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Matt_Windu
10-02-2007, 11:36
I made this suggestion in the "Core Market" Thread, but I thought I'd Stimulate some discuission:



Would it be silly to suggest that the design team be reorganised into three sections: Two large sections that handle 40K (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=18), Epic, Gothic, Necromunda and Inquisitor, and WHFB (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=16), Blood Bowl, Warmaster and Mordheim respectively, and one smaller one (a LOT smaller) that continues to work on LoTR (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=33) (and BoFA (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=37) and any expansions for that). That should put everything back into perspective, Emphasis wise, and allow the SGs to be kept in line with their parent systems.

Of course, it means taking on A LOT of extra staff. So It'll never happen.
Necromunda and Mordheim could be reworked into Skirmish expansions for 40K (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=18) and WHFB respectively, And Man O War reintroduced. Ditch Inquisitor, and bring WH (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=101) and 40K RP into stores. This would effictively give you:


WH40K (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=17) & WHFB
LoTR fits in Between.
WH40K (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=17) & WHFB Skirmish (More Detailed Rules, Smaller Engagements)

Battlefleet Gothic OR Aeronautica Imperialis & Man o War (Naval Combat)
Epic (Incorporate AI?), Warmaster, BoFA (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=37) (Large Scale Carnage)

and then Blood Bowl.

A DeAgonisti partwork is a great idea too.
Difficult to pull of though, due to the larger numbers needed for a WH/WH40K army than a LoTR army.

BUT! reworking Necro and Mordheim into Skirmish Games allows you to use a partwork to introduce a gamer to the IP and models, starting on a smaller scale, Streamlining the rules upwards for bigger battles:

Skirmish System ----&GT (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=44); WHFB/WH40K ----&GT (http://www.warseer.com/glossary.php?do=viewglossary&term=44); Epic/Warmaster
<--More Detail, Less models---Less Detail More Models------>

And the specialist games effectively become LoTR, Blood Bowl, Gothic and Man 'o' War.

Would that help?

Add to that the core rules for each game be released online as 'Living' Rulebooks, with access in each store.
The Board games (Space Crusade, Talisman) become Mainstream spin offs of the two main Systems. get them into toy stores and catalogues.

I know it's purely a fantasy situation, but could anyboy help me out on the feasability of it from a purely Business point of view
(and not GW's current 'sell more marines' business point of view)

zak
11-02-2007, 23:14
I like the idea of bringing back the specialist games and giving these more support. The only thing I disagree with is putting the core rules on the internet as this will severly hinder sales of new starter products.

Mikhaila
12-02-2007, 05:28
I know it's purely a fantasy situation, but could anyboy help me out on the feasability of it from a purely Business point of view

I don't think what you're asking is possible. Not that people can't voice opinions about what they'd like to see, or what they think would work, or what they would do if they suddenly controlled the company.

But to actually do an analysis of your ideas would take sales numbers, costs, and other information that no one but GW has. My best guess is that it's totally unfeasable, just based on the large number of changes you have lumped together.

Osbad
12-02-2007, 10:27
Why is there such prejudice against LotR? It has more than paid for itself many times over, and if it wasn't such a cash-cow in the early days, then GW would never have invested in the plastics design technology that they are primarily using on 40k and WFB now? That GW chose to invest the profits from LotR into design technology rather than in salaries of game designers to upgrade 40k/WFB in the way you would have liked them to is a management decision, not the fault of LotR.

Nowadays, LotR is getting minimal support - compared to the "big two" the number of models and new rules being released is a mere trickle.

Smacks of simple bigotry to me to maintain such a stupid point of view in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Delicious Soy
13-02-2007, 05:21
Isn't the point though that LOTR is no longer the cash cow? If it ain't producing sales anymore and isn't tied to the two primary IP's shouldn't it be wound back a little? Besides as it is an outside IP they can't really expand on it much so extending releases simply keep it running over a longer period.

The game is afoot
13-02-2007, 13:02
LotR isn't costing the company much to produce.
LotR isn't dragging the company down.
LotR has a lot more far reaching appeal than WFB or 40K.
GW have to honour the contract until early 2010 and they are keen to keep it working because it could very well bring the 'Hobbit' with it and another big money influx in time to come.
Osbad has a point, LotR has really pushed the company forward.
Sadly Rick Priestley didn't make an advanced version of the rules for adults to want to keep playing the game.
It could have been a successful long term game if they had invested some effort into making the system have more depth.

