Wargaming Deep Thought: Time to Rethink Brick and Mortar?

warhammer-storefront

With Privateer Press joining the ranks of GW and Asmodee discouraging online retailers is it time we maybe embrace the new? 

I remember starting Warhammer. It was almost 20 years ago, my older cousin told me about a game were you buy little fantasy soldiers and have battles with them. I was 15 and thought it was the coolest thing ever. With no internet (well there was, but no one used it) I asked where I can find these games and he sent me to the mall and to look for a store called Games Workshop. It was pretty awesome. We would get together, almost weekly, with our little toy soldiers and play these great battles.

Things have changed quite a bit since then.

The internet has now created an unfair advantage to retailers who sell online and do not have the overhead expenses that retail stores have. As a result a lot independent retail stores have been closing down, not just in the table top industry, but all industries it seems. GW, Asmodee and now Privateer Press has expressed anger and frustration regarding this and is taking steps to stop or at the least, discourage it.

But is the internet really bad? Should companies really be afraid?

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I say no.

A 100% brich and mortar tabletop top game retail store is a 20 year old business model and likely not to survive in the long run. More and more businesses are doing business online, and the younger generation hasn’t walked into a mall, a hangout when I was a kid, in years. So it’s time to move on and close those retail stores.

“But GW needs the presence to get new people into the hobby,” you say, and your right.

So what to do?

Easy. Think outside the box GW (and the others)!

Why do you need retail stores? You don’t, you need hobby centres only. Let me explain.

You need a place to push your product and keep current customers happy by providing a place to play and hang out. You need a hobby centre. Why are you paying outragous Prime Retail rental rates? Retail space varies in price, but if you include TMI (taxes, maintenance and insurance) retail space typically costs over $30 per square foot. That’s expensive! No wonder retailers with bricks and mortar don’t want to compromise on price!

However, industrial rental rates typically cost a fraction of retail prices (sometimes as low as a tenth of the cost). “However, it’s illegal to retail your product out of an industrial zoned building,” I hear you say. This is where you have to think outside the box.

GW, rent a big, like 5,000 sq. ft. industrial space. This will be a GW “Hobby Centre.” It will have lots of gaming tables so people can come in and play games, and to also host tournaments and special events, like campaigns. Also, along the walls you put all of your models, painted and looking great, in nice well let glass displays. At the bottom of every model is its PIN, or identification number. Next to each display case is a computer, with your web page open on it. When the individual sees the model they like, they go onto the computer and order it. It will be delivered to their home, or as a free service can also be delivered to the “hobby centre” for your convenience. This is NOT a retail store, it is a hobby centre. The models on display are for the aesthetics, and also for use by the staff (for example if someone wants to play a game of AoS but no one else is there they can play the staff). The computers are provided as a convenience to your customers so they can check product, rules, etc. You are not carrying inventory at this location, merely painted models for use of the hobby and for aesthetics.

TADA! GW can slash costs but at the same time still provide hobby locations for their customers. Truth by told, but opening such a large hobby centre GW can likely consolidate many stores into one, thus even being able to provide better service as instead of having one man stores, they’ll have one large store with several people working there. Plus with additional space they can finally do larger events. I mean you can even charge an annual fee to the “members of the club” to help justify this is a club and not a retail store. Truth be told I’d happily pay an annual fee if it entitled me to play at all the events, tournaments and even weekly for free.

light_industrail

An example of light industrial buildings.

The other advantage is not being locked into retail hours. For example, in our gaming group we’re all married with kids, the only time we get together is late evenings and no hobby store is open that late. However, by having a hobby centre and being a member of the club, GW can issue it’s members with security cards. The hobby centre will be open 24/7 to it’s members, just swipe your card and play away!

Truth is, trying to keep the traditional hobby store retail business model in the day and age of the internet is borderline foolish. No one drives somewhere to buy something nowadays, you just order it online. It’s time to embrace that guys.

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What do you think? Would you rather still go to a mall or plaza to play? Or can you just as easily drive to light industrial buildings and play there?

  • alleus

    I would love this. Stores are great though, as you can actually go there, see a product you like and then walk home with it right away. This is something that’s hard to replace I think.

    Also, Edinburgh GW store in the pic! I’ve been there, lovely place.

    • Jooster

      That’s the Edinburgh store? I didn’t expect it to be so much smaller than Glasgow tbh

      • Andy Meechan

        It’s in the Royal Mile / HighStreet, so one of very few ‘prime’ locations GW use. It’s really quite deep, but has been there longer than any of the three iterations in Glasgow.

        The current Glasgow store was one of the batch of Hobby Centres with dedicated gaming room/space – a different kind of store.

        Cheers

        • Jason Brown

          I dont know about Glasgow but there is an excellent LGS/cafe in Edinburgh (6’s2hit) which has tables to play on. There are also 3 board game cafe’s!

  • As tempting as it looks offering a Hobby Centre still requires lots of maintenance, not to mention the additional staff that would be required to handle people here. Having a place to play games is nice but it is mandatory to have a few persons available all day long to insure everything is going smoothly. And that’s a cost too.
    Having such a big area will also mean going away from the town Centre, and most kids won’t be able to reach the Hobby Centre. Focusing on the veterans is clearly not something clever.

    • Loki Nahat

      Agreed

    • Noveltyboy

      Warhammer World UK, middle of nowhere, always people there.

      • Rufus Der Eisenhans

        And at what cost? The cost of a Hobby Centre is FAR greater than a normal Brick and Mortar store.

        Also WW is the Mecca – where people literally fly across the world to see it. Its not just a Hobby Centre its the birthplace and the head office. You may meet Jez Goodwin, you might see John Blanche etc etc etc

        • Ross Allan

          You do meet Jes Goodwin. I didn’t realise it was him at the time, but he cadged a ciggie off me.

          • nurglitch

            “And that homeless guy down the street? Not a homeless guy. That’s Andy Chambers. And the guy doing the Mr. Bean impression in the parking lot? Not Rowan Atkinson, it’s really Jervis Johnson.”

          • William Jameson

            “And the guy cosplaying as Eisenhorn? That’s Dan Abnett here for a Horus Heresy writers meet up. He always dresses like that”

          • ChubToad

            You all forgot about the guy sellling beer with a copy of 5th ed GK Codex. yeah that’s Mat Ward right there.

