Maelstrom posts statement regarding Battlefront Miniatures

By tgn_admin
In News
Feb 25th, 2011
121 Comments
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Maelstrom Games have posted a public response to Battlefront Miniatures’ recent decision (PDF link) to remove them as a retailer.

From their announcement:

Unfortunately, this week we have some very bad news for 15mm World War II wargamers. Battlefront Miniatures of New Zealand have decided to drop Maelstrom Games as a retailer and so, accordingly, we cannot obtain Flames of War, Gale Force Nine or Wargames Illustrated to retail to the wargaming public. A public statement written by our Managing Director, Rob Lane, in response to this decision by Battlefront Miniatures can be found within this news article, so read on.

Rob Lane
Managing Director, Maelstrom Games Ltd
25th February 2011

I have written a statement regarding the decision by Battlefront Miniatures to cease trading with Maelstrom Games. Needless to say, this was a bit of a shock on Thursday morning when I found out and I feel it is necessary to respond to the mounting speculation on the internet regarding their decision. Let me reassure you all that I feel we have done absolutely nothing wrong in terms of any law or any contract we have signed, and that we feel we have been treated quite unfairly.

You can download the statement here. It is in Adobe PDF format, a reader for which you can download from www.adobe.com for free.

Firstly, I make no apologies for the length of this statement. It’s a statement of how I personally feel about the situation we find ourselves in and how Maelstrom Games as a company conducts itself. We do try to keep all the problems and annoyances with suppliers and manufacturers to ourselves, simply because it is the professional thing to do and because our customers come first – we swallow it so they don’t have to worry.

That being said, I feel that in this instance the customer needs to know what has happened to understand how this situation has occurred and to ensure Maelstrom Games’ good name does not become sullied by speculation. We believe that we have been completely honourable in all of our trading with Battlefront Miniatures and have tried to do business with them honourably.

I hope you will all read this statement without any prejudice to either party and come to your own decisions as to what has happened.

Let me reassure our customers that this will not affect Maelstrom Games’ health as a company and we will continue to grow and offer more and more excellent wargaming product in 2011.

  • Kaine

    Very interesting read, its funny that the BF lawyers letter seems opposite to the emails Maelstrom received from BF Europe. Its pretty clear they were upset that Maelstrom were giving more than the “agreed” 10%.

    The competition act and price fixing stuff is quite interesting as well, i wonder if we’ll all need legal degrees soon to participate in this hobby 🙂

  • Morf

    Without going into the details, a “You seem to be under the delsusion that somehow we are desperate for your business and cannot live without you.” sentence is a kind of a shocker in any business, miniature business included.

    • howls_moving_castle

      Not sure that the recipient in this instance makes it any better by making private correspondence public? All we’ll end up with is more mud slinging, which is good for no-one, What is interesting is how this approach to pricing develops. I can’t see this being a one-off situation now the genie’s been let out of the bottle.

  • As I said in a previous post, companies should not make statements like this. Just opens you up to all sorts of criticism Mr Lane. Keep quiet and carry on was my advice and this shows that you should have taken my advice! There is a reason my clients are happy to pay from £750 a day for my advice and I was giving you some for free!!

    • antenociti

      Some thing should stay in private Phillip, smugness being one of them… now who was it wittering on about keeping some things in private…?

      • antenociti

        darn, i lost my quote:

        “Lawyers should not make statements like this. It just opens you up to all sorts of criticism when they act all superior and then boast about how much they earn at the same time”

      • So you don’t display publicly the prices of your products and services? Nothing private about my fees, they are clearly stated on my web site.

        • antenociti

          I dont think the quality of your advice is improved by shoving your fees in peoples faces as way of “proof” that your opinion is of more worth than anybody elses.

          Especially when such public posting and posturing is something you are, in the very same series of posts, saying is “a bad thing to do”.

          People waving their hourly rate around, especially in hard times, has never impressed me… it still doesn’t. It has always appeared to me to be a crutch to those unsure of their worth,, but if you feel that you have to do so to make your opinion of any value, then dont let me stop you from doing so.

          I retain the right to my own opinion of people who do so as being considerably different to yours.

        • antenociti

          oh, whilst i’m at it…

          I was under the impression that offering Legal Opinion without being aware of all the facts wasn’t something Lawyers were advised to do?

          Or are you saying that you charge £750 an hour for your personal opinion?

          I admit my LLB days were a long time ago but i was not aware that Lawyers nowadays were encouraged to offer Legal Opinion with so little access to the facts and via public messaging system.

          Myhow times have changed.

          • Zac

            I was under the impression that offering Legal Opinion without being aware of all the facts wasn’t something Lawyers were advised to do?

            When did he say he was a lawyer?

            And his original post said £750 an hour and not a day.

            Lets not launch into public comments like this without all of the information

      • Zac

        I think you’re reading too much into his comments Jed.

        • antenociti

          I suspect you are correct Zac… otherwise it would mean that if I raised my wage rate my products would automatically became better! The more I charged, the better they would become!…And that would be an incredibly silly thing to believe! ¬_¬

          It was, in any case, a trap to lure him into public reply, I admit it.

          When things become personal the ability to simply turn away without saying anything at all becomes a lot harder. It was a simple test case, to prove my point. Sly-tricks taught at law school, or maybe the police, my memory serves me ill.

          Apologies for the underhanded nature of my approach. /em contrite

          I must now return to The Crippled God ….

          • Zac

            When things become personal the ability to simply turn away without saying anything at all becomes a lot harder. It was a simple test case, to prove my point. Sly-tricks taught at law school, or maybe the police, my memory serves me ill.

            Don’t you have enough opportunities to do that on Frothers? 🙂

            I must now return to The Crippled God

            Or finish moulding that APC. 🙂

  • antenociti

    Well, this was over what i thought it was over then, no surprises there then.

    It requires deeper reading to grasp the chronology though, in the meantime, did Maelstroms gaming room(s) vanish into the ether and nobody noticed? … I am, at this stage, confused.

  • ange

    Not smart on BF’s part. There product is easily replaced. All you need to play FoW is buy the Books and bases from BF. The rest can be purchased from other produces. If BF dont onw the right to the base, some one else can take up the slack. Even the rules themselves can be replaced with some other companies rules.

    As to the sales Maelstrom have. Well let me tell you there codes do not work on FoW products. Trust me Ive tried.

  • Phillip,
    I hear you. However, sometimes retailer’s stories have to be told. We are honest, hard-working people who love this hobby of ours and are all wargamers. We do not like to be treated unfairly, and bear in mind that this is simply the tip of the iceberg. One person can only take so much.

    This is my last post on this particular matter – thank you all for your comments and good wishes, both here and elsewhere.

    Cheers

    Rob Lane
    MD, Maelstrom Games

    • antenociti

      Rob, if you are reading any more of this:
      I have, and did recently, wonder and post about the legality of such trade agreements when they, if nothing else, pass so closely to the issue of “price fixing”.

      My personal opinion (which comes without a charge attached to it; although i usually charge around £7.50 an hour for it) is that such agreements would probably cross the line, but who was ‘big-enough’ to challenge it with the inevitable repercussions to their business in any case? Such are the reason that so many things “slip under the wire” in every day life.

      I confess to a certain degree of unease in that matter.

      As you say in the letter the “showdown” on discounts was, perhaps, inevitable given the volume of complaints from those who could not compete, but isn’t fair competition at the heart of doing good business? So why (really WHY!?!) should that be an issue?

