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"What is with all the requests for "complete" lines of minis?" Topic


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Alex Reed26 Jul 2011 11:39 p.m. PST

I cannot recall which Computer Lab did it, but at a Richard Dawkins talk at Berkeley in 2007 or 2008, he had a short animation of some forms of artificial life that had "evolved" novel forms of locomotion, and a ball-socket wheel happened to be one of the types that evolved in silico (on a computer). In fact, it was the most successful of the types that evolved from a basic protoplasm like life-form.

Strangely, the closest they came to legs was a thing that hurled itself end over end. No "legs" evolved in their program space (which was enormous) at all.

It might turn out that legs are among the most unlikely evolved forms of locomotion.

Really, all it takes is ONE body plan to become dominant early in an ecosystem's development for it to dominate.

If early fish had evolved more along the lines of the Portugese Man-of-War (a cooperative colony creature) then we might see people rolling along on bal-socket wheels, instead of walking.

Or bouncing on springs.

Derek H27 Jul 2011 8:28 a.m. PST

picture

Lion in the Stars27 Jul 2011 7:39 p.m. PST

Given how much armor is getting piled on ground vehicles these days, you keep needing bigger and bigger 'guns' to punch it. Therefore, you will always need a model with some big vehicle-killing weapon. You may or may not see a SAW in the unit, but may I remind people that squads/patrols in Afghanistan these days have one guy with a 7.62NATO DMR, one guy with an M25 (25mm airburst grenade launcher), a couple of SAWs (which may be 7.62NATO Mk48 versions, but those still look like SAWs), a 40mm grenade launcher, and 4 guys with basic rifles (and light antitank rockets). This gives 4 weapons that can reach out over 300m, and 5 that are more effective inside 300m.

Plus a Medic, but that's a mission attachment.

How many poses does that make? An absolute minimum of 6. Make that 7 if you have a team leader model that's different from your basic riflemen, and one more for the combat lifesaver (CLS lug a big bag of medical supplies, while a Medic's bag looks just like an infantry assault pack). Let's kick that up to a more likely 12-18 poses.

Then you need the not-normally-carried-in-the-squad weapons, like the serious antitank weapons, antiaircraft weapons, and 'heavy' machineguns on tripods for sustained fire.

Sure, your troops might be carrying Zorg ZF1s, but there are still things out there that the ZF1s can't deal with.

Even if you are deploying lots of drones onto the battlefield, don't the drones need models then? Look at Infinity. Power armor, full-blown landmate exoskeletons, and drones, all of which have models (or at least as many of them that the sculptor has been inspired to make).

Eli Arndt27 Jul 2011 7:59 p.m. PST

Nobody is arguing that it would be cool to have all the models for all the options. That's great in an ideal situation.

What I find really a bit off-putting is the blatent disregard for the realities of the industry that produces these models, despite the manufactuers and long time gamers having made them quite clear.

Given support (your dollars) a company is most likely going expand on the figures you keep buying a lot of. If you don't buy, because they don't lay it all out in front of you on a platter, then you really are sabotaging your own interests.

-Eli

Psyckosama27 Jul 2011 8:04 p.m. PST

@Lion

There's always been a Pendulum of Armor v. Firepower. Right now we've reached the practical limits of shooting other people with little bits of lead using explosives while materials science is still progressing, putting the swing well in the direction of Armor. 500 years ago shooting the other guy with little pieces of lead using explosives made armor a thing of the past. Who knows, in 200 years we might have reach the practical (with the current technology) limits of materials science all while discovering new and interesting crap to shoot at each other swinging the Pendilum back in the direction of firepower…

The future doesn't have to be Modern Day with LAZORS.

tnjrp27 Jul 2011 11:09 p.m. PST

Alex Reed 26 Jul 2011 11:39 p.m. PST:

I cannot recall which Computer Lab did it, but at a Richard Dawkins talk at Berkeley in 2007 or 2008, he had a short animation of some forms of artificial life that had "evolved" novel forms of locomotion, and a ball-socket wheel happened to be one of the types that evolved in silico (on a computer). In fact, it was the most successful of the types that evolved from a basic protoplasm like life-form.
Without having reference, I mildly doubt this experiment, despite the sample size, was really representative of a real world situation. Ultimately laws of physics (most obviously gravity) constrain what is practical, which results in convergent evolution in similar environments.

