Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

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Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Primarch on Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:43 am

I'm not a Harry Potter fan, but my wife is. When I saw that a company was developing a Harry Potter Adventure Game, I thought that it might be a fun game to play with my better half. The game is set to be released by Knight Models (of the Batman Minis Game), a small Spanish company, with some rules writing done by Mark Latham, an ex-GW and frequent Osprey Rules-Dude.
So I spent some time looking around the interwebs and scraping up bits of info here and there. Common feedback on Knight Models is that their minis are gorgeous but need a lot of clean up. Their customer service is poor and their quality control is worse. Their rules are often cited as being produced by Google Translate as well. Their previews for the HP range looked very accurate to the cast of the films though.
Looking over other forums and news sites, it appears that they initially announced the game in 2016, with a planned release at the back end of 2017. A small delay in getting stuff ready is understandable, especially with a popular IP that you're spending a lot of money on before you even start designing or producing figures.
Over the past couple of months more and more previews went up. Beautifully painted models of Harry and friends were posted all over the place. Though I doubt I could do the minis justice, I still thought that it would be a good idea to buy and paint them, and even if my wife didn't like the game, they would still be a nice gift.
The Knight Models homepage is a half-assed mess of a site and the HP section had an "Under Construction" page it redirected to for most of this time. Updates were all links and images copied from Facebook and posted elsewhere.
Towards the end of last month Knight announced the Kickstarter date, March 14th. White Day, sounds auspicious.
Last Friday (5 days before the Kickstarter), Knight announced that there wouldn't be a Kickstarter. Instead everything would be direct order only from their website. There would be a pre-order discount and some free figures though. Ok, still no problem.
They released a short video of the lead designer and one of their Spanish team setting up the game. The audio was poor and the majority of the video was the designer telling the Spanish guy 'No, you can't do that. No, not that either'. To cast spells, both players roll the same number of dice and see who gets the most 3+'s. Er... Not impressed at this stage.
The release info went live on the (still very buggy) Knight Models site. 80 Euro-bucks gets you the core game. Harry, Hermione and Ron vs. 4 generic mook Deatheaters, a spider, some more spiders and a scant handful of very generic looking boards. So, we have Harry Potter and the Chamber of Spiders, Harry Potter and the Spider of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Order of Spiders.
But you could get more minis as add-ons. 20-30 more Euro-bucks gets you 2-3 extra figures. If you buy the 150 Euro level pack you get a couple of extra characters from the school (Draco, Ginny and Luna for example). For 300 Euros (about 40,000 Yen) you get the whole range so far, including a limited Voldemort. A bit pricey for about 45 minis, but some lovely sculpts.
So I was um-ing and ah-ing about what/if to buy. For an "adventure" game, it seems like a very grindy skirmish game, with a high price tag. To top things off, you could get minis for a few minor characters, some of whom were on screen for a total of 2 lines in the movies, but no Dumbledore.
This morning I checked through the various news-sources I was following to find that Knight announced, (on a reply to someone's question of Facebook,) that they would only be shipping within Spain, the UK and the US. No shipping to Japan. They aren't even shipping within the EU. So, I would need to pay shipping to the UK, then shipping to Japan. I also couldn't even save the VAT (Spain has a healthy 21% tax rate, which would have been a nice discount).

So in the space of a week this release of a very popular franchise has:
Changed from a Kickstarter to Direct Only.
Provided poor previews of a very bland looking game system.
Offered an incredibly lacklustre starter set.
Offered some expensive add-ons to make the starter set approach a decent level of game.
Jacked up the costs for anyone outside the three countries they ship to.
Failed to produce one of the most central figures to the story.
Made a lot of their figures pre-order exclusive.
Completely put me off buying.

Well done! It must take a lot of effort to mess things up that much. /angry ranting.
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Wiz on Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:05 am

I thought the figures were absolutely gorgeous, and after having seen a glimpse of the Voldemort model (wreathed in green fog and snakes) I think they easily have a contender for best model of 2018 there.

Obviously they've whipped out a slightly better video on YouTube since you viewed, which was the first 10 minutes of a game I saw yesterday, but yes, the only thing I thought to be interesting was that to achieve control of each of the 3 objectives, you had to have a combined level of "wisdom" (or something like that) standing next to it, to be able to understand how to use it - which resonated with the books. But the objectives themselves were just tokens with no scenario mentioned - maybe it's just something they skipped.

So as gorgeous as the game (i.e. models only) looks, I'm definitely going to wait a year and see whether it works out. Plus of course whether they bother with Japanese sales at all.

..... and this is coming from a HUGE harry potter fan - I go halloweening dressed as Snape, with my son and friends as Harry and friends! ...... pity....
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby The Other Dave on Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:47 am

Harry Potter doesn't seem the obvious choice for a tabletop skirmish wargame...
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Primarch on Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:21 am

The Other Dave wrote:Harry Potter doesn't seem the obvious choice for a tabletop skirmish wargame...

