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Sergeants Miniatures Game: Day of Days» Forums » General

Subject: This Game Seems to Be Lanquishing rss

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Kevin Rohrer
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SMG needs to move forward or die-in-place.

It desperately needs:

1. Morale and other rules that allow players to employ tactics beyond moving forward and firing.
2. The US needs mortars.
3. Online play to include Vassal.
4. Rewritten rules that increase the amount of random events that occur.
5. Officers and their capabilities, both good and bad.

SMG is a good looking, high-quality game whose rules don't match the physical quality of its components. Adding more components without upgrading the rules and play capabilities is not the way to get more people to buy-into this expensive game.
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Martin Gallo
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Kevin Rohrer wrote:
SMG needs to move forward or die-in-place.

It desperately needs:

1. Morale and other rules that allow players to employ tactics beyond moving forward and firing.
2. The US needs mortars.
3. Online play to include Vassal.
4. Rewritten rules that increase the amount of random events that occur.
5. Officers and their capabilities, both good and bad.

SMG is a good looking, high-quality game whose rules don't match the physical quality of its components. Adding more components without upgrading the rules and play capabilities is not the way to get more people to buy-into this expensive game.
I am not sure that "desperately" describes the situation. What the game needs is more players. I think the best way to acquire them is to address the complaints that detractors have harped on for a while - A solid set of unified rules that describes the complete game. In that I do agree with you.

The detractors are a passionate bunch, and adding them back in to the fold will probably lead to increased sales activity.

Of your list I agree with #4. I do not get to play the game, but I think I only ever had one random event when I was playing it.
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Pete Atack
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I have not played in a while due to the rules just being a mess. They are incomplete and really need to be pulled together to encompass everything (X-terrain, etc...). A formal FAQ is also needed as it seems there are answers, then those answers are re-answered with sometimes new / different info. Until all that happens, I'm done buying and playing.
 
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Kelly Krieble
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Disagree with your premise.

Kevin Rohrer wrote:
SMG needs to move forward or die-in-place.

It desperately needs:

1. Morale and other rules that allow players to employ tactics beyond moving forward and firing.


It already has morale in the form of "PIN" results from fire damage effects. Then you have to rally your men with a RALLY action. I think SMG does a fine job with this. I mean, what do you want, dice roll morale checks??

Kevin Rohrer wrote:

2. The US needs mortars.


Great, so more figures I'm not gonna use. Mortar teams are too expensive except to use in a scenario role.

Kevin Rohrer wrote:

3. Online play to include Vassal.


OK.

Kevin Rohrer wrote:

4. Rewritten rules that increase the amount of random events that occur.


I think they're just fine now...very infrequent and don't detract from the gameplay on table too much. They're more for flavor, I think.

Kevin Rohrer wrote:

5. Officers and their capabilities, both good and bad.


Already have these coming out. Officers give "Command" which allows for playing more cards and more actions, and generally draw more cards. They're REALLY expensive, though - my Lieutenant costs 17 points and quite frankly I'd rather have 4 grunts on my squad than him.

Kevin Rohrer wrote:

SMG is a good looking, high-quality game whose rules don't match the physical quality of its components. Adding more components without upgrading the rules and play capabilities is not the way to get more people to buy-into this expensive game.


And yet, you want to change the morale rules, leader rules and improve on-line play (which would detract from doing other more important work that needs to be done.) Doesn't your last sentence go against the points you make above?

You make some fair points, I just don't see eye-to-eye on some of them.
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Greg
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martimer wrote:
Kevin Rohrer wrote:
SMG needs to move forward or die-in-place.

It desperately needs:

1. Morale and other rules that allow players to employ tactics beyond moving forward and firing.
2. The US needs mortars.
3. Online play to include Vassal.
4. Rewritten rules that increase the amount of random events that occur.
5. Officers and their capabilities, both good and bad.

SMG is a good looking, high-quality game whose rules don't match the physical quality of its components. Adding more components without upgrading the rules and play capabilities is not the way to get more people to buy-into this expensive game.
I am not sure that "desperately" describes the situation. What the game needs is more players. I think the best way to acquire them is to address the complaints that detractors have harped on for a while - A solid set of unified rules that describes the complete game. In that I do agree with you.