Matt_Windu
13-02-2007, 14:13
I love the Lord of The Rings, I think it's still got a lot of life left in it, But from what I hear, people want more of the specialist games and less LoTR.

Osbad
13-02-2007, 15:39
Depends where your asking the questions. Around my neck of the woods, people aren't interested in 40k or WFB ("games for kids" to quote one old fart), have got bored with the lack of development in SGs and find LotR is the only thing of interest (bar WAB and LotOW) coming out of Lenton these days...

Much more excitement is being generated by FoW, AT-43, Warmachine, Infinity, Urban War, etc...

So much is just opinion anyway though. Of more improtance is the likelihood that if Specialist Games had had anywhere near the volume of (financial) support from customers that LotR generates then you can bet GW wouldn't have stripped them from their stores.

Somewhere people seem to be of the opinion that GW are committed to producing stuff for LotR "because they have to" from the New Line licence. That is so much bunk! GW produce stuff for LotR because it sells well. Maybe not as well as it used to, but still in much vaster quantities than Specialist Games used to even before they axed them from the stores. Conservative estimates of sales indicate that LotR sells around 10m - 12m annually - 10% of the gross. I don't have any figures to hand, but I would be amazed if all SG added together generate that level of sales. And more imprtantly, GW reckon that in order to generate 12m sales for SG they would have to invest a lot more in the SG ranges (note the multiple) than they have had to do in the LotR range (note: singular).

The point is that what GW sells is actually "demand led". They may get the odd release wrong, but in general if people don't seem to be buying it, they stop promoting it. And they only produce stuff they think will sell well. Simple as...

They may get it wrong sometimes, and certainly they seem to have over-estimated their customers' price-point. But there's no evidence that the *product mix* isn't what their "core customers" would like to buy if they could afford it, with respect to the broader range of games supported.

Dumping LotR would cost GW, and therefore 40k/WFB gamers a lot more than keeping it does. Keeping it, they still earn some profit. Axe it and their overheads start looking horrendous!

Personally, while LotR is my favourite core game, and in the early days I loved it, I too am finding it somewhat "old hat" nowadays. I don't blame the ruleset, and I certainly don't think that complicating it would bring any improvements. It's just human nature. After playing a game for so long I want to do something different now. For me it's main limit is that so much hangs on the winning of Priority at a key moment in the game. If you lose it just before your key charge against a competent opponent you are likely stuffed and will only gain an (unsatisfactory) win if you have outrageous luck. that may appeal to some, but it is starting to feel a little old with me.

Other games have different failings: I've never liked 40ks tendency to "who goes first wins", and I hate the general "army book" approach to overcomplicate and confusticate rules that GW take with 40k and WFB.

No doubt WARMACHINE and 5150 will begin to pall after I have played them for 5 years as well.

Doesn't meant the basic game is floored. Just like everything, you can't please all the people all of the time.

It is true that GW need to please more of the people more of the time than they do at the minute, but I think switching away from LotR is not the way to do it, notwithstanding the bigotry expressed by many a 40k and WFB stalwart...

If LotR sales decline to approach SG levels, then things may change. However judging by the rate at which Buhrdur models are disappearing from my local GW's shelves, it won't be anytime soon!

ashc
13-02-2007, 16:25
LotR isn't costing the company much to produce.
LotR isn't dragging the company down.
LotR has a lot more far reaching appeal than WFB or 40K.
GW have to honour the contract until early 2010 and they are keen to keep it working because it could very well bring the 'Hobbit' with it and another big money influx in time to come.
Osbad has a point, LotR has really pushed the company forward.
Sadly Rick Priestley didn't make an advanced version of the rules for adults to want to keep playing the game.
It could have been a successful long term game if they had invested some effort into making the system have more depth.


Why is there such prejudice against LotR? It has more than paid for itself many times over, and if it wasn't such a cash-cow in the early days, then GW would never have invested in the plastics design technology that they are primarily using on 40k and WFB now? That GW chose to invest the profits from LotR into design technology rather than in salaries of game designers to upgrade 40k/WFB in the way you would have liked them to is a management decision, not the fault of LotR.

