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Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 10:44:12


Post by: ingtaer


This has come up as tangents in various threads and I thought it deserved a topic of its own.

So why does everyone think GW have such force in the miniature wargames market? From reading various posts it seems like many people do not consider any other game or manufacturer when they discuss wargaming, let alone are willing to branch out and play them. A few theories that have been postulated are;
1. GWs longevity, they have been around since the mid seventies and have been continuously building and expanding the scope of their IP all that time (okay they dropped some, retconed others and blew up a bit of it but the core has remained). Only various historical manufacturers can say the same that I am aware of.
2. Their games serve as most/many people's gateway to the hobby and they stick with what they know. I got into the hobby through Heroquest for example.
3. Visibility, pretty much any hobby store you go in will have tables where GW games are being played and rack upon rack of produce where any other company will have a minimum. So it is seen as being the most popular thing and thus draw more people into it. A self perpetuating cycle.
4. No other branch of the hobby actually exists and any appearance to the contrary is an illusion.

So what are peoples thoughts? And how prevalent is GW in your area?
For reference;

The three groups I am part of locally roughly break down as follows;
1. Local town, 50% GW, 30% FFG, 20% historical.
2. Town about forty miles away,40% RPG, 30% CCG, 25% FFG, 5% GW (Underworlds that I drove).
3. Capital city, 70% CCG, 15% FFG, 15% boardgame.

I dont imagine that is representative and I know that there are two big clubs that are mostly GW (have played in both and they would be 80% GW and 20% historical) and of course there are 2 GWs in the catchment as well. I think that is a large part of why FFG games have proven so popular and long lived here as we tend to get a lot of events and it keeps people interested in playing more to practice. It seems like 40K and AOS have the same sort of regularity (about once a month) whilst historicals are every few months for different systems and other games are pretty non existent.

This thread is not for discussing price rises, nor GW being the evil empire, nor what is the one true way to play games.
Thanks.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 11:05:40


Post by: Corrode


They got lucky with Rogue Trader being so popular and then rode that luck well, to the point that their market position is self-perpetuating.

They have vastly better market visibility in their home territory than basically any other wargame. GW has their own shops on every high street in the UK and that gives them unique access to customers who wouldn't ever necessarily stop in to an LGS, especially since those are often placed away from main shopping areas because they can't afford the rents and rates. Even if you are shopping in an LGS, most of them will stock GW stuff because it's a consistent seller with a dedicated fanbase. As you pointed out, this means there's a lot of kids who get into "Warhammer" rather than "wargaming" - some of them may then go on to play other games, but for an awful lot of them (I'm one) Warhammer stuff is burned into their brains before they ever find out about the wider world of gaming.

They also have vertical integration which is unmatched by basically any other company in the sector. They own their own retail as above, they also own their own manufacturing, their art, sculpting, game design, book design, everything else is done in-house - basically the only thing they don't do is the printing and some of the cardstock stuff. That gives them way more control over the process and the ability to operate at a scale that competitors who're manufacturing under sub-contract in China or casting in a garage or whatever else can't touch. Plus they control 30+ years of IP they can draw from.

Locally we have a mix of GW-only players, historicals players, "wargamers" who play a bit of everything. Some people have moved between groups over time. My LGS does a good job of cultivating the non-GW side of the hobby, in part because the owner is an old school guy who grew up playing historical games, but there's a huge 40k community as well.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 11:14:10


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


I suspect it can be traced back to Hero Quest and Space Crusades, the games which pretty much made Games Workshop.

Simple enough to play, but with decent depth to them to satisfy kids (I was 9) and older demographics.

From that point, we see GW getting ever more, well I’ll use the word professional, in their output.

Tracking the development of 40k throughout 1st Edition is an interesting journey, and one I intend to do a series of future articles about. The models improved, the rules received quite regular updates and rewrites, to the point you can’t really put a Rizla between the game structure of late 1st and 2nd.

They were also very, very bold in having their own stores. In the early days (before my time) they sold all sorts, beyond their own fare. But overtime their own products took ever greater precedence, to the point that by the time I first walked into GW Edinburgh around 1990, it was all GW’s own brand.

So from there, Games Of A Certain Vintage only really saw GW.

Now, fast forward a bit to circa 1996. Only a few scant years later, but GW’s growth had been pretty impressive, and their presentation ever slicker.

That was the time I first dabbled in FLGS, specifically the long, long gone Orc’s Drift in Tonbridge.

By that point, the shelves included Flintloque, Chronopia (I think?) and perhaps a couple of other games. But was still predominantly 40k and Fantasy - precisely because the majority of its customers had cut their teeth on GW’s offerings, and therefore had existing armies to support.

But for me, it wasn’t really until the early 2000’s that we saw serious contenders for GW’s crown. PP showed up with Warmachine, then Hordes. Mongoose produced Starship Troopers ( and sadly some of the worst models I’ve ever seen).

Yet in the U.K., GW still maintained near absolute market dominance. Not through dirty tricks. Not by pushing out FLGS, but because they got in there first. They had the financial clout to maintain their stores even through rough patches. And crucially, they were always Just Off The High Street. Cheaper rents, but still close enough to the main areas to be easy to find.

GW essentially revolutionised wargaming in the U.K., and made it accessible, long before competitors started gearing up. Indeed, I think there’s a very, very strong argument that had it not been for GW, we simply wouldn’t have the likes of PP.

And so it continues. GW are a visible presence. And they’re finally starting to work their IP ticket, spreading their way into ever more niches of nerddom.

I believe their success is one-off, and I really don’t think it could be repeated in the same way today, regardless of who or what the product is. Particularly given its ‘All Me Own Work, Guv’, and not tied to licenses in the public eye.

By sheer dumb luck, and a wee bit of business know-how in the earlier days (remember, Tom Kirby, maligned as he is, took them to the big time) they’ve achieved a sort of critical mass. They’re big now, because they were big back then. And they were big back then because they were the First To Get It Right, with an organised studio and in-house production facility.

It’s like pretty much any media Giant in a given field. They were there at the beginning, made some good choices, and kept on, especially when their size meant any downturns (GW Post LOTR boom) could be ridden out.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 11:24:41


Post by: insaniak


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:

I believe their success is one-off, and I really don’t think it could be repeated in the same way today, regardless of who or what the product is
.

The was a brief time when either Privateer or Wizkids looks like potential candidates to take the crown, but neither were able to sustain the momentum.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 11:48:35


Post by: Fifty


Athough I never played the non-advanced versions, I think the point about Heroquest and Space Crusade is correct.

Having the advanced versions and other games such as Space Hulk also secured that position.

I am almost unique amongst my gaming group (of mostly 30-45 year olds) in that I started off with Blood Bowl. Almost everyone else came via those two, and the few who did came via D&D or other RPGs.

I also think White Dwarf from about issue 100 to 150ish was a big factor. It was a bloody great magazine back then.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:07:09


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


I guess it also helps to look at other media and industries to understand what topples Big Boys.

Broadly, it seems to be Notable Innovation.

Nokia were for a long time the champion mobile phone manufacturer. Renowned for solid builds and reliability. When it comes to just making and receiving calls and texts, a Nokia from 20 odd years ago is still an absolute workhorse.

Yet....they’re now a shadow of their former selves it would seem, as they failed to get on the Smart Phone bandwagon.

We’ve seen at least one company try (and ultimately fail) to marry standard TTG to the digital age. For whatever reason, that innovation didn’t catch on. Doesn’t mean the innovation itself is flawed, just that it didn’t work then.

3D Printing is often touted as a problem for GW. And perhaps it is, sadly it’s not something I’m especially up on as a technology. But only if GW don’t in some way adapt to its continuing emergence.

Will they lose some sales to those just printing their own models? Certainly, I think that’s entirely unavoidable. But to the point the business can no longer sustain itself? Who knows.

One hurdle to 3D Printing as far as GW’s dominance is concerned is the length of time taken to print a single model, let alone a whole army’s worth.

Another is that GW offers a wider appeal than just the model itself. I for one really, really enjoy putting kits together (unless they’re resin, just my quirk). Clipping from the sprue, careful clean up, feeling the bits find their seating, and building something complex from flat pack. From what I’ve seen in my general ignorance, 3D printing tends to be more finished product than a kit - so for the likes of me, it’s appeal is more limited.

Overall, the assumption that 3D Printing is the future, and a GW Killer is somewhat flawed - as the premise relies entirely on GW doing nothing in the face of its continuing advancement in wider practicality. Right now, we can reasonably say GW are keeping tabs on it. They must be, because of how they design their models and their own adoption of Rapid Prototyping.

So how might GW adapt, and how might that affect things seems the wiser question.

Well, the most basic way at some point in the future are Citadel Branded 3D Printers. A sure fire way for Pleb In The Street to know the printer itself is up to the task, because not all printers are equal.

Another, and I don’t know owt about programming so again, I acknowledge my ignorance, could be a proprietary coding - perhaps one only a GW branded Printer or Software can make use of, to limit as best possible piracy.

Further option? Kit out their stores with High End, High Speed 3D Printers. Maintain that thrill of going in and coming out with a physical product - and the opportunities for upselling that come with it.

It really depends how widespread adoption of 3D Printers in the home becomes. Many on Dakka are tech heads, people with a passion and affinity for bells and doohickeys and gadgets. That’s always been a part of Nerd Culture. So perhaps we’re not a decent litmus test of how Pleb In The Street feels about the tech in question.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:15:43


Post by: princeyg


Well said Grotsnik!

One thing that I believe was also a major contributing factor was White Dwarf being available in newsagents and Wh Smith, where I'm sure the fantastic art on the covers led to many young impressionable kids discovering GW.

Back then, it really was only White Dwarf and occasionally TSR`s Dragon magazine that could be found outside of specialist gaming shops (of which there were VERY few in the UK) and is probably the single most important factor for me at least when it comes to getting into the hobby.

I remember way back when, young 11ish year old me and my parents were wandering around the big WH Smith in the centre of Merthyr Tydfil when i spied a blue covered magazine emblazoned with the words 2New rules for Heroquest and Space Crusade!! on the cover.

Well, having received Space Crusade for christmas a few months before and having played it thoroughly with my friends I was immediately drawn to it.

I purchased the mag with my pocket money and when I got home, looked in the index, went straight to the Space Crusade section and discovered a model I still rank as one of my all time favorites...the original tall boy Tyranid Warrior!!!

After that, I had to know more and then cardiff got a GW store!

Went with my parents for that years birthday, saw what was back then called the Banshee class Eldar Dreadnought model and well, here I still am today, many many years (and thousands of pounds) later!

I'm sure my experience is shared by many others.

As you rightfully say, GW's position in the market today is the result of them taking wargaming onto the high streets and out of small, secluded "you'd never know it was there unless someone told you" gaming/comic shops and most importantly I feel, packaging it in a way that appealed to people my age.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:16:16


Post by: harlokin


I would also include WFRP. It helped immerse fans into GW's ecosystem, even if they weren't parcularly into wargaming.

Similarly, I think that the various 30K/40K novels do much to inspire loyalty in GW's setting.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:21:41


Post by: tauist


GW is the Apple of miniature wargaming. Its the holistic experience and polish that draws people in, especially given how niche wargaming is. If you are new to it all, GW seems like a friendly, easy-to-get-into and looks classy from the artwork, packaging, to accessories.

And, as with Apple, there are also many things GW does "wrong", but that mainly involves the woes of experienced "users".

I still remember my first trips to a local wargaming store in the early nineties. Beardy "comic book guys" frowning over our love for GW products instead of "serious" RPG stuff. If GW stores had existed where I lived back then, I would probably only went there, just to avoid the pisstaking from the jadedd RPG vets who were older than us.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:28:30


Post by: John Prins


GW knows how to promote itself. Having White Dwarf before they even really got the ball rolling was a big help, but GW was buying ad space in Dragon Magazine, and they put out TV commericals for HeroQuest (Bwoadsword!), licensed their product to video games, up to full on retail stores. They push their product hard, and it works.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:32:02


Post by: OrlandotheTechnicoloured


They've also been pretty smart in avoiding borrowing to expand (despite the push listed companies always get to grow fast)

but that lack of borrowing means that when things have gone wrong (reletivly speaking) they haven't imploded paying off debt

they've also in the early days ridden the licencing bandwagon, putting out versions of runequest, call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer etc which were a staple of their early stores during the RPG boom years

and brought in acrylic paint for miniatures which was a revelation compared to the humbrol enamals that were all that had been available previously (and acrylic are oh so much more user friendly than enamel), I remember being amazed how much easier painting got


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 12:50:09


Post by: phillv85


At least for me, a 90's kid, my options if I wanted to get into the model hobby were the local GW or the local Beatties. Beatties sold all manner of models, so there was no guidance or push, and no full ranges to browse in my local (fairly small) store. GW on the other hand had everything you could ever need in a single store. They had several model ranges of their own, and a bunch of helpful, excited employees to help sell it to you. They'd let you sit and paint at the painting station, even give you free space marines to paint that you could take home.

I don't know if that applies to the whole UK, or was more localised to me, but if it was something that happened nationwide, it's no surprise that nobody was able to compete with them. Pretty much everyone my age is at least aware of Games Workshop/Warhammer. If I asked everyone I know what they think of Mantic or PP, I'm guessing 99-100% of the answers would be "Who?"

Now how they've become a global powerhouse, I'm not entirely sure. They certainly had a stable home market they could rely on for money for expansion. They've built a powerful and recognisable IP that has been exploited through video games and other mediums giving them brand recognition. How they've translated that to model sales elsewhere I'm not sure.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:01:57


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


I feel we also shouldn’t discount their scale of production.

Not just for getting existing kits onto shelves (bit of a wobble there, but the new factory is in place now, I think? If not it’s still a matter in hand), but an unrivalled capacity to produce more and more entirely new products.

Each release keeps eyes on, with the worst case scenario for each individual being ‘nothing of interest for me this week’. But with their previews returned, we know there’s stuff coming up soon which we do want - so we keep money aside or what have you.

X-Wing, a fair sized competitor? Releases what, once a quarter? And whilst I’ve not been keeping an eye, I dunno when there last preview was, or what it showed off.

Actually, X-Wing is another potentially interesting thing.

See, it’s a pretty solid game, no denying it. And barring ‘chase the card’ pretty cheap to get into. 5-6 ships will set you back maybe £120 or so, depending on where you source them.

The gameplay and cost combined were solid promotions over GW’s game’s at the time.

Yet......FFG appear to have blown a chunk of goodwill. First, it wasn’t terribly long before Duff Ships turned up (A-Wing and TIE Advanced). That in itself isn’t a huge problem, as FAQs and patches can address. But, FFG instead decided to have you cough up for the fixed rules. A-Wing via Rebel Aces, TIE Advanced via an Epic Ship.l...that’s right, to fix the broke, you gotta pay quite handsomely for it,

Turrets proved too ubiquitous, and removed much of the challenge in a game based around set manoeuvres and careful flight planning,

Eventually the did 2nd Ed....which from what I saw at the time, annoyed quite a few people. Conversion Kits had to be bought at a bare minimum, and the ships just seemed to grow ever more useful (one common complaint was that the X-Wing itself, the fighter of fighters in Star Wars, sucked)

Now this may seem like I’m knocking FFG specifically. I promise you that is not the case. They’re just who I’m next most familiar with.

But what I’ve hopefully illustrated above (however crudely, and I accept much of my info may be out of date or plain wrong), is that many competitors are touted as ‘not GW’, until they seem to inevitably follow in GW’s footsteps - constant updates, re- writes, tweaks, all costing ever more money.

GW get a very, very curious ‘bye’ here - we’ve come to expect of them. Indeed, you can bet that once 9th Ed is out and digested, people will clamour for 10th to fix something. Yet competitors? Vilified for it more.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:06:26


Post by: VBS


Once a company achieves a certain size within a market, it is difficult for it to decrease and easy to further increase. Once acquired a certain "status", it's hard to go back to previous conditions, even if making some bad decisions (a company might be large enough to take a blow or two, unlike smaller businesses).
So basically, GW built a legacy for many reasons stated by other people here, and manages to keep things under control. It's a feedback loop: most presence, most publicity, most confidence with retailers, etc... breeds more sales and interest in a never ending cycle, as it is what is first served to customers. If satisfied, no need to look beyond what is spoon fed. It aims towards the easiest thing to consume.
Also, standing on the shoulder of giants. Always a massive advantage to have decades of experience and a solid structure with logistics, personnel and resources that others don't have. Snowball effect to
capitalize on already acquired knowledge/best practices. As they say, the best way to make money is to have money. It's true.

This also happens in other areas. GW happens to be the obvious example for the wargaming niche.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:14:21


Post by: Turnip Jedi


@ Doc, although I think X-Wing did provide GW with an invaluable wake up slap as theyd got a bit complacent that nobody could touch them, lucky for them FFG managed similar blunders to GW which they might have got less flak for had the playerbase not contained so many recovering GW'ers

also x-wings are now awesome sauce


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:16:29


Post by: Grimtuff


Pure saturation in their home country quite simply.

