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Subject: Legion Wargames rss

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Rex Stites
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chuft wrote:
but many are oddball topics that are unlikely to get a lot of replays, what I think of as "magazine game topics."


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That's a lot for what I consider a magazine game topic that I might play once,


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since you are unlikely to play it more than once,


I don't understand the correlation between "obscure topic" and lack of replayability. These particular titles may not(or may, I don't have any real idea) have replay value, there may be a lot of reasons for this, but would think there would be other things that are causing this rather than the subject matter.
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hedererp wrote:


I've been waiting for Mike Taylor's Russo-Japanese War game for years.

There needs to be some buzz--new pictures, discussion, play-testing reports to get those on the fence off of it and pre-ordering.

Paul


I strongly agree with this. I would love a big, detailed game on the Russo-Japanese War. But I've heard virtually nothing about this game.

When I visited the pre-order page at Legion, the first thing I did was click on the map link.

And I saw this:



Avalon Hill, circa 1970. Seriously? And no disclaimer that this is a playtest map (though it's noted as such here at BGG).

If that's how you're promoting this game, it seems to me you're shooting yourself in the foot.

There are a number of Legion titles that interest me, but I've become much more discriminating with my wargame purchases in recent years, which means that publishers have to make a stronger effort to separate me from my money.

Post some decent artwork, more details on the game system, and maybe a detailed AAR, and I'd almost certainly pre-order Russo-Japanese War. For now I remain on the fence.
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engdy wrote:
Is Legion Wargames a VASSAL-friendly (or cyberboard-friendly) company? That can be a make-it-or-break-it decision point for me, and I'm sure many others.

Encouraging VASSAL use and module creation I think can go a long way towards promotion of Legion games.


I second the need for vassal modules. Especially long or large games really benefit from vassal as you get more folks to play which becomes its own form of advertisement.

I own two of your games and really enjoy them.

Tonkin: The Indochina war 1950-54 (second edition) and
Ici, c'est la France! The Algerian War of Independence 1954-62

Ici, c'est la France! The Algerian War of Independence 1954-62 does not have a module ... It really needs one.

Looking at your comming Dien Bien Phu game. My decision will be a no brainier if it has a vassal module.
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kanger wrote:
Bob, Eric, thanks for ordering/preordering!

P250 is desirable. Producing a game demands a certain amount of money. But I don't thing the 250-limit is an absolute necessity. There will be a flow of releases each year, even if a game has stuck below 250.

I have been thinking a lot about newsletters, like GMT has. How many would be interested in signing up on such a newsletter?


I for one would be very interested in a newsletter. I go to the LWG website fairly often, and as with most such sites (GMT is the exception), I usually get frustrated with the lack of information on progress of pre-order games. I own Ici, c'est la France, Tonkin, and Adobe Walls, and have another seven Legion wargames on pre-order. I also would encourage the development of VASSAL mods for Legion games, as most of my play is via VASSAL PBEM.
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I´m not friend of preorders politics, but I´m a loyal buyer of Legion games (not all the topics for sure). And I suppose is the same case for many wargamers in Europe...


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andyloakes wrote:
But here's what Randy has to say on the Legion homepage:

All CPO games will be shipped in bulk to the UK where the VAT will be paid. Then the game is shipped to you and since the shipment originated inside the EU you should not be charged any additional handling fees. The total paid by you for this service will be approximately $25 for a single game.


This is just my way of saying thank you for continuing to Pre-Order games despite the ever higher cost of shipping.


Randy Lein - LWG


Note: That service is inclusive of the postage for a single game - at least that's my understanding.


Randy has confirmed that $25 per game postage (inc. VAT and handling fee) is all EU customers will pay - PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.

Andy
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andyloakes wrote:
andyloakes wrote:
But here's what Randy has to say on the Legion homepage:

All CPO games will be shipped in bulk to the UK where the VAT will be paid. Then the game is shipped to you and since the shipment originated inside the EU you should not be charged any additional handling fees. The total paid by you for this service will be approximately $25 for a single game.


This is just my way of saying thank you for continuing to Pre-Order games despite the ever higher cost of shipping.


Randy Lein - LWG


Note: That service is inclusive of the postage for a single game - at least that's my understanding.


Randy has confirmed that $25 per game postage (inc. VAT and handling fee) is all EU customers will pay - PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.

Andy


Fantastic news!