    • Chaos_Unbound

      Exactly. This is why you really dont see just “Clubs” anymore where someone rents a place. Because the maintenance and other things which need be done are too much for one person and charging a “Members” fee only works if you have Whales willing to pay a lot or lots of memebers. The EASIEST way to make back money for having a space is selling product in said space. Retail, like many other things which where said to go away, isnt going anywhere anytime soon.

  • Muninwing

    this article has what complaining doesn’t: an alternative.

    i suppose we could argue about visibility, about where these industrially-zoned locations would be and how the neighborhoods might affect customers, but that would vary city to city.

    we could argue that if this is the major advertising that GW is going to do, the act of having a storefront that people will drive by, then putting that storefront into a back-shelf space not visible to passers-by might undermine that effectiveness.

    but this model can support local game stores (who could have representatives who attend events, spread the word), local clubs, and players of all stripes if they could drum up interest and fill the space.

  • Kailen Lee Mitchell

    I have so wanted to see something like this or run something like this. If i had the capital to do so I would totally go for it. My thought is you would add food concessions coffee.

    • Macfeegle

      Crowd funding a 24 hour clubhouse?

    • Chaos_Unbound

      Industrial zoning doesnt allow for ANY of that. Industrial zoning would allow you to only have space really. To sell anything it has to be zoned Retail.

      • Erik Setzer

        Yep. This whole “industrial” thing doesn’t really work as well as people think.

        Still, you can find older stores in some locations that could work. If I had the capital, I’d know a perfect building, though I might be a bit concerned about the poor shop own just down the road. There’s an old Barnes & Noble that’s had no one take over since B&N closed up (they built a swankier store a few miles away). It’s a good size, having been a former book store; has a built-in cafe; and probably still has plenty of shelving on the walls (though, to be honest, I’m having trouble remembering the details, since it’s been years). Alternately, Hobby Lobby closed up a location when they opened another one, and the spot is half of an old grocery store, so pretty good sized.

        You can find locations like that around, but the size does mean they won’t be cheap. Still, you’ll have space for gaming, space for merchandise, and space for making and eating drinks and food.

        Of course, to sell coffee and stuff, I think you also might need some kind of special license or something.

        But yeah, it’s doable. Just have to find a good spot.

        (All this talk is making me want to do research and do up another business plan. Had to do one for college, it was fun and gave a good idea of the costs involved.)

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Untrue as it depends on local ordinances. My local area says industrial areas can sell but only a certain percentage of the space can be dedicated to retail.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      I have been for years trying to build a business model on a restaurant with a large gaming space and library of board games. The only thing I would sell aside from food and beer, would be gaming accessories like dice or dice bags.

      I would preferably do this next to a FLGS or right across the street. That way we can form a symbiosis.

      • Inian

        That sounds lovely! Although I’d take soda over beer. =)

      • Viktor Julian

        http://bastardcafe.dk/ This is a danish model, where the staff is made up of volunteers. It is in the centrum of Copenhagen, and they make the money for the rent by selling beer, food, liquer, cakes and all sorts of snacks you need to enjoy a game. It has become so popular in Copenhagen, that you can no longer find a table in the weekends if you come after 19:00. The pictures here are from a regular thursday evening. So if you want to make a hobbycentre for gaming, you will need to expand it beyond GW, because the warhammer community in general is too small. So if you can combine tabletop and boardgames with volunteers as in Copenhagen, you could make it work, even in the city centre.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          Yes which is what i said! Library of games to play and general space for others to bring what they want. Hence why location to a FLGS to provide space for whatever fancies the gamers that just walked out of the store. Thanks for sharing. Looks great!

        • wedsny

          That’s pretty much like a board game cafe. That model has been around awhile, and there are shops all around the US like that. Haunted cafe in Colorado and GameHaus California are just a couple

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I’ll have to check that out next time I’m in Copenhagen!

  • Loki Nahat

    completely impractical, author fails to understand the point of “brick and mortar stores” (stupid epithet, in my day we just call them shops).

    A hobby centre sounds great in an isolated thought experiment, but then you forget that only neckbeards will know to go there, and you’re not getting the 12 year olds going “squee” with pocket money style outreach/revenue.

    • MikeD

      12 year olds going “Squee” with pocket money seeing they don’t have enough to buy a squad of tactical marines and walking right on by.

      • Parthis

        It’s 2016.

        Of course they do.

      • Loki Nahat

        then they do what we did, save up.

      • Ross Allan

        I’m guessing it’s been a while since you encountered kids and their parents…

    • nurglitch

      I had figured that part of the success of online stores was not having to go into a store full of smelly neckbeards in order to enjoy things like comics and other nerd-hobbies.

      • DeadlyYellow

        Hey now, let’s not forget the sexists and racists. Really builds that welcoming, friendly gaming atmosphere when the clientele are constantly shouting and calling each other c**ts.

  • Gimilstook

    As a customer of Edinburgh GW (the store in the picture), while I get your point about getting a bigger place for the same price, the location of this store and many others is so important. It’s right on the royal mile, which is a huge tourist spot. I’m up there every week and there are so many new faces each time. The staff are all really nice guys and they are always getting new customers. As for regulars, there’s about fifteen of us under 18s that are there each Saturday, and there’s a lot of adult players that are in through the week. While we all want more space, it’s obvious that the location of the store is what makes it one of the best GWs in Scotland. Plus it’s pretty accessible, the train station is five minutes away and it’s a bridge away from princes Street, which has a load of buses constantly stopping there. This is just one example, and for all I know there are some stores that would benefit from moving somewhere else and into a bigger space, but I know that for this store, they wouldn’t get anywhere near as many new customers in a less central location. Also the thing about everyone orders, well most of us go in store to buy our models and build them there, because we prefer the atmosphere and it supports that store.

    • crumbreaper

      Popped in on a visit to Edinburgh and it’s a great store, our Newcastle store relocated nearer the central drag and a smaller shop, atmosphere still good etc but IMHO it should have stayed put, kept the extra gaming and hobby space….. but as a veteran (old fart) it’s great to hear young bloods getting into the hobby and getting the same buzz that has kept me a fan since 78 – long may it last!

