By Craig Robertson, Chief Game Developer

There are a few fans who are concerned that we are taking an unnecessary risk by focusing our first Tide of Iron Kickstarter project on the TOI Next Wave Core Set. They reason that we should have started on something with massive fan appeal such as bringing TOI to the Pacific Theater, rather than a project that is designed for new players. Maybe it is a risk, but it is a risk worth taking, because bringing new players into the TOI community will provide great benefits to everyone who loves Tide of Iron.

First of all, new players will build excitement for the game and provide new opponents. One of the saddest (and most frequent) things I heard at our booth at GenCon was, “I bought the game a while back, but never played it.” To me, that is a shame. I’ll admit, I came late to TOI, but every time I get a chance to play, I love it more and more. Now I want to share the joy of playing TOI with as many people as possible. 

That is why, over the next few months, we are going to be working on an organized play system for TOI. We’ll be starting locally, with our friendly local game stores (FLGS) in the San Francisco Bay area, but as we find things that work, we’ll be sharing them with all of you on the blog. Eventually, we would love to see tournament play, but right now, we just want to bring people together to play TOI.

Secondly, more players mean more support for the game. One of the major obstacles we face when working on new TOI projects is a lack of manpower. In our design and development department, 1A Games pretty much only has two and a half people working on Tide of Iron projects. This is only counting paid employees, and not our totally amazing playtest crew.

Bill Jaffe is currently heavily involved in about three different game lines, Mark Schumann does graphic design for EVERYTHING that we do, including marketing (those slick banners on our website and advertising: all Mark’s work). I’m working on three game lines, including TOI, and I’m only part-time. Expanding the player base means more sales, and more resources available for developing new TOI material.

Finally, TOI is a fantastic way to introduce new players to wargaming in general. Some of the best demos that I did at GenCon were for kids. Most often, it would be the kid dragging his dad over to the big board with all the army men on it. The kids were all bright, picked up the game mechanics quickly, and usually beat their grownup opponents.

Today’s fourth grade TOI player may very well move on to other, more complex wargames. After all, the first time I saw my friend Greg’s older brother setting up a game of Squad Leader in 1978 changed my life forever. Of course, the guy was a big jerk and wouldn’t let me play because I was only seven, but I never forgot how awesome that game was with its soldiers and bright battlefields. We want TOI to be the game that parents use to introduce their kids to the hobby that they love.

So, this is your assignment for the week: Teach someone how to play TOI. Maybe just lay out a couple of clear boards and line up four Shermans against a couple of Panzer IVs and a Tiger. It doesn’t have to be complicated. If all your friends already know how to play, you can always take your copy to your local game store or library conference room and lay out a scenario and start playing. I guarantee that someone will walk by and ask what you’re playing. You’ll be glad that you did.

If you haven’t visited the TOI Next Wave Core Set Kickstarter page, you can find it here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1641418217/1as-next-wave-tide-of-iron-core-set-and-stalingrad.

Even if you have already visited it, we have added a lot of cool new items and updates in the past weeks. We are in the last week of the project, and we need your help to push it over the top.