The detractors are a passionate bunch, and adding them back in to the fold will probably lead to increased sales activity.

Of your list I agree with #4. I do not get to play the game, but I think I only ever had one random event when I was playing it.


I agree with Martin in that the game needs more players to keep it from dying, as the current customers can only afford so much. At some point there will be a breaking point where people will stop "rationalizing" spending a ton of money on a system that they don't have people to play it with.

I don't think that those things listed are something that is desperately needed by a long shot really.

1. As far as morale, PIN markers do a fine job of representing many things, other than a soldier being pinned/suppressed. They can be way out of the action and still have a PIN marker on them. That's not because they are ducking from being shot at, it is part of morale and you will either need to get them to rally themselves (unless their normal rally is only 1 man, so reduced to 0 when pinned) or move another soldier close enough to rally them. That's beyond just moving forward and firing.

I don't think that a dice roll morale check will help this game. It would add more complexity and time than I think would be helpful. Again, I think the PIN markers can represent morale in various forms, other than routing. Heck, if a player has a pinned soldier that isn't helping him and wants to keep the opponent from killing that soldier and getting the VP's or even "auto win" from killing all soldiers, the player can, if possible, move that pinned soldier off the map from the nearest legal entry area. That can represent that soldier routing.

For additional tactics, there are scenarios where you have to call in artillery, a scenario where a German halftrack is shooting at you from off the map, where you have to find "Important papers", where you have to lay mines on a road. There is X-Terrain that allows for different tactics. You can either pre-build squads and randomly draw orders, or you can draw orders first and then custom build the squad to best suit those orders. Part of the strategy and fun of the game is how you build your squad. You can make it with very few kills to keep your guys from getting killed by gunfire or arty, but be weak in combat contact. You can build your squads with a lot of automatic weapons and play to that strength of trying to maximize the Hit+, but also suffer from needing to be closer with the MP's, Thompsons or Stens (though they have pretty good range). You can build your squad with a lot of good move and move again cards and a lot of kills, with the plan of getting in close and being beastly in combat contact to either kill or capture enemy soldiers.

You can build a squad with only the basic allotment of grenades, or you can have fewer points toward soldiers but throw in a bunch of equipment cards and play to those strengths.

The Red Devils set came with craters, rubble and minefield pieces that you can integrate into the game to add obstructions that can help or hurt soldiers.

2. The British have a 2in. mortar that is smaller than any the U.S. would have and as it is, the British mortar team is only playable on huge maps or with modified rules to allow more range flexibility.

3. I've never used Vassel, but if this is a way to play the game on a computer instead of actually with the game pieces, then I don't see it helping much. But if you use Vassel to play someone else and both use actual game pieces to play based one whatever the Vassel does, then that may help. Not sure as I'm not familiar.

4. As far as the events go, I've had games with 0 or only 1 event, but I've also had games with 4 or 5 events coming out. I think that having those events come out on a much more predictable and regular basis would take away some of the variety as it would get samey and make each game less unique.

5. Well they've offered a custom LT. with their "dirty dozen" pledge for DDS in order to get some SMG players to help fund it. Hopefully they will offer these individually later on sometime for people to have, but I'd hardly say they are desperately needed to keep the game alive, as having officers running around as part of a 5-8 man squad would be pretty unrealistic if used too much.




I think the 2.0 rules have been an improvement for sure. The big thing that has been most annoying to me and some others is the releasing of expansions or other little components but not having well thought out rules to accompany them, or no rules at all. They've gotten into a practice of just pushing new products without supporting them properly. Heck, the people that bought the mortars may not have if they'd known how restrictive they'd be to get into play.

LBG needs to have more of a presence here at BGG, because they don't have a forum on their own site to help people or promote their product.

Many people have asked if they would be at GenCon for a few years in a row now, but they don't do it. I understand it's further away and all, but it is huge exposure for them.

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Kevin Rohrer
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Unless something has changed, more detailed morale rules are coming, which I am guessing includes breaking under fire (which is needed).

People aren't playing because of the cost, which means there are too few of us to get together on a regular basis. The closest person I have found who owns this game is in Erie, Pa; which is a 3.5-hours drive.

A minor complaint is that it takes a long time to setup and tear down, but there is nothing that can be done about it, so it is more a comment about the game than a complaint.

