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  • #80263
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Over on THIS topic a few people have referred to TWW as a good place for Indie games, I have also spotted this on a few blogs.

    I never really thought about this, though of course it could depend on what you mean by Indie?
    I always thought of Indie companies being ones without shareholders and or self financed, which of course is the vast majority?
    What do you think of as Indie Games Companies?

    #80270
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I’ve seen the term “indie” used a lot in the pen-and-paper RPG scene, so when I use the word for miniature wargames I’m pretty much porting over the word from there, although to be honest I’m not entirely certain what qualifies and disqualifies as an indie RPG.

    At any rate, to me, miniature wargaming companies that definitely don’t qualify as indie are Games Workshop, Privateer Press, Battlefront and Fantasy Flight Games. A handful of other companies are in the grey zone, such as Corvus Belli, Wyrd, Warlord, Mantic, Hawk Wargames, Dream Pod 9, the now-defunct Spartan Games and possibly (as of late) the North Star-Osprey partnership, but I don’t go so far as saying they’re definitely, absolutely, categorically non-indie. Well, maybe Warlord is by this point… I’m not entirely sure about that one, given how fast it’s grown. Everything else I can think of is definitely indie by my classification, including a lot of the “boutique game” companies (the ones that make similar games to Infinity and Malifaux, but aren’t anywhere near as popular and established).

    Often, the way I use the term, “indie” is synonymous with “garage business” (which shouldn’t be taken to mean it technically needs to be run out of an actual garage) or “vanity business”. Then again, there are companies such as Brigade Models that are a step or two above the actual “garage” level (having, to the best of my understanding, proper business premises of their own, and employees and whatnot) but which I still classify as “indie”.

    So to me, it’s more to do with the degree of popularity and “establishedness” (as opposed to “grass-rootsiness”) in the market than with the structure of ownership and financing or similar considerations. The degree of chrome/gloss/hardsell is also a factor. It’s very, very much a sliding scale.

    I guess one way to put it would be that a company needs to score high in both popularity/establishedness and chrome/gloss/hardsell to possibly count as non-indie. So for instance: Brigade Models is moderately well-established in a certain sector of the market, but it isn’t chrome, so it’s indie; the game Alkemy is chrome but nowhere near as established as Infinity or Malifaux (similarly-styled chrome games), so it’s indie; Angel Barracks is neither well-established (you know what I mean – I’m speaking in relative terms that take into account GW and suchlike) nor chrome, so it’s indie; Privateer Press is both very well-established and very chrome, so it’s not indie.

    As for indie games in relation to TWW, I’ll save that for a later post as I’ve been writing this one for a while now and need a break.

    #80272
    DM
    Participant

    Maybe you could look at an indie company as being o e where the games company isn’t the primary source if income for the owner? How would that sit?

    #80281
    Darryl Smith
    Participant

    Maybe you could look at an indie company as being o e where the games company isn’t the primary source if income for the owner? How would that sit?

    That is a good definition to offer at the very least. I think of indie as being companies that are more niche or small, like a Darkest Star Games for example.

    Buckeye Six Actual
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    http://foragecaps.blogspot.com/
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    #80283
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Maybe you could look at an indie company as being o e where the games company isn’t the primary source if income for the owner? How would that sit?

    That would make both Brigade Models and Angel Barracks Not indie. Would they therefore be mainstream?

    #80289
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I focus more on the impression the manufacturer or publisher makes upon us “end users”, than on the structure of the business or the circumstances of how it operates from its own point of view. Does the manufacturer or publisher have a very large presence in the hobby market, such that it has broken through into major, mainstream sales channels? Is the manufacturer or publisher very “hardsell” in its approach to marketing, product design, product packaging, etc.?

    Market presence especially seems like a good touchstone. A range of miniatures or a set of rules that’s indie wouldn’t likely be available in certain places that nevertheless do stock miniatures and rules.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Rhoderic.
    #80315
    Cerdic
    Participant

    Good question.

    Seems a bit difficult to define? For a real challenge try to define ‘indie’ music!

    For my money, indie music is not a genre it is more about an attitude. I think the same can probably apply to wargaming….

    #80334
    Mike Headden
    Participant

    Thank you Cerdic!

    I was just about to post several paragraphs of text that in essence said no more than you’ve managed in two sentences!

     

    Growing old is mandatory, growing up is entirely optional!

    #80336
    Not Connard Sage
    Participant

    Thank you Cerdic! I was just about to post several paragraphs of text that in essence said no more than you’ve managed in two sentences!

    Except that Indie bands make considerably more money than indie wargame companies, and all popular music is about ‘attitude’. Apart from that, not a fatuous statement at all…

    Can anyone tell me what an indie attitude is as concerns wargaming?

     

    "I go online sometimes, but everyone's spelling is really bad. It's... depressing."