I`m so tired of getting stung by Royal Mail for the paltry VAT amount owing and a daylight-robbery, "handling charge" of eight quid!!!
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Pedro García
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I am a fan of those less-usual topics, and so far Legion Wargames has not disappointed me.
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egg_salad wrote:

From CSW, Picket Duty is probably going to start shipping late October.



Happy to hear this, I will add it to my Birthday/Christmas Wishlist that I am sharing with family members for the upcoming season.
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Jeb, I think the general idea is that all games shall be made into Vassal, Cyberboard and Sun Tzu modules. But they are not made by Legion itself. They are all made by enthusiasts volunteering to do it in their free time. Check with Andy Loakes, who is the master and coordinator of all digital versions of the games. He would be able to give you a lot more details.

There are Cyberboard and Sun Tzu modules of Ici, if I'm not incorrect, but apparently not Vassal. Anyone who feels like doing one is generally free to do it. But check with Randy Lein at Legion for formal permission first.
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Quote:
Avalon Hill, circa 1970. Seriously? And no disclaimer that this is a playtest map (though it's noted as such here at BGG).

If that's how you're promoting this game, it seems to me you're shooting yourself in the foot.

There are a number of Legion titles that interest me, but I've become much more discriminating with my wargame purchases in recent years, which means that publishers have to make a stronger effort to separate me from my money.

Post some decent artwork, more details on the game system, and maybe a detailed AAR, and I'd almost certainly pre-order Russo-Japanese War. For now I remain on the fence.


The dilemma is whether it is best to show playtest graphics, or not to show anything at all. Graphics that tend to be more final are not made until a game enters its final 6 months production period. But I guess showing playtest graphics would be okay if I, as a designer, communicate with you all and say that this is the map/counters as they are so far in the process, and that the idea with the system and graphics are such and such. Involving you into it.

Now the question is where? Should it be made at Legion's own site? At Consim? At BGG? (at all three would be best, I guess). Info shared at Consim and BGG tend to disappear from the front after a short while. New topics push it down the list.
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Andy Loakes
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kanger wrote:
Jeb, I think the general idea is that all games shall be made into Vassal, Cyberboard and Sun Tzu modules. But they are not made by Legion itself. They are all made by enthusiasts volunteering to do it in their free time. Check with Andy Loakes, who is the master and coordinator of all digital versions of the games. He would be able to give you a lot more details.

There are Cyberboard and Sun Tzu modules of Ici, if I'm not incorrect, but apparently not Vassal. Anyone who feels like doing one is generally free to do it. But check with Randy Lein at Legion for formal permission first.


You're right Kim. Randy has done CB gameboxes for other company's games in the past but he's way too busy these days (rumour has it he even used to have time to play wargames). That said he is very supportive of anyone wanting to build CB, ZT or Vassal files for any Legion games and I'm sure he'll provide game art on request.

Andy
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kanger wrote:
The dilemma is whether it is best to show playtest graphics, or not to show anything at all. Graphics that tend to be more final are not made until a game enters its final 6 months production period. But I guess showing playtest graphics would be okay if I, as a designer, communicate with you all and say that this is the map/counters as they are so far in the process, and that the idea with the system and graphics are such and such. Involving you into it.

Now the question is where? Should it be made at Legion's own site? At Consim? At BGG? (at all three would be best, I guess). Info shared at Consim and BGG tend to disappear from the front after a short while. New topics push it down the list.


I understand the dilemma.Some players want to see playtest components, to get an idea of scale, etc., and I think most of us understand that these are not the final version. But I also think it's important to clearly mark them as such wherever they're displayed, marked on the image itself or noted in the caption. In the case of RJW, the link simply says "Map Graphics", which does sound like the final product.

My personal preference is to not see playtest maps and counters, as these tend to be functional rather than attractive, and I don't think they do much to encourage pre-orders, and indeed may discourage them. I do like the GMT "sneak peeks", but these are usually final or near-final artwork, and more than once these have sealed the deal for me.
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Oh also I've played (and preordered) The Great Game and I like it, an interesting and not too complex take on the Russian-British rivalry in Asia in the 19th century.

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Steve Pole

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As someone who has only recently started trying to interest publishers in my games I am really grateful to Randy (and to Andy Loakes) for giving me an opportunity vis-a-vis "Blenheim". The appreciation of the very simple, but innovative, game system and, particularly, the plaudits received at Expo (again thanks to Randy and Andy) has led directly to other publishers being willing to take a chance on my designs.

