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Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:

Overread wrote:I think one key aspect that GW has the edge on is the highstreet stores. Whilst almost every other retailer is fleeing the highstreet, GW is holding out (and as yet hasn't had to pair with food outlets at a national level to survive).

I'm always dubious about this. Its a factor that doesn't matter anywhere but Britain (and maybe Austrailia/NZ). The rest of the world gets by fine relying mostly on indie stores.


The thing is if you go into a GW store the only thing you can buy is GW product. From models to books to paint to brushes to glue - its all GW direct sales.

Yes. That's a bad thing. Sure the direct sale thing is good for GW as a business, but nuts to that. Its bad for customers.


But the overall point is it means that there's shops with staff who have nothing but GW to sell to new customers.
In terms of growing your local GW playing scene its fantastic. Meanwhile an Indie store might love wargames, but they might have several different brands. For a brand wanting to make it big this is a bad thing. It means that their direct customer contact point (the indie store) is not pushing just their product but loads of others. This makes it a lot harder to grow your game.

Community leader programs (like the PG) run well are thus essential to growing your brand outside of storekeepers. At least your community reps will have a vested interest in promoting the game locally and are an essential force at growing a business.



I do also agree that several firms have had a chance and then failed to capitalise. One issue I do see is that there's a big hurdle between being a small time casting firm and a big time one. At some stage you have to shift production up a gear to maintain supply. From my observation a LOT of wargame firms have a problem with this. Upscaling "at home" is expensive in machines, land, tax and employees. Whilst your profits are only slowly growing you need a huge cash injection to push up a level. If you want to shift from resin/metal to plastic then that's even greater in costs and requires new staff with totally new skill sets.
If you go overseas to china that brings its own slew of issues with timing; storing large inventories and quality control problems.

KS actually accelerates this many times - we've all seen one or two campaigns collapse because the designer suddenly got vast quantities of orders way above their capacity. Sure they got a lot of money, but they also suddenly need to invest vastly to try and meet demand within a reasonable time frame. This can lead to a huge stall in supply and new product development resulting in a company "going dark" for a few months/year or so. With little happening it loses all the marketing momentum it built up.


Even PP hit this barrier and didn't make it through properly and have had to fall back on metal and resin.


In the end scale of operation and operation growth are key; the hard part is getting the balance right and having enough income to allow a firm to expand enough to cope with a fast growing market without stalling.



edit - ps MMOs are a good example. Nothing yet has toppled WOW; but at the same time there are multiple quite big competing MMO Brands out there and with the time required to grind in MMOS its not dissimilar to the build and play times of wargames. MOBA and other games are a similar example. I think there is room for GW to have competition and for GW to not need to screw up and diminish drastically to achieve it. The real issue is getting a competing brand big enough with enough market outreach that both brands are securing their own first time customers; rather than poaching one off the other.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/29 22:15:48


   
Made in ca
Legendary Master of the Chapter





GW has a unique convergance of not just gameplay but a robust and popular IP. People who aren't into wargaming know what 40k is, and like it. thanks to things like the novels, and video games, GW has tremendous cross platform advertising. and frankly no other wargame on the market comes close. the closest table top war game that ever game close to this was Battletech, which had a large robust novel series, several hit video games (which thanks to all being named Mechwarrior not eneugh people understood it was "battletech: the video game" FASA screwed the pooch on that) and even a breif lived TV series. FASA however had some... structural flaws that eventually killed it

Opinions are not facts please don't confuse the two 
   
Made in us
Rampaging Reaver Titan Princeps




 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:

Overread wrote:I think one key aspect that GW has the edge on is the highstreet stores. Whilst almost every other retailer is fleeing the highstreet, GW is holding out (and as yet hasn't had to pair with food outlets at a national level to survive).

I'm always dubious about this. Its a factor that doesn't matter anywhere but Britain (and maybe Austrailia/NZ). The rest of the world gets by fine relying mostly on indie stores.


The thing is if you go into a GW store the only thing you can buy is GW product. From models to books to paint to brushes to glue - its all GW direct sales.

Yes. That's a bad thing. Sure the direct sale thing is good for GW as a business, but nuts to that. Its bad for customers.


But the overall point is it means that there's shops with staff who have nothing but GW to sell to new customers.
In terms of growing your local GW playing scene its fantastic. Meanwhile an Indie store might love wargames, but they might have several different brands. For a brand wanting to make it big this is a bad thing. It means that their direct customer contact point (the indie store) is not pushing just their product but loads of others. This makes it a lot harder to grow your game.

Community leader programs (like the PG) run well are thus essential to growing your brand outside of storekeepers. At least your community reps will have a vested interest in promoting the game locally and are an essential force at growing a business.

