The perils of arrogance

By tgn_admin
In Editorial
Apr 29th, 2011
126 Comments
910 Views

Editorial

Gamers can be a fickle bunch but they are ultimately interested in gaming and it is this desire to be able to always to play that has, I think, maintained GW in its position of prominence in the hobby. Its not difficult to find people who play 40K and Warhammer Fantasy and it is often not difficult to find their miniatures either.

Whatever its advances in technology, and lets be clear I think that GW makes the best plastic kits in the market, the one area where GW has always lagged behind has been in customer outreach and retention. Older, or longer-term, Games Workshop gamers have always complained about the lack of connection they have with the company. The perception has been, more some time now, that GW doesn’t care about customer turnover because they are constantly getting new, younger, gamers to replace them.

Whether this is true or not is irrelevant because ultimately the lack of response from GW makes this the dominant theme when discussing the company. By not contradicting it or acting to dispel the notion Games Workshop validates it and allow it to propagate until it is ultimately the “truth”.

Nothing really displays this arrogance more than the recent Adepticon 2011 event in Chicago. Adepticon is one of, if not the, biggest 40K and WFB events in the world. Gamers refer to it as their yearly pilgrimage and the event has such a large influence on the 40K gaming community that the Adepticon FAQ is often used for the game instead of the official GW FAQ.

So you would assume that this would be a great way for GW to communicate with their fans and the event would be filled with GW personalities and staff helping to promote the game.

You would, of course, be dead wrong.

To the best of my knowledge, aside from some sales staff at the Forge World booth, Games Workshop had no official presence at the show. No speakers like Phil Kelly or Jervis Johnson. Not even a marketing intern from GW US. Who was at the event in force? Why Privateer Press of course. Privateer ran events, demos, brought their staff and had a huge presence at an event that only in the last two years has even run Warmachine events. It would be as if the largest presence at a Green Bay Packers fan event were officials and team members from the Pittsburg Steelers. Privateer also gave away a free Warmachine starter in the first 1000 swag bags given out to attendees. 1000 Warhammer and 40K fans opened their swag bag to find a free $50 Warmachine starter set and it wasn’t long before those gamers started talking about playing the game.

The Plastic Legions blog has an even longer post about this issue that really outlines the problem. Gamers went to an event that, despite its wider focus, is dedicated to Games Workshop game and found a swag bag that had a free Black Library preview book, that they probably already got for free at a GW store, and a free $50 starter box from Privateer Press. Dave Taylor took a photo of the contents of his loot bag. Finding the GW contributions is akin to reading a page of Where’s Waldo? And of course PP staff were at the event to run demos and show those same gamers how to play the game they had just received for free.

The utter arrogance of this sort of treatment is astounding. I’m certainly not a fan of Game Workshop’s management but I really do now have to question whether Tom Kirby and his coterie of managers have any interest in the company other than lining their own pockets? Kirby and some of his fellow managers are the largest GW shareholders and every time the stock price increases or the company pays dividends it is Kirby and his fellow managers than profit. Even if the reason for those “profits” are short-term price increases that ultimately decrease the size of the GW fanbase. Short-term profit for the benefit of a few upper-management people appears to be the focus of the company.

As long as the management of GW has no interest, or no reason to be interested in, the long-term health of the company we will continue to see this sort of arrogant and ignorant behaviour. If GW can’t be bothered to come out to the largest gathering of their fans how long are those people going to be fans? Privateer Press has shown that it is interested in expanding and retaining their gamers and if a company like Privateer can do it then why can’t GW?

One is left to assume that Games Workshop management just don’t care and while that attitude might not have been as damaging as it was a few years ago GW now have a competing company that now appears to have the resources to actively recruit the customer base that GW has relied on to continue to buy their ever more expensive products.

Arrogance might not have been as detrimental in the past but when your most ardent fans now play your competitors games at GW events maybe it is finally time for even a management team as blinkered and ignorant as the one running Games Workshop to finally take notice.

Sadly I doubt they will.

Update: Matthias Weeks, one of the organizers of Adepticon, has written in to clarify their relationship with Games Workshop

As a main organizer of AdeptiCon, I just wanted to drop in an clear up a few off-base assumptions about our event and our involvement with Games Workshop.

First and foremost, it is important to note that AdeptiCon simply would not exist without the dedicated support of Games Workshop. We have had a close relationship with Games Workshop since day one and they have gone well beyond the call of duty several times over the years to ensure that our event realizes our envisioned potential. Their support has come in the form of hotel negotiations, terrain loaning, special guests (over the years we have had Paul Sawyer, Jervis, Gav, Jes, Phil and a whole host of other sculptors and Black library authors – often the direct result of Games Workshop being involved), prize support, special events, staffing from the Chicago Battle Bunker, and the like. To say Games Workshop has been instrumental in allowing us to bring you this event is not understated.

That said, I can see how from an outside observer it might appear Games Workshop has forsaken AdeptiCon and is allowing it to be consumed by younger, hungrier companies. The reason for this is twofold. First, Games Workshop has made a move to support a broader range of indy events across the States over the past two years. During this process they attempted to standardize their involvement with said events in terms of prize support and pre-event support (terrain, advertisement). While AdeptiCon once received the benefits of additional attention in previous years (White Dwarf coverage, more staff in attendance, Chicago Battle Bunker helping with registration and the like), we are more than willing to conform to whatever guidelines Games Workshop has put forth regarding these matters. It would be unfair of us to demand more attention, regardless of what we actually do…which brings me to the second point.

AdeptiCon’s motto has been For Gamers By Gamers since the get go. While we were a 100% Games Workshop event for our first seven years, we always maintained our independence and the ability to put on an event that ran parallel (or sometimes even against) what Games Workshop was doing with their Grand Tournaments and other events. While we were more than happy to work with them, we were not interested in being governed by them…something Games Workshop was also adamant about.

As AdeptiCon grew, and our player-base exploded, we had several requests to broaden our scope of games. We had that discussion for about two years until it was decided that AdeptiCon should transition into a true Wargaming Convention and begin including games outside of the Games Workshop spheres.

It just so happens that these two events occurred roughly around the same time and therefore it might appear that Games Workshop has dropped all support for AdeptiCon. This is not the case. They were instrumental in getting Forge World to the convention this year (something we have tried for 6+ years to make happen ourselves), they provided terrain kits to meet our new table requirements and they worked with us to provide ample prize support for all Games Workshop events. While we might no longer receive the special considerations we once did, I am not sure we should. We are playing within the boundaries they have defined for all indy events in the States and it would be unfair of us to ask for more. Making AdeptiCon a truly great event shouldn’t be Games Workshop’s job, it is ours.

Is there a possibility for Games Workshop to do something amazing for the attendees of our event and really build some goodwill with the veteran players? Sure, but again we would be receiving consideration above and beyond that of other events…not to mention their attention is always going to be more geared towards their own US events and retail operations. We are totally happy with GW’s current support for/involvement with our event, and the option do something more is always there. I suppose the point is being made that they SHOULD do something special…and that is a valid opinion, but it should be balanced with their current unseen efforts and guidelines they are currently operating within in regards to indy events.

As a convention, we exist to serve the wargaming hobby, and part of that is working with the companies that make wargaming so great. We absolutely love it when companies like Privateer Press (or Mantic) come to us with an insane idea like the swag bag giveaway. That is a win-win-win for us, our attendees and Privateer Press. AdeptiCon is not interested in converting players from one system to another, or even promoting one company over another (including Games Workshop), but we are interested in giving our attendees and supporters the best convention experience possible.

  • Morf

    It’s always a question if you like your games like burgers or not. Do you want to know the cow they are made of? Do you know the farmer, butcher, steroids it ate? I am interested in just some of these details, but I know many who will answer “I don’t care as long as it tastes good”.

    Some gamers will say “I don’t care who they are as long as the games are good and the products are supported (read: games last for years)”.

    Of course, the PP has a human-face business model, but I’m not sure if the entire hobby should follow that pattern. IMO the GW problem, if any lies somewhere else. I see no arrogance/ignorance in the goodie bag disproportion. Adepticon is a GW tribute show – do you have to prospect amongst the people that already spend tons of money annualy on GW?
    Smart and nice move on PP’s side but they were there to prospect so it seems more natural.

    • Zac

      Do you want to know the cow they are made of?

      No but I like to know that the cook isn’t spitting in the burger when he makes it 🙂

      Adepticon is a GW tribute show – do you have to prospect amongst the people that already spend tons of money annualy on GW?

      If you want them to continue to do so you do.

      I don’t think you can generate an atmosphere where you are assumed to be unconcerned with your customers and then let a competitor emphasise that at one of your events.Adepticon isn’t an official GW event but it might as well be and for them to not be there at all is crazy

      • Doc

        Zac, I think you really need to go to AdepiCon one year! Without being there it is hard to “conceive” its nature.

        • Zac

          Given my play style I think I would just annoy people with my fluffy lists 🙂

          • Doc

            and I don’t?!
            the team tourney would be perfect for you…

          • Zac

            That is true. You have the benefit of experience with the game to make those fluffy lists useful though 🙂

            The team tournament actually did sound like a heck of a lot of fun.