They were around at the right time, they are UK based so dodged the "D&D=satanism" bullet that hit America and have pretty much become synonymous with the face of wargaming in the UK (can't speak for anywhere else). GW themselves even acknowledge this, in a sort of humblebrag way with their rollout of renaming stores to "Warhammer" simply as people colloquially referred to them (and FLGSs no doubt, just like all consoles were "Nintendos" back in the day...) as "The Warhammer shop". GW IS wargaming to an untold number of people and (I don't use the word insultingly here...) ignorant parents. You see it everywhere, even today where you have a wealth of info at your fingertips- not a day goes by on Reddit for example with someone posting a random Warzone or WMH mini or something and them asking "What Warhammer model is this? I don't recognise it." Warhammer is wargaming and it has never even entered their minds there might be other games (and that is exactly what GW wants).

I experienced it myself getting into this very hobby. My brother and I played a prepainted game by Bluebird toys called Havok, we asked the lady in Woolworths were to get more Havok stuff as they were sold out and she directed us to GW. Why? Because as I said, all little figures on bases are "Warhammer" to the untrained eye.

I'll reiterate what I said yesterday, there are due to this saturation a number of places I'd call "GW towns", where because The local GW was the sole outlet for tabletop gaming in said town (clubs that are tucked away nonwithstanding) for so long that is all they have ever known, so if an FLGS opens up or someone brings something non GW up to the club people will drag their heels in on it getting started. Sure, you'll have pockets of people playing these other games but they'll never get the stranglehold GW has.
Another aspect to this, is something I never see in GW games. I forget who said this originally but games like WMH seem to suffer from "Black dress syndrome", in that when getting into a game with a group you're for some reason not allowed to pick the same faction as them. Now, that is because of GW's saturation, so you know that even if you play the same faction as your friend you know you can go outside of the group and get games. In these smaller games, the groups tend to become somewhat... incestuous with there being a self perpetuating cycle of them never being able to pick up newer players for the group due to the first point of being in a "GW town".


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:20:22


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


 Turnip Jedi wrote:
@ Doc, although I think X-Wing did provide GW with an invaluable wake up slap as theyd got a bit complacent that nobody could touch them, lucky for them FFG managed similar blunders to GW which they might have got less flak for had the playerbase not contained so many recovering GW'ers

also x-wings are now awesome sauce


I’d agree with that. Doubly fortunate for GW that PP seemed to double act the blunders with FFG. When you’re main two competitors shoot themselves in the foot, it’s a bonus.

Triply fortunate? GW seemed to just sort of belt up exactly in time for the overall fallout to favour them.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:27:43


Post by: beast_gts


Hero Quest & Space Crusade were my introduction, but one of the big things for me was while there were places that sold other game systems (CHIPS & Virgin Megastore come to mind) no-one there wanted to teach you how to play them (or seemed to have any interest in them whatsoever).


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:30:53


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


There’s also further saturation in Nerddom - few GW models end up completely unusable after a few years.

Yes, it does happen (rip Squats and some weapon loadouts), but for the most part, a force gathering dust since 2nd Ed can still be fielded today - the main difference is it’d be a comparably smaller game in terms of points.

So someone returning doesn’t necessarily face a huge price tag.

Then there’s Black Library. Dunno about others, but I’ve dozens of their novels, going right back to Trollslayer, one of BL’s launch titles. Whilst my overall reading isn’t as avid today ( I blame work, where most of my day is spent reading technical information. Sucks the fun right out of it!) it’s those same novels and Discworld I fall back on when I want a story I know I’ll enjoy.

And from BLs output comes the temptation to start a new army....

Hell, I’ve not properly gamed in years, thanks to work and my commute. Yet, because of GW’s saturation, Dakka, WarCom and the stuff I already own, I’m still kinda up to date as to what’s what - and I do still buy models. I’m even painting my Ossiarchs, because Ossiarchs kick arse.

It seems very difficult for someone to leave the hobby entirely and permanently.

Even if people only play previous versions of GW’s games? It’s still GW producing the models. For instance, I mentioned earlier I’m planning a series of articles/threads about the early days of 40k. That’s because I recently set about procuring a complete set of all RT era books.

I’ve a couple of likeminded Nerds, and we’re hoping to arrange some RT rule games in the future. Am I going to be hunting down RT era models? Well.....probs not. They’re well expensive. So I’ll instead be buying current models, and converting up what I need (I’ll be doing Blood Axe Orks, so mostly Plasma Weapons. Or at least, recognisably Plasma weapons,

If we can dust off old books, anyone can. And the great joy of RT is you really don’t need that many models (Boys Mobz were often a mere five strong. Imagine that. Five Orks!), so for those just wanting to dabble, the hobby remains remarkably accessible......at least until the addiction gets you again


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:39:17


Post by: Grimtuff


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
There’s also further saturation in Nerddom - few GW models end up completely unusable after a few years.


Well that can be true to literally all of wargaming. Too many people are locked in to minis only being able to be used in the game they are for. Yet there are tons of range agnostic games out there. Maybe I just see it from a certain viewpoint as there was an editorial on kitbashing in one of the first WDs I got and the parting phrase of "Just because it says one thing on the blister does not mean it cannot be used for something else!" has stuck with me all of these years. But mini ranges should not necessarily be tied to a game, hell- that's even what me and a few friends did back in the day with Void 1.1. Eventually after using the starters and actual Void minis we found a custom force generator and started porting our 40k models over to get the most bang for our bucks.

But people don't seem to want to do that. Someone could pick up Warpath today and use their existing SM army with practically no faffing, yet people seem entrenched in their view that Warhammer minis can only be used for Warhammer...


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:45:28


Post by: Overread


I think there's another aspect, certainly in the UK, to consider which I think greatly helped GW. Their stores.

See the UK market (and many the world over) has had the highstreet become increasingly unfriendly to hobby and smaller turnover stores. Even the big names are having trouble on the highstreet.

The result is that whilst GW grew tehir store network many of the independents who would stock other games, were shrinking. Being pushed into smaller and smaller stores where they might be well stocked, but you couldn't swing a mouse let alone a cat (ergo no table space); Furthermore it meant that most of the games that they could stock they could only stock in a limited fashion. So whilst a GW store you can walk in and expect most armies and ranges on sale; the other firms had trouble just getting more than a few token blisters.

With the independents being marginalised more and more it makes it harder for them to stock adn support a wider range of games. Certainly where I am I've seen most of them close up or get pushed into areas where unless you know they are there, you won't find them (ergo very little footfall). I'd also say that many didn't help themselves in terms of marketing and pushing for clubs and groups to organise. Some companies also fail on providing stores motivation and tools - this is something Magic the Gathering gets right - stores are very heavily aided in making sure they run events and promotions which helps grow local market awareness and interest (and yet I'd wager GW actually has more of a name for itself in the UK than MTG - at least to those outside of it).


Whilst the GW stores do cost them an arm and a leg they've really helped GW secure their unique position in the UK and likely in other world markets. It's given them a huge leg up in promoting their game. I think the fact that they've also funded their store expansion slowly over the years within their own means rather than taking out a big loan and opeing dozens all at once has also meant that, unlike some of the highstreet giants, GW has been able to better hold onto their stores and weather economic downturns. That said we've all seen them go from 3 or 4 staff even in smaller stores down to highly dedicated single staff operations. That's a massive reduction in staff wages right there, so the highstreet is still very hostile even for GW.



I think another aspect is that GW maintains itself at a standard. Even if some (eg balance) aren't the best of the best, GW maintains a very known quantity and standard that remains pretty constant through the years. When you get a GW product you know what you're in for from the box all the way to the aftermarket support, store experience etc.... This makes dropping in and out very easy. As Grotsnik also says a lto of the core of most armies remains the same - you can take a 10 year break and return and most of your army still works. Sure it might not be meta-top-winning; but it works and you can patch it up with new models fairly easily. Unlike, say, MTG where the shifts and turns are much larger and whilst there are some core cards that hang around, you basically do have to start all over again.

If anything the only time GW has ever really shaken that boat was when they dropped Old World and released AoS and it backlashed on them in all kinds of hard ways. Granted their undertook that move in a very odd manner and some of the info we've had slip out since then (there was that one big interview a few months ago?) suggests that what we got wasn't even what was originally planned and on the table and many short (poor) changes were made for some odd managers.





Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:51:41


Post by: JamesY


When I worked at gw (2014) they were pleased to say that they made more money from the sale of Abaddon Black paint than the rest of industry made combined. Don't know if it was true, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't. Likely to be even more so now with GWs astronomic rise since then.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 13:57:53


Post by: Pilum


Weren't they the first 'wargame' company to do plastic kits, with Fantasy Warriors and later, yes, RTB01? I only really think the eternal Airfix and Revell 1/72 were your other plastic options back in the day, and of course they were only historicals too.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:02:03


Post by: Grot 6


One Word-

Logistics.

They have a solid financial backing, a solid shipping and distribution outlet, and a solid grasp on sock. They continue to produce models, and keep that sweet spot on hand just between Overstock, and Demand.

THAT is how you win wars.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:02:18


Post by: Grimtuff


 JamesY wrote:
When I worked at gw (2014) they were pleased to say that they made more money from the sale of Abaddon Black paint than the rest of industry made combined. Don't know if it was true, but I'd be surprised if it wasn't. Likely to be even more so now with GWs astronomic rise since then.


2014 was the doldrums of 8th ed WHFB and 6th/7th 40k, so I'd doubt that; not least because it's pure speculation as most of the other big players in tabletop gaming are not public companies so are under no obligation to divulge their financials to anyone outside the company, unlike GW (and even then they don't break it down by product to the public).


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:03:51


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


GW ‘s recent diversification is also helping them solidify their placing at the top of the pecking order.

I mean, it wasn’t that long ago all we had was 40k, and AoS. Sure, Space Hulk and Dreadfleet had shown up, but only as splash releases.

Now? Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Blackstone Fortress, Aeronautica, Titanicus, Underworlds, Kill Team and WarCry.

Each offers something different, with only Kill Team really being ‘mini 40k’. Not just in terms of gaming experience, but also spending required. This means the hobby (small h, to indicate GW) is far more accessible than its been in years.

Most of those games, if going in with a friend and splitting a starter set? You can get up and going for less than £100.00. Not in a half arsed ‘taster of what the game is’, but enough that you don’t need to buy more if you don’t want to.

Aeronautica is a particularly interesting beastie for me, as it seems pretty apparent it’s GW acknowledging the success of X -Wings game style.

Was about to do a quick price comparison, and seems Element no longer stock X-Wing? Probably just Covid and lack of stock.

Anyways. Darksphere! £13.29 for a small ship expansion. That’s your model, and I believe all the dials and tokens you’ll need for it. Plus some cards.

Aeronautica? £19.50 for six Imperial Navy Lightning Fighters.

See those prices? That’s GW coming out swinging, that. And with the rules contained in a single book, no card chasing element we see in X-Wing, so arguably I need only buy the ships I actually want to use.

As to which is the better game? Nah. No comment. Not going there, as it’s so subjective to be pointless!


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Pilum wrote:
Weren't they the first 'wargame' company to do plastic kits, with Fantasy Warriors and later, yes, RTB01? I only really think the eternal Airfix and Revell 1/72 were your other plastic options back in the day, and of course they were only historicals too.


Drastik Plastik and Psychostyrene, if memory of old WD’s serves!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:16:16


Post by: Overread


Lets also not forget GW has realised the value of their IP as a marketable product in its own right. They make a big percentage of their income off 3rd party computer games now. They don't even have to fund the money for them (PP did when they did their game); GW's IP is powerful enough that companies want to have it for their computer games. Perhaps not the likes of EA and such, but even middleweight firms like CA want it whilst a lot of indie-firms are hungry for a more powerful well known IP that they can use.

For GW its also a win win situation in that it doesn't matter if the game turns out rubbish. It's not their core target market so the game just vanishes into nothing. Dawn of War 3 being a bad seller hurts the game developer, but it doesn't hurt GW's model sales in the least.
True a few big profile games selling bad would have some impact; but more likely just on future games and the value of the GW IP to the digital market (and one or two solid big releases can turn that around). Plus smaller "no name" indie firms pop up and vanish all the time so if their games aren't the best its not long before its forgotten.




I'll be ever so interested to see how GW's new ventures into the TV world are going to go. With streaming TV and a lot more firms on the board making quality TV shows GW making inroads there could be the start of another major element for them. And there's no denying that if they can land even one solid animated series of their own that can send their fanbase soaring very fast. Even though it might be a bit of the "Lord of the Rings" bubble for them, it could certainly help broadcast their name to new generations of gamer.







Indeed I'd say that another thing GW has always had a handle on. They've very rarely sat back to rest on their whales or their old customers (heck during the worst of the Kirby era when they were arguably at their slower than ideal growth they were all but ignoring the established). They've always been keenly focused on recruiting new customers.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:22:58


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


It’s TV and potentially Cinema that are GW’s next big frontier. Over and above bringing new Nerds to the physical table? There’s a goldmine to be had there if they get it right.

Sadly, that’s always a big If. We all know full well you can turn out an impeccable film or TV series, only for it to fail. Equally, you can get lucky with low quality tripe (Friends and Big Bang Theory being my examples, other opinions available) repeatedly phone in, and have a multi year money making machine.

GW just needs to capture the zeitgeist somewhat.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:24:21


Post by: chaos0xomega


GW was one of the first to market in the industry with its own IP, prior to WHFB, Rogue Trader (and their predecessor games) the dominant trends in tabletop wargaming and role playing games were historicals and generic fantasy (like D&D, as the modern trademarked settings ala Eberron, Forgotten Realms, etc. were still quite a few years off from their inception). This gave them long term staying power as you weren't merely buying toy soldiers, you were buying into a story - BUT a lot of their early growth was mostly driven by supporting other peoples games.

They were the exclusive importer of D&D and TSR products into the UK in the early days, and thats where they made a lot of their early money which set them on the path of later success. They leveraged that to build a following through their magazines and journals, and then opened their shops to sell D&D and other manufacturers products. It wasn't until all of that was already in place that Citadel miniatures was founded (as a separate company), which they then began selling in their own shops which were already doing a lot of business peddling other peoples stuff. The company kept growing by pushing other peoples products (Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Traveller, etc.) through its distribution channels in Europe through exclusive and very smart and timely deals (rather than import the books they actually published them locally as it was cheaper), while putting its own games next to them in their stores. Basically they rode other publishers coattails early on to build up their own reputation until they reached a critical mass where their own product output became self-sustaining and they could focus on doing just that and drop the contracts with others, but even before they reached that point they were already one of the biggest players in a very small industry - TSR and GW did a dance for a few years where they looked like they would merge before whatever deals fell through and they went their separate ways. Basically, GW became what we know it today because it become a major player in things very early on and maintained its position as the industry grew through the 80s. Once they got into the 90s thats when they really started focusing on their own games and cut ties with other companies, and they did that by refocusing on the unique settings and IPs that they had begun forming over a decade prior, and then leveraging that with tie-ins in books/novels, card games, and other products (though not to the same extent we are seeing now with action figures, etc.). When they got into the 2000s they locked in the Lord of the Rings deal which catapulted them even higher as they were able to ride a second wave of hype and popularity base don someone elses franchise to basically spin free marketing for their own IPs out of it. In large part, much of the growth was driven by being one of the early players in the industry and growing organically with the industry as the industry itself grew, but also by simply making smart business decisions that paid unforseen long term dividends.

The fact that they had their own network of stores gave them much better visibility than any other publisher - while Warhammer has never been the cultural phenomenon that D&D became where you could rely on word of mouth and pop culture references to spread awareness, those stores were instrumental in driving public awareness of the settings and products in a manner that no other publisher has ever been able to touch to this day. As others have said, they also have a big advantage in that they are a vertically integrated company, they basically do almost everything in-house, which comes with its own advantages and makes it much harder for competitors to realistically be able to challenge them.

Another big things in this is that GW made wargaming a lot more accessible. Prior to GWs time, most wargames were phenomenally complex, either pushing towards the simulation side of the spectrum with complex rules interactions intended to capture and model every aspect of every detail that might have had any tangential relevance at all to the outcome of a battle (in some cases, right down to what kind of meal each side consumed before battle and how useful it was in keeping troops energized and functioning through combat stress, etc.) or being just generally complex crunchy and unrefined designs that required an engineering degree to understand and play (as an aside, a lot of the games during this period were, in fact, designed by engineers, which is why many of the rulesets read like engineering manuals). GW took a much more casual beer and pretzels approach that emphasized fun over realism, narrative engagement over crunch, and interpretation over strict rules writing. It lowered the barrier for entry for a lot of people who were intimidated or exhausted by the cognitive load imposed by pages upon pages of charts and tables and diagrams that were needed to play similar games by GWs competitors, and made gameplay simple enough that even a 10 year old could play it.