Moreover, assisting Andy and his colleagues to develop "Blenheim" was a real apprentiship for me. The rigour of the process was an eye-opener; their attention to detail to ensure that the rules are clear and cover every eventuality, and their commitment to test and re-test until we were confident of a balanced and eminently playable game was really impressive. As a result, the end product was much better than the game I presented to Legion originally. And, I can well understand why the company has such a great reputation for quality.

Why, then, does "Blenheim" (and other Legion titles which I am sure are equally as good) remain stuck at about 100 pre-orders?

No doubt, there are many factors; but, a key consideration - which I hadn't appreciated when I submitted "Blenheim" to Randy - is subject matter. For me, the system is more important than the subject. Wargames are games; and, a game is a game. I would rather play a good game about Frederick Barbarossa, than a less good one about Operation Barbarossa. I think that I may be unusual in this.

Warfare has been endemic across the globe for thousands of years; but, wargamers seem to most enthusiastic about shelling out their hard-earned for wargames set in "the West", or regions immediately adjacent thereto, during the last 200 or so years. A game of mine which has been accepted by another publisher and which fits those criteria attained more pre-orders during the first week than "Blenheim" achieved during its first year.

You will appreciate that I'm speaking as someone with absolutely no marketing experience whatsoever: but, if the traditional wargaming market is conservative in its tastes, perhaps the answer for a company which wishes to sell brilliant games about places and periods which have received scant attention is to adopt a different marketing strategy. As I said, whether or not it is a wargame, a game is a game: one set in c19 Argentina or c19 Canada might benefit from direct marketing - perhaps as a agame, rather than a wargame - to or via potential outlets, clubs, historical societies, periodicals etc in those countries.

I have tried this approach with regard to a game about c19 India (where wargaming is unknown currently) and have been fortunate to garner the support of a famous Indian historian in taking the project forward.





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The main drive for a player/buyer to buy/preorder a game is whether he or she expects the game to be fun to play. The "fun-ness" is calculated on the topic, the company's reputation for quality, the designer's reputation for making an exciting game system that works. In my view, I think the topic is the least important aspect. It is important, but most players are willing to try new things, but only if they have full confidence in the company and the designer. For example: If Chad Jensen offers a new game at GMT on a WW2 topic, then preorders will hit 1000 in no time, even if the topic would be a bit obscure.

The problem is that, even though the topic is the least important factor, it may well be the only known factor for a player approaching a smaller firm. Someone visiting Legion for the first time does not know anything about the company, does not recognise the designers and then have to judge the titles on the topic only, which is really not enough.

So, Legion Wargames has to become known for its quality, and the designers have to present themselves and their work often. If that happens, then a game of "War on Mars" can be attractive (Hell, it would be ).
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rstites25 wrote:

I don't understand the correlation between "obscure topic" and lack of replayability. These particular titles may not(or may, I don't have any real idea) have replay value, there may be a lot of reasons for this, but would think there would be other things that are causing this rather than the subject matter.


I think it's because they are obscure for a reason. Subjects that have a lot of games about them, usually do because they're interesting situations that could have gone down several different routes.

If you look at the "big three" for wargame popularity - Napoleonics, the American Civil War, and WWII in Russia, North Africa, the Bulge - what you find is one side that won a lot of battles at first, but was eventually defeated. Such situations are inherently interesting, since both sides of the conflict get a taste of offense and defense, victory and defeat, usually in different ways and for different reasons. No matter whom you're rooting for, you get a chance for them to have the upper hand at some point.

Somewhat obscure, but still popular topics, like say the Second Punic War, have a similar pattern.

The more obscure, unpopular topics tend to be rather lopsided, one-time events that do not have this kind of appeal.

[Edited for clarity]
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Rex Stites
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chuft wrote:
rstites25 wrote:

I don't understand the correlation between "obscure topic" and lack of replayability. These particular titles may not(or may, I don't have any real idea) have replay value, there may be a lot of reasons for this, but would think there would be other things that are causing this rather than the subject matter.


I think it's because they are obscure for a reason. Subjects that have a lot of games about them, usually do because they're interesting situations that could have gone down several different routes.

If you look at the "big three" for wargame popularity - Napoleonics, the American Civil War, and WWII in Russia, North Africa, the Bulge - what you find is one side that won a lot of battles at first, but was eventually defeated. Such situations are inherently interesting, since both sides of the conflict get a taste of offense and defense, victory and defeat, usually in different ways and for different reasons. No matter whom you're rooting for, you get a chance for them to have the upper hand at some point.