I just don't agree. Warhammer spread here largely without stores or community programs (though they had both, neither matched the geography). It maintains its presence without either.
Other games that have spread successfully in places I've been did so without community programs or stores. Battletech, X-wing, Dust, that weird sci-fi game from the Confrontation folks, Infinity, Malifaux, all those grew without the support you're talking about.
The GW stores that survive here don't have a local playing scene (the first wave stores did, but GW culled those as failures and tried again later). They're irrelevant to maintaining or growing a 'scene' here.

The things you're deeming 'essential' have never been required.

I do also agree that several firms have had a chance and then failed to capitalise. One issue I do see is that there's a big hurdle between being a small time casting firm and a big time one. At some stage you have to shift production up a gear to maintain supply. From my observation a LOT of wargame firms have a problem with this. Upscaling "at home" is expensive in machines, land, tax and employees. Whilst your profits are only slowly growing you need a huge cash injection to push up a level. If you want to shift from resin/metal to plastic then that's even greater in costs and requires new staff with totally new skill sets.

This, I'll agree with. Heck, currently even GW is struggling to maintain production at the moment (though, that's a once-in-a-century world condition, more than anything)

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/30 00:05:18


Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in ca
Boom! Leman Russ Commander





London, Ontario

I think it’s like the question, “When is the best time to plant a tree?”

The answer is, “25 years ago.”

So I don’t think any company would be competing for market share any time in the next 10-15 years if they started today (the next best time to plant a tree!).

A game needs interesting IP. And that takes time to develop and become a more broadly known thing. Also, like a restaurant, it needs something to bring people back. A special dish, if you will, that makes people want to come back. The game needs steady growth, and needs to be accessible.

That is a slow and painful process.
   
Made in us
Rogue Daemonhunter fueled by Chaos






Macon, GA

I think the real question is to ask what GW does that allows it to keep long time players while also attracting new ones. In, short, what are it’s advantages in the market. And they have a LOT.

First, broad and deep fan base. There are people who play, some who collect, some who paint, some who read lore, some who only connect via video games. Some of this was first mover advantage, coupled with having s complete ecosystem of rules, models, and hobby supplies. Some is a virtuous cycle, where having a player base helps to bring in new players. The only way to take this head on would be an enormous amount of cash to get product widely distributed, and have a lot of different ways to hook players. This, however, leads to the next strength...

GW keeps players engaged and rewards stores for stocking more of the range. Licensed games like X-wing always hit a wall when they run out of material, and indie games all hit SKU bloat. GW is able to sell 20 year old rhinos while a two year old PP model that is mediocre gathers dust. GW does this by intentionally not chasing pure balance, but by designing a game that allows even weaker armies a punchers chance, especially in non tournament missions.

Third, GW has a huge and fully owned IP. it’s not Shakespeare, but it paints a distinctive picture of its works, and the motives and goals of two dozen factions.

Finally, GW consistently makes a ton of high quality plastic models in an industry where most competitors are struggling to release a sprue or two a month. Even the specialist games get a few new kits a year!

So... to really compete, you’re looking at one massive obstacle: capital. You’d need to probably buy your own plastic production plant to have a smooth logistics chain, and the create a world people care about. You’d then want to get it in every gaming, hobby, comic, and specialty toy shop. Then, you’d need a game that rewards repeat play.

It’s a tall order, and anybody with those resources would wisely look at making a hobby board game instead.


Automatically Appended Next Post:
GWs success is also partly due to scale creep being popular. People like primaris sized infantry and tanks that are bigger than a chipotle burrito. That means bigger sprues or more sprues. GW packs sprues tight. Compare an indomitus sprue to anything from Renadra, or even GW from 15 years ago. That means bigger models and more options per sprue.

To even try to compete, you’d need four factions, each with with at least two infantry kits and a vehicle kit, which if cleverly designed gives you four squad options, a transport, and a fighting tank. You then either need to include character gubbins on the sprue or have more sprues for characters, or else that’s metal. That means for something even close to GW quality, that’s gonna be two sprues per kit, three kits per army, for 24 sprues to give you s play environment that roughly mirrors if GW only made Grey Knights, Harlequins, custodes, and Tempestus Scions.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/30 00:36:19


My Painted Armies
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KOW Ogres: 4500 points
Loyalist Emperor's Children: 2500 points 
   
Made in gb
Rampaging Furioso Blood Angel Dreadnought





Stevenage, UK

To be fair, a lot of GW's success on the model front is because of their willingness to invest in improvement, and actually innovate techniques - not just sitting on laurels. I could point to a number of examples, like the factory expansion, or the continuing changes in the paint range, even Finecast - which ok, didn't turn out as good as everyone wanted, but considering we're talking resin injection into moulds built for metal, it could've gone a LOT worse.

