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"Rackham is now confirmed to be in liquidation." Topic


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palaeoemrus31 Oct 2010 7:43 p.m. PST

Apparently they are currently trying to find homes for the AT-43 and Confrontation lines.

" Rackham-E as a company is gone into a liquidation procedure starting yesterday afternoon.

I announce it to you officially first, but a blog will be posted soon too. I just wanted to let you know first hand, as you deserved it.
I wish to thank all of you for your continuous support, your interest in our games and your devotion to the communities at large. It was a pleasure to work with you and for you, even so briefly.

I know I'll meet some of you on other forums, other websites and other conventions and shows.

If the company dies, the games still have a chance to endure. Discussions are going their way with several partners, old ones and news ones alike, in order to save the licences and games attached to these."

HesseCassel Inactive Member31 Oct 2010 8:09 p.m. PST

what happened? I remember they switched to plastic – did that kill the game? The metal figs were amazing!

Personal logo Aurelian Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member31 Oct 2010 8:25 p.m. PST

From what I'm told by Rackham fans, the decision that opened the way to killing Rackham was in deciding to go completely to pre-paints and to do away with the metal models. Of course, there were plenty of other poor marketing decisions, like including incomplete rules with the starter set for their new flagship game, AT-43, for instance. More than one gamer got pretty angry when he discovered that he'd paid all that money and was still expected to shell out for the main rulebook.

That said, and I never dealt with them myself, I'm told that Rackham's management was just about impossible to work with, both as an employee, and as another company looking to do business. It certainly didn't help their reputation in the states when they immediately dropped the company that got them here to go over to Fantasy Flight.

-A.

GypsyComet31 Oct 2010 9:28 p.m. PST

…and then dropped Fantasy Flight less than a year later.

One inexplicable decision after another.

Personal logo Ivan DBA Supporting Member of TMP31 Oct 2010 10:12 p.m. PST

I hope someone will eventually bring back their metal stuff. Amazing sculpts, with lots of unique character.

EvilGinger Inactive Member31 Oct 2010 11:20 p.m. PST

The metal miniatures where lovely & easy to put together as well. the plastics(confrontation) where horrible and not well done by the standards of even prepaints. I liked the style of the AT43 miniatures though & they strangely where much better finished as well as being nice figures.

tnjrp31 Oct 2010 11:28 p.m. PST

The other version of the RE/FFG debacle would be that FFG didn't do right by RE. But yes, RE apparently were truly adeptly messing up their business decisions every chance they got. I think the very last blow was to stop producing AT-43 minis, ostensibly in preparation for v2 of the game.

It might've been that their risk money simply ran out tho, because allegedly the Chinese manufacturers changed their upfront payment plan over the last year or so towards one where you had to pay lots more to get your product done in the first place. In which case it was likely the latest economic crisis that nailed the coffin for them, even if they did their fare share by crawling into it themselves.

Anyway, it's time to hit those final sell-offs then and then wait and see if anybody pick up any of the lines. On the positive note for a scifi gamer, I think AT-43 has more potential to be touched with a ten-foot barge pole than Confrontation.

RobH Fezian01 Nov 2010 2:08 a.m. PST

I think the criticism of the Confrontation pre-paints is a bit harsh, they were far better than Mage Knight and certainly on a par with the D&D miniatures.

Confrontation V2/3/3.5 (pick your own favourite version) had pretty much reached saturation point in the market. Small scale skirmish, very limited number of figures on table and very pricey. There was no real potential for development, I think the decision to develop an alternate (NOT replacement) mass battle game based on the same background with easy entry off the shelf PPP units was a good one….and V4 is actually a very good set of fantasy battle rules (bit bloody, but correspondingly quick and good fun to play).

Unfortunately from there all the management/marketing decisions commented above were poor and the game never took off. It is a shame that the "fans" of Confrontation took a very vocal negative attitude to the new game rather than supporting Rackham and helping it through the transition. If other markets were similar to the Spanish one the "fans" themselves have to bear a pretty big share of the responsibilty.