I still say that American mortars are needed, as except for MG fire when and assistant is close-by and grenades, there is no encouragement for soldiers to maintain their distance from each other, which encourages ganging-up (something that wasn't done).

Another thing needed is varying movement rates based on whether a soldier is running, walking, hi- or low-crawling. Yes, running and walking are handled by the cards, but different movement rates and their offensive and defensive restrictions associated with them would make the game more interesting.

Oh, and the purpose of this topic is not to bash the game. It is to discuss what is needed to attract more people into the fold, and to increase play. I have almost $2000 worth of product for it, but even though I go to 6-cons a year, am not getting any plays with it.
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Kev.
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I missed Red Devils due to a CC error.
I'm glad I did.
I have a sense of being milked for ever more money every time a new 'feature or rule is announced'

Not sure that is accurate but I guess I come from the game in a box mentality.
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Greg
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Kevin Rohrer wrote:
Unless something has changed, more detailed morale rules are coming, which I am guessing includes breaking under fire (which is needed).

People aren't playing because of the cost, which means there are too few of us to get together on a regular basis. The closest person I have found who owns this game is in Erie, Pa; which is 3.5-hours drive.

Am minor complaint is that it takes a long time to setup and tear down, but there is nothing that can be done about it, so it is more a comment about the game than a complaint.

I still say that American mortars are needed, as except for MG fire when and assistant is close-by and grenades, there is no encouragement for soldiers to maintain their distance from each other, which encourages ganging-up (something that wasn't done).

Another thing needed is varying movement rates based on whether a soldier is running, walking, hi- or low-crawling. Yes, running and walking are handled by the cards, but different movement rates and their offensive and defensive restrictions associated with them would make the game more interesting.

Oh, and the purpose of this topic is not to bash the game. It is to discuss what is needed to attract more people into the fold, and to increase play. I have almost $2000 worth of product for it, but even though I go to 6-cons a year, am not getting any plays with it.


Kevin, where did you hear about the new morale rules coming? Was it from the DDS Kickstarter updates? I'm asking because I don't recall seeing it mentioned in the SMG threads and sometimes SMG players have quoted updates or comments from the DDS KS when it relates to SMG, as Jeff doesn't seem to bother posting SMG stuff in the SMG section here anymore. If he did post it over in DDS, then that's part of why the game may be languishing a bit, because of poor customer interaction by LBG.

I agree that a lot of people aren't playing because of the cost, but if people are into minis games, then by their nature they are going to be expensive.

I think part of the issue is that LBG is doing everything in-house.

- While this does allow for optimal control of course, it also might be hamstringing them as well because they have all the overhead that they have to account for, and thus seem to need to push product out of the door as a first priority to generate income to pay for that overhead.

- They also have to manage all the different departments within the company and have no time to fully flesh out new rules for expansions or accessories before selling them to eager buyers who don't know until it's too late that the expansions/accessories haven't been fleshed out.

- They are behind the times with technology and social media. A lot of companies have their own forums for people to go to and discuss the game, as well as get input from the designer or representative from the company that can answer questions.

-They don't take advantage of social media to generate buzz for their product, unless Kickstarter is that medium for it.

-They should have contests to help generate buzz. They did at one point, before the end of the year last year, but when Kevin Duke left them, the contest was abandoned after people, myself included, took the time to take photos and upload them for the photo contest.

-Their website has lots of "under construction" sections on it, and has for quite a long time, and that's a turn-off to potential customers as it gives the impression that they don't finish what they start.

-They keep to the east coast conventions and miss out on opportunities at GenCon in the mid-west.

-Their product is really only found at their website and whatever they bring to the few conventions they attend each year. Maybe there are a couple stores that carry a few of their product, but it pales in comparison to availability of other company's products that are out there.

Now as far as setup and tear down, for sure it does take a while. I've taken it to various places and it does take some time. But I also try to host SMG at my house as often as I can so that I can set it up and tear it down at my leisure and have it all ready for when my opponent/s arrive. I have have had a big map set up on a couple occasions for single longer games, and I have also had 2 smaller maps set up so that once the first game was done, we could just go over and play on the other map/scenario. I can then tear it down the next day or whatever. Regardless, it certainly isn't a game that you just take out of the box and start playing, definitely a good bit of time commitment.