    • Guy

      You also have to remember the “i want it now” factor that local shops have. Sometimes i don’t want to have to wait for that new book/model/whatever to turn up i want it now and i don’t mind paying extra for it so i can get painting that day, thats a big appeal of local shops.

      • Statham

        This. I don’t mind ordering stuff in sometimes, but if I want to know it’s in good condition or have a good natter, then my local store is pretty solid; it helps that my store manager takes genuine interest – he still tries to sell me stuff, sure, that’s expected, but when I’m talking about my latest conversion or extension to my Night Lords, thoughts on HH or AOS, he’s always got something to say; you don’t get that from an online service, naturally.

        • ErgonomicCat

          Indeed. My local store does their sales by ordering in things they know that I’ll want to buy. They all play the games, so they know what’s going on. So they’ll see that I play Legion in Warmahordes, and that the Grotesque Assassin just come out that makes Grotesques good, and pick one up. 95% of the time when I get a bug about something I’ll look at the wall and see that it’s already hanging there.

          The other way they sell me is “DUDE! HAVE YOU SEEN GUILD BALL?! It’s soooo cool! I got a Brewer’s army – it would be awesome if we could play!” And it *would* be awesome, because the manager’s a cool guy, and I like gaming with him.

  • Macfeegle

    Your idea for hobby centres makes sense, but the lack of retail doesn’t.
    If you are renting a big space, there is really no logic in not stocking your product. Consumers generally order online when sitting at home, not when standing in a store (places like John Lewis with larger ticket items are an obvious exception, and could be applied to Forgeworld as an equivalent in this example).

    You want the customer enthusiastic for your product and then walking out with tangible goods in their hands. In your bag. (Bags are a promotional tool too seen by more than just the postman).

    In Australia, and I am sure in other parts of the world, GW moved out of shopping centres and onto streets so they could get more space at a lower rent, and also so they could set hours outside of those dictated by centre management.

    (The idea of an all hours access card reminds me of the 24 hour gyms… Think they would mind if I set up a table in the back?)

  • V10_Rob

    “However, it’s illegal to retail your product out of an industrial zoned building…”

    Depends on your location. My city has hundreds of businesses operating out of low-frills industrial bays.

    The general concept is very sound, create a nice place for gamers to congregate. Make it an inviting enough clubhouse, and any number of us will volunteer our time and elbow-grease, free of charge, to upkeep it and improve. Imagine, for instance, the epic battlefield terrain you could construct in a dedicated space like that.

    Downside is the geographic realities of your city, in that you’re not going to get a lot of casual street/foot traffic in the light industrial areas.

  • Manwiththedogs

    “…brink and mortar.” A fitting typo?

    • Macfeegle

      Amazingly I read right past that….

    • I was wondering who else saw that. rink and Mortar, Brich and Mortar.
      Two strikes. Now I’m looking for strike three.

      • ErgonomicCat

        I read Brich and Mortar as Birch and Mortar, and though it was an odd variant on Brick and Mortar that indicated wood instead. 😉

    • Jabberwokk

      First thing I noticed.

  • Aaron Wilson

    The whole idea of “We all go play at our LGS” is a very American thing.

    In the EU, private venues / game clubs are where games are played.

    • Right.

    • Michael Van Eeckhoute

      Indeed. I’ve been playing for onley about half a year or so, but in Belgium it’s pretty much the same situation it seems. I prefer it too, because there’s a lot less restrictions in those venues (opening hours, eating/beverages,..) I mean the onley thing that appeals me to play at an actual GW store would be the better looking scenery but with some investment local clubs can even that factor out easily.

    • OldHat

      And the US has a huge market share, so it merits discussion. If clubs work in the EU, good on you guys. Just isn’t part of the culture here, it seems. I know I love my FLGS and would choose that over a person’s house any day. Loads of terrain, lots of new faces, and a good cultivated community.

      • wibbling

        The US market share is not that great, really. It’s fairly balanced across the world. Somewhere no US company has penetrated apart from (Games Workshop) in the gaming industry is China.

        • A.P.

          huh… “Somewhere no US company has penetrated apart from (Games Workshop) in the gaming industry is China.”

        • Deathmage

          This might be because Games Workshop is a UK Company…

      • Severius_Tolluck

        I don’t know about that being part of our culture. I am going to date myself. However “back in my day” there were no GW stores in the USA at all. Everything was sold by stores that had no gaming space like Gamer’s Paradise. Most game stores lacked the space required to game with a few notable exceptions. FLGS with gaming space is a much newer concept that really only started in the last decade or so.

        We too had clubs, or we just had a select few groups of friends that came together pooling resources to play in our basements or garages. To this day that is how i play 75% of all my games.

        Clubs are still prevalent, and in fact GW for awhile supported them and sent staff to aide them and provide sales discounts, etc. Local libraries and other venues provide places for kids to play, especially where the FLGS hours may not work well.

        • OldHat

          I am not talking about GW stores at all when I talk about FLGS, I mean indie retailers with table space. I know clubs exist in the US, but in my area (NC) at least, shops are king. The last time I played anything at a non-FLGS was Battletech when I was a preteen. Ever since I went into “community” gaming (MtG, wargames), the FLGS has been my 2nd home.

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Did i Say GW stores anywhere in my statement? It was all about FLGS stores and FLGS only!

          • OldHat

            “However “back in my day” there were no GW stores in the USA at all.”

          • Severius_Tolluck

            Gotcha, meant that as a blanket statement, but as you read on I wrote that FLGS didnt have space to game either. Therefore it was up to forming clubs or playing in your basement.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        clubs aren’t in people’s houses, they are in pubs, working men’s clubs, church halls, scout huts etc.

    • A.P.

      I know thats how it is over the pond, my question is how do you get them setup. Who pays for the lights/rent is there a membership fee?
      I would love for one of these clubs to be in my home town. Me and many others dont want to be restricted by the “Family Store” policy so many employ AKA no Drink, smoke etc.. Information please.

      • Chaos_Unbound

        Likely a membership fee. While its a nice idea and works across the pond it just wont in the US. Due to costs and other things you need either lots of people paying in or lots of Whales willing to pitch a lot in. Most groups in America have neither.

        • A.P.

          I understand the hurdles, it is the first steps i am more concerned about.
          What Kind of location do you pick , sourcing interest, average costs per person weekly, monthly, yearly? Retail or commercial space, maybe private.
          Communicate with the local stores to get their concerns.