But, TL;DR - GW is an empire built on pretty solid foundations, they were at the right place at the right time and made some smart and ultimately consequential decisions that they could not have ever possibly foreseen the outcome of. Also, realistically, few companies/IPs have ever really attempted to challenge GWs dominance.

Privateer Press could probably be pointed to as the only one that ever really tried, but they never really got into the "vertically integrated" aspect of things. They largely failed to leverage their IP the same way GW did (they *tried* in various ways but none of the attempts ever really took off, in large part because many of them were half-assed). Whereas GW did a lot of things right, PP did a lot of things wrong. A few years back PP effectively abandoned their own setting by pulling fluff from their rulebooks and basically only focusing on the competitive gaming side of things - they tried to keep the fluff going in a series of novels but nobody really paid any attention to them and they were quietly discontinued. They have further diluted their setting - at least in my opinion - by playing with alternate timelines that seem to be overshadowing what few shreds of a continuing narrative they seem to still have. etc. etc. etc. PPs brief period of success, I think, was mostly driven by Games Workshops own failure, but then at a critical juncture right as it looked like PP was poised to take off and GW was circling the drain, PP made a string of really dumb decisions just as GW started making some really goddamned smart ones. I'm not sure what happened, but it seems to me that PP got cocky and overestimated their standing in the industry and thought that GW no longer really posed a threat, and were beginning to reconfigure and realign their business and operations for what they anticipated to be the next decade of growth, and right as they committed to that course of action GW came out of nowhere and left them flat-footed - the growth that PP expected never materialized and they had to cut back on their plans dramatically.

The only other company that looks to even be on GWs radar is Fantasy Flight with the Star Wars license, but they aren't going to hold that license forever - whereas 40k and Age of Sigmar aren't going anywhere and GW doesn't have to pay rent to Disney or another company to use them.

So - basically - TL;DR, right place, right time, one of the first into the market, grew with the market, made the market more accessible, and made really damned intelligent business decisions that created a path for long term growth and success.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:32:04


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


I’d venture that GW’s luck can be summed up as follows.

When they’ve made bad decision, it’s been more or less The Right Time. Example - LOTR bubble burst, leading to quite serious restructuring across the board. All of it just in time for the 2007 global crash.

And when they’ve made good decision, it’s been at the most opportune times - PP and FFG’s horrible decisions came just as GW pulled the stick out it’s butt.

That they’ve then been able to go on to exploit that sheer luck is just a bonus,


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:33:07


Post by: chaos0xomega


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
It’s TV and potentially Cinema that are GW’s next big frontier. Over and above bringing new Nerds to the physical table? There’s a goldmine to be had there if they get it right.

Sadly, that’s always a big If. We all know full well you can turn out an impeccable film or TV series, only for it to fail. Equally, you can get lucky with low quality tripe (Friends and Big Bang Theory being my examples, other opinions available) repeatedly phone in, and have a multi year money making machine.

GW just needs to capture the zeitgeist somewhat.


Yep, thats why i've started investing in GW heavily. The 40k IP is a largely untapped goldmine, and I suspect Age of Sigmar in 20+ years time will be too. Like everything, its a gamble, but I think within 5-10 years 40k could be a household name like Star Wars or Game of Thrones the way things have been going the last few years.

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
I’d venture that GW’s luck can be summed up as follows.

When they’ve made bad decision, it’s been more or less The Right Time. Example - LOTR bubble burst, leading to quite serious restructuring across the board. All of it just in time for the 2007 global crash.

And when they’ve made good decision, it’s been at the most opportune times - PP and FFG’s horrible decisions came just as GW pulled the stick out it’s butt.

That they’ve then been able to go on to exploit that sheer luck is just a bonus,


I don't disagree, but GW has been so consistent with their timing in these things that I struggle to put it down entirely to luck.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 14:50:59


Post by: Turnip Jedi


Still a bit baffled by Aeronautica,skimmed the rules and watched a few youtube, struck me as just good enough to stop folks wandering, but even that is a kind of progress with GW,should have been BFG mind but as Bob pointed out in the reprint thread .stl files for everything exist and even with a low end printer churning out a passable fleet would be easy as the ships were functional at best


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 15:39:32


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


 harlokin wrote:
I would also include WFRP. It helped immerse fans into GW's ecosystem, even if they weren't parcularly into wargaming.

Similarly, I think that the various 30K/40K novels do much to inspire loyalty in GW's setting.


I was going to mention the novels and setting, too. Right around the time that Dawn of War came out, the main hooks of the setting shifted from somewhat obscure to very common knowledge. Warhammer 40k terms and slogans were used with familiarity on every gaming and sci fi site. BL books were outselling Star Wars and D&D books in shops like Borders. GW essentially made a “core sci fi franchise” out of itself. Once a property gains that kind of exposure and emotional investment in sci fi fandom, it’s going to have a dominating position against properties that don’t have thousands and thousands of adoring fans no matter how bad the reboots become.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 15:48:56


Post by: Corrode


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
I’d venture that GW’s luck can be summed up as follows.

When they’ve made bad decision, it’s been more or less The Right Time. Example - LOTR bubble burst, leading to quite serious restructuring across the board. All of it just in time for the 2007 global crash.

And when they’ve made good decision, it’s been at the most opportune times - PP and FFG’s horrible decisions came just as GW pulled the stick out it’s butt.

That they’ve then been able to go on to exploit that sheer luck is just a bonus,


The reason for them not suffering the crash is very simple - they carry no debt whatsoever. It's unusual for a company of their size, but all their operations are managed through cash, there's no borrowing or constant overdraft or anything else, so they're a lot less subject to big shocks like a recession than other retail businesses. It's an absolutely mental way to run a company by conventional business wisdom but it does give them a unique level of protection against that kind of risk.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 16:29:31


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


True, but when poop really hit the fan, they’d downsized a fair amount.

Had both hit at the same time, who knows what might’ve happened?


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 17:35:50


Post by: Overread


I suppose its mental by modern business because if anyone smells money others are ready to muscle in super fast and copy-cat the same product/service. So you almost have to take out loans to expand fast to corner the market.

GW never had that risk because miniature wargaming, even today, is really niche. It's just not got the mega-bucks nor mass market appeal to make it a massive earner that would interest bigger firms investing into it. You'd never see the likes of Sony suddenly dropping millions into their own company overnight.


So GW was allowed to grow in a more traditional slower manner without the need for fast investment and loans to promote that fast growth.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 17:52:37


Post by: Deadnight


Smart business decisions were certainly a part of it, but I wouldn't argue these were 'symptom', rather than 'cause'. They were smart enough and 'on it' enough t make the right decisions and 'ride the wave'.

I would argue their 'market force' is the wave itself. Warhammer is this uniquely British 'thing'. And I don't think it's strange that it originated here rather than the us or Germany or France or wherever. model making has always kind of been a thing here. After ww2 it was airfix kits for planes etc, so the notion of buying 'somethings', putting them together and painting them, is a little bit ingrained in the culture to begin with. Dare I say it, it's something almost 'normal'.

As an ip there is something enthralling about the gw-verses. I think it touches on something timeless and primal in us in that it's a physical 'art', it's social, and it relies on the 'theatre of the mind'. In ways, I can imagine a Bunch of Greeks or romans doing something similar with clay figures when Caesar was conquering Gaul. 40k (and the old wfb) were brash, it's loud, it's over the top, it's silly, it's vibrant, is cheerfully nihilistic, its familiar and at the same time delightfully twisted and oh so charming and dapper and compelling. There's not a single unique thing in it but it's composition of 'all of the things' is unique, combined with a little bit of black humour, gallows humour and british wit, it makes it something quite charming and endearing. You can't describe it in the end. 40k is 40k. Just like Star Wars is Star Wars. There is a reason folks have been drawn to the 40k-iverse in its various media for over thirty years now.

It's just a little spark of magic that gw ran with and were smart enough to make the right decisions (well, more or less!) at the right time.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 17:53:12


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


They also make and effort for their products to be accessible.

I once dabbled in Celtos, a Fantasy Wargame. The models were pretty cool, and it had a strong Slaine aesthetic.

Sadly...the rule book was printed with pale lettering on white paper.....in a ‘Celtic’ type font. It made for tricky reading, and gave me a headache more than once. So I gave up trying long before I’d learned the basics.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 19:00:47


Post by: harlokin


Both 40K and The Old World feel like settings that evolved for their own sake, with more expansive lore than than would today be deemed necessary to host a skirmish game. That, for me, is a big part of the appeal, and I'd have no confidence in GW being able (or willing) to design anything like that from the ground up again.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 19:09:31


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


That’s a good point. World building is a time consuming, difficult task for a game designer (or anyone, really). There are a lot of settings that have been heavily invested in without any success, and most games don’t even bother in the first place. It still astonishes me how much effort and good fortune GW trashcanned when they blew up the Old World.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 19:36:04


Post by: Azreal13


Jes Goodwin.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 19:38:12


Post by: LunarSol


 Overread wrote:
I suppose its mental by modern business because if anyone smells money others are ready to muscle in super fast and copy-cat the same product/service. So you almost have to take out loans to expand fast to corner the market.

GW never had that risk because miniature wargaming, even today, is really niche. It's just not got the mega-bucks nor mass market appeal to make it a massive earner that would interest bigger firms investing into it. You'd never see the likes of Sony suddenly dropping millions into their own company overnight.


So GW was allowed to grow in a more traditional slower manner without the need for fast investment and loans to promote that fast growth.


They essentially got that kind of loan, just in the form of a large cashflow injection from both public investment and the Lord of the Rings line. It's a huge part of what allows them to have the internal infrastructure to have the freedom to do business on their own terms. A lot of the issues we're seeing with other companies have to do with distribution and manufacturing issues that GW largely has the resources to handle themselves.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 19:42:05


Post by: Overread


GW still had many things like their own factory and plastic casting machines before LotR though that certainly helped provide more capital for them to invest into it.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 21:10:54


Post by: Gimgamgoo


GW (citadel) were there making fantasy minis at the time Fighting Fantasy and D&D hit the UK. Right place, right time. That took them to the top of that niche amongst the kids of the time.

They've stayed there since. Seemingly moving from a gamer friendly run organisation, to a near cult-like monopoly running to make vast profits for shareholders. Those kids are now in well paid jobs happy to pay silly money for the products to ensure their investment remains valid and the nostalgia is there. Except GW are now neglecting the same type of kids from this generation that got them into their high position decades ago.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 22:07:49


Post by: Elbows


I think a big thing to consider is that GW was started by some proper geeks. I mean, real, serious geeks. Business was fledgling, but the feel up into the mid-90's was that you were buying stuff from real fellow geeky gamers, etc.

The level of lore/geekness in the earlier editions really captured a lot of peoples' imaginations. When it hit the right stride they finally converted that passion over into a business-first entity and it clicked.

Compare that to companies starting up now, trying to mimic GW, etc. A lot of properties are as cold and business-like as GW's current stuff...without the groundswell of proper geeky fanboyism that set the stage for GW's success.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 22:25:57


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


It helps that GW still have Jes, Jervis and John, so much of the sheer geek love for the system continues to this day, heading up various departments.

Meet & Greets show the same for the rest of the Studio crew. Just, see if you can grab a chinwag with them earlier in the event. They’ll be fresher, and you questions less likely to have been asked already


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 22:37:55


Post by: Overread


I think a lot of the start-up companies we have now still have geeks in charge or at least as the powerful creative force behind them. The problem tends to be they are one or two man bands. So they never have the time.

They can't do all the art, and the lore and the models and run a business and do production all at once. Plus a good number cannot do business. Once the numbers start to get serious they can quickly come unstuck - success (especially fast success) can be the undoing of a good number of them. Overloading them with too many orders whilst lacking the financial backing to properly expand to meed demand. Which can often net them chasing golden eggs - new games or new armies or such which stretch their resources even thinner with the hope that they can turn enough fast profit to invest back into the core game/product. Though often as not sadly it just overloads them even more.


Spartan Games did this time and time again until they imploded which was a huge shame as they and Dropfleet/zone were about the only serious names in their group. Dropfleet/zone nearly imploded as well until TTC stepped in to take charge of the business side.



Indeed when you look at it many of the larger successful miniature companies that have grown almost need to do just what GW did - have a store and body of retail products outside of your miniature game to provide the steady income and investment money to then plough into your miniature game and to prop it up both at the start, but also as it expands.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 23:07:22


Post by: hotsauceman1


The problem with TTC is.....they are almost a non entity when it comes to it.
Its always is met with....who?
Its sad, HWG had a really good game, made another good game,
and now dropzone is dying a slow death, which is sad because for awhile it was looking to possibly be the 3rd game right behind warmahordes. But everything floundered.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 23:16:32


Post by: Overread


I think they hit rock bottom when the KS overwhelmed them - which basically stalled growth.

I think TTC has potential to take it further - though they really should just call themselves Troll Trader Combat I agree more people have heard of the ebay store than the game end of the company.

I think Dropfleet/zone just needs a steady time to stablize itself and then a big marketing and expansion push (events that might have happened already but are clearly on hold along with everything else with Corona messing everything up)


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/08 23:39:30


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


They started rolling out the new DZC starter sets with twice as many minis plus a Commander for about the same price as the older starter sets....but they only got out two factions before the pandemic. They seem to have plastic Resistance/Kalium ground forces in the pipeline, as well as hints that Andy Chambers has been working on something new for them. Drop Commander’s not dead yet.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 01:05:56


Post by: hotsauceman1


I think that one thing GW has always done in the recent 20 years is not make a bad porduct. Now I mean bad bad. Like, MK3 Warmachine on launch bad, or Fallout 76 bad
Yes some on DOA that are not quite well recieved, but you still end up getting minis out of it in a lot of cases
Yeah some people dont like the minis, but they are always good and not infuriating to put together
Their biggest blunder was AOS, but they recovered fast.

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
They started rolling out the new DZC starter sets with twice as many minis plus a Commander for about the same price as the older starter sets....but they only got out two factions before the pandemic. They seem to have plastic Resistance/Kalium ground forces in the pipeline, as well as hints that Andy Chambers has been working on something new for them. Drop Commander’s not dead yet.

god i hope that is true, it is still my most favorite universe ever.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 01:43:39


Post by: chaos0xomega


I think a lot of people would accuse Dreadfleet of being a bad product - personally I thought it was a great game, although definitely *not* what the community desired, but I digress.

6th/7th Edition 40K were also decidedly a bad product, those two editions nearly sank GW as a whole, 6th less so than 7th, but the issues with 6th necessitated a premature 7th which was somehow worse.

But despite those issues, they were still *quality* in terms of production values.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 04:40:14


Post by: Seabass


I think the reason why they have market share is because they presented a product that was unique for its intended audiance, and they created, over the years, an incredibly immersive universe to explore.

GW, for all of their faults, has done a lot of moves right. Their model kits are extremely good (the newer HIPS kits, not the older ones) and easily can offer an experienced modeler some incredible opportunities, the same opportunities that could be offered in the scale model community on from what I have seen a dollar to dollar basis (yes, a 400.00 Tamiya kit will be quite a bit more in-depth, but when you compare the 100.00 Tamiya kit to a 100.00 gw kit, they are both pretty damn amazing!)

So they made a universe, a story, gave an amazing narrative and lore potential in their early days, presented their product in a way that hadn't been seen, in a setting that hadn't been imagined (on the larger portion of it, yes, we all know they did take some pieces from some people, like the xenomorphs from aliens and such) and did that with two separate games and continued to grow from there.

I think they did well, and continue to do well because they have realized that the best thing they have is their intellectual properties, and the black library grows, video game libraries grow, model counts grow, and now all kinds of visual content to consume is getting ready to come out, all of it based around that same universe.

I think thats pretty cool, and its a pretty good reason as to why they are still so strong.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 04:44:26


Post by: hotsauceman1


Dreadfleet was playable and still a game.
6th and 7th, while being horribly unbalanced, was not BAD, it was still a ruleset that made sense and was playable.
When i mean bad, i mean a stinker, like, they cant recover any good will from it.
Like
Making an Edition where people consantly argue other throw rules(Mk4)
MAke a faction so unplayable in said edition, they need an FAQ to fix(Skorne)
fething up licensing rights so bad, you have to drop a game(Alien Vs Predator)
Makiing an edition so bad, one of your previous competitors just releases your old edition with a rebranded name and it gets alll the attention until you release a new edition(D&D 4th vs Pathfinder)
Again, GW has duds, but they never have such spectacular feth ups like those


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 05:51:11


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


I wouldn’t say Black Library continues to grow. They hit their peak most of a decade ago when their paperbacks routinely made the NYT Bestseller list. They have shrunk the reader base somewhat by shifting to trade paperbacks (twice as expensive) and limited editions to increase profits. Internet discussion on sci fi (especially sci fi reading group) boards has really dried up since BL switched to staggered releases with premium hardcovers first. Between that and Heresy burnout, the novels seem to have decreased in visibility in the wider field of sci fi.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 06:12:39


Post by: Seabass


I'm sorry, I meant "The Black Library" as in the proper noun of a repository of stories and lore, not the name of the business. It was poor wording on my part.