However its problem now is that V2/3/3.5 has very little growth potential, while V4 is a game with a very large number of figure type requirements, most of which are not availiable in the ppp format. This makes it a pretty poor option to be picked up by someone else; established rules/range with no scope for increasing return or a game with scope but a huge short term cost/investment requirement.

Real shame, in hindsight Rackham brought this upon themselves with bad business decisions and bad timing, but it is not the first nor last time that a company in this hobby will manage itself into failure.

Stealth100001 Nov 2010 2:56 a.m. PST

Hell, not good to seee them go. Very sad day. Hope the ranges can live on.

HumorousConclusion01 Nov 2010 3:43 a.m. PST

My impression is that they were in trouble before they switched to prepainted plastics. The market was already saturated with their metals. Most people had enough to paint or play Confrontation with and few people were interested in collecting enough for Ragnarok (which was clunky and slow to play despite having some interesting ideas).

I believe that they were having some success with AT43 and switched to PPP for Confrontation in the hope that were save them, ultimately it didn't. That said, they made a real hash of the switch, taking ages to release any models and the ones that appeared being very badly painted (if quite well sculpted). Ditching the old metals also set existing fans against them killing a chunk of their market.

Since old Rackham died and Rackham Entertainment took over things didn't really improve. They still had enormous trouble getting miniatures into the shops and if you have nothing to sell you can't make money.

RobH, they were better scuplted and mainted than Mage Knight and D&D, but they were also more expensive and you needed a lot more to play the game. D&D and Mage Knight were aimed at collectors who could play with a couple of boxes and build up a collection over time through trading as well as buying. Rackham were targetting more traditional wargamers building large armies and expected you to pay similar prices and collect similar numbers. Having seen the product I never felt it was worth getting into.

(I make fun of others) Inactive Member01 Nov 2010 6:37 a.m. PST

Shame that they stepped away from what made them so notable in the first place, making metals. I have many of them ut away and planned to paint them but perhaps they will instead be sold as collector's items!

wminsing Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2010 7:31 a.m. PST

Sad but not particularly surprising- they have had a long history of bad decisions and poor luck.

-Will

Chrome Inactive Member01 Nov 2010 7:49 a.m. PST

t is a shame that the "fans" of Confrontation took a very vocal negative attitude to the new game rather than supporting Rackham and helping it through the transition. If other markets were similar to the Spanish one the "fans" themselves have to bear a pretty big share of the responsibilty.

Its a company's job to produce something that their customers will want to buy. If they're changing their product so drastically that they upset a majority of their fan base, that's certainly not the customer's fault. And its definitely not the customer's responsibility to buy every piece of junk that a company produces just out of loyalty.

Sane Max01 Nov 2010 9:07 a.m. PST

I never cease to be startled how many people think we should support Businesses.

I do not support my local restaurant I eat there. when they start putting Bleeped text on my plate and telling me it's steak, I will go elsewhere. Anyone who stays and eats it, while criticising me for not supporting them deserves to get a bad taste in their mouth.

Pat

Personal logo Gattamalata Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2010 9:12 a.m. PST

Confrontation V2/3/3.5 (pick your own favourite version) had pretty much reached saturation point in the market. Small scale skirmish, very limited number of figures on table and very pricey. There was no real potential for development, I think the decision to develop an alternate (NOT replacement) mass battle game based on the same background with easy entry off the shelf PPP units was a good one….and V4 is actually a very good set of fantasy battle rules (bit bloody, but correspondingly quick and good fun to play).

Rackham's plan from the beginning was to offer a mass battle game, like Warhammer, and C/C2/C3/C3.5 was a way for players to slowly build up their collections. Rag'Narok 1st edition and edition 1.5 was decent game, but somewhat convoluted, more than Warhammer 3rd Edition, so wasn't as popular as the skirmish game. Confrontation still had development potential and 2nd Edition Rag'Narok was a more streamlined version. The problem was that Rackham eventually priced itself out of the metal miniature market when its products were priced more than GW equivalents, in contrast to a few years before when they were a cheaper highly detailed alternative.