          • wittdooley

            We played Necrons last year, and Bankrupt Blood Angels this year. You’d be aight in the team tournament.

          • Zac

            I’m already saving money for the Necron release. Can’t wait for them.

            The team event does sound like a great place to play some fun lists and have a good time. Perfect sort of event.

  • scarletsquig

    You have to consider a few other things too, mainly the cultural divide and the fact that decisions from GW HQ get made over in the the UK.

    In the UK wargames shows are most definitely not “40k and WFB tribute events”, shows like Salute only have a small amount of attendees who solely play GW’s game systems, the vast majority play a massive variety of different games, from all sorts of genres.

    Wargaming as a hobby over here seems much less polarized over here, whereas the impression I get of US gaming (mostly from posts online) is that it’s mostly either GW or PP, and fans tend to be more vocal supporters of either one of those. Probably a result of the gaming scene not having been established for as long as it has in the UK. I can see that changing with time and as more people get into the alternatives available.

    So, from GW’s perspective, a show in America is probably considered to be the same as a show in the UK, and treated the same… i.e. they know they need to make a presence, but feel that it can be kept small.

    I would be very surprised if more than a handful of GW staff on this side of the pond were even aware that Adepticon is some sort of “GW fan pilgrimage”.. those that have even heard of it probably think it’s just like the wargames shows we have over here.

    There is also the issue of competition… GW has it’s own games day events in America so it makes good business sense for them to send guests and stuff to those instead of attracting people to and event where other companys models are being advertised.

    • Zac

      Every event is a chance to meet new customers and to interact with existing customers. GW does indeed run it’s own official events but the people at events like Adepticon are the hardcore players that help continue support for GW games. And now GW is letting other companies walk away with those fans.

      • Cergorach

        Erm, Adapticon has always been major league GW centric, so those souls are already in GWs possession, most of the PP players are former GW players and have very good reason to have stopped playing GW games. So there is very little they can do there to attract new souls for their GW ‘masters’. Why spent resources on such a fan created event, when they do well all on their own. Also did the Adapticon management ask GW or even want GW at the event? What would be the added benefit for the visitors (except for maybe some free stuff)?

        Shows like ‘Salute’ attract a lot more people who don’t play GW games or are familiar with them, chances are that Salute is bigger then Adapticon (1500+ visitors), but GW wasn’t there either (although Black Library was there, but like Forge World that isn’t really GW itself).

        Keep in mind that the market in North America is relatively small compared to the one in Europe. Europe has almost three times the sales and only 50% more population then NA. GW has tried to ‘conquer’ NA in the past and that attempt failed miserably, costing more then it was worth, this went on for years. They have now made some serious headway in reducing costs in those regions and finally refocused their attention on Europe (new one man shops are popping up like crazy).

        GW is a publicly owned company and isn’t some kind of vanity press hobby business, their core principle is making a profit, as much as possible any way they can. And GW has been around for 25+ years (which other game companies can say that without having been bought out or going broke) and still is the biggest in the branch.

        GW isn’t overly concerned with fans walking away, either due to interest or the ‘competition’. Sure PP is big compared to any other game company, but it is still tiny when you compare it to GW. Who knows if PP (2000-) will be around in three years, remember Rackham (1997-2010), at one time it was also GWs biggest competitor.

    • Gaming has been around longer in the UK? Yikes. It’s been organized as heck my whole life in the States and I turn 41 this year 🙂

      No, the issue is really more about massive distribution. The UK has an almost 3rd world production and supply chain which in this case is a boon to mom and pop gaming operations. It allows small, diverse companies to survive…if just barely. The US and to some extent, Canada labor under a soul-crushing supply chain that eats all the minnows. To thrive in the massive US market, you have to grow big teeth. As a result, US consumers have much less actual choice in retail outlets these days than we did 25 years ago. The internet is creating a bit of a renaissance for niche gaming opportunity but Wizards of the Coast, GW, Battlefront, and FFG rule the store from sea to shining sea…

      I have this from a reliable inside source 😉

      • Cergorach

        Probably, I seriously doubt that the natives played with tin soldiers, while in Europe/UK folks were indeed playing with toy soldiers 😉

        Ral Partha (US) 1975-2001
        Citadel Miniatures aka. Games Workshop (UK) 1979-now

        Sure there was Chainmail before there was D&D, we even had a Battlesystem (1st Ed, 2nd Ed, and Skirmish), then we had another Chainmail, a D&D miniatures, a prepainted D&D miniatures game, that was again discontinued, etc. Support was spotty at best. The most consistent is probably Battletech, but FASA went belly up, Wizkids made a Frankenstein, Fanpro went belly up, CGL almost went belly up last year (owners took more money out of the company then they should have or were allowed). Name your ‘popular’ miniatures game that is still around after a quarter of a decade…

        The situation in Europe isn’t much better, there are some game stores, but they are also ruled by the big brands and few gaming stores survive for long. Those that do often have a big web presence. Most buy their stuff online.

  • twhitten

    To me it seems there is a bit of arrogance coming from the other direction. Personally, I get what I want from my ‘GW Hobby,’ and I care not what happens at Adepticon or any other GW con. PP could have put their entire line in the swag bag and GW could have put official ‘GW Lint.’ The PP stuff would still go to eBay and I would continue playing 40k (with a bit more lint in my pocket.)

    • twhitten

      As to the swag, as stated, it is a good move on PP’s part to put in a starter set. And sure, people were using it to try out the game. What product should GW have put in there to prevent people from trying out the game? Black Reach? A Land Raider? What? There is nothing. GW could have put in $100 worth of stuff and the same people still would have been trying PP’s game while others would just go ‘meh.’

      • Zac

        I don’t think that the issue is that there is some specific swag item that GW should have added but that their lack of concern about these fans presented PP with an opportunity.

        The swag bag is just a symptom of this. GW’s contribution was a BL freebie book that was already given at GW stores. It seems Illconceived

        • Doc

          well, with a) the lack of GW stores in many areas (I know guys who have to drive 2+ hours to get to a GW store). and b) when they are there Vets avoid the 14 yr old funk-zone, I think it was a great idea.

          • Zac

            If I had a copy of the book I have to assume at most of the people at Adepticon had one as well.

          • Doc

            Why? I had not seen one prior to getting the bag, and I read just about every BL book that comes out, and often buy from their site (downloaded 4 eBooks today).

            I think it is disingenuous to assume that the players there had a copy of the book before. It would be just as bad to assume that the PP giveaway was a waste of time too, as many players I know play both systems (I sold off all my Khador stuff last year…). Marketing is marketing, get the message out there (small or large) – I just sat through a 6 hour presentation on the subject!

            There is no better marketing for your company than the advertising weight of 1000+ gamers registration for your systems at a single event!

    • Zac

      ThAt might be the case but on an individual level but there are clearly GW fans who a now playing and checking out PP games because of this. Gaming and hobby time is finite. People playing Warmachine and painting PP figs are people who are not playing and painting 40K figs

      • I’m one of those fans. I remember my first irritation at GW back when they replaced the metal Terminator boxes with the substandard plastic ones from Space Hulk 2nd and charged the same amount. I eventually got out a little after third edition, moved on to Warmachine/Hordes, and have never regretted it.

        But then, people are certainly allowed to prefer whichever they want to, and it’s definitely easier to find a game of 40K or FB than it is to find a Warmachine/Hordes pick-up game.

        • The constant price hikes and dumbing down of the rules certainly didn’t encourage me to stick around, either.

        • Zac

          That is true. When I moved to Calgary I decided to make 40K my main game for a few reasons but one of them was the ease with which I can get a game in. Warmachine and Hordes are not as popular here as they are in Vancouver.

          WM and Hordes don’t have the reach that GW games do but in much the same way that Apple now makes more profit, money and has a higher market cap than Microsoft, markets can change.

          Ultimately its not really that big an effort for GW to send some people to a large event like Adepticon

  • wittdooley

    I’ve never posted before, but I have to disagree due to the following points:

    GW Tasked Forge World with attending the first US Event outside of Games Day, and during the same weekend as Forge World Open, or whatever they call it, in the UK. Sure, they made a boat load of money, but it’s still a big deal that they sent them.
    GW, via the Black Library, sent both Nathan Long AND Dan Abnett to Adepticon. Two major authors in the BL stable.
    GW put a large amount of product in the swag bag at 2010 Adepticon, whereas PP had nothing in that bag. Where was the begrudging of PP last year?
    What is GW supposed to Demo there? The PP room, which they shared with Malifaux, would have fit in the main 40k room 4 or 5 times over. I think it’s safe to say that there were plenty of people there playing 40k and, if someone REALLY wanted a demo of 40k, there would have been plenty of ambassadors of the game there.