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            You can rent space at rec centers for dirt cheap.

        • Severius_Tolluck

          You may wish to reconsider. Often you can rent out a space for lower than you think, sometimes free. Should look into community rec centers, as well as local libraries. That’s what we have done.

    • ErgonomicCat

      This has become so clear in the past 6 months as European players keep saying “Why on earth would you play in a club or store? Bring people over!” and USAians say “Gods no, let’s go to the store. Keep people away!”

  • Erik Setzer

    It’s a nice addition *in addition to* retail stores, but realistically, it’s not something GW would want to do.

    I want them to be more of a game company again. But they’re still a company. This idea means closing a lot of avenues of sales (bringing in money), and just spending a lot of money in the hopes you’ll bring in more sales through independent retailers or the website (which cuts into their profits).

    The retail stores are a problem because it’s causing them to be in direct competition with FLGS’s (which is only because they see themselves in that light).

    A better option would be to just expand the current offerings. Larger stores, more staff, more space to play games, and more variety of products. Bring in the licensed products, sell them and show them off.

    A “hobby center” would be awesome, but it has to be paid for somehow. That’s why retail is needed in the store… and said retail also will, if done right, pay the bills. Remember, when they’re selling through their stores rather than an FLGS, they’re bringing home all the money, not just the wholesale cut, so the difference there, with enough volume, more than makes up for the cost of having a retail space (especially as opposed to just paying for a space that brings in no money).

    Expand the idea to include more work stations, a community area for people to post about GW-based gaming clubs, events, campaigns, etc. Use it to be a true center of the hobby, fostering a growing community (which then becomes more customers).

    And they’re already looking for affordable retail spaces. The store in Jacksonville is located in a shopping center that had a lot of empty spots (since corrected after some renovations), and isn’t in a “prime” location like the nearby “town center” full of high-end retail and all, but is accessible from major roads. It’s not “prime” but it’s solid and affordable. They can keep rolling with that to make expanded hobby centers affordable options.

    • Ross Allan

      Jacksonville sounds like the UK positioning of stores. Definitely Town Centre, but off the main high street – small hit in passing trade, but far cheaper rental costs.

      • Erik Setzer

        This isn’t exactly the city’s center, it’s more of a recent development that took off like crazy and called itself “St. John’s Town Center.” There’s at least two or three, maybe more, “town centers” in Jacksonville… all in different locations. But the land mass is so large that they’re still functionally town centers, I suppose.

        GW’s smart in their positioning of stores (at least in a lot of cases). You want to be close to the “action” and easily accessible, but still affordable.

        Off-topic but amusing anecdote: When the news first popped up of a GW store opening in town, people did an informal contest to see who could guess closest to the actual location. I picked the exact shopping center they ended up in. Got a nice Ork poster out of the deal. You can guess those things easily if you just go with the formula, “What’s inexpensive, but not out-of-the-way?”

        Hey, I have to give them credit, that’s a solid way to position a store.

  • Rufus Der Eisenhans

    Yet again an American piece repeating the same stuff as allways. WHat makes GW work in the UK & Europe, where the predominant amount of its turnover comes from, is not the same as what works in the US.

    • wibbling

      Yup. I think the culture is just completely different. Certainly in the UK far more ‘younger’ teenage players abound where in the US mostly older, 30+ players.

      The US also bangs on about ‘tournaments'(not that there’s anything wrong with them, just a different mindset) whereas the UK just doesn’t take it that seriously.

      • A.P.

        the “tournament bang” impression is mostly on the Internets. I have a large group and it is split pretty evenly between narrative and Tournament play.

  • wibbling

    Thing is, Privateer Press don’t have the overhead of a huge chain of shops they want to protect and encourage visitors to. Games Workshop do. To an extent, their protective practices were rational. Privateer want their cake and to eat it.

    • Ross Allan

      I disagree. I’m not PP fanboy (I find their games really dull), but they utterly depend on FLGS to get new players roped in. Webstores recruit no-one at all. Lose your FLGS, and you risk your entire business.
      So you listen to them, the same as GW did, and you take measures to even the playing field, even if that means refusing accounts to specific types of retailer.

  • Chuck

    If you’re only talking about GW’s brick and mortar stores, maybe they are unnecessary and could be replaced.

    But this isn’t really what GW or Asmodee/Privateer are trying to address – they are addressing the enormous devaluation of their product caused by deep discount online sellers. Local gaming stores come with a built-in customer base that allows all these companies to continually find new customers, and for that, they love the local gaming stores. But it’s just not good for a product to be consistently available online for 30-40% off MSRP, especially when the product is essentially a luxury good. Big markups are essential to the survival of a company dealing in such a low bandwidth of actual sales – you can’t afford to have your product valued less and less as prices online are slashed.

    • Inian

      I haven’t seen any online retailers that goes below a 25% discount on RRP, which is quite reasonable considering they don’t have physical stores to run. Things sold at 60-70% discount are all copies (or a lucky going out of business one-time offer), and the fact that they can so easily undercut the prices is proof that the RRP is too high.

      The reason the RRP is so high for GW products is because they have to charge a lot extra to cover the cost of their own physical stores (which is by far their biggest cost).

      The only way to increase sales is to befriend the other retailers again, close their stores and lower the RRP of their products. That will bring back the sales volume, remove the piracy business and allow new players a much lower threshold to play their games.

      • Ross Allan

        I don’t think you quite grasp how wholesale works….
        RRP is just that. There’s no compunction to sell at that price at all.
        B&M or Webstore, you buy in your stock at the same rate, perhaps with variations for different volume. You then apply your markup, which includes all your costs, plus a margin of profit.
        Webstores have a fraction of the running costs. Can therefore sell at a heavier discount.
        GW reducing their RRP wouldn’t change that one iota – Webstore would still be able to sell cheaper than a B&M.

        • Inian

          Hm, now I’m confused as it seems you didn’t read what I wrote.

          I did say that online retailers sell below RRP and that it is reasonable that they do so due to lower costs (i.e. no physical stores). That deals with everything but your last sentence.

          Regarding your last sentence, I was talking about them dealing with piracy and illegal copies, which is a completely different subject from the online/discount retailer subject.

