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"Too Many or Too Few?" Topic

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14 Sep 2018 7:33 p.m. PST
by Editor in Chief Bill

  • Changed title from "Renegade Miniatures " to "Too Many or Too Few?"

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19th Century

1,153 hits since 12 Sep 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2018 10:25 a.m. PST

Can there be too many or too few editions? When do you revise and/or update a set of rules? Only for typos, errors omissions, newer charts, illustrations, different cover art?

Please don't get argumentative or snarky; this is an honest question that comes from working with "the team" to get TSATF/40 ready for release next year. Just curious to hear your opinions…..

ChrisBrantley12 Sep 2018 10:32 a.m. PST

Two general thoughts.

First..that went a set of rules goes out of print and a number of typos, errors and ommissions have accumulated, a new edition makes sense if only to make sure the reprint is a cleaned-up version.

Second…when player feedback, experimentation, new historical knowledge, or sometimes simply the passage of time has identified problems with the rules mechanisms or shown a better way to do things…then a new edition is also in order, possibly even if copies of the older edition are still widely available.

Also in the world of electronic publishing and downloadable PDFs, my impression is that new versions with corrections and updates are issued regularly, with subscribers/purchasers of the original release able to download the updated version at no charge. Only when its a substantial revision of the rules would it be sold as a new product to owners of the previous version….or in some cases, they might be given a discount.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2018 10:41 a.m. PST

I wrote a set of rules for plastic Army Men, back in 1998, self-publishing them for mail-order. I could not fit the entirety in one book (page count limited to around 96 pages for the format I was using), so I created two books.

I later revised the rules a bit, pulled the sample scenarios out of the books, adding them to my web page, for free, and as an enticement for visitors to consider purchasing the rules, based on the scenarios. This reduced the page count, considerably, which allowed me to fit the mildly revised rules into one booklet, at 96 pages.

I began working on a third edition, streamlining some mechanics, and adding leadership rules to the mix. Sales had dropped to the point where it would not be worthwhile, so I tabled it, and took down the website, in 2007.

It was a fun project, and I learned a great deal running my very small, international mail-order business. Been thinking of producing that third edition, expanding it, because I could sell it as a downloadable PDF, so no page count limits: enough "room" for leadership rules which would expand the game's complexity without slowing it down, scenarios, painting instructions, instructions on building a full 3D terrain table, templates, counters, and more. Hope that helps. Cheers!

Winston Smith12 Sep 2018 11:12 a.m. PST

Nobody can accuse TSATF of "too many revisions".
It took 20 years for an "official" V2 to come out, and now snootier V3.

Compare with anything by GW or Battlefront. To be honest, both had run out of compatible supplements, codices, etc. so their business model almost required it.

UshCha12 Sep 2018 11:47 a.m. PST

We are revising our rules after about 10 years. Over the years there have been a few improvements which have been out as freebies already and we think perhaps a bit more clarity is needed in places. Not really any fundamental changes as the original concept has not shown any significant flaws.

More understanding on Machine guns has lead to very minor changes to existing rules to get a more plausible result but again changes are aimed at having the minimum of re-learning for the players.

Art work should not be in rules, diagrams yes art for arts sake not for me, waste of the punters money. personal opinion of course ;-).

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

Concur largely with what Chris said above

Would just add Yes there can be too many editions. Ones that come out as beta versions (so people can pay to playtest), significant changes in mechanics, or just cosmetic changes I quickly lose interest in.

DJCoaltrain12 Sep 2018 12:48 p.m. PST

I have all the editions of Empire and Johnny Reb. I doubt I'll see another of either. I have TSATF editions. For a successful set of rules, I think Chris and Sarge have nailed it quite well.

Stryderg12 Sep 2018 2:36 p.m. PST

I would love to get back into BattleTech and get into Hammer's Slammers. Have you seen how many editions of both there are? I don't know where to start, so I'm sticking with what I've got.

And I think Chris nailed it in the first response.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

I'm always suspicious of multiple editions, but in the case of TSATF, Winston's right: you haven't abused the system.

I would be more inclined to buy and try if previously published scenarios can be used under the new system, and if armies don't have to be rebuilt or reorganized. Those are my two usual problems.

Winston Smith12 Sep 2018 4:26 p.m. PST

Did I say "snootier" above?
I blame Autocorrect.
I can't remember what I meant to say, but that wasn't it.
"Another"? Maybe. Idunno.

Personal logo jhancock Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2018 5:01 p.m. PST

Just admit it Winston: you are a member of the wargame hoi polloi, so you meant "snootie"!

Welcome to the club for non-elitists ;-)

DJCoaltrain12 Sep 2018 5:03 p.m. PST

Winston, I got a kick out of the phrasing. I was pretty sure snootier wasn't correct, but had some fun trying to determine what was meant.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2018 12:17 p.m. PST

I was about to remark that 'snootier' is not an adjective
I'd apply to any of LVB's rules !

Winston Smith13 Sep 2018 1:51 p.m. PST

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
For my pennance I will assemble a Nikephorean Byzantine army for Newbury Fast Play Ancients.

Liliburlero Supporting Member of TMP13 Sep 2018 7:49 p.m. PST

Perhaps Winston meant to use "shabdkosh", the Hindi word for snooty/snootier, which would be in keeping with TSATF gaming….

Winston Smith13 Sep 2018 11:03 p.m. PST

I've been forgiven.

Walking Sailor14 Sep 2018 9:17 a.m. PST


Winston Smith14 Sep 2018 10:21 a.m. PST


SylvainArizona15 Sep 2018 11:08 p.m. PST

A new version of the rules every 10 to 20 years is not bad. It allows to clarify rules or making small changes. In the internet age, you can publish new erratas and scenarios without publishing a new ruleset. What I don't like is ruleset changed just to sell new books or acenarios (GW and FOW). TSATF is great the way it is and We all miss Larry ….

SgtGuinness25 Sep 2018 1:04 p.m. PST

+1 to SylvainArizona and Chris! Too many editions like Stryderg stated puts people off. Who's playing what edition? No One's on the same page.

TSATF is due for an update with the official rules changes, clarifications, and errata included in the main body of the rules set. I've already done that years ago with my 20th anny set by the old school cut and paste method.

I'm looking forward to the 40th anniversary edition!!!! I can't believe it's been that long.

Yes, we do miss Larry…


RudyNelson25 Sep 2018 5:18 p.m. PST

I think there can be too many editions. This may be a sign of poor design, weak writing ability or not enough play testing.

A key factor is frequency. If they are too quick then it may be too much of a hassle to continue with that system.
An edition which has too many radical changes are better to be given a different name and regarded as a different system.

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