The Painting Frog analyses new Games Workshop retailer policies

By Polar_Bear
In Games Workshop
Mar 20th, 2013

The Painting Frog goes over the new Games Workshop retailer practices and explains what they mean for your gaming store.

From the editorial:

GW is effecting new trade term concerning independent retailers for their products based in the USA and Canada.

Amongst other changes the new policies terminantly prohibits online stores (or “Brick and Mortar” stores) from selling GW products online. It also forbids retailers from selling to countries other than their own (no exports) and also forbids the commerce of parts (Bits) by enforcing GW merchandise should be only sold in its original packaging.

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  • 4tonmantis

    Holy crap… really?
    Do manufacturers really get to set so many limitations on this type of thing? For example, can Nabisco say “grocery stores can only sell our cookies in their stores and not online”? This seems to be overstepping the legal boundaries of what companies are and are not allowed to do.

    • blackfang

      So what you’re saying is that you should be able to force a company to sell you their product?

      • 4tonmantis

        No.. actually I’m saying it sounds like GW is getting to make up rules as they go and retailers just have to swallow that.. I didn’t pay enough attention in college economics to remember if there is a law against this kind of thing but it seems like it would be covered by antitrust laws.
        I’m not referring directly to GW as a manufacturer, but to GW as a retailer of the stuff they manufacture. They are making the products and then making rules to prevent competition and are basically attempting to fix the price.
        …actually now that I’m thinking of it like that.. this seems pretty illegal.

        • Soulfinger

          Plenty of precedent. GW is just doing business like the big boys.

          • odinsgrandson

            Actually sounds a lot like the movie industry before they were broken up by anti-trust legislation.

            He’s right about this being bad for Games Workshop Fans. However, I can’t see this doing anything positive for Games Workshop either.

            Maybe it would have been good for them ten years ago, but is as though they’ve waited until they’re losing their monopoly to start exploiting it.

        • blackfang

          So firmly in the camp of “if I don’t like it, it’s illegal”, k. But I bet it’s only illegal if GW does it.

          • 4tonmantis

            Yeah, let’s see.. I’ve never claimed 5th edition was illegal, nor price hikes, nor the change to resin, or what they have done to retailers over the years. I am also involved in a lawsuit with GW so I have a dog in this fight.

    • vitzh

      Much like Nabisco is not the only manufacturer of cookies, GW isn’t the only manufacturer of miniatures. If you don’t like their business practices, prices, rules, etc don’t buy from them. I haven’t for years.

      • TomasT

        Unfortunately, they have near monopoly status on a lot of places.

        • Soulfinger

          And even the retail practices for grocery stores with products like Nabisco aren’t exactly what you’d expect them to be. Looks like Kraft is the GW of the grocery store.

          • Soulfinger

            Plus the restrictions only apply to Chapter Approved (do they still call it that?) merchants who order directly from GW. Don’t like GW’s policies? Order from Alliance.

      • 4tonmantis

        GW isn’t the only manufacturer of miniatures, but they are the only people that manufacture their models. They have created a demand and the means of supplying and are attempting to manipulate that market. Market manipulation of any kind may work in wacky European countries but over here it… oh wait.. it works here too..

        • Soulfinger

          Zing! Wanna go ride Harleys with me while we listen to store bought CDs?

          • 4tonmantis

            Only if we get to spoon and do wheelies!

  • estrus

    Evil Empire earns it’s nickname yet again.

  • blkdymnd

    It’s stunning to me that anyone still buys from them. But I guess its why Walmart and other corrupt companies still reign, accessibility. Unfortunately, they’re starting to kill off their accessibility

  • Daniel36

    I don’t see how this is news though. This is just yet another blog venting their frustration about a company that has every right to make poor business decisions.

    Evil Empire? Come on, they are not killing your spouse, they are merely charging you more money for the same product, which are plastic figurines. You don’t have to like that, but that’s the way things are. How are they different from any other large company?

    • tuco

      I do see how it is news. There is a new pricing structure being announced by GW. Sure, there is a good deal of editorializing, but it still tells me something I didn’t know before I read the story.

      • mathieu

        It seems to me that most parts of these policies already existed before, at least that’s what I always thought from reading the blurb on the Warstore.

        • Soulfinger

          The online sales one did. The overseas shipping and bits sales bans are new, to the best of my knowledge.

          • mathieu

            You are probably right. I wonder if the bits sales ban will have any impact on ebay stores that (from what it seems) thrive on that.

