Where did Mongoose go wrong with their miniatures?

General chat about Mongoose Publishing and its releases
Yautja
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Where did Mongoose go wrong with their miniatures?

Postby Yautja » Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:32 pm

Hey ya'll haven't been on this forum pretty much since Battlefield Evolution went to the grave and to be honest they pretty much disappeared from my memory.

Then recently i digged through some old boxes and found my Battlefield army (basicly 18 USMC, 1 abrams and 3 shadows) the battlefield book and my Starship Troopers miniatures (two starterboxes worth of Warriors) and the SST rulebook.

I started reading and realised something i forgotten... all this is pretty damn good. The SST rules are spot on, the Battlefield evolution rules are most enjoyable.

And i look at the miniatures and they are fantastic. For starters the Battlefield miniatures i think they look pretty damn good and it was a perfect game to have "on the side" of something else (this was SST for me in the beginning). The paintjobs were never pro but they looked well above Tabletop quality and looking at the unrealeased cobra it could only have gotten better.

I recently saw Starship Troopers 3 (awesome movie btw) and it was with that in mind i looked at the miniatures in new light... and the SST miniatuers were fantastic. The Brain bug, the tanker bug, The Marauder Suits, the wolverines, the hopper bugs, and of course the fantastic warrior bugs.

The rules were so incredibly flexible and looking thorugh it i remember pitched large scale battles, small scale skirmishes, story driven scenarios, narrated battles... the rulebook was so flexible it could be adopted in any way and it still felt "man this is exactly what the rules were written for"

The rules, the visuals and the overall feel of Starship Troopers were in my mind perfect. In the case of Starship Troopers it shouldn't have been pre-painted. I feel that this game could have been a contender in the hobby aspect to Warhammer 40k.

So where did it go wrong? Why was the descision made to stop the production of Starship Troopers made and try to transfer it into the still experimental pre-painted area.

I can only speak from personal observation but the Starship Troopers miniature game just reeked of potential (which unfortunate was left unfulfilled :(). Again only personal observation but it wasn't it initially very sucessfull (even got a game of the year award if im not mistaken)? I know alot of players in my club played it and we eagerly awaited new products and were constantly exploring the boundries of what could be achived with the rules. Though i remember coming into Starship Troopers fairly late so i don't remember if it suffered from the same kind of production problems that BFE did (which i think killed that game unfortunatly).

The truth is all i can see when digging in the books and looking through the rulebook and old galleries of models is reenacting the siege of whiskey fort. Dropping a pair of marauders into hordes of arachnids... skirmishes to capture a brain bug, trench combat á la roku-san. There was so much that could have been accomplished with this game...

Where did it all go wrong? Is it really that simple that sales weren't good enough and in that case why? Was the game just not for the general public, wasn't it marketed properly? Production errors? The try to move it into prepaint?

What are peoples thoughts on this?
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Postby katadder » Sat Sep 06, 2008 7:05 pm

i think they put too much into the pre-painted BF-evo which basically screwed them over as there were not enough releases for people to get interest and for the price the quality wasnt particularly good IMO. this had to have a huge financial impact on them so I would guess thats what effected us all.
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Postby Tolwyn » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:32 am

The German customers were badly disapponted by the miniature quality of Battlefield Evolution. The sold miniatures were by far not up the standard shown as production quality on conventions and trade shows. In addition germany is simple no market for a game like BF: Evo.

Starship Troopers was another matter. The rules were nice and there were some really good miniatures and some very dedicated demo guys here in Germany. Then the game was killed . :(

I still have huge a Bug and MI Army unassembeled, but nobody to play with.

Babylon 5 ACTA was upstarting here with even the Earth Centauri taking place at the local game club, then MGP announced that they would stop producing miniatures for that game.
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Postby AlphaStrike » Sun Sep 07, 2008 8:38 am

I think that there are plenty of us who mourn the death of Mongoose's miniatures division. SST was a great game - I have both an MI and a Bug army stashed away in my garage (where they at least get a chance to mix with real bugs!).

