FOGAM3

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timmy1
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Re: FOGAM3

Post by timmy1 » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:08 pm

Chris

If wargames rules did not make money eventually people would stop publishing them. I am unemployed but am looking at how I can save up for a set. It will probably be something I ask my wife to get me as a present. I recognise that if I want to play toy soldiers it costs money.

Regards
Tim

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by ChrisTofalos » Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:18 pm

We see Terry and Graham drive up in their chauffer driven Bentley to most wargames shows.
Very good BUT, at heading for £200.00 for the rules and full set of army lists, you can bet someone, somewhere is driving round in something a lot grander than a Ford Fiesta! I think you're missing the point I was trying to make (or did I make it badly?). I'm not accusing the rule writers of profiteering but the publishers/printers certainly seem to be doing well. What's wrong with a plain B&W, softbound set that might cost US OAPs a fraction of the full colour, hardbound versions?
I am not sure it will attract many new folk but may help to keep those we already have.
If the purpose of V3 is simply to keep the dwindling number of players we have, rather than attract back those we've lost that might be viewed as something of a slippery slope. We might as well go back to DBM(M) right now as, I'm pretty sure, we're going to lose some regular players (especially those who aren't being given the chance to comment on the development) when V3 comes out.
If wargames rules did not make money eventually people would stop publishing them.
Fine, but see above (that is, does it have to cost so much for a full colour set when a professionally printed, soft-bound, B&W version would save all of us parting with our hard-earned dosh?).

I've come back to miniature wargaming after a break of around ten years. When I left, ancients players really only had one decent choice - DBM. I've come back to a situation where there appear to be four or five (or maybe more) alternatives, each with their own group of enthusiastic followers. I wonder why?

I repeat the main point I was trying to make: I would urge the writers to make the V3 beta openly available.

If the writers ignore the chance to get as many players as possible involved in the development then, mark my words, the future may be very bleak for FOG-AM...

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by geoff » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:06 am

I have the opposite opinion. Fog AM V2 suffered from too much input from the online community. There was no way the rule writers could keep everyone happy. In attempting to I think it diluted what they were trying to do. I'm happy for the rule writers and their trusted testers to have a crack at delivering the best they think they can. I'm fairly confident that after all the lessons learned, it will be a winner.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by shadowdragon » Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:29 am

geoff wrote:I have the opposite opinion. Fog AM V2 suffered from too much input from the online community. There was no way the rule writers could keep everyone happy. In attempting to I think it diluted what they were trying to do. I'm happy for the rule writers and their trusted testers to have a crack at delivering the best they think they can. I'm fairly confident that after all the lessons learned, it will be a winner.
I agree with you, geoff.

As the saying goes...a camel is a horse designed by a committee.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by ChrisTofalos » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:27 am

I really hope you're both right but only time will tell...

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by petedalby » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:19 am

It is really great that lots of people want to be involved but there is the danger of too many cooks.....it simply becomes unmanageable.

As to cost - compare the cost of attending an event or buying and painting figures. There is no comparison. V1 was published in 2008. V2 was published in 2012. So if Terry's timetable works I will have had 4 years use out of each book I've bought. I can't remember how much they were now but that feels like good value to me.
Pete

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by LEmpereur » Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:27 am

petedalby wrote:It is really great that lots of people want to be involved but there is the danger of too many cooks.....it simply becomes unmanageable.
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vexillia

Re: FOGAM3

Post by vexillia » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:07 am

petedalby wrote:It is really great that lots of people want to be involved but there is the danger of too many cooks.....it simply becomes unmanageable.
Couldn't agree more.
petedalby wrote:As to cost - compare the cost of attending an event or buying and painting figures. There is no comparison. ... I can't remember how much they were now but that feels like good value to me.
I'd be careful deploying this argument because you are a satisfied customer and not the target market if Terry is really looking to grow the player pool. The issue is whether new or lapsed players will view the price as offering good value at the outset.

There is really difficult pricing issue here - get the pricing wrong and you run into two separate problems:
  • Lapsed players (customers?) will consider spending anything over £X as a barrier to (re-)entry. The price point needs to tempt even those marginally interested in playing.
  • New players will think about what other rules they can buy with £X and the competition is not just other 15 mm ancients rules.
Of course, the price point is entwined with the production values (colour/pictures/etc) as all these increase costs and thus increase the retail price. Sadly without a great looking product attracting new players will be that much harder. It's therefore a hard balance to strike.