Nowadays, LotR is getting minimal support - compared to the "big two" the number of models and new rules being released is a mere trickle.

Smacks of simple bigotry to me to maintain such a stupid point of view in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

I just want to say a MASSIVE thank you to the both of you for saying exactly how I regard LOTR whenever people bring the ridiculous idea that LOTR is 'killing GW'.

Ash

Eldanar
13-02-2007, 17:25
LOTR is probably the best skirmish game that GW has ever produced. With that said, it is still just a skirmish game. I'm with TGIA on this, in that I wish they had done an "advanced" version that would allow for or incorporate massed battles or possibly more role playing type elements.

And while I like the suggestion of splitting the design team up, I'm not sure this would work on the distribution/sales side. The reason is that if there are essentially 3 design teams working independently producing three seperate sets of products, then oversaturation becomes a problem.

Conceptually it works. The problem comes on the sales/distribution side where you now are (theoretically at least) producing three independent sets of products, which will then compete against each other for cash from the consumer. So you either produce your products at a rate equivalent to how fast you think you can sell it (which they are doing currently), or you produce it three times as fast and then get bottlenecked by the rate you can sell the products without them competing against each other.

It is all about trying to prevent the market from being oversaturated.

The game is afoot
13-02-2007, 17:44
For years now i've been saying theat GW should expand the design team and get at least two 'qualified' game designers on board to have a more even mix of number crunchers in among the fluffateers.
The 2 million they threw down a hole 3-4 years ago in the first incarnation of WO would have covered their wages nicely for a looooong time.
Increase the design team, increase the qualifications level of the design team and focus more on the rulesets to improve them across the board.
Design a fresh new game to inhabit the 'steam punk' genre in it's own right and stop stretching the WFB army lists in that direction.
Bring back the 1 minute timer for the terran player in Space hulk.etc.
I've been pushing for more design staff for years now.
Great ideas spark great games which spark great sales in a powerful company in the TTMG hobby like GW.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
14-02-2007, 00:35
To give you an insight into GWs strategy....

About, ooh, 4 or 5 years ago, Games Workshop ceased trading with online only retailers. Many thought that this was because of their discounts and GW making less, which, when consider GW sell at a flat rate and make more profit selling third party than direct (true) that particular theory is clearly a load of ********.

Indeed, they took that rather radical, and unpopular step as the Bricks and Mortar retailers, with the overheads running a shop entails, were losing out to the Web traders offering discounts they could not match. And as we can see, GW depend pretty much entirely on cabinets of pretty models drawing in the weak minded fools we all started out as. As such, the Discount heavy Webtraders were eroding away the hand that feeds GW, and quite sensibly, those with the power decided this just wouldn't do.

And that my friends, is the truth of the matter. You can argue about the cause until your blue in the face, but you'd still be wrong I'm afraid. See, I worked for GW at the time....

bertcom1
14-02-2007, 00:49
For years now i've been saying theat GW should expand the design team and get at least two 'qualified' game designers on board to have a more even mix of number crunchers in among the fluffateers.
Increase the design team, increase the qualifications level of the design team and focus more on the rulesets to improve them across the board.

Just a question here, what do you mean by 'qualified' game designers?

What qualifications are there in game design? Are there any? I didn't think there were, other than being in the right place at the right time so that your rules get widely published. Other than some ability to think clearly, and some creativity, what skills are really involved in game design?

Or do you mean hiring people like statisticians, data analysts, logic specialists, to make sure things are properly pointed, rules are coherent, and stuff?

Mad Doc Grotsnik
14-02-2007, 00:52
Bugger that....The more people they higher, the more wages they have to pay.

Most complaints seem to come from the Tourny fans, and the games aren't especially designed for Tourny play!

The game is afoot
14-02-2007, 07:08
Or do you mean hiring people like statisticians, data analysts, logic specialists, to make sure things are properly pointed, rules are coherent, and stuff?

Bingo.
Systems Analysts with a math degree.
Throw just a couple of those in the mix with the abundance of fluffateers and make the game systems more balanced.
Other companies have used them in their design team mixes and come up with superb systems over the years.

It wouldn't hurt to hire a professional proofreader as well.

Flame
18-02-2007, 13:09
To give you an insight into GWs strategy....