I sincerely hope that it will be resurected one day, but it seems as though the production of pre-painted miniatures of a reasonable quality was highly problematic. In other words, I'm not holding my breath. In fact...and please don't judge me...I've just bought a copy of the new 40K starter set. :oops:
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Postby Tolwyn » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:24 am

Indeed the box is worth buying with that many miniatures and rules etc.
At the club many players have returned to 40K and WH Fantasy with prices for Warmachine climbing steadily.
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Postby katadder » Sun Sep 07, 2008 9:45 am

PP are looking at plastics for WM/Hordes so may see prices come down for their forces if they do.
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Postby Mr Evil » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:21 am

i loved the prepainted BF evo with my hand RSI injury from years of painting and engineering and sculpting, bf evo was a pure god send for me, i purchased 3k forces plus in every faction, im so gutted the copters never came out as i knew a few stores that where planning on stocking the sytem after it reached 6 waves of minatures...

as for SST great game full of mobility, wich mad eit a great game, all to often games are trudging forward slowly till you end up in combat, in sst you could runa away from combat and execute counter strikes.... as for minis,,, i feel the droping of the forth was a huge shame what a waist of development time and energy not to release a product... angered me no end...

i feel this game suffers like alot of games, in that often box sets where badly put together, also felt they should have put points value of minis on front of the box, so any one starting could pop in store buy the army book and use info on boxes to buy their force to a set point value, increasing sales making it easier to get into the game and help spread its popularity...

alot of this i felt was down to lack of imagination and the ability to try revolutionise how mins are sold it seesm to try copy the GW system.. wich lets admit only works cuz they are such a big company and have staff in stores that will help people build a purchase, most games stores ive been to you do not get that sort of help...

if on the bf evo box they had typical game size 1k this unit is worth x amount of points then a litle army build chart so people can see how many tanks and inf they can include they would of sold a ton more... as people could look at box and say hey look 2 inf 1 command and a tank and i got an army !!!! wow il get these now to play the game..... as it was people would look at it and say ok so how many of these do i need for a game !!!! ???? and put it back down due to lack of info.... the boxes where a total waist of selling potentual...the boxes the minis where in alone could have increased sales substantualy if they had used any imagination.. and not at much cost as well !!!!!!!!

mongoose broke the mould in some aspects but at the same time restricted them selves to GW like pakaging, wich is of no use to a company trying to get people to try somthing new..... the hook was thier but there was no bait on the end of it unfortunatly... while gw use alot of bait and very few hooks.
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Postby msprange » Sun Sep 07, 2008 5:54 pm

I know the answer to this one :)

Seriously, this is something we have been doing a great deal of work on lately, as the miniatures division will indeed be reinstated next year. Basically, the problems came down to;

1. Quality Control. Ironically, packing errors were hugely reduced earlier this year with the introduction of a number of new procedures in the forge - good job too, considering the CTA sales that were looming. To illustrate, sales of CTA models increased by a few thousand times - the incidence of mispacks did not increase at all, and miscasts jumped up by only a tiny amount. The new procedures worked.

The weak point that remained was still the miscasts, and this comes down to less about quality control than the quality of the moulds themselves.

2. Miniature Design. This comes down to how both sculptors and mould-makers are guided. Our error here was to treat them more like writers, who within certain parameters, can be left to do their own thing - after all, if you have a good writer, you do not want to stifle his talent with your own pre-conceptions. Sclupting has to be monitored to much, much greater degree, something that was made abundantly apparent during a meeting I had with a certain someone last week. In a nutshell, Mongoose understood miniatures games, but there was no one who understood the miniatures themselves. You could almost say that the miniatures that did 'make the grade' were almost accidents on our part (from a certain point of view, at least).

Of all our issues with miniatures, this was the most critical.

3. Pre-paints. This is really a separate category, and the issues here have already been well documented. They have little bearing on traditional miniatures production.

At the same time, we also have to look at what we got right;

1. We had very, very few complaints about our rules systems, across all our games. The games systems themselves we have a good handle on.

2. We also have to acknowledge that we know how to 'pick them'. The _concept_ of our games (if not always the execution, where miniatures were concerned) has a tendency to get people excited.

