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Subject: Why do gaming companies withold information on games? rss

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Tim K
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Why do most gaming companies withhold information about games that are nearing release? Is it a copyright issue? There is very little information about Tide of Iron and I've seen the same issue with other FF games in development so it got we wondering. At FF's site it lists its status of at the printers. It seems viedo games are pretty open about about their games in development. They release screen shots, demos, etc for many games still in development. I was just curious. I'm assuming its this way for all board games in development. Certainly someone working at a gaming company knows. I'm pretty curious. Thanks in advance for any answers.

Tim.
 
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Mike zebrowski
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Information is a double-edged sword. It can create interest as well as disinterest in a game.

There are two worst case scenarioes.

The first worst case scenario is releasing information about an aspect of the game that is later removed before publication. Playtesting might have shown that the feature didn't work or it may have been too expensive to implement or a license holder might have nixed the idea. Problems arise as the general public tends to idealize anything that is unpublished. When it remains unpublished it remains "perfect" in the eyes of the public and they will wonder why something so perfect wasn't included in the final version. They start calling it a "missed oppertunity" or start allegations of the publisher pulling a "bait and switch".

Of course the counter-argument would be to explain why something was not included. But that assumes that the information flow is perfect. Not everone follows the news about a game closely or even at all. They'll hear bits and pieces of it third hand and never check out the source.

The second worst case scenario is when a planned feature of the game causes a negative reaction. Even if the feature is removed from the final design, the negative impression will still be there due to the imperfections in the information flow.

In both case, the publisher has to understand that not all of the information will reach a potential buyer. It is therefore important to make sure that only correct information reaches potential buyers.

FFG's policy tries to ensure that only correct and finalized information gets released. It is also why playtesters are instructed not to discuss any aspect of a game before FFG.

Mike Z
 
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Tim K
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Thanks Mike. I appreciate your quick and honest response. I was curious, now I know. Maybe I'll be a bit more patient while waiting for news of my next FF gaming purchase.

Tim.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Then on the otherside of the coin you have battlelore - so much pre-release info I feel like I have already played the game!


Maybe FFG is letting the Battlelore commotion to die down a bit before they start their own marketing blitz, just like DoW did.
 
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James Forsythe
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I have noticed in general a very different approach to releasing info between Days of Wonder and FFG. Days of Wonder seems to keep game info a complete secret until it is almost ready to ship (e.g. Cleopatra, Battlelore). FFG seems to annouce the game as soon as they start developing it, when the release date is still far from certain. I guess there are pluses and minuses to each approach. If I had just bought C&C Ancients then they announced Battlelore, I'd probably be upset that I hadn't know to wait. But the uncertainty of the early released information makes all a bit cranky after a long wait. Of course it's not really a long time at all to develop the game, produce it and ship it.
 
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Paul DeStefano
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MrSkeletor wrote:
How am I supposed to know whether I should pre-order based on so little (i.e. bext to none) information?


I know you're going to get it. You know you're going to get it. Deal with it.
 
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Mike zebrowski
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MrSkeletor wrote:
Then on the otherside of the coin you have battlelore - so much pre-release info I feel like I have already played the game! That is how you do a game release. I'm getting the impression that the first propper look I'll see of TOI is when I see it in a store.


Over-reacting a bit? ToI is still 2 months away from reaching your local game stores. There is still plenty of time for FFG to release information.

BattleLore didn't start releasing information until about 2 months before its release date. And unlike DoW, FFG will be releasing the complete rulebook online.

Mike Z
 
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Rob Buchler
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I've harped on this some on FFG's forums/fora, in my guise as Torbal. I was apparently one of two or so people who saw the German player reference card posted at FFG for about two hours before it got pulled with no explanation.

And I've got BattleLore ordered for Christmas and not Tide of Iron. Mr. Skeletor is not alone on this -- but like him, I'm still a big FFG fan.

Oh, and I hope to get Tide of Iron when it eventually comes out, hopefully in January.
 
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Mark Crane
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The reason for the silence surrounding Tides of Iron is that during the latest playtest, the participants had so much fun that they collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital, albeit with smiles on their faces. Now they're trying to make the game .01% worse so they can avoid a raft of lawsuits and the tiresome, "Does Tides of Iron ruin marriages?" articles that are sure to follow.
 
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Mike zebrowski
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SorenK23 wrote:
I was apparently one of two or so people who saw the German player reference card posted at FFG for about two hours before it got pulled with no explanation.


It was pulled because it was wrong and had old and incorrect information on it.
 
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Nathan Baumbach
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I'm ambivelent about the entire "lack of info" situation with TOI. I think it's kind of funny how TOI has become the flagship of FFG's "failure to launch on date first given" problems. Around the Midwest, it's a joke I hear often.

"So when's the new TI3 expansion coming out?"
"Says December 2006."
"So I should expect March of 2007. Thanks!"

 
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Ronster Zero
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I have to admit I was giddy about this game when I heard the review on the Dice Tower.

Since then everything has been pitifully slow to come out.
I am also a huge FFG fan and will continue to be. But when I made an order today my finger was on the button to pre-order but I just could not.
As much as I wanted to, there was just not enough info. Alas, a big portion of my game budget for next few months went elsewhere... all for lack of knowledge.

Yes, I will probably be getting this game, but it's hard to keep excited for so long with so little.

I do hope the game is all that plus a bag of Cheetos!
 
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Justin
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i've gotten the impression with this game that they were selling the idea, and that they would throw a game together around it as quickly as possible. i hope i'm wrong.
 
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David
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emceekhan wrote:
I'm ambivelent about the entire "lack of info" situation with TOI. I think it's kind of funny how TOI has become the flagship of FFG's "failure to launch on date first given" problems. Around the Midwest, it's a joke I hear often.