      It seems unfair to be penalised for abiding by the Law and being as competitive as you can be; a key element in building a successful business as you have done. I think it would also be fair to say that the goalpost, required for obtaining a certain level of discount, do appear to have been creatively relocated.

      I suspect that some competitors may be smiling at your discomfort, whilst not fully appreciative of the potential cost to themselves at some point in their own futures…

      As such, you have my sympathy.

      • Antenociti,
        Thank you for your kind words, on this and other matters. Certainly, some competitors may be smiling; I have no doubt of that. I wish them well, to be honest.

        Good luck in the future dude.

        Cheers

        Rob Lane
        MD, Maelstrom Games

      • This is one thing you don’t have to pay to get fixed. The government – through the offices of the Office of Fair Trading – will take it off your hands and run with it, since it involves criminal activity.
        The fines levied on airlines for fixing prices provide a good example of what to expect. Obviously the way to avoid the fines, is not to do it in the first place.
        And for the above reasons I disagree with Philip, this brings the price fixing into the open, although those in the trade have known about it for some years.

  • Talarius

    I have to admit I’m confused about “Point 1” on page 3 of Rob Lane’s PDF. As far as I can tell, Flames of War products are NOT excluded from the Jan. 1-10th discount e-mail voucher that he presents (“Seeds of War” products are excluded, not “Flames of War”).

    Following the link to the Warhammer forum, if I understand it correctly, the Feb. 4th post by Tim Fisher could be understood as a blanket 20% discount on all product ranges, with no miniature lines excluded (although I assume it’s just 20% off on Bane-beasts, but the text of the message isn’t explicit enough)

    The Feb. 19th post by Tim Fisher is the first one I see where “Flames of War” is excluded from the discount e-mail vouchers.

    I’m not trying to stir up trouble here; I’m guessing I’m misunderstanding something, but Rob Lane’s point about the January discount seems incorrect as presented in his PDF. Flames of War products were not excluded from the discount as far as I can tell.

    What am I missing?

  • Talarius,
    What you’re missing is that Point 1 proves that we did not state “Flames of War products were not included from the voucher run”, i.e., the voucher code was applicable to FoW products and thus we were not deceiving anyone.

    We always list which items are not included in our voucher runs. If it’s not listed, the voucher code applies to those items.

    As well as that, I must confess I thought it was perfectly clear that the 20% off BaneLegions voucher only applied to BaneLegions products. At least, that’s how I read it (and wrote it)!

    Okay, this is my last post…

    Rob Lane
    MD, Maelstrom Games

    • Talarius

      Ahhh, got it, thanks for the explanation.

      Re: the BaneLegions discount, I thought it was reasonably clear too but I was reading it with layman’s “Lawyer Goggles” trying to figure out if maybe the language used contributed to BF’s problem with Maelstrom. Didn’t seem likely, maybe it wasn’t worth mentioning.

  • pancake ss

    I find BF very expensive and in this currant economic climate, all the dicounts help.
    No matter how big you are sales is what keeps you afloat. This is not very good for the
    gaming community BF, or Maelstrom. I had just started flames of war and was picking
    up a tank or two each gaming night at maelstrom. now thats gone down the pan.
    I know i could go online but for 1 tank or bilister each week it’s not worth it.

  • Cergorach

    This I was wondering about as well, I only see Seeds of War and no Flames of War exclusion (different ranges).

    I also think Maelstrom is not giving the whole picture, the BF rep mentions some other points which are then covered with “[…]”. I’m curious what those points are and if they are serious enough for BF to get even more miffed at Maelstrom.

    Also the ‘price fixing’ is indeed not allowed in the UK/EU, but BF is a non-UK/EU company, they are not bound by UK/EU law unless they supply you from a UK/EU location.

    • There is of course Battlefront UK based in Nottingham – centre of the wargaming universe. I think that is UK enough.

      • Cergorach

        This I know, but it seems that BF is using a legal construct that still exempts them from UK/EU law. You apparently still order from their NZ location and your supplied form a UK location that is under NZ jurisdiction (think FTZ).

    • Kaine

      The full version is in the PDF’s it just looks like some minor bit about some proposed dates for FOW finals.

    • ScoutII

      they are not bound by UK/EU law unless they supply you from a UK/EU location.

      Funny – almost every thing I sell comes under local jurisdiction as soon as a customer clicks on the Add to Cart button. Same goes for wholesalers. If they want to sell to anyone in the UK…they have to play by all of the UKs rules.

      • Cergorach

        Ehm. No, you either agree to terms, those terms are not illegal in the location they offer it or you don’t get a trade account. If you do not keep within the trade terms they stop supplying you. They have every legal right to do that.

        Also keep in mind that the laws for business => consumer are different then the business => business rules. A simple example are the rules concerning returns, guarantees, etc. A consumer is far more protected then a business.

        You are buying from a location outside of the UK.

  • I guess the moral of the story is because Maelstrom is a big UK retailer and Internet presence they should be exempt from the 10% maximum discount agreement BF makes with its retailers. Right.

    If the hobby industry can continue to function despite GW lawyer’s best efforts, I think we will manage with BF’s blanket maximum 10% discount agreement.

  • Cergorach,
    Those points are disagreements on other matters that would distract from the central point. My original public statement included those, but effectively it would be more hurt for Battlefront Miniatures and I don’t want to seem like I am attacking them. I am simply trying to defend Maelstrom Games.

    If you really wish to know, what I have taken out refers to the event that they were going to hold at the Eye of the Storm, and the debacle over the D-Day book release.

    If these two points are focussed on, Battlefront would have more bad press, and to be honest they are not really the point of either solicitor’s letters so I felt it wise to take them out.

    Rob Lane
    MD, Maelstrom Games

  • Will B

    As a retailer myself, I sympathise with Maelstrom having to deal with suppliers who have a tendancy to overreach with their terms and conditions (and in fact I have experience of being cut off by distributors due to similar “differences of opinion”). To me it seems like a case of Battlefront cutting of their nose to spite their face.

    • Dangerous

      It’s an interesting story, from both perspecives but I think the one thing that everyone is agreed on is that it’s not a case of anyone cutting off their nose to spite their face.

      BF say they don’t need MG, MG say they don’t need BF.

      Other retailers remain, your mileage may vary.

      Still, killed a few hours and for that I’m grateful. Now back to Mrs Jones and Ginger’s hairballs.

      • On the contrary, Dangerous, we do/did need Battlefront; they constitute/d a healthy part of our sales. However, now that they are effectively gone, I have to look to the future, a future without that significant chunk of our turnover (around 15%).

        Let’s be clear: if Battlefront about-faced and offered trading terms with us again, I would accept, both for the good of my business and our customers.

        My personal feelings about Battlefront matter not a jot.

        Sadly, however, it seems that Battlefront do not need us. If you bear in mind that we are certainly their biggest retailer in Europe, if not the world – I know this because they have told me so to my face – then it may well seem that they are cutting their nose off to spite their face.

        That, however, is conjecture.

        Rob Lane
        MD, Maelstrom Games

        • Damn. I must not keep posting after I have said I have posted my last. I must not keep posting after I have said I have posted my last…

          Rob Lane
          MD, Maelstrom Games

  • sprue

    I was under the impression that telling a company how much they are allowed to discount your product is considered price fixing and is illegal. Is it somehow not illegal when you insert the rule into a terms of trade contract?

    • Zac

      Is it somehow not illegal when you insert the rule into a terms of trade contract?

