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Easy E
11-07-2011, 13:36
Greetings,

Let's talk about what role Specialist Games should play in the GW grand scheme.

Discuss.

myrdinn
11-07-2011, 14:09
They should play a much bigger role. But GW's priority seems to be the WFB and 40k release schedules, so I'd predict they'll continue losing business to Warmahordes, Infinity, Malifaux, Dystopian Wars, and other younger companies without shareholder/analyst pressure to concentrate on the core business.

I used to buy every specialist games new release and I still play Space Hulk and Necromunda, am keen to get back into Blood Bowl, had a game of BFG not long ago ...

But while there's no rules support or shiny new toys coming in any of those ranges, and the two main games have such a high point of entry they are missing a trick. I can't be the only person who was formerly a pretty dedicated GW follower and now spend most of my gaming money elsewhere.

eriochrome
11-07-2011, 15:44
What shall be define as GW Grand Scheme?

1.) Churn and Burn young players?

2.) Build life long evangelical customers?

3.) Haphazardly try to make as much money as possible in the near term?

Anaris
11-07-2011, 16:13
In the grand scheme of things, they probably aren't even on Kirby's radar.

The goal is simple, get some new kid in the door and sell them a starter set for one of the main three systems. From there (s)he buys (or gets rich Mummy and Daddy) to buy a big shiny army (netting the company around the 300 mark.

From there it's what's your next army going to be, or have you seen the 40k range? If they buy into that it's another 300 and another if each time they want a new army.

Specialist Games on the other hand, BB being the best example, drain your wallet to the sum of 60/70 and then technically your done, which is near enough the price of a starter set for a main three system?

There is far less of a overall sales figure per person for Specialist Games than there is for the main three systems and for that reason, there is no real need to promote them.

Why take the risk or introducing all these small skirmish style games which are on the whole cheaper to buy and cheaper to expand with and leave your main three systems wondering where all their players and sales went?

Afterall, GW probably still sell more annually on paints then the profits from all the aforementioned 'younger' companies entire product ranges combined?

shelfunit.
11-07-2011, 16:35
Specialist games should be able to fill in the gaps when needing a break from WH/40K, or as a starter game introduction to GW due to the massive investment required these days to get into the core games.

MarcoSkoll
11-07-2011, 23:03
The role they should play, now GW has done the expensive jobs of development, model making, etc, is be put to use to widen GW's recruiting base.

Right now, their market is focused solely on the one style of wargame represented by the core three, and that's given them a much narrower range of people they might be able to recruit.
Yes, they are games of a lower initial outlay, but:

1) They get the players hooked on the GW hobby, not someone else's. This would give GW the chance of transitioning them on to one of their bigger money spinners.
2) A player who spends 80 on Necromunda and never a penny more is 80 more than a player who walks in, sees that they're expected to pay 400 for GW's idea of what constitutes an army and walks out of the store wallet still full.

They are also very useful for turning gamers into veterans, something GW has woefully neglected. I dare say that without a number of different games that could collectively keep my interest as my dedication to individual ones waned and waxed, I would have fallen out of the GW hobby years ago.

It's extra recruiting and veteran potential they could keep going for only small investment. Yes, it would be less profitable compared to the money factory of 40k, but they can be used as a loss leader - make less money on one thing in order to make more sales on more profitable items.

myrdinn
12-07-2011, 07:24
.Why take the risk or introducing all these small skirmish style games which are on the whole cheaper to buy and cheaper to expand with and leave your main three systems wondering where all their players and sales went?

Because Privateer Press are making millions of dollars a year doing that, and taking a decent bite out of GW's business in America in the process.

Because serious gamers in the UK are starting to get worn out by the 300+ pricetag of picking up an army for either of the two main systems and the shift to other companies is happening here too.

Because GW's range is now pretty one-dimensional in terms of the gaming experience - WFB and 40k are high fantasy and sci fi versions of the same thing.