          With a reduced overhead cost the RRP of GW’s products could be significantly lower than they are today. This would not change anything for the online retailers as they could retain the same profit margin as before. But it would significantly reduce the incentive for people to manufacture and sell illegal copies of GW products.

          Currently the competition is so fierce that I doubt costs can be cut any more by them. If the RRP was closer to prices of illegal operations then there would be no reason for people to buy the inferior copies, thus driving up the sales of GW products.

          • Ross Allan

            So they cut the standard asking price….that requires an equal uptake in sales – because they’re not cutting their own overheads.
            Sadly, there’s far more to increasing custom than slashing prices. Indeed, a business that has to slash prices is often seen as a business in real trouble.

          • Inian

            A significant chunk of the overhead of their products is the cost of their physical stores. That’s the part I want to cut away.

            I don’t want to pay extra for their products just so some other people can go to a physical store.

          • Hedwerx

            I don’t want to have my local GW shops shut down just so you can buy cheaper minis.

          • Ross Allan

            Except PP, FFG, Mantic, Infinity etc charge comparable prices on individual kits. But have no stores.

            Are you sure you’ve thought this through? Or even thought about it beyond ‘I want cheap toys’?

          • Inian

            They are also vastly outmatched when it comes to volume. GW’s production costs are significantly lower on a per sprue basis.

            The thing is I can afford GW’s prices without breaking a sweat, hell even if they price went up tenfold my purchases would be about the same as they are today. But I can’t convince other to start playing, in fact more and more people are leaving GW’s games for other products, which means soon I won’t have anyone to play with.

          • Ross Allan

            No, they’re not.

            GW produce in the UK. Did you know we now have a national living wage? £7.20 per hour.

            PP, FFG all get their stuff made in China, because it’s the cheapest option……

          • happy_inquisitor

            GW don’t offshore all their production to countries with low wages. Paying decent wages can’t leave them with that much of a production cost advantage.

  • Inian

    The vast majority of people I know don’t live within a reasonable distance from a GW store. The nearest one for me is about a 3 hour drive away, and unless you live next door to one it’s going to take most people at least and hour to get to a store even if they live in a city with one. Then we have people that live a nice cost 6-112 hour drive away from a GW store. Even if they did expand here and open 1000% more stores the vast majority of gamers would still be at least an hour away from the store.

    I’ve never had any use for them, FLGSs have worked somewhat, although it is still rare to have one in ones home town. I was just lucky enough to grow up in a town where there was one but I only played there once or twice. For me gaming was something I did with/at my buddies in our respective homes. Later in life we found (or founded) game clubs to play in and that’s how most people here play now, although some still prefer the comfort of home.

    What I have heard is that the B&M stores GW has is a huge cost for them, yes they sell products, but the sales of the individual stores does not cover the cost of running the stores. A few exceptions are around of course, but for the most part this is a loosing fight for GW. They are also alienating other retailers by making exclusive webstore releases and restricting to whom the stores may sell their products. They have been burning their bridges while setting themselves up for failure.

    I love their models and the worlds they have created and want them around. But unless they start doing business smarter then GW will wither and die like any other poorly run company.

    • Larry Gervella

      You can get webstore exclusives from independent shops. If they won’t get them for you then they are not worth doing business with.

      • Inian

        It usually involves interacting with humans though, and I don’t like that.

        • Larry Gervella

          Sounds like a personal problem. Not everyone is antisocial.

          • Inian

            I doubt very many people like interacting with salesmen. How happy are you when telemarketers give you a call?

            I do like my friends though, but they barely fall into the “humans” category.

          • SYSTem050

            Personally i like interacting with staff. In fact often i decide to work out our glasgow office just so i can pop in and see the staff at the Glasgow GW store.

          • Sebastien Bazinet

            You actually go into a store on your own accord whereas telemarketers call you out of the blue, big difference to me. Also GW and FLGS staff are usually quite friendly even if they try to sell you stuff. Maybe social gaming is not for you

          • Inian

            Well if I walk into a place to play a game I don’t want some salesperson to come over and try and get me to buy stuff. Gaming is fun, social and an overall nice experience, I don’t want it ruined by people trying to make me buy stuff however subtle they may be. I don’t mind paying for a place to play however, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

          • Larry Gervella

            You are an idiot.

    • Ross Allan

      You say they’re poorly run, but right above you’ve done nothing to show you have any idea of how to run such a business?

      Where did ‘you hear’ their stores don’t turn a profit? Because that’s not true at all – if a GW store doesn’t cover its own costs, they close it down.

      • Inian

        By reading their (very long and boring) financial reports over the past several years. I’ve been working at a fairly large company for quite some time now and you pick up a thing or two about what is going on in reality and what is being told to shareholders and the outside world.

        • Ross Allan

          Seemingly, no you don’t.

          GW = British Company. That means their account *must* be independently verified before publication.

          Come on dude, you’re clutching at straws here!

          • Inian

            You know that as long as no one is stealing money and that the right amount of taxes are paid that they are free to organize their economy any way they wish right? There’s actually surprising few rules on how a company chooses to set up its accounts.

  • Agent OfBolas

    Internet = netlisting.

    This kills this hobby.
    Not online shops.

  • Westdraygon

    You know the way that digital downloads for books got popular for a while then started dropping a lot in sales? Or at least it is according to a woman from Amazon who spoke on the radio one time in my country.

    She said that people tried it out because it was new, then went back to physical books because they liked walking into a shop and buying the physical product. Or just ordering a physical product online and waiting for it.

    This is what it’s like for me. I love just walking into a shop and being able to walk home with something. It’s a great feeling and makes me feel super excited, the same way when I buy a book from a shop.

    I’m not pretending this is how everyone feels or anything like that. This is just me. I just love walking in and buying a physical product, which is why I hope brick and mortar shops don’t go away.

    I luv em.

  • Larry Gervella

    This is not only to protect the corporate stores, it also protects the independent stores. Author you need to get off your soap box.

  • I don’t really care about the Internets unfair advantage. I live two hours drive from a game store. I have to get my fix from some where.
    If anything I’d thing a game store setting up a club with small dues to pay for terrain and tables( more like off setting the cost of them) while giving members a small discount on products, as a members “privilege” might encourage people to play at that shop. But it will also come down to how much competition for the customers the shop has in it’s area. GW already knows that the European model doesn’t work in the USA. They’ve known this for years now. Once upon a time they had reps going around to shops to establish and help support local clubs. I have no idea if that was worth the time and money to GW or not. It really just depends on the area. If GW products aren’t selling very well from “my shop” I’ll probably minimize what I carry and focus on what sells the best.

