Being Everywhere at Once

I have a recipe for you to taste. It has three ingredients:

A) Providing support for a game can be an onerous task for a company. It takes a lot of man-hours to manage forums, answer queries, provide new content, etc. Whilst marketing and sales efforts have an obvious return in the form of increased revenue, aftercare does not. Sure, if your customers like you more then they’ll be more likely to recommend you and buy future products, though this is unlikely to demonstrably make up for the cost in wages alone to provide this support.

B) Most game companies are small, with only one or two lines. They can focus on, and provide support for, a small area as this is all they do. Larger companies with many games have to dissipate their efforts to support them all.

C) Board games require less support than figure games, simply because board games are more self-contained. This generally makes them easier to playtest and less woolly in the released version, so there are fewer game issues. While enthusiasts may want more scenarios, expansions and so on for board games, many never expand beyond the initial offering. Tabletop figure games, on the other hand, are generally open-ended. Therefore, while large companies with many board games can provide acceptable support for most of them, those with many tabletop games may struggle.

Add these together and stir. What do you get? Well, a number of things, but the one I want to pick out to tittivate your grey matter is this:

if the above is true, then GW’s lack of support for its Specialist Games makes perfect sense. In fact, the costs to suport them would far outweigh the revenue doing so would generate and therefore would be financial idiocy.


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61 Responses to Being Everywhere at Once

  1. Dogui says:

    One way to go:

    Release the only really GREAT pieces of game design GW ever made which just happen to be boardgames (blood bowl and space hulk) as, well, self-contained boardgames. No limited editions that just make everything so smelly and idiotic. Keep them with very low to non-existant support as they are now, but available an “current.”

    Make money. Don´t be hated. OMG WIN.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      But they wouldn’t make money – that’s the problem.

      Putting aside the issue of whether they are or aren’t “the only really GREAT pieces of game design GW ever made”, that plan ignores certain economic realities.

      As you say, BB is like this anyway. Let’s look at the difference between doing Space Hulk as they did, and retaining it as they have BB.

      BB, as it stands, sells a small, predictable amount for very little effort. That’s good. Money for nothing (as they say in the song). However, this is a *very* small amount compared to the quantity of a game you sell around release. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that they sell 30 copies of BB a month now (a profit of just over a grand). Their minimum print run will be a couple of thousand (to get the margins they insist on), so when they run out they have to invest 30 grand to get more stock. Or, if they chose to shrink their margins and print only a thousand, they have to fork out, say 18-20 grand. That’s a year and a half before the trickle of sales recovers that investment, let alone makes any money. If you double my guess they’re still waiting 9-10 months to see a profit.

      SH was printed in a single run, with the maximum possible savings and margins. There were warehousing costs only briefly. GW claim to have sold all of their copies before the release day (including to distributors and retailers, so some will have been around after). This means that they were waiting no time at all for the money to start rolling in. How does this make less sense than the BB route?

      In addition to the above are all the factors I mentioned in my Dreadfleet post on saturday about the problems this creates in their own stores when the staff start selling these items instead of core games. GW relies on people getting into the core games and coming back to add to their armies.

      Selling standalone games in the style of BB rather than SH is financially disastrous.

      I’m not saying GW does everything right. Not by any means (they wouldn’t have made me redundant is that were true now, would they?). However, I think a lot of the flak they take is not really justified.

      I’m also completely convinced that GW would still be “hated” even if they had SH in their stores every day of the week.

  2. Coach says:

    Well you go on about providing support for forums adding scenarios and the aftercare, though I don’t think this is what the users of the specialist games care for. At least from a Blood Bowl perspective it is the outdated miniatures and the fact they are ignored in their shops and magazines.

    White Dwarf is produced every month and back in the 90s there were various reports on other games along with other articles. White Dwarf is still produced every month so the cost involved from that POV still is being spent. That along with their stores just push the main ranges. The specialist games range could be compared to a gateway drug to getting into the main hobby. I know I got into them from playing both Space Crusade and Heroquest, those were self contained and needed no extra aftercare support. I actually bought my first White Dwarf cause it had articles on using Tyranids in Space Crusade on the cover…

    As far as the community support aftercare element, that is already taken care of by the playing community as it is. This isn’t something that they need to do at all and in all honesty probably wouldn’t as well either. (The official Specialist Games forums were never much good compared to fan run alternatives.)