      It sure wouldn’t be enforceable.

    • See link above on the law and that such contracts are automatically invalid.

    • Cergorach

      They are not enforceable in the UK/EU, the problem is that BF is a NZ company. They do have an UK office, but as mentioned earlier there are ways to circumvent those UK/EU restrictions. There’s also a big difference between not enforceable and actually forcing companies to supply you when you do not follow their trade terms. I’m guessing BF is far larger then M, so they might have a bigger war chest then M for something like this. The question is also if UK/EU law actually applies in this case. I suspect that M have used legal council and they either indicated that the situation was unwinable or to expensive to pursue.

  • ScoutII

    Is it somehow not illegal when you insert the rule into a terms of trade contract?

    Still illegal in the UK/EU…and IIRC Australia and Canada as well. The US, price fixing is actually allowed – though it has to be independent price fixing and can not be a conspiracy by a cartel (for example, Foundry, GW and Battlefront can not get together and say they will charge a specific amount for their products).

    • Zac

      The US, price fixing is actually allowed

      A recent Supreme Court ruling reinforced the ability of companies to set minimum pricing on products and to limit discounts as well. Unless that is what you were referring to?

      • ScoutII

        Yes – like I said…it still is legal in the US to “fix” prices. Dumb by many accounts…but still legal. Leegin Creative Leather Products, Inc. v. PSKS, Inc. reinstated the practice of contractual adherence to MSRPs in the US. For nearly 75 years before that though, they were illegal. However, as long as the prices are not “unreasonable” it is allowed for companies selling in the US to set a minimum price…sort of.

        Several states actually have laws which prevent the vertical price restraints, and companies can not actually restrict their products from being included in a sale of a limited duration (50% off Christmas sale for example). They can prevent a company from having an advertised retail price that is lower that they decide though.

  • Blitz R

    Rob, I would like to thank you for making your reply public. I also need to apologise in part, it would appear that some of my order woes with Maelstrom may have in fact been due to BF withholding stock.

    As for the price fixing part, In Australia at least companies do have the right to set RRP and to a much lesser degree limiting standard discounts. However, all that is out the window once you announce a sale, then the retail has the right to charge whatever they please.

    So, lets see how long it is before BF drop the bane-hammer on another online store.

  • Osbad

    Well, Battlefront haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory on this.

  • tajnisvet

    Rob,
    I’m more than grateful for everything I bought from Maelstrom games in previous years. This may sound funny, but in small countries like the one I’m living in there aren’t any distributors for games. I had to pay more to transport than they actually cost for many of my games before i found Maelstrom.
    As someone who had a LGS for more than three years, I know that buying from local shops is only way they can survive, but when we don’t have distributors at all, Maelstrom was our only and btw cheap source for games.
    This move from BF made me only more determined to buy from Maelstrom, as if Maelstrom would stop working, there will be much harder to get games in many countries of the third world.

    Keep up with the good work, I’m sure that gamers are with you guys,
    All the best.

  • NAVARRO

    Just wanted to say thank you Rob for being so upfront with everyone by making public this announcement… I do believe under the circunstances that its only fair that you try to clear up your name from possible bad interpertations that could be generated by BF anouncement.

    To me its a shame to see this because if Maelstrom loses 15% and if BF loses his biggest european retailer ( wonder what percentage of sales do they lose with this stunt) and we as customers lose the best deals… no one wins. ( maybe some stores do think they won something but being forced to do business only by BF therms and closing eyes to EU trade laws is not something to be glad about IMO)
    Seems to me in my limited scope of the full deal that BF is trying to enforce a policy not legal over EU?… trying to control the market prices is a bad deal for customers and stores and only good for BF.
    You know what they say, a good deal is when all parties involved are partially satisfied… in this case only BF wants to be the only one fully satisfied.

    Good luck Rob your entusiasm and care is noted and for sure your actions will be rewarded.

    • I think the BF view – from their letter – is that the customers will simply buy from other businesses. So Maelstrom loses the trade but BF continues unchanged. Off course this view relies on the other businesses selling on-line. Funny old world.

      • SirAngry

        Sadly that is likely to be the case for Maelstrom Games. If people do want the product they’ll go elsewhere for it. Its happened in other industries. Not too sure what damage this will do to BF or Maelstrom to be honest. I can see BF’s point of view, but as a consumer I’d prefer open and fair competition. But BF I suppose feel they need to support many LGS to exist in many locations for their product to be played and support diverse gaming stores to exist is still the best way to achieve this. It might also seem counter intuitive but in these situations the bigger a partner you are to BF the bigger the danger you represent to their business model. Ironic but it seems the Maelstrom have become a victim of their own success.

        • However, it might be a noble objective but there is also the law to consider.

          And to that end, BF have said that the reason that they are not supplying Maelstrom is that Maelstrom is not a ‘brick and mortar shop’. That of course is totally daft as the Maelstrom shop is large, well stocked and has very helpful staff.
          However not everything one says, has to be true.

          • SirAngry

            Yes but sadly Maelstrom is just one shop. In a not very accessible place. Its not even in the center of Mansfield and so isn’t even easily accessible. There are to be honest shops and shops, and while I like the Maelstrom its really an online distribution center with a rentable gaming space for Tournaments… oh yeah with a shop attached. While I admire what they’re doing they’re not going to get foot fall from the general public who know nothing about their product. Its for diehard gamers like myself who know thw product they want and are searching out the product they’ve already tried and tested at the cheapest price. Lets face it their shop might as well be a barn conversion in a middle of a field in deepest darkest rural Derbyshire!!! lol. It is still a shop though.

          • Zac

            Zac that was kinda my point

            I was replying to Justin’s post, not yours 🙂

          • Zac

            BF have said that the reason that they are not supplying Maelstrom is that Maelstrom is not a ‘brick and mortar shop’.

            The wording from the BF letter is that they are not considered a brick and mortar store since they derive the majority of their sales from their online store.

            It might seem like splitting hairs with some people but it is clear that BF is acknowledging that they have a B&M outlet but that they don’t consider the store a B&M store due to the predominance of their sales via their website.

          • Psychotic Storm

            You have a B&M shop, but I do not consider you one because X reason.

            That’s a legal case by itself.

          • SirAngry

            Zac that was kinda my point. I do have some sympathy for BF’s point of view as somebody who understands what they want to achieve with their product and the sorts of places they need their product pushed to grow their share of the market. They need LGS in major towns and cities, with potentially larger overheads than Maelstrom games to push their product onto new customers. The Maelstrom is preaching to the converted gamer like myself and thats not growing independent gaming companies products (not just BF) onto new markets and customers. Maelstrom have been great for me, I’ve dropped thousands of pounds down their recently, Just a few weeks back I had to re-order all my Vallejo paints and they were great, fantastic service. BUT I know they aren’t bringing new people into the hobby I feel guilty that my local LGS got me into other games but I’ve gone to the Maelstrom for everything since. That’s not healthy for the industry because without new blood our hobby will stagnate, we NEED these local stores in our towns but I want cheap stuff!!! lol. Its a conundrum it really is and I’m not sure what the answer is, I’m really not, I really feel for Rob and the guys I really do, but equally I can see where BF are coming from and while initially it rankles me (and many others) looking at it rationally they have a point. Strangely though I think the Maelstrom have kind of got themselves on the wrong side of the argument for a shop and are seeming to argue on behalf of us gamers, when perhaps they should have just sat back and accepted the terms and conditions and taken in the extra coin. Sad but true.

