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"Rules & Dedicated Lines of Figures" Topic

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16 Sep 2017 3:33 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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04 Apr 2018 1:42 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian16 Sep 2017 3:33 p.m. PST

One of our members once said:

I try to avoid the situations in which I need a particular copyrighted figure or figure line to play a particular set of rules.

Do you agree?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 3:39 p.m. PST

I can only assume you mean: "in a sanctioned tournament." Since I never play those it has never been an issue.

John Armatys16 Sep 2017 4:02 p.m. PST


But I can't think of a game where the figures can't be replaced with pieces of cardboard with something written on them.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian16 Sep 2017 4:02 p.m. PST

I suppose it would include, for instance, 40K, since where else do you buy Space Marines, Eldar, Necrons, etc.?

The Beast Rampant16 Sep 2017 4:08 p.m. PST

I assume he means licensed lines, based on somebody's IP.

I am more wary of bothering with them, and anyway, these days I am likely to stick more generic figures in licensed rules simply as a matter of taste.

Personal logo Private Matter Supporting Member of TMP16 Sep 2017 4:42 p.m. PST

Absolutely not when it comes historical.

roving bandit16 Sep 2017 5:23 p.m. PST

I do not avoid that situation.
I play Warhammer games with Warhammer figures.
I play WarmaHordes with Privateer Press figures.
But I also play Warhammer with Black Tree Design and Mantic figures.
I tend to avoid more limited lines directly linked to rules, Malifaux or Relic Knights for example. Though I have bought the odd figure or what not because I liked the figure, just not got into the rules.

Winston Smith16 Sep 2017 6:44 p.m. PST

I play American Revolution. That's hardly an issue. In a small game, I counted about 12 different manufacturers.

In my Flames of War games, it's not quite the same, but I cm not wedded to Battlefront figures.

Ottoathome16 Sep 2017 9:22 p.m. PST

Winston's horse and mine are in adjoining stalls. I play 18th Century, Renaissance and WWI and WWII. All of the collections were acquired largely before the days of proprietary figures. As for these figures if I want one I'll use it and the proprieters can go to hell. That's not likely as from Weeniewhacker on the figures produced have been on the whole extremely ugly, all of them looking like they are heavily constipated and settling in for a prolonged squat. As for their rules the less said the better.

I see this primarily as a problem in the sci-fi / fantasy genre. Please understand I have nothing but contempt for these firms who try and restrict a players imagination and pleasure for their own inventory control system. It's the same reason I rejected DBA in all its forms because I didn't want to have Barker dictate what my armies could and could not do.

Cerdic17 Sep 2017 1:25 a.m. PST

I only play historical games. So the situation doesn't arise….

cameronian17 Sep 2017 1:58 a.m. PST

I use Hordes of the Things (HOTT) rules for fantasy and sci-fi so any suitable figures do nicely. I've got Space Marines, Eldar, Tyranids and Orks organized for HOTT all GW figures.

bruntonboy17 Sep 2017 2:02 a.m. PST

"It's the same reason I rejected DBA in all its forms because I didn't want to have Barker dictate what my armies could and could not do."

Wouldn't that attitude lead to being unable to play anyone's rule system?- if you are going to take umbridge at a rule authors interpretations, army lists or preferences then there's not much point trying to play anyone elses rules but your own I would have thought. Nothing has ever stopped me meddling with other people rules to suit me either, including several sets written by Mr Baker.

As to the original point, no it doesn't affect me much as I generally play with historical forces and when I do dip my toes into the SCI-Fi or Fantasy genre I just use what I have available, sometimes it is the "official" figures usually something that is semi-appropriate, for example Vikings or Three Musketeers in a Mordheim setting. Same applies with historical too- we are currently in the middle of a seven Years war campaign but most of the battles have been fought using Napoleonics.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 4:49 a.m. PST

The situation where you need a specific copyrighted figure to play a game is created by the people putting on the game, not the figure manufacturer or rules publisher.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 4:51 a.m. PST

The Beast Rampant was right. Obviously in historicals you can get into a situation in which only one manufacturer makes a 28mm Blackshirt MG team or something. but my original comment concerned the situation in which a combined rules publisher/casting maker invented a troop type which only they could provide. And of course the more original and distinctive the troops, the easier it is to enforce the copyright.

This creates two types of problems. First, of course, the more successful they were in doing something distinctive and original, the more trouble you'll have filling out an army when they go broke, and the attrition rate is very high. (Works for finding opponents, too. "I play this unique set: the rules and figures have been out of production for years, but sometimes something shows up on eBay.")

But if they're successful, you now have a rules writer with a financial incentive to write the rules to sell more troops--and it's easier to get the existing players to buy more than to recruit more players directly. So welcome to the Second Edition with new expensive armor your existing armor-penetrating weapons can't handle. But don't worry: there are also new expensive armor-penetrating weapons--WWII without the taxpayer funding. I think GW has done some variation of this pretty much with every new edition. Some old timer might put together an army using only Rogue Trader troop types and see whether I'm right.

Which is not to say I don't buy copyrighted figure ranges. I have some GW, the old John Carter of Mars range almost complete, and a smattering of Star Wars figures--probably a few others. But they're played with "generic" or "homebrew" rules. And when I buy a set of SF or fantasy rules, I stick to those which will not lock me in to a particular manufacturer's range.

It is, as I wrote, that I'm wary of the combination.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP17 Sep 2017 7:55 a.m. PST

I've played 40K using Daleks.