    Currently they don’t offer an easy and cheap way into their hobby, the cost of entry has risen higher and higher over time and they have alienated a lot of older gamers who are spending their money on alternatives they feel offer better quality or value. I’ve spend some money on Warhammer figures to use in Blood Bowl, but only because the official Blood Bowl figures look so dated and their price for those same sculpts has risen more than threefold since they originally came out. It was actually far cheaper to convert a better looking team from their Warhammer range and for the teams they have no good options for, there are companies offering great alternatives.

    I would imagine buying minis for every single race in Blood Bowl now may well work out to more money than a single army. You get a better game along with that and you also attract the buyers who want to dip their toes in at a lower cost level.These same customers may convert into the larger core games as I originally did. However I dropped the game after the new 40k edition (I think it was third in 1998) made my army obsolete. Which you could say was the total reverse of providing good aftercare…

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Hi Coach!

      I agree that GW don’t offer a cheap way in. Even BB is currently over £50 for the basic game with the dubious plastic teams. Other teams will cost over £30 (£50 for the humans). So buying the game and a team or two is not a cheap alternative these days. If you want a cheap alternative game then go outside GW. There are a great many options, and plenty of people I know think they’re better too. Speaking of which, there are few other big players, but looking at Privateer Press they don’t offer much of a cheap way in either.

      From GW’s point of view they want customers who will buy into WH or 40K and keep coming back every month for a fix. That is the important bit: they need the customers to come back and spend money. Having someone come and buy a game and then come back 6 months later for a team will not support their business model. Some, like you, would convert, but how many? “Not enough” seems to be GW’s view.

      Whether the Specialist Games forums were any good or not depended very much on which game you looked at. BB always had brilliant fan forums, but when I was working there Mordheim didn’t. There’s lots more now though, I’ll grant you that. Some excellent fan sites.

      • Coach says:

        Well the prices have changed a lot over the last 20 years and clearly there is a relationship between price and demand. Now I don’t know the working costs of the company, profit per item, sales per item etc so all this would have be taken with a pinch of salt.

        They also don’t have the nice sales they used to do with the store “grand openings” where you could pick up a decent amount of stuff.

        A big reason the demand for specialist games dropped was because they simply weren’t interested in getting people playing them, believing it took away from the main systems. Demand drops even more as a result so they have even less reason to support them. The figures suck compared to what they are putting out for their other games, so money being spent on specialist games shows up as profit under warhammer as well.

        My league took a break from Blood Bowl when Necromunda was launched and got into that at well, buying gangs, scenery, more paints etc. The point they want customers coming back and spending money every month still applies here. The trouble now for them is that there is even less choice to spend the money on which has allowed many other companies to spring up, some of them started by ex GW staff. If they can exist then clearly they are financially viable.

        Of course the whole unfriendly cease and desist situation that occurred didn’t help matters. They should encourage fan sites not make life hard for them, I’ve not heard of other companies having copyright / trademark issues by letting fans use imagery etc.

        The pricing issue is also what’s turned my off Privateer Press too, I got a starter box years ago but no one near me played it so it just collected dust. Now the prices are much along the lines of Games Workshop and while they have some fantastic miniatures why would someone switch, especially if their local opponents play warhammer? I’m actually eagerly awaiting the relaunch of Uncharted Seas from Spartan. They seem to care more about not treading on the toes of existing customers as well, though as you said this is easier for smaller companies and games.

        I’ve no idea how GW calculate how many players convert from one game to another as I did but they then alienated. I only stuck with BB and kept buying more (though not just from themselves) cause the game was great despite their efforts. As a result they basically shut off that entire stream of income and if you read warhammer related forums there is more and more vitriol towards them turning off existing customers. Those forums also seem to be adding more sections for other game companies too.