No, no it doesn't. Which is why I was disappointed that instead of being a co-op, RPG-esque minis game that would be suitable for non-wargamers, it's actually closer to Warhammer/Warmachine. In the blurb about buying models it suggests buying minis based on A) Your favourite characters, B) A theme like Gryffindor Students or C) A min/maxed build of awesome combos.
It also mentions a couple of scenarios against monsters being released at some point along with an 8 mission campaign.
Personally I'm excited for my Voldemort/Dobby/Luna team-up. It'll be awesome! :roll: :roll:

One of the snippets hidden somewhere on their facebook page it suggests getting Hagrid if you want to go for melee combat.
I must have missed that bit in the movies where Hagrid punched out the basilisk and then drop-kicked a deatheater through the wall.
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Lovejoy on Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:09 pm

I have to confess that I am a Potterhead to some extent. I read the books mostly at time of release, listened to Stephen Fry retelling the entire thing on audio a couple of years back, watched the movies (natch), visited the Watford Harry Potter movie set (actually extremely interesting and I suggest well worth the entrance fee even if you usually find the whole thing slightly nauseating - my wife and I spent about 3 wide eyed hours in there). I own a Butterbeer glass, for godsakes.

So yes. I am pretty interested in the idea of an HP miniatures game. I do think that that such a thing has the potential to be very good indeed if handled well..the lore is deep, the spells in the world are certainly varied and numerous as the most casual of glances at a suitable wiki will tell you (and handily graded by year, which would gel well with character levels etc). You have your creatures, named characters, character classes potentially, in the form of houses, aurors, death eaters, teachers, etc. It could be so good!

But I'm not very keen on the approach I see here so far from Knight Miniatures. From what I gather, their previous games seem to have been card driven and restrictive, without much possibility for customisation. I may be off mark in thinking that, but I don't want only to play named heroes. And, if the company really is indeed going at this from a min/max gamey perspective rather than a thematic and inclusive one that would entice non gamers, they have really, really have missed the point. Very dumb.

The minis look pretty fantastic, albeit rather costly. Getting hold of them conveniently seems a PITA too. Much as GW are maligned, they would have knocked a game with this theme out of the park I reckon, and I would probably have bought and played it faster than you could say chocolate frog despite what they would ask, as you could be fairly certain a reasonable quality of both minis and ruleset would be there. That's the unknown for me with this Knight Miniatures venture.
I'll watch this thread though, to see if there is any interest in taking the fateful plunge. Maybe I need to research it more and check out those vids.

Reskinning Frostgrave as a Potter game would be fairly straightforward. It would just involve a fair bit of spadework. The spells are already there. They just need to be categorised and grouped in a different way.
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Primarch on Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:15 pm

If anyone is looking for a HP themed game, I heartily recommend Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle.
https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/199 ... rts-battle
It is a co-operative, deck building game. There is a board, but it's mainly for reference rather than being a board game. Players take on the role of Harry, Ron, Hermione or Neville (There is an expansion that adds Luna) and use decks of spells, allies and artifacts to overcome villains and dark magic. The game comes with the cards split into seven boxes, with each box representing one book in the series. As you play through the boxes, you add new villains, new location cards and new abilities. Each card is handily marked so you can go remove them from the deck if you want to go back and play an earlier level again. The game suits 2-4 players (5 with the expansion), but is better with more people. My wife and I play it with just the two of us and it can be a little swingy with only 2 people. It's still lots of fun though. I'm not a Potter fan as such, but the deck building is very well done, offering synergy and strategy if that is your thing. Each character has different strengths and rewards certain combos. (e.g. Hermione is best if you focus on magic, Ron is better if you purchase more allies, etc). The rules are simple and there isn't too much text, so a strong grasp of English isn't essential. I don't think it is available in Japan, but shipping it from home should be possible, though the box is a little heavy.
As I said, there is an expansion, the Monster Box of Monsters. It adds a bunch of new cards, new ways to play and changes Luna from an Ally card to a playable character. I heard somewhere that the producers of the game are also considering a second expansion, though it isn't definite.

As for a miniature based game, sadly Knight Models is it at the moment.
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Primarch on Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:45 pm

Knight have put up an FAQ to respond to a lot of the backlash they are receiving.
https://www.knightmodelshp.com/faqs
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Lovejoy on Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:03 pm

I have had my eye on Hogwash Battles. It looks pretty decent actually, not sure if my wife would give it a go but perhaps she could be enticed.

Checked out the KM website and the minis are gorgeous. I note from their FAQ however that the minis are resin, and their reach in terms of shipping and sales seems very lack lustre. This doesn’t bode well at all..

Many comments on this thread that pretty much nail the issues with it too.
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1954690/no-kickstarter/page/1

As an aside, there are some great looking quidditch player greens online somewhere, that look rather Copplestoney. They were never produced for retail and I got the impression they might have been made as a failed licensing approach to the HP people, perhaps by GW, but not sure. Just as possibly, they were made for a private client. Looked the part though.
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Re: Harry Potter from Knight Models (aka FUBARing an IP)

Postby Brookman on Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:40 am

They certainly took some odd turns in this project from the start. I'm still going to try it out, no doubt. But I might wait for a couple of versions down the line though.
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