    While I respect the opinion of the editorial, so much of it seems misplaced and full of ignorant vitriol. Adepticon isn’t a GW event. Games Day is. Guts & Gears is the Privateer Event. Adepticon, despite that, is VASTLY dominated by 40k. It’s a smart move for PP to try and get their product out to the huge number of 40k players there. How would it have benefitted GW to put their product in the swag bag when, after the first day Grey Knights were on sale at Adepticon, it was all sold out? Believe it or not, people don’t come to Adepticon, or other large events, for the swag bag. They come for the experience and the swag is a benefit. It just so happens that the large majority at Adepticon come to play GW games.

    • Zac

      GW put a large amount of product in the swag bag at 2010 Adepticon, whereas PP had nothing in that bag. Where was the begrudging of PP last year?

      Its not a Privateer focused event though so I don’t know why anyone would complain about a lack of PP swag.

      GW, via the Black Library, sent both Nathan Long AND Dan Abnett to Adepticon.

      They did. But no Phil Kelly, no Matt Ward, no Jervis Johnson, no-one from the Design team, no artists, no-one who officially represents the company or is a factor in developing their games.

      What is GW supposed to Demo there?

      Nothing. There is a lot they can do other than demos.

      Adepticon isn’t a GW event.

      It isn’t an official GW event but it is still one of the pre-eminent events for GW games. If it isn’t an official event it still is one of the largest events that gathers GW fans.

      Guts & Gears is the Privateer Event.

      Lock and Load is the name. And it is an interesting distinction since PP is indeed running its own event now like GW does but it still actively supports GenCon, PAX, Adepticon and a host of smaller regional events.

      If PP can go to an event like Templecon and support it to the extent that they do then why isn’t GW out in force more at Adepticon?

      How would it have benefitted GW to put their product in the swag bag when, after the first day Grey Knights were on sale at Adepticon

      Again, the issue isn’t that they didn’t have $50 worth of loot in the bag. It is what they put in the bag. I have a copy of that book and I didn’t show up at an event. Why not at least do something like the BL chapbooks they release at Games Day?

      GW is a big company and when they toss in a freebie they are giving away at their own stores it seems, as I mentioned, illconceived and cheap.

      • Zac,

        Thanks for more eloquent take on the broader scale what I was saying from a personal level. What our friend here above doesn’t understand is the history of Adepticon with GW and its continued lack of giving a damn about its very customers. It not about what was in the swag bag..its about a 10 year event with now almost 1500 whose core belief is in your very product and you completely ignore it?, except for Forge World who shows up and screws over a couple hundred people every year with their total incompetence.

        Adepticon is the premier GW event, even if GW doesnt claim it be so..it was made so by GW customers inspite of themselves, and GW has continuously dumped more and more its public presence on its customers shoulders (notice the entire circuit the last few years is all fan run events after they killed the GT’s because of budget cuts. )So dump on your customers, keep raising prices while making the boxes smaller, and totally ignore the biggest event celebrating your product in US, even after you relocate your major NA hub to Nashville? Its mindbogglingly ignorant. its classic “too big to fail”

        As for PP, they did a great job this year, and do expect Adepticon to become more and more a gaming event and less and less a GW event in the continued future and as Adepticon moves to 4 days in 2012 for its 10 anniversary, it will continue to thrive and other companies will use it to poach GW’s territory all because GW failings to embrace it and its customers.

        • Cergorach

          Adepticon might be the premier GW US event (although I doubt that), Games Day UK is the premier GW event worldwide, which isn’t surprising as it’s closest to the most sales and the shortest distances.

          • What other event would you consider to be the premier GW US event?, other than Games Day which doesnt even come close to having these kinds of tournaments or seminar content. It isnt even close..unless you know of some huge fan driven GW US convention that I dont, I would put Adepticon on par with Salute in size..I dont think even Historicon comes close..and thats zero GW presence other than some fan run WAB, if that..
            people from all over the world attended Adepticon this year.

          • Cergorach

            If you can get me a quote on how many attendees GDUS, GDUK, or Salute had last/this year, I’ll believe you. But if a local Dutch convention can gather 500+ players 4 times a year in a country of 16-17 million souls, I find 1500 players for NA just tiny. Spellenspektakel had 10.000+ visitors in 2007. Sure it might be the biggest GW (US) tournament event, but those folks don’t need any GW support, they are already there playing with (fully) painted GW armies in a very competitive environment.

          • Zac

            It’s a lot more distance from Washington State to Chicago than it is for someone to go from London to Brussles

  • zane5546

    What can you say? GW is GW. It’s pointless to complain about how they suck. (Believe me, I’ve complained over the years.)

    My friends and I gave up on WFB for a fantasy version of PIQUET years ago. I still by the figures, because I’m that obsessive. But I don’t understand why a normal person would by 10 plastic skeleton figures from GW for $25 when they could buy 20 skeletons for $20 from Mantic or even 30 figures for $20 from Wargames Factory!

    The PP give away is brilliant, and I hope they can put a dent into GW’s market share and wake them up a bit. The only way things will change is if people start playing other games.

    Ars Mortis

    • wittdooley

      Quality is a major reason. Aesthetic is another. I like some of Mantic’s figures, but you couldn’t pay me enough to paint up an army of their Elves.

      I also think their Orks and Dwarves both look far too top heavy.

      • Zac

        Can’t stand the Eleves. Like the Undead and some of the Orcs. GW’s new fantasy Orcs seem a bit cartoony but I think that is an aesthetic choice they made a long time ago.

        The quality of GW’s products isn’t really an issue though. GW management effectively allowing competitors to steal some of their best customers is.

    • Cergorach

      I think the Mantic skeletons are perfect, especially at what they cost in the larger boxes, and I have a bunch of them. But I still bought a lot of GW skeletons, for the core of the armies. I think I’ll buy some Mantic Orcs and look how they fit with the GW Orcs, might get me a couple of units, but again the core units are all GW plastics. I actually like the mantic Elves, but Mantic dropped the ball with their support of the line, I would have loved to see plastic cavalry, but instead they went with the crappy resin/plastic. When I can get GW HE in plastic, I go with those (especially since the cheap GW HE from IoB). I think the Mantic Dwarves are neat, but not great.

      As for Wargames Factory… Ack, quality! I have some Britisch Firing Line (from the Zulu Wars), the quality isn’t great, they are cheap however. I’ve been waiting for 3.5 months for my 54 sci-fi troopers, I do not expect much of those, but they will be equipped with Imperial Lasguns and weaponry. If your looking for quality plastics, Mantic is decent, Perry Miniatures is great! 40 Wars of the Roses Infantry for 18GBP, even cheaper then WGF!

  • Doc

    I was at AdeptiCon, for the 3rd year in a row..
    GW was there – in the form of its fans, in the form of 250 players vying for 16 spots in the individual event, in the form of 125 4-man teams, in the form of WAB and WHFB tourneys.
    Oh, and as pointed out above, Dan and Nathan were there (top lads!), and so, for the VERY FIRST TIME was Forgeworld – a booth that sold out of most of its product by ~11:30pm (next year they will be back with more stock, more staff, more tills!)

    Frankly I don’t want Phil Kelly, Adam Troake etc to attended AdeptiCon, and honestly it would be a waste of time. Most of the players there are veterans, or hanging out with vet’s; and most of us are completely uncaring about the patently sanitized and vetted “presentations” the Studio guys give. They are pointless, and would just get in the way of the gaming, drinking and Whirly-Ball!

    As for the swag bag – yes it was “down” from last year (there were 3 BL novels last year), but I traded in my useless Khador Starer set for $30 of GW bitz with a vendor in the hall, so I am happy.

    I don’t want “GW” there; AdeptiCon is an event by gamers for gamers. Sure I play 40K all weekend, but I enjoyed chatting with Soda Pop, Cool Mini and even the odd WM freak….

    Don’t assume that GW needs to be there, or that we really ant to listen to them droning on about how great they are. We already know!

    • Zac

      I think that the lack of presence at the event is simply a symptom of mindset of management. PP says that they want to reach out and make a connection with 40K gamers by making a presence at one of their events. GW continues their bizarre practice of restricting themselves to Games Day events.

      That might not have been as much of a problem a decade ago but with so many gamers having access to a wide range of information about other events, games and products GW can’t assume that the people in their “hobby” are not playing or interested in other games.

      Given the general feeling that GW ignores the type of gamer who go to events like Adepticon why should GW confirm that and have it accentuated by PP’s actions?

      • Doc

        Ironically the only time I feel “ignored” with GW, is when I’m in one of their stores…
        At AdeptiCon, I fell like a beneficiary of their excellence and dedication to the hobby.

        • docsid

          You must have a very unique experience history. I don’t think I’ve ever felt “ignored” at a GW store, given their pushy nature.

        • Zac

          Really? I hate going into their stores now and being “customer serviced” by their sales staff. Very pushy and annoying now

          • wittdooley

            How do you feel when you go into Privateer’s stores?

          • Zac

            Your point being?

          • Doc

            they only do that because they have to!
            they really don’t want to talk to vet’s when the yummy-mummy is there with the 13 year old and pile of cash… ;p

          • ImaginaryWars

            Apparently a “new” customer service rule was introduced not too too long ago: staff can only talk about GW-related things with customers. Nothing else. (Seriously–I have some friends who work at a GW who have been complaining about how they keep getting in trouble from their manager whenever a conversation with a customer veers away from all things ‘Workshop).