The point I was trying to get across is that lore continues to move forward, and we get new content, provided in different and interesting formats, like the upcoming crime novels and the horror novels.

and yeah, its probably time to end the heresy series...but man, its been one hell of a ride! Im looking forward to the scouring, though i have to be honest, i hope it doesnt span 40+ novels!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 06:25:17


Post by: Racerguy180


Azreal13 wrote:Jes Goodwin.
Jes is probably the hero of the story.
John Blance & Rick Priestly deserve credit as well. Rick for having the vision to write a fun game(RT) & John for having the insane concept designs that basically laid the groundwork for all the grimdarkness since.



Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 15:52:53


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Not sure they’re that divisible.

John Blanche is the man with the wild and crazy visions, which Jes Goodwin has unique talent for turning into miniatures.

Had either of them sought pastures new early on, who knows what 40k might look like.

They are a dyad in The Force!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 18:10:31


Post by: chaos0xomega




 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
I wouldn’t say Black Library continues to grow. They hit their peak most of a decade ago when their paperbacks routinely made the NYT Bestseller list. They have shrunk the reader base somewhat by shifting to trade paperbacks (twice as expensive) and limited editions to increase profits. Internet discussion on sci fi (especially sci fi reading group) boards has really dried up since BL switched to staggered releases with premium hardcovers first. Between that and Heresy burnout, the novels seem to have decreased in visibility in the wider field of sci fi.


I think part of it too might just be the sheer volume of novels and books GW was releasing in the 6-12 months prior to the covid lull. There were 2-3 new novels out just about every week - psychologically it made me want to read those books less because there is a perception (whether or not it is warranted) that quality and quantity are inversely correlated, and with the absurd quantities of books being published in such short timespans I could really only assume that the quality would be lackluster. I think there is also a perception that many of the novels and books have turned into subliminal advertisements and expensive marketing periodicals for the miniatures the way they are now pairing books with weekly new releases - it looks and feels less like books written for the sake of telling a story and expanding the lore, and more like books written for the sake of trying to sell you something.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 19:05:53


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


I tend to feel the same way. When the Horus Heresy started becoming unmanageable, a lot of the people I discussed it with fell behind by a book, then two or three, and decided they’d rather use that as an opportunity to leave the series rather than slog through inconsequential books just to catch up for the next book they might like.

I’ve also felt the shift in focus at Black Library. That’s not to say every book is an ad or a rush job, but the feeling that the novels exist to explore the depth of the IP sandbox has been replaced by a feeling that the novels are there to explore the depth of the product range. I find myself drifting out of the books as everything comes to a screeching halt to explain some new fluff bit or faction retcon that changed what worked in the setting to what sells models. I also can’t escape the feeling that some of my favorite BL authors are done, just cashing checks until they find greener pastures.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 21:27:35


Post by: TwilightSparkles


Made a product people wanted whilst making that product visible and accessible, building a hobby ecosystem around it (books, tools, paint )and kept most of their ability to produce the product in house,

They also position it positively which means their fans do as well. Every person I know who plays non GW largely doesn’t play GW and they try to “sell” these non GW games by being negative about GW.

I was at the WHW open day where the new plastic great unclean one was on show and talked to the designer, I noticed how they’d designed it to fit together easily, and the chap pointed out that the kit being hard to make shouldn’t be “part of the GW experience”.

It also takes me back to when I joined a major finance company in customer services . The trainer was a very smart guy and basically summed up the told as “make things easy for people. Help them do what they want with less effort”. That’s what we are seeing from GW now with the kit design , push fit , contrast, even the diversification of games is about those customers who want the minis but don’t want or cannot have the tabletop experience.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 21:44:26


Post by: Overread


I honestly never ranked GW models as hard to assemble. There's perhaps one or two that are a bit trickier than others, but by and large they've always been simple.

I think the complexity comes from some in regard to painting - eg cockpits and the like where if you don't plan in advance you can mess up your ability to paint certain areas of a model.

That said where I am seeing GW doing much better is that they are really putting effort into hiding the seam area on models when you assemble them. That isn't just making it a bit easier (if anything it actually increase the parts and complexity); but it does mean that on more and more models you don't see the join line. With plastic that means less mess of seeing excess glue joins. It's a subtle thing but you can really start to notice it on a lot of their more modern kits. In contrast things like Tyranid Gaunts are much older and have insane things like split heads which are really hard to make well when you've got a join line right down the middle of the face.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/09 22:25:05


Post by: chaos0xomega


People honestly don't give GW's plastic kits the respect they deserve. As an industrial/manufacturing engineer, the manufacturing design of the kits is a work of art in and of itself.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 08:55:24


Post by: Stormonu


 hotsauceman1 wrote:
Dreadfleet was playable and still a game.
6th and 7th, while being horribly unbalanced, was not BAD, it was still a ruleset that made sense and was playable.
When i mean bad, i mean a stinker, like, they cant recover any good will from it.
Like
Making an Edition where people consantly argue other throw rules(Mk4)
MAke a faction so unplayable in said edition, they need an FAQ to fix(Skorne)
fething up licensing rights so bad, you have to drop a game(Alien Vs Predator)
Makiing an edition so bad, one of your previous competitors just releases your old edition with a rebranded name and it gets alll the attention until you release a new edition(D&D 4th vs Pathfinder)
Again, GW has duds, but they never have such spectacular feth ups like those


I'd have to argue on that point. GW slipped with 6/7E where a lot of folks abandoned it for PP's Warmahordes* (same as the D&D 4E --> Pathfinder). If PP hadn't inversely slipped up with Mk3, they might not have gotten a large portion of players back.

I think one thing that has worked to GW's advantage is their longevity. Nearly all the other gaming companies I can think of have either merged, bankrupted or recently either started or come to the fore. GW has managed to weather for years, which gives it both familiarity and a base who recommends it to others or returns to it from years ago. They've managed to avoid the fate of many, many other game companies and keep shuffling about through good times and bad. Especially amazing has been their ability to weather the bad times of just a few years ago.

* And it wasn't just Warmahordes. Other games like Gates of Antares, Maelstrom's Edge, Warpath, Kings of War, and Runewars were able to make inroads because GW was offending its fanbase in so many ways. The GW Titanic had certain sprung several leaks for a while.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 09:08:35


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


There’s also always been an undercurrent of what I’d call ‘satiscraption’.

It’s a term from the almighty lexicon of rude words, the Viz Profanisaurus. And it describes something being almost comfortably middle of the road, or low rent.

Think general mass consumer products. If I get a McDonalds, it’s satiscraption guaranteed. If I nip to the supermarket and buy some shorts - I’m not expecting top quality, or utter rubbish. Just shorts that’ll last a summer or two.

And much as I love ‘em, GW certainly offer satiscraption to all. You know what you’re getting into with them, you know how this deal works. I know there are games with better rule sets. I know there are objectively better model kits out there. But GW offers the comfort of Never Truly Disappointing,

A large part of the appeal is the sheer community involved. I post on Dakka, I post on a private forum, I post in my local club’s discord, I founded and run the Loot Group, pretty much all my friends link back to my local store in one way or another. So I’m constantly immersed via one medium or the other in GW’s hobby.

Local Stores are crucial to that. Newcomers not only get a friendly, knowledgable face to help them through the first steps, but anyone can walk into a GW Store and come out with everything they need to get their hobby on.

Models? Of course. Rules? Naturally. Paints? ‘Undreds, Guv. Brushes? Yep, and pretty decent quality ones at that, guy. Board? Terrain? Tools? Even opponents.

That’s very, very important to any hobby - having a friendly environment to suss it out and learn the ropes in. FLGS should, in theory, offer the very same thing (that not all do is a different topic I feel).

The ‘big old welcome hug’ GW has deployed to newcomers over the decades is warm. It’s inviting. To the point you really don’t mind them using it as an excuse to rifle through your wallet, because you get so much more in return than just a model kit,


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 09:11:50


Post by: Overread


Honestly the fact that it took GW springing userbase leaks in a big way to actaully get the rest of the market going and the fact that millions was ploughed into various kickstarter games around the same time - kind of shows just how much impact GW has on the market.

Their long lifespan certainly makes it attractive to wargamers where it can take years to build up armies - for GW this means you're fairly solid (save for the AoS/Old World event) and safe to invest. Lots of the other firms tend to peak and fall far quicker so the "playing window" contracts.


The best thing is if GW keeps growing its market that's in turn growing the wargamers market. If that keeps growing it gives more room for more firms to step in and solidify their position.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 10:55:57


Post by: Slipspace


GW made a lot of good moves in the early 90s, I think. When I was just starting to get into gaming GW presented themselves as the only game in town, and quite often they were. In the UK you saw them on every high street with models prominently displayed in the windows. You had White Dwarf in the local newsagent and, most importantly, you had Space Crusade and Heroquest being advertised on TV. On top of that, for a while you could get the WH and 40k starter boxes for 4th and 2nd edition in Argos, which was pretty much a retail institution back then. On top of that they did a really good job of building an entire hobby ecosystem so eventually you could not only get books, models and paints from them but also craft knives, cutting mats, steel rulers and files. They weren't the best quality and were invariably overpriced but it meant as a teenager with a bit of cash from a paper round or Saturday job I could jump on a bus to my local GW and get any hobby related stuff I wanted without some exhausting scavenger hunt for the local hobby or game store that was often in some weird part of town, down some random back alley.

That visibility is still the secret today. They're maybe less exclusive now we have the internet to discover things but they're still the recognisable face of gaming to pretty much everyone and especially to non-gamers.

 BobtheInquisitor wrote:


I’ve also felt the shift in focus at Black Library. That’s not to say every book is an ad or a rush job, but the feeling that the novels exist to explore the depth of the IP sandbox has been replaced by a feeling that the novels are there to explore the depth of the product range. I find myself drifting out of the books as everything comes to a screeching halt to explain some new fluff bit or faction retcon that changed what worked in the setting to what sells models.


One of the Black Library authors (or ex-authors, haven't seen anything from him in a while) was in my gaming group for a while and he mentioned quite a few years ago now that the BL editors would go through manuscripts and make sure any units that were mentioned were given their correct product name in the novel, even when it made things quite jarring. Authors were also often instructed to feature certain units in their stories - like if a Primaris Apothecary is about to be released, make sure there's one in your novel.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 11:08:09


Post by: Overread


I think one change at BL that AoS has hit home with and 40K is warming up too is an increase of reducing a single faction focus. Granted Old World was always pretty good at that in general, AoS more so.

With 40K it always had a big Imperial focus, but I think we are starting to see more Xenos stories appearing from them which I think is a great thing in diversifying the lore and also in showing that its not just the Imperium which wins in the end every time (or at least gets the most glorious losses)


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 11:23:41


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Other factors about the stores - they showed off the hobby, not just the product.

That involved recruiting talented staff. Those who could do beautiful paint jobs, knew the rules, and were a dab hand at assembly. There was also usually cabinet space for customer’s models, another way to show off the whole of the thing.

FLGS? Well, it does vary, doesn’t it? I’ve not been into a great many, as might be expected from someone in the U.K., as we simply don’t have a great many.

Some replicate the GW store experience quite competently. Others, sadly not so much. I’ve seen stunning cabinets, and some which just aren’t. Some even feature broken models, covered in dust and looking a bit sad.

Experiences elsewhere probably do vary. But a well presented store front, showing off the wares has most definitely been part of GW’s success.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 12:17:35


Post by: Overread


Most of the FLGS I've been into in the UK have been tiny affairs - boxes stacked high and perhaps just enough room for the till and perhaps a few customers.

I know that Wayland and Firestorm both have big stores (Firestorm I think has 3 now in Wales) and that there's other larger stores around.

I recall seeing a neat display of some Hordes models in a store in Reading a good number of years back. Certainly seeing them made a big difference over just hearing about them or seeing photos online.



Heck these days I get annoyed that so many miniature produces only show 3D renders. To me seeing actual photos (well taken) then actual models beats a 3D render. 3D renders are always clean and neat and can often show off micro-details that either don't make it through casting or painting or are just impractically tiny details.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 13:30:37


Post by: Cruentus


Slipspace wrote:
GW made a lot of good moves in the early 90s, I think. When I was just starting to get into gaming GW presented themselves as the only game in town, and quite often they were. In the UK you saw them on every high street with models prominently displayed in the windows. You had White Dwarf in the local newsagent and, most importantly, you had Space Crusade and Heroquest being advertised on TV. On top of that, for a while you could get the WH and 40k starter boxes for 4th and 2nd edition in Argos, which was pretty much a retail institution back then. On top of that they did a really good job of building an entire hobby ecosystem so eventually you could not only get books, models and paints from them but also craft knives, cutting mats, steel rulers and files. They weren't the best quality and were invariably overpriced but it meant as a teenager with a bit of cash from a paper round or Saturday job I could jump on a bus to my local GW and get any hobby related stuff I wanted without some exhausting scavenger hunt for the local hobby or game store that was often in some weird part of town, down some random back alley.


And I'll add to this, that in the US at that time, there were maybe a handful of actual GW stores in the entire US. What they did was have their Outrider program where their staff and volunteers would drive around to local game stores to put on demos, do painting sessions, and show off new releases. In some cases they would run small events. AND they had the Bitz Van. A garishly painted panel van that would drive from FLGS to FLGS, pull up, and sell bitz right then and there (back when GW had a bitz service), and parts from every model in their range could be bought separately. If they didn't have it in the van, they'd take the order and have it shipped to your home.

While GW was doing this, we had Battletech, Warzone, and perhaps one or two others that I can't remember, but none of them had the same level of engagement. Coupled with the annual Games Days and annual Grand Tournaments, made GW in Baltimore a gaming destination (like Gen Con is now).

Of course, that all slowly stopped, the Van (which was broken into and looted) stopped its rounds, and then GW withdrew their GD and GTs. But for those who now fondly remember those times, that's what also keeps us coming back.

That being said, while I feel like the engagement is returning, the increased churn or rules, new factions (back in the 90s we complained that it was impossible to balance 14 factions, which was what 40k and WHFB had each), now its even more, and the prices are what are pushing me to other pursuits. My son, who is 10, can't go into a local game store and buy something with his allowance without saving up for multiple months, and even then, you end up with like 5 models.

As others have mentioned, GW does have longevity, and safety in terms of investing, but they'll need to figure out how to get the kids into it, if their parents aren't willing to bankroll it.

Final thought - there used to be threads talking about GW going under before the Kirby years, and during the Kirby years. If Kirby couldn't sink GW, I don't think it'll happen.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 14:19:14


Post by: Slipspace


 Overread wrote:
Most of the FLGS I've been into in the UK have been tiny affairs - boxes stacked high and perhaps just enough room for the till and perhaps a few customers.


Random anecdote time! In Edinburgh and the surrounding area we have a huge variety, from large, impressive FLGS that hosts lots of tournaments to ones that people literally walk past without even realising they're a shop. One looks pretty much like someone's house and hasn't had a proper sign in over a decade. A friend of mine once went to one of our FLGS for the first time to buy some X-Wing stuff and was literally escorted from the café area on the ground floor, down into the depths of the basement to be presented with the "shop" in a cupboard next to the bathroom cleaning supplies. Things have changed in that store since and you can now tell it's actually a shop but I think the consistency of GW's stores in terms of displays and customer interaction is a big positive for them.

For all the complaints people make about GW's over-enthusiastic customer engagement in their shops they do at least put a lot of emphasis on interacting with customers and provide a fairly professional retail experience. That's especially useful when little Johnny's parents or grandparents come in looking to spend £50 on something but with no idea of what that something should be.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 14:24:14


Post by: LunarSol


 hotsauceman1 wrote:

When i mean bad, i mean a stinker, like, they cant recover any good will from it.
Like
MAke a faction so unplayable in said edition, they need an FAQ to fix(Skorne)


And yet GW somehow gets a passed when Grey Knights were far less playable for far longer in 8th?


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/10 15:19:09


Post by: Cruentus


 LunarSol wrote:
 hotsauceman1 wrote:

When i mean bad, i mean a stinker, like, they cant recover any good will from it.
Like
MAke a faction so unplayable in said edition, they need an FAQ to fix(Skorne)


And yet GW somehow gets a passed when Grey Knights were far less playable for far longer in 8th?