I never switched to v2 and perhaps my experience may help:
  • Eventually, and despite having many medieval armies, I switched to FOG R.
  • I first switched to FOG R when it was announced that v2 would only be available as an iPad app.
  • The switch became permanent following Slitherine's initial decision to ship books from the USA (at my expense I suppose) and when the poor quality of the first print run emerged.
Each of these issues was addressed but obviously not quickly enough to maintain the player base. It certainly sorted the really committed players from the rest. Commercially it ended up as a perfect storm: poor availability, then poor quality both linked to high price points.

Looking back I don't regret the switch to FOGR although I do miss playing AM. So I am watching this thread with interest and I am waiting to see exactly what will be released. I suppose I'm waiting for the announcement that says to me "now's the time to part with £X and buy v3"; if I haven't used the money to buy something else in the meantime.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by hazelbark » Thu Jun 16, 2016 3:40 pm

geoff wrote:I have the opposite opinion. Fog AM V2 suffered from too much input from the online community. There was no way the rule writers could keep everyone happy. In attempting to I think it diluted what they were trying to do. I'm happy for the rule writers and their trusted testers to have a crack at delivering the best they think they can. I'm fairly confident that after all the lessons learned, it will be a winner.
I tend to agree. Too many people and too many nonsense ideas were allowed to float in V2. Then 80% of the valuable stuff that smart people though worth considering was dumped on the floor in the rush to publish. So V2 basically was just enough of a change to be a mess and not enough to be positive. There was no vision for V2 it was managed quite incompetently and the result was a lot of damage to player support. The whole e-reader bolt on top of it just underscored that no one actually gave a rip about gamers of FOG.

A new version needs a vision. The principles should be written down. i.e we want the game to now reflect the following new philosophy. Then they should set to work with their elite beta team and iron out the details. When there are mostly satisfied they should add a couple new groups of people whose job isn't to come up with new ideas, but evaluate the new changes only. Take onboard any feedback, then publish. Then vision blossoms or fails, but at least it is coherent, thought through and planned. Something all involved can take pride it, instead of insulting the gamers the way V2 did.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by petedalby » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:19 pm

A new version needs a vision. The principles should be written down. i.e we want the game to now reflect the following new philosophy. Then they should set to work with their elite beta team and iron out the details. When there are mostly satisfied they should add a couple new groups of people whose job isn't to come up with new ideas, but evaluate the new changes only. Take onboard any feedback, then publish. Then vision blossoms or fails, but at least it is coherent, thought through and planned. Something all involved can take pride it, instead of insulting the gamers the way V2 did.
And hopefully that is what is happening Dan. Terry has already published many of the key principles. The rest of it is underway. Time will tell if we are successful or not.
Pete

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by ChrisTofalos » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:15 am

As to cost - compare the cost of attending an event or buying and painting figures. There is no comparison. V1 was published in 2008. V2 was published in 2012. So if Terry's timetable works I will have had 4 years use out of each book I've bought. I can't remember how much they were now but that feels like good value to me.
You can certainly view the outlay over time as good value but wouldn't it be even better value at a third or less of the price? Thanks to brief historical descriptions (do we really need these?) and pretty pictures, FOG-AM needs 12 books to cover 285 armies (almost 4 pages per list). WRG manage to cram over 350 lists into four books (soon to be further crammed into just two!) for DBMM.

Personally, I'd hate to have to go back to DBMM, but I can't argue with the fact that their players get a great deal better value...

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by Robert241167 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 12:51 pm

Hi Chris

My gut feeling is that the army books are not being re-written just the rules so there would be no need to invest in those 13 army books again. :D

Rob

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by ChrisTofalos » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:15 pm

That's a relief, Rob! :-)

But 13 books? I must be missing one! :-(

Chris

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by Robert241167 » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:48 pm

Hi Chris

On the spine of each book is a number, from 1 to 13.

What number don't you have?

Rob

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by terrys » Mon Jun 20, 2016 9:07 am

geoff wrote:
I have the opposite opinion. Fog AM V2 suffered from too much input from the online community. There was no way the rule writers could keep everyone happy. In attempting to I think it diluted what they were trying to do. I'm happy for the rule writers and their trusted testers to have a crack at delivering the best they think they can. I'm fairly confident that after all the lessons learned, it will be a winner.

I tend to agree. Too many people and too many nonsense ideas were allowed to float in V2. Then 80% of the valuable stuff that smart people though worth considering was dumped on the floor in the rush to publish. So V2 basically was just enough of a change to be a mess and not enough to be positive. There was no vision for V2 it was managed quite incompetently and the result was a lot of damage to player support. The whole e-reader bolt on top of it just underscored that no one actually gave a rip about gamers of FOG.