      • wittdooley

        Why are we completely ignoring the fact that the GW HQ is in the UK, whereas PP’s is in the US? I’m sure that factors in to it. How is Privateer’s presence at events in the UK? I’m asking, because I’ve never been and such am unqualified to comment on it.

        I really don’t understand your need for the designers and such to be there. One of the Artists from FW was also there. He’s part of the design team. Is that good enough? Again, it IS NOT A GW event. GW designers are at the GW events that are more about being an event and less about gaming. Adepticon is more about gaming and tournaments.

        I don’t quite understand the sentiment that “Privateer’s presence is drawing people away from GW.” Really? Again, while not a GW event, the vast majority of players there are playing 40k. Are they suddenly going to sell their armies because they got a free box in their swag bad? Are the people that preregister early enough to get the swag, yet still played in multiple tournaments, going to be differently affected?

        • Zac

          GW has a US main office. Their design staff are in the UK but a flint from London to the East Coast is cheap and they have people in the US to help coordinate any presence at the event.

          GW is probably closer to Chicago than PP is 🙂

          • wittdooley

            Price me some tickets, please. Last I checked, it’s far cheapr to fly from the west coast to Chicago than it is to fly from the UK to the US. Hell, it’s more expensive to fly a guy from Montreal to Cincinnati than it is for me to fly from Cincinnati to LA.

          • Zac

            British Airways is offering a $304 US return ticket from London to NYC.

        • ImaginaryWars

          I think the problem is that Adepticon is blatant proof that GW doesn’t care about their fan base (beyond how much the fans spend on GW), which is an irresponsible move for a business to make….never mind that it’s also an ungrateful way to treat loyal patrons.
          I think it’s been a long time since GW rated themselves “only as good as their last customer” (a la “your only as good as your last sale” line of thinking).

  • docsid

    GW fans seem to be missing the point. The swag or the specific presence of person X or person Y is not the problem per se, but a symptom reflective of the corporate mindset of GW.

    Of course, a person can enjoy the game to the extent that the business end of things is a moot point. Which is great for the current crop of veteran players. If you are a fan of the game, you are likely willing to tolerate the negative. There is nothing wrong with that and criticism of GW shouldn’t be taken as a reflect of fans of the game.

    When compared to the support of their game provided by PP, from presence at conventions to direct communication in their forums, reflects a different mindset than GW. For new players and those not deeply wedded to the GW IP and product lines, such things can make a difference. A difference which slowly erodes away at GW’s market share.

    It is also a damning statement that most of the players at Adepticon are veterans, yet PP’s presence had an impact. I don’t get the impression that PP is stupid. They clearly believe that their presence at Adepticon can draw away players from GW or at least add their game into the mix. GW’s absence at an event which is ostensibly a GW event, only highlights the positive press PP gets for being there.

    • docsid

      Although a fan of PP’s game, I should note that there are aspects of PP’s approach that I don’t care for … namely that they don’t seem to focus on the hobby aspects of the game as much as GW does. But, just as GW fans tolerate the negatives of GW, I tolerate the negatives of PP. To each his own, I suppose.

      • Will

        I’m totally confused by that statement. “… namely that they don’t seem to focus on the hobby aspects of the game as much as GW does.”

        I’m not trying to sound like a jerk, but what do you mean by that? There are always articles in No Quarter about painting and building terrain. Aren’t those Hobby Aspects of the game?

        • docsid

          I think in a relative sense, GW tends to focus much more on the hobby aspect of the game than PP does. I did not mean to imply that its absent, but WM/H is geared much more toward the gamer than the hobbyist. For example, the fact that they don’t require painting of miniatures at events suggests that the hobby aspect is secondary to PP.

    • wittdooley

      What impact did it have? I’d really like your substantiation to this claim. I already play Warmahordes, so I’m vested in both, but I was able to trade one Kaldor Draigo blister for a free Battlebox, and two Black Library books for another. While an isolated case, I think it’s at least indicative of the reason WHY Privateer felt like they needed to put a BattleBox in the swag bag: if it’s free, there’s a better chance you’re going to look at the system.

      I also think those of you commenting on PP’s presence without being there are missing a huge point: Privateer wasn’t even represented in the main room beyond, I think, a banner. IMO, they have a larger footprint last year when their Display and tournaments were in the main room; this year they were in a room that they SHARED with Malifaux. And BTW, you had to pass both the Flames of War room and the WHFB room to get to it.

      I like Privateer, I like Warmahordes, but I really think this assumption that, “because PP had employees there and gave away free product they made a huge impact” is ignorant and unfounded because it’s based on nothing.

      • docsid

        I didn’t say it had a huge impact. I said it had an impact meaning that people seemed to have noticed the difference between PP’s approach and GW’s approach. If your goal is to get new players and not just retain old players, how would it not have an impact? did everyone simply throw away the free starter boxes? Bah, I don’t want this crap! In the trash it goes. Did everyone trade away their starter boxes for bitz and GW boxes?

        I wasn’t there, so perhaps that did happen. Trashcans full of starter boxes.

        Regardless, it seems Zac’s and Plastic Legions comments are still worth noting. PP and GW have different mindsets toward their player base. Will this have an impact? I suppose only time will tell.

      • I’d say it had pretty big impact..having been there myself 5 years running, you sound almost delusional to me or you sound like the typical 40K “with blinders on” player where your there for 40k and see nor care about nothing else that is going on. And that easy to do as Adepticon has continued to isolate the 40k events into their own room for a variety of reasons. You can literally play 40k and be oblivious to everything at Adepticon very easily with 125 tables is main room its easy .

        Now on the other side of things we had the biggest WFB event in US ever as far we can find at 75 tables filled with another 25 tables for WAB and overflow , Flames of war had 30 tables in there own..the specialist games room had about 22 for a variety of games and the PP/Wyrd room had about 36 tables in it and only 10 where dedicated to Malifaux..both PP and FoW had huge player increases in only their 2nd year. I should also add that everyone I know ( and I was staff this year) was talking about PP showing the tables they brought and the response it was getting from everyone (except apparently 40K people??.) To act like it wasnt a big deal because it wasnt in the main ballroom is seriously missing the point. Do you even know about 30 odd seminars and classes that took place?

        Yes GW got some BL authors to show up if you care about that (its completely outside the point of both myself and Zac) and FW was there and screwed over 100 people again..but thats seriously the best you can do GW?, We had the largest WFB tourney in singles and doubles going on in the USA going on..I dont even see a local red or black shirt stopping in say hi??

        Feel free to continue to make excuses for them, I’m sure they appreciate it maybe Forge World will even give you some free shipping or something.

        • Zac

          Lets try to keep the personal comments out please.

          Thanks

        • yes sorry, dont take it personally, when I say delusional, its not that I think your crazy its just crazy that two people can be at the same place and see two entirely different things…that’s all I am saying, no offense.

        • wittdooley

          If you bothered reading my other comments you’ll notice that A: I also have plenty of Privateer stuff, and B: I already noted that yes, I knew there were other rooms.

          Privateer SHARED a room with Wyrd that could have fit 5 times over in the main room. Not only that, but it was the farthest away from the main gaming and merchant area.

          If you recall, last year their displays and their tournaments were in the main room where I feel like they have a much greater presence by being in the main room.

          How did FW screw people over? I’m waiting to hear this.

          • Zac

            How did FW screw people over? I’m waiting to hear this.

            Do a Google search there are a lot of blog posts about it, There were a lot of complaints about missed orders, people not getting items they pre-orders etc.

          • In the post above I layed out the table totals the PP/Wyrd room had 36 ,10 which for Wyrd..it was the cypress ball room which is by no means the smallest conference rooms that had setup for 2 -32 player events on Sunday only slightly less than 1/3 of the 125 in main ballroom in tables.

            Point being- your attitude if its not in the main ballroom, “it doesn’t exist” pretty much says it all in reference to this discussion because apparently you attended a different Adepticon than I worked at and played at this year. A matter of perception I suppose.

            I’m a long time WFB tournament player in Chicago, I never gave PP the time of day until this year where IMO they stole the show from GW at their own fan run event…because GW just doesnt care.

            yeah Google the FW thing, as a 40K player I am surprised you hadnt heard about at least the line thing which mainly shafted at least about 100 or so of your fellow players on the convention exclusives..that was just the tip of the iceberg.

          • Doc

            but lest be fair – you copuld have the LE models shipped toyou. MIne arrived yesterday, and you could order multiples…

            and don’t blame the attendees who got in early. That line up by the wash room was unofficial, and the sliding doors in the main hall were opened by the hotel staff before the back doors were.

            And in defense of FW; about 10 people ordered and never picked up. They had to hold that stuff until the end of the event…

            There is more than one side to most of these stories, but the truth is often less sensational!