A wheel is quite unlikely to be a competetive way of moving around in any kind of rough terrain, compared to the complexity of such an arrangement needed especially in a larger animal. Possibly it could happen that wheeled forms would be able to outcompete other forms given some very special conditions, but then one has to ask how likely those kind of conditions would be.

Strangely, the closest they came to legs was a thing that hurled itself end over end. No "legs" evolved in their program space (which was enormous) at all. It might turn out that legs are among the most unlikely evolved forms of locomotion.
While it's problematic to extrapolate from a single data point, legs have evolved on Earth in a number of different animal groups essentially separately and in different forms -- but they are still all obviously legs instead of springs, levers or wheels. So it doesn't look like it's just an evolutionary quirk of a single line.

Really, all it takes is ONE body plan to become dominant early in an ecosystem's development for it to dominate.
Indeed evolution is something of a game of chance (tho not random but more @ stochastic) but one that's played within the constraints of the environment.

AndrewGPaul28 Jul 2011 1:17 p.m. PST

As tnjrp says, there's always the option to carry a heavier weapon with more firepower. The rifle infantry may have 4kg SAWs but one guy in every section has an 8kg HMG equivalent.

True, but my argument was that a lack of many and varied special weapons in the miniatures range can be explained away rather easily if one wishes. grin

Lion in the Stars28 Jul 2011 3:48 p.m. PST

Emu, I bought 120 of the original, 3-rifle, 1-MG scifi german stormtroopers. When they announced expansion plans, I bought another ~60 of all the poses (only a few repeats of the original poses).

I prefer to have a variety of poses and weapons because I think that the militaries of the future will continue to optimize weapons for a single role, instead of paying 10x as much for Zorg ZF1s. Even though the multiple weapons need a much more complex supply chain.

Gamers want an antitank weapon on the table because they don't feel comfortable knowing that their troop's laser rifles are all datalinked together for use as an AT laser (everyone aims at the tank, and when you get enough dots at the same spot, ZAP!).

Scorpio29 Jul 2011 5:58 a.m. PST

What I find really a bit off-putting is the blatent disregard for the realities of the industry that produces these models, despite the manufactuers and long time gamers having made them quite clear.

For the customer, the reality of the industry is what they choose to spend their disposable income on. Yes, many gamers have some degree of clue as to the behind-the-scenes side of things, but still, at the end of the day, what do I want to spend my $10 USD on?

Given support (your dollars) a company is most likely going expand on the figures you keep buying a lot of. If you don't buy, because they don't lay it all out in front of you on a platter, then you really are sabotaging your own interests.

But therein lies the conundrum. If I prefer to spend my gaming dollars on a new alien army for my favorite game, and I find two figure lines that I like the look of, which will I pick? The one with just four sculpts, or the one with lots of options to expand into?

It's a tough balance, yes. I picked up the Khurasan Ursids and the CritMass Astagars, because they are both *that* good.

(Lion in the Stars, ten points for the Zorg ZF1 reference.)

nothing29 Jul 2011 6:36 a.m. PST

So would it be better to have a full line released all at once? I mean troops, assault, crew served, command, apc, lander…all of it.

How much more incentive would that really give to folks to purchase all of it, or any of it?

Would a "battleforce" or "starter force" approach be appropriate? Two squads and command? Selling a few of those might give companies some reason to plan, upfront, for quick expansion releases.

What about pre-orders? Not a verbal commitment, but a down payment on something being released.

Those are the kind of things I think companies might need to see if we want more than the initial 5 man squad.

Just some food for thought.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP29 Jul 2011 6:41 a.m. PST

Emu, my answer to your question is pretty simple. I game platoon size games, so say 30-40 figures per side, or more. If a line of figures only has 5 poses, then I'm really not interested in painting 30-40 of those same 5 guys over and over again. I like variety, not only in poses, but in weapon variety as well.

Thats why I have gone with Khurasan, Critical Mass games, and Ground Zero Games for all my alien races so far. They produce what I consider "complete" alien lines of infantry.

(though I would still like to see some more Felid intantry released ;-0

Little Big Wars29 Jul 2011 10:50 a.m. PST

The Garn did start out as an initial 5 man squad, actually. 3 rifle figures (with a choice of 3 weapons), an NCO, and a Support figure (with a choice of 3 figures). Down the road they also got 6 more sculpts, not including drivers, to bulk out the army. So the Khurasan Garn line only really has 11 infantry sculpts in it and has done rather well. Khurasan has also tried that approach with the Karks (5 poses) and I think they've done alright.