There's a lot of knowledge there built up over the years, and a lot of lessons learned too I'm sure... but it wouldn't be impossible for someone with that knowledge to attempt striking out on their own and using that knowledge to give their own company a boost. I'm sure being able to say that they're ex-GW would go a long way, too (look at Mike McVey or Juan Diaz).
That said, your average staffer wouldn't have that kind of money, so the initial investment would have to come from somewhere else.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/30 01:19:49


"Hard pressed on my right. My centre is yielding. Impossible to manoeuvre. Situation excellent. I am attacking." - General Ferdinand Foch  
   
Made in au
Longtime Dakkanaut




I would say the single biggest thing that keeps GW at the top is culture surrounding it.
Even getting players to look at other games can be difficult, With the internet reinforcing so much of that nowdays as well.

I think a lot of that is also Fans that will dig deep, Some players will have thousands of points in Rhino for that once in ten years apoc game.

So i think GW has done well in recent years of selling the dream, even if they have spent a lot of that time skirting avg to failure in other area.
Also Space marines i think are keeping 40k afloat, and they are pushing further into that niche i think.
   
Made in de
Ladies Love the Vibro-Cannon Operator






Hamburg

 BroodSpawn wrote:
Privateer Press was a contender in the not too distant past. Then GW pulled it's finger out, released 8th while at the same time PP's steps into doing things the GW way (dedicated faction books) and the release of Mk3 went down.. not so well (amongst other things).

Toppling GW, when it's at a height it's not really every been at before and is just getting stronger and stronger? Doubt there's a company in the niche market that can threaten that. FFG might be able to with Star Wars... but only because of the Star Wars brand. They have a long way to go before they're doing multiple monthly simultaneous weekend releases around the world - something GW generally does now with ease from experience.

GW was at a decline in the era of Kirby.
At the same time, PP was a real contender. But they made a few bad decisions when MK3 was released. You can see the result today, by looking at the Forum at PP.

Former moderator 40kOnline

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Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut







It is really important to remember that part of what got GW where it is now is luck, and making shifts in the game at the right times.

Remember how once upon a time, when they didn't have much resources, they promoted the heck out of the do-it-yourself hobby aspects? Remember how once upon a time, Rogue Trader was a skirmish game that got rewritten into an army scale game?

For that matter, remember when Citadel Miniatures made figures for things other than Games Workshop games, and White Dwarf printed articles for other games?
   
Made in de
Nurgle Chosen Marine on a Palanquin




Looking at Dakka discussions I think people here often look too much at rules when the real reason for GWs success is their models. Having tried out miniatures from other producers there are surely very good plastic boxes from other companies out there, but they're usually just the base models and you need Resin / metal Heroes to make an army, or the quality is not as good, or the range is pretty small. GW beats them all one way or the other even if you find some sculpts questionable or their Trend towards monopose seems strange.
GWs system with the best rules is Lotr and for a long time it was their third Main system. I think if you want to know how to compete with Warhammer you have to look at Lotr and analyse what went wrong. They have great (mainly monopose) models, a strong IP, good rules and yet they failed to establish in a way Warhammer did. One main reason is because GW stopped support at some point, but the system was also pretty much "finished". I think tolkien is a superior IP to the Warhammers, but it's not centered around a tabletop game where you want an unending range of factions that all have a reason for fighting each other.
   
Made in de
Ladies Love the Vibro-Cannon Operator






Hamburg

Well, the models (pose, details, plastic) give GW a lead when compared with other miniature companies.
The rules GW releases remain an issue (especially for 40k) but they hardly hamper GW's success atm.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/30 09:39:41


Former moderator 40kOnline

Lanchester's square law - please obey in list building!

Illumini: "And thank you for not finishing your post with a "" I'm sorry, but after 7200 's that has to be the most annoying sign-off ever."

Armies: Eldar, Necrons, Blood Angels, Grey Knights; World Eaters (30k); Bloodbound; Cryx, Circle, Cyriss 
   
Made in us
Scarred Ultramarine Tyrannic War Veteran





 Turnip Jedi wrote:
 Big Mac wrote:
I got into warhammer because I was buying magic cards while a teen; so I could see MtG made into a TT game with its miniatures and cards to do battle sort of like warmachine.



With a 40 year headstart GW are nigh invunerable,


Running GW out of business is a different goal than rivaling them.

