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Whine about CM costs thread. Post here!


bobo

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Y'know, one of these days the whiners are going to succeed in convincing BFC that they're in the wrong market and doing it all wrong anyway. They'll succeed in convincing BFC to switch to doing "My Little Pony" iphone games for the Japanese pre-teen market (because that's where the real money is). And us wargamers will be left out in the cold.

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This has been a theory wargamers have held onto dearly since the 1960s. It's never been true and never will be true. Put any CMx2 game in front of the average person and watch their eyes glaze over. No amount of marketing will change that. Which means every $1 we spend on pointless PR means having to charge you guys $1 more to get back to break even.

Words which should be engraved in bronze and hung prominently on a wall somewhere. A little PR in the right places might increase sales a little bit, but the time and effort required to identify exactly where those "right places" might be, would almost certainly cost more than it would be worth. Word of mouth advertising, which costs BFC nothing, has worked better for them than placing ads in magazines, for instance. One reason for that is that people tend to trust what is told to them personally by friends who share the same interests more than some glossy four color ad in a magazine.

Michael

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Talk about eyeballs, I wonder if CM:Touch for iphones has had much affect on increasing civilians' brand awareness, awareness there is a game franchise named 'Combat Mission' out there in the world. I'd wager it had pulled in some customers for CMFI.

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You wish to make yourself look absurd? [bows deeply] Who am I to stop you?

:D

Michael

I've been way past worrying about looking absurd. Sort of like the bald spot. You learn to live with it, though I wish the kids would stop drawing clown faces in it. I'll admit Sauron's Eye was kind of cool.

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Y'know, one of these days the whiners are going to succeed in convincing BFC that they're in the wrong market and doing it all wrong anyway. They'll succeed in convincing BFC to switch to doing "My Little Pony" iphone games for the Japanese pre-teen market (because that's where the real money is). And us wargamers will be left out in the cold.

Actually, that's not a bad idea.

Make every other game they develop a "my little pony" iphone game just to rake in enough cash to make another CM game :P

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I think we all tend to forget that BF is doing a lot of different things simultaneously and unfortunately you don't always know the issues that will crop up as you implement. The idea of keeping all CMx2 games from CMBN on current was a huge commitment. I think BF is still struggling to figure out the best way to keep to that commitment and there will be some rough patches as it develops. The fact that the full installer is not available to folks who purchased the base games and modules as they were released is a prime example. From BFs view it would make life so much easier if they could. That they haven't yet is indicative of how much labor it would take to do so now ( which in turn indicates sales have probably been pretty darn good.)

And just to be clear, I do get what folks are talking about regarding practices at other companies. I just reloaded WitPAE on my new PC and it dutifully checked back home and updated me to the latest version. I like that a lot. Way easier than reloading CM if you don't have the full bundle installer. Still the last update from it was 2012. The game was 3 years old then. CMBN is 3 years old this year and we are looking at many years of updates to come. Apples to apples comparisons are really hard to come by.

Funny that you put WITP AE as an example, a project that got off the ground because of fans rolling their sleeves up and fixing a game that never kind of worked right. I am sure that the reasons it hasn't been updated in a while will be as interesting to read as the Polygon piece on Mad Minute Games.

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Actually, that's not a bad idea.

Make every other game they develop a "my little pony" iphone game just to rake in enough cash to make another CM game :P

Better yet, establish a separate design bureau to do exclusively that and feed the profits back into the main mission. Only trouble with that idea is that pretty soon the design bureau that was making all the money would soon become the main mission. Human nature seems like such a dead end sometimes.

:(

Michael

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I think that is altogether fitting and proper. If there are gamers who are happier playing other games, that is what they should be doing. I don't think BFC's proper mission is to gather in every wargamer on the planet. Tastes vary too much and he who tries to please everybody ends up pleasing no one. I think BFC knows their audience very well and from the sounds of things is happily solvent. As long as they can keep turning out games that are loved by their customer base—of which I am one—what does it matter if Joe Blow living on an island in the middle of the Amazon River prefers something else?