  • pbeccas

    Rob. I would like to say many thanks for Maelstrom Games. I live in Australia and I probably now make 80% of my purchases from your store. I have wargamers ADD so that covers a multitude of games. I must confess that I do not play FOW, but i do play Blitzkrieg Commander and of course I bought most of my 15mm stuff from you. It is now clear to me that Battlefront has engaged in price fixing. My thoughts on that. Stuff them. If you support Forged in Battle, Peter Pig and other quality 15mm retailers I am sure they would appreciate it and I know we will buy it.
    Cheers
    Paul

  • geudens

    Having been a mainland European distributor myself of most (then) mainstream UK wargames products 30 years ago (…), I can only state that at that time price fixing was already illegal and that direct orders had to be fulfilled by the manufacturers. If or not a discount was given was up to them. This was a sort of “insurance” for my company’s trade volume: I controlled my own pricing and trade discounts, but anyone was free to buy the product at a cheaper price direct.

    Times were different then though: no internet, only brick & mortar shops. I stopped trading many years ago and now – as a private customer – I too look for the best deals, and although Maelstrom in general does not stock what I usually buy, I check with them regularly. E.G. at Crisis 10, I missed out on Dust Tactics (a German trader had 2 copies, I tried to reserve one till the beginning of the show but when I wanted to pick it up half an hour later it was gone…). I was not pleased by this until I came home and checked Maelstrom. I ordered, had it with me 10 days later at € 20 cheaper.

    If Maelstrom can live with their margin, so can I (for certain). Let’s not forget that the wargame ranges they carry are (combined with their discount & free shipping) the core of their business, which isn’t the case for many B&M shops, who follow the lead of local demand (no local demand = no FoW stocked). Clearly Maelstrom’s system works and as far as I can see, they are within the limits of the law.

    If Battlefront thinks otherwise, they are free to copy Maelstrom’s model of business and sell their ranges direct at “trade” prices. I’m sure their end customers will be pleased. I know of at least one manufacturer of 28mm figures who has been doing so for the last 2 years and he’s still is business. Perhaps internet trading should be banned and we should go back to the times when printed catalogues were sold, one had to write out an order and go to the bank to pay for it. How many FoW customers would there be then this side of the world? Just a thought…

    Therefore I support Maelstrom. Good luck, fellows!

  • Go get ‘um, Rob!

    Brian

  • treslibras

    Thank you for the share, Rob! I do not play FoW nor any other WW2 game but it is certainly interesting to read!

    Surely, Maelstrom Games are losing considerable sales, but so do BF. They shouldn´t be too confident that other shops can take on the demand – or that all interested players will look for another shop. There are not a lot of Online shops who offer reduced prices, worldwide free shipping, and good service.

    Assuming that Maelstrom Games will (in the long run) have more chances to replace sales with compatible products – or the next big thing in the miniature world – than BF to win/keep customers for their specific niche game without one of the biggest online shops, I doubt their rationale (even if I can understand that they want to keep other shops from increasing the pressure for higher discounts and lower base prices).

  • Toqtamish

    Stupid, stupid, stupid move on BF’s part. Glad I sold my FoW books as I was not using them on ebay. I won’t be giving them another try. 15 mm scale is too small anyway, I wanted TANKS not tanks. Still its corporate BS and a very bad idea on their part. They will regret it.

  • Psychotic Storm

    Bad move from BF and even worse that they choose to strike first without warning.

    Well Maelstorm does have a B&M shop and from my perspective everyone with a B&M store can have an online shop and sell online good for Maelstorm that is successful, if others want to compete why not?

    What next BF will force all shops worldwide to have the same prices in order to limit players from shopping from other countries because the conversion rate is cheaper?

    And sorry the B&M shops contribution to the hobby is way overrated especially in countries that clubs exist.

    • SirAngry

      Psychotic storm I think your kinda wrong about the contribution of gaming clubs vs LGS’s, actually turning up to the Maelstrom convinced me to start Warmachine (I’d gone to grab some Infinty) and the staff convinced me it was worth giving a go. Our local gaming clubs are cliquey places on the whole and don’t bring new people into the hobby. That leaves the Games Workshop as the entry point for most non-wargamers in the UK and that really isn’t healthy for the industry. A good friend and work colleague didn’t ‘get’ wargaming and asked me why I loved the Games Workshop as it was ‘quite kiddy’, when I said I didn’t and took him to a local shop he was interested by Infinity (huge anime fan he is) he is now looking into getting an Aleph force. Our local clubs and GW would never convince him into the hobby, but a combo of me and a hyperactive staff member did!!!

      • Psychotic Storm

        I believe no, because I see it from the perspective of someone who lives in a country that multiple game stores, game clubs and “local GW store” are unobtainable luxuries.

        When you do not have all the above as granted, you see the things a bit differently.

    • Zac

      Bad move from BF and even worse that they choose to strike first without warning.

      I think if you read all of Rob’s supporting documents that this isn’t the case at all.

      • Psychotic Storm

        In my belief it is, because no mater what happened under the table, they went public first and without a notification towards the affected party.

  • Thanks for all the kind comments guys. Very much appreciated.

    Cheers

    Rob
    MD, Maelstrom Games

    • SirAngry

      Rob keep your chin up. These things are sent to try us, as my grandma always said “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. However as someone who has helped run businesses I know just what a HUGE hit the loss of 15% is to a company. Have you considered have you considered a reverse auction of your FoW stock? I’m sure gamers would oblige to help you out until BF see sense… actually on second thoughts it might just antagonise them more!!! lol.

  • Ghool

    The only ones losing here are the players, and collectors.
    There’s only one thing a company can do when the nature of their business changes; adapt or die a slow death.

    Look at what the internet forced the music industry to do.

    The same thing is happening to the gaming industry in this instance, and some companies are forcing illegal practices down the throats of that which keeps them alive. It’s seems rather strange to not adapt, and be successful.

    Well, we’ll see what happens as things evolve I guess.

    • Zac

      There’s only one thing a company can do when the nature of their business changes; adapt or die a slow death.

      Who are you referring to? BF or B&M stores?

      • Ghool

        B&M stores, and BF both.
        The internet and sales garnered from it are not going to go away.

        The industry is changing, and sure, sometimes growth can be painful. But, it’s time for companies and stores to start embracing change instead of fighting it all the time.
        If a B&M has no internet sales model, it’s going to struggle. Like the one huge one in town here; it could easily triple it’s business and offer great discounts if the owner and staff weren’t so lazy and/or apathetic towards change.
        Online presence is what is going to help you grow. Period.
        If they’re not embracing it, they’re delaying the inevitable.

        • Zac

          The internet and sales garnered from it are not going to go away.

          I think this is shortsighted. The industry and hobbyists need to continue to help expand the hobby and that is only done, in North America at least, via B&M stores that help promote games and provide gaming space for people to see the games in action.

          If a B&M has no internet sales model, it’s going to struggle.

          What B&M store can compete with the large internet retailers? Shipping costs alone will be a detrimental influence since most stores can’t afford to absorb shipping costs in the manner that Maelstrom does?

          Online presence is what is going to help you grow. Period.

          I’m not sure what makes you think this. What B&M store has the sales and facilities to run a physical store and an online sales presence?

          Go ask your local game store owner about this and see what they say.

          The internet has allowed firms like Maelstrom and others to cast a very wide net for sales and make their money on small profits over a huge number of sales.

          Its a great business model but I think that companies like BF fear that this is going to be at the expense of future growth of their games.