My WHFB armies were Bretonians and Tomb Kings. 
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:

Overread wrote:I think one key aspect that GW has the edge on is the highstreet stores. Whilst almost every other retailer is fleeing the highstreet, GW is holding out (and as yet hasn't had to pair with food outlets at a national level to survive).

I'm always dubious about this. Its a factor that doesn't matter anywhere but Britain (and maybe Austrailia/NZ). The rest of the world gets by fine relying mostly on indie stores.


The thing is if you go into a GW store the only thing you can buy is GW product. From models to books to paint to brushes to glue - its all GW direct sales.

Yes. That's a bad thing. Sure the direct sale thing is good for GW as a business, but nuts to that. Its bad for customers.


But the overall point is it means that there's shops with staff who have nothing but GW to sell to new customers.
In terms of growing your local GW playing scene its fantastic. Meanwhile an Indie store might love wargames, but they might have several different brands. For a brand wanting to make it big this is a bad thing. It means that their direct customer contact point (the indie store) is not pushing just their product but loads of others. This makes it a lot harder to grow your game.

Community leader programs (like the PG) run well are thus essential to growing your brand outside of storekeepers. At least your community reps will have a vested interest in promoting the game locally and are an essential force at growing a business.

I just don't agree. Warhammer spread here largely without stores or community programs (though they had both, neither matched the geography). It maintains its presence without either.
Other games that have spread successfully in places I've been did so without community programs or stores. Battletech, X-wing, Dust, that weird sci-fi game from the Confrontation folks, Infinity, Malifaux, all those grew without the support you're talking about.
The GW stores that survive here don't have a local playing scene (the first wave stores did, but GW culled those as failures and tried again later). They're irrelevant to maintaining or growing a 'scene' here.

The things you're deeming 'essential' have never been required.


I think the aspect we are differing on is that your looking at GW's growth in markets overseas, whilst I'm looking at their market in their home nation, the UK. The way I see it is their overseas market was able to grow partly because of their firm grasp on the UK market. The UK market dominance gives them the edge in income which allows them resources for marketing and alternative product display and licencing of their IP and basically everything that helps them stand out against the other brands in other nations. It helps put them on the map and promote the game and push it forward in those markets. Plus the pattern of allowing local indies to build a community and then opening a local GW brand store is something they do do overseas. It's not superfast because GW isn't taking out big loans to force their way into the market en-mass; but it is happening at a steady rate.

Online also has an impact, that big UK market (and honestly now US market) can produce loads of photos, stories, articles, guides, videos, twitches etc... Loads of material that markets GW for zero cost to GW! GW doesn't need the Evy metal team they've got legions of fans showing off their top quality painting of GW models today. In fact I'd argue that GW's promotion and push of Evy Metal as concept has dwindled over the years. It's not that its not there, its just not as much a marketing cornerstone that GW needs now that the community does it on the internet.

   
Made in mx
Tunneling Trygon




Mexico

You need experience and capital to run a company. Logistics, management, marketing, production, HR, etc. BTW not a single person is going to be skilled in all that, you need specialists in every branch.

You also need a considerable amount of luck.

Moreover you need the market power to force your customers to buy stuff. GW has become very successful at that with the Codex system and the Primaris stuff. Sure many will complain, but they will but it regardless. That is something any theoretical rival of GW needs to learn.



This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/30 15:34:37


 
   
Made in it
Poxed Plague Monk





Sesto San Giovanni, Italy

You aren't thinking quadrimensionally.

There is no need for a company to rival GW. Will be enough when people will start to design and print their own miniatures.

Then, finally, Warhammer will become a pure IP and we won't have to relate anymore with their cringe business approach. And, of course, then Disney will purchase it
   
Made in gb
Bryan Ansell





Birmingham, UK

 Tyran wrote:
You need experience and capital to run a company. Logistics, management, marketing, production, HR, etc. BTW not a single person is going to be skilled in all that, you need specialists in every branch.

You also need a considerable amount of luck.

Moreover you need the market power to force your customers to buy stuff. GW has become very successful at that with the Codex system and the Primaris stuff. Sure many will complain, but they will but it regardless. That is something any theoretical rival of GW needs to learn.





I would agree to luck.

In all honesty GW has amased its market dominance by being in the right place at the right time. It has hardly provided the best rulesets or the best minis but has been able to consistently leverage its position to stay ahead and be THE name that is referenced with regards to ttmg.

Consider that it has taken GW 30+ years to get to where it is. 30 years to get to a position where they seriously thought they owned copyright to basic geometric shapes.
Consider the Memes GW have generated.
They were able to destroy one of their oldest game settings and systems and still stay ahead.