    #80338
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    One that I have?

    One that I don’t have?

    Depending whether I see being a member of a majority as a good or a bad thing.

     

    #80367
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    To me, “indie” means the company is strongly identified with a particular person, though that’s entirely just my perspective.

    2HW is “indie” even though they are also mainstream.

    To a lesser extent, it’s also about “being one of us”. When I bought a copy of Rogue Planet, the guy answered my questions directly.
    I didn’t have to download an FAQ and hope the answer was one of the ones that had been collected by a social media intern.

    In the end, it means whatever you want it to mean.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #80388
    Cerdic
    Participant

    Connard…what has money got to do with it? Indie bands tend to make less than ‘mainstream’ acts. Everything is relative.

    And I would agree that popular music is about attitude. But I said AN attitude. Again, hard to define. Most indie acts attitude is probably that they don’t want to be Taylor Swift!

    What the indie wargaming attitude is, I don’t have the faintest idea! I’m not the one asking the question, I just said it was difficult to define….

    #80392
    Tony Hughes
    Participant

    Most of the views on this seem to be from the SF/Fantasy viewpoint and I think it will be even harder to define ‘indie’ in the historical arena.

    Long established companies such as Irregular, Baccus, Adler and Peter Pig (and there are lots more in the same vein) are still small, usually identified with one person (or a small group) and have a good track record of innovation. Most historical wargamers would think of these as mainstream because they produce a large range of figures. You just don’t have the tie-ins to rule systems as commonly in historical wargaming – it exists but only in a relatively small part of the genre.

    For me, it isn’t really a particularly useful distinction. I usually know roughly what I want and in finding it I’ll scan the offerings of any supplier, whatever their size, genre or background. I can see why it might be a useful label for others in the more ‘imaginative’ areas of gaming though.

     

     

    #80393
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I can see why it might be a useful label for others in the more ‘imaginative’ areas of gaming though.

     

    hmmmm interesting observation.

    #80401

    “What do you think of as Indie Games Companies?”

    I consider an Indie game company one who is not a mass market company.  They don’t sell you a high gloss, over engineered set of rules but rather simple, playable and reasonably well produced rules, often only in PDF.  So, with the news feed, you are getting much more of the Nordic Weasel games type news and less of the GW or Warlord news.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #80402
    Mike
    Keymaster

    I consider an Indie game company one who is not a mass market company.  They don’t sell you a high gloss, over engineered set of rules but rather simple, playable and reasonably well produced rules, often only in PDF.  So, with the news feed, you are getting much more of the Nordic Weasel games type news and less of the GW or Warlord news.

    What would you say for miniatures companies?

    #80403
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    IMO, there’s nothing wrong with having the term be a very nebulous one. That need not mean it can’t be used. I have a good idea of what “100% indie” and “100% non-indie” are in theory, but if companies and products defy those definitions to some extent in practice, that’s perfectly fine. At least that’s a good indicator the company isn’t 100% non-indie.

    As an example, I’d like to return to the subject of Warlord Games. They’re the best example right now of a company that’s straddling the line. On the one hand, they’re doing very brisk business these days, they’re relatively “hardsell”, they’ve broken partway through into major retail channels, and there’s some grumbling in the hobby community over Bolt Action, Hail Caesar and Black Powder as supposed “behemoth” rulesets that are “ruining the hobby”. On the other hand, I’ve seen Rick Priestley hang around in indie-oriented forums, give interviews to grass-roots platforms for hobby media content, and write for a relatively indie-oriented magazine (WS&S) – fine examples of being “one of us”. I’ve also seen other Warlord high-ups like Paul Sawyer engage with the indie-oriented hobby community. They didn’t do this kind of stuff during their later years at GW (I presume they weren’t allowed to). Thus, I don’t want to define Warlord as categorically non-indie.

    As for “indie” in relation to historicals, personally I don’t like partitioning historicals and fantasticals into separate scenes or arenas with separate, supposedly endemic sets of standards (too much of the “us and them”), so I apply one definition of indie to everything. To me, most historicals are indie. The Battlefront games aren’t. The Warlord historical games are difficult to pin in that respect, but they’re still evolving and seem to be gradually moving in a less indie direction (I hope they never get all the way there).

    Even Warhammer Historical (which I speak of now as a “separate company” to GW, although I know it strictly wasn’t) was partway indie by my standards back when it was around. They did produce relatively glossy rulesets for their time, and they had a big market share as historical rules publishers, but even so they retained some of that “indie attitude”. For instance, one thing a 100% non-indie company (by my definition) would categorically never have done is acknowledge third-party miniature manufacturers, let alone feature plenty of photos of such miniatures in their rulesets, as Warhammer Historical did. So, like Warlord Games of today, it wasn’t 100% non-indie, though it was somewhere in the grey zone.