          If gamers in Canada and the US (and Aus) can order form an online retailer for less than they can get a product locally then what reason does a local store have to carry the product and if they are not carrying it then why would they want to run events or have gaming nights?

          So if no-one carries the games then how does the game grow and how does the company grow?

          The hobby is just more than us and our individual wallets.

          • Ghool

            I’m not saying that every B&M store is going to, or should try to compete with massive discounters. They can’t, if they’re small.
            What I’m saying is that a lot of smaller stores have little to no internet presence, even that’s a website that posts events, product or what-have-you. A lot of them don’t have any sort of website, or advertising that they even exist!

            I certainly do believe that LGS’s should be supported for providing space to play, and running events. But that doesn’t mean they can’t give their regular supporters some sort of loyalty discount either. I’ve been shopping at my LGS for almost 20 years and I don’t get a discount at all. So, I choose to spend my dollars where I will get at least something of a discount.

            With regards to the local LGS I was referring to; they do have online sales, but their site is archaic to say the least. No shopping cart, and you have to email your order in, wait, get a quote, then wait for an email back, etc. It’s a hassle simply because no one working the mail order desk gives a crap, and it takes forever, and you’re paying more than the US retail for everything in the store. Trust me, I worked there for almost two years, and the amount of apathy from staff members is atrocious, as are the prices.

            The store is HUGE, and stocks EVERYTHING. they have massive buying power, the staff to have an online store, the works. But, they don’t because the owner is cheap, and gouges the customer by making me pay an additional 3% on top of the US retail price, even though our CDN bucks are worth more at the moment. It’s practices like this that make me not want to shop there. The excuse is that they’re a retail location, and can’t afford to compete with large online stores. I know it’s a crock; I worked there and saw it from the inside, the building is completely paid for, so no rent at all. It’s when a business is run like this is what makes me not want to shop there, even though they have events and space.

            I’m not saying that every LGS is like this, but I am saying that a lot are poorly run and by just providing a venue does not mean they deserve charity. Most of the online discounters have a B&M front, so if they can attract volume with good marketing, and thus provide their customers with a discount, how come more LGS’s don’t use this model of business? Because of the capital involved? The number of games? It’s a simple matter to do a bit of market research, and make your business cater to the kinds of customers you have, I ran a business for three years, I know it’s possible to make a lot of money just by knowing what your customers are looking for. The fact is that most LGS’s are not run like a normal business, and that’s why they struggle; the model of business for LGS’s has to change, and it’s quite evident with the way manufacturers are using practices such as this. A poorly run business will fail in a market that caters to prudent customers, and we gamers are just that.

            All I was trying to say is that the business model isn’t working like it used to, and the modes and methods of LGS’s need to change if they want to remain viable.

            As a consumer, in these trying economic times, I will spend my money in places that I feel I get my value for it, plain and simple.

          • Psychotic Storm

            If the locals can’t compete their problem not Maelstorms.

            Sorry As I said above I live in a country were all the luxuries you have for granted are not available and I see the wargames scene growing with and without the LGS.

            Especially when the LGS try to limit the wargame scene to just whatever they want to bring only (that’s GW and last three years FoW and the later only because players bought online and created a big mass alone and unsupported).

            Also to extend here a bit I see no reason why I should go to my LGS pay 150% more than RRP to support them or if given discount pay a bit more than RRP, when I can buy online and get them either at PPR or cheaper.

            Yes the local game stores or all local stores will die eventually and only a few that became honest and adapt to the worldwide competition will survive, that’s a plus in my books, better have a few honest and hard-working stores that charge you what the best they can than have a price fixing that helps them rip you off.

          • Zac

            If the locals can’t compete their problem not Maelstorms.

            So who is going to promote games locally? Who is going to provide space for demos? So when people try to go show games like MERCS or AE Bounty where will they do it?

            Come back to us in five or six years when there aren’t any local game stores and you can’t find anyone playing anything other than 40K then.

            GW already saw this problem two years ago and moved to stop it.

          • NAVARRO

            Many places if not most places around the world dont rely on Local stores to develop their miniature Hobbies because there are either no stores around or the ones that exist are limited to GW goods only… as such clubs start to emerge…
            Just saying sometimes people forget that not every country or city has a wide range of options and for those online stores are what keeps them in the hobby.

          • Zac

            Many places if not most places around the world dont rely on Local stores to develop their miniature Hobbies because there are either no stores around or the ones that exist are limited to GW goods only…

            In lieu of actual statistical evidence of that I think its safer for the long term health of the hobby to assume that this is not the case.

            When these debates come up this is a frequent refrain. But I don’t know why this is the case.

            Clearly if you don’t have access to a local store or a good local store then online retailers are a great idea but the issue isn’t about those people.

            Those people are unaffected by these discussions because there is and will always be places to buy online for them.

            And no-one ever says that there shouldn’t be online retailers so again the issue of people with no local stores is a red herring.

          • Psychotic Storm

            So who is going to promote games
            locally? Who is going to provide space
            for demos? So when people try to go
            show games like MERCS or AE Bounty
            where will they do it?

            Well if online retailers were not present in y country these games as many other games would never be known, let alone someone actually ahve the models because LGS sell and bring only what they want not what the players demand, in that respect, I will not buy FoW locally because the retail price is astonishingly outrageous and since Maelstorm was denied stock, guess what I will not buy locally and will not buy from Maelstorm so I will just not buy.

            What other online stores? sure buy Maelstorm has the price, the reputation and the convenience, why get in trouble to find another maelstorm, BF clearly do not want my money since they don’t allow the store of my choice to sell me their product.

            the whole conversation brings another intresting point, how many countries and what percentage of the world you think has or even relies on local game stores, or even cares about their existence?

            I think people in some countries and even in those countries in selected few places, are blessed with many competing LGS that have to be good to survive among themselves, on most parts of the world there are too few, do not compete among themselves and do not reasonably contribute to the development of the wargames hobby, especially beyond the “mainstream” games.

            So why should us, the ones living in the wargames desert, who may or may not be the majority of layers, care about LGS?

            Another interesting point is that if the online models is so successful, other should imitate and compete in it than cry and depend on a big entity to help them.

          • Zac

            So why should us, the ones living in the wargames desert, who may or may not be the majority of layers, care about LGS?

            You shouldn’t. I’ve made this point in this discussion and in others.

            But if you have no access to a game store the discount given by on online retailer isn’t the issue. Access to games in and whether the online store gives on or not is irrelevant.

            And frankly if you don’t have access to a local game store I am not sure why you care either way?

          • Psychotic Storm

            I didn’t realise you made that point earlier, sorry for that.

            Well why do I care, two reasons.

            1 My usual online store is get hit and I cannot buy products I want from it. I am forced to find another online store something I do not want to, especially since the one I already had was the most convenient and cheap, so its a double hit for me as a consumer.

            2 If online retailers get hit and the notion that LGS only should be carrying products, because that notion it is, I am left with a scene of extremely limited choice and really expensive products, that is something I consider catastrophic.

          • Zac

            I didn’t realise you made that point earlier, sorry for that.

            You haven’t read all 250+ replies to this post and other earlier one? For shame 🙂

            Now I don’t think that people should only sell from B&M stores. Clearly there is a need for online retailers for a wide range of reasons.

            I just want to make sure that there is a level playing field for B&M stores.

            There are some great B&M stores that do a great job promoting the hobby and I don’t want to see them go.

