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Celonius

How far is the game from being discontinuid

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I have be to be a dissenting voice and state that in my opinion it is pretty obviously in the process of being discontinued, despite the widespread optimism.

As I point out a month ago there are no reprints scheduled in the Upcoming queue at all. This alone is an indication that the game is being dampened as there's no prospect of filling in out of stock expansions and FFG won't be generating any new income from it for at least six months. Because they don't sell directly on the webstore and only though secondary suppliers it should be assumed that there has never been any reason to hold much actual stock and most of it is in the distribution chain or on shop shelves. There was a brief restock for distributors at the beginning of the month but nothing to fill the gaps in the catalogue so it felt more like the distribution lines were being flushed out. People point to long product gaps in IA in the past and in other products (e.g. Descent 2) but during all those gaps there were always reprints in the upcoming queue. The current situation with IA is unique.

On top of this news articles have been nonexistent. Outside of OP and supporting skirmish maps we basically haven't had a product article for since August 2018. FFG may not be consistent but they are never negligent (or lazy) about promoting their active products through a semi-regular heartbeat of news articles. Even when they have nothing particular to say they do push out something regardless of how vacuous it is.

The release of the App campaign superficially looked like evidence of life in product but the failure to recommence printing (not even RtH or Leia) or make any announcement basically means that they are not going to and not wanting to make any money out of it at all. There are good reasons why they may still be pushing out campaigns in the App even when other areas of development and support have stopped. There may have been work in the pipeline delayed for two years while the software team were sidetracked onto other products that they just felt they should complete. But I think it is likely that when the licence was agreed with Disney it would have included a road map of the final product content - including the Big box starter campaign and maybe (at least) the large box expansions (two or three depending on whether HotE was in existence when the negotiations were finalised). And this road map is a contractual requirement, as the licencer won't want incomplete products on the market using their IP. Therefore FFG basically have to complete these App campaigns.

So all in all I think the App update adds only a little reason to be optimistic but the failure to promote it is a pretty strong indicator that IA1 is being killed off.

At the end of the day you need to put yourself in FFG's shoes and ask what would they do if they were going to pull a product like IA gracefully? My checklist (incomplete) would include the following items:

  1. Complete any contractual/licencing requirements. i.e. finish off App campaigns and push them out quietly.
  2. Continue to support OP for the current season (so as not to raise red flags prematurely).
  3. Stop reprinting the product and allow the current printing-distribution queue to empty.
  4. Stop promoting the product to dampen down the uptake by new customers who may aggrieved at not being able to fully buy into it.
  5. And eventually, after several months when stocks are more or less dry, make an announcement.
     

And steps 1) - 4) are looking very real at the moment.

Of course all of this is on;y relevant to IA version 1. There is a possibility that it is heralding the release of a version 2. But that's another topic...

Also I think it's a toss up  that HotE is due for release on the App; very much dependent on whether it was included in the App licencing.

 

Plus it's Friday and there may be an announcement today that blows my entire thesis out of the water... 🙂

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1. There is no contractual/licensing requirements for the app to include anything at all as far as we know. It's a free app, generating sales. Customers have asked for it, and FFG sees it as a way to sell products. Like I said, spending resources on a free app and then not reprinting ("letting the game die") sounds very strange, even stranger than not promoting skirmish.

You still need to remember that skirmish is what you see (through articles and Organized Play), but Imperial Assault is foremost a campaign game, mostly played in private game groups.

 

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1 hour ago, a1bert said:

1. There is no contractual/licensing requirements for the app to include anything at all as far as we know. 

Unfortunately Star Wars is a Disney/LucasFilm IP so there absolutely is a licensing agreement. Both Disney and Lucasfile (and Asmodee) are explicitly referenced in the App credits. And the licensing agreement (SW IP is notoriously tight)  will spell out in detail the final product as it was intended/expected from the outset to avoid all the legal costs and issues with trying to expand the product later. The only question is how much long term development was expected in the first place (but big box expansions would have been very likely) and the balance between the cost going back and renegotiating the contract or just fulfilling the existing requirements.
 

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It's a free app, generating sales. 

But FFG aren't using it to promote sales and don't have any stock in print to make money with. That was one of my explicit points.

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Like I said, spending resources on a free app and then not reprinting ("letting the game die") sounds very strange...

It's not "very strange". It depends on how much it would cost to back out of any contractual requirements versus the cost of completing what may well be nearly finished work anyway. And Just to re-iterate they haven't reprinted so they are not trying to make money from the new campaign.