          • Soulfinger

            They’ll buy from Alliance and lose 10% off their margin, or just continue getting it from the same recasters in Russia or China, in which case they’re making around 200%-400%+ gross profit, depending on the bits and source.

        • Mananarepublic

          You are right m, even though the bits parts is new to me…

  • I can’t help thinking that I picked the right time to finally take the plunge into a non-GW game.

    • Stu

      There’s never a bad time to do this. GW games are actually fairly unimaginative and not terribly much fun (massed battles, almost universally archaic and poorly laid out rule sets) when compared to some of the other efforts out there.

      What are you trying instead of GW?

      • I’m mostly into the hobby for painting and modelling these days (I haven’t actualy played a game since about 1997ish), and the GW models I like most are greenskins, since they’re so characterful. That desire for characterful models is making me give Trollbloods a go. I don’t know a huge amount about Privateer, but it seems pretty clear from their website that they’re much more concerned about nurturing a strong community than GW are.

        Also, if I ever do feel like playing again, a Warmachine/Hordes force is way cheaper than an army for the horde-type Warhammer races I tend to gravitate toward.

  • Sooner or later, they will be mail order only. Mark my words.

    • TomasT

      Yes, the brick-and-mortar stores won’t survive the competition online.
      And that is the way in for new gamers…

      Shooting themselves in the foot.

      • metalsifter

        When GW refers to “brick & mortar” stores what they are referring to are THEIR GW stores. GW stores, as far as GW is concerned, are the “way in” for gamers.

    • Download and print more like. 3d printers are the way forward.

      • 4tonmantis

        Yup, I’m actually considering getting one for my 3d sculptures and models. I wouldn’t bother using GWs stuff though.. most of it has gone in a direction I don’t care for.

  • Amarel

    So, they’re trying to prevent online stores undercutting Bricks and Mortar stores and also prevent fakes by insisting on original packaging sales only. Additionally they’re supporting specific country based distributors by cutting into exports.

    It might well be heavy handed, but I suspect that there’s some good intent in there, as well as a wish for profit.

    • Maybe a tiny bit.

      They are killing bits, so you have to order from them.

      Local B&Ms have draconian minimum ordering, which means more sales for GW, whether or not they sell the products they were forced to order.

      Forcing you to buy from local distributors means they force you to pay a higher price to GW.

      Why is it that somehow, magically a tiny business in another country can ship an item for way less than you could get it direct from the big company?

      Is shipping gouging a term?

      • Soulfinger

        GW haven’t sold bits on their website for some time now, so they aren’t forcing you to order from them that way. GW makes the same money whether your FLGS buys from them or another distributor, so that argument doesn’t work either. And do I understand right that you are asking how a Chinese knock-off company with government subsidized shipping and an artificially deflated currency can ship for less than the manufacturer? Look at the current prices for shipping in the US, and then tell me that free shipping on a $50 order isn’t an amazing deal.

        GW is one of the few companies that does anything to prop up brick and mortar businesses against online competition — these policies included. Mostly though, FLGS go out of business either because the owner has no business sense or because customers spend what amounts to pennies per hour hanging out at the FLGS, treating it like a factory showroom for the stuff that they’ll buy online. Most kids spend more on soda at the game store than they do on product.

        • So you can no longer get bits from GW? I can see how being forced to now buy an entire model is better.

          How is miniature market or thewarstore a “Chinese knock-off company with government subsidized shipping”? Lots of US stores were shipping all over the world and it was cheaper than to buy it locally.

          GWs flyers book is GW only, how does that “do anything to prop up brick and mortar businesses against online competition”?

          • GW’s flyer book should be available in many retailers very soon. According to my rep, anyway.

        • n815e

          GW isn’t doing anything to help B&M stores — they view those stores as their competition, not their distribution network.
          Companies that want to try to expand their market, not shrink it, don’t restrict who can sell their products. GW is trying to shrink its distribution network in an attempt to earn a higher profit per item by selling directly to customers rather than through non-GW retailers. They’ve been inching in this direction for greater than a decade, now.

          • Soulfinger

            shakespear, I didn’t understand what you meant tiny/big company shipping prices in your previous post. Yes, some companies eat shipping costs. Keep in mind though that small businesses in the US have seen as much as a 300% increase in shipping charges from the USPS for international orders, so this dynamic may shift a little.

            n815e, the retailer I deal with says otherwise. Perhaps your own store doesn’t get the same promo materials and standard of service. Do you order direct or through a distributor? With the distributor, you are earning 10%+ less revenue, paying S&H on orders, not getting free replacements for defective items.