And they're GW plastic Daleks, so even tournament legal :3

Ottoathome17 Sep 2017 2:15 p.m. PST

So tell me.

I buy a figure from a proprietary line. Say one of those awful little tanks put out by some sci-fi firm, and I use in my WWII game because I like it. Or some Eldar swordsmen or other folderol and I use it in a medieval game, and I use it with my own rules.

What is anyone going to do to me?

Winston Smith17 Sep 2017 2:23 p.m. PST

Why are you acting like people care how you play with your toy soldiers?
You are virtue signaling where there is nothing against you.
Heck, I used GW Orcs to invade Canada, and no warrants were issued. I even staged that in a game store that stocked GW figures!!!

Henry Martini17 Sep 2017 2:56 p.m. PST

Is Canada chapter-approved?

Winston Smith17 Sep 2017 4:56 p.m. PST

Invasionicus cum Orcibus in Canadianicus.
40K tries to simplify Bad Latin by only using a limited range of endings, and only 2nd declension nouns.

coopman17 Sep 2017 5:25 p.m. PST

I'd like to see someone tell me that I couldn't play a game with my own figures.

Winston Smith17 Sep 2017 8:45 p.m. PST

Nobody is. It's a straw man argument.

The only thing close would be a tournament sponsored by the manufacturer.
If I were to play in a Games Workshop sponsored Warhammer tournament? They would expect and require you to only use their figures. I see nothing wrong with that. But they certainly have no say as to what I play with in my own basement. I would have thought that was obvious.

Ottoathome18 Sep 2017 4:40 a.m. PST

That's my point Winston, it's a non issue isn't it? So why bother. Anyone can run any convention they want with any rules they want whether they have proprietary lines or not, and it all depends on whose going to voluntarily come to the convention and submit to the rules. Further what are they going to do if someone does, physically eject them? That'll be good for publicity.

Winston Smith18 Sep 2017 6:42 a.m. PST

Two or three years ago, Battlefront attempted to impose a "Battlefront only" restriction on Flames of War tournaments.
That did not sit well with the Old Farts.
Historical tournaments are different from fantasy or sci-fi tournaments in that there is no such thing as a proprietary line of figures. How many manufacturers make Early Imperial Rome, or an M4A1 Sherman tank? More than I can count.
But only Games Workshop make Dark Eldar Wytches. One or two make something similar, but here the dreaded IP steps in. Who made them is obvious.

Getting back to FoW, they backtracked when they got blowback. Instead, any figures could play in a SANCTIONED tournament, but only BF figures would be considered for Best Painted Army. That's fair.

Winston Smith18 Sep 2017 6:51 a.m. PST

Speaking of Flames of War, Battlefront make up about 30% of my forces. I think they are a bit expensive, but not superior in quality.
The main advantage is that they are sold (or used to be sold) in quantities to match the required unit size in the list books. Clever, eh?
So most of my purchases are flea market, eBay, trades, etc. I traded a bunch of very nice batch of ACW figures I lost interest in for 3 boxes of Yank Armored Infantry, for instance. So, almost always my Yank infantry are Battlefront, but all my Airborne are Command Decision Old Glory.
In our weekly scenario games, OG fight just as well as BF. Well, as well as I'm able to prod them.

My Soviet infantry (hordes of them, are CD. My Speznaz are BF, because nobody else makes them. My Katyushas are half BF (a trade) and the rest Old Glory.


UshCha18 Sep 2017 9:40 a.m. PST

My personal opinion is that manufactures rules are generally not ones I chose to play, they often aim to promote buying more models than I would consider using on a table top. If they make what I want in the scale I want that's great. I say each to their own but for me the all from one source has no appeal for me.

Rogues118 Sep 2017 12:27 p.m. PST

I bought into All Quiet on the Martian Front. Not many other figures that could match the scale and variety for the Martians and some unique human forces. When the manufacturer went belly up I was not happy but realized that I could augment my forces with WWI human forces (British, German, US) to get a variety of play. Now that someone else has picked up the line I am selective on what I buy and try to buy things that I can use for other games (ie. WWI). So I both learned my lesson and moved on from it. I have tended to focus on multi use for my figures and my terrain.

goragrad19 Sep 2017 9:07 a.m. PST

Got a set of cheap dice at a convention once for filling out a questionnaire on proprietary figures.

Told them I had no interest in rules sets that mandated the use of figures manufactured by the rules publisher.

The quality of the dice didn't bode well for the rest of their products.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP19 Sep 2017 2:04 p.m. PST

Not an issue in historical gaming.

M C MonkeyDew21 Sep 2017 12:36 p.m. PST

Avoid? In the case of GW and Age of Sigmar, the figures put me right off the game. But that was an aesthetic reaction, not an aversion.

I was once mildly scolded for using generic cowboys instead of official Great Rail Wars cowboys (at twice the going rate mind). That was by a fan boy and was mildly annoying.

If the rules are good I will play them with whatever figures I so choose.

If the figures are good I will use them with whichever rules I choose. I don't particularly mind, or rather I do understand the need, to pay more for licensed products from entertainment ties-in (LotR, Star Trek), but am not so favorably disposed to pricing based on a game company's made up world somehow making their figures cost more.

RudyNelson21 Sep 2017 3:54 p.m. PST

I agree with EC. I do not play in 'sanctioned' tournaments.
I am an old school designer from when we designed rules and the players used what they had or could find.
So I have an aversion to official castings.
Over priced castings for the company to make money and for the player to use to increase his power. Personally, I view these armies with such characters as being used to cover up the lack of generalship abilities of the owner. Just my opinion.

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