        GW have been putting all their eggs into one basket in a time where there is more competition than ever. If their main source of custom is getting the kids into the stores and hoping the parents spend out each month, this eventually is going to fail. Gamers growing up having their own kids will know the alternatives and word of mouth with their school friends will keep them away from GW. As I said just cause you don’t play Warhammer doesn’t mean you don’t spend money each month and those alternative companies are clearly managing to exist off that cash GW turned away.

        If the conversion is “not enough” for their liking, they need to have a reliable source of generating new customers elsewhere and from what I’ve read they’ve been closing down stores. Unfortunately a lot of their stores aren’t particularly nice places to visit, not that there really is a reason to go into them any more. Maybe we will see a resurgence of independent places instead. Like Maelstrom, Triple Helix and Cut and Thrust, then the better games will win out, competition is good for the customer. The bad news for GW is that the customer isn’t what they’ve been focusing on and that is why they will eventually lose out. For me that all started with the drop of support for Specialist Games.

        (sorry for the long comment you rattled my cage a bit!)

      • Quirkworthy says:

        No need to apologise for your comment Coach. It makes me feel like all the rattling is worthwhile 🙂

        To me this seems like business as usual. I have read that GW has alienated its audiences for decades now, and before there was an internet it was a common theme of the old photocopied fanzines. Whilst I appreciate your view, and used to feel similar sentiments myself, I no longer do. Eventually GW may fail: true. However, none of the things you say are any different from the situation a decade or more ago. They open and close stores all the time, they issue C&D letters with gay abandon and have done for decades (we had one in the late 80s), there are other companies trading around their margins, feeding off the scraps they can no longer be bothered to support. Still they go on.

        I can remember a huge outcry and protest over the introduction of blister packs by GW (yes, I am that old). That was the end of the world at the time. Nobody would buy their overpriced nonsense after that. But here we are, in a world that wasn’t even a glimmer in the postman’s eye when all that happened, and GW is still here.

        An idea has just occurred to me. Is this not much the same as other industries? For example (and I am indeed making this up as I go along), Ford make lots of cars, so do GM, yet there are still tiny kit car and specialist car manufacturers nibbling around the edges, hoovering up a bit of business that the big boys can’t be bothered to deal with. Is this just how business works?

  3. I’m working on some articles right now about the GW and where I think its going wrong and then a second article on how I think they can improve the situation. To be honest I agree with most of your points Jake with regards to supporting specialist games… but there are some flaws in the argument because what we’re looking at isn’t a typical business set up with the GW and that is where they’re actually going wrong. Give me two or three days and all will be revealed. Then I’ll be disappearing for a week or so from blogging altogether!!! Maybe longer.

  4. Coach says:

    Can’t seem to reply to your last reply…

    Interesting to know there was an uproar for the introduction of blister packs, that I didn’t know. You have a point that there are many industries that have smaller fish nibbling on the left overs. The issue I think here is that times have changed. Customers are more knowledgeable and word can spread on the internet far more than before. Alienating customers is a more dangerous proposition than it was before and the competition is easier to find.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Now there I have to agree with you entirely. The net has made it very easy to find alternatives if you look. What is interesting is how many people would think to look if they hadn’t played a GW game first? Unknowable, but an interesting thing to ponder.

      The introduction of blisters was huge at the time. We were all going to buy our stuff from other companies, blah, blah, blah. Exactly the thing you read on any given day on a dozen major forums about GW today. I can’t recall the exact date of the blisters appearing, but it was something like 1982. The difference then was that it was a month or two before the fanzines came out with the outrage, whereas today it would be 10 minutes before it was round the world.

  5. Coach says:

    Be interesting to see what affect the finecast situation has had…

    Of course us specialist games players have been largely unaffected by it!

  6. Andy Frazer says:

    Mordheim, Blood Bowl, Necromunda etc. have one thing in common. A player can play comfortably for years with the same set of miniatures. As a company primarily concerned with the selling of more and more toy soldiers, this presents a clear marketing problem.

    If little Johnny only needs one team to play Blood Bowl and he only ever needs 11-16 miniatures to play the game. How do you get him to buy more?