Skorne is one of 5 (Five) Core Factions in Hordes (out of 15 total factions, including 4 limited factions combining Warmachine and Hordes). Grey Knights is a minor faction out of 20 something factions, and arguably isn't a "core" Faction in 40k (although aside from Marines, what is Core in 40k?), and that isn't even adding in the AoS factions to up the faction total.

I'd say that not having Skorne playable is less forgiveable, but ymmv.

That being said, we used to complain about GW that they couldn't balance 14 40k factions. So they go out and then try to double it, and not only double it, but allow soup, which throws an even further level of complication. Should GW have a game that they can get every product out during the edition cycle? Absolutely. Do they? Nope. Could Skorne work at all in Warmahordes? Don't know. Could GK work in 40k. Sure. Were they competitive? No. Did 99% of GK players - i.e. non tournament players - use them without a problem? Probably.

I remember back when SOB were getting one of their codexes, what, back in 5th edition, playtesters gave GW feedback (yes, they had playtesters back then too!) saying "You know, you can abuse these Faith Points by taking X, Y, Z, with this result." GW's response was: Why would anyone do that?" They didn't change anything, and Faith Point abuse happened in certain circles. That right there shows you GW's approach to writing and playing the rules.

Back on topic though - with GW, you know what you're getting from the game, and that doesn't really change. They provide a canvas for your to create your own battles, in your own universe, and, if you want, have a beer and pretzels type game where you push models around. If you're not trying to break the game, and playing by RAI (which is how GW writes rules, always have, always will), then you're golden. And its the large, majority of people who play in basements, game groups, and who only paint GW models, that will keep GW in their market position.





Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 10:41:31


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


GW are also adept at pushing the educational side of the games.

Sure, you’re not gonna get a degree playing 40k, but it’s still getting your kids doing Sneaky Maths and Stealth Reading. The modelling and painting side of course aid hand/eye coordination. Not to mention social skills.

That makes the hobby appeal to certain parents. And as a former till monkey, it was pretty common to see parental bargaining/blackmail involved in purchase negotiations. Things like ‘if you want that Landraider, you’ll need to get a B’ type stuff.

Sure, there are those parents who do just sort of throw money at it. There always will be. But most are just happy to have found a quiet activity that can be enjoyed solo (building and painting) and with friends (playing, building and painting) and quietly.

I’ve even witnessed parents encouraging their kids to mathammer out loud. Not in a regimented way, just a sneaky way. Like ‘ok, so if you’re hitting on a 3+ on a D6, how many of your 12 shots do you think are likely to hit’. Just small, clever interactions with maths in real life.

Other companies? Well, they just don’t have the outreach in the way GW do. Again, a decent FLGS should run demo games, and know how to sell all the different aspects. But PP et al ( spesh since Pressgangers were wound up) are at the mercy of each FLGS. If the owner for whatever reason or logic just isn’t into your game? You’re not gonna get the sales from that store.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 10:51:31


Post by: Overread


GW even got themselves onto the D of E program as one of the skill options. Though that's nothing new (I used model making as a skill decades ago); it was a shift from just a model making to specifically GW model making as an option. That really helps them get into a good few schools along with their school packs.

It's really easy in many ways and yet I'm surprised other firms don't do it. The young teens to young adults is the prime market for recruiting new gamers and many made fans then will have a greater chance of sticking at it long term.




I think also when we consider FLAGS we have to consider return on investment. For them pushing MTG is far more profitable and with a lower boundary of entry at the beginner level. It's just much easier to get kids and parents into the idea of £10 and you're good to go with a pre-made deck. Plus you can convince them to pick up packs of cards for small costs. It's very impulse driven .

Wargames make money, but everything about them is slower. So I figure unless the store manager wants to sell your game chances are they will rely on the club/market to do the selling of it for them. It's not a good policy, but its likely one that they adopt. Esp the one-man-band affairs.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 11:43:02


Post by: torgoch


The answer is Chaos Warriors

GW made and distributed fairly generic fantasy models. They also started making their own Chaos Warrior fantasy models of over-armoured fantasy figures. These sold better than any other line. Bryan Ansell made the connection that people wanted to use their chaos warriors for something and thus Warhammer was born as their own battle system, with chaos and chaos creatures in it. The reason the Warhammer world is mish-mash of medieval nations and fantasy creatures is to enable you to fight your chaos warriors against other ranges games work-shop created.

The Space Marine design is based on the chaos warrior model, but in space. That specifically was the design brief. Again, 40k is a retro universe so that your space chaos warriors can fight your Orcs with bows. The Bow and Arrow was a surprisingly good weapon in 1st edition 40k for this reason.

So basically the answer is chaos warriors. Only GW made them, and only they could therefore see that people wanted these crazy OTT figures way more than they wanted a 100 years war guy with a pike or halfling with sling. Eveyrthing since has just been a vehicle to sell chaos warrior variations.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 15:20:20


Post by: leopard


GW were at the right place at the right time more often than they were not.

those who have tied to follow since create games where they have a 'background' that generally feels very shallow and forced.

as did GWs initially, but GW have grown it over 30 years in a way no other company really has.

they have never had the best rules, but they have typically had rules that were good enough, coupled to models that were good enough and critically easy to get hold of and with the shops easy to see before you bought them

then as noted by many others, had staff who either had a passion or could fake it while other companies stuff at best had disinterested sales types in larger chain stores

Mantic did ok with KoW 2 launching just as GW imploded Warhammer fantasy, Warlord suffered with GoA as 40k 8th launched and basically killed it

essentially GW is to gaming what Microsoft is to computer software, you can survive but it requires GW not to decide to have your market because if they want to they can.

and they have grown to the point of being able to afford the vertical integration (I heard somewhere the only reason they don't own a print studio or paint factory is they couldn't keep it busy with just their own stuff), and that gives them a huge advantage.

then as noted you have that they run on cash and not debt


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 19:13:31


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


There’s also what I think is a major factor for their early success that I don’t feel I can adequately explain.

See, I was born in the U.K.,in 1980. And the main comic of my life was 2000AD. Mum (RIP) and Dad wouldn’t buy it for me, because it was in its own way pretty mature. But, the barber’s always had fairly recent copies for us to read as we waited.

It was equal parts deadpan, satirical, nihilistic and dystopian. If you look at Rogue Trader era 40k? Shared artists. Shared sentiment. Shared overall aesthetic.

Early 40k and 2000AD were rooted in the decay of Empire, and all that came with it.

It’s not something I can explain in words. That’s not to say it’s inexplicable, just that such themes and vistas have just been part of me and my experience.

So when I first discovered 40k proper, it imprinted in away very, very few forms of media have. Not even Transformers, He-Man, GI Joe, Thundercats et al did. That whole thing was, for me and peeps I know of similar age, profound.

I know I’m doing a bad job of explaining it here. But it is what it is.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 19:38:30


Post by: Turnip Jedi


Ive got a few years on Doc but cant disagree about 2000AD and its massive influence on 40k and as besides the odd reprint we didnt really have supercomics in the UK at that time so once you grown out of the Beano et al it was war comics or 2000AD and whilst Dredd was the figure head the likes of Rogue Trooper and especially Nemesis had a hand in shaping 40k

And of course GW putting out a Dredd RPG and a couple of Board games and a slew of minis got a lot of readers on side buying in and once you got em....

also most cromulent use of the profanisarus old chap


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 20:50:34


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Well now I don’t know which of the many profanities I used!

PM me with the answer, so we can suitably giggle!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 21:23:45


Post by: Overread


Perhaps the better question is not why is GW so powerful, but why is no one else even close to their rival. Even PP at their height was miles from GW's size and influence.



Why is it that the wargaming market the world over is so heavily dominated by one company.


I'm guessing that big names (Sony etc...) just don't see enough profit potential to invest heavily into the market. Whilst other toy firms have their own niches and markets. I'm guessing one risk of GW being so publicly BIG now is we might see another big firm try and muscle into the market - which might bring a far more corporate style and approach.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 21:29:06


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


The only real difference is the stores.

Let’s face it. Any shop front is expensive to maintain, let alone anyone even trying to match GW’s sheer coverage.

GW essentially grew for a single FLGS. But with ‘Brass Knobs On’.

I really don’t know that can be replicated


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 21:45:39


Post by: Turnip Jedi


Most likely not in the internet era

and whilst its not apples to apples the only card game that got close to mtg was the non-physical hearthstone, which admittedly had the wow brand helping it but up till then many possibly better card games just got crushed under the five colour juggernaut

so i think anyone elses best shot at the moment is to provide what gw cant, and even that might start getting tricky as gw get more reactive to formats and genre





Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 22:01:53


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Not intending to be a Richard, but what is your take on what GW can’t provide?




Automatically Appended Next Post:
And is their a difference between what they can’t and won’t?

Completely open questions. I’ve no horse in this race!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/11 23:26:40


Post by: OrlandotheTechnicoloured


Nowadays new market entrants have the same issue the million and one MMO games had when they tried to topple World of Warcraft

the amount of time they have had to produce content, even if a lot of the old stuff isn't terribly relevant anymore

bring out a new wargame and people insist on lots of factions (well at least 4), a decent amount of stuff for each faction, lots of background and depth and they just haven't had time to develop

even GW ran into this problem with AoS with people wanting depth equal to 30 years of writing in the old world (and they were right in a way, AoS was pretty shallow by comparison)


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/12 00:09:28


Post by: Overread


AoS was crippled by its own missmangement and GW's odd desire to keep it such a strong secret that it backfired on itself. If they'd approached it with the full resources and without keeping it top secret and, honestly, with the right management attitude, I think they could have done FAR better. Heck in the interview thread its even said that they had a full working points and rule system for launch which was basically thrown out the window at the whims of appeasing one manager.

I don't think ppeople wanted 30 years worth of lore from AoS; but its launch was very confusing. Even now it still suffers somewhat from a lack of a proper time-line and geographic setup to let people orientate themselves in the stories.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/12 04:27:34


Post by: hotsauceman1


 OrlandotheTechnicoloured wrote:
Nowadays new market entrants have the same issue the million and one MMO games had when they tried to topple World of Warcraft

the amount of time they have had to produce content, even if a lot of the old stuff isn't terribly relevant anymore

bring out a new wargame and people insist on lots of factions (well at least 4), a decent amount of stuff for each faction, lots of background and depth and they just haven't had time to develop

even GW ran into this problem with AoS with people wanting depth equal to 30 years of writing in the old world (and they were right in a way, AoS was pretty shallow by comparison)

That is why several of the ones coming close to popularity are IP wargames like star wars and such.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/12 07:29:22


Post by: Turnip Jedi


@ Doc, back in 2012ish when me and the geedubs finally called it a day it was 40k or nowt (AOS was still in its stupid insult to gamers phase)

So just drifted into other games, smaller skirmishy games mostly

Now GW offer way wider entry points so besides licensed fare even my prior point is getting trickier


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/12 07:50:41


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Ahhhh, gotcha!


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Thinking back to the early days, when Rogue Trader was a fairly rinkydink job with high aspirations.

Way back then, the whole hobby retained a largely DIY ethos. As a company, they couldn’t really produce many tanks or big things. It wasn’t a lack of will, just a lack of resources.

We see them instead focus on infantry sized stuff, and occasional small vehicle (Ork Buggy).

Indeed until 2nd Edition rolled around, the only plastic vehicles available were the Rhino, Predator, Land Raider and Battle Wagon. The latter two of course were out of production by 2nd (I think? Certainly the Land Raider, Battle Wagon might’ve lasted longer?)

This lead to a necessity of scratch building and converting. WD was often a showcase of such things. Some relatively simple kitbashes, others which would impress today.

The same went for terrain. Barring hedges and trees produced by model railroad type businesses, there really wasn’t much in the way of commercial terrain.

Nowadays of course ‘there’s a model for that’, and GW sell it. That occurred by degrees over the years, rather than in one fell swoop.

Yet? The converting and scratch building remains a solid part of the hobby. It’s a rare army that has no conversion work at all, even if it’s just a head swap or weapon swap. And rather than being done out of necessity, it’s a hobby thing to put your stamp on your army.

It’s also the same with rules. GW has always been quite upfront that their rules are a ‘serving suggestion’. And we see all sorts of house rules, from codified efforts such as ITC, to just two mates having a game, and agreeing stuff on the fly by applying the Rule of Cool.

I know others want a tighter rules set. And that’s fine. I’m not saying it’s ‘either/or’ here. Yet because of the rickety origins, a thread runs through 40k in particular of ‘make do and mend’.

Other companies? Not so much. I guess the wider community just doesn’t want Another Games Workshop.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
Going back to my original comment, and the impact of Hero Quest?

Found this video on YouTube during an idle browsing session. Definitely worth a view!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JbRWIMjzPA&list=PLCYSDJQezavLvmpmlPUuqIwXMa_SjxRmj


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/14 16:00:51


Post by: Genoside07


One thing that GW has always had was strong imagery and table appearance.

The first GW game I remember was Space Hulk. It was at a local convention and I went there to play Marvel RPG from the late 80s. I thought the game had everything. It had city maps
and tri-fold standees for miniatures. But a few tables over was a newly released space hulk and all the miniatures were painted. Seeing it for the first time I felt the game
was on a completely different level. One thing that the miniature was plastic, most I had seen at that point was RAFM and Ral Partha.
Even today you have games of War machine that are not even close to the tables that GW have.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/16 08:32:35


Post by: leopard


 Genoside07 wrote:
One thing that GW has always had was strong imagery and table appearance.

The first GW game I remember was Space Hulk. It was at a local convention and I went there to play Marvel RPG from the late 80s. I thought the game had everything. It had city maps
and tri-fold standees for miniatures. But a few tables over was a newly released space hulk and all the miniatures were painted. Seeing it for the first time I felt the game
was on a completely different level. One thing that the miniature was plastic, most I had seen at that point was RAFM and Ral Partha.
Even today you have games of War machine that are not even close to the tables that GW have.


have to agree, never really got into Space Hulk (though using the same boards for 40k 1st edition was great fun), but the local GW had an amazing set of SH boards, a seemingly unlimited supply of 40mm square bases for the floor, then it looked like they had raided a local model shop for tank kits and similar to greeble the walls, filled a ping pong table and was usually well attended - they had the genestealers and the store staff would run them (in a basic sort of way) and challenge players to see hw far into the depths they could get

even without really liking the game they way they did that was enjoyable (I got to play the baddies a few times as I was happy to ham it up a bit)

the visual impact of this, even though it was pretty basic really, was incredible


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 13:48:23


Post by: Chamberlain


The answer may also be political and cultural. The creation of consumer culture really ramped up in the Thatcher/Reagan era. GW just happened to be well positioned as mass consumerism became a truly all pervading and eventually global phenomenon.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 13:57:09


Post by: Voss


 Genoside07 wrote:
One thing that GW has always had was strong imagery and table appearance.

The first GW game I remember was Space Hulk. It was at a local convention and I went there to play Marvel RPG from the late 80s. I thought the game had everything. It had city maps
and tri-fold standees for miniatures. But a few tables over was a newly released space hulk and all the miniatures were painted. Seeing it for the first time I felt the game
was on a completely different level. One thing that the miniature was plastic, most I had seen at that point was RAFM and Ral Partha.
Even today you have games of War machine that are not even close to the tables that GW have.


Eh. I've never encountered that except as conscious choice by organizers/players.

I've seen amazing battletech boards, for example, but also the basic hexgrids, and at convention people put all sorts of love into their tables regardless of the game or company. For the majority of my time playing WM/Hordes and GW, in various stores, we used the same pool of terrain and tables for both games that we used for GW games. Same with any fly-by night games that came through.

For Warmachine/Hordes specifically, there was a deliberate shift to pushing the flat felt terrain to go with the steamroller rules for clarity and the mirror terrain (both players have the exact same conditions). To me that was a deliberate choice by the company to stumble.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 16:58:34


Post by: Platuan4th


 Turnip Jedi wrote:
Most likely not in the internet era

and whilst its not apples to apples the only card game that got close to mtg was the non-physical hearthstone, which admittedly had the wow brand helping it but up till then many possibly better card games just got crushed under the five colour juggernaut


So we're just ignoring the Pokemon TCG, then? Despite it overtaking MTG in sales in 2016 and holding 82% of Europe's card market since 2018?


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 17:29:21


Post by: Turnip Jedi


well colour me surprised didnt even know it was still a thing just assumed it was pika road kill in the way back when although gave up on mtg around Kaladesh so my ccg-fu is rather out of date



Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 17:36:19


Post by: Platuan4th


 Turnip Jedi wrote:
well colour me surprised didnt even know it was still a thing just assumed it was pika road kill in the way back when although gave up on mtg around Kaladesh so my ccg-fu is rather out of date



It literally did so well that The Pokemon Company took the game away from WotC(that's not technically true in all honesty, it's more to do with WotC focusing more on MTG despite Pokemon's success and TPC wanting more control over the game than WotC would allow, IIRC). It's had a comparable professional circuit since like 2001.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 17:42:06


Post by: Turnip Jedi


what cheaters, collusion and favourtism for the in-crowd ? Surely Professor Treechap wouldnt stand for that


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 18:03:30


Post by: Togusa


I can't speak for the past, but I can say that I cannot think of a single other game that comes close to having the number of playable factions, the over the top out of this world model designs, the pure power fantasy elements and so on that this game has.