"So when's the new TI3 expansion coming out?"
"Says December 2006."
"So I should expect March of 2007. Thanks!"



Eh, delays aren't always a bad thing. It reminds me alot of Blizzard (a computer game developer. They make Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo games.).

They're famous for both massive delays and excellent games. The idea that one of their games could come out less then a year after they first tell you when it's coming out is laughable. But when they do finally arrive, they're always good. Because they take the time to get it right.

It's looking to me like FFG is doing the same thing here. I get the impressions they delayed both Starcraft and ToI and I think another one too because they weren't up to snuff.

With any luck, this means they'll be even better when they finally come out.
 
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Richard D
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Well, if it is indeed "at the printers" as the FFG website indicates hopefully some official info. will be forthcoming "soon" (lol - yeah I know that we've all heard that before). And, hopefully with the recent magazine ad. sitings somebody, somewhere out there will be able to give us a scan or two of the picture(s)/page(s). Come on, someone has to have access to a scanner . . .
 
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Ben Boersma
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I got that email from Milsims too, I almost Pre-ordered it... but can't justify it yet. We know zilch.

(Completely off topic, Mr. Skeletor did you pre-order Battlelore from Milsims too, I'm wondering when we'll get it )
 
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Nathan Baumbach
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Shryke wrote:
emceekhan wrote:
I'm ambivelent about the entire "lack of info" situation with TOI. I think it's kind of funny how TOI has become the flagship of FFG's "failure to launch on date first given" problems. Around the Midwest, it's a joke I hear often.

"So when's the new TI3 expansion coming out?"
"Says December 2006."
"So I should expect March of 2007. Thanks!"



Eh, delays aren't always a bad thing. It reminds me alot of Blizzard (a computer game developer. They make Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo games.).

They're famous for both massive delays and excellent games. The idea that one of their games could come out less then a year after they first tell you when it's coming out is laughable. But when they do finally arrive, they're always good. Because they take the time to get it right.

It's looking to me like FFG is doing the same thing here. I get the impressions they delayed both Starcraft and ToI and I think another one too because they weren't up to snuff.

With any luck, this means they'll be even better when they finally come out.


That's why I don't care about the lack of info as much as I wish they'd take some time and not advertise a game until it's in the "almost finished" stage. FFG's not the only company who does it, but when they are considered the prime example of the boardgame late release/info issue, I cannot feel sorry for them. I can't even bring myself around to point out what you pointed out. Instead, I laugh and go, "Yeah, that's about the way it is."

Maybe FFG should start advertising their games by the quarter and not by specific months.

 
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Blue Jackal
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Like another said with Blizzard, delays aren't inherently bad. (Though they can lead to interest which then eventually wanes.)

I'm also tempted to pre-order, but it doesn't seem prudent. BGG ratings are useful... and not even knowing the rules?! That's too much.

Oh well, I also hope Tide of Iron will be excellent, because a great 2-4 player tactical game will be something that very much rounds out my collection.
 
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Niko Ruf
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Mike Zebrowski wrote:
FFG's policy tries to ensure that only correct and finalized information gets released. It is also why playtesters are instructed not to discuss any aspect of a game before FFG.


That is perfectly understandable. But the game has been listed as "at the printer" for more than 2 weeks. So I presume the rules are finalised.

Please, FFG, put them online!

(Where's a puppy-dog-eyes smiley when you need one?

googoo just doesn't look right...)
 
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sam faraci
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With me, when i see info on a game and i like it ,it makes me want the game even more ,and with all that excitement im more likely to preorder the game.A perfect example is the recent picture thats been posted here ,now that ive seen that i know i definately want this game and i may just preorder if more info comes out.
 
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František Orálek
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I think that is a new kind of marketing strategy. Release not cheap big box game one month after christmas nearly without info and pictures to show people there is reason 1 month wait for this strategic bomb and not to buy Battlelore. I think there is a danger many of us buy another game for christmas and dont wait one month for something that we didn't seen how it looks. I don't understand lack of pictures and rules preview. Maybe release will be delayed 1 month. I have no other idea.

I think that mike's right that too early preview is not good idea. But not too show very good looking pictures of miniatures online ( one new catalog picture in bgg pictures ,look ) is only loss.

Think, there is Battlelore and is out,there is not only Tide of Iron. I think there is the right time to show us more pictures, and not wait one week before christmas.
 
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David Spangler
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Sticking my toe in this water, while I would like games to be released in perfect working order at least a month BEFORE the advertised release date AND I know that's never going to happen soblue I actually like the anticipation. I like the fact that FFG announces games months in advance, and while I wish they could keep more accurately to their release date estimates (and it seems to me they're getting much better at this), I don't mind a delay. (Although announcing Reins of Power for this year and then delaying it until 2008 DOES seem a bit excessive, arrrh ) And there IS a good picture of ToI and its components in their latest catalog (though why they can't also post it online is beyond me!). So I like FFG's policy of advertising games long in advance of their release better than, say, DoW's of letting you know only a couple of months ahead of time. Just personal taste!
 
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David Spangler
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I should add, though, that I DO agree with everyone here that more information about a forthcoming game is better than less. I have bought games I hadn't planned to simply because I got to read the rules online ahead of time and liked what I saw.
 
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Mike zebrowski
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FFG will be releasing information, including the rule book, before the game is available for purchase. They have been doing it for years and will not stop doing it anytime soon.

So, relax and don't worry about it. You won't have to buy the game, sight unseen.

Mike Z
 
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Matt Fullenwider
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Heck, with as little info that's been released for Tide of Iron, it's still FAR more than what Lord the Rings: Battlefields has gotten...
 
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