Somewhat obscure, but still popular topics, like say the Second Punic War, have a similar pattern.

The more obscure, unpopular topics tend to be rather lopsided, one-time events that do not have this kind of appeal.

[Edited for clarity]


The bulge has plenty of games, many of which people play multiple times I'm sure, but I think most people agree that actual German victory is nearly impossible. The way the games deal with this is to measure victory somehow against the "historical" outcome.

I don't think the areas you mention are popular with wargamers because they are especially interesting to game purely because the battles translate well to wargames; they are popular because they are the most well known and popular areas of history. Every American schoolboy is well aware of WWII, the Am. civil War, and to a degree, Napoleon. In short, they want to game those periods because that is what they know or are interested in. If a particular battle translates well to a wargame, even better.

These obscure topics may translate to a great wargame, but don't have a built-in target audience that, e.g. the bulge would.

So I still think that replayability comes down to the actual game, not the topic.
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kanger wrote:

So, Legion Wargames has to become known for its quality, and the designers have to present themselves and their work often. If that happens, then a game of "War on Mars" can be attractive (Hell, it would be ).


But not too often, the constant drone about Toulon led to my taking action to limit it affecting me on CSW. It is a difficult balance to achieve and it changes from potential purchaser to potential purchaser. There can also be an element of the Legion chums talking each others games up, understandable possibly, but self-defeating in my view.

I suspect Legion lacks the breakthrough design the accessible game set at the right level of complexity and playing time on a subject that grabs the attention. It needs a Paths of Glory item.
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chuft wrote:
rstites25 wrote:

I don't understand the correlation between "obscure topic" and lack of replayability. These particular titles may not(or may, I don't have any real idea) have replay value, there may be a lot of reasons for this, but would think there would be other things that are causing this rather than the subject matter.


I think it's because they are obscure for a reason. Subjects that have a lot of games about them, usually do because they're interesting situations that could have gone down several different routes.


Interesting you should say this. I've genuinely wondered for years why, with Napoleonics being so popular and with Toulon being so significant in the petit corporal's career, the subject hadn't been gamed before - and I assumed it must be a tedious topic for a game - it was a siege after-all. I fear others may have shared my assumption - and we'd all be wrong. Toulon isn't a siege as most of us imagine a siege - the fighting occurs outside of the town (and, in fact, there was no significant bombardment of or storming of the town itself historically).

The game is my first design (and I understand why people may be nervous of new designers) though I have been wargaming, like many of us, for many years. I've also playtested a number of games and developed Blenheim (referred to by Steve above - and a game that is innovative and emminently playable. For me it is a rather chess-like; though far less abstract and, for that reason (for me) more interesting).

I researched the game (though very much on and off) for around three years and then, arriving very early at the airport for the 2012 Consimworld Expo I started the design work. By the time I left the convention a week later the basic design was done. I was amazed just how easily the mechanics came together. That's not to say there haven't been numerous changes and (especially) clarifications over the last 15 month of development (we're on v4.1 of the rules (and there have been plenty of 'dot' releases) and v18 of the charts and tables - latest update just this morning). I'm indebted to my playtesters, proof-readers and co-developers for their efforts in honing the game.

What I'm especially pleased about are the number of decision point the players are faced with (not what I expected from a siege game) and the frustration both sides feel through a combination of having more options available than they can realise and the conviction from both sides in the same game that they can't win; of course one of them invariably does.
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rstites25 wrote:

The bulge has plenty of games, many of which people play multiple times I'm sure, but I think most people agree that actual German victory is nearly impossible.


Final victory. They won a lot of battles at first. It is quite disheartening to be the Americans in the early part of a Bulge game.


Quote:
I don't think the areas you mention are popular with wargamers because they are especially interesting to game purely because the battles translate well to wargames; they are popular because they are the most well known and popular areas of history. Every American schoolboy is well aware of WWII, the Am. civil War, and to a degree, Napoleon.


I don't think the wargame consumer is an average American schoolboy.
Even if he was, the average schoolboy is far more aware of Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom, than of the campaigns of Napoleon. That doesn't mean there will be a huge demand for games on Desert Storm, because it was a lopsided, one-time affair where one side didn't win any battles.

Quote:

So I still think that replayability comes down to the actual game, not the topic.


Even in the popular topics, you are going to find a lot more games on the more balanced situations, than you are on lopsided, one-time affairs like, say, the siege of Sevastopol, where one side didn't win any battles. I maintain the obscure topics tend to be obscure for a good reason, at least as far as games are concerned.

