Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Mantic and GW...a failure to connect. A rant.

Droogies, Boozers, strumpets and losers...welcome to krusha's cosmos...well, not really, but welcome to Grumheldens Grotto at least, I wonder how many people reading this remember krusha?  He was big around the time a new game arrived on the scene, and was as instrumental in my development as a 10 year old with too much imagination as that game was.

VERY METAL \../. .\../

Yes, that was really just a convoluted intro to a riff on last months 25th anniversary of Warhammer 40,000.  Its hard to believe that the franchise has existed for my entire adult and teenage life, and worse, that my entire outlook has been shaped by it.  It was the game that got me into gaming, that cemented my love for sci fi and it went hand in hand with that peculiarly teenage obsession of loud music and moral absolutes.  I was into metal, then punk and the whole 40,000 universe was obviously informed by the same imagery and politics that the music I was listening to was.  As I got older both the music and the game got more popular and more commercial, which was good for one and not so good for the other.  As sure as the punk of the late 70's and early 80's(and all its myriad sub genres) lead through commercialisation to Avril Lavigne, the wide open, humorous and back of a fag packet Rogue Trader lead the entire hobby to where it is now.  Bad deal for music, pretty good deal for wargaming!
And this brings us to Mantic.  Oh, Mantic, how we despair.  My good friend and spiritual leader El Presidente(of the G3) puts it something like this:  "I am a working man who can afford real GW toys, why would I spend less money on an inferior quality,cheap knockoff by a company that does everything GW does in a slightly poundland way?"

My initial reaction was to glorify the choice and options that mantic provides, to rail against his curmudgeonly ways, to espouse choice, to praise the plucky underdog.  You know, to be very British about the whole thing!  But i slowly realised that he was correct in his assessment.  The total cost savings are *not* offset by the sneaking feeling that you are wearing cotton when you could have had silk.  Now, don't get me wrong, sometimes cotton is just the dab, its not as sweaty and you mind so much when you have to replace it, but there is a visceral joy to wearing silk knickers that you just don't get with cotton.   Shirt...not knickers, SHIRT!

Then there's the general approach to customer interaction that pisses me off from both companies.  Have a look at the colossals video from Privateer Press and you are looking at a company that treats its customers like grown adults who enjoy cool toys.  Contrast and compare this with Mantic and GW; they both treat you like a special bus passenger who has to be spoon fed information in condescending, saccharine chunks.  They talk down to you, talk at you, and expect that you have the sense of humour of a biffy comics character from sometime around 1950.  They are just hopelessly out of touch with the reality of who buys the stuff they make.

As an aside, we are not all a fucking 10 year old called Tarquin whose father works in the City, while mum polishes the AGA and goes on three holidays a year, and hasn't had a haircut yet because his mum thinks his golden hair looks positively splendid and isnt he so cute, just like a pageboy at kate and wills wedding. I resent the idea that the boys in Lenton have that the majority of its customers(paying customers, not the ones who hang around in the shop all day) are upper or middle class future leaders of industry.

The whole thing this week on the main GW site..the 145 teaser video with the words"were not even sure were allowed to show it".  Just. Fuck. Off.  Your like the guy in the office who introduces himself as "wacky" and "zany".  Your fucking neither, you're a boring twat with no sense of humour who thinks that fucking whoopie cushions are the height of being naughty.  Fuck off, just sell us your shit and stroll on.  I'm not buying your bunty comic bullshit, I'm buying your fucking plastic. Shit pirate voices , a marketing department that probably genuinely drinks Pims with no trace of irony and thinks a three day working week is barbaric just put me off, and I cant be alone.   You see , I buy your stuff IN SPITE of your marketing, not because of it!  The recent BBC article was proof positive that the majority of people who spend money with you are not the majority of people you try and target.

That mantic ape this bullshit approach with jolly, jovial fucknugget simpering and rubber masks and shouting "waaaaagh" whenever the adults are out of the room just proves El Presidente's point that they are Poundland to Games Workshops John Lewis.  Everything they do is kinda similar but not as good.  Yes, they embraced youtube faster and the videos make me wince less, but they still make me wince.

We grew up on space marines, but we grew up...throw us a fucking bone and treat us with a modicum of decency eh?



  1. And thats why I rate your shit ;o)

    Their condescending BS could really do with a permanent holiday for sure.

    And I have still yet to buy anything from mantic, though I am seeing increasingly stuff targeted at GW's congregation thats actually very good.

    Puppets war and Raging Heroes spring to mind...

  2. *shrug*

    I own some Mantic ghouls. Less crowded with fewer gratuitous spikes and skulls on them. Cheaper too.

    They're pretty much the only Mantic models in my army, though, 'cause honestly, you're right; they are the Warhammer equivalent of those shitty "Henry Gardener" toys that I kept seeing around Cornish department stores when Pottermania really hit town.

    If I played Orks I'd consider their definitely-not-warbuggies worth a go too, mostly because again, I'm not that keen on GW's one (it was pretty swish when it came out, but that was what, 1994? '95? Point is we've moved on a bit and now it doesn't look right next to the rest of 'em).

    Some of their stuff is a halfway decent alternative, or fills a gap.

    And I've never watched any of their videos. Or many of GW's, 'cause Mat Ward's voice sapped my enthusiasm for the Necrons right out of the air and Phil Kelly's moustache scares me and frankly I'm just not that interested in slowly rotating models.

    Does anyone else remember when they did proper Designer's Notes that actually explained things like why the rules had changed compared to last time? Or battle reports where they talked about odd things that happened in the rules and how those were meant to be resolved? It wasn't as long ago as people say it was or I wouldn't remember it, but it was too bloody long ago for me.

  3. Yeah the whole thing of mantic's sales idea of "like games workshop, but cheaper" is getting a bit boring. I'd actually like them to do something original, they obviously have some talent in their company, given that some of the stuff they produce is actually nice (though some is awful).

    As for being talked down to, or whatever I don't really care frankly as long as you show me pictures of shiny toys. In fact, given you used the colossals video as an example, I personally detested that video. 10 minutes of geeks who have all the personality of a potato trying to sell me something. Just show me the pictures, or do your 360 degree thing and move on.

  4. I like it because you did swears! x