The British 2in. mortars have a minimum range of 6 map squares. While I don't own them, others that do have been disappointed because for one, the range/rules for them wasn't available before purchase when bought with the Red Devil KS, but also because of how restrictive the range is. They have to be played on a pretty big map, but then once the enemy is 5 squares or less, the mortars are useless and then you have over-priced VP-wise and money-wise regular soldiers. Considering the U.S. 60mm mortar is bigger and more powerful than the British 2in., I would bet the minimum range for them would be even greater than the 6 map squares of the 2in. It would also likely require a team of 3 soldiers instead of 2 for the 2in. So if the British 2in. mortar seems to be difficult to get into play, I would think the U.S. 60mm would be more so. That said, with the new grenade rules for drawing for damage from each player's deck, perhaps a rifle grenades can be more of a deterrent to clumping of soldiers.

As far as the various movement rates that you mentioned and the extra restrictions that would go with them, to me, that will require charts and more tokens, and will add a whole lot more time and complexity to the game. At least for me anyway. I have never heard those things requested before, so I don't know how much of a demand there is for it. And frankly, I wouldn't have confidence that LBG could do it in an elegant manner because they haven't even had time to put out proper rules for the expansions and accessories they released, let alone introduce a totally new movement/modifier system.

You must have bought everything but the kitchen sink Kevin. I have $850 into it and have a ton of stuff that has been a blast to play with, and so much of my stuff that I haven't even gotten to yet.


That all said, I think the game is generally good and a lot of fun. There needs to be some cleaning up of the rules for expansions and accessories, but the 2.0 rules that came with Red Devils is pretty good. I'm guessing that the Day of Days sets that have come out since Red Devils also contains the 2.0 rules, but it would be nice for LBG to offer the 2.0 rules for sale to those w/o Red Devils and have older versions of the Day of Days rules.

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Kev.
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range like with many min games is a artifice.
There really is no range at this scale. IT all kills well. the range thing is just to make it more interesting and less deadly.
 
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Kevin Rohrer
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re: Morale Rules

I make a point of talking to Jeff and the other LBG people whenever I see them at a con. I am thinking that it was Jeff who told me that, but it could have been Rob or Kevin last year at or around the time of Fall-In.

re: Mortars

That 6-square minimum range is artificial. I estimated that each square is 20-years across, so that would mean that the minimum firing range is 120-yards?! I can remember reading accounts of firing the 60mm mortar at such short ranges, some rounds would not tip over in flight and land tail first (meaning they did not detonate). This occurred at much less than 120-yards range. Considering how anemic grenades and the 2" mortar rounds are, the minimum range should be 2-squares, not six.


re: Random Events

Another minor complaint I corrected in the games I ran was the low number of times random events occurred. I saw an event happen that had any effect on the game an average of less than two per game. To increase the number of events, I look at all possible key word combinations, which increases that number to one every other turn.
 
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Tim Robinson
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Until the rules get fleshed out a bit more I'm just not spending anymore money on this system. I do feel like many that there really is something here.

In the meantime I'm going to keep playing Heroes of Normandie.
 
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Kevin Rohrer wrote:
The closest person I have found who owns this game is in Erie, Pa; which is a 3.5-hours drive.

There are now some players in the Pittsburgh area. Follow to the miniature forums here http://www.gaspgamer.com (you might need to register first). Two members have recently asked questions here in fact.

Still not a drop-in distance, but a little better than Erie and our games days are 12 hours. There may even be an event or two at the con in November.
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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Kevin Rohrer wrote:
Oh, and the purpose of this topic is not to bash the game. It is to discuss what is needed to attract more people into the fold, and to increase play. I have almost $2000 worth of product for it, but even though I go to 6-cons a year, am not getting any plays with it.


You go to 6 game conventions a year and are not getting any plays with it? What does that mean? You go and Sergeants events aren't being presented?

A guy like you with $2K in game materials should be hosting Sergeants games at those conventions! If you put on 6 Sergeants games at various conventions in a year and gave Lost Battalion photos and player feedback from the events, you'd probably be on their short-list of player-testers and maybe receive some consideration for your efforts.
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Greg
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BradyLS wrote:
Kevin Rohrer wrote:
Oh, and the purpose of this topic is not to bash the game. It is to discuss what is needed to attract more people into the fold, and to increase play. I have almost $2000 worth of product for it, but even though I go to 6-cons a year, am not getting any plays with it.