Clones and competitors rely on a thriving GW to sell their own goods. I would argue that without a GWmonopoly(?) these companies wouldnt exist at all and wouldnt think about operating.

I doubt anyone will come along to directly compete.

   
Made in gb
Princeps of the Titan 'SDF-1'






The same way the advent of the sewing machine ended the clothing trade?

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

 
   
Made in gb
Dakka Veteran





It’s mainly about the models for me and the ease of matches.
So I’d have to find a game with miniatures I liked the look of and it would have to be popular enough to make finding games a possibility.


Also, there’s waves of comments everywhere about GW being clueless or terrible at what they do.
To some degree, yes, they make a lot of decisions that seem bad.
Keep in mind though that it’s a long lived and established company.
To get where they are now is not luck or blind faith.

Their business model is not super friendly, but it works and it’s stood the test of time.


If it was easy to make a company that could rival them, we would see tons of new companies popping up every now and then.
   
Made in gb
Bryan Ansell





Birmingham, UK

 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
The same way the advent of the sewing machine ended the clothing trade?


Sure.

I mean I'm not saying its impossible to create an IP that would be as popular as 40k (as an example). But to directly compete with what GW has built? from scratch? (which is the question posed)

As an example look at companies who are providing games based on popular IP. Do TTMG games based on SW for example generate revenue equivalent to GW?

Are they as long lived?

Is Mantic a serious long term competitor for GW's crown?

Privateer?

Warlord?

Prodos or whoever they are now? CMoN?

   
Made in us
Rotting Sorcerer of Nurgle






 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
The same way the advent of the sewing machine ended the clothing trade?


You have that bass ackwards.

GW is the sewing machine in your example. The sewing machine created the clothing trade into an industrial juggernaut. Before Isaac Singer came along it took roughly 14 hours to make a single shirt. GW made wargaming into what it is today and several other satellite companies would not exist were it not for them.




A GW fan walks into a bar, buys the same drink as yesterday but pays more.

""Unite" is a human word, ... join me or die."

If you break apart my or anyone else's posts line by line I will not read them. 
   
Made in gb
Princeps of the Titan 'SDF-1'






Crossed wires. Was replying to Cybtroll.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

 
   
Made in us
Da Head Honcho Boss Grot




New Jersey, State of Perfection

Racerguy180Made in us wrote:3) Develop a game(or series of) that offers depth of player involvement while also able to be picked up quickly by new players(to wargaming).


This one might be off the mark. Having studied the market and the industry for a long time, I (alongside countless others who have done the same) have more or less come to the conclusion that even though this is what gamers say they want or think they want, it isn't actually what they want. GWs games have succeeded because they have a gakky game, not in spite of it (though the fact that their minis are top tier certainly doesn't hurt). Its easy to pick up and play, relies on mechanics that give players good dopamine hits and tactile stimulation (rolling lots of dice), etc. etc. etc. Because GWs games have been a historical gateway into the hobby as a whole, GW has basically defined the mechanical landscape and programmed certain expectations into the community for what a game should look like and play like, which is why so many competitors out there design games along the same mechanical paradigms. Bolt Action, Flames of War/Team Yankee, and countless others are basically subtle tweaks on the GW "engine". FFG, PP, and Wyrd also both have their own "engines" (although Warcaster is a major rework/evolution of it), but have not been successful in shaping the market - I only know of one other game designed and released by an outside publisher that utilize the FFG and PP engines and absolutely none that use Wyrds (and none of these other games are particularly popular), vs literally hundreds that are "40k/Fantasy but..." for GWs games. There are some other engines out there beyond that but they are absolutely obscure and unknown. Basically theres lots of "inertia" behind GWs game design that make it hard to really step away from it from the standpoint of consumer success, games that are a departure from that are faced with pushback, resistance, and hostility as a result of lizard brain responses to something new/which doesn't fit the established norms that the broader community has been programmed to expect.

 Vaktathi wrote:


FFG got close, with Xwing for a bit, but that was in large part due to mishandlings on GW's part and a confluence of new Star Wars movies, and didn't last.


The interesting thing about FFG is that they have succeeded, in part, on breaking GW's hold. GW is no longer the "gateway game" behemoth that it once was - for a long time it was assumed that 90% or more of those coming into the hobby came in through GW's products, and then all the other games out there picked up their communities from GWs cast offs as players got fed up with various issues with GWs product offerings or their tastes refined/matured, etc. This is something that Warmachine never really managed to accomplish, the majority of the community was built on the back of GW turncoats, which is why when GW got its gak together the community largely abandoned the game and went back to 40k.

