am biased.  The biggest change here is that the community has taken it on themselves to organize and run tournaments at stores that will accommodate us.  Other than posting the events on social media the players do all the marketing and pushing the events on social media.  We also guarantee to, at a minimum, cover the cost of the kit so the store just has to order the kit and post the event.

We have gone from 0 quarterly events in over a year to having 3 this month alone at different area stores.  Store Chamionships and Regionals have more than doubled in attendance in the last year.

So I guess all I am saying is players need to keep the games going, it sounds like you have been doing that and players fell off,  that does suck.  Just don't rely on the stores to do the work.  Around here stores that allow players to TO get much better turnout then the stores that try and run everything themselves.

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Armada is dead in my neck of the woods; don't think there ever was much of a local community for it.  X-Wing is going strong, and I say that as someone who stopped playing shortly after 2.0 came out. (but might come back after Clone Wars is released)  Legion is my new hotness, and we have a slowly, but steadily, growing community.  I've personally gotten two new people to buy into the game in the last couple weeks.  Haven't seen anyone play GoT.  Pokemon and Magic are the two big card games, and Keyforge is all the talk of the other crowds.

Moral of the story: Everywhere is different.  Posts like this are hopelessly biased and don't serve a point.  One could argue that Disney has overplayed the Star Wars card long enough that now they're feeling the pain of oversaturation and disgruntled fans, or it could all be FFG's fault.  Either way, not much we can do about it besides play the games we enjoy and try to share them with others. 

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31 minutes ago, Alpha17 said:

Armada is dead in my neck of the woods;

The lack of a german version of the SSD is a clear proof of that. I'll be fine with the english version, but you can interprate this as a sign of Armada's downfall, as it shows how Armadas european market/community develops...

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17 minutes ago, Jimbo2142 said:

The lack of a german version of the SSD is a clear proof of that. I'll be fine with the english version, but you can interprate this as a sign of Armada's downfall, as it shows how Armadas european market/community develops...

Can you list a source for that claim?

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3 hours ago, NebulonB said:

why shield from reality? thats as valid as a status report from a booming area. Id like to know about both.

I actually thought the status report of the other games was interesting, but I have to agree with @SkyCake on this one.  It sounds like the 14 people that quit Armada were more interested in buying stuff than actually playing the game.  Because let's be honest, 2018 was an amazing year for playing Armada, as the meta was seriously shaken up by both a game-changing wave and FAQ.  If people are quitting Armada during this time, they were not that into it to begin with.

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At my local store in the San Diego area it's all about X-wing. We routinely have 30+ player leagues at my store and only 2 people stayed with 1.0 due to financial concerns. 

Legion, Imperial Assault and Armada have NO player presence in the store. Our home store has an Armada Core set and Imp Star expansion on the shelves that has been gathering dust for over a year. The shelves are stocked full of legion expansions.

I bought a VSD and Interdictor expansion on Amazon for $13 and $15 respectively. The reason? I love the models and they are sitting on display in my office at work.

As an X-wing player the thing that has prevented me from trying Armada is the game length. I can get 2 games of X-wing in the time it takes to play 1 game of Armada. For someone with a full time job and a wife gaming time is limited to one day a week. I rather get my multiple games in vs 1 game.

Edited by IceManHG

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Your profile says you're in Ontario, which has an fairly good Armada scene and X-Wing 2.0 is very popular. Every game ebb and flows, and has its dead zones. Without store support is difficult to keep people interested even with regular releases. In London ON lack of support cost a local store the Star Wars gamers to a rival. Armada isn't always played on Tuesday Star Wars nights but when it is X-Wing players are having serious looks.

In your situation I don't see what FFG can do. If a local store don't want to run the OP made available or stock the shelves that isn't FFGs decision? Constant new releases are just another item the local stores won't stock if they've chosen the shelf space for something else. Companies that dictate stores, dedicate X amount of space fo stock, Y amount of tournaments, Z amount on promotions or you can't sell our stuff, are the ones that have small numbers of retailers. A problem with so many ranges is FFG just passes customers from one to another.