I want BFC to succeed and do well. I think they fully deserve to do so for what they have given in the form of the Combat Mission games. But I can't help but think that for long term success they should try to establish a wider demographic of players buying their products. I'm simply not sure that basing your business on a bunch of (older than average) people who's taste buds only extend to CM games is a good idea. There are quite a lot of Joe Blows out there in the world. ;)

I'm also sorry to say that your post left me feeling you are being slightly dismissive to those that may not play CM exclusively. I also personally thought Steve's reply contained some seeds of condescension by saying that "average" gamers can't cope with CMx2. CM may not be a FPS console game, but it's not that hard to pick up and many people do still possess attention spans of more than 5mins. Is there a faint whiff of elitism creeping in? I sometimes think so when reading posts in threads such as this. So I'll pull out another cliche: Pride comes before the Fall. :)

Any how. As a relatively rich old 42yo codger (c.f. to when I was 28yo codger), who has bought every CM game and module since day 1, I will continue to keep buying - like yourself. But I still want CMx1 for OS X! :D

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I agree that we, Battlefront, are capable of making a more mainstream wargame type product. If you like, the Panzer General of the 21st Century. We'd actually really like to do that because it would give us a creative break from having to be so fussy with the details. Levels of detail and realism tend to be indicators of how many people might want to buy it. Here's the problem, though...

If we break from core audience and shoot wider, but miss, then we're likely done for. We are doing just fine with our current audience, not fine enough to be able to afford 2 years of development down the tubes.

So it's a good thing in theory, just not as easy to do as any of us would like.

Steve

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I agree that we, Battlefront, are capable of making a more mainstream wargame type product. If you like, the Panzer General of the 21st Century. We'd actually really like to do that because it would give us a creative break from having to be so fussy with the details. Levels of detail and realism tend to be indicators of how many people might want to buy it. Here's the problem, though...

If we break from core audience and shoot wider, but miss, then we're likely done for. We are doing just fine with our current audience, not fine enough to be able to afford 2 years of development down the tubes.

So it's a good thing in theory, just not as easy to do as any of us would like.

Steve

We have enough mainstream type products. I hope you all stick to being fussy and giving us the most realistic tactical game out there.

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the only thing I cant stand is when people say something along the lines of "how can you pay 55 dollars for the whole shockforce bundle, the game looks like garbage how can it be fun"

but these same people foam at the mouth and freak out when the new sports/generic shooter game come out each year and pay about 60 dollars for the same game each year with a new coat of paint

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I'm also sorry to say that your post left me feeling you are being slightly dismissive to those that may not play CM exclusively.

Far from it. Just for the record, for the last year I've been playing Unity of Command a lot. It is just barely historically accurate enough to appease me, but is great fun and I love it for what it is. For the last month or so, I've mostly been playing HoI2, although it must be said that that poor game is a terrible mess in more ways than I will try to list here. But it is not entirely without entertainment value and given the lack of grand strategy games available on the Mac, it fills for now a certain niche in my gaming life.

And as far as elitism goes, I am not entirely against it when it has some actual merit. But it is something that needs to be watched carefully as in the long run it can be candy coated poison. One wants to believe it, thus may cling to it far beyond the time it is merited.

Michael

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Far from it. Just for the record, for the last year I've been playing Unity of Command a lot. It is just barely historically accurate enough to appease me, but is great fun and I love it for what it is. For the last month or so, I've mostly been playing HoI2, although it must be said that that poor game is a terrible mess in more ways than I will try to list here. But it is not entirely without entertainment value and given the lack of grand strategy games available on the Mac, it fills for now a certain niche in my gaming life.

And as far as elitism goes, I am not entirely against it when it has some actual merit. But it is something that needs to be watched carefully as in the long run it can be candy coated poison. One wants to believe it, thus may cling to it far beyond the time it is merited.

Michael

I play alot of Star Wars: The Old Republic.

It's like suuuuuuuuber historically accurate :D

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somehow we're supposed to be profitable without actually charging for our services, but so far we haven't figured out how to do that.

The YouTube way!

30 second commercials at the start of every replay phase (or just at the most annoying moments if you´re playing real time) :D

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[begin parenthetical comment]

YouTube has really gone down the tubes since Google took it over. IMHO Google should have stuck with trying to perfect their search engine instead of becoming a media empire.