X-Wing and Legion (and to a lesser extent Armada which has suffered from a lack of product availability and a languishing release schedule for the last few years) are now a significant source of new tabletop gamers who haven't ever touched GW games (note, I said significant, not necessarily a majority). X-Wing and Armada especially as their pre-assembled and pre-painted nature and small buy-in values make for a very low barrier for entry into the hobby which makes the transition into self-built and painted miniatures less imposing (which allowed an easy "pipeline" into Legion). Unfortunately, GWs games are such a behemoth that this pipeline often leads people to GWs products anyway. I think, over time, this might help open the market a bit more and increase the communities openness to games that are a bigger departure from GWs rule styles (though, this probably means that these games will need to look more like FFGs to get past the lizard brain response).

The real trick though is longevity, IMO. GW is in part seeing a renaissance today because its re-attracting people that quit 3-6 editions ago. Folks that played in the 90s or early 2000s and then lost interest, but now have time and money and are being recaptured through their nostalgia. I think, in part, any contender will need to try to do the same by bringing in high-turnover younger players through high visibility avenues and then be willing to hold out for them to grow up and come back 20 years later, the only company that really has a chance of doing this at the moment is FFG via the Star Wars properties, but in order for this approach to pay off FFG has to still have the Star Wars license in 2 decades time.

2) Have a ruleset that promotes strategy instead of arcady, in-your-face, pay-to-win tactics/units - basically avoid Warmachine-like design and focus on a bolt-action type design


I think you have this backwards, Warmachine has strategy and tactical gameplay, 40k has listbuilding.

Infinity can compete with GW on individual sculpt quality but they're still making single-pose metal minis.


Sculpt quality - yes. Aesthetics - no. Infinity is extremely generic in its appearance and suffers from a high degree of "sameness" in its miniatures designs. Even veteran Infinity players complain about how its sometimes difficult to differentiate miniatures from eachother. They have got better over time in this respect, but the visual identity is not there and thus far theres nothing that truly reaches "iconic" status.

Mantic has the breadth of kits but they're still in historical-wargames


I think you meant Warlord. Mantic isn't doing anything historical to my knowledge, and is instead doing the "generic-brand GW products" thing.

A better game that you could basically use the same minis for


Minis are what make money and allow games to succeed. Nobody will ever get as big as GW making a better game that people are buying GWs minis to play.

Basically, to beat GW you need to follow their playbook and put in the time. You can't license your way to this. Licensing deals are inherently transitory and place limitations on a companies products. Whether you are FFG with Star Wars or CMON with ASOIF, they are a licensing renewal failure away from losing any momentum they make in rivaling GW.


This. The only way to be successful licensing a game is to be able to transition gamers from a licensed property to an unlicensed one. FFG tried to do this with Rune...Wars? Whatever it was called. Didn't work, there was no interest in the game despite sharing a lot in common with X-Wing and its been discontinued as a result. When FFG inevitable loses the Star Wars license (not a question of if but a question of when) they will be back to square zero. Same with CMON with ASOIF unless they manage to develop a game a few years down the line that they can transition the community to. Likewise Atomic Mass with the Marvel game.

And that is the problem. Who else in the miniature war-games business owns their own compelling and wide reaching IP that comes close to Warhammer 40K? I think we can safely say, nobody.


Privateer Press *could* if they hadn't mismanaged their own IPs so poorly. Removing fluff from the rulebooks, and making rulebooks pointless/unnecessary, was a dumb move. The game community is largely divorced from the concept of fluff, most only know it or understand it at the top level but know little or nothing about it in depth or detail as a result, because it wasn't accessible. PP tried to transition the fluff to novels, but because there was no connection between the novels and what the players were familiar with (i.e. the game), nobody bought them.

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Owning their own IP outright is quite the thing here.

Consider Kenner, the Grandaddy of working the Star Wars IP.

They held the license from the get-go. And because Star Wars was the first massively impactful merchandising effort, it may surprise people just how sweet Kenner had it - at first.

See, by 1978, Kenner coined in around $100,000,000 in Star Wars sales. Lucasfilm’s cut? Something daft like a meagre $50,000 (this is me recalling from The Toys That Made Us on Netflix. Exact figure may be off, but it was laughably small by comparison, even if we add a further zero).

So it was lucrative to say the least. Until....someone at Kenner forgot to send the cheque to Lucasfilm. At which point the whole license was renegotiated.

Licenses are also commonly time limited, it would seem. It seems likely to me that if your product line is selling well, the Licensor may want a bigger slice of that delicious pie you developed. And their demands may push you into the “not really worth it anymore” territory.