First Saturday of the month is Star Wars Day in London, I know it's a long drive but let us know and there will be at least one Armada player available and a tournament in March or April. Find us on Facebook, Star Wars Gaming - London, ON. Last year we had a player from Montreal at a X-Wing tournament.

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9 hours ago, Wes Janson said:

- Imperial Assault started hot and burned out by 1st quarter of 2018. Legion was looking so much cooler!

- Haven't seen one game of Star Wars legion played here since its release other then on the demo table at the LGS. This game was birthed just in time to see GWs massive reincarnation as a game company again. Stillborn on launch here.

Honestly, Legion just baffles me.  It's apparent only thought was to directly compete with GW in scale, and who does that?  IA does basically the 'same scale' of figures - if you wanted to give us a ground combat game...ESPECIALLY when naming it 'Legion'...give us DIVISIONS OR COMPANIES INSTEAD OF SQUADS.  Right off having a ground combat game that you can never release the AT-AT for...making it impossible to recreate the ONLY ground battles we saw from 'Rogue One' to RotJ...just blows my mind.

It isn't even that hard to do - 6mm is a fairly standard miniature scale in 'historical' (to modern day) land-based miniature combat, and looks fine...

010.JPG

...even better, that's basically the scale that X-Wing is in, meaning fighters from that game are automatically ready to be used immediately in the hypothetical-6mm-scale-'Legion-that-should-have-been'.  And an AT-AT works out to about the size of Bossk's YV-666 from X-Wing, making it easy to not only field, but to field several of.

But I digress...

(Well, maybe it's not that far off topic to suggest that FFG sometimes makes some very unexplainable decisions from a marketing perspective.)

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2 hours ago, Qualitypunk said:

Your profile says you're in Ontario, which has an fairly good Armada scene and X-Wing 2.0 is very popular. Every game ebb and flows, and has its dead zones. Without store support is difficult to keep people interested even with regular releases. In London ON lack of support cost a local store the Star Wars gamers to a rival. Armada isn't always played on Tuesday Star Wars nights but when it is X-Wing players are having serious looks.

In your situation I don't see what FFG can do. If a local store don't want to run the OP made available or stock the shelves that isn't FFGs decision? Constant new releases are just another item the local stores won't stock if they've chosen the shelf space for something else. Companies that dictate stores, dedicate X amount of space fo stock, Y amount of tournaments, Z amount on promotions or you can't sell our stuff, are the ones that have small numbers of retailers. A problem with so many ranges is FFG just passes customers from one to another.

First Saturday of the month is Star Wars Day in London, I know it's a long drive but let us know and there will be at least one Armada player available and a tournament in March or April. Find us on Facebook, Star Wars Gaming - London, ON. Last year we had a player from Montreal at a X-Wing tournament.

True, but we are 1hr North of Toronto in Central Ontario. Very few if any want to go to the city. There is also no rival LGS within 45 minutes any direction that stocks the product. Besides, it is not a lack of LGS support vs a lack of support from the community that used to frequent the LGS. Its simple math for the LGS to move away from a product that isn't selling. Anyway I didn't say FFG could do anything or should. I am simply stating that for a group that games 2-3 times a week it has fallen to 0 times a week.

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5 hours ago, Admiral Calkins said:

I actually thought the status report of the other games was interesting, but I have to agree with @SkyCake on this one.  It sounds like the 14 people that quit Armada were more interested in buying stuff than actually playing the game.  Because let's be honest, 2018 was an amazing year for playing Armada, as the meta was seriously shaken up by both a game-changing wave and FAQ.  If people are quitting Armada during this time, they were not that into it to begin with.

