Monday, January 27, 2014

GW share price plummet

Uh oh... looks like rude, smelly, sale focused staff, poor quality resin, constantly making expensive rule books redundant, suing fan websites, treating retail stores like scum and extreme price markups doesn't make for sound business practice.

Here is my solution to kick up the GW game.  I have covered this before but I do so love talking about it!  Comments below!

1) 50% pricing reduction in 2 installments to increase cash flow, restore fan base and return old players to fold.

2) Low cost/loss leader entry rulebooks and sets. Strip rulebooks down to thin, cheap books with several multi-race expansion books.  No more 160 dollar entry products.  50 bucks for A4 sized 40k basic box- no figures just rules, dice, templates and counters.  Buy with a small starter army set- (a few heroes, a squad, a heavy weapon, a dreadnought & stat cards).  You are off and running!

3) Close the shops, support retailers and online delivery.  White dwarf to be the thing that gets new kids interested.  Support retailers with demo tables and armies, contest day prizes and online advertising.

4) White dwarf covers all armies each month, includes codex rule changes, comics, new fluff and user content.  Support bloodbowl etc.

5) Drop finecast, focus on plastics alone.  Resin to forgeworld only.

6)  Reduce tooling costs / packaging on future products by making kits more multiuse.   Less products produced but more purchases of product.
  For example- war hydra contains handlers for orc, dark elf, lizardman and chaos warrior. 

7) Revise rules to allow more racial crossover in army building- remove 'can't' from rulebooks.  Consolidate armies removing staggered release codex system, balance rules by making analog forces (elves = dark elves, beastmen= lizard men=orcs & goblins etc).  Analogs make balancing easier, allow smaller rulebooks and less arguments.  Forces of darkness book, Forces of light book.  Want a chaos force with daemons, skaven and a necromancer?   Sure.  Buy it!

8) Smaller new releases each month for several armies including free rules where needed.  Releases can be cosmetic and not require new rules.  No 'this month it's tyranids'.  Instead a few things for everyone that can be impulse purchaed.  What like?  At the least, scenery making bits (doors, windows), corpse packs, skulls, weapon sprues, man eating plants, crows, alien things for bases etc.  Monster/aliens are also useful for all players.

9) Address sexism in products to widen audience. Female spess marines allowed.

10) Support specialist games by using crossover products.  Bloodbowl components in kits, for example.  A dreadfleet boat in every new kit.  Use cheap specialist games as entry products for flagship games.  Spacehulk--> 40k, for example.

11) Give me money.  Lots of money.  Looooots money.


  1. I think closing the shops will be their best bet for improving their relationship with customers and retailers. They probably don't need them so much for recruitment purposes in this age of the internet. This would be a very long term strategy and I can't see them closing things down overnight even though they probably need to.

    I agree they should bring back specialist games. It might make sense to do that in a spin-off company like Flame, Black Library or Forgeworld. I am sure they would be profitable.

    Rules wise maybe they could learn from D&D and hold a public playtest, open beta. That seems to have healed a fractured community and taken some of the heat from Hasbro. Maybe it will work to heal the toxic GW community.

    I don't see how women are their market at all. Besides we already have female Spess Marines - Sisters of Battle.

    That's all I've got.

    How are those Ogre sculpts coming along?

    1. Ogre fan huh? I fixed the legs just need to detail the bodies!

    2. Addressing sexism is actually good for male customer retention as players age they want girlfriends, then wives, then daughters. Being friendly to women allows shared gaming experiences and less pull from the hobby for male audience. Plus adding female gamers, even if they are few, is more customers. If you can have more customers for no additional cost, why not?

    3. Oh and sisters of battle are not female marines. They are weaker, and sexist in that they conform to the 'virgin' or 'whore' trap. Nuns vs. Slutty dark elves. Hmmm..
      It is also segregation. A female marine is a marine, in marine gear, doing a marine job.
      Eldar are better, but still not sexism free.
      The fluff would have to change, but then again it really needs a spring clean anyway.

    4. The fluff is the only thing saving this so far imo. Without the 40k story you have a game with miniatures that are too specialized to be used as anything else - Only orks and IG are 100% reusable; necrons and Sisters are semi-reusable as robots and space nuns; eldar and dark eldar are niche as space elves; if GW goes under all SM are dead, ditto Tau and Tyranids.

      Point 10 is debatable in part;

      Pro- there's no question GW needs more and better variety of female models and they need to expand Sisters' fluff a bit so people stop thinking of them as catholic nuns - they aren't.
      Toughest Girls in the Galaxy Kickstarter proved that there was an existing market for a female quality IG army; but if they've lost the goodwill along with the initiative then anything GW does now would be too little too late.
      Tau and Eldar need more women. Warmahordes is winning this fight since they have more female models or are trending that way (Issryria, Sybil of Dawn is a gorgeous non-sexualized miniature)

      Con- Fem Space Marines is a huge debate. Unless you make one or both of the 2 missing Primarchs female (which ironically is the only thing I can think of that'd make sense) the fluff doesn't support it. No Fem SM also might not be sexist as some people think: as far as story goes a Space Marine isn't 'male' - Space Marines are flesh-golem eunuchs combining the worst elements of child soldiers and frankenstein's monster - the female equivalent to this would be just as ugly.