            There has to be a middle ground somewhere that we can find

          • SirAngry

            Thank you Zac!!! I’ve been feeling like a lone voice in the wind over this for the past few days. I don’t own an LGS and I do use the Maelstrom BUT you know what? I can see that actually my shopping and perhaps even my gaming habits could, and probably are detrimental to the community as a whole. I’ve never quite understood why most American gamers can see the indisputable logic of this line of thought yet most of my UK brethren can’t. Perhaps we’ve all been indoctrinated by the GW without even realising to trust no one but our one supplier of choice. I wish we had more LGS’s of the quality you find in the states over here, but the gaming community is so cliquey and at times openly hostile to new comers that I think we’ll end up killing the hobby we supposedly love.

          • Zac

            I try to not comment on the UK because I find the proliferation of clubs and events to be totally alien to the gaming environment that we have here. Gaming in North America is really centred around stores and I really worry what the impact of the closure of stores will be here.

            And its not as if the gamers in North America are any more enlightened. I see and hear about people going to stores and gaming there bragging to their friends about how much money they saved online.

          • ScoutII

            Come back to us in five or six years when there aren’t any local game stores and you can’t find anyone playing anything other than 40K then.

            Gaming in North America is really centred around stores and I really worry what the impact of the closure of stores will be here.

            Not so much really. In a few of the metro areas, this might be true…however it is not for the majority of the country. The past 30 years or so of gaming, I have lived all over the US (as well as a couple overseas locations). During that time, only three of the LGS offered in store gaming – and only one of them was worth playing at.

            Almost everyone I know and game with, game at home – not in stores. The few stores that I have been to that do offer in store gaming, only offer gaming from one or two of the most widely spread systems (generally GW…and if you are lucky one other one).

          • Jens

            The problems B&M stores have to face with web shops is nothing new. Only the fact that tabletop is such a niche market is among the reasons quite a few stores could run their business like other shops in the 90’s – look at computer hardware, record stores etc. pp – those who understood they are more and more a service provider still work profitable. Most others are gone and have been replaced by amazon & co and as customer I don’t miss most of these stores.

            It is a big challenge – no doubt on that. And you will always have those people who try to get all the service they can from a B&M store and buy their products at the cheapest price online, but this is something every other store has to face as well. I’m confident however that a shop that offers good reasons to return / visit on a regular basis can have sufficient loyal customers to keep running and recruit new customers as well.

          • Zac

            In a few of the metro areas, this might be true…

            And so why do we all need to rush to the lowest common denominator.

            Again, if there are no stores in your area then you are unaffected by this but other people are not.

            So why is the experience of people that won’t be affected by this the issue that gets raised time and again?

          • ScoutII

            I don’t see it as a rush to the lowest common denominator. I like the idea of game stores. However, much like the dodo…I do not see the benefit for anyone to protect the game store from itself.

            Right now, you can look at it this way…those of us who do not use stores for our gaming needs are subsidizing those who do. The extra cost that companies like BF, GW and PP force on the consumer is in place simply to allow a small portion of the population a free place to play. As such, it does actually affect those who have no local store (or no local store that they would like to support for whatever reason…or no local store that offers gaming…). They pay extra so you can spend a few hours at your local B&M who isn’t able to balance the books without extra leverage.

          • Zac

            However, much like the dodo…I do not see the benefit for anyone to protect the game store from itself.

            How is this a case of protecting stores from themselves? Online retailers have a larger volume of sales that the majority of B&M stores do and can therefore take smaller margins from the products.

            This has nothing to do with the retail model and is about the impact of large online retailers.

            I don’t see why it is problematic to make the retail experience consistent and fair for all retailers.

          • ScoutII

            How is this a case of protecting stores from themselves? Online retailers have a larger volume of sales that the majority of B&M stores do and can therefore take smaller margins from the products.

            You see a distinction between a store that sells online and a store that does not. I do not see a distinction between the two. You are protecting the solely B&M retailer from those which have embraced an online presence. Remember, the store in question here – and many others are both B&M and online.

            Apparently in the eyes of BF – a store that operates under Maelstrom’s retail model is somehow less equal than one which operates solely as a B&M store.

            This has nothing to do with the retail model and is about the impact of large online retailers.

            I would argue that it has everything to do with the retail model. While it is not a trivial thing to fully implement an online retail presence…I really am not sympathetic to retailers who do not. It is part of the cost of doing business, and a necessary requirement of survival.

            However, as long as companies like BF continue to favor the old model – you will not see the needed evolutionary pressures that in the end will result in a more robust market. 15 years ago, the same arguments were being made against online book and music stores…however they have likely saved both industries. 15 years from now, I don’t think this will be an issue any more either – however until the process is allowed to work itself out naturally, you will see stores that should close languish and others suffer as a result.

            I don’t see why it is problematic to make the retail experience consistent and fair for all retailers.

            As I said, it punishes the consumer. It punishes the adapted retailer. Again, this is not happening in a vacuum. BF has refused stock to Maelstrom because they did not like Maelstrom’s business model. Maelstrom suffers. Maelstrom’s customers suffer.

            In the US you see it as well. A number of great companies are restricted in how they operate. Others are not able to stock the products at all.

            If you wanted consistent and fair, anyone with a tax license anywhere in the world would be able to purchase the product for the same wholesale price and sell it at whatever price they think they can be successful at. However that is not the case. Certain stores are able to buy at better wholesale terms (both in terms of credit and actual prices). Others receive additional support as well. Some are not able to buy them at all. All of these things put one at a disadvantage to another.

          • Zac

            You are protecting the solely B&M retailer from those which have embraced an online presence. Remember, the store in question here – and many others are both B&M and online.

            Do you think that Maelstrom would notice if they closed their B&M sales arm? I doubt that they are pushing 20K orders of BF minis via their B&M outlet.

            While it is not a trivial thing to fully implement an online retail presence…I really am not sympathetic to retailers who do not.

            Try doing it and get back to us about how realistic it is for B&M stores to do.

            However, as long as companies like BF continue to favor the old model – you will not see the needed evolutionary pressures that in the end will result in a more robust market.

            Robust for who? The few people who have developed a powerful online retail presence?

            And how is a market more robust when it ends up being monopolised by a few large retailers?

  • sprue

    I just had a look at the New Zealand Commerce Commission and unsurprisingly it’s just like Australia and the UK.
    http://www.comcom.govt.nz/pricing/
    “A recommended retail price is the price a manufacturer suggests a retailer sell a product at, with the intention of standardising prices across locations. However a retailer is under no legal obligation to do so (the Commerce Act prohibits Resale Price Maintenance) and will often sell below the suggested retail price.”

    Here’s a PDF on New Zealand’s price fixing laws: http://www.comcom.govt.nz/assets/Busine … y-2011.pdf

    • sprue

      pdf link doesn’t work. Here it is: http://www.comcom.govt.nz/assets/Business-Competition/Anticompetitive-Practices/Resale-Price-Maintenance-fact-sheet-February-2011.pdf

      There are also a number of news reports on the website relating to companies trying to enforce price maintenance.

      I think Battlefront needs to reevaluate their action and their stance toward companies like Maelstrom otherwise consumers might be tempted to report these actions to the Commerce Commission.