There’s also the risk that if your product line is a slow burner, that once renegotiation takes place, they simply refuse, and that’s you stuffed, even if sales were starting to increase.

Heck, if things go really poorly, you may face financial penalty. Why? Because the Licensor holds more of the cards, so the contract is far more likely to favour them in terms of termination details than you. Sure, they might be keen on entering the TTWG market, but that doesn’t mean they need your specific company.

But, to develop your own IP takes a helluva lot of effort, especially if you want it to stand out.

GW in many respects just got lucky at the right time. Next to Dr Who and 2000AD, it’s one of Britain’s most enduring sci-fi offerings. It’s also a glorious hodge-podge of contemporary influences, welded into something truly unique.



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 Overread wrote:
Spoiler:
Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:
 Overread wrote:
Voss wrote:

Overread wrote:I think one key aspect that GW has the edge on is the highstreet stores. Whilst almost every other retailer is fleeing the highstreet, GW is holding out (and as yet hasn't had to pair with food outlets at a national level to survive).

I'm always dubious about this. Its a factor that doesn't matter anywhere but Britain (and maybe Austrailia/NZ). The rest of the world gets by fine relying mostly on indie stores.


The thing is if you go into a GW store the only thing you can buy is GW product. From models to books to paint to brushes to glue - its all GW direct sales.

Yes. That's a bad thing. Sure the direct sale thing is good for GW as a business, but nuts to that. Its bad for customers.


But the overall point is it means that there's shops with staff who have nothing but GW to sell to new customers.
In terms of growing your local GW playing scene its fantastic. Meanwhile an Indie store might love wargames, but they might have several different brands. For a brand wanting to make it big this is a bad thing. It means that their direct customer contact point (the indie store) is not pushing just their product but loads of others. This makes it a lot harder to grow your game.

Community leader programs (like the PG) run well are thus essential to growing your brand outside of storekeepers. At least your community reps will have a vested interest in promoting the game locally and are an essential force at growing a business.

I just don't agree. Warhammer spread here largely without stores or community programs (though they had both, neither matched the geography). It maintains its presence without either.
Other games that have spread successfully in places I've been did so without community programs or stores. Battletech, X-wing, Dust, that weird sci-fi game from the Confrontation folks, Infinity, Malifaux, all those grew without the support you're talking about.
The GW stores that survive here don't have a local playing scene (the first wave stores did, but GW culled those as failures and tried again later). They're irrelevant to maintaining or growing a 'scene' here.

The things you're deeming 'essential' have never been required.


I think the aspect we are differing on is that your looking at GW's growth in markets overseas, whilst I'm looking at their market in their home nation, the UK. The way I see it is their overseas market was able to grow partly because of their firm grasp on the UK market. The UK market dominance gives them the edge in income which allows them resources for marketing and alternative product display and licencing of their IP and basically everything that helps them stand out against the other brands in other nations. It helps put them on the map and promote the game and push it forward in those markets.

That process took years- almost 18 years just to establish 100 stores. GW built on other things first (D&D and so on), but were already 3 editions into 'warhammer fantasy' in 1988 when I bought my first rulebooks and minis in London from a store that wasn't GW.
You're skipping forward past an absurd amount of their buildup to the point they were already established, and only then creating the dominance you're taking as a given, even in the UK market.

When it comes to a potential rival, there is plenty of time and opportunity to grow, they just have to not screw the pooch the way so many companies before them did. Or abandon the table the way WotC and FFG tend to do.

Plus the pattern of allowing local indies to build a community and then opening a local GW brand store is something they do do overseas. It's not superfast because GW isn't taking out big loans to force their way into the market en-mass; but it is happening at a steady rate.

Literally never seen this happen. GW does some select targeting of high volume commercial areas in the suburbs (malls and the like, and even then, its definitely upscale suburban, most major US cities don't have a GW store), but that's not where indie stores live and thrive. They can't afford to. Successful ones tend to be a couple rings further out in lower rent areas on the fringe. Or even further out on the rural/suburban divide.
Most GW attempts to do otherwise have failed- I can remember shopping in a couple independent stores that rented out the location of a GW store after it died after the first wave expansion. The most prominent being LA, well Santa Monica to be precise. The faint imprints of the GW sign were still smoked onto the building because of the smog, just to add insult to injury.


Online also has an impact, that big UK market (and honestly now US market) can produce loads of photos, stories, articles, guides, videos, twitches etc... Loads of material that markets GW for zero cost to GW! GW doesn't need the Evy metal team they've got legions of fans showing off their top quality painting of GW models today. In fact I'd argue that GW's promotion and push of Evy Metal as concept has dwindled over the years. It's not that its not there, its just not as much a marketing cornerstone that GW needs now that the community does it on the internet.