More importantly, they've embraced social media and influence culture which is a massive powerhouse in the world right now. And for better or worse, the electronic industry has been making a killing with video games that cost GW nothing and only generate cash.

Another thing I would touch on is their IP. They've set up system where it's a one stop. I go into a GW store and I can get it all, in one place. Books, Models, Paint, Brushes, Basing materials, Glue, Magazines, Tips and Tricks. For a new player, that's a god send.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Platuan4th wrote:
 Turnip Jedi wrote:
well colour me surprised didnt even know it was still a thing just assumed it was pika road kill in the way back when although gave up on mtg around Kaladesh so my ccg-fu is rather out of date



It literally did so well that The Pokemon Company took the game away from WotC(that's not technically true in all honesty, it's more to do with WotC focusing more on MTG despite Pokemon's success and TPC wanting more control over the game than WotC would allow, IIRC). It's had a comparable professional circuit since like 2001.


Remember that time WoTC bought up L5r from Alderac at the right time (giving them just enough money to get out of debt) and then proceeded to try for years to kill the L5r community to sequester any competition for M:TG? Because I remember that.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/17 21:38:38


Post by: Turnip Jedi


I dont exactly remember but it was prior to the interwebs really being a thing so the local nerdherd just played both, I vaguely remember the feel of the card pool changing to be more magicy with non-unique rares creeping in, but stopped around the Race to Voltrum story arc

But back on topic the shops are so key, my corner of the shire has been without an indie store for about 12 years and the majority of my local club veterens are connected via that store which makes picking up new players trixy

We had a GW for a decade or so and to many players they are the only game in town


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/18 08:20:58


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Further thoughts on the various ‘ages’ of GW as I’ve experienced them, beginning around 1990.

As covered much earlier, I arrived via Hero Quest and Space Crusade. And I had everything for those released in the U.K.

When I got further into it? Space Hulk, Tyranid Attack and Blood Bowl all offered low cost continuation. First proper game with armies of my choice? Epic. From there, when I hit 14 and started paid jobs ( paper rounds etc) I started on WHFB and 40k.

Yet....there was that period where it seemed GW lost their mind, and abandoned all but WHFB, LotR and 40k. Yes specialist games existed, but weren’t exactly well promoted or supported.

And it was around that time (again, my perspective only) that army size and price really started to ramp up. I was lucky, as I had a key time job with GW, so was insulated by that wonderful discount.

But for others? The price barrier just kept going up and up and up.

We then arrive at the modern age, in which GW have once again heavily varied their options. Want to get your game on, but on a limited budget? Underworlds and Aeronautica might be your thing. Both involve very low buy-in, and expansions are fairly pocket friendly p. Wanting to expand further? Well, there’s BSF, WarCry and Kill Team. Managed to rope others in and now have a stable gaming circle? Why not Necromunda or Blood Bowl for league type gaming.

And all without impinging on 40k and AoS’ own appeal.

Example of how that can benefit? Few months back, I was in my local GW, buying stuff (can’t remember what exactly). Manager (and my old boss) was having a chat with someone who’d come across a copy of the new Space Hulk, and had greatly enjoyed it. Dude was specifically looking for expansions, as he’d been involved when I first was, and hoped for Deathwing or Genestealer.

Manager explained ‘sadly not, only WD articles, I’ve got back issues though’. But because Old Skills Never Die, I suggested BSF. It’s broadly similar to Space Hulk, offers more variety, and is expandable.

Sure enough, Manager takes over after my suggestion, and a sale is made, including a few ancillaries.

Now, whether Dude ever came back for expansions I’ll simply never know. But because GW had diversified their offerings, a decent sale was made where it wouldn’t have been possible before.

And I think that’s why we’ve seen a serious resurgence in GW’s dominance. They offer more ways to play and get involved than ever before, and not all of them involve continuous spending.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/18 09:59:40


Post by: Turnip Jedi


Fair points Doc, also think Kickstarter success for CMON etc was also kick up bot that people would buy one and done boxed games (GW dabbled but i suspect Space Hulk and the HH boxes largely went to existing customers)

I been tempted a few times Bloodbowl got trumped by Guildball rocking up a few months earlier and being based on the one true football rather than the cosplay rugger they play out in the merkia, Underworlds likewise but felt theyd foob up with the deck building bit and no elf faction




Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/18 11:07:08


Post by: tneva82


 Turnip Jedi wrote:
Fair points Doc, also think Kickstarter success for CMON etc was also kick up bot that people would buy one and done boxed games (GW dabbled but i suspect Space Hulk and the HH boxes largely went to existing customers)

I been tempted a few times Bloodbowl got trumped by Guildball rocking up a few months earlier and being based on the one true football rather than the cosplay rugger they play out in the merkia, Underworlds likewise but felt theyd foob up with the deck building bit and no elf faction




HH in particular was more of discount box of HH marines to HH players yeah. You could get the game rules and parts for very cheap in ebay as everybody was just hoarding up the marines. Particularly the 1st one with MKIV marines was very good deal for HH players. Prospero suffered a bit from special characters and sisters of silence/custodians being force fed to you reducing value of multi purchace.

My interest to HH vaned with death of those boxes. Got too expensive without those.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/18 13:42:38


Post by: auticus


At least where I am - the market force is a nuclear reaction. People play GW games here because people play GW games. They know that if they drop $800 on a new army that there will always be people to play it. Anywhere in the world. Even if they never go more than 15 miles from their home ever in their life.

They may hate the rules. They may complain about the balance. But in the end its that they know its the only game in town that will always be there, and any other game they try to promote has a limited shelf life that requires a lot of work and effort to maintain and keep going.

GW games drive themselves on auto pilot without any real work from the community to keep going.

And then there are the cottage industries that pop up around it. Painting services. Twitch streams. Guys trying to get paid to play 40k. All of that attracts more people, which in turn attracts more people.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/20 02:03:37


Post by: privateer4hire


Auticus's experience mirrors mine (and I've seen it repeated in DC, VA, MD, PA, KY, AZ, NM and now in OR). Unless you have a buddy or three willing to play alternative stuff, major GW games are pretty much what people will play and buy stuff for.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 07:12:45


Post by: Monkeysloth


I think you also need to look at the size of the market. There really can't be two big players because, as previously with PP, as someone gains steam there's not enough people in the hobby to support both even mid term and the larger one shrinks as it has the highest amount (numerical) of the people that aren't hardcore dedicated to a game and willing to shift.

Smaller companies tend to have larger percent of the players being very dedicated to it.

Also since the size of the market is small and doesn't have the ability for high margins/earnings the chance of anyone really investing a lot of money to "disrupt it" is pretty low (I think the Kirby era showed this as people just left as GW tried to earn as much as possible off of each kit). KSer's probably the closest thing and I think the only wargame/company that started 100% there that ever got any traction is Guildball (which seams to be dyeing off).

The RPG market is very similar. You could easy title this thread "why does D&D have such market force?" and there'd be a good amount of overlap of factors as again. Small sized market overall, low margin from sales, one system been the top dog most of the life of the market and a brand has been able to develop slowly over time and it's entered pop culture which earns it more then probably sales of it's actual products.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 08:15:14


Post by: Overread


If GW is making millions a year in profit and kickstarters within a year are also able to turn million (as a collective) then I'd argue that there is ample room for several competing brands within the market.

Sure its not the size of vast markets like for, say, suncreams and the like, but there is room. PP rising up showed that. PP's issue is more that they started making unpopular choices at the same time GW started making very popular choices.


The big issue for wargames, and similar to DnD, is that not only is the market leader a major force within the market, but that most of the firms that have come after it to compete rely heavily on poaching the existing major brand's customer base. That's the real issue, every time you get major competition its thriving off poaching customers.
This creates an issue because unless the new competing brand throws a lot of money into the system (like EPIC is for getting a slice of the PC game market pie); or provides something desired and not provided by others (eg like how GOG works); then the main brand is always there able to draw lost customers back.


I think a new firm trying to push in and wanting to make it big would really need to push into the new customer market; penetrating the young market like GW does and securing their own consumer base as that first/early time experience. Or at least once the firm gets its feet under it they have to go after that market. That was, in my view, PP's failing in that even with their PG system it was focused over recruiting existing gamers.



Also I'd argue that whilst visually the RPG market is dominated by DnD, the LARPing market (which is broadly related) has grown and uses different systems entirely. In fact over the last 10-20 years I'd say LARPing has gone from an underground movement of extreme DnD geeks into historical re-enactment, into its own major force.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 10:28:05


Post by: Deadnight


 Overread wrote:
If GW is making millions a year in profit and kickstarters within a year are also able to turn million (as a collective) then I'd argue that there is ample room for several competing brands within the market.

Sure its not the size of vast markets like for, say, suncreams and the like, but there is room. PP rising up showed that. PP's issue is more that they started making unpopular choices at the same time GW started making very popular choices.


I disagree slightly though I see where you are coming from.

My feelings on kickstarter, especially when it first came around wasn't that it was 'new' people more than it was existing players spending more. In my mind, It was a combination of existing players, burned out from the big games, and all of a sudden, you had what amounted to boutique specialised products coming out which appealed.

I don't think it's fair to say there is room for multiple competing brands. There is room for multiple competing brands but only at the expense and detriment of the others.

Pp's rise wasn't an expansion of the market. It was a cannibalisation of the market, on the whole. A good analogy is the tide coming in and out. Pp rose during gw's 'summer of discontent' around 2011-14, when gw couldn't piss off its players fast enough and seemingly did everything they could to turn their players against them. Most pp players came from the 40k competitive scene, and I do think some of the baggage came with them (rather than being creative, and exploring the fame it became about 'take this list and win' etc). As you say, Pp started making some seriously boneheaded decisions right at the time gw started to turn it around, and the playerbase haemmorhaged.

 Overread wrote:

The big issue for wargames, and similar to DnD, is that not only is the market leader a major force within the market, but that most of the firms that have come after it to compete rely heavily on poaching the existing major brand's customer base. That's the real issue, every time you get major competition its thriving off poaching customers.
This creates an issue because unless the new competing brand throws a lot of money into the system (like EPIC is for getting a slice of the PC game market pie); or provides something desired and not provided by others (eg like how GOG works); then the main brand is always there able to draw lost customers back.


Agreed.

 Overread wrote:

I think a new firm trying to push in and wanting to make it big would really need to push into the new customer market; penetrating the young market like GW does and securing their own consumer base as that first/early time experience. Or at least once the firm gets its feet under it they have to go after that market. That was, in my view, PP's failing in that even with their PG system it was focused over recruiting existing gamers.
.


Agreed. Getting new players in is something gw does well, while others seem to 'leach' off of what gw does. That said, there are other avenues of exposurewhen I played WMH seriously, I was out of the gw ecosphere, and came in contact with a lot of historicals etc and their players and came across a not insigniificant amount of people who had never played gw games who were wargaming, especially the historical scene, which I think. A lot of gw players are unaware of.

 Overread wrote:
I
Also I'd argue that whilst visually the RPG market is dominated by DnD, the LARPing market (which is broadly related) has grown and uses different systems entirely. In fact over the last 10-20 years I'd say LARPing has gone from an underground movement of extreme DnD geeks into historical re-enactment, into its own major force.


In my experience larping was always the red headed stepchild, or the 'third Murray son' of geek culture. I struggle to view larping as a major force but then again, I've not been exposed much to it, or to people into it. It's interesting that you present it like this. Thanks,


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 10:39:32


Post by: Overread


I think for Larping the University scene is what kicked it off. I think there was a core generation or two going through Uni that got it going and managed to keep with it after Uni which let it gain traction that it lacked before.


I do agree that PP and KS both rose from former GW customers; that GW could bleed those customers to a tune of millions suggests to me that there is room for a competing brand. I do agree with you that if that is the way a competing brand arose then GW would have to take some losses, but as I see it they do have healthy income enough to soak such a change. It might mean that if such a situation arose we might see GW's rapid release rate slow a bit.


I think GW also realises this "risk" which might be in part why they've put new energy into the specialist games. I think they've seen that there's a market and interest for more than 40K and AoS and that if they don't tap into it, someone else will. If that someone else starts bleeding off GW customers then that means GW is making less from the customers they've invested in to attracting in the first place.



Overall I think there is room and potential; just not potential profits for big brands to push into the market. Furthermore I think that many geek start-up firms lack the experience, finances and organisation to really allow themselves to push for fast expansion or to really market heavily to new gamers. It's an issue and something that I hope a firm like PP or others can start to address. I'd love to see other firms push in and market to new gamers and get more people into the hobby in general.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 10:50:27


Post by: Turnip Jedi


A couple of my extended nerdherd are fairly hardcore Larpers and the envy inducing pics they post to facey-gram or wotnot are stunning but arguably they border on custom themed holidays, heck one even had a midsized pirate ship, rather than the general perception of larp

But back on topic I think where a lot of other gaming companies struggle is being one trick ponies only having one or two games which even if its really good, like wmh or guildball, eventually gamers gonna gamer and look for the new hotness, even GW fell into that but had the resourses to start addressing that


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 10:59:42


Post by: Deadnight


 Overread wrote:
I think for Larping the University scene is what kicked it off. I think there was a core generation or two going through Uni that got it going and managed to keep with it after Uni which let it gain traction that it lacked before.


Ah, fair. College was a long time ago for me! Damn kids with their skateboards and loud music!

 Overread wrote:

I do agree that PP and KS both rose from former GW customers; that GW could bleed those customers to a tune of millions suggests to me that there is room for a competing brand. I do agree with you that if that is the way a competing brand arose then GW would have to take some losses, but as I see it they do have healthy income enough to soak such a change. It might mean that if such a situation arose we might see GW's rapid release rate slow a bit.


I agree there is room for other games- that is the case now, I disagree that there is room for a competing brand at 'something of the scale of gw'. Pp was the closest in over a decade and they ran out of steam awfully quick. More importantly, some of the 'boneheaded' decisions they were making at the time were the exact same decisions gw made twenty years ago or more, and have annoyed players ever since. I think these are the types of decisions made when a small company becomes a big company.

 Overread wrote:

I think GW also realises this "risk" which might be in part why they've put new energy into the specialist games. I think they've seen that there's a market and interest for more than 40K and AoS and that if they don't tap into it, someone else will. If that someone else starts bleeding off GW customers then that means GW is making less from the customers they've invested in to attracting in the first place.


I agree totally. Gw in some ways made these markets years ago with specialist games, and when they retreated to focus on the big 3 (lotr, wfb and 40k) under the mistaken belief that sg's cannibslised sales from the proper purchases,other companies stepped in and grabbed their share of the niche - Corvus belli with infinity etc. Gw had to fight back and there is only so many ways to 'grow' mass model 28mm battles, they ultimately had to go back into sg territory. From their POV it's been a success. Some of their biggest hits these last few years have been the likes of shadespire and necromunda and got people back into the gw ecosphere that simply wouldn't be interested in the big battle games. I am one of those people. I am far more interested in these games (seriously tempted by titanicus too).

 Overread wrote:

Overall I think there is room and potential; just not potential profits for big brands to push into the market. Furthermore I think that many geek start-up firms lack the experience, finances and organisation to really allow themselves to push for fast expansion or to really market heavily to new gamers. It's an issue and something that I hope a firm like PP or others can start to address. I'd love to see other firms push in and market to new gamers and get more people into the hobby in general.


The thing is gw has a staff count that is bigger than the player base of some games. Gw probsbly have individual shops in backwaters with more staff than some companies have employees. Pp has something like thirty employees. I think Corvus belli is something smaller than this. I don't know about the likes of warlord. Then you have the boutiques like anvil industry, which are often 'one guy and his mate' type affairs. There is room for small companies (couple of dozen employees) to make decent smaller games, but I don't think they can ever get lore of new gamers in.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 13:45:22


Post by: Pilum


Deadnight wrote:
Most pp players came from the 40k competitive scene, and I do think some of the baggage came with them (rather than being creative, and exploring the fame it became about 'take this list and win' etc)

No, they brought it on themselves.

Page 5.

I don't care how much they bleat it was 'ironic' and 'just a prank, bro!'; it was a titanic red flag that the games were written to attract the insecure types who'd tied their masculinity - and let's be honest, even in this hobby it was going to be lads - to how well they could CRUSH, KILL AND ANNHILATE the other person because NO FUN WAS ALLOWED and maybe then daddy would love them. As there was, and is, enough of that particular type clogging up internet forums, I had no desire to get anywhere near them in person., And I very much doubt I was alone in that.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 14:48:56


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


To use PP as an example, without singling them out for criticism in this regard.