    The same is true for the other specialist games, that require a small force. Selling one or two minis every other month, doesn’t pay the bills. No matter how good the game is.

    You can introduce more forces/factions/rules, but the temptation is to make these additions better… more effective and shiny than the existing range… this is the problem with power creep.
    Whether perceived or real, power creep is a problem that games like 40k and Warmachine suffer from. If you have to constantly keep upgrading to match the latest and greatest release, then it’s only a matter of time before some players just give up and move on. Meaning you lose out completely.

    I think it’s better not to support specialist games at all, than risk alienating existing players.

    If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

  7. billops says:

    involving the fans is one way to make support cheap. Organize the fans by creating rules review committee and such. Make the fans work for you, dont pay them.
    The evolution of Blood Bowl rules relied on the fans for many years before GW decided to bring this to a term. If GW would release some news minis for BB, the fans would have no problem coming up with statlines, rules and even fluff. I may be wrong but I think GW can make money out of the Specialist range by focusing on what they can do : casting fine models.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      I think you’re both right and wrong here, billops.

      You’re right in that the fans can indeed create some good stuff on occasion, and the BB rules committee was nearly all fans and that worked very, very well indeed (I know because I helped run it for a year). However, overall the fan-written modifications of existing games are not of a publishable quality. I’ve been looking at submissions and amateur self-published internet stuff for a couple of decades now, and not a single one stands out as being usable without very major work. Many of them have good bits and interesting ideas and I would encourage folk to continue – but producing finished work of the quality people expect is a different discipline.

      You’re wrong in thinking GW can make money from BB in this way. At least, wrong under GW’s definition of making money. BB turns a profit even now, as do all of the Specialist Games. This is self-evident. If they didn’t then they would be binned pretty rapidly. What I mean here is that GW wants a certain amount of investment to produce a given amount of return (or more). When the Fanatic department was canned it was not because the games did not make a profit; it was because they didn’t make *enough* profit. Making a few new figures is less than what we did then.

      IMO, any one of the Specialist Games could be the basis for a little company to turn a profit with. They are not loss making ventures. However, GW works on a different scale than the ma-and-pa companies that make up the vast proportion of gaming companies and doesn’t want crumbs – it wants the whole cake.

  8. Hm, like with the board games which they “outsourced” to FFG and which provides them with good money they could also outsource Specialist Games. Licencing is already a nice chunk of their earnings, so why not take it to the fullest? And they could do it in a way that works for all parties involved. Or I am just to creative when it comes to making money? Some nice revenue is still better than very few revenue, especially when someone else is paying for the work load involved….

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Absolutely I does seem a little odd that they’re in this half-way situation. They are, perhaps, getting the best of both worlds here though as they’re getting licensing revenue from FFG’s new BB game, plus the computer game, as well as selling the miniatures game themselves. I expect that part of this decision is also to do with control.

      It could be that they’d held back on farming out the miniatures version as nobody who they wanted having the license was big enough (or was too big). In a way it creates more competition for themselves. However, now FFG have announced that they’re putting their toes in the tabletop waters with Dust Warfare maybe GW will change their minds. Don’t hold your breath though. At normal speed for GW that change will be about 10 years away.

      • Chris says:

        There was a few enquiries made for various SG lines (Epic and Bloodbowl that I know of) from fans who now had games companies. In each case the cash requested up front made the enterprise non viable, even as a ‘hobby’ project. In each case said companies have gone on and produced there own versions of the games an seem quite happy.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        GW would have to replace future years of lucrative licenses and so would need a large bag of cash. They know people will go and make their own ersatz versions, but I suspect that Epic and BB are still bigger which, in a way, proves GW right.

  9. Will be interesting thing to watch, since I work on the German versions of both universes for FFG/HDS. And as long as I am payed I do have no problem with it. Actually I do think that Warhammer Invasion is more strategic and more fun than WHFB.

    Looks like they are really caught between the devil and the deep blue sea when it comes to SG. Everybody that could do it is doing his own thing and the others are too small.