So far as "letting the game die" at some point they will kill off IA (and every other product in their catalog) and if they did so just by making a sudden random announcement without months of preparatory work then it would be a disaster. Items that were in the supply chain or at the printer would need to be scrapped because few distributors would be prepared to buy them if they were going straight into the bargain bins.  Sellers would also be disgruntled if they had recently restocked then had an unexpected termination announcement dropped on them. Customers who had recently bought into the product because they were led to believe that it was an active product by recent promotional materials will also be upset.

To do it properly they will, in advance, go through a process of stopping reprints and promotions, then, after stocks in the supply chain and on shop shelves have depleted, they will announce the termination of the product. This minimizes customer and distributor upset and reduces the amount of stock they need to scrap or buy back.

 

Edited by Zerker

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11 minutes ago, Zerker said:

Unfortunately Star Wars is a Disney/LucasFilm IP so there absolutely is a licensing agreement. Both Disney and Lucasfile (and Asmodee) are explicitly referenced in the App credits. And the licensing agreement (SW IP is notoriously tight)  will spell out in detail the final product as it was intended/expected from the outset

Disney/LFL is not designing the products, so they cannot know beforehand how they will turn out.

If you read the credits, there is Disney/LFL approval for each campaign separately. They are approving the products after they are finished (which for the app means each release), not dictating what the products will be.

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8 minutes ago, a1bert said:

If you read the credits, there is Disney/LFL approval for each campaign separately. They are approving the products after they are finished (which for the app means each release), not dictating what the products will be.

Actually, given that it is the same name we don't know if the approvals are separate or were done at once and just copied into each of the individual credits. But even then pre-release "Approval" probably refers to validation of the separate pre-development licensing.

Licensing is likely to be inclusive rather than exclusive, It would be a lot more difficult for Disney/LucasFilm to specify comprehensively what they don't want to allow then it would be to ask the licensee what they do want to put in the product and agree on that. And given the legal costs of revisiting the agreement  then as much as possible would be front-loaded.

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6 minutes ago, Zerker said:

And given the legal costs of revisiting the agreement  then as much as possible would be front-loaded.

You refer to legal costs, then you seem to believe Disney/LFL creates a separate licensing agreement to every would-be product beforehand.

You could read the Hasbro SW licensing agreement to see what kinds of things a Star Wars (or any IP) license agreement usually contains. https://corporate.findlaw.com/contracts/operations/toy-license-agreement-lucas-licensing-ltd-and-hasbro-inc2.html

Also check out: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2011/8/2/use-the-force/

(Sure, any SW license holder will probably talk with Disney/LFL unofficially to see if there is anything in their plans that could be a roadblock. This was referred to in one In Flight Report. But that doesn't mean that the product is designed right there and then.)

Edited by a1bert

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My local game store is clearing up their Imperial Assault stock, you can buy three IA packs and get the cheapest one free.

I think it's just to make shelf space and doesn't have anything to do with FFG's upcoming plans. With the lack of new releases I totally understand why they are doing it though. I'm hoping for new physical content and more digital app content, fingers crossed.

Edited by Aiwendil

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31 minutes ago, a1bert said:

You refer to legal costs, then you seem to believe Disney/LFL creates a separate licensing agreement to every would-be product beforehand.

You could read the Hasbro SW licensing agreement to see what kinds of things a Star Wars (or any IP) license agreement usually contains. https://corporate.findlaw.com/contracts/operations/toy-license-agreement-lucas-licensing-ltd-and-hasbro-inc2.html

Unfortunately that link is only "general" because it has the actual details of the licensed products redacted but the placeholders are there. Also with reference to earlier it does specify a separate later "Approval" mechanism which is therefore dependent on a prior original licensing agreement.

It's worth reading some of the accounts by writers who work with the Star Wars license such as https://www.starwars.com/news/discussing-the-star-wars-publishing-landscape-with-lucasfilm-michael-siglain.

LucasFilms and Disney need to agree everything at the synopsis/prototype level before production actually begins. There was a time when the George was fairly relaxed about this but things have tightened up a lot through the EU and now Disney canon. Obviously there is still some elbow room with a lot of EU still referenced in X-Wing and Armada but I still think anything with "narrative" gets discussed for canonical purity beforehand.

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16 minutes ago, Zerker said:

LucasFilms and Disney need to agree everything at the synopsis/prototype level before production actually begins.