Word of mouth is word of mouth. That its on the internet now makes little difference, its what really grew the company initially.
What pushes a lot of players into GW is other players in the indie shop that already play... and don't play other things. Same as it was in the 80s or 90s.
People are continually attracted to new games, but other companies don't last in the market under their own mistakes.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/08/30 20:34:00


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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:
Crossed wires. Was replying to Cybtroll.


I see, thought you were replying to the post above. Apologies!



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Austria

And that is the problem. Who else in the miniature war-games business owns their own compelling and wide reaching IP that comes close to Warhammer 40K? I think we can safely say, nobody.

Battletech
and from a point of view the IP is bigger than 40k, but today for most people it is a Video Game IP and not a boardgame/tabletop/wargame

things might change again, and GW was lucky to be there when Battletech struggled (they made a similar bad decision like GW did with Warhammer/AoS, but there was no second and third line game to back it up) but it is still there and can rise again

Another one is Gundam
no real tabletop/wargame there yet but if they ever decide to enter the market they would be a big player right from the start
there is already a big fanbase and people are using different homebrew rules for some wargaming action with the models (and there is enough for several game, make a 1/144 Skirmish Game with 2-4 big models, a 1/144 wargame with infantry and tanks and a 1/200-1/400 game using full gundam armies)

Literally never seen this happen. GW does some select targeting of high volume commercial areas in the suburbs (malls and the like, and even then, its definitely upscale suburban, most major US cities don't have a GW store), but that's not where indie stores live and thrive. They can't afford to. Successful ones tend to be a couple rings further out in lower rent areas on the fringe. Or even further out on the rural/suburban divide.

Here GW has done different, the used the Indi Store to build up the Community, when that one was big enough they killed the Indi Store by adding restrictions on which and how much GW stuff they get and than they open a GW Store near location of the old store (the Indi Store might still exist but without GW products or only the very basic ones)

but very likely that their US strategy for stores is different

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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Tyel wrote:
...At its core the major advantage GW have is that people play their games. Obviously they have stores themselves - but there is also a usually vibrant tournament and club scene covering a large part of the world..,.


This is the key. Even when GW were doing things very poorly you had pretty much the best chance of picking up a pick up game using one of their systems. It’s an inertia that’s hard to overcome.
   
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I think that its like WOW and MMOs. People play WOW because... everyone else does.

People play 40k and AOS because... everyone else does.

You have to be able to have a game that everyone else plays, where you can go into any store in the world and know you are going to get in a game against anyone.

Thats the main pull of GW games.

A new game would need as many players AND a world championship tournament scene to begin to even make GW itch a little in discomfort.

Not even the Star Wars games with the most popular sci fi IP of all time have been able to do that, albeit xwing has come close in its zenith days.

No one wants to go out, spend $500-$1000 on a miniatures army, paint it up, and then go down to their store and sit there by themselves or play the same 2 or 3 people forever because everyone else is playing 40k. That is a HUGE (and I think impossible) obstacle to overcome.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2020/08/30 23:06:11


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That’s one reason I want to see more people treat tabletop games like board games: if you want to play, you supply a complete game. When I played BFG, I had to buy ships for multiple fleets to get my friends to play. My friends would buy other games that I could play with 0 investment.

The prices are also much smaller for non-GW games. You could make two forces with lots of options for Frostgrave for a lot less than $500. For $500, one can supply two or more factions for dozens of non-GW games. The fact you think people are investing $1000 per faction for non-GW games kind of baffles me.

   
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Austria

but this a reason why people still play the game no matter what GW is doing

because the invested 1000$ for something you can get for 50$ from another brand
if you no have spend 1050$ and only do not play the GW game, people feel like they have wasted the 1000$
while spending 50$, playing once and shelf the game is not a big deal compared to the 1000$

hence why boardgames and boardgame like tabletops are so popular right now, they are very cheap compared to other options (GW, PC Games, etc) and if you only play them once with friends you still feel like your 50$ investment mattered compared to a 70$ single player PC game that is played thru in one evening

also, because people are used to high GW prices, they see everything else that is cheaper as bad
because it must be, otherwise they would have wasted money if you get the same quality from someone else for less, and not taking about the models here but also the rules and colours (people say that GW colours are the best quality you can get and nothing else is coming close because they are the most expensive ones and even much cheaper artist grade high quality colours must be worse than GW and if you proof them wrong the argument changes to availability and if you proof them wrong again, they get angry and say they still stick with GW because they already have a lot and don't like to change)

Harry, bring this ring to Narnia or the Sith will take the Enterprise

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