C4 or Confrontatio: Age of Rag'Narok was too simple and restrictive a game with CCG style tactics. Gone was the option of converting and creating one's own general and/or adding upgrades to units. Even if one disliked special characters, they'd have to include a number of them so as to field a musician and standard bearer.

HumorousConclusion01 Nov 2010 9:14 a.m. PST

RobH I was a fan of Rackham's old metal models as well as Confrontation 2 and 3 and Hybrid. I didn't support the Confrontation 4 because I didn't like the rules or the prepainted plastic models. I don't see a reason to "support" a company because I liked the product it used to sell.

If that makes me partly responsible for the death of the company then I really don't care because they didn't make a product I wanted to buy anyway.

AndrewGPaul01 Nov 2010 10:39 a.m. PST

Rackham's plan from the beginning was to offer a mass battle game, like Warhammer, and C/C2/C3/C3.5 was a way for players to slowly build up their collections

If they'd actually done that in less than the five years or so between Confrontation 1st edition and Rag'Narok finally appearing, it might have done better. grin

billthecat01 Nov 2010 11:18 a.m. PST

I have learned over the years that NO gaming company or miniatures line will live forever (except the OneThatShallNotBeNamed…) That is why it is important for those who want to continue to play those games as such to purchase enough units when they have the chance and create a stock-pile. Don't buy into ever evolving games, find a solid rule set with complete army lists and a complete miniatures line and make a self sufficient situation out of it by accumulating any needed units. This is more feasible with skirmish level games of course. Perhaps this is a stinker, but that's the way it is… That having been said, now would be a great time to stock up on AT-43 units for other/generic sci-fi rule sets. I don't know much about Confrontation, but it sounds ill-executed. Also, at the risk of sounding heartless (?), this may be another triumph for the enemies of the pre-painted phenomenon and it's associated 'collectable' market…but I digress. Give the people what they want, not the biggest scam you can pull-off…(yeah, that will happen…)

Personal logo Gattamalata Supporting Member of TMP01 Nov 2010 11:22 a.m. PST

Rackham's plan from the beginning was to offer a mass battle game, like Warhammer, and C/C2/C3/C3.5 was a way for players to slowly build up their collections

If they'd actually done that in less than the five years or so between Confrontation 1st edition and Rag'Narok finally appearing, it might have done better. grin

Just saying what I read on the old Rackham forum. Did learn that what Rackham said and did were completely different and even after someone pointed out the contradiction, Jean Bey would distract everyone with smilie faces. The replacement forum spokesman was better, but still it seemed like he was only telling half the story most of the time.

Rackham Entertainment ran an online survey, though never got round to taking it, asking for opinions on how to improve things, but at the end of it a message said something along the lines of "thank-you for taking the time to fill out the survey, but we're not really going to consider your opinions."laugh

Found this on a blog, Story of Rackham and Confrontation: link

AndrewGPaul01 Nov 2010 1:42 p.m. PST

I'm not denying Rag'Narok was the intended flagship product all along. The first two editions of Confrontation basically said "Rag'Narok will be out soon; these rules are to give you something to do with the miniatures in the meantime". It's just that the meantime became longer … and longer … and eventually everyone got attached to the small-scale skirmish idea instead.

Ferrous Inactive Member01 Nov 2010 4:15 p.m. PST

I can't say anything about Confrontation, but the AT-43 Pre-paints were actually pretty good, I liked them, and the pre-painted aspect is what drew me to them originally. The actual gameplay system on the other hand, felt a little simplistic, especially in regards to their vehicles.

They make decent proxies for other games though, so there is always that.

Space Monkey01 Nov 2010 7:53 p.m. PST

I'm kind of glad to see them go… rather than flopping around like a dying beauty queen.