            Also, hasn’t GW’s distribution network actually been increasing over the past decade? Many companies actually do restrict who can sell their products, which is all part of the interplay between manufacturer, distributor, and retailer that most consumers are wholly oblivious to when they make suppositions about what companies should be doing to grow their business.

        • 4tonmantis

          That’s funny, I still see a bitz section under 40k. They’ve just trimmed it down to the more commonly ordered bitz.

          • grimbergen

            They’re bundles now, plus the fact that it’s the same handful of bundles that hardly have had any new additions for years now.

  • Gereth

    In a sad development to this story I’ve just found out MiniWarGaming Store is closing down.

    As explained on the video that decision wasn’t due only to the new trade policies enforced by GW but said policies were fundamental in their decision to close their shop.

  • oldsalt

    I think how you feel about this policy should be determined by how whether or not you feel the miniature gaming hobby can survive without brick and mortar stores. If you think we can or will become a hobby based on internet sales and ebay- then this is a horrible decision on GWs part. But if, like me, you feel the Brick & mortar stores as a social nexus are a necessary component to the hobby then this isn’t a bad thing– and in fact is something infinity, PP, and wizkids should do too. Yes it sucks for Brazil (they need stores), yes GW are overpriced, Yes it sucks to not get 25% off all your purchases… but the hobby requires real places for people to game and meet in person… otherwise we’re all just doing stuff online and might as well build Gundams as pure model kits.

  • I recently stumbled accross an unkrainian website that sells tons of recasts of OOP GW LE figures. It also selled FW titans at almost half their price : complete or by bits.
    Not only does this business hurts the big Satan GW but also smaller companies like Legacy Miniatures (in partnership with chinese recasters) or, more recently, Kingdom Death…
    I know there is something absurd in many of these decisions but, believe me, 3D printing and economical globalization gives pirates lots of opportunities. And most SME’s don’t have GW’s muscles to defend their IP and artistical creations.
    Unfortunately GW’s reactions tend to hurt legal businesses while illegal ones continue their trafficking thanks to their national laws, front companies, anonymous websites and mercenary “artists”.

  • Cervantes3773

    At what point do you become a “retailer”? Can I still sell my used minis on ebay? What about old, out of print minis?

    • Grindar

      Rule of thumb would probably be “Do you buy wholesale from GW?”. This will just force a lot of shops to get their stuff through a middleman like Alliance…lower margins and no direct stuff, but these terms shouldn’t apply either.

      • Cervantes3773

        Fair enough… I just get antsy when it looks like my ability to acquire old/OOP Mordheim/Necromunda/BfG models is threatened. 🙂

        • Gereth

          According to their document with the new trade terms a Retailer is thus defined:

          This new and improved Policy supersedes and replaces the old 2003 Policy and applies to all “Retailers” (defined in the new Policy to include both directly-supplied Trade Accounts and indirectly supplied retailers who purchase GAMES WORKSHOP products from Authorized Distributors) operating in the United States and Canada.

          So, pretty much every store who buys directly from GW or buys from one of their local distributors is a Retailer to be legally bound by the new trade terms.

          • n815e

            They cannot enforce these terms if you have no agreement with them. If a shop buys from a distributor, they are not legally bound to anything regarding GW’s policies. If GW tried to pursue some legal course against any shop they would lose. The only thing they have holding over the stores is their ability to stop supplying the stores if their terms are not followed. If stores get their products through distributors, GW is powerless to do anything.

  • KelRiever

    Really, what did everyone expect?

    You know, I still play GW games. But I order in such low quantity as to totally not matter. Plus I never buy directly from GW, always going through an online retailer or better yet, an LGS. I also play with minis from other companies. Gave up on playing in stores long ago. When I buy things, I own them. I play with friends in a basement. We don’t need Games Workshop to survive. Not even to play Games Workshop games.

    There’s a strong movement to dump GW games entirely around here. Now I am part of the counter culture because I purchased something like $250 of GW stuff in the past year. Who would have thought being part of the counter culture would include the people who still actually buy GW stuff? 😀

    • Grindar

      I’m slowly building necrons and tomb kings but GW’s not been a priority around here lately, and even the Battle Bunker in Memphis seems to always be deserted when I go by.