This from the company that used to do everything from WFRP via Talisman, Warhammer Quest, Necromunda/Mordheim right up to Epic, and had a range of systems that allowed you to play pretty much whatever your geeky little heart desired, and really made the most of their exceptional IP.

Bottom line is their strategy makes sense in the boardroom, but I increasingly get the impression it doesn't make sense to any section of their customer base who's not part of the WFB/40k tournament scene.

It's bad business to abandon a significant chunk of your customer base. They will go elsewhere, you will lose the revenue. The purse is going to suffer, especially when GW's traditional model of owning the UK gaming market by owning the high street real estate is no longer really viable.

Even if the goal is new kiddies in the door to buy Island of Blood or whatever, they need to bear in mind how many people on this board got into the hobby via minor games like HeroQuest.

Geep
12-07-2011, 07:42
Although Specialist Games can be played for less initial cost, how many people have just one blood bowl team, mordheim warband, etc?
How many Warhammer armies have grown from a Mordheim Warband? (I know I have 2 that started this way)
There's a fair amount of possible crossover between many games systems, and if GW tried they could easily capitalise on this (current examples are Mordheim/ Warhammer, Necromunda or Gorkamorka/ 40K, Epic/ Aeronautica Imperialis/ BFG) (I know not all of these are Specialist Games, but they're similar)

Given the ever-increasing cost of the core games, Specialist Games provide both a great introduction and variety to keep the veterans interested.

Anaris
12-07-2011, 10:10
Bottom line is their strategy makes sense in the boardroom...

I rest my case.

Now, from a player who, exactly as you said, got into this hobby when he first opened Heroquest 23? years ago I would love to have all the specialist games supported again, but it's probably never going to happen.

Specialist Games are going to the way of the dodo. When you look at the evidence.

Removed from stores.
Unable to play the games in store on vets nights etc.
Model range not getting updated.
Rulebooks and the like left to the gaming community to update (LivingRulebooks)
Models which sell out are not being recast.
Metal models having to be remade in Finecast (probably never going to happen for Spec Games range).
Recent trip to Warhammer World showed that one section of the Minatures Hall was devoted to Spec Games and the display was limited to say the least.

I want them back as much as the next veteran player, but I really don't see it happening any time soon.

MarcoSkoll
12-07-2011, 10:36
Models which sell out are not being recast.
They're selling out and being recast all the time. What they're not doing is remaking the moulds that wear out.

myrdinn
12-07-2011, 11:39
Specialist Games are going to the way of the dodo.

Sadly I do absolutely 100% agree with you. They're clearly outsourcing all the opportunities to develop new games from their IP to fantasy flight.

I just think it's a mistake. Specialist games are a way to attract and keep customers who might never come through the door or stick around without them. Letting them go essentially limits GW to making money from two very expensive games systems.

Anaris
12-07-2011, 11:52
They're selling out and being recast all the time. What they're not doing is remaking the moulds that wear out.

OK, but I think you knew that's what I meant.

Easy E
12-07-2011, 12:33
Sadly I do absolutely 100% agree with you. They're clearly outsourcing all the opportunities to develop new games from their IP to fantasy flight.


And those games are NOT miniature games. They are board and role-playing games, so very different markets. They are also licensing their IP to more video games.

So, we probably have MORE GW related games on the market today. However, only 40K and WFB are actual miniature games.

It feels like GW are sort of abandoning a segment of the market to competitors instead of challenging in all market segments the way they use to. I honestly don't know the wisdom of this strategy.

Specialist Games previously filled this segment to keep customers in the GW Hobby and not the wargaming hobby. I think they are loosing that edge without Specialist Games.

myrdinn
12-07-2011, 12:42
Specialist Games previously filled this segment to keep customers in the GW Hobby and not the wargaming hobby. I think they are loosing that edge without Specialist Games.

True. It's kinda been good for me personally as I'm now getting my skirmish games fix in all sorts of weird and wonderful worlds and universes I'd probably never have discovered if the GW franchise had carried on producing them, but surely specialists and their ability to keep people shopping from GW stores (which I now only do when forced by lack of model availability elsewhere) were worth more money than LotR now makes in a year?