Less isn't necessarily more, but it seems that the bare minimum is always going to be 3 rifles, a support weapon, and some sort of officer figure.

abdul666lw04 Aug 2011 9:27 a.m. PST

I understand a manufacturer may wish to test the popularity of a new 'army' or 'species' before launching a whole new range.
But if the 'design' proves successful, it would be a marketing error to wait too long to expand the range.
For instance -not in the Sci Fi field, but the 'consumer''s attitude is the same- a lot of 18th C. players claim they are interested by the Wargame Factory 'WSS generic infantry', but that they are waiting for the cavalry to be issued to order both, to be sure not to start an incomplete army.

Back to Sci-Fi (if not exactly the same most posters here are thinking of), the usefulness -and thus the *sales*- of an unique representative of its species are extremely limited. It can be part of a 'cosmopolitan' bunch (a spaceport bar patrons, a rogue trader crew…), not much less.
For instance re. the pleasant (even cute) Reaper Andromedan Huntress

picture

A lot of potential -not being less 'human' than Parroom Station S1899 Martians, these 'Andromedans' could even provide another Barsoomian / Martian species.
BUT the 'range' is restricted to *3* specimens
link
the Empress, her vizier and a single 'active' figurine. Given the ruler and the only 'armed' Andromedans are female, their society may be matriarchal?
Thus, with a *single* 'active' miniature (and not in a 'generic' / 'multipurpose' one, in addition), no way to build a whole unit / tribe of them, no way to play the discovery / exploration of the 'Andromedan Amazons Land' by your explorers or spaceshipwrecked crew.

One could think of completing them with Black Orc Games Donellas who look not that different

picture

(the two series seem to be within the diversity range of any human population, giving them 'exotic' skin and hair colors would make them even more similar, residual excessive differences would be minimized by 'paint conversion' and 'high grass' flocking). BUT the weapons types are not very compatible, and chiefly the Donellas offer only *2* usable types.

Thus the commercial success of both ranges suffer from their 'poverty'.

ScoutII04 Aug 2011 10:42 a.m. PST

Been said before within this thread – but I will echo it for emphasis.

For me, complete is an issue of variety not necessarily an issue of having one of everything (grunts, weapons specialists, coms, command…).

I play primarily sci-fi. I play primarily home brewed (or not hugely commercial) rules. I play with lots of figures on the table (100+ per side). I play with backgrounds of my own making. So, I like to have a lot to choose from – or at least have enough that I can hack them up to make them look different.

For example, I have a 80 or so different Black Scorpion Aliens. The stock release are 3 rifles poses, 3 staff poses and in important looking guy. Using those, because of the way they were designed, I was able to make a huge variety of troops (nice open poses that made weapon removal quite easy as well as adding other details for specialty troops).

On the other hand, some companies have done some wonderful miniatures (Reaper for example) that would make for a wonderful army…but there is not enough variety to work with. Although I like variety in my big games…I need it more in smaller skirmish games (ideally no copies at all). When there are only 1, 2 or 3 of a given faction in a line – I have to pass it over and look for something else.

Little Big Wars04 Aug 2011 10:45 a.m. PST

I can't speak for Black Orc Games, but as for the Reaper stuff: Reaper does not want to sell you an army, not outside of their Warlord range/army packs anyways. They want you to buy a couple random figures here and there because you need them for a role-playing game or simply because the figures strike your fancy.

chironex18 Aug 2011 2:22 a.m. PST

for me, "complete" means "I bought the supplement book so all the minis in the book should be available." Especially if so many comps demand that the miniature is out before you can use it. Recently I have been buying supplements with cool new units that I cannot buy till next semester.

Von Trinkenessen18 Aug 2011 1:45 p.m. PST

Over my 35 years of SciFi gaming and my oppo's comment about 4 years ago that complete lines of figures means that each contingant / side /unit start to look the same as they all have the same "official" packs /figures in the ranges.

Here's a thought could our striving to have complete ranges of figures be stifling our own creativity and imagination??

Eli Arndt18 Aug 2011 2:16 p.m. PST

I think it is

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