  • keltheos

    Someone shared with me a compelling (or at least thought-provoking) argument for the no bitz order to their preferred vendors (or whatever we call them). Nintendo doesn’t allow vendors to crack open their Wii boxes and sell the controllers separately (batallion box broken open to sell components example). They do sell individual controllers (regiment boxes), however. So I sort of get the requirement things be sold as they’ve been packaged…I don’t know that I agree with it, but at least it makes a bit more sense.

    • Grindar

      The thought is if they can limit somebody from selling you the voidblades they didn’t use in their box of whatever the Necron elites are, that you’ll nominally have to go out and buy your own box just to get that bit.

      It also keeps Warstore for example from selling the cheap on the sprue Rhinos for example.

    • Paconious

      How do you know Nintendo doesn’t allow it? People sell WiiU controllers all the time in mom and pop shops and on E-Bay, and you can’t purchase them separately in retail packaging currently. The problem with that logic is a Wii without a controller is useless. Yeah, you might be able to sell that smaller components of the box, but 80% of the value (if not more) is tied to one piece of the packaging which no one would want with out the other pieces. So why sell the components for $50 and not be able to sell the system, instead of the box for $130? Each component of the battalion box is usable on its own in an army (though some units truly are filler in the boxes).

      • keltheos

        How do you know they do?

        Your ‘mom and pop’ stores are those vendors without a preferred retailer account (direct buy from GW). They can do whatever they want with their stock as it’s not something they bought on terms with GW.

        Preferred retailers, however, buy directly from GW and are therefore held to their restrictions. Sort of like how larger than mom and pop stores (say a retail chain like Best Buy) buys directly from the manufacturer as well. I don’t see a lot of broken open Wiis in Best buy or on their website.

        • Paconious

          Just because they don’t doesn’t mean they can’t. You are implying causation. I have already shown how Nintendo’s product and GW’s product are not directly comparable as Nintendo’s product is designed to be only functional and profitable when sold as a complete unit and GW’s can function in smaller pieces and sold piecemeal.

          You made the assertion that Nintendo maintains a similar agreement to GW’s with its larger retailers, so the ball is in your court to prove it, otherwise the “compelling argument” you wrote is no more than justifying GW’s decision based on an assumption that all major company’s maintain similar restrictions. If it comes to pass that GW’s restriction is out of the ordinary, is your argument less compelling?

          • Soulfinger

            So like when a grocery store sells a package of several smaller units “not labelled for individual sale” with the retailer having a contractual and actionable obligation to the manufacturer — something like that?

          • Paconious

            But do they have an obligation to the manufacturer or to the FDA? That labeling usually means that there is not food labeling information on each individual sub-package which is required by federal law to be printed on each package for sale in a store.

          • Soulfinger

            Correct. The manufacturer is liable to the FDA, which is a significant part of why they include this caveat as part of the agreement issued to the retailer. A reseller would not be bound by the manufacturer’s contract, but would still be subject to censure from the FDA — although they tend not to go after biddies selling unlabeled food at the church bake sale, which is usually policed on a city level.

            I don’t know how much liability GW has to the federal government with their package information. I can’t for the life of me recall if they sent any sort of disclaimer along with their bits back when those could be ordered direct. It wouldn’t be unreasonable, however, for them to institute these policies in response to scrutiny over CPSC regulations for labeling, on account of their product containing small parts unsuitable for children. This does a lot to shore up their legal accountability.

          • Paconious

            Well, I seriously doubt GW is doing this in response to legal labeling issues. If I sell my products in compliance with labeling laws, and the purchaser resells them out of compliance, that is neither here nor there to me.

            My main reason for posting on this in the first place is that the justification used for this draconian restriction put in place by GW was based on a faulty assumption that it is common practice for manufacturers to impose this level of control over its products to retailers. I don’t believe it to be so.

          • Soulfinger

            I agree that labeling is an unlikely candidate for “why,” but policing policy can become a revenue stream, like Microsoft did back in the day with retailers suspected of point of purchase sales of OEM product. Those lawsuits were actually itemized as part of their expected revenue stream. I am surprised you don’t believe that there are such restrictions on retailers. That they are so few and far between in the hobby games industry is only because it is such a speck in the market.

    • Another argument is that many recasters sell their models without worrying to copy the packaging (that would be more expensive for them).
      Packaging is kind of a trademark seal.