  10. Hi Jake very interesting debate.

    For my ten penath, I’ve always seen GW as less of a miniatures company and more of a miniatures arms dealer, they created a fictional war 30 odd years ago and have been offering bigger and better weapons for customers to conduct this war with. Thats why the rules and codexes constantly change. Maybe they will faulter and fall as all empires do, I don’t know. At the end of the day we as the general public can best answer with the biggest statement that even the mighty Games Workshop may have to listen to and thats our wallets (the snapping shut of millions of wallets and purses would make one hell of a sound!!) I for one will do as I please, rather than buying in to the next rulebook being ‘The Law’ will pick the ruleset I prefer and stick with it (I’m currently building an ork and space marine army for Epic Space Marine rules) I’ve spent over £50 and have yet to put a penny in to the GW coffers! Thank god for fleaBay!!

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Voting with your wallets is, of course, the ultimate sanction. Ebay will have made a small dint in their sales, and the internet traders clearly cause them trouble as they’re always changing the rules on them to restrict whatever actions they can. Not as bad as Battlefront in that regard though.

      I like your description of them as arms dealers as it’s really apt. Also sounds like a great idea for a conversion 🙂

      • Varrak says:

        Voting with your wallets is indeed the way to go if you’re down on GW. But in the end the folks critical of GW aren’t the target group of GW.

        It’s a bit like Apple/linux users being critical of Microsoft. Most people are just glad to able to do some basic functions with computers and as long as their computer let’s them do this without a fuss they don’t give a d*mn about which operating system is better.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        The crowd that is complaining isn’t generally the one that GW would listen to even if they were listening.

        It is odd though that most of the people who complain about GW seem to want to keep playing (and often still give them loads of cash), but they feel that they have somehow been betrayed. To follow your computing analogy, I think it’s more like Apple users complaining about something Steve Jobs has done than Bill Gates. They don’t really want a PC, they just want Apple to behave a certain way.

  11. Varrak says:

    A few years ago I had a talk with a independent games shop owner here in Belgium (there are only a couple of very small GW shops in Belgium). He had been an importer of games products and had launched Warmachine in Belgium (quite successfully I might add). He then decided to start his own shop together with 2 gaming enthusiasts. After the first year he sat down with his 2 fellow entrepreneurs and tallied up the revenues from the specific gaming lines. The 2 others, decidedly anti-GW and pro other gaming companies, were quite surprised that GW accounted for a very large portions of their revenue, despite other games being pushed in the shop and played very regularly.
    Another shop owner told me that whilst he absolutely loved to sell non-GW stuff, because of the much larger margins he had on those, GW was the main reason that the shop was livable.

    I haved played my share of non GW-stuff and I only played some specialists games of GW regularly. In the end we are near 20 years further then when I entered the hobby and many have claimed the end of GW during these years. You never know, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Me too. As I said about half way up the page, I’ve been hearing of the imminent demise of GW for decades now (since before the internet) and it hasn’t come to pass so far.

      • Working in the computer industry for way to long I have been exposed to many people who are relentless fans or opponents of certain software/companies. The way I look at it is I am free to pick the best value if no one is paying me to promote X. When I look at GW I see some gratuitous leverage like posting up dates in their journal so you will need to subscribe to it if you want to be current and other examples. I don’t care because I don’t play along with it. However I a consistent GW customer because I like to work with plastic figures and they have a large selection with nice sculpts that have good production values. I was buying their rules but that ended when I tried DKH and I moved on because I found something I like better not because I thought GW would care if I stopped buying rules from them. I wish we could have the quality and production values that GW can provide in specialty games but I can accept that they would do more with it if there was better income from it. With the cost of production going down for increased quality I can wait for small companies to fill the gap while holding anyone new on the scene to meet or exceed the standard set by GW. In my own way I am stubborn but it is about quality and value.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Quality and value are always important, though they can both be defined in a myriad ways. With the internet allowing us as customers to see far more of the smaller companies’ products than ever before I think you’ll find the amount of your spend that drifts away from GW is related to the time you spend looking. There are lots of very high quality sculpts out there, and if you don’t play GW games then mixing and matching the best from a selection of companies may well be the way forward.