MarcoSkoll
12-07-2011, 14:03
Well, Yabbadabba said this some time ago:

...when you look at LotR sales figures for the company as a whole - 10-40% over its life depending on time and source - and you look at SG's maxing out at 9%...
But that's really focusing only on sales of specifically SG products. It doesn't cover what SG gamers might have been spending on Hobby supplies or terrain, it doesn't count people who made their Necromunda/Mordheim collections out of 40k/Fantasy kits, and it doesn't count in the slightest recruiting potential or customer retention.

I'm not saying it's worth lots of extra investment. It certainly isn't. But simply keeping them more accessible would be an almost trivial cost - put the damn materials back on the website, and allow them back in stores (even if it's only one night a week). Even further developing them could be next to free - there are many people out there who would be willing to update the rules on their own time.

And this could offer quite a few rewards. GW needs to mix up its business model somehow, and things like the possibility to increase customer pick-up/retention rates through wider audience and lower entry costs wouldn't go amiss.

Steve54
12-07-2011, 14:40
I rest my case.

Now, from a player who, exactly as you said, got into this hobby when he first opened Heroquest 23? years ago I would love to have all the specialist games supported again, but it's probably never going to happen.

Specialist Games are going to the way of the dodo. When you look at the evidence.

Removed from stores.
Unable to play the games in store on vets nights etc.
Model range not getting updated.
Rulebooks and the like left to the gaming community to update (LivingRulebooks)
Models which sell out are not being recast.
Metal models having to be remade in Finecast (probably never going to happen for Spec Games range).
Recent trip to Warhammer World showed that one section of the Minatures Hall was devoted to Spec Games and the display was limited to say the least.

I want them back as much as the next veteran player, but I really don't see it happening any time soon.

None of these are new developments - they have been the policy for 4 years at least

Anaris
12-07-2011, 18:00
Did I claim they were?

Steve54
12-07-2011, 18:08
Yes - you implied that they would shortly be extinct ie gone when there is no evidence that their situation has changed since 2007

Anaris
13-07-2011, 10:04
Actually, that's been the situation since before 2007, but that doesn't change what I said.

Any company which would allow such a decline in a product range clearly doesn't care what happens to it. GW have realised that the Specialist Game range is not a high profit earner and that the three main systems are where the money is at and so they have focused on that...and will probably continue to do so forever more.

Mark Wells has publicly stated there are only so many hours in a day and only so many things a factory can make and the company will always continue to produce the high profit earners.

Wishing for anything else is kinda like wishing for a software house to start focusing their development on PS2 games. Millions of those units still exist and there will be millions of people around the world who will still play them, but to support them with new stuff would only take away from higher profit new releases.

Easy E
13-07-2011, 17:47
Mark Wells has publicly stated there are only so many hours in a day and only so many things a factory can make and the company will always continue to produce the high profit earners.

Oh Mr. Wells, what a very 19th century, newtonian production model thing to say. Perhaps he hasn't noticed, but have moved beyond Newtonian models and into the 21st century! We are in the Quantum age now.

What an uninspiring lack of vision or strategic purpose.

Easy E
26-07-2011, 20:38
So, the annual report is out and GW is paying out a 18p dividend this year. Typically, you only give out a dividend if you have a lot of cash on hand and nothing else to invest it in.

Hmmmm, I guess trying to dominate the hobby landscape isn't worth investing in.

MarcoSkoll
26-07-2011, 23:26
It should be said that's not the only reason to pay dividends - it's an incentive for investors to keep lending you their money.
Microsoft, for example, picked up a lot of flack over its zero dividend policy. Sure, it's good to put spare cash back into the company, but these people are investors - they're looking for a return!

Still, 18 pence times 31 million shares... I make that nearly five point six million smackers paid out in dividends. They are clearly not short of the cash reserves to capitalise on the full range of their Intellectual Property.

Easy E
27-07-2011, 12:40
The report pretty much said outright that there was nothing else they could think of to spend money on, and hence the dividend.

