Confrontation – A critical look

When I saw that Confrontation was coming back I can say my heart skipped a beat.  It’s a game that despite its issues I miss playing. I put a lot of hours into Confrontation, not just playing it but helping to demo it in the UK, helping to get the UK Federation up and running (UKCORD) running tournaments as well.

This time around a company called Sans Detour are trying to get it off the ground.

As a game Confrontation is probably one many people missed, it really hit the scene in the early 2000’s before various issues drove the company (Rackham) under.  A subject that could be a whole book in itself.  In my mind, some of the miniatures that were produced are still better than some we see now and many are a good 10-12 years old.

Sadly, what I’m finding is that all doesn’t appear as it is with the new version and I’m having big issues with a lot of the direction or lack of direction that Sans Detour is having.

Communication

The success of any Kick Starter is getting the product out and getting people to see what you have on offer.  They have done this but in a way they haven’t. People keep seeing these amazingly painted miniatures and wonderful battlefields full of amazing terrain.  But what a lot of people don’t understand is that none of these models aren’t new.  These are all old photos taken before.  This means you’re not getting a fair idea of what the product you’re supporting is going to look like and although they have mentioned it not in a way that’s people are picking up on.

With a lot of Kickstarters you get used to seeing renders and artwork of what’s coming so you can decide from that if it’s what you want too back.  To me, it’s false advertising, the quality of paint on a good metal isn’t going to be as good as plastic.

The other and to me, the huge thing that worries me is the lack of replies to the community.  I haven’t been involved with a KS where the company doing it hasn’t had one or multiple people replying to questions on things they put out.  With Sans detour, I have hardly seen any replies to them and they avoid the big questions everyone keeps asking.

Format

The main buy into this Kickstarter is in one format a €299 (About £264) buy-in that has 178 miniatures in it from the various factions.  They have created forces for the factions that they feel shows off the best aspects of the army and that’s what you’re getting.  Sadly anyone who’s played Confrontation will look at them and think that’s not going to work.  A lot of the basic troops come in 2-3 for a reason.  They either act as a good way to deal with the scenario objective or they are cheerleaders to feed the devout in the group.  The characters often as well are the really expensive ones and are going to eat up the points you have pretty quick.

They have recently stated that these will be the only classic confrontation miniatures that they will be producing at that none of those they don’t will be in the next game they do.  Not good at all, more Heros killed in one go than George R.R. Martin has ever managed.

Material

Now a lot of people keep glossing over this and they really shouldn’t these minis will be produced in plastic, probably some sort of PVC which will mean detail is going to be lost.  How much we don’t know because we are yet to see anything produced.  They have put a few miniatures up but these are resin. They are also not miniatures being produced as yet in the Kickstarter.  A bit more misleading.  It’s also a question that’s been asked a lot by myself and other people and yet to be answered.

Whilst I understand it’s often hard to produce miniatures due to time constraints you can at least say what they will look like or even compare them to miniatures produced by another company so that people know.  But they are going to look different stood next to a metal mini of the same sort on the table.

Rules

As far as we have seen they are just going to use the C3 rules with the 3.5 add-on. Now my expectation was that they would merge the two together and do a proper job of it.  But sadly no, you can download them from the website.  No sign on the cards as yet, I’d like to say they have said they will come in time.  But like many things no comms as yet.

Time

From the Kickstarter finishing to them saying you will be getting the first miniatures is slated for 18 months.  I’d say a little longer myself knowing how little things can make something slip.  During this wait the have a 2nd Kickstarter going as well for their new version of the game which will be totally compatible with the miniatures you get in this Kickstarter.  So that’s a worry as well and raises for me and many others a lot of concerns.

I get bringing an old game back from the dead is hard, but don’t live off its glory when you try.  Speak to people and give them plenty of opportunities to understand that the models you are producing are a different material, style, size etc.  At the moment this whole KS just looks like a cash cow, a way to perhaps fund the next Kickstarter. Or maybe even a way to get back some of the money spent buying up the IP rights.  It doesn’t feel like the game is being reborn.

Fixing this Kickstarter

This is a hard one to think on.  At the moment they don’t seem to be addressing the fact that they are losing early bird backers daily.  Of the initial 2000 they put out they currently have 212 free.  The next level up all 90 of them could move over without an issue at all.  The KS had at one stage unlocked the £640k but now it’s just over £500k.  I’ve never seen a KS do that.  All they appear to be doing is adding more add-ons.  This isn’t fixing the issue at all.  A lot of them never had proper stats and those that did aren’t really game pieces.  Though Rackham was as much about people collecting the miniatures as it was about the game.

Okay, we could say they could can it, sort out and go again.  But as their next Kickstarter is piggybacking off this one I think they will push on regardless.  Maybe not the best idea at all, but they haven’t listened to the community so far, they won’t now.

If nothing though it has made people talk about the game a little.  It’s not a game I can honestly back. It’s too expensive and it’s not in a format that to me works for new players.  As the Dragons would say “I’m Out”..

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