  12. What makes me mor scratch my had is the drop of tournament-numbers for WHFB in the last few years. Some years ago you could throw a cat somwhere and you were sure to hit a tournament. But these days organizers are complaining that the have a hard time getting all slots filled. With 40K it is not as bad, but still… also declining numbers.

    • Varrak says:

      Although I haven’t played WHFB in almost a decade, one of the main critiques of the new edition is that it has become a lot more unpredictable which seems to turn away competitive gamers. At a distance I never really though that GW was aiming for competitive gamers as a target group. Never really though WHFB as especially suited for tournament play.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I can see how increased randomness would be a turn-off for some tournament types. I’m also told that GW no longer uses the term “tournament”, calling things “events” instead. This lack of “official” tourneys might also reduce the scene as people do seem to feel the need for official sanctioning of everything they do. Even the language the rules and WD articles, etc are couched in could encourage people to think that tournament play wasn’t “proper”.

        Overall tournament play has always gone in fits and starts, waxing and waning for no real discernible reason. It’ll be back.

      • Minitrol says:

        In addition it’s really hard to change up from a 7th edition force to 8th edition rules. Some players don’t have the facility to just up and change. I play Dwarfs and I found it a lot easier I was encouraged to take more large blocks and it felt more Dwarfy 🙂 However other armies are a different affair and as everyone believed the hype of “it only plays well at 2400+ points” that represents additional costs which some people cant make.

        Overall my $0.02 is that 8th is a better beast then 7th but yeah too random you need to be wearing your “fun” hat…

      • Quirkworthy says:

        I’ve not played 8th myself. I played it from Reaper, which the same authors wrote before 1st edition Warhammer, then from 1st to 5th. I helped write 6th and played a few games of 7th, but that was enough. Nowadays I reckon I can get more fun in my limited gaming time and with my limited gaming funds by playing other things. Of course, YMMV.

      • DrBargle says:

        I actually think that the move away from competitive tournament play is a very good thing – Jervis Johnson’s columns in the odd White Dwarf that I picked up immediately after WFB8e came out all seemed to be about how the game should, ideally, be played with a games master, and short of that, as two people playing a fantasy game WITH each other rather than AGAINST each other.

        Perhaps it is my background playing roleplaying games, but the statistical analyses, the win at all costs attitudes, and the reluctance to house-rule or do anything that isn’t ‘official’, or sanctioned in tournament play, all of which seems to me to make up a good part of WFB fora these days seems antithetical to actually having a fun time fantasy gaming.

        As for complaining about randomness – fantasy gaming is built on the random table… sigh…(remembering the random tables in Rogue Trader and the Realm of Chaos books).

      • Quirkworthy says:

        First, what a great name! hat’s off to DrBargle.

        Second, you’re right. Gaming should be about fun. However, as with most other subjects, “fun” is subjective and some people *like* crunching the numbers and working the odds with their slide rules. I’ll admit to a little of that at times myself. But only a little.

        Mostly I want a game to tell a story. Whilst having a games master is a nice idea at times, it’s not terribly practical in my experience. I have done it, but not often for tabletop games. It’s a different skill in itself, and not everyone can do it well. It’s also often seen as a boring job, much like campaign or league organisation. But to go back to my fondness for storytelling: randomness is an essential part here, especially for the games master. Probably the best entertainment I have had in running games for others to play has come from the unforeseen that happens when randomness takes a hand.

      • DrBargle says:

        Oh yes, the ‘ideally with a games master’ vibe left me with the impression that some people in the design studio at Games Workshop have little idea anymore of what it is to play games away from what must be a very strange life in a gaming hothouse (though you’d know much better than me). In a good way. They weren’t columns on how to find rules exploits to turn over your opponent on Turn One, or how the new Army Books had bigger, more extreme! monsters and special rules. Hearteningly, those Jervis Johnson columns (well, the few I read, anyhow) read like they were written by someone who still loved gaming, to the degree that he was making suggestions impractical to most gamers, certainly most of the gamers that GW have as their target. In one, he described playing the old Lichemaster scenario for WFB2e(?) – which if I remember right needed either a GM or a mature gamer who would implement disadvantageous special rules (something about the instability of the undead troops) that were to be kept secret from the other player, the rules revealing themselves through play.