I am answering everyone in this as everyone can contribute. We had a ton of people into Armada and X-wing. With strong turnout since Armada release and with X-wing until 2.0. My point was more that it became harder to get new players into it waiting for reprints of core products at certain times, and GW turned up their game something fierce. More attractive options and the new nostalgia of GW recent releases literally yanked the rug out from under us. I didn't say those gamers weren't gaming. They are just not gaming FFG, as I see them in other circles frequently.

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2 hours ago, Wes Janson said:

True, but we are 1hr North of Toronto in Central Ontario. Very few if any want to go to the city. There is also no rival LGS within 45 minutes any direction that stocks the product. Besides, it is not a lack of LGS support vs a lack of support from the community that used to frequent the LGS. Its simple math for the LGS to move away from a product that isn't selling. Anyway I didn't say FFG could do anything or should. I am simply stating that for a group that games 2-3 times a week it has fallen to 0 times a week.

No other LGS within 45 minutes actually sounds like a business opportunity for someone. are you on the Ontario Armada Facebook group?

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3 hours ago, xanderf said:

Honestly, Legion just baffles me.  It's apparent only thought was to directly compete with GW in scale, and who does that?  IA does basically the 'same scale' of figures - if you wanted to give us a ground combat game...ESPECIALLY when naming it 'Legion'...give us DIVISIONS OR COMPANIES INSTEAD OF SQUADS.  Right off having a ground combat game that you can never release the AT-AT for...making it impossible to recreate the ONLY ground battles we saw from 'Rogue One' to RotJ...just blows my mind.

It isn't even that hard to do - 6mm is a fairly standard miniature scale in 'historical' (to modern day) land-based miniature combat, and looks fine...

010.JPG

...even better, that's basically the scale that X-Wing is in, meaning fighters from that game are automatically ready to be used immediately in the hypothetical-6mm-scale-'Legion-that-should-have-been'.  And an AT-AT works out to about the size of Bossk's YV-666 from X-Wing, making it easy to not only field, but to field several of.

But I digress...

(Well, maybe it's not that far off topic to suggest that FFG sometimes makes some very unexplainable decisions from a marketing perspective.)

As someone who plays Legion more than anything else, I have to say that if they had gone with a smaller scale than 28mm, I would have had no interest in trying it.  I skipped over Flames of War for Bolt Action for the same thing; the bigger models and smaller scale are much more appealing to me than a "bigger" battle by default.  Besides, there's nothing in Legion as it is now to keep it from having an extended "Epic" format that allows for the use of larger units like the AT-AT and Juggernaught. 

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8 hours ago, Admiral Calkins said:

I actually thought the status report of the other games was interesting, but I have to agree with @SkyCake on this one.  It sounds like the 14 people that quit Armada were more interested in buying stuff than actually playing the game.  Because let's be honest, 2018 was an amazing year for playing Armada, as the meta was seriously shaken up by both a game-changing wave and FAQ.  If people are quitting Armada during this time, they were not that into it to begin with.

Maybe new ships and new experiences each time they play is what they need to want to PLAY Armada. Maybe they are lore buffs who want to use specific ships in their fleets, and they just never were satisfied with the ship selection. Maybe they didnt want to get bogged down playing limited lists or eventually find a list that works all the time, and not have something new to shake up their personal meta that they would need to react to. I feel you are being rude to the players that at the very least FINANCIALLY support the community by BUYING the Armada Products, at the very least keeps the company thinking about reprints, and MAYBE considering making new products. I dont play Armada, because my local stores dont have player base, but I still at least buy some ships to display. This is my contribution to keep the game alive for all of YOU who do

Equally, FFG needs to wake up and FULLY acknowledge this community who supports them both financially and by keeping the game alive despite no new products (Outside of the personally thought overpriced SSD), or even news or awareness of our existence.

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12 hours ago, SkyCake said:

15 regulars to 1... Sounds like those fifteen were never really in it for the game...more like they just like to buy shiny new toys...