You mean development in this context, not production, right? (It is clear that Disney/LFL approvals of the final products are needed to produce, market, and sell them under license.)

That still wouldn't mean all aspects of the LotA app needed to be agreed to before any part of it has been developed.

Edited by a1bert

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25 minutes ago, a1bert said:

That still wouldn't mean all aspects of the LotA app needed to be agreed to before any part of it has been developed.

It means that all of the IP related content gets agreed in advance in some detail and approved after production (or development). It could be done incrementally but agreement is still done in advance of any particular piece of work commencing and therefore far in advance of product release.

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4 hours ago, Zerker said:

As an aside they have now actually announce the existence of the RtH App update on the news feed ;-D

I've been saying for a while now that there's probably an Endor wave already on shelves in stores and none of us know about it yet because FFG forgot to mention it.

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Whether FFG continues to support this or not, it has a strong, committed fan base and with @Bitterman's fantastic card editor, I think that even the campaign game can continue to have life beyond what FFG puts into it.  New sculpts are the obvious problem.  But by re-basing existing IA sculpts or re-basing Legion sculpts or replacing the former with the latter, it may be possible to expand figures available.

Does anyone know if there is good map/mission editor available yet?  I think that's the last piece we'd need to keep IA going on fan-created content alone.

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2 minutes ago, bill_andel said:

Does anyone know if there is good map/mission editor available yet?  I think that's the last piece we'd need to keep IA going on fan-created content alone.

Valkyrie has made a start, but I don't think it's finished.

I have also made a (very small and tentative) start but not anywhere near finished. All in good time.

Not aware of any others.

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On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 6:37 PM, Rikalonius said:

I need neither, though I would like Zuckuss and 4-LOM and Scout Troopers.  

 

On ‎2‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 7:54 PM, Strawhat said:

You forgot the rebel on a tauntaun and Death Squad Commanders/Death Star Troopers...

You may want to look at https://www.shapeways.com/shops/mel_miniatures?section=Imperial+Assault+Heroes&s=0, at least if you live in the EU (sadly, I don't).  Wonder how long till he gets a C&D order from FFG/Asmodee or Disney/LFL?  He's got Ewoks, 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and even a Rebel on a Tauntaun.

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Adding my two cents worth. I think the original poster wonders why they’re not on sale, and will they be in a few months. Who’s turn was it to answer that this week? He meant no malice, just his english needs polishing, but I embrace all of my IA international brothers!

 

Secondly, I can confirm with 100% certainty that FFG designs things and submits them to Disney/Hasbro for approvals. Given that the current approver is a former Hasbro bigwig, approvals are likely to hit roadblocks given the narrative control from Disney and the “boardgame” rights from Hasbro. Until it’s dead, this game is officially alive. @a1bert is right as always. The free ap is a big sign it’s not. The game sells. 

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On 2/18/2019 at 5:31 PM, bill_andel said:

You may want to look at https://www.shapeways.com/shops/mel_miniatures?section=Imperial+Assault+Heroes&s=0, at least if you live in the EU (sadly, I don't).  Wonder how long till he gets a C&D order from FFG/Asmodee or Disney/LFL?  He's got Ewoks, 4-LOM, Zuckuss, and even a Rebel on a Tauntaun.

Those are impressive, but way too rich for my blood.  And I'm in the States.

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If it's just miniatures you are looking for, try the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Miniatures game, they have literally hundreds of painted and detailed miniatures available. In fact I only bought IA for the campaign play and since I'm a pretty bad painter and more so lazy I just swapped out all of the miniatures with painted WOTC miniatures and my game looks much better. Even more so because I have miniatures for Han, Chewie, Royal Guard champion and rebel troopers instead of tokens.

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44 minutes ago, GILLIES291 said:

If it's just miniatures you are looking for, try the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Miniatures game, they have literally hundreds of painted and detailed miniatures available. In fact I only bought IA for the campaign play and since I'm a pretty bad painter and more so lazy I just swapped out all of the miniatures with painted WOTC miniatures and my game looks much better. Even more so because I have miniatures for Han, Chewie, Royal Guard champion and rebel troopers instead of tokens.

There are a number of WotC figures that can be used for civilians and prisoners in the campaign as well. 

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4 hours ago, Rikalonius said:

There are a number of WotC figures that can be used for civilians and prisoners in the campaign as well. 

Nice! Haven't come across those yet but I'll be sure to keep some random commons on standby haha

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