Monday, June 3, 2013

What happens when a Wyrd Henchman leaves?

I recently sent off an email to Wyrd asking to be removed as a Henchman. Amazingly, this was accomplished in less than 2 minutes after recieving my email, Kudo's to Wyrd. I am happy I had the foresight to post a good by message to the Henchman board before hitting send on my email. I am also unsure if that message was kept up there or deleted, so I thought it might be good to repost it here on my blog for those who are interested.

Here is the post:

That time has come for me and I wanted to put up a post here in relation to the email I just sent off to Wyrd. I have heard from many of you in the Henchman community that you joined the ranks of the Henchman in some part from my involvement. I have heard from others that you appreciated the help I may have provided while in the program. Many (many many in fact) of you have already reached out to me asking my opinions on the changes we are all seeing in Wyrd and the games they have put out over time.

I am not happy in the direction Wyrd has taken since the end of 2012 and have decided to resign as a Henchman because of that. I cannot, in good faith, continue to support the activities and attitude represented by the public face of the company. I was a supporter for a very long time and have developed friendships with several people "behind the curtain" at Wyrd. Even after some of those people were no longer with Wyrd and felt screwed by the company, I held to my opinions that those were one-off situations and that overall the direction at the company was good. Since January of this year I can no longer say that.

As mentioned above, many of you have asked my opinion on Malifaux V2 (M2E). Overall I do not feel it is an improvement to the game and am not excited to play it. I think there are some portions which are positive, but as a whole its just not good. I will be expanding on this opinion further in a series of blog articles and possibly a podcast episode or two. I cannot see myself advocating for new players to learn this game with the changes. As such, I cannot act as an effective henchman.

On Puppet Wars Unstitched, this is a great game and a great idea. Completely due to a sad lack of advertising and support for previous players and the original release of the game, I believe this will fail. There is such a large section of original puppets that are completely unsupported currently that anyone who already bought in is effectively being told to screw off. The fact there seems no information about a future release schedule means this is also something I cannot support giving a demo to new players.

EBO is a cute party game, and Showdown looks like it will be interesting. Neither are something that should eat up the time of a dedicated henchman.

Despite being one of Wyrd's strongest supporters for years, I have recently been made to feel like Public Enemy #1 because I have voiced strong opinions contrary to the direction Eric, Mack, and Justin wish to move. Since January Wyrd employees have told me that:

 "your continued redundant feedback about parts of this system that will not be changed makes it much harder for us to effectively use playtest at all"
"Your opinion makes you not credible with your feedback and we won't listen to you"
**in response to my statement that the original form of a story encounter looked like it had been written by someone who had never played Malifaux and did not understand the game interactions.
"your just not credible and that just isn't true unless you want to show me the emails"
**in response to my statement that via the podcast and my being a visible henchman, I had received close to 30 emails from Beta Testers asking me questions about the Beta Playtest (while I was still in Alpha)

I do not expect this post to remain in the forums long, as there seems to be a recent penchant to editing or removing those posts not complimentary to the current designers goals. For those that get the chance, I have no current plans to leave the forums, and even if I do I can always be reached at

Thank you to those henchman who made the Wyrd Henchman community as wonderful as it has been.

So I am sure some folk out there will say I am just crying and throwing a tantrum. Oh well, everyone is entitled to thier opinions. If that makes them feel better, I am happy I could be there for them to brighten thier day.

Beyond that, this really came down to not being able to support the direction Wyrd is headed. This makes me sad as I still believe there are good people recieving checks from Wyrd. I think those people are being minimized and pushed out by a new set of Ego that is going to drag the company down in the long run. That's a very sad thing to see, as I love Malifaux Classic.

So, thats the end of a personal investment for me, although I hesitate to call it the end of an era. Now I just need to figure out what I want to do with the podcast.


  1. I was very disheartened to read this post. I recall when the original Puppet Wars was mothballed thinking "I hope these guys figure out that they're doing the wrong thing." However, it seems like that isn't the case. That said, there are many many good games out there to play. I know I've already mentioned Infinity to you as a very good, complex game. But now we live in a world of awesome board games like Zombicide, Super Dungeon Explore and so many more. I hope you find a good footing for the podcast as it has proven to always be consistent and worth listening to.

    I don't know if it will be any consolation to you, but I know of many Henchmen, or recently retired henchmen, who feel exactly the same way as you do.

    I wonder if we were right when we postulated that they were just getting too big too fast.

    1. As a business manager who works in a small company that has experienced explosive growth, there are ways to manage that growth successfully. I honestly cannot say if Wyrd is suffering due to their rapid growth and success or if its something else.

      At this point I have a small group of Malifaux Classic players who are still playing, just irregularly. I am actually headed out tonight (Tuesday) and have a "2nd trial" game of Malifaux V2 scheduled, then a small WM/H game scheduled.

      It's also funny how many people are pointing me toward Infinity. I just did not like what I saw in my first game of it and do not love the models. I may have to check it out again to see if I like it.