          • In fairness then, dont let them off the hook for reserved pre orders with order numbers in hand that were supposed to be picked up that we wasted time time standing in line for -that mysteriously were not there, “again”, say goodbye to hour + of your time personally I am sick of the incompetence and done with FW

          • wittdooley

            My point with the PP room is that, because it was NOT in the main room, it had less visibility. Again, last year, when their events were in the main room, I personally noticed them more. And I went and played in the PP room games of both Warmahordes and Malifaux (I still can’t figure out how to play Collette)

            I don’t know how they “stole the show;” there were what, 1400 people playing in various 40k events alone? I mean come on now….

            As for FW: is the complaint REALLY that you had to stand in line and that you couldn’t take all your products home right then? First, FW allowed you to make pre-orders. You could have picked up towards the end of the show with no issue. As for the exclusive mini and anything you wanted they didn’t have: they’re shipping it to you for free. Doesn’t seem too bad to me. What does the rest of the “awful FW experience” iceberg entail?

          • Witt..see my blog and the piece from this month called “Fail World” if you still want to make excuses for Forge World after reading that, please email me..its not really pertinent to the thread. but I’d be happy to discuss it maybe you can change my mind.

            also 1400 people playing 40K???? sorry to mince words but hyperbole is a rocky road..there were 1500 at thr entire event, 106 teams, 220ish in the champs and 95 in Gladiator…thats about 750 with no cross over and your know there was tons of people doing multiple events..lets just be honest and say its 50% 40K and 50% everything else, because that is the fact.

    • Cergorach

      While there is a lot of complaining about GW’s corporate mindset, what about PP’s corporate mindset? When was the last time that GW couldn’t supply you with crack/miniatures for six months, with PP that happened recently. Sure GW’s metal range was less then available in April, it seems that the ‘worst’ is over, less then a month vs. months. Sure PP is a small company, but folks don’t seem to swallow that GW is a large company (which comes equipped with it’s own set of issues).

      There’s nothing wrong with GW’s market share, there is something wrong with PP’s market share. And now there is something wrong with the amount of product in the secondary market that they gave away for free (which cost them money) and won’t ever see sales for those 2.000-3.000 Warjacks. GW did similar things in the past and it’s now biting them in the butt, there is such a large secondary market that it’s significantly hurting GW (a lot more then some hurt feelings at Adapticon).

      As for the often quoted ‘pricing’, 10 PP metal Trenchers cost 36GBP, 10 similary sized GW metal miniatures are significantly cheaper.

      • Zac

        Not sure what the price of anyone’s miniatures has to do with this.

        And the fact that you couldn’t get some PP miniature for an extended time wasn’t a policy decision. The company couldn’t get reliable supply from their Chinese suppliers. You could still get all of their metal figures it was just a few plastic kits that were delay by an extensive amount of time,

        • Cergorach

          Erm no, there were also large issues with the metal casting having a delay of months, demand was so high they couldn’t keep up and didn’t want to invest a lot in a short period of time. That was a policy decision, outsourcing to China was a policy decision. GW does it’s casting of both metal and plastic inhouse. As an example, Gatormen weren’t available for months, many other metal product codes were also unavailable for months. As far as I know they are two separate events, plastic shortage and the great metal shortage of 2010/2011 😉

          As for the pricing of one’s miniatures, scan over this page and there are already comments regarding rising GW prices being a major factor for moving to PP. It’s an often brought up issue that “GW is pricing itself out of business.”, as if it’s new behavior and hasn’t been happening over the last 25 years.

          I’ve been a GW player for almost 25 years, I got on board the PP train (or pirate ship 😉 in 2000 with their RPG D20 products. I only got into their miniatures 19 months ago (always loved the look of them, but supply, players and time were short for a long while around were I lived. I have most of the Cygnar and Trollbloods line, recently started with some Khador and have all of the books (art is beautiful). So don’t get me wrong, I love PP, I love GW more. Not because of the company, I like the miniatures, and the nostalgia. GW isn’t perfect, most larger companies aren’t perfect, PP isn’t perfect either. I take issue with all the GW bashing, often from the viewpoint of a customer base that doesn’t have a clue how a company operates and what is important to a company. Customers are as important to companies as cows are to the meat industry, not very, especially not a very minor vocal minority. There were 1500 hardcore souls there, probably 80% GW centric, those will buy GW products wether GW is there or not, then we have the folks that don’t want to see an official GW presence at Adapticon. Of those 1200 GW fans at Adapticon how many are pissed off that GW wasn’t there, how many pissed enough to stop buying GW product and sell their armies? None? So why should GW send folks to Adapticon at a few (tens of) thousands of pounds to the US (BA might have cheap tickets, but often not at the times you want, the biggest costs are salaries for high profile employees for four days).

          • Zac

            What metals were delayed?

            If you want to comment on someone’s mention of prices then replyt them to avoid confusion 🙂

            Going to China is indeed a policy decision but having delays due to that is not. Unless a company knows they are going t get shafted by a supplier it’s difficult to describe the problem ad a policy decision

          • Cergorach

            This

            Sorry. My mind works in mysterious ways 😉 The argument popped in my head and it was typed in the wrong location.

            If you do a bit of research (as a company), you’ll find that there can be many issues with Chinese suppliers, PP are not the first and certainly not the last. If they didn’t do their research, PP would be incompetent, which I doubt. So it’s a policy decision, take the risk of ‘problems/delays’ for the costs saved.

      • Mooniac

        I believe that the secondary market problem for GW exists for lots of reasons. When people quit fantasy and 40k they immediately have to plan on the possible obsolescence of their models because they know from history that the future value is threatened. They are likely making that decision because they aren’t happy with some change GW has made that made them mad at GW already. They also know that unless their stuff is really nicely painted, they will have to compete with kids who often give their stuff away for next nothing.
        I don’t think PP is going to have very bad effects from their giveaway, and I really think that your take on it is rather biased. They are still growing into new groups and shops. Each of those boxes is a seed that can grow into not just a player, but a new group of players. I tried Warmahordes, and it really wasn’t for me, but its growing quickly, and players spend a LOT on it. They have been very stingy with support in the past, so I don’t see this really biting them.

  • docsid

    I have to say Zac, this article and the ones you linked finally pushed me to stop procrastinating about putting the last of my 40K stuff on ebay. 🙂

  • Vycem

    With all due respect, I for one am glad that no one from the design staff was there. The BL and ForgeWorld presence were there, representing the hobby, but I wouldn’t want ANYONE from the design staff to be there because then it would be taken as tacit support of the Adepticon FAQ.

    There’s a LOT of us out there who neither believe in nor support that FAQ. I get it, a group of self-styled online bigwigs got together to write this, but while the intent may have been good, a lot of the “rulings” change the game in ways that not everyone agrees with.

    I leave game design to the designers, and I appreciate how official FAQs have been coming out all the faster.

    This self-appointed “rules council” of nobodies -sorry, “internet hobby celebrities” and “veterans”- should not ever be sanctified by GW in any way, shape, or form, for doing so opens a slippery slope and some of us signed up to play 40k the way the rulebook intended.

  • Myrthe

    I fully respect everyone’s opinion, their right to express it, and to disagree with others opinions.

    Let me just say, however, that it seems some are arguing semantics and choice of words over intent of the editorial.

    I read it to be about “The Perils of Arrogance” or, more accurately, what can be perceived as GW’s arrogance. I don’t see this as a complaint of who gave more swag or who had a bigger presence. The editorial is about GW apparently missing an ideal opportunity to be a part of the community that supports them. They are a world-wide company with a world-wide presence that does a world-wide business. It shouldn’t matter what country they are in to get to an event but the fact that they have a central US HQ and Distribution Center means that they could have easily contributed to the event. The editorial is about how they chose NOT to.

    Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with GW. I love the IP and product but I hate the company and the way it conducts business. So, yes, I am a “veteran” that has invested many years and countless dollars into GW but I am also a hobbiest that looks to other companies for new “shineys”. I think PPs give-away was brilliant in the Adepticon venue. Would GW do the same, or even consider attending, a PP themed event? GW doesn’t even attend GenCon, IIRC. It seems they consciously choose to “miss the boat” and, in doing so, others are hopping on and drawing their customers away.

    This is a niche hobby and a niche industry. We fans gravitate to rumors and news sites to get the latest info as we immerse ourselves into the hobby. As a result, we do get caught up in all aspects of a game company and do become armchair CEO’s. We take a certain ownership of our chosen games given the amount of time, money and effort we put into them. It’s no wonder fans of different “teams” get defensive, at times. I think, ultimately, that we all want our chosen “team” to “win” or, at least succeed and, in the case of this editorial, GW didn’t really show up at “The Game”.

    • Zac

      GW doesn’t even attend GenCon, IIRC.

      They don’t. Always confuses me to no end. GenCon is a fun event with a pile of events and GW has ceded that to PP and other smaller companies.

      • They had a small presence at the first Gen Con I went to in 2003; basically just a bitz ordering dervice and some limited things, like the BIG pewter marine statues. I think they may have been at the 2004 Gen Con, but that was it.

      • ImaginaryWars

        I’ve always felt that Workshop has no clue about how to go about making their stuff appealing to other gamers….as odd as that sounds (especially because their retail hobby centres are focused on the uninitiated).