I think for those of use who liked the setting/miniatures there was still plenty of room for expansion without trying to 'force' us into playing a mass combat game that no one really wanted (except the company).
Cadwallon, the RPG version of the Confrontation setting, had just gotten started and I found myself buying a good number of miniatures just for use in that game. Same thing goes for Hybrid as they included rules with certain figures for use in that game as well… they could have continued to put out expansions focused on certain aspects of the setting, encouraging purchase of associated figures.
Additionally there were still forces, The Sphinx, the Akkyshian elves, etc., which never got any miniatures at all… but had a customer base waiting. There were loads of sculpts, like the dwarf steam golem, that never saw the light of day.
It wasn't the fans that sank the company… it was their own hubris and lack of understanding about whatever success they'd already had… namely the metal miniatures and the evocative setting.

palaeoemrus01 Nov 2010 8:17 p.m. PST

I think selling $10 USD worth of obviously mass produced plastic toys for $30 USD in the grounds that they were miniatures was a big problem. I think only very slowly coming out with waves of new product and moving their distribution business around did not help either.

Oddly the rule books were priced right.

blackscribe Inactive Member04 Nov 2010 2:42 p.m. PST

Hmmm, I must find Type I infantry, Medusae and Succubi before they get *really* hard to find.

Nathaniel10 Nov 2010 9:11 a.m. PST

I think it was simply a matter of inexplicably moving away from their core business. They sold really, really high end fantasy metal miniatures to the collector and painter. They also had game rules that didn't require too many miniatures.

And they got big. The lines were well developed.

But they failed at getting a clearly marketable game system in the English language. To this day I don't know whether or not "Hybrid" "Confronation" or whatever else they called their game was the right/current game to get. Locally we just played with a PDF off the net and the cards that came with the models.

And then it all went away and prepainted plastics that required big purchases and big armies came. I picked up a pretty decent metal mid nor collection in the aftermath of discounting that stores did as they saw the writing on the wall.

ClassicMiniatures Inactive Member02 Feb 2011 4:42 p.m. PST

Last I heard the Rackham liquidation bidding ended on December 12th. Did anyone hear who bought the various lines? I heard rumors that the molding for the magnificent metal miniatures was destroyed. A sad loss, but if the masters survived more molding could be made.

I also heard Ed Pugh of Reaper miniatures had expressed an interest in Rackham assets, but have heard no more. I wanted the Oni Korps corporate infantry very badly, the prototypes/sculpts looked great… I'll keep my fingers crossed someone will pick up the pieces and produce them again.

No Longer Support TMP Inactive Member02 Feb 2011 10:02 p.m. PST

Wow, lot of companies going down the drain lately :( Hope this trend doesn't continue.

Valendir Inactive Member05 Feb 2011 4:47 a.m. PST

Well, some have been raised from the dead : Helldorado has been relaunched by Cypher studios, and Alkemy is back on its feet.

HumorousConclusion05 Feb 2011 7:54 a.m. PST

I'd love to see someone relauch the old Confrontation rules and metals. Personally, I thought the best version of the game was Confrontation 3rd edition.

altfritz Supporting Member of TMP06 Feb 2011 8:44 a.m. PST

I always thought painters were a big part of Rackham's market and that the move away from metal was therefore like cutting off one arm. The figures were nice enough overall, but I personally found all the tiny pieces and fine detail beyond my skill to put together and paint. Some of those figures had arms barely a millimeter thick – how does one pin that. The Anima Tactics stuff is just as bad.

They also saddled themselves with extra expenses from the get-go by the system of cards and other components they included with every miniature. I actually argued against going that route when Confrontation was being developed on one of the Confrontation mailing lists.

HumorousConclusion06 Feb 2011 10:01 a.m. PST

I've found with Anima Tactics that with some of the smallest joins I've had to use tiny amounts of blu tac to hold them in place and super glue over that. But Anima has nothing on the worst excesses of the Rackham metals. Try attaching the weapon hands to the Cynwall elf spearmen, it's all but impossible.

Personally, I like the cards because it made each miniature complete within the pack with no need for army books. You got the model, assembled it and it was playable.

Cards have been used pretty successfully by quite a number of different games including Warmachine and Hordes, Malifaux and Anima Tactics, so I don't think it was the cards that killed them.

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