Interview with Blitz Minis – Chinese Starter Set

Hello friends!

As you might have seen on Facebook or other social media, the guys over at Blitz Minis have designed a new Flames of War Starter Set for the Chinese market.
Called The Liberation, it’s designed with a different fan base in mind but, instead of me telling you about it, I figured it would be better to ask Benjamin Lin (good name) and Eddie Cee, two of the minds behind it.

How did this all come together?

Benjamin Lin (BL) – “BlitzMinis is actually the exclusive distributor for Battlefront and Gale Force Nine in China and South-East Asian regions. We have been building the market for a few years but, with the stability of v4 now, we decided to take a bold move and go for the translation! (Here’s hoping for no major changes in the next year or so) as such a product, made entirely for the regional market, seemed like a good idea after a great success we encountered with translating a local version of TANKS.”

What’s the goal of the box set?

BL- “We hope to give Chinese players the opportunity to support a game that has been localised for them. As big as the potential market is, no one really pays it much attention. This set will give players a ready option to enter the hobby with a well-known historical figure “Otto Carius”.”

Why Germans vs. Soviets?

BL – “The Western theatre doesn’t capture the imagination of the Asian market in the same way the Eastern Front does. It’s the feedback we have gotten over the years and so when this opportunity for a collaboration came around, we decided to go for it (The Eastern Front that is).”

What’s the Chinese wargaming market like? I know Japan has a market but I hadn’t heard much for China until you guys showed this project on Facebook.

Eddie Cee (EC) – “The Japanese market for wargaming is much, much smaller than China. 
Primarily due to their lack of space in urban areas, it’s only due to GW efforts in the last 10 years or so that they’ve had some success with wargaming.”

“There is a specialist company in Japan that ports games over but at this point it’s mostly very small set piece games.  It’s really only the last few years that tabletop wargames have had success. So the major appeal for gamers over there is the availability of miniatures in this scale, which has been unheard of as the main scales are either 1:35 or 1:144.”

Exclusive Otto Carius Model

What’s the goal next? Are there more Projects on the way to support the release?

BL – “The really big sell is the translated rulebook so a Chinese customer walks into a store and see this on the shelve, the QR code on the back of the box can be scanned and a full Chinese rulebook is hosted for download that tells the customer instantly, this is a western company making a product for you. “

“Currently, we are exclusive in being able to sell the product. This means we bore the entire inventory risk of this project and that was a big commitment for us. We would like to see it follow the same trajectory as Hit The Beach in its lost leader, market-maker role before we choose our next step.”

How hard was translating the Flames of War rules to Chinese?

EC – “One of the problems with Chinese-to-English translation is nuance. English is a low context language so technical writing for games is straightforward but when you translate that into Mandarin the difficulty is building a glossary of terms that will not be confusing for a Chinese reader.”

“Due to how Mandarin works, there are multiple inferences for the same word. The other hurdle is name translations Chinese versions of English names are typically straight phonetic translations, so you end up with really strange lines at times. It’s very tricky to find the correct analogue. 
Thankfully we worked closely with a few volunteers and our very hardworking graphics designer to get a good translation.”

Did you do much testing with the contents of the box to be somewhat fair or was it more get the cool stuff in the box?

EC – “There was quite a long discussion about this as we also had an ear on the ground with Chinese players and initially the list was basically full of Wishlist material

But we wanted it to be roughly analogous with Hit the Beach in terms of content and cost. So The BF guys helped to pare it all down, the #1 most wanted item was the Jagdtiger.

We also planned it so you can buy two boxes and really get rocking!”

The Liberation set includes:

  • 2 x German PanzerGrenadier Platoons, 
  • 2 x Pak43 Gun Teams,
  • 2 x Pumas
  • 2 x Tigers
  • 1 x Soviet Rifle Company
  • 2 x Maxim Machine Guns
  • 3 x IS-2 
  • 2 x ISU-152 
  • 3 x SU-76
  • PLUS exclusive Otto Carius model 

How did you get started in FoW/TY and end up becoming a disruptor? What made you start the blog and YouTube channel? 

BL – “I got started in FOW at a local store in 2015. I always loved the German WWII guys, I’m not too much of a history or military buff then that. Store closed down but by then had started the videos and already had done one lucky draw for BF.”

“So I contact Chris Townley and then he put me through the guy called John Matthews and I thought he was a sales guy ’cause all his email title was “THIS IS BATTLEFRONT USA”. We set up a call and I told him I would be a store. He told me he was the GM of Battlefront and I was like WTF!  The only way it worked was I had to handle Asia for him and breaking into the Chinese market. We are now in the third year of our deal.”

You can see Ben’s YouTube channel here.

EC –  “I’m just the resident internet troll don’t mind me,  I started when I was studying in NZ at FOW 2nd Ed. But I stopped until recently when I found out that Singapore had a community.”

Last question. What armies do you have an what’s your current projects?

EC –  “I’m working on a TNI marine detachment with the BMP-3, trying to find the closest match for Indonesian marines.”

BL –  “I have TY -West German, French, Soviet, Czech and FOW – British, Germans (LOTS) and Soviets (Lots). Currently working on Czechs now to build more car parks with the new stuff, tournament play is moving to 120pts and 2 formation restriction so I can spam even more T-72s!”

Thanks to Ben and Eddie for the interview. Hopefully, you all have a better idea about this pretty cool box set and hopefully the exciting times of a new market starting to play the game we all love.

Thanks for reading and until next time…

Ben D

Category: BattlefrontEastern FrontFlames of WarGermansLate WarRamblingReviewsSovietsV4

One comment

  1. Hi,
    As I live in Connecticut (But my family is Chinese and I have family there), I was wondering if you could send a copy of the rulebook to check for consistency and making sure grammar is correct. (And another plus is seeing everything in Chinese. My Chinese is a bit rusty, but my family isn’t) I find reading everything as a native reader as a good way to check. If this comes out soon enough, we’d probably send these sets to family in China (Paying full price, if it’s USD $50, it would be 350 RMB (excluding any markup). I personally want to see “Hit the Beach” and “Liberation” cross-translated. I know more than a few friends wanting a Soviet-German starter.

    BTW: A 2nd Korean War/2nd Russo-Japanese War would be pretty cool, and it might encourage the Japanese community to get into FoW/TY more…
    Thanks,
    Jeff

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Article by: Ben Davy