        I suspect that GW has decided that there’s little they can do to influence the minds of the gamers who haven’t sided with GW already….that, and I bet they consider all other gamers to be “vets” already in that GW feels vets have already 90% of all the gaming money they’ll ever spend already. Classic case of GW’s outlook on effort vs payoff.

  • Toxik

    Just registered (long time lurker) to voice my opinion.
    I got back in the hobby in 2006, restarted GW-40k when I moved in the UK, in France I used to play mainly 2nd and a bit of 3rd before stopping in 99.
    I witness the way they went at devoloping 5th ed, barely listening to their fan-base and I knew I will have to wait a while to get a new codex. But it was all fine as this was their way of doing thing and I never new better. New codexes starting rolling in and most of the people I was playing with started to get really depress at the changes as it made the game a bit bland. I was as well as the CSM was really limited in term of option, I was more use to the 2nd chaos. Now the guys I still know from the time were veterant from 2nd for most, they never stopped playing and they knew their stuff.
    New stored open in town where you can play any system you want and what happened is that almost all the vets switched to warmahorde. This was a year before the switched to mkII and oh boy did PP did thing differently, releasing beta ruleset for testing and you could actually make your voice heard via their channel, it was really amazing. Then they pulled off the release of all the army book for both system in less than a year. If you don’t find that impressive….

    The main attraction for me to PP was the ruleset but their communication with their base is light years away from what GW do, PP actually cares about their gamer and it does shows, their tournament system and their scenario are really good, I know some 40k who took the scenarios to play them in 40k.
    As for the hobby, they are behind but before I stopped buying the WD they wasn’t much hobby (terrain and paint techniques) in it, it was like a glossy catalog. No quarter does have some quality hobby pieces and so does their website from time to time (the lastest, the Khadorian inn is impressive, not of any use for me but it is well detailled and explained).

    I am not really surprise by the fact that GW is not represented at adepticon, their products sells by themself and the fans seems to know what PR GW will actually bring to them, so why bother? What surprise me the most is when people say they don’t care about meeting the designers, I would love to talk to some of the guy at PP and it is also a great occasion for them to get first hand feedback from the fans, that is essential if you do not want to end up thinking in your bubble, which GW has been doing for years.

    I still love the fluff and mini of GW but I just can’t stand anymore the rule set and their marketing/sell strategy. To me they simply do not care about the veterant, what they care about is the 14 years old that might play for a few years… PP is growing while GW is complesent, I hope it will shake them up a bit so that for once they come out with something new.

  • Talarius

    Haven’t read every comment in detail here, so I apologize if I repeat info already mentioned…

    I went to the Seattle & Los Angeles GTs back in the early 2000’s. I remember a Q&A session at one of them where one of the lead US staffers at the tourney laid out the following for us:

    At that time GWUS sold roughly 40,000 copies of the 40K boxed set per year (the numbers are just a coincidence)

    Their market research indicated that only 10% of people buying the boxed game would go on to buy a box of plastic infantry or vehicle; an additional squad of space marines, for example.

    Further, only 10% of THOSE people would go on to buy a blister with a character or specialist trooper type.

    So… that’s 1% of their total annual customer base that goes to the trouble to buy something as simple as a blister pack. 90% of their customers buy the boxed game and never make another purchase.

    The people attending tournaments like Adepticon are a tiny, tiny minority of their overall customer base. Yes, these are the Elite customers who will spend far more money than the one-time purchase customer, but still: a tiny, tiny minority.

    This data was brought up as just an interesting factoid about the company during the course of the Q&A session, but you can see how GW’s policy towards its customers is influenced by it: all the people on TGN, Warseer, Dakka Dakka, Bolter & Chainsword, etc. plus all the people that attend a GW tournament, event or Games Day equal 1% of their customer base… at least, that’s according to what we were told at the GT.

    Of course, we don’t know what % of total sales are represented by this Elite 1%, but based on their decisions about Adepticon or Salute (or Gen Con!)… we’re just not spending enough! o_O

    This related factoid is several years old at this point and who knows if it was accurate or not, but it is interesting, so I just thought I’d share.

    cheers!

    • Zac

      Of course, we don’t know what % of total sales are represented by this Elite 1%…

      That is a critical question. Given how many of that “1%” have multiple armies I suspect that it might be quite a lot.

      But as we saw with the LotR bubble the company can’t just rely on people buying boxed sets and then disappearing.

      • ImaginaryWars

        I think your Lord of the Rings comparison is very apt–no doubt the warning from the past that GW will ignore in the future!

  • Menothsfire

    I love PP and their games and I don’t even play GW games anymore – that being said: I read Tabletop Gaming News for the NEWS. I do not care about your anti-GW soapbox. You are friends with PP and I believe that they still pay you to advertise on your site (or at least did), so your bias is clear, repetitive, and invalidates your opinion in my eyes. I’m sorry that GW doesn’t give you exclusive info, doesn’t give you free product, and doesn’t pay you – that, alone, does not warrant critique.

    • Zac

      You are friends with PP

      I do know a few of the people that work there

      and I believe that they still pay you to advertise on your site

      They have in the past. They aren’t at the moment though.

      I’m sorry that GW doesn’t give you exclusive info

      Do they give anyone exclusive info? Besides, the number of exclusives I get is pretty small.

      doesn’t give you free product

      Not true. Jervis sent me a copy of the War of the RIng rulebook because he though I would like the game. He was right.

      and doesn’t pay you

      No-one pays me. 🙂

      – that, alone, does not warrant critique.

      Not sure why you think that I am critiquing them because they don’t send me freebies or advertise but that really isn’t the case.

      I critique GW because I think that the management of the company are venal, lead by self-interested fluctuations in their stock price and not working for the long term health of the company, the employees or the fans.

      I raise heck because I actually care about the games, the background (especially 40K) and I happen to know and like a lot of people that work there and want to see them all have happy long careers.

      I do indeed have a clear bias. I think that Tom Kirby and his coterie of business wonks are ruining the company.

      I also clearly love the 40K background enough to play the game, have a huge collection of 40K books and rules and spent years helping test Epic Armageddon which I think is one of the best wargames ever made (regardless of my minor contributions).

    • What my excuse?, I had complete written off PP until Adepticon this year
      I have along history of inside information from GW from personal relationships
      my GW collection is probably over 10K in retail value bought and paid for
      I’ve gotten my share of free GW product too. The facts be what they may.
      To accuse Zac of shilling for PP with this piece is outrageous if you’ve given any thought to premise behind what he or I am saying..to compare it to Fox News is
      beyond the pale, you must not watch Fox News..

  • Menothsfire

    after posting and refreshing the page, there was very clearly a Lock and Load banner at the top. Anyone interested in such things should select ‘Editorials’ in the filter menu to the left. Too many of them condemn GW, even the ‘Gaming Hypocrite’ which, in theory, even praises them.

    Regardless of why you have a bias: I, personally, want Tabletop Gaming NEWS, not Tabletop Gaming FOX News.

    • Zac

      after posting and refreshing the page, there was very clearly a Lock and Load banner at the top.

      You’re right. Forgot all about that one. My apologies.

      Regardless of why you have a bias: I, personally, want Tabletop Gaming NEWS, not Tabletop Gaming FOX New

      Editorials are always clearly marked with the editorial graphic which makes them easy as heck to ignore 🙂

    • Zac certainly doesn’t need anyone to defend him, but both of your comments are so off base as to be over the moon. Having to defend an opinion is one thing, but to attack someone for “playing favorites” with a miniature company on a site that clearly directs gamers to both company’s websites and more seems strange to me.

      You want news. That is fine. Your opinion has been heard. However, (and I don’t think this point can be overstated) you chose to read a piece clearly labeled “editorial.”

    • Mechanical.Horizon

      I think the fact that GW doesn’t have more aggressive advertising, like PP does, on sites like TGN kinda shows how arrogant they are in regards to their perception of themselves as the “giant” of the gaming industry.

      • Zac

        GW doesn’t need to advertise. They need to be a lot better at PR and talking to their fans but everyone knows who they are and what they are producing.

        And to be honest I’d be a pretty large hypocrite if I did take advertising money from them.

  • psyberwyche

    This editorial smacks of bias – both anti-GW and pro-USA. Can we just stick to the news please? GW already run worldwide conventions with massive amounts of support, which cumulatively blow Adepticon out of the water. They’re called Games Days. And Another thing – I don’t think the wider community even needs the stamp of endorsement that the GW studio brings. Adepticon does pretty well on its own I think.

    Finally – ‘Kirby’ wasn’t CEO of GW last time I looked. Good fact checking there.

    • Zac

      This editorial smacks of bias – both anti-GW and pro-USA

      I’m Canadian. 🙂

      finally – ‘Kirby’ wasn’t CEO of GW last time I looked. Good fact checking there.

      Did I say he was the CEO?

