Winter is coming, and branding fail is already here

Fantasy Flight president and founder Christian Petersen on the upcoming “Battles of Westeros: A BattleLore Game”: “We acquired BattleLore to be our core brand for medieval tactical warfare games (in the scale represented in the classic BattleLore game). The BattleLore name is not necessarily tied to Richard’s ‘Command and Colors’ system.”

Right, right, Christian, because you’re the one who gets to decide what names are tied to in people’s heads. Yyyyyeahnotreally. Any competent marketer will tell you that brands don’t move like that (and yes, for those of you who begin frothing and spitting as soon as the M word crosses your screens, BattleLore certainly is already a brand as well as the name of a game; Days of Wonder’s brilliant launch campaign saw to that). But once a brand is tied to something conceptually, if you try to change that link, you’re vulnerable to all sorts of emotional reactions from fans (should your brand be lucky enough to have fans), including one of the worst: betrayal. I hope FFG is ready to hear BattleLore fans complain bitterly about Westeros no matter how it differs, and to watch more hardcore gamers turn up their noses just because the name BattleLore is there.

Elsewhere in the linked mini-interview is an enlightening tidbit on why DoW sold BattleLore in the first place; look for it. As for Westeros, I’m interested to see it for what it is on its own terms, but… no release date.

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