You go to 6 game conventions a year and are not getting any plays with it? What does that mean? You go and Sergeants events aren't being presented?

A guy like you with $2K in game materials should be hosting Sergeants games at those conventions! If you put on 6 Sergeants games at various conventions in a year and gave Lost Battalion photos and player feedback from the events, you'd probably be on their short-list of player-testers and maybe receive some consideration for your efforts.


Sounds good in theory, but demoing the game at conventions still isn't playing them unless there aren't an even number of players and he'd need to sit in and play.

Also, I haven't seen anything to indicate that they use outside playtesters. They seem to test the game themselves at the Cons they go to. Or have their own little group that does it. Though in either case, it has been lacking in certain areas.

Many people have demoed the game and submitted pictures and after action reports (myself included), or allowed them to use pictures for promotional material (myself included), but have not to my knowledge received any consideration of any sort from LBG.

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Andrew DiGregorio
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For me, I am done with buying more Sgts, at least for now.

I have a ton of units, base game + Carentan + LF Bridge + Pegassus + Red Devils.

For the few times a year i get to play, that is more than enough units to do so. Heck, i havent even gotten a chance to play a game with my Red Devils yet, and i've had them for about 9 months now.

None of the newer Sgts items that ive seen come out in the last few months have enticed me to buy into them. The X terrain sure looks nice but i think the rules to them are too messy and take away from the game. Ditto (for me, anyway) for the tactics modules, so i've passed on them, too.
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Kevin Rohrer
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BradyLS wrote:


You go to 6 game conventions a year and are not getting any plays with it? What does that mean? You go and Sergeants events aren't being presented?


I host games and advertise them beforehand, and am lucky to get one participant per con.
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At Origins this year, GrogHeads (http://grogheads.com/) hosted five 3 hour ticketed events for SMG in cooperation with LBG. I GM'ed those games. We also hosted one session to play with Jeff Billings.

Rob Belli came over to start each session with a very quick and thorough run down of the rules. I took over from there.

The first 2 sessions we only had a couple of people show up to play because of a SNAFU on where we were located (we were in the right place but directions from staff were incorrect).

After that we had a steady stream of players and on looker questions.
Great fun. The players all liked the game and had fun playing it.

LBG provided an extremely generous prize for each games session, a copy of Red Devils stuffed with extras ~$300. Most of the winners went to the LBG booth and bought more.
They were also kind enough to give me some swag for GM'ing their game. Not something I expected when I volunteered to GM at my first Origins ever.

All this to say that I think there is still interest out there in the game and new players are joining up. Yes the entry price is steep but like others have said it's not much different from any other minis type gaming.
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Greg
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slyde wrote:
For me, I am done with buying more Sgts, at least for now.

I have a ton of units, base game + Carentan + LF Bridge + Pegassus + Red Devils.

For the few times a year i get to play, that is more than enough units to do so. Heck, i havent even gotten a chance to play a game with my Red Devils yet, and i've had them for about 9 months now.

None of the newer Sgts items that ive seen come out in the last few months have enticed me to buy into them. The X terrain sure looks nice but i think the rules to them are too messy and take away from the game. Ditto (for me, anyway) for the tactics modules, so i've passed on them, too.


This is kind of where I'm at too Andrew in regards to wanting more stuff for awhile. I don't have LF Bridge or Pegasus Bridge, but have the other stuff you have as well as Hasty Positions and St. Come du Mont X-Terrain expansion. I have 24 Germans, 19 U.S. and 13 British soldiers, so I have enough to keep me busy for awhile. I do have the British Tactics module because it came with my RD pledge, but don't have any others yet.

While it would be nice to have more stuff, I don't need it and have had a blast playing with the stuff I have (though haven't gotten St. Come to the table other than for my own testing of my own scenario to get the rules figured out and coming up with my own rulings to fill in the blanks).