Those, at least, are the broad strokes. We have been looking at the whole system of miniatures production, and how it can be done correctly - next year, after a 12 month break, we will begin again. There will be new systems and equipment in place and, importantly, there will be people on board who understand miniatures themselves, rather than just the games. We already have candidates on which games and which miniatures will lead the way (no, no hints just yet, I am afraid :)), now we are just getting all our ducks in line.
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Postby ned-kogar » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:22 pm

msprange wrote:I know the answer to this one :)
You could almost say that the miniatures that did 'make the grade' were almost accidents on our part (from a certain point of view, at least).
Well, as a buyer of the Dredd and Paranoia minis, I've got to say: There are some very happy accidents amongst them. Really characterful, mood-capturing, paintable figs.

Am delighted at the re-mooting of production.

Ned
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Postby noobdelux » Sun Sep 07, 2008 7:27 pm

this is somthing that you dont hear every day but mattew, your doing a good job, although i dont agree to every new update you`v done in the latest play test pack for a call to arms, because i actually feel that all the races are fine, and im not shure that bringing in even more special rules will in the end make the the rules better. or have a greater difference between the rules and the advanced rules : P

annyway, good job, too bad traveler is a bit mutch for me to wrap my head arround and same with D&d, and taking up too mutch time for me to play, its hard enough to get in a game of acta, mutch less a demo : (


i realy hope i can manage to save up some money to visit you at the next con next year. (MAKE IT A 2 DAY EVENT) : P and i might be more inclined to come. and if you set the date early : P

keep up the good work, take your right hand and slap your self 2 times on your right and say good job done : P

regards from Trondheim, Norway.
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Postby Tolwyn » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:16 am

Any chance to get a month from when on B5 ACTA minis will be available again? :wink:
1. We had very, very few complaints about our rules systems, across all our games. The games systems themselves we have a good handle on.
Indeed the simplicity, setting and flair of ACTA are one of the few things that keep me at playing. Without that I would have long quitted playing them at all. There are some necessary tweaks IMO, but the overall game system is good 8)
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Postby lastbesthope » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:24 pm

Seconded Tolwyn, I even found VaS too complicated to hold my interest, and I prefer the older BF:Evo to the new one.

But ACTA has me hooked.

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Postby Yautja » Mon Sep 08, 2008 7:33 pm

Will Starship Troopers be back?
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Postby Sgt. Brassones » Mon Sep 08, 2008 9:10 pm

I am eagerly awaiting the day the 'goose restarts their mini production. I need to finish my Skinny army.
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Postby Da Boss » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:12 pm

katadder wrote:PP are looking at plastics for WM/Hordes so may see prices come down for their forces if they do.
very interesting - especially given the superb quality and value of the new 40K box set...........
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Postby Da Boss » Mon Sep 08, 2008 10:13 pm

msprange wrote:I know the answer to this one :)

Seriously, this is something we have been doing a great deal of work on lately, as the miniatures division will indeed be reinstated next year. Basically, the problems came down to;

1. Quality Control. Ironically, packing errors were hugely reduced earlier this year with the introduction of a number of new procedures in the forge - good job too, considering the CTA sales that were looming. To illustrate, sales of CTA models increased by a few thousand times - the incidence of mispacks did not increase at all, and miscasts jumped up by only a tiny amount. The new procedures worked.

The weak point that remained was still the miscasts, and this comes down to less about quality control than the quality of the moulds themselves.

2. Miniature Design. This comes down to how both sculptors and mould-makers are guided. Our error here was to treat them more like writers, who within certain parameters, can be left to do their own thing - after all, if you have a good writer, you do not want to stifle his talent with your own pre-conceptions. Sclupting has to be monitored to much, much greater degree, something that was made abundantly apparent during a meeting I had with a certain someone last week. In a nutshell, Mongoose understood miniatures games, but there was no one who understood the miniatures themselves. You could almost say that the miniatures that did 'make the grade' were almost accidents on our part (from a certain point of view, at least).

Of all our issues with miniatures, this was the most critical.

3. Pre-paints. This is really a separate category, and the issues here have already been well documented. They have little bearing on traditional miniatures production.

At the same time, we also have to look at what we got right;

1. We had very, very few complaints about our rules systems, across all our games. The games systems themselves we have a good handle on.