  2. Its still up on the Wyrd forums and with the exception of one post it has been a lot of Henchman very sad to see you go and singing your praises

    Bill, you were a great Henchman, a great advocate for Wyrd and all its games(even some I was never really thrilled about) and a good friend. I knew this was coming for a while but its still saddens me to see you go.

    1. Glad to hear it was not taken down.

      On the bright side, its not like you and I will be losing touch Dan. There may be some more projects in the future, who knows. More important, we can grab our own Malifaux Classic games at Adepticon next year.

      Good luck with the craziness at Gencon. I can't wait to hear your feedback after August.

  3. Very bummed.

    If you are becoming a "free agent", a SMART game company will try to woo you ASAP into their game.

    Tough to find a more cost effective spokesman-evangelist-pimp than you have been for Malifaux and Wyrd in general.

    Whatever you choose to do, I hope it finds you wanting to Podcast about it very soon and gives you a reason to come back to Adepticon.

    1. The podcasting gear is all set up and ready to go. I plan to record at least 1 or 2 more shows currently (one with Cheated Fates Spencer and one with Weakland) reviewing my/our thoughts on V2. After that I will see where it goes.

  4. P.S. Chicago GodFather Dan is pimp too...


    1. Pimp is the correct word. The side of my face still stings from back talking him at Adepticon that one time.....


  5. I am also very disappointed by changes in stats card/arts and diminished/disappeared „epic/story tell” feeling of M2E. In this moment I am strongly determined to ignore M2E and play MalifauX 1,5 (classic).
    My only concern is if there is enough people that can create strong community that can fuel game abandoned by creators.

    1. This is one of my concerns as well. Good or bad, Eric has made his stance clear and he is going to bull ahead regardless of feedback. At the end of the day its his game and all we can do is express our unhappiness and/or walk away.

      Personally, I cannot act as a henchman and be honest about my opinions on the game. As such something had to give and the henchman status is what needed to go. I would rather be truthful to myself and my opinions than not. Thats why the move was made, but I still play Malifaux so I am certainly not going to be quiet.

  6. Sorry to see you go but I totally understand. Hobby's are about having fun, and if you aren't having fun, get out of the hobby.

    That being said I'm curious about the quotes you've posted. As a 10+ year proffessional liar (tester) who has spent about half that as a manager, I've had to learn how to put stuff aside that I didn't like but "Works as Designed" and also how to see when my team members are failing in that regard. So my question to you is, in the last month or two you were part of the closed beta, how many times did you revisist stuff vs. how many new things did you bring to the table?

    The reason I'm asking is that I've listen to your podcast enough to know that you are very passionate about stuff, which in and of it self is a good thing. But your tone about M2E has come across to me as "Wyrd has lost the attention it gives its customers and are doing its own thing whether we like it or not." One of the things that I love about Malifaux is that Wyrd listens and so this tone is disconcerting to me. But then I've also had to have a "boss" talk before that sounds very similiar to the conversation(s) those quotes come from, so I would really like to hear about the context (in broad, doesn't break NDA, strokes) so I can get a better feel if the company that supported M1E is the same as the company that will be supporting M2E.

    1. I have been out of the playtest completely since early May. Prior to that I was somewhat unplugged for probably a month due to the responses I was getting from Eric directly and his team within the play test and at Adepticon.

      While in the play test I played a number of games and more importantly dug very deeply into the core rules themselves. Looking into my archive it appears I sent my feedback 5 times from from the end of February through the end of April. My reviews of the issues I perceived were between 6 and 11 pages long when put in MS Word, bullet list, at either 10 or 12 point font.

      I started play test with the same vigor and effort I gave to any previous play test. I saw a lot of issues, and raised those issues.

      My personal opinion and understanding is that the developers who brought Malifaux to the current state we are with Book 4 are no longer involved. Dan (Keltheos) and Dave (Nerd Elemental) and Drew (Sketch) and Zee (WyrdZee) may have been individually difficult to work with but they worked with the play testers. My experience with Mack and Justin to date is the complete opposite. To me, Eric appears to be completely supporting Mack in his approach as well.

      That said, I get to sit and wait to see how things develop along with the rest of the public. I still have Malifaux Classic to play if V2 cannot grab my interest like Classic did.

  7. Hmm, interesting. Oddly enough malifaux v1 had got to the point where it seemed a fabulously complex beast. I never picked up book 4 in the end because I was spread too thin with multiple game systems and couldn't dedicate to Malifaux. So on that basis the streamlining (simplification?) of v2 appeals to me. What I'd not like to see is the background and the feel to be diluted to this being another game system where the fluff is basically a bolt on and everyone just looks at the rules.

    If I wanted mechanic driven gaming I'd play warmachine, if I want large armies I'll play warhammer (with all it's flaws) and if I want small story focused and unique feel I'll play malifaux.

    I hope Wyrd don't balls this up, there have been plenty of small scale games that have come and gone, Wyrd seemed to have managed to make the step up to an 'established' player, it would be unfortunate if they lost their artistic direction and their focus on quality and interesting miniatures. I might have to start stockpiling v1 figs!