    • I’ve been to 7 Games Days here in the US, even Adepticon 5 years ago (let alone 2011), blew the last Chicago 2009 Games Day out of water on every level. Where does this stuff come from- its sound like crazy talk to someone like me who has had boots on the ground (Now EU, UK games days maybe another matter, I can only comment on the US ones.)

      Curious to why you bring the GW studio into this?, no one is questioning that they stand alone at the top of the hobby pile..GW management in the US a whole other enchilada. where is Anti-UK / Pro USA thing coming from again? I dont see how the nationality of either company has anything to do with it..if we specified GW US would it feel better?

    • ImaginaryWars

      You know Kirby IS running the show in the USA though right? And you know that GW “pulled” Kirby out of retirement when the effects of the bursting LotR bubble started playing out, right?

  • scarletsquig

    Ugh, this comment section really blew up and risks getting very ugly very quickly. As for opinion pieces, it’s Zac’s site, if he feels strongly enough about something then the years of work he’s put into this site more than justifies the airing of those views. The editorial label clearly marks it as an opinion piece seperate from the rest of the site and it’s up to the reader to view it as such.

    • Zac

      Ugh, this comment section really blew up and risks getting very ugly very quickly.

      Well hopefully we can all try to be civil 🙂

  • I don’t know if this is actually true or not, but I had heard that Tom Kirby was actually in Chicago the weekend of Adepticon last year and couldn’t be bothered to stop by and wave the flag. If true, absolutely mind boggling.

    • Doc

      sometimes that flag is a bulls-eye…

      • Then it would be an incredible experience to have a direct response to customer complaints.

        • When a company fixes a problem for a customer – and does it in a smart way – it usually means they’ve just made a customer for life.

          If I were Kirby (and this is true – which again, I’m just getting it second-hand) – I would have showed up with a truckload of the latest sprues and passed them out.

          Over 1000 of your most rabid fans in North America – what an opportunity!

          • Doc

            other companies sometimes do that at AdeptiCon (I believe that it was Wargames Foundry for the past 2 years).
            I was not a convert!

          • cegorach

            You don’t need to give out free stuff to your rabid fans – that is a waste of money. You want to be giving that to people who aren’t your fan base – you know, like PP did 😀

          • Zac

            You don’t need to give out free stuff to your rabid fans

            I don’t think anyone has been suggesting that

      • Zac

        I can’t see how Tom Kirby at an event like that would be anything other than a disaster.

  • Mooniac

    Sounds to me like giving stuff away at Adepticon was a good idea for PP, but may have been a bad idea for GW anyway. PP was paying to get new customers, GW would only be giving stuff to guys who would otherwise buy it. Sort of like paying twice.

    At any rate, plenty of former GW employees seem to agree with the rumor that GW is mainly concerned with younger, newer customers. I think they have decided, possibly correctly, that the marginal cost of keeping more long term customers is not worth it. The truly dedicated will stay anyways, and the rest will likely leave anyways. Expect a shift only when they lose the plot on attracting new crops of kids each year, or, if they get serious about going after the older demographic with new games.

    • Zac

      At any rate, plenty of former GW employees seem to agree with the rumor that GW is mainly concerned with younger, newer customers.

      I had an opportunity to speak at length with some people that managed a fund that was investing in GW (not sure if they still do) and they were very much concerned with keeping their hardcore gamers and keeping them happy.

      I am sure that GW can build a business model on burning through new, younger gamers. I just don’t know if it is a good long-term plan,

  • thadrin

    My 0.02 as a someone who remembers buying RT001 (30 plastic space marines) in a GW store, and who has just deleted an unneccesarily long reply:

    Games Workshop don’t care about games as anything other than a tool to sell as many miniatures as possible. Veteran players are of less interestto them than the newbie teenager. Their corporate strategies clearly show this. They clearly still believe that they are the only game in town. Balanced rules are in fact detrimental to their way of doing business. they think nothing of treating you like dirt if you are not making them enough money. The ENOUGH is very important.

    Privateer Press is a Games company who make miniatures to use with their rules. I do not agree with the direction they’ve taken the last few years, but they’re doing what they want in the right way. They clearly want to remain close to their fanbase – hence their new event is not replacing a presence at the other cons.

    That’s the bottom line.

  • cegorach

    A few thoughts.

    PP splashed out 50K in product. Now despite what the article you linked to trumpets, I don’t see any actual evidence of that 50K coming back in profits. Until you have that evidence, this remains a very poor business move by PP. Someone with more time to waste than me can do the maths – % of conversions X $ spend per person required / partisan environment.

    And that’s the other thing. I don’t understand the article’s questioning of GW’s moral decisions.

    It’s not arrogance, it’s business decisions. A decision whether to splash out large amounts of money on promotions to an audience who is already more than well aware of your product and activities. You can argue PP made a good decision in trying to poach custom but you will have a harder time arguing that GW should have engaged in a high spend targeting a captive audience (assuming they didn’t know PP were trying to steal custom). Whether those choices are bad or good ones is the question – not arrogance. Arrogance in the frame of reference chosen here is a personal, conscious choice. That’s not what is going on and it’s showing more than a little bias to suggest it.

    However I agree with that bias and love a good rant so carry on 🙂

    • Zac

      Now despite what the article you linked to trumpets, I don’t see any actual evidence of that 50K coming back in profits.

      Based on the time that has elapsed from the event I doubt that you would.

    • Mechanical.Horizon

      I don’t remember who said this, a famous entrepreneur, but I remember a quote like this:

      “Business and Morality have nothing in common and are like oil and water, morality gets pushed to the bottom”

  • msoong

    Not directly related, but I just looked at last quarter’s us hobby channel sales figure (available on the icv2 website). While 40k is still king in miniature sales, the num 2 spot have been claimed by war machine over whfb…

  • sonnenheim

    As a main organizer of AdeptiCon, I just wanted to drop in an clear up a few off-base assumptions about our event and our involvement with Games Workshop.

    First and foremost, it is important to note that AdeptiCon simply would not exist without the dedicated support of Games Workshop. We have had a close relationship with Games Workshop since day one and they have gone well beyond the call of duty several times over the years to ensure that our event realizes our envisioned potential. Their support has come in the form of hotel negotiations, terrain loaning, special guests (over the years we have had Paul Sawyer, Jervis, Gav, Jes, Phil and a whole host of other sculptors and Black library authors – often the direct result of Games Workshop being involved), prize support, special events, staffing from the Chicago Battle Bunker, and the like. To say Games Workshop has been instrumental in allowing us to bring you this event is not understated.

    That said, I can see how from an outside observer it might appear Games Workshop has forsaken AdeptiCon and is allowing it to be consumed by younger, hungrier companies. The reason for this is twofold. First, Games Workshop has made a move to support a broader range of indy events across the States over the past two years. During this process they attempted to standardize their involvement with said events in terms of prize support and pre-event support (terrain, advertisement). While AdeptiCon once received the benefits of additional attention in previous years (White Dwarf coverage, more staff in attendance, Chicago Battle Bunker helping with registration and the like), we are more than willing to conform to whatever guidelines Games Workshop has put forth regarding these matters. It would be unfair of us to demand more attention, regardless of what we actually do…which brings me to the second point.

    AdeptiCon’s motto has been For Gamers By Gamers since the get go. While we were a 100% Games Workshop event for our first seven years, we always maintained our independence and the ability to put on an event that ran parallel (or sometimes even against) what Games Workshop was doing with their Grand Tournaments and other events. While we were more than happy to work with them, we were not interested in being governed by them…something Games Workshop was also adamant about.

    As AdeptiCon grew, and our player-base exploded, we had several requests to broaden our scope of games. We had that discussion for about two years until it was decided that AdeptiCon should transition into a true Wargaming Convention and begin including games outside of the Games Workshop spheres.

    It just so happens that these two events occurred roughly around the same time and therefore it might appear that Games Workshop has dropped all support for AdeptiCon. This is not the case. They were instrumental in getting Forge World to the convention this year (something we have tried for 6+ years to make happen ourselves), they provided terrain kits to meet our new table requirements and they worked with us to provide ample prize support for all Games Workshop events. While we might no longer receive the special considerations we once did, I am not sure we should. We are playing within the boundaries they have defined for all indy events in the States and it would be unfair of us to ask for more. Making AdeptiCon a truly great event shouldn’t be Games Workshop’s job, it is ours.

    Is there a possibility for Games Workshop to do something amazing for the attendees of our event and really build some goodwill with the veteran players? Sure, but again we would be receiving consideration above and beyond that of other events…not to mention their attention is always going to be more geared towards their own US events and retail operations. We are totally happy with GW’s current support for/involvement with our event, and the option do something more is always there. I suppose the point is being made that they SHOULD do something special…and that is a valid opinion, but it should be balanced with their current unseen efforts and guidelines they are currently operating within in regards to indy events.

    As a convention, we exist to serve the wargaming hobby, and part of that is working with the companies that make wargaming so great. We absolutely love it when companies like Privateer Press (or Mantic) come to us with an insane idea like the swag bag giveaway. That is a win-win-win for us, our attendees and Privateer Press. AdeptiCon is not interested in converting players from one system to another, or even promoting one company over another (including Games Workshop), but we are interested in giving our attendees and supporters the best convention experience possible.