[end parenthetical comment]

You may now return to your various rants about the costs of BFC products.

Michael

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An old adage says that all good things in life are free, yet this game is not, why?

Come to think of it, I come from a state whose motto is, "Live free or die". So why are all things in life not free?

Who needs this fiat currency anyway? Why can't I buy a CM game with, say, a rabbit hide?

Until then, guess I'll just use a credit card.

I've heard you can mail about anything just by sticking enough postage stamps on it. maybe we can just start mailing BF a bunch of random nice things and if they like any of them enough they can send us back a copy of a game :D;)

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I dislike each base game + modules being separate installs model. Would much prefer the game to be one install with each new base game/theatre upgrading that install so you don't have to worry about v2.0 or v3.0 upgrades to older base games plus all features being available on all fronts when the new titles come out. I'd also like to be able to do some blue on blue QB's pitting western vs Russian forces which a combined game could let you try.

Yes yes I understand there's pro and cons to any approach and BF have good reasons for doing what they've done blah blah, not really interested in debating it. I just wanted to participate and this is all I could think of to whine about.

Oh, that and there's no CM1 style operations in CM2, I'll never let that dead horse lie, never!!

-F

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Here's my take. When CMx1 came out, I bought, in succession, the entire series. Never looked back as far as cost went, though they weren't cheap. They did, though, provide cubic hours (new metric) of wargaming fun. Along comes CMx2, in the form of CMSF. I was very much interested in the subject, time frame and weaponry, a situation enhanced by having a brother in the 3rd SBCT, the first SBCT to ever see combat. I had major fiscal problems by then, not to mention needing a whole new computer and there being no Mac version, and CMSF was going through really tough teething issues. Much as I liked the whole CMSF thing, I really preferred WW II. By the time CMBN arrived, I was outright disabled and in very poor economic shape as a result. Simply put, CMBN was beyond my budget--but not my numerous posts. Fortunately, some kind, still anonymous, person got me the game, and I bought CW to make it a bundle, I believe, then followed up much later with the 2.0 and MG bundle. CMFI was of interest, but the fact that I was barely making headway in CMBN, which much of the time, for lack of requisite wargaming circuitry, I couldn't play, was more than enough for my plate. Oh! And the money for another WW II game when I wasn't able to do much with the first. Given my interest in current warfare, and my stack of posts on the Ukraine real world situation, CMBS is of deep interest to me.

When it comes down to pricing, despite my particular economic challenges, I have no issue with what BFC charges. Consider alternative purchases: $35+ hardback books are practically the norm, and $20+ trade paperbacks on subjects we love are quite common, too. If we look at, say, Xbox 360 games, whose usable gaming life is exceedingly short generally, the typical price range is $40-60 per game. In board wargames, GMT Games has Panzer (2nd Ed.) at $120, and it is broadly similar to CMRT. Iron & Oak for $60 is somewhat like Yaquinto's Ironclads. Clash of Arms Games has Operation Spark (relief of Leningrad) for ~$50 (shipping inc.). If you can still get one, for $62 (no free shipping) that same firm has Rising Sun (authored by ex-naval spook and technothriller writer Larry Bond, my brother Ed (scenarios) and ex-submariner Chris Carlson. Our own Dan Verssens/DVG has Down in Flames--Aces High at ~$60. Omega Games has Carrier War for $50. I can, as the saying goes, do this all week long.

On balance, there is no doubt in my mind that BFC's pricing is competitive in the face of many examples presented here and that CMx2 and CMx3 offer unparalleled replay and gaming possibilities. I say these things as someone who started board gaming at age 12 and swore blind he'd never play a computer game again after being terribly burned by SSI's Red Lightning. I've now been, with very few add-ons in occasional Up Front and other physical games, a generally happy (higher w/o grog frustrations) BTS/BFC customer for 14 years. As anyone who regularly reads my posts knows, though, I am not a meek consumer of what BFC produces and have, in fact, come close to getting tossed (at least, it seemed that way to me then) when I pushed too hard on certain military-technical topics.

Regards,

John Kettler

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