The Dead Game Syndrome.
Even if you haven't named it...you know what it is. It's that effect that occurs when your favorite game is no longer produced and supported by the manufacturer. No more updates. No more expansions. No more organized play. No more product.
The game is dead.
When this happens it seems that the most common response in many wargaming circles is to move on to another game and hope this one experiences a longer lifespan. Moreso, players tend to dump their existing books and miniatures on eBay or elsewhere despite the fact that they loved the game prior to its cancellation. At the very least they box everything up and doom it to be forgotten in the back of their closet for the rest of time.
Rackham Entertainment's AT-43 has been my main game of choice since it's debut about four years back. I love the game. The rules are good, for the most part. The fluff and universe are fantastic and the miniatures are really well done...especially for pre-painted (which was another plus for me).
Rackham has been struggling for quite a few years now and had been bought out and reformed into Rackham Entertainment complete with new investors and management. There was hope that they'd pull out of their financial and creative troubles. They were hard at work on a new edition of the AT-43 ruleset. Things were, on the surface, looking up.
Alas, 'twas not to be. A couple weeks back Rackham announced they were in liquidation. Their assets are being sold off. Rackham is dead. AT-43 is dead.
A friend of mine with whom I regularly play asked me what my plans were. He was thinking of selling his stuff. I encouraged him to hold onto to enough to play the occassional game with. I plan on keeping my Karman army and my Cogs Army Box. I still enjoy the game and there is no reason why I can't keep playing the game with the wealth of material that I already own.
But, you know, I feel it, too. Knowing that there's nothing new coming does seem to take some of the excitement out of it. But, there's still plenty of games to be played with existing product. But, when a game dies...it appears that it's player base does as well.
Take Heroclix for example. Heroclix was very popular for 5 years until Topps unceremoniously shut down Wizkids back in 2008. Gaming stores around the country that held regular Heroclix events for nearly half a decade saw those players all but disappear (or, at least, start playing another game). After NECA purchased Wizkids in 2009 they faced something of an uphill battle re-engaging previous players and developing new players. Thankfully, it seems to be working.
I would love to hear the thoughts of other gamers on this issue. Being new, The Rural Gamer still has a fairly limited readership at this point. But, I would appreciate you sharing this article in any manner you can. Share the link via email, or on Facebook. Tweet about it. Talk about at your local gaming venue. However you do it, just please come back here and comment about it.
And maybe...just maybe...reach into the back of your closet, into that old, dead game graveyard and revist an old favorite or two this week.