However, what a document for Investor Relations says and the reality are two very different things.

Rick Blaine
28-07-2011, 09:08
Prices are rising, sales are tanking, and yet somehow GW still has money to spare...?

Easy E
28-07-2011, 20:11
I know. Crazy isn't it.

Vos
01-08-2011, 18:24
Paying out dividends isn't crazy if your long term sales and profits are gently sliding and have been, for some time now, despite some good cost cutting. If you're the senior management it makes sense because a) you have lots of shares yourself and b) it makes a takeover/management takeover less likely?

As for specialist games - I have about 3K worth of warmaster figures (large armies of several races) so its not true that all the specialist games are a simple "blow 200 or less and that's all you'll ever spend" prospect.

I agree that (sadly) they're doomed in the long run. As soon as those moulds start breaking I think that'll be the end of the line and the range will be suddenly pulled. My advice: buy what you need now or be cast onto the tender mercies of e bay in the future!

Vos

Easy E
02-08-2011, 12:51
Paying out dividends isn't crazy if your long term sales and profits are gently sliding and have been, for some time now, despite some good cost cutting. If you're the senior management it makes sense because a) you have lots of shares yourself and b) it makes a takeover/management takeover less likely?

Now, that makes sense to me. It is a CYA, and Kirby himself just bought more shares. Thanks for enlightening me.


I agree that (sadly) they're doomed in the long run. As soon as those moulds start breaking I think that'll be the end of the line and the range will be suddenly pulled. My advice: buy what you need now or be cast onto the tender mercies of e bay in the future!

Vos

Could be an opportunity for an enterprising start-up mini company. Not a lot of fantasy 10mm out there right now. I know I have seen it for Warmaster Ancients, which I was inclined to play until GW Historicals died.

Warmaster is 10mm?

Vos
02-08-2011, 20:21
Yes, Warmaster is 10mm fantasy versions of the larger 28mm stuff. If you like your games to look like BATTLES! instead of skirmishers, it's the only way (short of 20K a side Warhammer!) It's virtually the only GW I play regularly now. I still like Epic occasionally and very occasionally play WHFB or 40K for a change but that's just for light relief and because we all already have all the armies.

Warmaster is the best game GW ever made in my opinion. You need to play games of at least 2K a side and you need a table to have at least one third of it covered by hills, forests, fields or other terrain. These two precautions stop the "I made 3 command rolls in a go and won the game" that can happen in very small games and the terrain stops cavalry from dominating.

In my experience, those that have played Warmaster a couple of times and say they don't like it generally played either small games or with not enough terrain. Of course the odd person just doesn't like small figures and that's fine. I think it's fantastic!

Vos

Amnar
04-08-2011, 23:50
I agree 100%, WM is the only GW game I still play. Best rules and minis hands down.

SotF
05-08-2011, 00:07
What I'd love to see is some more marketing of them, perhaps use them as an intro to the hobby, at least with necromunda, mordheim, gorkamorka, and similar.

Mainly the ones that use the same size as for 40k and fantasy.

The major reasons are that having a band of 6-12 or so is much easier for someone to decide to model and paint. If I'm not sure about a game, it's very hard to decide to go in with an army that has all that effort (especially with all the places now requiring the painted minis if you're going to play there) if I have any belief that I may not like it.

Unlike a new game for the 360, most minis games aren't a stick in the system and go and require some effort. Effort that is considerably reduced by the warband size games.

Add that it familiarizes the players with the rules in a way that makes migrating to the larger armies easier and they can start from the same core of pieces.

On top of that, most of the places where they'd be playing the games have people playing the larger games within view to tempt them on.

The historicals tend to do the same, and work as a lure for people less interested in sci-fi/fantasy. It seemed to work rather well for Wizards of the Coast with Axis & Allies, at least in the local area where the local hobby shop that stocked it ended up with a LOT of elderly men (and two women) who started with it and have branched into several other games.

fracas
06-08-2011, 17:48
warmaster and bfg are the best games GW makes