        I was hoping (wishing) that we’d see a new batch of scenario packs for WFB. You could box up a bunch of plastic sprues (from memory, I don’t think that Lichemaster uses many more than about 30 miniatures, but they’re a wide variety – Dwarfs, Undead, Human villagers and militia), some card buildings and forest/swamp/river templates. In fact, if Lichemaster does play well in WFB8e (which I doubt, as it seems a poor system for battles involving so few troops), you don’t even need to commission a proper writer, just update the stats, box up existing plastic minis, and maybe even throw in a rulebook that just covers the rules used in the scenario, so you still sell the unwieldy John Blanche art book (which is no bad thing) that is difficult to use at the gaming table (which is).

        Sorry for the digression.

      • Quirkworthy says:

        Personally I am a big fan of campaign sets and suchlike diversions from the normal “line up and charge” style battles. I wrote one of the old campaign packs with Tuomas, and ran linked series of battle reports in White Dwarf when I was Editor because that’s where I think you find the pinnacle of gaming. Telling a memorable story is what it should be about IMO. Tragically, campaign packs are widely seen within the industry as products with poor sales and limited life; hence they are rarely produced. When I think of a way to invert this perception I’ll let you know.

  13. Varrak says:

    At a glance GW seems to excel at one thing and you could even say they build a large part of their business on it : “luring” new (young) players (customers) into the hobby. This on it self is quite valuable. 10 years ago you would be hard pressed to find a miniature wargamer who hadn’t cut his teeth on WHFB or 40K. At the moment I don’t really see a competitor that challenges them in that market segment. Most competitors seems to concentrate on the more experienced players, either with more elaborate rule sets or more complex miniatures (or both).

    Should GW ever “disappear” from this world, you’d wonder who would pick up this role. And in my eyes it is quite an important role.

    • Quirkworthy says:

      A very good point, and one that is often forgotten in the midst of claims that all GW do is evil and destructive. A lot of this is due to a visible High Street presence. I vaguely recall reading that Privateer were going to open some stores too. Did that ever happen? They’re releasing an SF game too so maybe this is their big push…

      • Varrak says:

        Although I’m talking about the Belgian situation (almost no GW stores) I can see the point about the stores. But not considering that: relative simple rules, games that are popular (so access to a diverse pool of opponents), boxed sets of basic units,….

        Privateer has always struck me as a little odd: they first presented themselves as the anti-GW but in the end they seem to incorporate some of GW’s practices sooner or later. .

      • Quirkworthy says:

        PP has made a number of policy changes that have been characterised by some as turnarounds. To me these seem like acknowledgements of commercial realities. Regardless of where they get the ideas, I’d welcome PP moving into retail as well because this puts gaming on a more public footing, which I think is good for the industry as a whole.

  14. Minitrol says:

    Great topic! Sad I arrived at the party a bit late fore this one! (why can’t I set up a damn feed….grrrr)

    • Quirkworthy says:

      My bad. I should presumably be able to set up an RSS thingamajig, but it doesn’t immediately make sense to me so it’ll have to be a bit later. Sorry. I was kind of relying on people checking in, clicking on subscribe and/or clicking the cox that says notify me of new posts via email.

      Glad you like the debate though 🙂

  15. billops says:

    interesting debate Jake and you certainly helped me understand some of the parameters at stake.
    On another note, if you were in BB RR committee, I guess you had a nick on talkBB forum ; what is it?

    • Quirkworthy says:

      Glad I could help, Bill.

      To be honest I can’t recall what my nick was. I just don’t have time these days to keep up with all the things I used to, and TBB was one of those that fell by the wayside. Not played for years either. BB is on my looooong list of things to get round to again. Perhaps if they do a 25th anniversary edition 🙂

  16. billops says:

    SSShhhhsh !!!! Dont jinx it !

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