I'm writing this from a service station, halfway between Nottingham and home. Its been a long day and its a long road, but here are some pics, thoughts, and recollections from this year's (first?) Mantic Open Day.
Please note these are very quick entries, not exhaustive, and I won't be held responsible if I misquote Ronnie ;) Or fur spelling mistakes.
First, the pics.
There were lots of minis on display today. Strangely they were mostly crammed into one tiny display box - cabinet would be too generous a term - in the worst-lit part of the building. This phone's camera is pretty good though, so enjoy :)
You've got the Basileans. Male paladins with broadswords and females with smaller weapons. I'm not that impressed with the females but both sets of models are definitely really nice and a great addition to KoW.
I think you can see the werewolves and trolls in the background of a couple of the photos. Three for £15 was the price point being mentioned for the trolls. I would have liked the werewolves to be a bit hairier, but maybe greenstuff will work.
The mummies are awesome.
The reb figures for deadzone were there too. I love the teraton and I think they're going to be a very popular line for dz and Dreadball.
I took some pictures of the deadzone display board as all the enforcers there are new models as, if course, are the plague. Check out how big that phase 1 is! I really like the sniper and the engineer models in particular. I was told at Salute that the engineer's backpack could be detached to make the sentry gun but I'm not sure if that feature is still included.
There are a few detail sits if the dz terrain. You might be able to see the surfaces aren't smooth. There's a fine crenelation. This is a result of the pieces being prototypes from a 3d . The final product will be smooth. I actually quite like the texture, I think it makes them look more organic, but smooth works too.
Finally there's the game mat for deadzone. It is indeed very very nice. It's much thinner than I thought it would be, maybe 2mm our 3mm thick. The back is a strong rubber that will hold it to a table our desk pretty welland the top really does feel like a mousemat. It's thinner though, so no worries about areas sinking our dice bouncing wildly :) I'm pretty sure I'm canceling my Secret Weapon kickstarter pledge tonight...
So, on to the Ronnie talk. Ronnie talks very quickly and possibly makes some of it up as he's doing so, so here's a quick collection of bullet points I remember:
He acknowledged it is very hard to make inroads in fantasy or sci-fi tabletop battles against the market leader. Apparently gw have £60m in tools and this is hard to compete with. Thus Dreadball and deadzone help people start building a collection of Warpath minis and interest in the setting that can be used when warpath launches for real.
Regarding the mat, the search for a material was exhaustive. Apparently Stewart's corner of the office looks like a haberdashers there are so many samples. As to different themed mats, the problem is volume. The current deal Ronnie has with the supplier is for 5000. This is the minimum the supplier will do and the price is still high. Ronnie hopes to do a deal for, say, 5000 of the first theme, plus a thousand of this theme, a thousand of this one, and so on. Yet another good reason to up your pledge for more mats ;)
The dz kickstarter once again exceeded expectations for early success.
Forge Fathers and Asterians are all but guaranteed to be included in the kickstarter. It sounds like models are, at least, at the concept art stage, sine may even be in sculpting.
Forge fathers go toe to tie with the corporation. They aren't afraid to displace humans from worlds they want and are happy to fight for them. As a quarantined world is likely to be unoccupied for fifty years, this also represents a great opportunity to plunder. Hearthguard act as security, brocks (aka berzerkers) are the scrap dealers of ff society and will often do the final strip of a planet, even taking all its dirt for sale elsewhere!
Asterians, or elves, might rate a human world as being worth 1 or 2 elf lives.So their armies will include one fragile Asterian commander and a load of combat robots. These will be 'kick-ass fast'and hard. So their gameplay might involve the commander desperately hiding from snipers and enemy units while the robots do the fighting.
Plans are drawn up for stretch goals for quite a way down the line. It sounded like up to about 800k. If it goes over that we might see seasons approach, like with db, to allow more stuff to be sculpted and tooled for release next year.
Ronnie is very happy to include partner companies' stuff in the dz kickstarter. He loves all the stuff Antenocitis do. He acknowledged Mantic doesn't have time to Maher all those little bits themselves and is open to focusing on the stuff it does do while partnering with specialists in complimentary bits and bobs. He mentioned opening a shop if there was enough product lines to stock, so who knows what might happen there?
Jake Thornton was quite enthused about answering a question on the next Dwarf King's Hold. It sounded like he had already given it lots of thought and seemed, to me, to be describing something akin to Super Dungeon Explore. All backed by Mantic's affordable minis, meaning a dungeon master would have many varieties if monsters to throw at adventurers. No definite plans for this were confirmed, but:
Mantic had another ks planned for this year. That one slipped out and no-one seemed to pick up on it...
KoW will, in some ways, be relaunched again this summer. Trolls are up next month, then - I forget - then Basileans. The possibility of spinning KoW off into its own mini-studio was mentioned, but as a possible option, rather than one being seriously proposed.
Ronnie loves those buildings. He likened the possibilities to minecraft. I still think they are more like Halo Forge pieces though. Ronnie guaranteed they will click together and apart but seemed to feel they perhaps weren't intended to be used in dz as people seem to envisage actually using them. You can see this in demo games for dz, where you can see the facade of as building almost being more important than its 3d shape. Dz is designed for a 2x2 table so there's not actually that much room for compete buildings. But Ronnie does believe they have the potential to become a staple for all sci-fi games on the market. As do I.
There is the possibility of a collection of short stories for dz to help establish the background for the factions. This could be a stretch goal and include Jake Thornton and guy haley. Probably depends on people asking for it though.
All three money from the KoW ks went into tooling new models. Mantic also put down $10k out of the kitty to get it all done. So kickstarter does just what it should - get things happening faster than they would through the traditional sales and investment cycle.
Dreadball has sold three times more copies through retail than were sent out from the ks.
Ok, that's all I can remember for now. I'll post more later if I remember it and probably my own thoughts on the day and Mantic in the 201 in another post.