About, ooh, 4 or 5 years ago, Games Workshop ceased trading with online only retailers. Many thought that this was because of their discounts and GW making less, which, when consider GW sell at a flat rate and make more profit selling third party than direct (true) that particular theory is clearly a load of ********.




Not in the UK/Europe.

Commissar von Toussaint
19-02-2007, 15:43
I am always astounded by how mathematically illiterate GW has been over the years.

Perhaps their biggest problem is that they think random = balance.

It doesn't. Random means the imbalances are randomly distributed, which is very frustrating to people who just want to play a decent game.

It is the elephant in the living room that undermines so much of their product and it is positively strange that GW hasn't addressed or fixed it. Their constant "1-in-6 chance of the game getting jacked" isn't charming, and it basically makes a mockery of their increasingly elaborate points-and-troop-type army selection rules.

The classis example is Intrigue at Court, but the way magic spells have been selected also grates on people.

The point here is not to argue specifics, but to point out that if GW had people on the design staff who understood numbers crunching, they would be able to point this stuff out to them.

You want another example? Okay, the army-specific items and "hatreds." These also make the game much more likely to be a lop-sided stompfest - again, a very unsatisfying result.

The fact that GW can't even produce a system without immediately having to erratta it shows that it really is amateur hour in the design studio.

Hiring some seasoned numbers-crunchers would do wonders for them and their product.

lanrak
20-02-2007, 23:24
Hi all.
I have to totaly agree with Commisar von Toussaint bout the state of GW games.(40k and Wh especialy.)

But the sad fact is, in large corperations ,those with the power to effect changes,do not always realise why change is required.
And those that realise change is required ,do not always have the power to effect necissary changes.

Corperations are more concerned with quantative issues ,rather than qualitive ones.
How can you quantify the sales increases by increasing the quality of game play?
Its not as easy as projecting marketing effectivness of 'short term marketing strategy'.

So GW stick to marketing 'agressivley' at a specific short term demographic,as this can be proven 'quantity' wise.
Rather than risk financing development of thier games,which may not give proportionate returns on thier investments.

Most gamers 'know' improving gameplay will increase sales.But how can you prove it?

Most of the (war) games manufacturers are not PLCs with share holders expecting returns.They are mostly gamers, making games for gamers.
So they can listen to the needs of gamers,without hinderence of having to prove 'cost effectivness' of game development.

So realy GW is a victim of its own success.

I know GW never produced games 'suitable for ballanced competative play'.
But they used to be alot more 'game play' in them.

The reason the GW devs like as many results as possible determined by interdependant probability relationships, and the AP system of comparing nonlinear progression probability to a changing distribution of a standard deviation curve.
Is when the maths is simple they cannot do it to well,and they can be proved wrong.But if the maths is complex as possible ,no one is going to bother arguing.:D

TTFN
lanrak.

The game is afoot
21-02-2007, 22:23
How can you quantify the sales increases by increasing the quality of game play?
Its not as easy as projecting marketing effectivness of 'short term marketing strategy'.

So GW stick to marketing 'agressivley' at a specific short term demographic,as this can be proven 'quantity' wise.
Rather than risk financing development of thier games,which may not give proportionate returns on thier investments.

Proportionate investment returns to whom?

LotR's flashpoint success attracted a lot of Investment shareholding that now expect a strong and regular dividend.
Banks and Insurance companies have bought into GW and now GW HAS to provide the dividend while maintaining a healthy share price.
They have to do this at the expense of the quality of the games.
Because the miniature sales are the only determining factor that will appease the monkey on their back.
This is why GW cannot change their course and they will continue to lose the older gamer market share.

lanrak
22-02-2007, 18:11
Hi.
The game is afoot.
Erm, I was trying to convey the same methods and reason as you,but you stated it soo much better.

SO we agree whats wrong with GW policy,(from the gamers perspective.)
And we agree we will not be able to do anything to change it.
(Unless GW goes bust and/or some other games manufacturer takes over.)
So we just watch as GW panders to the needs of shareholders, and the games of WH and 40k go down the pan.....

Its so depressing.....

TTFN
Lanrak.

The game is afoot
22-02-2007, 18:38
So we just watch as GW panders to the needs of shareholders, and the games of WH and 40k go down the pan.....

Its so depressing.....