    • Doc

      ’nuff said!

      And if this is Hank – thank you for yet another amazing weekend! If is not Hank – thank you for another amazing weekend!! Bring on 2012…

    • Veritas

      This should be pasted below Zac’s editorial in the main body of the text. This is an excellent rebuttal and having it lost in the sea of comments is unfortunate.

      • Zac

        I’ve done that very thing

    • > First, Games Workshop has made a move to support a broader range of indy events across the States over the past two years. During this process they attempted to standardize their involvement with said events in terms of prize support and pre-event support (terrain, advertisement).

      Hank speaks true. I know of at least one year when AlamoGT, that John puts on (and I now just help with), received pretty much the same prize support as Adepticon. A bit awkward considering the insanely massive scale difference between the events!

      Look, GW has always supported the Alamo. They have gone through many staff changes and policy changes over the last decade but they always come through with something.

      I’m telling you this: all GW needs to do is pay Dave Taylor a whole mess of money to come back into the fold and give him a free hand. Best ambassador to the public EVAH!!! We miss you brother Dave 🙂

      Jim

    • Zac

      Thanks for taking the time to respond and clarify this for us.

  • Jeremy

    I think it is wonderful that GW has been so supportive of Adepticon and other unaffiliated events. I also think that Zac more than deserves the ability to post an editorial as often as he likes, and no one is forced to read it or agree with him.

    What I do see after all of this is that, regardless of the specific details, there is still a perception that GW doesn’t care about its fans, or isn’t trying as hard as others to keep them. While all of the support mentioned is no doubt greatly appreciated by Adepticon, it is still primarily “behind the scenes” and something that the average attendee will have no knowledge of. As with so many things in life, it is perception that rules the mind.

    I think a good point is raised. GW could really stand a good PR department. It has needed one for years. It is widely condemned for appearing to not care about its older players, not listening to fan feedback, only looking at “the bottom line”, etc.

    For all any of us knows, the entire staff of GW might have the best of intentions. They might be doing their best to provide a product that appeals to all of their customers and could be taking huge losses to give those customers the best value for their money. Know one knows but them. The problem is that this hypothetical sounds almost laughable because of the image that has grown up around GW, that perception of how they operate.

    For some, GW’s actions, or apparent inaction, at Adepticon obviously added fuel to those perceptions. I myself have given up on GW because of the impression they have made on me. I would personally love to see them regain the glory I perceived them to have in the 90s, and I think it is just a matter of changing public opinion. A little good press and some handshaking can go a long way.

  • Zac, thank you for this editorial. What was highlighted is something I have been saying for years, over here in Australia. Though I was unaware that the event support in the US is the way it is described above. As we don’t have many events in Australia that are on a large scale (cancon & one or two others) I think the community is just happy to have an event let alone get prize support and so on. I’ve never been to a event other than games day that was purely GW and on a large enough scale to draw a decent crowd….

    I left the GW hobby 6 years ago, putting some $25,000 worth of GW product up on to ebay and then made the move to both battlefronts Flames of War and, PP’s Warmachine (I have to admit that I had WM models and rules when they were released but never gave it a real go due to my loyalty to GW). Looking back now I do not have any regrets at all.

    GW’s marketing and release strategies are, from a psycosocial point of view – brilliant (im a psychologist by the way). They have successfully made their product addictive enough that their fan base will pay to look at their advertising, tolerate unnecessary prince increases, recycle rate of rules for the sake of re-releasing product and the general type of neglect you would give a stray dog. For this, as a business owner and as a academic, I have to take my hat off to them. The main reason that this strategy has been successful of the past is because they have had the resources to produce good quality models (though I disagree about them being even close to the best in the world) in addition to holding what could be easily considered a monopoly on the market. Up until now, most produces has been lost amongst the GW noise.

    Battle front really has produced a great product for the historical gamer and has the range to keep any WWII nut happy – plus the ever expanding NEW releases for various periods in WWII’s (and now Vietnams) history. PP have come out guns blazing. Sure Matt Wilson does come across as arrogant, but at least his company produces what the community wants, and they manage to do it with allot of passion. That’s where GW has dropped the ball…. Their customers feel as valued as a heroin addict does by his or her dealer and it does feel like their product has lost allot of its passion, in favor of a fast food like product. … that said, we could be seeing a GW fight back in the wings with some better quality stuff in the fantasy range… my question is, it is too little too late? I know it is for me.

    GW fan boys may now flame me at their leisure while I bring my care factor back down to zero.

  • cegorach

    I think it bears understanding that this is in many ways a ‘mainstream vs niche’ situation. GW has achieved its dominating position in the industry by catering to the mainstream in addition to producing a fair amount of quality product (and some bad product too). The complaints against GW tend to come from the ‘elite’, ‘niche’ gamer segment (of which I am proudly a member).

    I’ve been around a LONG time and have seen the shockwaves of disgust ripple out each time GW ‘dumbs-down’ their product through the years. However it remains clear that while this may have distressed the elite, it has indeed brought in the dollars and customers for GW, which is why they are on top of the pile.

    Now I think there is a strong argument that GW’s business efforts don’t make enough effort in regards to mid-long term customer retention. However I don’t think this has yet to create such a massive dent in their income to be a disaster.

    You want disaster, go take a look at a few examples on the ‘niche’ side of the hobby, particularly when they try and reach a more mainstream audience. The comedic tragedy that was Rackham entertainment pretty much embodies that.

    In short, GW would need to obviously lose a much larger number of customers than it has to date before you can wag your finger and declare their strategy has been awful. Until they lose their crown, it’s largely conjectural.

    Is PP providing good competition and stealing market share? Heck yes.

    But if we need to somehow make this a moral question. will PP lose their fan-friendly attitude and start pulling many of the same tricks as GW if their market share reaches parity?

    Of course not, as PP aren’t in it for the money, they’re in it for love – unlike GW who were utter monsters from the outset. I remember when ‘how to rip off your customers and laugh all the way to the bank’ was a regular White Dwarf column back in the 90s.

    Right?

    Right?

  • Does Ford (or Honda for me now) care what I am driving? Seems to me that they supply me the car that I need, when I need it.
    Now ‘fans’ is a different cup of tea. Fans to me means wearing the clothing and being part of a fan club, none of which I have done with GW.
    So we are really customers, not fans and perhaps we do not need more than we are getting? In a business sense, the word is retain your customers and on that score GW seems to have a strange attitude.

    • Zac

      Does Ford (or Honda for me now) care what I am driving?

      Well they care if it is a Ford or Honda 🙂

  • Morf

    I don’t think so, I bet those starters are very cheap to produce on the mass scale and if they warrant one in 10 attendees buying a couple of minis to boost their starters, the money goes back. Consider this a marketing expense, gamers like to get free stuff. They probably already heard about the Warmahordes anyway, so the money that could go into marketing (printed/online ads) can deliver the product to the hands of the Customer.

    It’s also a dislplay of power which PP has a long-standing tradition for. I think it is all a very consistent and smart move on their part.

    • Morf

      This should have appeared as an answer to Mooniac’s post.

  • Aksakal

    GW has actually picked me up as a return customer. 40K is still a fun game and the models they are producing have improved greatly (having bought into new Blood Angels and Dark Eldar from Sisters of Battle and original RT Harlequins). I don’t find going into a GW store a quality experience, my tournament experience has had encounters with ‘those kind’ of gamers. With friends, at the club, understanding the short weapon ranges (kills the spetacle, or the infantry in the case of AT-43 [note AT does not stand for anti-tank], of which I liked), I’ve had a good time.

    PP’s warmahodes II’ed has bailed me though. I still think it’s the funnest wargame I’ve played where winning and loosing can be an entertaining and learning experience, but the ‘suddenness’of the shift after Legends came out and the only way to perpetuate the game being a M:TG release wave that can easily outpace any codex style investment hasn’t seen me paint a model in 2 years although I have bought all the MkII books in hardcover.

    • Zac

      40K is still a fun game and the models they are producing have improved greatly

      40K is a better game with this edition and I have to say that the new plastic kits they are making (for 40K and WFB) are absolutely amazing.

      The Ork Killa Kans and Deff Dredd are super detailed kits that are easy to assemble and look great. The Death Company Marines were also brilliant.

      No-one makes plastic figures like GW and despite the price I think they are a great value. For $100 Cdn I got 6 Killa Kans and with some magnets I was able to give the models a wide range of weapon options.

  • T34

    GW’s always going to be around – barring the development of customizable 3D holographic tabletop wargame “miniatures”. I think if you look at it, GW’s arrogance and crummy management skills are pretty beneficial to the gaming world as a whole.

    Without GW’s failure to retain/appease talent, we wouldn’t have any of the following companies, all started/powered by spurned Ex-GW folks:

    Warlord Games, Battlefront, Gale Force 9, Mantic, Wargames Illustrated, and yes, Privateer Press.

    The list goes on… So let ’em continue to cause strife that eventually births great new properties for everyone!

  • GrimDog