    • Paconious

      Soulfinger, I started this reply because we reached the nesting limit on the previous thread.

      I am not saying that placing restrictions on retailers is not uncommon, but rather restrictions on this particular issue ( breaking down components for individual sale). Microsoft placed that restirction because of the discount that OEMs gave, not the lack of packaging. In every way, shape, and form the OEM product was the same as the retail package, except the packaging. So if a person bought the OEM version they got the same thing as the retail version but much cheaper. I think this issue is particularly unique to the field of miniatures, as with Microsoft, why would I want to buy a software disk without the product key or the product key without the disk in most cases?

      I am not saying it is not in GW’s rights to do this, they can set whatever restrictions they want, I am saying that the justification for this as anything other than a money grab based on a contractual norm is not sound. Miniatures are a unique product as each component is functional and entirely useful on its own and could be profitably sold as such. Other than food products, which are regulated by the FDA or equivalent, there really is no other industry that conforms to or would require this restriction.

  • storm72

    Rome will fall…and miniatures will go on, I’m actually suprised they have gone on this far but once you cut out the independants and lose their support your sunk…R.I.P Games Workshop!

    • grimbergen

      be careful what you wish for… while GW is not innovative in gaming terms nor friendly to its retailers, it acts as a huge catalyst for drawing new converts to the hobby. And when I say converts i mean people that will actually drop $$$ to keep the industry in business, not geezers like old penny pinching grognards or the skirmish gamer who buy a handful of minis a year.

      Say rome falls…then the next runner up is PP. I dont’ know much about their business practices, but their game/minis are no more innovative than GW. If fact gaming wise IMHO they are even worse with promoting uber competitiveness and cheez.

      Anyhow, at this juncture I hardly see PP being able to attract crowds into the hobby like 40k or even WHFB, which means less miniatures business for the FLGS and less transitions into more niche game lines/companies.

      • Soulfinger

        But Grimbergen, I didn’t spend money at my FLGS and it went out of business, so it is only logical that if I don’t buy GW minis, they too will go out of business! In fact, Sam Walton would never have made a dime if the corner store had had a rascal for me to ride around in while I shopped for Mountain Dew and butter sticks.

        • grimbergen

          Yes, my mistake for generalizations, especially when we have a sharp old crank here!

          I’ll clarify – all 4 successful LGSes in my metro market are propped up due to sales of 2 main products: GW stuff and CCGs. In all those stores more than ½ to ¾ of their miniatures (including CMGs) product shelves are GW.

          My point is, in my anecdotal observations and in talking to 1 of the owners I know very well, if not for GW, they would not be able to attract enough of the miniatures crowd and/or transition 40k players to other lines to sustain that part of the business.

  • Gallahad

    Does anybody know of any FLGS that make money off of charging table rental fees or something similar rather than models? It seems like the communal gaming space is really what they are selling, and they would likely sell more models if they had discounts at all comparable with what can be found online. I know I would be far more likely to visit “local” gaming stores if there wasn’t the weird “you walked in my store, now buy something!” vibe even when I’m clearly not there to game, or if they didn’t try to sell stuff at MSRP+.

    It just seems a bit daft for GW to act like if they close their eyes real tight they can ignore the changing retail landscape. The internet isn’t going away.

    Honestly though, while this would have mattered to me a ton a couple of years ago, I am finally to the point where even at 2nd hand or internet prices, the “GW Hobby” isn’t worth it to me. It is kind of refreshing to look at ebay auctions, etc. and not even be the least bit tempted to buy.

    • n815e

      and they would likely sell more models if they had discounts at all comparable with what can be found online.

      Unlike Joe’s Online Emporium where Joe keeps stock in his garage, your LGS has business costs to operate.

      • Gallahad

        I’m well aware of that, but the internet isn’t going away. I am trying to see if there is some other business model that has been successfully implemented by a LGS where they can cover their additional operating costs (over and above those of Joe’s basement) through some mechanism other than model sales.

        • grimbergen

          Yes, we have 2 LGSs here that have somewhat pay to play models.

          One doesn’t allow any food in the store – drinks are ok. So they make boatloads of cash selling snacks. It also helps as chips and candies messes are much easier to clean up, to keep the store tidy so parents don’t freak out leaving their younglings there to play pokemon.