A new version needs a vision. The principles should be written down. i.e we want the game to now reflect the following new philosophy. Then they should set to work with their elite beta team and iron out the details. When there are mostly satisfied they should add a couple new groups of people whose job isn't to come up with new ideas, but evaluate the new changes only. Take onboard any feedback, then publish. Then vision blossoms or fails, but at least it is coherent, thought through and planned. Something all involved can take pride it, instead of insulting the gamers the way V2 did.
That is certainly the approach we are taking.
We have a core 'review' team of 5, and each has a number of contacts for testing and comments. These include existing players, lapsed players and some who've never played before.
The feedback can then be filtered more easily so that each iteration of the proposed changes will be a step forwards rather than something that tries to please everyone.
V2 suffered from that problem, and was heavily watered down in the end, so that the final number of changes didn't justify the cost of buying the new book.

We currently have about 36 core proposals, with another 20 being reviewed. Some of the proposals are heavily dependent on being used in conjunction with others, so we have to be careful about how we react to feedback on individual ones.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by ChrisTofalos » Sun Jun 26, 2016 3:53 pm

These include existing players, lapsed players and some who've never played before.
That sounds reasonable and let's hope V3 provides a big boost in terms of attracting players and increasing interest. I'm a believer in one set of rules for each period. That works for most other types of games such as chess, etc. I can't imagine chess being as popular as it is if several sets of rules were available. Of course, wargamers traditionally use various sets of rules for each period. But is that because a 'perfect' set hasn't been created or do we get bored too easily?

I've heard a few rumours about V3:

(1) Impact to use three dice per base instead of two (elephants get four).

I think that's a great idea. The chances of a freak result with no POA (no hits or all hits) goes down from 50% to 25% (don't we all have problems with bad rolls?) and more casualties are likely, which should speed up the game. However, unless something is done to compensate, elephants and Bow-armed MF, two popular types, will be less effective.

(2) Only one terrain piece allowed in the central section (not sure if this includes the whole central section or just 5 & 6 roll areas).

Good idea again. Battlefields can be far too cluttered at the moment.

(3) HF foot to move at 4MU.

Sounds OK but only partially addresses one of the main problems: the game is too slow.

Whatever happens with V3 there are going to be some armies which players will no longer use (or never have). Rather than rewrite the points system, what about introducing some sort of handicap for competitions? For example, of the 303 armies listed as used in competitions in the Slitherine data tables allow, say, the top 100 to use the specified points maximum but the next 100 to get a 5% bonus and the rest 10%. That might encourage players to use armies we hardly ever see and provide a bit more interest/variety...

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by philqw78 » Sun Jun 26, 2016 8:36 pm

Competition rules are up to competition organisers.
phil
putting the arg into argumentative

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by marty » Sun Jun 26, 2016 9:27 pm

Whatever happens with V3 there are going to be some armies which players will no longer use (or never have). Rather than rewrite the points system, what about introducing some sort of handicap for competitions?
Or avoid making the same mistake as V2, accept this is a new full edition and re-do the points.

Martin

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by terrys » Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:57 pm

Whatever happens with V3 there are going to be some armies which players will no longer use (or never have). Rather than rewrite the points system, what about introducing some sort of handicap for competitions? For example, of the 303 armies listed as used in competitions in the Slitherine data tables allow, say, the top 100 to use the specified points maximum but the next 100 to get a 5% bonus and the rest 10%. That might encourage players to use armies we hardly ever see and provide a bit more interest/variety...
We're trying to keep all existing armies still perfectly playable while bringing some of the currently unpopular/unusable armies into the mix.
Handicapping the top 100 armies would not work because the balance of armies will change once the new version is released.
Or avoid making the same mistake as V2, accept this is a new full edition and re-do the points.
Re-doing the points will be a last resort.
Apart from the problems of updating all the lists, we won't know if the points values are an accurate reflection of the troop values until after the rules have been released and a number of competitions have been played...... We thought that the points values for V1 were accurate until at least 6 months after release - and that was after a long period of Beta testing AND a number of Beta competitions.
What we do know is that average troops are rarely selected when there is a superior version to choose. The same goes for poor/average.
If we can improve the relative value of ave vs sup and poor vs ave we will then hopefully get more players selecting average or even poor instead of superior.
We need to ensure that superiors retain an advantage over their average counterparts, but that advantage needs to be reduced.

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Re: FOGAM3

Post by marty » Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:29 pm

I would have preferred the advantage of quality remained about where it is now but that becoming superior cost significantly more (and that poor were relatively cheaper).

The problem with not changing the points is that you are then limiting what other changes you may make to what doesn't upset the current points "balance" (such as it is).

I understand points are hard to get right till a game has been played quite a bit and think, as a result, they should be the part of any system that is most subject to review/change. For example in "Sword and Spear" the points system was published online as a separate document and it was made clear from the outset that they would be subject to change. This is perhaps the single most sensible game design decision I have seen in recent times.

Martin

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