      • SirAngry

        Maybe they will, but I’m sure there have been cases where a ‘minimum’ discount price was not seen as price fixing as it allowed a degree of freedom. Not sure this is the same thing though. Perhaps some legal eagle out there could clarify. Either way I think us as wargamers need to decide what sort of industry we want, and then support it with our wallets. I want to see a healthy network of independent gaming stores throughout the UK and I therefore think its on us as gamers, game companies, distributors and shops to come up with some sort of balance that works for everyone. I’m not saying BF or GW have got the balance right, but as an industry there does need to be a mature debate about whats good for the hobby as a whole and yes I personally can’t believe I’m saying this, BUT some kind of gentlemen’s agreement on prices. The online distribution method won’t work for a thriving wargames scene, for starters its a physical real world product you can’t really ‘experience’ online and you need at least two to tango. Fresh blood is vitally important to the hobby and without B&M LGS’s it’ll be impossible to bring that fresh blood in. This is not like buying Heinz baked beans or even the latest Justin Beiber album (heaven forbid!!!) and I feel I kinda have a duty as a gamer to ensurethe hobby scene stays healthy and I feel also that stores online or otherwise, like the Maelstrom are crucially important to that. There must be a happy medium people.

        • sprue

          The law states specifically that you can’t set a minimum price.

          • Could be 100% right about the law. But I don’t think that was his point. Not everything is about law. Laws just say what you can legally do or not, but that doesn’t always reflect what is right or best to do.

            I think the point here is that maybe a certain degree of price fixing would be beneficial to the hobby.

            Scenario: Without price fixing to some degree, small shops are unable to compete against big internet presences. These small shops then become fewer and fewer until most are gone. This reduces the presence of the hobby to unaware people, so the population of gamers dwindle as they get older, die off and not replaced by new hobbyists. End result: the hobby dies & the big internet presences die as well.

            is that scenario realistic? I don’t know, but it could have some truth to it. Will it all be saved by the great & wise ‘invisible hand’ of free economics? Possibly, but since that theory only states that the economy overall will balance out, it doesn’t protect a niche market like miniatures gaming- it says that could well die and be replaced by something else, like computer gaming or something else not invented yet.

            Although, what if all the local shops do die out, would the hobby die as well? Maybe not. Maybe it will just take a new form where the global internet community becomes the community as well as the entry vehicle for new hobby blood, with people stumbling upon the hobby by related internet connections rather than walking past a shop in the mall, with more garage gaming meet ups instead of store gaming and people planning for wider scale face-to-face meets at big gaming conventions. That could be a result too.

            I think a certain amount of ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ makes sense if people want it to stay as it is now. If they don’t then it won’t.

          • ScoutII

            Not everything is about law. Laws just say what you can legally do or not, but that doesn’t always reflect what is right or best to do.

            The problems with that line of thought are so many it is silly. If the law says that they can not set a price…they can not set a price. The reason is actually to allow competition and protect the consumer. If a LGS can not operate against competition…well, it happens.

            Most of these evil discount stores are in fact someone’s LGS. The Warstore, FRP, Maelstrom, Wayland and others are all B&M stores who have taken a successful model of offering both online and offline sales.

            As far as how it would impact the hobby…not an issue here. Sort of goes back to the old analogy of the buggy whip manufacturers. When cars came along, they became obsolete. No laws were put in place to protect them…but you know what? I can still buy a buggy whip from several different places if I want.

            Computers have made miniatures a very, very niche market. Will the LGS survive? Probably not – at least not as a lot of people seem to like to think of them. However, places like Maelstrom will survive. You will also still be able to play tournaments and go to conventions and the like.

            The idea though that a few of these companies seem to think (PP and Battlefront are two at the lead of this concept) that they will be able to prop up the LGS by restricting access to their products to B&M stores – well, that is a bit like trying to plug a hole in the damn with your finger. Consumers, manufacturers and retailers would all be better served if they would stop trying to control the market and let it work its self out.

          • SirAngry

            LaughingFerret (great name by the way) that’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m not sure of the answers myself but the war gaming community need to grow up and discuss the problem openly. We’ve had a monopoly for years in the shape of the GW and that’s been massively unhealthy in many respects to the industry as a whole. To the point now where the GW are so unchallenged that they can’t tell the product they’re producing is utter s*!!! They’re producing products that should in theory stack up and make the shop network they own profitable, BUT they forgot to ask if people actually wanted bigger and bigger armies of averagely sculpted plastic mini’s. I see the dominance of a few online retailers as just as big a threat to ‘alternative’ war gaming as the GW are to the whole industry right now. We have great games out there like Infinity, Warmachine/Hordes, Spartan Games stuff, Malifaux and soon the re-release of Hell Dorado by Cipher. This should be a golden age of war gaming really but it doesn’t feel like it because its the same old faces playing again and again and no new blood. We’re stifling our hobby.

  • Ghool

    If price fixing was a legal practice, and manufacturers were allowed to dictate what their products should sell for, then Wal-Mart would be out of business.
    It seems that these sorts of practices are prevalent in the gaming industry, and not in many retail industries outside of it.
    It makes me wonder why?

    • Dangerous

      It’s certainly not specific to the gaming industry. Restrictive covenants exist in almost all commercial relationships in one format or another.

      I’m largely of the opinion that whilst a market should be ‘free’ that it’s reasonable to implement a policy whereby everyone can ‘wet their beak’ so to speak, especially in our hobby where physical shops need to exist to introduce the game to future gamers.

      In this specific case the price discussion does seem to be only one of the issues at hand, I’d say BF would be on dodgier ground if it were the only issue but it’s not.

      You may also be interested to know that market dominant organisations such as Wal-Mart and Tesco have procurement processes which dictate margin expectations to suppliers not the other way around. I guess that is the luxury of dominance.

      • Ghool

        Ah gotcha on the Wal-mart front. That makes more sense in regards to the pricing.

    • Zac

      If price fixing was a legal practice, and manufacturers were allowed to dictate what their products should sell for, then Wal-Mart would be out of business.

      It is an odd example because Walmart dictates price points to manufacturers.

      http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/2003-01-28-walmartnation_x.htm

      Specifically

      History has shown that suppliers suffer if they run afoul of Wal-Mart. Rubbermaid raised the prices it charged Wal-Mart in the mid-1990s because of an 80% jump in the cost of a key ingredient in its plastic containers. The retailer responded by giving more shelf space to lower-priced competitors, helping drive Rubbermaid into a 1999 merger with rival Newell, says John Mariotti, a former Rubbermaid executive. “Rubbermaid earned Wal-Mart’s wrath by not giving it the best deal,” he says.

      • ScoutII

        It is an odd example because Walmart dictates price points to manufacturers.

        Well – only so much as any other consumer does. When I look to buy a product, I know how much I am willing to pay for it. If the product costs more than what I am willing to pay, I will not buy it. If a company wants my business…they work with the price I want to pay.

        Walmart is doing the same thing, granted at a much larger scale. There are a lot of brands who want to be on Walmart shelves…so they work with the price Walmart wants to charge. At the same time, there are a lot of companies who do not want to work with the Walmart prices – so they are not on the Walmart shelves.

        • Zac

          Well – only so much as any other consumer does.

          When was the last time you told a manufacturer that you only wanted a set of products that were all below $2.99 in retail price? 🙂

          • ScoutII

            When was the last time you told a manufacturer that you only wanted a set of products that were all below $2.99 in retail price? 🙂

            Actually I do it all the time. When I go to the grocery store, I make choices based on price and quality. When I go to the hardware store – I do the same.

            Even professionally our company does it with various suppliers. They have a retail/wholesale price that they would like to charge us. Depending on what it is – we will tell them what we are willing to pay…quite often they will meet the price we say we want to pay. Sometimes they will not though, all depends on how much they want what we have (money) and how much we want what they have (product).