  • This has been a problem for a while, and I agree – game stores are an outdated model. I’d vastly prefer a club. The problem with clubs, speaking from personal experience in setting one up, is that the person setting it up is often responsible for keeping it going, paying the rent, etc… and humans aren’t the most reliable creatures in the world so will often “forget” their dues, putting the cost on the organizer as well.

    We let the game store owners shoulder those costs instead. Its easier. And jus tlike the club members that “forget” their dues, those same people would rather spend online where they are going to get the deepest discount.

    Behavioral game theory. I’d love to see a study on where the equilibrium point is.

  • Ross Allan

    Silly plan is silly.
    Why? Impulse and add on sales.
    When I worked for GW back in 2010, we’d do roughly, give or take, 250 transactions every week. And we’d do our best (as salesman, remember. That’s the job) to get extras on those sales – be it a brush or paint pot – it didn’t matter.
    And we were pretty good at it. Now, lets consider that, averaged out, you could easily attain one paint pot extra per customer. That’s £2.55 added to each sale.
    Across all 250? £637.50 per week, or £33,150.00 per annum. Then apply that easily achieved total across the 400 store chain….
    £13,260,000.00 extra.
    Takes sales out of the store, and that very conservative amount above (paint pots being the cheapest thing sold) goes straight out the window.
    That isn’t chicken feed money by any stretch of the imagination.
    Then you have recruitment of new gamers. Who the hell hangs around industrial estates? They’re ‘orrid. So very little passing trade – you know, people sticking their beak in, wondering ‘what’s all this then?’. No intro games. No starter sets sold No. New. Blood.
    Face it, the OP means well, but it’s actually a pretty terrible idea when you break it down.

    • Mike Siegmund

      Add to the fact is the game will slowly die after all if you move to a area with no other gamers will you been buy things online? The x wing group died out I stopped buying x wing as I have not the time or cash to grow a group

      • Ross Allan

        Yup. High Street presence (or ‘just off the high street’, to fit GW’s typically store placement) is a necessary expense. It’s how GW dominated the market for so long.
        If you’ve got that presence, be it GW or FLGS or what have you, then you have windows. And windows can have cabinets. And cabinets can have minis in them. Nicely painted latest/recent releases.
        Consider that GW only recently got round to Ad-Mech, something which is iconic in the background. How many old gamers are likely to pass by and think ‘wait….is….is….is that what I think it is?’. You get just one of those buying again, and all his old gamer mates will be at least tempted to dabble. This helps ensure your store is foot-traffic busy. A busy store attracts customers – fact. A very well established retail fact regardless of exactly what it is you’re selling.
        Take that away? And you throttle your potential market in it’s crib.
        Utterly, utterly pointless.

  • Toco

    Brilliant answer to the www-pest!

  • Sebastien Bazinet

    My FLGS uses a loyalty system giving you points on purchases which you can then convert to in-store credit. I may pay a little more than online but I get something back which is always fun.

  • Deacon Ix

    One of the biggest mistakes GW made was moving the Bath store from a lovely large shop which had 3 or 4 tables and a hobby area to a small little hole just down the street, but I now no longer live in Bath so no loss to me…

  • Parthis

    A remarkably short-sighted piece.

    You miss the point on why stores on the highstreet work.

    The market supports both hobby centres and shops for a reason; one supports existing customers, one creates them.

    Also please check your spelling; you’ve misspelt Brick several times in several different ways, including the headline.

  • Balazra

    I live 1 hr from three different stores.
    1 is a GW store it is rated the best GW store in our state, the staff are great and they have a good local core of customers.
    2 is a hobby store that sells every thing from magic to ww2 replica tanks, you name the game or kickstarter and they sell it some where in the store… If you can find it.
    3 is an industrial unit with ten 6×4 tables and 20 tables set for card games that that can be moved around for bigger games, they have loads of scenery and gaming mats for different games, they have dedicated game nighs, Friday night magic, Monday xwing, fantasy Tuesday, Wednesday 40k, Thursday guildball, you get the idea. They charge an annual membership of $10, and run weekend tournaments. They also have pizza tournaments for $15 you get a tournament and pizza.
    You guess which is the store that everyone goes to, even if you frequent the GW store you’ll find all the staff play at the gaming center after work, you’ll find the hobby shop people there as well. It is flat out the place to be and they don’t sell a single thing unless you pre order and pick up from store. They even get it bought over from the hobby store if they are put of stock, Or it’s a rare item.

  • “Brink and Mortar” – c’mon buddy.

  • DJ860

    I think the article makes some great points. My only challenge is that for a publicly trading company, ultimately this isn’t ever going to happen.

    As a business, the stores have a revenue generating justification. Online trade is online trade so I would guess this would have a hard time justifying itself financially as it would essentially be a “showroom”.

  • Tesq

    wanna see ppl at your place? have a big place where ppl can play and actually do not die due to high temperature

    thx
    your customer….

  • David Robinson

    I had a quick scan through the comments and didn’t see anyone mention it, but GW actually did do something very similar to this in the uk once. It was call the Games Workshop gaming and events centre or something along those lines, and was just outside of Sheffield if my memory is correct.

    I never went myself, and I think it did have a small retail area unlike the suggestion in this article. Closed around 2006 afaik.

  • Deathmage

    Brink and Mortar?
    Brich and Mortar?
    Come on BOLS, try and use spell checker!
    Apart from that its nice to see this fresh new type of article

    • Gorgosaurusrex

      “But GW needs the presence to get new people into the hobby, you say, and your right.”

      “your right”

      What about my right?

      • Deathmage

        They’ve fixed the title, even if the URL is still misspelt, and the other two issues are still there

  • Tiernoc

    It’s a good idea. GW might even be able to take advantage of the same type of Locker system that Amazon is adopting as a convenient “pick up location” at the hobby centers.
    As a side note for the author though: you definitely need an editor to give your posts a once-over!