Ultimately LBG would have been better served to have spent more energy in getting more players around the country, than coming up with more product to sell the same few customers.
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Greg
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Barthheart wrote:
At Origins this year, GrogHeads (http://grogheads.com/) hosted five 3 hour ticketed events for SMG in cooperation with LBG. I GM'ed those games. We also hosted one session to play with Jeff Billings.

Rob Belli came over to start each session with a very quick and thorough run down of the rules. I took over from there.

The first 2 sessions we only had a couple of people show up to play because of a SNAFU on where we were located (we were in the right place but directions from staff were incorrect).

After that we had a steady stream of players and on looker questions.
Great fun. The players all liked the game and had fun playing it.

LBG provided an extremely generous prize for each games session, a copy of Red Devils stuffed with extras ~$300. Most of the winners went to the LBG booth and bought more.
They were also kind enough to give me some swag for GM'ing their game. Not something I expected when I volunteered to GM at my first Origins ever.

All this to say that I think there is still interest out there in the game and new players are joining up. Yes the entry price is steep but like others have said it's not much different from any other minis type gaming.


Vance, that was cool that they gave out some nice prizes for the winners and gave you some swag for running their game.

I demoed the game at a small historical games convention near Chicago in April and had some interest there for sure.

Still the price is a little daunting, but I think the right people won't have a problem with it if they like it enough and are looking for a WWII squad based minis game with pre-painted minis.

Ideally, LBG would send out some nice postcard sized brochures to people demoing games at cons, so they can hand them out to people. Perhaps have a way for people placing orders after getting one of those brochures to get a little entry level discount. Knock 10%-15% off for first time orders or something like that to get more people to buy into the system and then come back for more later on to expand their collection.
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Kevin Rohrer
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Throcknor: If Sergeants is going to be played, I may showup. It is only a 2-hour drive for me.
 
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I think the biggest hurtle for them is to get the game in LGS. Once they can do that I feel they will cross over from niche to more mainstream. I really hope that DDS can do that for them.

@ Vance: Glad to here things went well.

-Jeff M.
 
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Kevin Rohrer
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Hahma wrote:
[q="slyde"]
Ultimately LBG would have been better served to have spent more energy in getting more players around the country, than coming up with more product to sell the same few customers.


Absolutely. LBG doesn't have the infrastructure to adequately support their products. Except for the excessively high price point, SMG is worth owning and playing--providing LBG starts supporting it.

They should be asking for suggestions on new rules and expediting their online play.
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Andrew DiGregorio
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West Babylon
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Hahma wrote:
slyde wrote:
For me, I am done with buying more Sgts, at least for now.

I have a ton of units, base game + Carentan + LF Bridge + Pegassus + Red Devils.

For the few times a year i get to play, that is more than enough units to do so. Heck, i havent even gotten a chance to play a game with my Red Devils yet, and i've had them for about 9 months now.

None of the newer Sgts items that ive seen come out in the last few months have enticed me to buy into them. The X terrain sure looks nice but i think the rules to them are too messy and take away from the game. Ditto (for me, anyway) for the tactics modules, so i've passed on them, too.


This is kind of where I'm at too Andrew in regards to wanting more stuff for awhile. I don't have LF Bridge or Pegasus Bridge, but have the other stuff you have as well as Hasty Positions and St. Come du Mont X-Terrain expansion. I have 24 Germans, 19 U.S. and 13 British soldiers, so I have enough to keep me busy for awhile. I do have the British Tactics module because it came with my RD pledge, but don't have any others yet.

While it would be nice to have more stuff, I don't need it and have had a blast playing with the stuff I have (though haven't gotten St. Come to the table other than for my own testing of my own scenario to get the rules figured out and coming up with my own rulings to fill in the blanks).

Ultimately LBG would have been better served to have spent more energy in getting more players around the country, than coming up with more product to sell the same few customers.


i actually dont have pegassus either.. i confused that and Hasty Positions, which i do own.

But yeah, looks like we are in the same boat... too bad you dont live closer
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Greg
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slyde wrote:
i actually dont have pegassus either.. i confused that and Hasty Positions, which i do own.

But yeah, looks like we are in the same boat... too bad you dont live closer


For sure.
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Kevin Rohrer
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timmontana wrote:
In the meantime I'm going to keep playing Heroes of Normandie.


How is this?

I am thinking of investing in it, but won't unless there is a Vassal module or other type of online play.
 
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