          Also they have continuous leagues of all games (CCGs, warhammer, warmahordes, FOW, boardgames, etc) that require a one time buy-in of $5-10 for the duration of the 3-6 month league, and most of the tables are reserved for league participants even if they are just there for casual gaming. Basically it’s like a hidden store membership fee.

          Another store has an implicit, sometimes explicit rule that you must buy something to play. For CCGs and CMGs it’s 1 booster pack to play any store game events, even non-sanctioned tourneys. For Warhammer it’s been instilled in the core players to encourage/guilt other players to buy something even if it’s something small like a pot of paint.

          Unfortunately the worst offenders are boardgamers – realistically it’s hard to force a $20+ game purchase each time, and usually many of them are the most vocal in protestations as can be seen on BGG.

          • Gallahad

            That is really interesting. I prefer frequenting businesses that are upfront about what they are selling (communal gaming space, awesome tables, tourney scene, etc.) although the “no snacks” policy does seem like a nice alternative.

            I think that being an “internet distributor” next to a “game space/event organizer” seller is the way forward for the local game shops. Theoretically you could sell models at discounts like internet sellers (even smaller discounts would be very competitive because I get the product instantly and I don’t have to pay shipping), along with selling other amenities like gaming space, location, and organization. The complimentary nature of these two will hopefully help LGS survive the long slow demise of traditional retail.

            Internet retailers being required to charge state sales taxes would also be a step forward.

  • metalsifter

    I pretty sure what happened here is some ladder-climbing suck-up made a presention that showed the selling of bits cut into the sales of their finished goods.

    So now GW is under the impression that the customer that buys 5 bolters off Ebay (or other bits seller) from the Tac Squad box set would have otherwise bought a whole Tac Squad instead, so GW “lost money” because someone is selling the bits separately.

    • Soulfinger

      Or customers complained because the “official” GW bits they had purchased online turned out to be the recast bolters that I buy for 10 cents with free shipping from China . . .

      • Sorry, but how does this policy in any way attempt to curtail recasters?

        • Soulfinger

          Really just meant to be an equally unrealistic alternative to metalsifer’s suggestion.

          • metalsifter

            Having worked for GW for 7 years in management at the Memphis and Lenton HQs I’s put money on the ladder-climbing suck-up scenario.

          • Soulfinger

            HA! I doff my hat to you, sir.

    • Small individual Ebay sellers wont be effected, its only if you buy in bulk from GW. GW can limit what you buy. Second hand retailers are not buying direct , so GW cant enforce their policies with them. The only way GW can enforce this policy is by withholding sales, but black listing trade customers who break their sales policies.

  • n815e

    GW is happy selling fewer models at higher prices and making more money with licensing.
    There will be a point where their tabletop game division will be the smallest part of the company.

  • jim7

    First Sale Doctrine?

    • Soulfinger

      Interesting. I haven’t had time to read it, but an article came out just today that may be applicable.

    • Dahak

      May not apply since they are restricting contractual terms in the distribution chain rather than the rights after the first sale.

      I.e. once the punter in the street buys a Space Marine his First Sale rights aren’t affected.

      Its just if you buy from GW at a discount as a Distributor or Retailer, you agree to the contract to get the discount [and If their sane Distributors have to include the same in their contracts with retailers to get their larger discount.]

      IIRC The supreme court case is about people buying at MRSP in Thailand and then importing into the US to resell because full MRSP in Thailand is less than full MRSP in the US for that book. The distinction being they are buying at retail.

      • jim7

        Upon further reflection, I would agree that it wouldn’t apply.

  • phoenixman

    my dream would be winning the lottery and opening a wargames shop and have no GW stuff in it, and when the rep came in to try and get me to sell their stuff i’d simply tell them to f* off.

    would never sell their products in a store i owned as i hate their ethos and how they treat not only stores that sell their stuff but the gaming community at large.

    havn’t played their systems for more than four years and don’t miss them one bit.

    • Soulfinger

      Never seen a GW rep pander like that, but I’ve definitely observed “I’ll carry what I want to — screw demand” as one of the top reasons a game store goes under. But, if that’s the only bad business decision you make as a lotto winner, you can use it as a tax write-off.

      • Dahak

        Not stocking GW is in many areas an optimal choice for Retailers. In the UK the coverage of GW stores means you are competing with them directly and they seem to prioritise supplying their own shops.

        Hidden Fortress for example did well until its new owner decide to stock GW despite there being near by GW. Then it died.

        Stocking non-GW things that might be attractive to GW players is another matter.