The game goes for long periods without significant change or improvement for the problem areas it does have. Its hard to stay significantly invested when you don't know if your favorite non-optimal ships or squadrons will be left behind until the game dies.  I know plenty of VSD lovers who feel essentially abandoned because few things have been done to fix their significant problems, for example.  Also,  generic squadrons are entirely useless in the current meta unless they're fuel for an effect like Ruthless Strategists. 

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I'm sorry, @Zeoinx, but I read through this about four times and the first paragraph makes absolutely no sense to me as reasons someone would quit Armada.

42 minutes ago, Zeoinx said:

Maybe new ships and new experiences each time they play is what they need to want to PLAY Armada.

No player should expect new ships each time they play Armada and there is an infinite number of ship, squadron, and upgrade combinations for list-building that can make each game (experience) different than the last.

42 minutes ago, Zeoinx said:

Maybe they are lore buffs who want to use specific ships in their fleets, and they just never were satisfied with the ship selection. 

Given the ships we currently have and the upcoming SSD, I can only think of the Dreadnaught (Imperial Support Vessel) and the Venator that people constantly talk about.  So I think the lack of "lore buff" ships is not the reason.

42 minutes ago, Zeoinx said:

Maybe they didnt want to get bogged down playing limited lists or eventually find a list that works all the time, and not have something new to shake up their personal meta that they would need to react to.

Seriously, what is a limited list?  And why would anyone want to play the same list all the time (even if it always wins)?  Sounds boring (like Rieekan Aces).

42 minutes ago, Zeoinx said:

I feel you are being rude to the players that at the very least FINANCIALLY support the community by BUYING the Armada Products, at the very least keeps the company thinking about reprints, and MAYBE considering making new products.

We were talking about how a thriving Armada community went down to one player over the course of a year where the actual playing of the game was amazing and I presented an opinion on why.  How is that in any way is that being rude to people that financially support the game (because I assess you mean all of them and not just this select group)?

Edited by Admiral Calkins
Grammar

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4 hours ago, xanderf said:

Honestly, Legion just baffles me.  It's apparent only thought was to directly compete with GW in scale, and who does that?  IA does basically the 'same scale' of figures - if you wanted to give us a ground combat game...ESPECIALLY when naming it 'Legion'...give us DIVISIONS OR COMPANIES INSTEAD OF SQUADS.  Right off having a ground combat game that you can never release the AT-AT for...making it impossible to recreate the ONLY ground battles we saw from 'Rogue One' to RotJ...just blows my mind.

It isn't even that hard to do - 6mm is a fairly standard miniature scale in 'historical' (to modern day) land-based miniature combat, and looks fine...

010.JPG

...even better, that's basically the scale that X-Wing is in, meaning fighters from that game are automatically ready to be used immediately in the hypothetical-6mm-scale-'Legion-that-should-have-been'.  And an AT-AT works out to about the size of Bossk's YV-666 from X-Wing, making it easy to not only field, but to field several of.

But I digress...

(Well, maybe it's not that far off topic to suggest that FFG sometimes makes some very unexplainable decisions from a marketing perspective.)

I fully expect at at-at to be released in Legion. I mean people swore up and down that armada would never get an ssd but here we are, months away from it’s release.  The at at will be released, just might be a few years.

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16 hours ago, Wes Janson said:

So what caused this once local giant to fall?


I think the ultimate explanation is nuanced and complex, of course, but I think there are at least three factors that have contributed (for what it's worth, my local scene is basically the same as yours: Armada has gone from a game that pulled about 10-15 people in locally for Kit Events, to a game that pulled in 3 for a Store Championship... X-Wing was thriving here with a busy weekly casual night that all but seems to have completely died with 2.0, with the other games being basically non-existent).