  • Mach13

    We had three good gaming stores in my area, a GW, an FLGS in a retail area and an FLGS in an industrial area. The one in the industrial area had a lovely space. Loads of tables, a good painting area, and easy parking. And it closed. The other two are doing fine.

    Actually, we have a 4th, but it appears to be a front for a cell phone ‘repair’ center that is hidden away in the back rooms as when we’ve been there, there was a slow stream of people coming in to sell phones or get them unlocked. Maybe that is a good way to keep your gaming store running?

  • Shawn

    Physical game stores aren’t going away any time soon. Many retailers supplement their in-store income with internet sales. People in general hate change and businesses are no different. The problem , I think, has more to do with the competition of everyone on the internet selling their product, used or new which cuts or completely eliminates sales for those companies. They’re worried about the bottom line. This is what happens, I think when a copany, instead of embracing change and making it work, retaliates in self defense. If companies bite the hand that feeds them, then it’s their fault they’re floundering and dying. Oh and this is the first I’ve heard of Privateer Press and Asmodee trying to restrict internet sales.

  • Thatroubleshootah

    I would probably not hobby very much at such a place because I would be restricted to using only gw paint, brushes, glues, bits and models. If it were close enough to my home I might go play there as all of the 40k players in Memphis have moved away from the only flgs that supports table top gaming and have moved to homes and the gw store. This store is almost in Mississippi so too far for me to go.

    At my flgs which I More centrally located I can play any game I want to with any figure I want to and I can hobby any way I please. They also have a variety of product in stock. These elements make the flgs the winner.

    As far as an industrial hobby space is concerned I don’t think it would generate the revenue to support itself. Most people who have heard of the Iinternet are well aware that you can still buy gw discounted to twenty five percent off. Even at that price I consider gw to be so expensive i buy most of my gw purchases used off of eBay or at my flgs. I’d literally never go somewhere to use their computer to pay gw retail.

    If gw were smart they would stop trying to sell their own product and let flgses do it. What they are doing now would be like Disney opening a store that only sold marvel comic books.

    Apple tried this model in the eighties and it failed because you can’t sell your I own product in a store at retail and have a local retailer also sell it. You are competing against your own product. After local retailers realized they couldn’t sell the same product for the same price that was offered literally down the road they stopped doing so. Now the only people who sell apple product is apple and a few big box retailers who try to make money selling accessories. “Would you like a mouse pad with that”

  • This is by far one of the worst written articles I have seen on here lately. Not to mention the premise of this article is also pretty ignorant.
    While this idea may work for companies such as GW, it makes no legitimate sense. GW hobby stores greatly discourage non GW games and miniatures. Smaller game companies wouldn’t be able to handle something like this and if this was the only avenue to play games (at giant kiosk warehouses) these companies would probably fail or reduce production.

    This guy has drank the internet coolaid. I get that most of the time its cheeper to buy online. But even a great number of those people take what they just bought to a brick and mortar store to play with their friends.

    WE NEED brick and mortar stores, and game companies need them too. Half of the games I have bought (both board games and table top games) are because I watched other people playing them and they looked good. There is no greater selling point.

  • dynath

    There is something to be said for this idea, but leaving the high traffic zones is problematic for name recognition. Honestly it would be just as viable a model to make one many stores into no man stores by building order kiosks and partnering with retail locations that already exist. Offer them to comic shops, toy stores, mall locations, etc. Build them with a model display case showing your latest product and a computer terminal with a cashbox and card reader for ordering. Drop those in major areas and push them into retail spaces GW is not currently in, Walmarts and Targets, hell do like red box does for movies and put them on every corner in restaurants. Then use Industrial to form gaming clubs and maintain hobby centers with foot traffic by having them be the delivery or drop point if people don’t want things shipped to their homes.

  • pokemastercube .

    it is all well and good if there is a gaming center around, where i am there isnt one that doesnt take forever to get to so store it is, they tend to be more local

  • doughouseman

    1) There are limited locations that can support a 5,000 square foot gaming center – maybe 50 locations in the US – what do the rest of us do?
    2) GW gaming centers would avoid letting others in
    3) Many light industrial areas are not where I want to park my car at night – since many are mostly closed by 9 PM
    4) Light industrial space is not where your typical mother will take their teens – safety is a much higher concern – so gaining new gamers this way is questionable

    Better is older strip malls in suburban areas – with some support from GW and potentially other game manufacturers. Independent stores with supported gaming areas.

    GAMA could organize such a thing if they and the game manufacturers decided to work together. Some agreement on gaming space, supported by say additional discounts on product for the game stores that keep at least 8 – 10 gaming tables and have extended hours.

    The key here is GAMA and the ability to forge an industry coalition to support the effort. Direct support with money probably will not work, but product discounts could. Say – for every session of 40K, there is a right to a 10% additional discount a $2000 order – netting the store $200 in additional retail if the product sells. This puts the pressure on the store owner to determine how to build a local community and get sales growth on the games that belong to the coalition members.

  • nc

    The storefront picture just hit me. Oh – the memories… My dad took me on a ten day bike trip to Scotland (I’m from Germany) when I was in my early teens… like in 1990 or so. We met some of the nicest hosts ever during that vacation – and I walked into that store on Edinburgh High Street. Believe it or not – I still got some colors I bought that day… and even still use them from time to time. See below – anyone else remember these pots?

    I agree to changing times and like the ideas expressed in the article on the hobby centers. But this very special feeling, walking into that particular store in that beautiful medieval city, seeing the wonders… never got that again while shopping online.

    Having goosebumps now and a wide smile on my face. Thanks GW for this moment 😉

  • DeathBy SnuSnu

    I honestly don’t understand why some of these larger companies hate online resellers. Imho brick and mortar is effectively a dead retail model for physical media. Ebooks, Amazon, Book Depo etc. have mortally wounded book retailers in my market. It seems a backwards step to punish online sales in favour of stores. As soon as we have high quality low cost consumer 3D printing these companies are going to have to change to digital distributors anyway. Hell, they could even use the same model as Amazon. Those folks that scoff at 3D consumer printing never being good enough for war gaming are luddites. Local wargamers are already printing and playing with 15mm scale armies here. It’s only a matter of time before 28mm quality can be 3D printed.

  • Nicholas D Western

    Getting rid of Brick and Mortar stores would be the death of the hobby. It’s because of brick and mortar stores (mostly flgs) that the hobby expands. These stores provide play space for more than just miniatures games. There for the crowd that is exposed to them increases.