There is nothing wrong with Warmahorde’s mission statement. At all. Just as GW have always been clear in the ‘treat this as a framework, then go just as nuts as you want’, and are also fairly vocal there’s no right or wrong way.

However, GW have a significant community advantage, due to their stores.

Consider me and Warmachine some years ago, not long after it’s first expansion book.

I was kinda into it. It’s background was still developmental, but the models and game seemed different enough to stand on their own two feet.

Yet I didn’t remain terribly long. My early experiences just weren’t to my taste, so I sold up and moved on. Why, I hear you probably not ask, let alone with much conviction?

The opponent I first played. Rather than being seen as a newcomer in need of education, seems i was just a NooB to be stomped. That game took place in an Edinburgh FLGS, and has been arranged as a ‘getting to grips’ game for me.

Opponent insisted on treating it as an opportunity not to teach me, but to ‘school me’.

Now, perhaps he was lured in by Page 5. Maybe he’s just gets off on NooB Stompong. But suffice to say, I didn’t enjoy it.

For a long, long time, I painted the entire system with that same brush. Yet, that’s not at all fair, is it? I’d played one of how many possible opponents, and has a sucky time.

That’s not really on PP, or their overall community. GW has similar inadequates playing their games. But? GW has its stores. In the U.K. at least, the provide many places where newcomers can be shown The Whole Of The Thing in a fairly comfortable environment.

It’s the stores. All down to the stores.

Remember. PP used as an example without specific criticism of them, their games, or their community.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 16:25:55


Post by: Deadnight


Pilum wrote:

No, they brought it on themselves.

Page 5.

I don't care how much they bleat it was 'ironic' and 'just a prank, bro!'; it was a titanic red flag that the games were written to attract the insecure types who'd tied their masculinity - and let's be honest, even in this hobby it was going to be lads - to how well they could CRUSH, KILL AND ANNHILATE the other person because NO FUN WAS ALLOWED and maybe then daddy would love them. As there was, and is, enough of that particular type clogging up internet forums, I had no desire to get anywhere near them in person., And I very much doubt I was alone in that.


I know ymmv, but I can't help but disagree..

I played the game since mk1. In several countries. mk1 p5 was seriously over the top but when it spoke about driving over your grandmas house it was pretty obviously being tongue in cheek. Mk2s was toned down seriously, but still had a very empowering message. Bring your best game, play hard, play fair, explore, don't crutch, dont stomp on the new guy, don't be an ass if you win and don't be all sour If you lose and treat everyone with respect. I distinctly remember the part about page 5 never being an excuse to belittle people. It was a competitive focused game, and didn't apologise (or need to apologise) formthis, but it had an honest message and it tried to promote a good attitude amongst its players.

Anyone using page 5 to do the things you claim was, ironically doing the exact opposite.

For,what it's worth, most of the people I played against were good lads. And some girls. Not the try-hard or,insecure lot with daddy issues looking to capslock CRUSH KILL ANNIHALATE and allow NO FUN. I played since mk1 and was never into these.

found it pretty diverse. I found the players themselves ranged from casual to competitive, with only a small amount of bad apples. I found, at least here in Scotland it tended to attract a more 'mature group' of post college and grown up twenty somethings and thirty somethings. There was probably one person who was into all the capital letters you describe. And he certainly was not appreciated. Most folks in my experience were fairly mature, fairly decent and just enjoyed a good game.

I don't disagree however that pp brought problems onto themselves, sadly, and I also don't disagree that what remains of the WMH community has a not insignificant amount of over-competitive players who are into the capital letters you listed, but I would argue this is less because everyone was like this and more they're what's left. Pp basically had to retrench around the more hardcore players. I will also point out players like this exist throughout nerddom and it's not just a WMH thing.

I do appreciate your perspective though.

Cheers.

Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:T
I was kinda into it. It’s background was still developmental, but the models and game seemed different enough to stand on their own two feet.
Yet I didn’t remain terribly long. My early experiences just weren’t to my taste, so I sold up and moved on. Why, I hear you probably not ask, let alone with much conviction?
The opponent I first played. Rather than being seen as a newcomer in need of education, seems i was just a NooB to be stomped. That game took place in an Edinburgh FLGS, and has been arranged as a ‘getting to grips’ game for me.
Opponent insisted on treating it as an opportunity not to teach me, but to ‘school me’.
Now, perhaps he was lured in by Page 5. Maybe he’s just gets off on NooB Stompong. But suffice to say, I didn’t enjoy it.
For a long, long time, I painted the entire system with that same brush. Yet, that’s not at all fair, is it? I’d played one of how many possible opponents, and has a sucky time.


Two things. Firstly, the background wasn't developmental at the time. It was actually pretty well developed and if you are interested I'd encourage you to check their old d20 material. It's pretty fantastic. The iron kingdoms was an excellent setting. My biggest disappointment with pp is not doing more with the ikrpg stuff.

Secondly, and more,leaning back towards the on topic, being in Edinburgh I probably know the guy you are talking about. If it's who I think it is, I have also had the misfortune to play him. he was known for being a humourless brick who can never 'tone it down' or 'play what's appropriate' and known for noob stomping, list,tailoring, terrain tailoring, scenario tailoring, banana charges and lots of rules tomfoolery and is generally not,well regarded. I'm not even sure if he still plays but I, and plenty others have warned people,away from him. for what it's worth, I do not take this as some commentary on the WMH community, but I think it's horrible this one guy and one experience soured you on it. I've had something of the same with malifaux. Not even a deliberate stomping but just such a poor learning experience that I had absolutely no interest in going back.

As you say, with gw, they tend to present a broad church of 'how' and seem to be invested in bringing in new people. Ultimately, this is a good thing.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 19:13:38


Post by: Monkeysloth


 Overread wrote:


I think a new firm trying to push in and wanting to make it big would really need to push into the new customer market; penetrating the young market like GW does and securing their own consumer base as that first/early time experience. Or at least once the firm gets its feet under it they have to go after that market. That was, in my view, PP's failing in that even with their PG system it was focused over recruiting existing gamers.


This is something I forgot to add to my post and I agree with. Another reason GW is such a strong force is they're the only company that has the money for marketing towards attracting all new players to the hobby why everyone else is just marketing to attract players away from other games. And the only reason they can is due to their size and dominance and anyone wanting to play can find it pretty much anywhere and there's always new stuff available.

I live in an area with very high density of game stores vs population (Utah), there are about 10 game stores in a 30min drive (probably 15 in 45 min drive), of those that don't carry wargames (3 I think) all of them have GW stuff. If I was looking for Infinity (a trendy game rising in popularity) last I checked 4 had the game but all of the models were from N2 or early N3 and nothing from the past 2 years te stores don't sell enough to order newer stuff (as the only thing they stock is old stuff no one wants) or they order just enough for the people that play the game there.

I know GW gets flack for how much of their product you have to keep on stock at your store to be able to buy from them and other game store policies but it's for reasons like this. If a new player wants to find the current GW stuff and people playing it they easily can. Any other game it's pretty much a crap shoot if you'll be able to drive somewhere, pick it up, and start playing (well assembling) instead of ordering online or via a local store and having to wait 2-5 days.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 20:10:50


Post by: Overread


Another bonus of GW's wobbly balance is that most GW models retain their use through the years. Your basic gaunt kit is old as heck, but still very valid today as it was the day it was released.


I think a lot of newer games, esp skirmish games, get hooked on releasing new models and, whilst not always dropping the old ones, at least pushing them back a bit so that they are less desirable. The result is that their range gets bigger and bigger and if stores fall behind they do end up with "old stock" of models that are not as suitable for the current meta and game.

It's an issue when a game developer is maximising profits on a per-existing customer basis and not maximising them on new customers. Of course I think its also an issue for skirmish games because once you've got one or two of a model you don't "need" (or in some cases are not allowed by the rules) more of that model. So if you want to keep your older fans happy you do have to keep releasing content and adding new things to their armies.

One trick GW does to get around this is semi-regular updates to old models. When you consider that generation 1 models are still valid in 40K and yet few people use them. Even those who have extensive collections of them often replace with newer, better updated models; or they use them alongside modern equivalents.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 20:28:00


Post by: Deadnight


 Overread wrote:
Another bonus of GW's wobbly balance is that most GW models retain their use through the years. Your basic gaunt kit is old as heck, but still very valid today as it was the day it was released.

I think a lot of newer games, esp skirmish games, get hooked on releasing new models and, whilst not always dropping the old ones, at least pushing them back a bit so that they are less desirable. The result is that their range gets bigger and bigger and if stores fall behind they do end up with "old stock" of models that are not as suitable for the current meta and game.


Actually its not about getting hooked on releasing new models, this is a business necessity. this is a common trend and isn't necessarily due to power creep et , it's due to the simple fact that new stuff 'sell' better, especially in the immediate time after it's release (most people who want it buy it quickly, rather than waiting three years) whilst older stuff tends to sit there. There is also the consideration of the second hand market. I remember Andy chambers saying that For years, gw considered the second hand market the greatest threat, not the other competitors in the industry. Once a company sells stuff, it then immediately competes with its own backlog. Without new stuff to encourage fresh purchases, a game dies. If a company released four sets in a year for their game and didn't release anything else, but rather just focused on balancing those four sets against each other, it won't actually matter - their game will die.

It's the reality behind the 'wave' nature of ttgs. Most of any company's profits in any given year is from the new stuff they've actually releases that year, not necessarily the 'backlog', hence how our ttgs ultimately get clogged with bloat after a few years. Pp's back catalogue (since they keep coming up) is huge and has some nice models, but it's more or less worthless in terms of cash generation hence their promise a while back of a new faction every year. It's what they need to do to keep mining cash out of the ip.

Gw is probably one of the few that can rely on any appreciable income from the backlog (i.e. The holy trinity of tactical marine, assault marine and devestator marine), but even then, their release schedule is astonishing, and frankly, has a lot to do with their fantastic numbers. If they halved what they released, watch their profits drop.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/21 20:30:45


Post by: Turnip Jedi


[quote=Overread 789060 10838167 1628bc470e0cbbd1ce537d119082130d.jpg

One trick GW does to get around this is semi-regular updates to old models. When you consider that generation 1 models are still valid in 40K and yet few people use them. Even those who have extensive collections of them often replace with newer, better updated models; or they use them alongside modern equivalents.


ahhh hell no, metal eldars 4 life for me as the only ones ive replaced are jetbikes and wraithguard as models that fall over if a die lands on the same table half is just silly

but the long live span is a thing as whilst i dont play at the mo my 30+ year old infanty could see table time if i dived back in


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/22 08:43:53


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Forgot to add a proper conclusion to my last post.

GW’s Stores give them as a company far more control over First Impressions.

Generally speaking, their stores are well laid out, well lit and clean. The staff are, again generally speaking, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. They’ll spend time doing a gaming intro and a painting intro (with a model you can take home)

Their intro games are either Staff taking one side, or playing coach to two people. They make them descriptive and cinematic, helping people buy in to the head canon visuals.

FLGS can and do do this. Of course they do. But, once it’s a FLGS, a manufacturer has no control over that First Impression. Not just of the overall wargaming hobby, but your specific game. A bad first impression and you’ve probably lost that customer.

It’s a pretty major marketing tool which only GW has in its field.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/22 09:27:01


Post by: Overread


Another benefit is that GW can enforce staff behaviour and monitor it. Customers who have bad experiences are more likely to provide complaints to the company.

Meanwhile if Dave if the local "Press Ganger" or other company "fan rep" then the company has somewhat less influence. They can still get reports about Dave and cut him out of the system, but people turning up to the club are less likely to contact the parent company regarding a random fan introducing them to the game badly and the company hasn't got the same legal tools nor even infrastructure to monitor the community support in the same way as they can employees.

So yep GW can work some wonders with their own staff.


I think this system did break down a bit overseas, certainly I've heard more stories of bad GW staff from the USA and other overseas sites, but I think that in part was due to different regional manager attitudes taking on a more corporate attitude and less of a hobby one. Considering that many of the UK shop staff are basically long term geeks that just hung around long enough to get a job, it might be that in some overseas sites there just isn't that bed of GW indoctrinated geeks to pool suitable employees from. So you do end up with staff who are perhaps well trained, but who lack that extra edge of the fact that they also game when they go home and not just when "on the clock"


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/22 13:05:07


Post by: addnid


Around Paris in France, most GW staff I know are also "geeks who have hung around long enough", and they are very happy to share their passion. I think people entering the store can feel that, if they stay for like 5 min talking with the store manage / geek.

Also, and only speak for 40k because its the only i currently play (tried a few of the othetrs, none really got me hooked) being the "mainstream wargame", us 40k players know we "work for The Man" (The Man = the mainstream game).

So we are not defending all the time our precious little game, and we don't look like a cult when we introduce the game to someone new.

I think this really helps, even though most people don't really get hooked and leave after buying a few boxes, painting a few models, and playing less than 3 intro games (and that is fine, I mean if one out of ten gets hooked, then it's pretty decent investment).

I went to buy some magic cards today so I can play a few games per month with my nephew, and the game store guy, while very nice, didn't seem to give a feth (we was doing his job just like i would do mine, and I deal with paperwork and money mostly, so suffice to say i have no "real" passion (i totally fake it if i must) for my job to say the least.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 19:12:45


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Sorry, possible snark here.

But decided to browse FFG’s Star Wars Armada range, as fancied picking up a New Republic Star Hawk....

Ha......hahahahahahahahahaha!

For Brits of a certain vintage? FLIPPIN’ ‘ECK, TUCKER!

What. A. Price. For a single model, not all that large, and pre-painted?

https://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures-by-manufacturer/fantasy-flight-games/star-wars-armada/nadiri-starhawk-star-wars-armada

GW are by no means cheap, and I’m not gonna tell anyone to find them value for money (as that’s inherently a matter of perspective).

But this??? Ooooffffff.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 19:14:39


Post by: Overread


Expensive but is she big is the question - heck I'd love their Super Star Destroyer model though its priced more than a hieroduel

https://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures-by-manufacturer/fantasy-flight-games/star-wars-armada/star-wars-armada-super-star-destroyer-expansion-pack


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 20:00:36


Post by: Monkeysloth


Also Star Wars is not a cheap license.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 20:14:43


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


At that price point it would be cheaper just to buy authentic 1977-era modeling kits and kitbash a real Star War ship.

Whatever you do, don’t buy one of those and then casually look it up on Thingiverse.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 20:21:03


Post by: Azreal13


 Overread wrote:
Expensive but is she big is the question



Big enough by the looks of it..



Plus in all likelihood represents a much larger percentage of a full sized force than the equivalent spend in some other games, and doesn't require the purchase of additional rule supplements to be able to field it.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 21:22:06


Post by: Gimgamgoo


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Sorry, possible snark here.

But decided to browse FFG’s Star Wars Armada range, as fancied picking up a New Republic Star Hawk....

Ha......hahahahahahahahahaha!

For Brits of a certain vintage? FLIPPIN’ ‘ECK, TUCKER!

What. A. Price. For a single model, not all that large, and pre-painted?

https://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures-by-manufacturer/fantasy-flight-games/star-wars-armada/nadiri-starhawk-star-wars-armada

GW are by no means cheap, and I’m not gonna tell anyone to find them value for money (as that’s inherently a matter of perspective).

But this??? Ooooffffff.


About the size of a 100 quid imperial knight, or fairly close? I dunno.
And it's ready built and painted. It's price probably covers a big chunk of license fee too. Still looks cheap in comparison to GW stuff.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 22:13:59


Post by: Hulksmash


Yeah, the only really crazy priced Armada item is the SSD. The rest aren't fairly comparable to GW pricing given that you can still build a fairly competitive fleet for less than $300. Try doing that with a 40k army.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 22:28:16


Post by: Turnip Jedi


Whilst I love my wee spacesheeps there has been a price hike on par with the GW since 2.0 I suspect its part of the FFG agenda to one up geedubs by making the same mistakes in half the time, personally besides the upgrade kits ive bought hardly anything new and mostly wont besides the eta2 ? (jedi thing from sith)

And with aero-wotsits being very cheap luring folks out of gw space is going to be way harder than 2012


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/23 23:49:18


Post by: odinsgrandson


To the OT- why does GW have such a strong presence?

It comes down to the way that tabletop miniatures games and CCGs are sold and played.

Basically, we all purchase half a game, and need to find someone who has the other half.

That makes momentum extremely important. Everyone wants to play a bunch with lots of opponents, and the easy way to do that is to play the game that others are already playing (the hard way is to convince a lot if people to start playing your game).

This is why the '90s CCG market eventually parsed down to a few CCGs (mostly just Magic and Pokemon).

It also hurts that so many games have fallen apart such that you can't find players at your game store anymore (it makes the longevity of GW dominance more appealing because you know that the game won't be cancelled shortly).