(1) The AsmodeeNA merger radically changed FFG, for the worse.
Customers generally praised FFG in the early years of X-Wing as a game with unparalleled customer and community support, developers who were engaged with their communities, and generally positive energy and great OP prize support.  My sense from the tonal shift on these forums over the past five years is that FFG has slid pretty far on these fronts in most people's perceptions, and the most logical explanation is the changes that have likely come with the AsmodeeNA acquisition.

(2) FFG self-cannibalized their playerbases with so many Star Wars games.
For any game to do well locally, you need a big enough and enthusiastic enough group of players to keep the scene alive, diverse, and fresh.  Players will undoubtedly leave games as time progresses, but a big enough community can weather these emigrations and secure more new players.  But with FFG churning out so many Star Wars games since they got the license (X-Wing, RPG, LCG, Armada, IA, Destiny, Legion -- more than 1/year since they've had the license) they were inevitably cannibalizing upon their players who loved Star Wars games.  Even if players are sticking with multiple games, they have less time for each game to invest in casual nights and tournaments.  You also redirect their enthusiasm for Game A and dilute it with new buzz about Games B, C, and D.  When Armada and then Destiny came out, there were big reductions in X-Wing events locally because people were focusing on the "new Star Wars hotness."  As events shrink, it becomes harder to retain the active and invested players.

(3) Star Wars fatigue is (probably) real.
Disney has been churning out Star Wars content like a mouse drops **** pellets after gorging upon an entire pantry.  You cannot walk into any retailer without seeing a ton of licensed Star Wars junk.   Star Wars is everywhere.  It's not just 3 (or 6) movies any more, but it's annual movies and multiple series and coffee mugs and bedsheets and cereal boxes and EVERYTHING in between.  It's easy to start to lose some of that beloved childhood passion for a thing that might have kept us invested in the built-world.  Also, while we all have our own personal opinions on the Disney films, they have been very divisive and some portion of fans have felt incredibly negatively about some of them... this can turn people off of their passion for gaming in that world a bit, too.  The same thing happened in the late 90s when the prequels came out, and groups that were avidly playing the Star Wars CCG sort of took a step back and said "hmm, you know what, maybe Star Wars kinda sucks?"  Our local groups shrank quite a bit after TPM debuted, at least.  But, with time, fandom rebuilds and people come back.  I know after TLJ  I personally was so disappointed with the film that I thought "god, Star Wars is pretty stupid... does it deserve as much of my imagination as I've given it?  ugh" and I didn't touch my X-Wing or Armada stuff for a couple months and just focused on other games.



Some degree of all of these three things probably needs to factor into why we've seen such a meteoric rise (and seemingly sudden fall) in FFG Star Wars properties over the last half decade, in my opinion.
 

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2 hours ago, Alpha17 said:

As someone who plays Legion more than anything else, I have to say that if they had gone with a smaller scale than 28mm, I would have had no interest in trying it.  I skipped over Flames of War for Bolt Action for the same thing; the bigger models and smaller scale are much more appealing to me than a "bigger" battle by default.  Besides, there's nothing in Legion as it is now to keep it from having an extended "Epic" format that allows for the use of larger units like the AT-AT and Juggernaught. 

I must respectfully disagree with you.

I've specifically avoided Legion because of the size they went with.

When I first head about Legion I was fully on-board. The description made me think it was a 6mm game that would be something closer to Armada in space. Imperial Assault already fills the 28mm niche. I'm confused that they didn't make it fully compatible with IA. Some people say that it's a for sales and marketing to make them just miss the mark. I say that they should have made the 2 completely interchangeable. The cost of failure goes down since you have so many people already invested, and you can effectively expand two games at the same time.

But with so many other options in this scale (that play better IMO), why would I go with Legion? Sure there is an opportunity for Epic Play down the road, but I want to field AT-ATs by the dozen while they mow down scores of rebel troops. Legion will never afford me that opportunity.

All FFG has done with Legion was to re-invent the wheel, a wheel we didn't ask for or need.

But I'm genuinely glad that there are people out there enjoying it. I just can't see myself being one.

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