Depressing and frustrating but there are other possible outcomes... there's a buyout possibility and a change of direction with that.... there's a shareholder vote for new management and changes that come with that... there's the possibility that some of the big investment companies will sell their shares and a benefactor could purchase them with a different idea for the company, but these are sadly only possibilities and not likelihoods.

However something will occur and within the next 12 months if the profit loss continues and slips into the negative.
Store closures will begin and the unwieldy retail side will shed it's dead weight as more downsizing and streamlining continues.
If there are more price hikes and no Hobbit then it could well all be doom and gloom.

Commissar von Toussaint
23-02-2007, 01:39
However something will occur and within the next 12 months if the profit loss continues and slips into the negative.
Store closures will begin and the unwieldy retail side will shed it's dead weight as more downsizing and streamlining continues.
If there are more price hikes and no Hobbit then it could well all be doom and gloom.

I think it says something that a major part of the "turnaround" game plan is to get a merchandising license for a movie that isn't even in pre-production. :eyebrows:

I'm debaing on putting the following statement into some sort of macro so I don't have to keep typing it out, but here goes:

GW actually knows what results in growth - they did it for years: Produce a quality, affordable product and rely on word of mouth and user support to build a loyal customer base.

It's so simple. GW had everything going for them in the 1990s and they managed to **** it away. I don't know if the management has gone insane or what, but they should know better. Tom Kirby is a gamer. I have one of his dungeons from 1986 (and it's pretty cool, btw).

He should know better. The formula is painfully simple and blindingly obvious if one only thinks like a prospective customer!

The regular re-launching of product turns off veterans and destroys the loyalty base because people get tired of buying the same game every five years or so. Either that, or they have to wait four years to get a codex.

Of course the response is "Veterans don't buy new figures." There's some truth to this. My miniatures spending is a shadow of what it was years ago when I first started playing. However, I can be pursuaded to buy new things if I truly enjoy the system. Thus my 40k armies are once again expanding even though I gave up the current rules some time ago. Of course I'm not using GW figures, either.

The point is that even if veterans don't buy lots of models, they do one very important thing: they provide opponents that help to convince new players to get involved.

All games require a fan base. If no one else will play it with you, you won't buy it. Ever since the birth of the modern gaming industry, finding an opponent has been the #1 concern. For those of you old enough to remember, the gaming magazines used to have classified ads so that people could find someone to play with. In the pre-internet age, people used Play By Mail if they couldn't meet in person.

Games with a big player base have a huge advantage. That is largely what sustained and continues to sustain D&D. It is the game everyone has heard of and almost everyone knows how to play. It isn't the best system, but if you learn it, you will game, period.

GW started to build that kind of base in the 1990s. I got into miniatures entirely because I could finally find opponents on a regular basis. Thus my involvement with GW began.

Since then, GW keeps changing the rules, the system itself isn't ageing well, and it has raised prices to the point that not only am I uninterested in playing, I actively try to persuade other people not to get into it.

That, at its core, is what is killing GW. The entry cost is too high and the player base is leaving. The veterans are either indulging themselves with variant rules or going elsewhere and they are taking the newbies with them.

It's amazing how abruptly the shift can be, but once the players start to dry up, everyone switches to something else. Anecdotal evidence has its weaknesses, but how many times do we hear of people saying "No one plays 40k any more, they switched to _____"?

Any reshuffle would involve a massive reevaluation of the GW properties, such as Blood Bowl, Necromunda, BFG, Epic and others. It would recognize that while these games may not sell much individually, collectively they are invaluable tools to keeping people interested in the GW universe.

The corollary to that is that GW has to scale down its sprawling, unmanageable core games. They are at the point where no one can stock all their product - not even them. It's heresy to say it, but 40k achieved its breathrough growth with less than half the codicies that it has now - and no one was whining that it lacked diversity.

Right now, I see GW as running in contradictory directions. On the one hand, it seems indifferent to veterans by cutting into "vet's nights" and producing new editions which force them to retool "finished" armies and buy hundreds of dollars of new books every few years just to play the same game.

Yet at the same time it thinks it can entice them into staying by creating ever more esoteric and specialized army lists. Obviously, it isn't working.

Veteran players aren't just another income source, they are instead a marketing tool. GW used to understand that.

Actually, maybe they didn't. Maybe they just got lucky.