2. We also have to acknowledge that we know how to 'pick them'. The _concept_ of our games (if not always the execution, where miniatures were concerned) has a tendency to get people excited.

Those, at least, are the broad strokes. We have been looking at the whole system of miniatures production, and how it can be done correctly - next year, after a 12 month break, we will begin again. There will be new systems and equipment in place and, importantly, there will be people on board who understand miniatures themselves, rather than just the games. We already have candidates on which games and which miniatures will lead the way (no, no hints just yet, I am afraid :)), now we are just getting all our ducks in line.
Appreciate the honesty - still loving ACTA - thanks
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Postby AlphaStrike » Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:50 am

Glad to hear that Mongoose are still planning to reinstate the miniatures division. SST had a fluidity of play that I have yet to experience in any other game - as Mr. Evil stated earlier, you could really move your forces around the board, providing a far greater range of tactical options.

The sooner the better, I say. :)
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Postby Mr Evil » Tue Sep 09, 2008 9:05 am

all good to hear, but as i said to shift units make the boxes new player friendly, i imagin going into a shop seeing a game you like the look of and then see how easy it is to pick up 2 legal starter armies of the shelf ... so far not a single company doese this...

now imagin if the army construction list was on the back maybe a simple coloures tree design, saying typical 1-2 k army = 1 yellow on its own 6 reds and each 2 reds links to a blue,,,, so player can see hes allowed a single yellow unit but can only have 1 blue type units for each red unit... looks on front of box where on the units name label is a red dot and its basic points value... sudenly the guy is pileing boxes up working out his army... the tree cold simply be a sticker with MEA / BRIT for example on it showing different forces use different force constructions... so wouldnt evan need printing on the box, although may be cheaper.. ie maybe have different designed boxes for each force... AT-43 manages the different designed boxes for each force...

i know it sounds complex in some way but a little thought would make it simple, and would allow new players to get straight in and know they where buying a army and not a collection of boxes they hope may fit into an aforce construction, and would benifit sales and get more people playing evan if it was just to try the game out.

an army starter box would have been good as well, also them ties used to keep troops in box.. what a nightmare they where !!!! why not have them in a flat box laying down witha clear window showing the minis in side or just one of the minis ? this would be more store friendly and model friendly, no more modles tummbling around inside the box... you could evan have a flap over the front you lift up to see minis inside box, and have the army list printed on the flap or evan the unit stats and perferate the card so it can be simply torn of and used in the game ?

there is so much that could have been done with BF evo from a production and sales point of view... minis seem to arive in boxes as its conveniant to pacage them in them.. but look at the amount of card on a box and how much sales potentual and game aid it could contain !!! the back of a box could evan have game counters on it players can cut out, or terrain ellements.. could be randomised so players can try get 2 infantry units with different backs one for counters and one for a bunker card... or maybe now and then have a special charaters stats on the back of a box ? or aditiona rules for barrages ? list is endless, at same make it so all rules are in a book so its fair, but have the cards as bonus quick referance cards for use in a game or somthing fun to try for new players..

sorry... im quite passionate about the old bf-evo, i had alot of people playing it, but they wont touch the newer version as they dont like building and painting minis, and found the cards the best part of the game.
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Postby Foxmeister » Tue Sep 09, 2008 11:44 am

Mr Evil wrote:all good to hear, but as i said to shift units make the boxes new player friendly, i imagin going into a shop seeing a game you like the look of and then see how easy it is to pick up 2 legal starter armies of the shelf ... so far not a single company doese this...
Flames of War? I've purchased several of their boxed sets and whilst I have added to them, what was in the box was pretty much a legal 1500pt with a couple of options.

Regards,

Dave
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Postby lastbesthope » Tue Sep 09, 2008 6:43 pm

Mr Evil wrote:all good to hear, but as i said to shift units make the boxes new player friendly, i imagin going into a shop seeing a game you like the look of and then see how easy it is to pick up 2 legal starter armies of the shelf ... so far not a single company doese this...
Aberrant Games do for Rezolution, thay have 1 player starters for each of 4 factions, and a 2 player Shadow War Campaign Starter box.

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