        • Soulfinger

          Makes total sense in the UK. As I understand it, in the US, GW only allows X number of approved retailers to operate within an area. There is only one, for example, in the moderate-sized city near where I live, but someone else could open an operation . . . let’s say 30 miles away. That in turn may or may not affect if someone else can open an approved store in the area.

  • surprize

    As a contrast; on the official Infinity/Corvus Belli forum there is a guy who has a trade account to buy minis but no bricks and mortar store (or even a webstore) he just splits boxes and blisters and gets people to match up to buy the contents at a discount from RRP.

    But I guess the GW addicts will rant and complain that the dealer is jacking up the prices and diluting the product but they’ll keep on coming back for their hobby crack!

    • Soulfinger

      I think it’s great, and I’d like to see more groups operate this way. With GW, he’d either be buying from a distributor or had falsified his info, as they demand proof of a brick-and-mortar location.

  • modelmanjohn

    “It also forbids retailers from selling to countries other than their own (no exports)”

    This part might actually be illegal in the US now. A recent supreme court ruling may affect it – it was with textbooks, however. What it was was that some guy in college here in the US (he was from Asia) noticed that textbooks here are real expensive – but the same exact ones that were sold in Asia were fantastically cheap – but they were marked “not for export”. IE, back to the U.S. But the guy bought the cheap ones anyways, sold them on ebay, and made a killing (6 figures). he was sued by the publishers for “copyright” infringement. They won at first, but he appealed to the supreme court and won. Basically they said, since he bought the books, he can do whatever the freak he wants with them. If he couldn’t, then a whole ton of stuff should be prohibited, like the selling of cars (software is copyrighted), etc.

    So my point being if some retail store gets the GW products, however they get it, they should be able to sell it however they like.

    But I’m not a legal guy, so maybe I am wrong.

    Link to article:

    • Veritas

      The difference is this guy isn’t a distributor with a trade account directly with book publishers. He bought them on the open market so he is then free to do with them as he pleases. A trade account has to agree to trade terms to get their retailer discount.

  • Dude

    Why should I care about this?If you’re in an abusive relationship, just leave. This works just as well for an economic relationship as a romantic one.

  • Mananarepublic

    I got tired of reading the anti G-dubb posts after halfway down the comments page…

    Please read my two simple arguments that are pro (yep, I’m the old lady against the flow – Swedish expression)

    1) gw are the only ones protecting the LGS business by limiting online and overseas sales… I think several LGS owners would agree with me on that’s- especially in the face of kickstarter.

    2) g-dubbs minis are better than ever… Even though I can’t buy as many models as I could before, I still love the new quality and details of the models. Some of them are too cartoony but most are just awesome.. I realize this is a pure fanboy comment and that you might prefer another manufacturers models but sorry, had to put it in here 🙂


    • n815e

      Your first argument doesn’t hold up, GW views LGS as their competition, not their distribution. They restrict overseas sales because they set prices differently in different countries and they don’t want someone to undercut that price fixing scheme.

      GW models are for the most part very pretty, but the value to cost ratio is fairly low and the quality of their castings has dropped.

    • Gallahad

      No, at least in the US GW has a long established practice of working over small independent retailers by setting up shop right next to successful local game stores, and making it notoriously difficult to stock their product.

      As for the quality, most of the GW core kits are around ten years old, and it really shows.

      And while this is certainly a matter of taste, I just can’t stand the wacky proportions of their figures anymore. Space Marines don’t even look human.

  • It’s not illegal, it’s the terms and conditions of sale. Agree to them and GW will supply you with stuff, don’t agree and they won’t supply you. GW would have run this through their corporate law machine several times before unleashing it on the retailers.

    Sucks big time, but then they crushed exports to countries outside of the Eurozone a couple of years ago, so it’s no surprise that they’re doing it to the North American market too.

  • KelRiever

    People seem to want to tell me how a gamestore will suddenly meet it’s demise if it doesn’t sell GW products.

    To which I say, “Really? Have you seen how little GW games add to the bottom line of a gamestore?”

    I’m sure there are exceptions, and nobody has a universal view on every game store that exists. But at a certain point, with lower margins, awful treatment, and direct competition, all I can imagine is that an LGS finally says, “F this, I now don’t sell GW games or let them be played in my store. Don’t like it, go somewhere else. I have enough grief to deal with!”

    Rumor has it that some have, but I really don’t have any stats on that. I’m just wondering.