Obviously the market can support more than one game.
Fantasy Flight have shown that you can break into this market with the Star Wars brand, and a few companies have been able to maintain a footing (largely by recruiting people who are fed up with GW for one reason or another).

- Board games are not dominated in this way because players buy a complete game. It is a lot easier to convince your buddy to play a game if they don't have to invest in it.

Retail channel board games are instead dominated by companies that have the best relationships with distributors (iez Asmodee). Kickstarter bypasses this and allows for a much more saturated market to thrive. But Kickstarter has not proven to work as well for tabletop miniatures games.



Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 00:29:20


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 00:56:26


Post by: chaos0xomega


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Sorry, possible snark here.

But decided to browse FFG’s Star Wars Armada range, as fancied picking up a New Republic Star Hawk....

Ha......hahahahahahahahahaha!

For Brits of a certain vintage? FLIPPIN’ ‘ECK, TUCKER!

What. A. Price. For a single model, not all that large, and pre-painted?

https://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures-by-manufacturer/fantasy-flight-games/star-wars-armada/nadiri-starhawk-star-wars-armada

GW are by no means cheap, and I’m not gonna tell anyone to find them value for money (as that’s inherently a matter of perspective).

But this??? Ooooffffff.


I bought 3, I don't understand the problem?

I mean, seriously, its a really high quality pre-paint the size of... not sure what a relvant size example is, but its large, probably about the size of a 40k knight or a bit smaller, and includes all the rules in the box.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 14:52:29


Post by: Tycho


As others have said, I think a huge part of it is simply being one of the earliest players in the market. They were able to make (and learn from) mistakes in a much more forgiving time period, and came about in a time when there was considerably less competition. They've had the advantage of being a stable game too, so it's a much easier pitch than other, less well known games. For example, I think Infinity has a lot going for it, but ALL the gamers in my area play 40k, so getting anyone interested in a game that only has a few local players gets challenging.

There have been times when GW made enough mistakes that their position was challenged though. Starship Troopers seemed like it had a chance (and actually over-took 40k in my area) until MGP royally screwed the pooch. VOR also looked promising, right up until FASA shut down. Then there was that time X-Wing actually passed 40k for most popular game (I can't remember how the metric was measured), but GW eventually got its act together again. The thing is, they've been around long enough that they can absorb mistakes, and peaks and valleys that other companies really can't. They're also largely focused on what they do best and don't try to stray too far from that, so that helps as well.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 15:09:26


Post by: privateer4hire


The fact that Warhammer is often used as a generic term for wargaming - just like Frigidaire is used for refrigerator in some parts of the states - is telling.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 15:18:39


Post by: Cruentus


Games Workshop games are one of the few I actually see played in LGSs, other than Magic and other CCGs.

GW makes sure any store that carries their stuff, carries a lot. That helps feed the cycle, because you can usually find what you're looking for (at least in the stores I frequent). On the other hand, try to find any historicals minis or rules other than Bolt Action, and Flames of War (Battlefront).

Historicals in general can be super confusing because they don't tend to care which models are used, although BF tried the GW method. Maybe you find Hail Caesar from Warlord, and a box of Parliamentary Cavalry in an LGS. Whee?

Their market force comes from their presence in LGSs, and their own stores. As well as a 30 year history of providing games. That can be much more comforting as 1) everybody seems to play it, 2) I can find stuff locally, and 3) its unlikely to go under, and then everyone drops it as "not supported". (You can add in any number of sci-fi, fantasy, and historical rulesets here).

It can also be self supporting when all you do is go to the GW store, or the local LGS with a big GW community. If that's all your exposed to... I try to go to Fall In and Cold Wars (HMGS East Historical Conventions) in my area each year, and there are thousands of attendees, and the vendor halls actually have every historical miniature under the sun, and lots of them. That's where the market presence of historicals is, or from folks playing in basements. Its definitely not as mainstream as GW appears to be now.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:05:03


Post by: privateer4hire


Finding the other players who will actually touch another game can be a real challenge. People get burned enough times and they quit trying other stuff. One guy I knew in DC refused to even look at a game until he had seen it played at least three times in the FLGS.

We moved to rural Oregon (nearest game store is 50 minutes away) a few years back. One of my two current consistent gaming buddies had posted a sign in the FLGS looking for folks to try Song of Blades & Heroes. He would show up and demo it to anyone interested but had no takers for over a year. In fact, other than me, nobody still has taken him up on the game.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:11:13


Post by: Cruentus


Yup, that's the conundrum.

Fortunately I have a decent size pool of opponents that play at home and in each other's basements/garages:

1) the 40k players
2) the Specialist Game folks - Mordheim, Gothic, Blood Bowl, (and x-wing and the like)
3) the historical guy who will play anything and I think has literally bought every rulebook that comes out for historicals, oh and buys and paints a ton of figs. He also plays AoS and 40k on occassion.

So in my situation, none of us really play in an LGS, and we have enough different folks who like different games that if you buy both sides, they'll give it a go, or play them in one offs. Though what they really like is campaign style games (Blood Bowl, Mordheim). I also realize that this is atypical.

But, as I get older (over 50 at this point), the allure of GW has worn off, and I'm spending most if not all of my time with old rules, historicals (Dark Ages, Medieval), and other things that are not GW, aside from Titanicus. That scratches all the itches.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:14:30


Post by: odinsgrandson


 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.



This is not a failing of the gamer, it the sales model of the game itself. Each player is supposed to bring an army to the table to play. If one player brings two armies, it is like bringing a second Magic the Gathering deck- you can teach someone new with it, but ultimately the list building is a major element of the strategy.

I don't think there's anything for gamers to learn from this. I mean, if you want to teach people the game and help it catch on locally, you need to have enough for two people to play. I guess with some of the smaller games without build options (like Crisis Protocol, Underworlds or Blood Bowl) it is possible for a person to have enough stuff that his friends can play with it. But the social expectation will still be that everyone brings half a game on game night.


This contrasts a lot with something like Blood Rage, Kingdom Death or Eldritch Horror. If one gamer in the group brings the game, there's no need or reason for anyone else to bring anything.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:24:20


Post by: Overread


Most companies that operate community reps in some form often require them to own at least two starter-sized armies of different forces for the game. That way they can do demo games iwth newbies. The idea being that playing a game with models is far more engaging. Once you've got them that way you've far more chance of convincing them to play. Far more so than showing pictures or photos or sending them home to the internet.

You create the experience right there with them and you showcase off at least two diverse forces.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:37:16


Post by: Azreal13


 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.


We have "one of those" locally. Often dumps serious cash on a game or a KS, announces their interest after doing so then often gets cross when they're met with disinterest. Then lists the stuff for sale and starts the cycle over.

These days I'm a lot more conservative about adopting new games, firstly under normal circumstances I can play something once a week, so whatever it is I'm playing needs to be something that's fun.

Secondly I understand that it's not other player's responsibility to provide me with opponents for games they're not into, and jumping to games that kinda obligates them to spend because I've put something they enjoy in front of them can be fatiguing in the long term.

So my attitude towards adopting new games these days is one of being able to supply enough for people to play on a casual basis and/or being content to own the models if the game isn't popular.

I also don't hold it against people if their initial enthusiasm doesn't hold, looking at you Gaslands, people have no agency in what diverts them long term and what is just a short term curiosity.

Life would be simpler if I just played 40K and Signar, but I've played far better games since I stopped (and I have the bonus of being able to restart if it catches my attention again, my models haven't evaporated, but they've have got a little dusty...)


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:45:57


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


 Gimgamgoo wrote:
 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Sorry, possible snark here.

But decided to browse FFG’s Star Wars Armada range, as fancied picking up a New Republic Star Hawk....

Ha......hahahahahahahahahaha!

For Brits of a certain vintage? FLIPPIN’ ‘ECK, TUCKER!

What. A. Price. For a single model, not all that large, and pre-painted?

https://elementgames.co.uk/wargames-and-miniatures-by-manufacturer/fantasy-flight-games/star-wars-armada/nadiri-starhawk-star-wars-armada

GW are by no means cheap, and I’m not gonna tell anyone to find them value for money (as that’s inherently a matter of perspective).

But this??? Ooooffffff.


About the size of a 100 quid imperial knight, or fairly close? I dunno.
And it's ready built and painted. It's price probably covers a big chunk of license fee too. Still looks cheap in comparison to GW stuff.


It’s the built and painted thing that puts me off.

It may be splitting hairs, but hey, it’s just an opinion. But when I buy from GW, I’ll get a kit I can build and perhaps even repose.

Armada? Again as a purely personal quirk. I’m just buying a toy which it happens I can field in a game.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 16:47:30


Post by: marxlives


It all matters where you are at here in America. GW and AoS are pretty universal but Heroclicks is probably as big or even bigger. Then there if FFG and PP. Historicals is around in the Flames of War sense with a very small core of BattleTech and even Mantic. From then on the groups shake out differently based on region.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 17:13:06


Post by: BobtheInquisitor


 odinsgrandson wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.



This is not a failing of the gamer, it the sales model of the game itself. Each player is supposed to bring an army to the table to play. If one player brings two armies, it is like bringing a second Magic the Gathering deck- you can teach someone new with it, but ultimately the list building is a major element of the strategy.

I don't think there's anything for gamers to learn from this. I mean, if you want to teach people the game and help it catch on locally, you need to have enough for two people to play. I guess with some of the smaller games without build options (like Crisis Protocol, Underworlds or Blood Bowl) it is possible for a person to have enough stuff that his friends can play with it. But the social expectation will still be that everyone brings half a game on game night.


This contrasts a lot with something like Blood Rage, Kingdom Death or Eldritch Horror. If one gamer in the group brings the game, there's no need or reason for anyone else to bring anything.


Perhaps my circles of friends are just board gamers at heart, because we don’t have that expectation. When I got into BFG, I bought the starter set and expanded both fleets so that my friends could play. I got enough Eldar, nids and ‘crons for small-force, four-sides games. This did a lot more to sell the games to my friends and family than when I attempted to get my friends to buy into 40k. It was somehow different for a friend to buy a small fleet of ork ships knowing how the game played than it was when I suggested he buy a box of ork boys. (He flipped out at the price, assembled one ork, and to this day keeps bringing it up as a grievance.)


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 19:14:23


Post by: privateer4hire


 Azreal13 wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.


We have "one of those" locally. Often dumps serious cash on a game or a KS, announces their interest after doing so then often gets cross when they're met with disinterest. Then lists the stuff for sale and starts the cycle over. ...


That's been me over the past 20 years. I sat out 40k editions (4, 6 and 7) because I didn't enjoy them.
During that time we moved a lot for my work and I wound up buying into/demoing and usually owning at least 2 forces for:
I listed them last night and it was crazy.

Void 1.1
LOTR SBG
LOTR War of the Ring
Judge Dredd/Mega City One
Starship Troopers Miniatures Game
Firestorm Planetfall
Bolt Action
Flames of War
Flames of War - Great War
Rogue Stars
Dreadball
Kings of War
Deadzone
Blood Bowl
Necromunda
WarCry
Kill Team
Pulp Alley
Frostgrave
Age of Sigmar (1st edition)
X-Wing
Star Trek Attack Wing

Out of all those, I can, today, reliably only get games of 40k outside of the two guys I know who will play alternative stuff.
If I hadn't linked up with those two gaming buddies, my choice would be to play 40k or not play because the rest of the local players won't touch it unless it's 40k.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 19:35:59


Post by: Gimgamgoo


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:

It’s the built and painted thing that puts me off.

It may be splitting hairs, but hey, it’s just an opinion. But when I buy from GW, I’ll get a kit I can build and perhaps even repose.

Which hasn't always been the case. When I enjoyed GW gaming, the only 'building' that you needed was to stick it on a plastic base.
Over the years GW have turned the hobby into what was the domain of Airfix plane building as the main part of the hobby.
I recently put two Necromunda gangs together. Most had 15 tiny fiddly pieces to make a single figure. My old Necromunda figures were 1 piece and needed a slotta base.

15 tiny pieces, all needing mold lines scraping off, and carefully gluing together. The 2 sprues basically made 5 very similar models. This could have been done with a single body and optional arms. Reposing would take effort as the individual parts were unique to that particular model. In other words... a waste of hobby time. The hobby used to be painting and gaming. Now building seems to be the main part.

You may laugh at prebuilt models but I know many gamers put off by having to be an 'Airfix' fan to play a wargame.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 19:41:14


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Hence I explained it solely in the frame of personal preference.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 20:12:05


Post by: Turnip Jedi


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Hence I explained it solely in the frame of personal preference.


whereas Im the other end, and do my upmost to avoid painting besides the magic of nuln oil and earthshade followed by a quick drybrush to scuzz up the Scum ships for x-wing so preassemble and pre-paint is about my faff tolerance


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 20:22:33


Post by: Chamberlain


odinsgrandson wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
While I’ve never understood it, that does seem to be the dominant attitude among gamers; buy half a game in the hopes someone else will buy the other half, and then blame the game when the obvious results occur. I suspect the rise of big box boardgames and Kickstarter deals is slowly changing attitudes. Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.



This is not a failing of the gamer, it the sales model of the game itself. Each player is supposed to bring an army to the table to play. If one player brings two armies, it is like bringing a second Magic the Gathering deck- you can teach someone new with it, but ultimately the list building is a major element of the strategy.


It's also about getting people to act against their own interest for commercial reasons. If someone wanted a truly deep and interesting magic experience they should look into this search result from scryfall:

Showing 1 – 60 of 12,427 cards where the USD price < 0.25

Anyone who wants to can put together their 75 with a budget of less than $20. But what do the "meta" standard decks cost? Temur Reclamation $450. Bant Ramp $575. And what about the a few meta chocies in Modern? Erosa $1400, Simic Reclamation $1300, Eldrazi Tron $650

This combination of each player bringing half the game with formats of play is all about money. If it was about a good game experience then people could dive into the 12000+ cards that they can get for a quarter or less each and make their lists.

Azreal13 wrote:
 BobtheInquisitor wrote:
Hopefully people will see the value in bringing a whole game to introduce to their buddies, if they want it to catch on.


We have "one of those" locally. Often dumps serious cash on a game or a KS, announces their interest after doing so then often gets cross when they're met with disinterest. Then lists the stuff for sale and starts the cycle over.


I don't think your "one of those" is the same as what Bob is advocating for. Your "one of those" sounds like someone who feels entitled to people's attention/participation. Someone who dumps things when others don't join in doesn't really sound like someone who is truly passionate about their chosen game. If you want a gaming group that is open to multiple different games then you need to host games, participate in the games of others and be generally relaxed about the whole process. It needs to be as much a give and take as a board game club that plays lots of different games that different people want to try.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/24 21:26:58


Post by: Turnip Jedi


If its the "one of those" I think it is that Az13 is referring to they are quite the odd frog even by gamer standards

I think its partly liking the stage at the start of a games lifecycle when everybody is a bit crap at the game which can be fun, then someone reads something or it just clicks and folks start to git gud and the game loses it wild n wooly stage for them as people strive to git gooderer so he moves to a new thing and repeat, if our clubs was full of waac jobs id get it but the majority of us hobbits are fairly easy going just happy to chuck dice and talk bobbins


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/25 07:44:20


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Finding a suitable gaming group is a challenge in the later days.

As covered, I’ve not properly or regularly played in a long old time, due to my commute and work taking a lot out in terms of brain power. So I’m more or less back to square one.

Thankfully, local club whilst one for competitive settings are also all round Good Eggs, happy to help coach me through my first few games. Without that? I don’t think I’d stand a chance of getting back into the swing of things.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/25 08:40:47


Post by: addnid


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Finding a suitable gaming group is a challenge in the later days.

As covered, I’ve not properly or regularly played in a long old time, due to my commute and work taking a lot out in terms of brain power. So I’m more or less back to square one.

Thankfully, local club whilst one for competitive settings are also all round Good Eggs, happy to help coach me through my first few games. Without that? I don’t think I’d stand a chance of getting back into the swing of things.


Once you get back in, make sure you put in the effort, even if it's hard (and it is !) of participating (helping with events and such). Them coaching you is taxing for them (more or less, obviously coaching a new player is harder than coaching a returning player). Game groups tend to fall apart when the efforts aren't shared enough.

From your posts you seem like a community person so I am sure you will


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/25 08:50:46


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


Oh definitely!

Whilst I may not be overly keen on going to Tournaments (I get anxious and that from time to time), I’d be a Richard myself if I insisted they only ever play me on my terms.

Anyways, a good kicking is how we learn! At war games at least.


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/25 14:08:24


Post by: Easy E


 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
.

Anyways, a good kicking is how we learn! At war games at least.


Then, I have been learning in this hobby for 30+ years!


Why does GW have such market force? @ 2020/06/28 10:01:23


Post by: Mad Doc Grotsnik


OK.....who made the vid!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ou6shNn2EWw