In theory a game on an obscure topic can be a fun game. In practice I have found it to be very rare. I can speculate on the reasons for this - lack of competition, lack of previous games the designer can look to for inspiration or to improve upon, focus on special rules to simulate the conditions of the topic, simple lack of games on the topic (the more games there are, the greater your chances of ending up with at least one that is really good). But I am hard pressed to look at my own collection and find many games on obscure topics that I played more than once.
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Quote:
It needs a Paths of Glory item


Ooh, that would be nice! cool
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Charles Vasey wrote:
kanger wrote:

So, Legion Wargames has to become known for its quality, and the designers have to present themselves and their work often. If that happens, then a game of "War on Mars" can be attractive (Hell, it would be ).


But not too often, the constant drone about Toulon led to my taking action to limit it affecting me on CSW. It is a difficult balance to achieve and it changes from potential purchaser to potential purchaser. There can also be an element of the Legion chums talking each others games up, understandable possibly, but self-defeating in my view.


I'm on your ignore list Charles! surpriseblush

You're right of course, I know I've been heavy handed in my promotion and I suspect its is impossible to get the balance right - it is a form of communication after-all and every company I have worked with have wrestled with what is the right amount/type/frequency of internal communication. Toulon has done relatively well on the pre-order front though so I guess for every Charles I've pee'd off there'll be a pre-order and a bit gained elsewhere.

If you do have me on your ignore list you won'y have noticed that I have quietened down a lot about the game on CSW on the assumption that I'd probably saturated the potential pre-orders from that channel. Ironically, this thread had started to make me think I should perhaps get more vocal again - there has definitely been an apparent correlation with a drop off in my 'drone' and a reduction in pre-orders (of course, that could simply be that I spotted the saturation point at exactly the moment it occurred).

Edit: Gutted - some one has thumbed your post
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Rubenpup wrote:

No doubt, there are many factors; but, a key consideration - which I hadn't appreciated when I submitted "Blenheim" to Randy - is subject matter. For me, the system is more important than the subject. Wargames are games; and, a game is a game. I would rather play a good game about Frederick Barbarossa, than a less good one about Operation Barbarossa. I think that I may be unusual in this.



To me the situation is very analogous to browsing for a book. You can see the cover art, you can look at the author's name, you can determine the subject matter. But will it be a good read? It will take a lot of time to find out - or at least, the opinion of other people who have spent the time to find out.

On a preorder page I can see if I like the art, see who the designer is, see the topic. I can't see if it is a good game or not without playing it, which by definition, I am not in a position to do.

When it comes to preorders, where there are no reviews yet available for obvious reasons, you have to sell the sizzle, not the steak. I would say you need at least two of the trio of designer/topic/art to get someone to commit to what could be a lame game.
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andyloakes wrote:
Charles Vasey wrote:
kanger wrote:

So, Legion Wargames has to become known for its quality, and the designers have to present themselves and their work often. If that happens, then a game of "War on Mars" can be attractive (Hell, it would be ).


But not too often, the constant drone about Toulon led to my taking action to limit it affecting me on CSW. It is a difficult balance to achieve and it changes from potential purchaser to potential purchaser. There can also be an element of the Legion chums talking each others games up, understandable possibly, but self-defeating in my view.


I'm on your ignore list Charles! surpriseblush

You're right of course, I know I've been heavy handed in my promotion and I suspect its is impossible to get the balance right - it is a form of communication after-all and every company I have worked with have wrestled with what is the right amount/type/frequency of internal communication. Toulon has done relatively well on the pre-order front though so I guess for every Charles I've pee'd off there'll be a pre-order and a bit gained elsewhere.

If you do have me on your ignore list you won'y have noticed that I have quietened down a lot about the game on CSW on the assumption that I'd probably saturated the potential pre-orders from that channel. Ironically, this thread had started to make me think I should perhaps get more vocal again - there has definitely been an apparent correlation with a drop off in my 'drone' and a reduction in pre-orders (of course, that could simply be that I spotted the saturation point at exactly the moment it occurred.

Edit: Gutted - some one has thumbed your post


Yes, the net gain may be there (it may also not be), but at a cost to Legion. There is also the very negative reaction to your spamming of Shad Heath's poll on CSW to consider as having knock-on effects. That got a lot of bad comment. I think frequent shilling can work if it has historical content rather than a lot of waffle on the game design process - Lee Brimmicombe-Wood is the chiefest of our men on this skill set.



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