Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Warlord Games - A Minor Rant

I'm not sure if this is a minor rant, or more of an observation...

Warlord Games have certainly made their presence felt in the wargaming community over the last year or so, with the release of rules books Black Powder, Hail Caesar, and most recently Pike and Shotte. Being the unrepentant rules collector that I am, I had bought the first two, read through them and thought they sounded interesting (without ever having actually played them). I didn't yet own P&S, and when my friendly local game store (FLGS) sold the copy they had, I decided to order one directly from Warlord Games. They are based in England, and the shipping time of "four weeks to the rest of the world" didn't really scare me, as they are setting a low expectation that I fully expected them to exceed. Which they did, taking about 2 weeks to get the rules here along with a box of plastic English Civil War Royalist infantry. And that's where the rant/observation comes in...

I have always had an interest in the English Civil War (the 1640's one...) but have never collected any figures for it. With the rules on the way, I decided to buy some of the Warlord Games ECW plastic figure sets to work on as the mood strikes. The FLGS stocks some plastic historical stuff amongst the mountains of Games Workshop and Flames of War, and some boxes of WG ECW were on the shelf. So I pretty much bought them out, buying one each of Royalist and Parliamentarian cavalry, as well as a Parliamentarian infantry box to go with the Royalist one that would be arriving in the mail. I thought it impressive that they had a pretty good range of plastic kits for Royalists, Parliamentarians (and Scots Covenanters), and supplemented the plastic kits with a wide range of metal figs as well.

Then I began assembling the figures.

I did one of the cavalry boxes first, and they were nice. Then I began assembling the other cavalry box, and everything looked really familiar. Upon closer inspection, it turns out that they looked familiar because they are exactly the same kit. They are the same exact sprues in different boxes with a different one page insert. At this point I was slightly disappointed.

Then I took a closer look at the two infantry boxes. And it's the same thing. Identical kits in different packaging with a different one page insert. At this point I was kinda annoyed.

I completely understand that in this period, the only real difference would be in how you paint the figures, so there is no real need to have separate kits... but packaging them as if they are different seems misleading to me. After seeing this with the cavalry and infantry, I went back and looked at pictures in the P&S rulebook and on Warlord's own website, and it seems obvious that the Scots Covenanter range is also not a separate range - as far as I can tell from the various pictures, the only difference in the Scots plastic kits is making sure you use the classic Scots-looking hats when building the figures.

So as far as the plastic kits goes, it doesn't seem like Warlord has an extensive range, it seems like Warlord has one range that they slap in a bunch of different packaging.

At the end of the day, does it really matter? No. Does it affect whether I will continue to support their products in the future? Of course not. But I think they would be better served if they followed the lead of other figure makers (i.e. the Perry's American Civil War kits) and simply label their product as "English Civil War Cavalry", "English Civil War Infantry", etc..., and note that they contain the components necessary to build whatever army you choose.

That would seem more honest to me. Don't pretend to be something you aren't. There's no need for it...

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