            Again, they do it on a different scale

          • Zac

            Actually I do it all the time. When I go to the grocery store

            Choosing a product is not the same as dictating to manufacturers the price points of products.

  • ScoutII

    Rubbermaid had the choice…and we do dictate prices. We dictate prices on houses, on cars, on siding, on all sorts of things. Whether you choose to go with the “sticker” price and whether the seller decides to negotiate are both decisions. I know of several companies who…like Rubbermaid…decided not to negotiate with Walmart. I have known several companies who have chosen to negotiate with me both as a consumer and as a business person.

    I know that Alliance has done similar things in the past as well when dealing with manufacturers…and I would be willing to bet that the Warstore does as well (especially since they now offer both retail and wholesale terms).

  • Osbad

    I think the role of the B+. Store’s role in growing the hobby, while it exists, is overstated. It is word of mouth: mates telling mates that grow the hobby. I think price fixing is actually a detrement to the growth of the hobby as it keeps entry levels artificially high. High prices are likely to put more folks off than the lack of a local B+M store. I have played tabletop games for 30 years. The concept of instore gaming didn’t esist back then.. Yet somehow (thanks to varios friends) I bought and played many game, and price was a big issue. That’s just my experience, but I’m sure I’m not alone.

    • iFelix

      I’m also one of those old hands.. and I am still trying to get my head around this new-fangled in-store gaming…

    • treslibras

      I second that.

      Of the 15 different people I have been playing with over the years, only 3 were regular in-shop-players.

      I see the value of physical shops for official tournaments etc (which we were never too much into), but our personal choices of games depended on what friends would recommend or be willing to play, and the money you needed to get started.

      We´d always meet in someone´s place, not in a shop. And that´s what we are still doing today.

  • Indeed there is even a provision in the treaty, that allows prices to be fixed and markets to be limited, if that is in the public interest.
    But generally the law is in the public interest and to be obeyed. Certainly if you break the law you must be prepared to accept the consequences. In this case the fine is up to 10% of 3 years turnover (not profits). A harsh penalty indeed but if the lesson needs to be learned…

  • I am GOD

    Hmmm well i fully support Rob on this one, i think BF is out of order, and the reason they gave to stop stocking you is a wash out. i have been to wayland, they have a tiny store compered to your huge shop and gaming hall and the bar (ingenius by the way) Have BF ever looked a closing Amazon down as they have more than 10% off the books and are not a B&M store. I think what you have done for the hobby is brill, And I have come to your thursday night gaming club and seen loads of people there, both new and old gamers.

    I am a flames of war player but i will stop buying FOW and buy an alternative now as im not going to be one of these people who talk the talk im going to do it as BF are in the wrong and MG have got the right idea of looking after the customers first.

    • Dangerous

      Size doesn’t matter (so I’m reassured). BF haven’t said they’re pulling the account because MG dont have a large enough shop, the letter just says that the trade relationship has broken down for a number of reasons and nowhere are they suggesting that they’re supporting Wayland in preference to Maelstrom so it seems incongruous to turn it into a Wayland v Maelstrom argument because it’s not.

      As for Amazon, they’re the Wal-Mart of the web and a global entity worth billions are not really comparable with what is admittedly a nice gaming facility in Mansfield so they are commercially going to get away with a bit more. Not necessarily ‘right’ but a factor nonetheless.

      • Actually BF said they will not supply Maelstrom because they are not a B&M store and I quote from the letter

        We have been instructed that as
        Maelstrom Games is clearly not a
        bricks and mortar retailer but a web
        store, it is not entitled to the
        benefits enjoyed by retailers of
        Battlefront product under the
        company’s Standard Terms of Trading,
        and that such benefits as your client
        may have enjoyed up to now, are,
        accordingly, withdrawn.

        Which of course is nonsense.

        If they are continuing to supply Wayland then again that is discrimination because Wayland also sells on-line. If Wayland are selling BF, can consumers get as good a deal as they would have got from Maelstrom (I think not)? If not, then the consumers are going to pay a higher price because Wayland and BF have agreed to fix prices – see section 81 of the EU treaty as to why that is not allowed.

        Now the other question is do we want to do business with businesses that break the law – whoever they may be.

        • Wayland_Games

          Hi Justin,

          Please retract your remark. Your comment is unfounded, I am sure you didnt intend for it to come across as it did. Though I am getting bored of getting dragged into a situation that is purely a commercial spat between 2 companies that were both better off keeping it private. The likelihood of a positive resolution is now pretty much nil. Which need not have been the case. And I think that is a shame.

          Ironically we ran a voucher code during Janauary that included BF. We had no supply problems, no threats of supply being withdrawn. I would suggest that this situation isnt just about price and though its fun to speculate why (its the internet after all), it really should be kept between the 2 parties concerned.

          Thanks

          Richard

          • Which remark do you think is unfounded – I think I was careful with what I said.
            Did you not sign the price agreement with Battlefront? – I thought that was standard practice with them.
            Easily resolution – as posted – Battlefront forgets about trying to restrict prices and that Maelstrom actually has a shop. I would have thought that was obvious.
            I do not understand why anyone would think it is not about pricing but again, tell us why you think so.

          • Wayland_Games

            We have not signed any pricing agreement with Battlefront whatsover or any other supplier or manufacturer. And nor would we, nor would we be be bound by any such terms.

        • Zac

          Actually BF said they will not supply Maelstrom because they are not a B&M store

          And in another letter, from the lawyer I think, they specifically say it is for the reasons that I mention.

        • Dangerous

          Vouchers aside, from a quick check, both WL and MG are at -10% with free shipping.

          As WG have themselves confirmed it seems, they ran vouchers too.

          The one person who definitely isn’t worse off is the consumer and as an aside, if TGN is moderated (I’m not sure if it is) your allegations towards both Battlefront and Wayland have brought them into the firing line which seems slightly unfair, all things considered.

          And there was me thinking that the soap had finished, mind you, it is Sunday, must be the omnibus.

        • Dangerous

          With respect, the letter doesn’t say anything of the sort. It says that Maelstrom shouldn’t have been eligible for the 40% as a web retailer, that trade tier is reserved for B&M. Nowhere does it say that they can’t have an account because they don’t have a shop. MG very obviously have a heavy internet bias in comparison to what they do through the till so I’d say BF can’t be overly criticised for calling a spade a spade.

          There is far far far more to this than has been disclosed, I think that much is very obvious. Whatever the truth is and it’s unlikely we’ll find out to be fair I cannot see how this affects anyone other than the parties involved in any real meaningful capacity.

          • Zac

            With respect, the letter doesn’t say anything of the sort.

            To quote:

            Contrary to your instructions, the discount your client has been receiving from Battlefront is based, not on the volume of Maelstrom Games’ sales, but on Battlefront’s mistaken belief that that Maelstrom Games’ turnover resulted from its activities as a retail store.

            Clearly they know that Maelstrom have a B&M store.

          • Dangerous

            Yes but they believed that it was in the majority a retail store, not a web store.

            They don’t say you can’t have an account as suggested, they say you can’t have 40% and they are withdrawing that.

    • Zac

      Have BF ever looked a closing Amazon down as they have more than 10% off the books and are not a B&M store.

      Catalyst don’t sell directly to Amazon for that very same reason. They don’t want Amazon undercutting the stores that support them

      Its why there are no Amazon Affiliate ads on this site as well