  2. Excellent article.
    Points 1 to 6 are all good ideas. Personally I would'nt close all the stores, but just focus on about dozen high profile and well placed stores, similar to LEGO, Ikea, Apple. Cheap entry level Codexes/Army books are the key. I have stopped playing GW as I cannot afford to replace the books, and I won't start any new army as the start up is £30 before I even paint anything!
    Also, try not to drop Finecast, they shatter!! ;) (I always thought Finecast was a stop gap to 100% plastic, and I won't be sorry to see finecast go).

    Point 7 is fine, they encouage a similar thing with the Ally system, mainly because a lot of people can no longer afford to buy a complete army of thier own. The problem is to stop the 'pick and mix' approach leading to powergaming. Having entries in each of the Codex/Army books that allow particular things to be used as Allies might bring back the idea of the old 3rd edtion All Contingent. Have in the unit entry 'can be used as an ally'. Informal friends gaming can always 'pick and mix' anyway.

    Point 8 has always been a GW thing, but yes they need to address it. It does'nt always have to address every army every month, that would take a lot of effort and might lead to padding and rules for the sake of writing something. Like Rogue Trader/3rd ed WHFB, if the army books and miniatures are cheaper, then people will have two, three, four or more armies and areas of interest, and so White Dwarf will probably interest them somewhere. Might even tempt them into something new.

    Point 9 is a very important point and there is an untapped market there for GW. I have know/known several female gamers/roleplayers who look at GW and are not interested because of this outdated approach. GW seems to have an early 1980's mindset and have not released that there are more female gamers who would like have a slightly different appraoch. The anime Sci fi Tau could have a more female element; the Sisters of Battle while there are not really supported, and the female Dark Elder are'nt exactly inspiring. Only the Eldar make a serious attempt, but it's hit and miss (I don't think there are any female Farseers modles). As for Fantasy battle, only the Dark Elves have any real number of females. GW should look some of the smaller compaines designs, and relise there are a vast number of female computer gamers who might play thier computer games, and they might then lead onto the miniatures too.
    They need to ditch that stupid OTT music they have on there product clips that only appeals to 10 year old boys who cant afford the stuff anyway!

    Point 10 is valid, it does'nt take much to support the minor games, and Bloodbowl idea is still going strong dispite GW.

    Point 11, I fail to see any problem with that :)

    1. Right on key stores. The focus would be on 'eavy metal painted showcases and creating an atmosphere to entice parents and gift buyers as well. Take away child cult element of luring in and brainwashing. Remove playable tables on shop floor to reduce shop size and draw focus on product not hanging around store creeping out buyers. More open to street, walk in and small impulse buy packs.

  3. OK. To be honest I think a lot of investors were expecting a second LoTR bubble to happen with The Hobbit license. We're half-way through the trilogy, and GW profits were down, not up, so they withdrew investment to put it into more lucrative options.

    GW could improve their product ranges tho,and a warband/skirmish/entry-level game has been muted for a while, but if Jackson had made films that didn't suck, GWs profits and the share-price could have told a very, very, different story.

    1. Building a business with eggs in one basket is not a good idea.

  4. Pretty good points... many sound like they could be easily implemented with a time machine...

    In regards to loss leaders, I've wondered about this myself. GW claim to be a miniatures company who only does games to sell more miniatures. Okay. So why do you charge so much for the books that I would need to buy before I get into your miniatures? Do you know what I paid for my Infinity rules? Nothing. They let you have the rules because they are a miniatures company. It's a quality bit of book too. It works, I spent much more on their miniatures because the money wasn't tied up in books.

    1. Right. Free rules, but glossy books if you want them.

    2. 40k would have a basic rulebook, hobby book and expansions with fluff, special rules, vehicles etc. The actual basic rules should be free to download.

  5. Like the others, I agree on all points. Point 10 is definitely the one I don't get. A lot of companies are making miiatures and money with Bloodbowl, so how come you cant' even buy the older references (which they basically just have to cast and sell. Adding some BB stuff in plastic sprues could also be a good idea.
    Same goes for all speciallists, the rules are available for download from their site so why not sell the old refercne and maybe some new ones from time to time. I think they can't think of another way to do with specialist games than the one they use with the 3 big licences which is basically making a compete make-over every .3 years.
    Applying points 2, 7 and 8 could really help the old games get a place. They have the IP, they have the game already designed and written, they have the models sculpted.
    I understand that chnaging this approach would mean reducing the design staff a lot, but there's a compromise to be made.

    1. Committing to an edition for a few years would be a good first step, and yes I would cull the design team and aim at less releases, but better releases.
      I would aim at getting specialty games into stockists like supermarkets and department stores to entice new players. Think heroquest style board games.

  6. And here I wish for the umpteenth time that you would run GW. Or that they might read your blog. And take it seriously.

  7. Well I guess the best thing to do is make Darkling get up and running.
    For that I need to produce factions, mass combat rules and get into plastics via kickstarter. Hmmm. Actually not that hard.