    #80433
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Paul Sawyer hung out on the NetEpic mailing list many years ago, though he had to make it very clear he was purely there in the role as a random gamer 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #80438
    durecellrabbit
    Participant

    I don’t feel I could consider Warlord Games indie and not Battlefront. They’re the same to me.

    One thing that comes to mind is Warlord’s new Samurai game. I was on Facebook when they announced it and started the Facebook group for it. I watched its membership count increase far beyond any of the older Samurai rule groups I’m a member of in one day. That very much created a “I was a fan of this before it was cool” feeling in me that people describe when something they like becomes mainstream.

    #80450
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    Indie games are about ideas, rather than commercial product. Cfr Indie Movies …

    But it’s a vague term. It’s one of those things that are hard to define, but are recognizable on sight.

     

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
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    #80462

    “What would you say for miniatures companies?”

    Smaller companies are “indie”…the ones with less deep pockets.  I think here (for me) the definition becomes less clear.

    John

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    --Abraham Lincoln

    #80467

    To me an Indie company is one that is fairly small, run by the founder or founders, has a limited scope and, generally, exists because the people running it do so for the love of the hobby and their preferred genre. In addition, it is not likely to be acquired by or acquire other operations to expand its market. None of these attributes are hard and fast, though. So like pornography, it’s hard to define but I know it when I see it.  And like copyright infringement, it’s assessed on a case-by-case basis.

    Self taught, persistently behind the times, never up to date. AKA ~ jeff
    More verbosity: http://petiteguerre.blogspot.com/

    #80469
    Mike
    Keymaster

    What about (and this applies to many wargames companies) companies that are done as a hobby themself, in that the owner has a regular job that pays the bills and the owner can use money from their salaried job to make new products for the hobby business.

    To me this is not an indie company as it is being given money. (and as such can not survive independently)
    It is making new products not from sales, but from a gift of cash from a benefactor.

     

    #80491
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    Once upon a time I’d have said “If you have to rely on kickstarter” but I see big corporations asking to get paid for games that don’t exist, so evidently I’m wrong 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #80499
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    FWIW, another reason I don’t want to define Warlord as the opposite of indie (quite yet, anyway) is that when I browse through some of the Warlord rulebooks that are currently on the market, there’s photos of miniatures from “rival” manufacturers, and pointers for where to get non-Warlord miniatures in the reference material at the back of the book. That speaks to me of a willingness to play nice and be part of a grander community, in stark contrast to GW and the three other companies I definitely don’t think of as indie.

    But the “shades of grey” aspect needs to be stressed:

    Between Angel Barracks and Warlord Games, which is more indie? No contest.

    Between Warlord Games and Games Workshop, which is more indie? No contest.

    Still, I acknowledge that my definition of indie is more condoning than many other definitions. This makes me curious to know: Which manufacturers or publishers do you guys think of as “straddling the line”, being difficult to pin as either indie or non-indie? Where does the line go?

    #80500
    Ivan Sorensen
    Participant

    “Big Indie” ? 🙂

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://www.wargamevault.com/browse/pub/5701/Nordic-Weasel-Games?src=browse5701

    #80502
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    “Big Indie” ? 🙂

    I like it!

    #80627
    durecellrabbit
    Participant

    I’d say maybe North Star is my grey area. They’re in kinda a weird place what with the store selling other company’s products, their vassal miniature manufacturers and the partnership with Osprey for “official” minis for rules that don’t care about official minis.

    They’re like a smaller version of Wayland and the other stores that have been buying into the miniature game manufacturer side although I think North Star got there first.

    #80644
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    They’re like a smaller version of Wayland and the other stores that have been buying into the miniature game manufacturer side although I think North Star got there first.

    What’s this now? Does Wayland Games manufacture miniature wargame products of its own these days?

    #80661
    durecellrabbit
    Participant

    They’re like a smaller version of Wayland and the other stores that have been buying into the miniature game manufacturer side although I think North Star got there first.

    What’s this now? Does Wayland Games manufacture miniature wargame products of its own these days?

    They’ve recently setup a game making half called Warcradle Studio which bought Wild West Exodus and some of Spartan Games’ games.

    They’ve already done some sort of release for Wild West Exodus and I got an email recently offering that giant ice berg aircraft carrier from  Dystopian Wars.

    Beasts of War news article

    #80664
    McKinstry
    Participant

    Just my opinion but the industry/hobby is so small that outside of GW and maybe Battlefront or Privateer, I’d consider virtually the whole hobby Indie. I’d be stunned if total revenues for 99+% of the wargaming industry outside of the aforementioned three come close to producing three more firms with $2 million plus annual sales. I could of course be wildly wrong but I’d call any turnover short of $2 million Indie in the overall scheme of modern business.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

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