  • jbaidacoff

    Sentry Box in Calgary seems to have figured it out. They’ve been around well over 15 years. They’re in a former light industrial/commercial building outside of the downtown core, but not too far out and on the bus route. Rent is cheaper, they control access, so a game room is accessible without going into the retail area. The solution is probably unique wherever you go. https://m.youtube.com/watch?ebc=ANyPxKoBIVPLh7Rm9vatIqlftgsJwdSYjW4dwX_tbuTkZwVl2sVqVe7-sBqumKSVWib4RenLbx9iJi00USre7ztO4Up68GU-aA&v=gO7f_e5OrIk

  • Knight Watch Games

    Knight Watch Games has embraced a new approach to the brick and mortar store. We provide a full gaming experience with retail as a second thought. We’re hoping that our customers see the value of an immersive environment and support it by buy products locally and not online. Wish us luck. http://www.knightwatchgames.com/

  • Corsair6

    You’re almost a full week late for an April Fools Day joke. That is the most ridiculous business model I have ever heard. An unmanned gaming center that generates no revenue and allows patrons to go online and purchase product (that they could just steal because the store is unmanned) from any company that sells below retail and have it delivered to their homes ( like that is a new idea). Brick and mortar stores isn’t a 20 year old concept; it has been a solid model for about 3000 years. Out of the way warehouses filled with gamers will cause any game to suffer and die through attrition. This has to be one of the worst ideas I have seen put on this site.

  • Andrew Thomas

    On the one hand, if Sega is any indication, it’s more useful and profitable to provide a variety of experiences in as many formats and venues as possible than it is to own a set of venues and formats and aggressively control what experiences are to be had there. On the other hand, there’s a vintage arcade I know, what’s run out of an Industrial Park space, that does amazingly well despite being well away from main streets and shopping centers.

  • Charles Laine

    This article states…

    (begin quote)
    GW, Asmodee and now Privateer Press has expressed anger and frustration regarding this and is taking steps to stop or at the least, discourage it.
    (end quote)

    What “anger and frustration” are you referring to? Can you point to some examples of Privateer Press expressing “anger” and/or “frustration”?

  • James Cowling

    While the author purports to be an economist, I am a game store owner with close to 30 years experience in the industry.

    Notable errors:

    – The B&M hobby game store isn’t a 20-year-old business model, it’s a 40-year-old business model.

    – Assuming Canadian dollars, as the author (like myself) is Canadian, retail space is generally much less than $30/sqft including triple net and taxes. $30/sqft is mall price or downtown space in a major metropolitan centre. I pay $18, for example. My previous location last rented at $11/sqft.

    – There are rarely restrictions on providing retail service in light or heavy industrial zoning. Maybe it’s like that in Toronto; I don’t know. The biggest game store in Canada is in the middle of a light industrial zone.

    The thesis itself is scarcely worth criticizing, because it is so ridiculous. The average GW store in Canada is 1200 sqft, with some much smaller (such as Victoria). The idea of replacing them with 5000 sqft clubhouses doesn’t pass the laugh test — the average rent would be higher, the labour costs would be higher, the model described has no product to sell to entice players away from online sales, there’s no walkby traffic, there’s no possibility of attracting new players, and worst of all, there are no impulse sales.

    And what about Asmodee and Privateer Press? Are they to open their own clubhouses, too? Why would they do that when they have a perfecttly viable distribution model?

    Important things to note: in the North American market, clubhouses fail, often and predictably. The least healthy type of game store in Canada and the US is the shop with two dozen tables, a wall of miniatures and a showcase full of magic cards. They have an average lifespan of two years, and all they do is siphon sales from the long-term, healthy stores which provide a wide variety of product to a wide market, targeting not merely hobby gamers, but casual players.

    The model described would substitute a large number of small shops with a small number of large clubhouses. The author says “No one drives somewhere to buy something nowadays”, but the described model would actually require more travel for virtually every player. Never mind the fact that the statement is patently false.

    Then there’s the conceit that players would pay a table fee or annual fee to use the space. They won’t. I’m in a number of online fora with other retailers, and one topic that consistently comes up is the trouble we have monetizing our playspace. We pay for that space whether it’s used or not. But if we try to charge a table fee, players just start going to shops where there is no table fee. This is a problem whether you devote 10% of your space to play or 90% of your space to play. North American players want clubhouses, but they don’t want to pay to use them. The worst is the number of players who want to play, for free, in the FLGS playspace but buy their games online. The usual excuse is that they’re attracting players with their cool collection of stuff. They aren’t. It’s just selfishness with no upside for the community.

    Privateer, Asmodee, Mayfair, Fantasy Flight, Games Workshop, WizKids — these and other publishers and manufacturers have taken steps to make it more attractive for the end consumer to purchase products in their local game stores rather than online. They do this not necessarily because they care about the health of the FLGS, but because it is the strategy which maximizes the number of nodes int he network. A healthy community requires a large number of healthy “nodes”. A distribution model where there are (say) a dozen online retailers, no storefronts, and an assortment of disorganized personal playgroups has no nodes at all — the online shops provide no community support. A distribution model with (say) five online retailers (this is the Asmodee model), thousands of storefronts, and an assortment of personal playgroups served by those storefronts has a vast number of nodes. The latter makes for a healthy community.

    Some players — and there are some in this thread — say that they don’t see why they should have to pay more so that other players can buy from FLGSs. If you’re just buying online and playing at home, you’re not really part of the community. You’re not bringing in new players (at least, not to the same degree as a storefront is), you’re not participating in organized play, you’re not entering painting contests…in short, you’re not doing anything to grow the game, which is the end goal of every manufacturer.

    For those who don’t buy the node theory, consider dead games like Vor, or Clan War, or Babylon 5. Thousands of people have armies/fleets/squads for those games. They could theoretically play those games. The games have unofficial fan org support. Some of the product can even be ordered online or from FLGSs from backstock sitting in distributor warehouses.

    But these games have no nodes in their network. No store is supporting them. What few playgroups still exist can communicate, but can’t organize themselves into any kind of organized play system. The network is dead, and so the community is non-viable. So all but a handful of people have socked away their collections in the back of a closet, if they haven’t just tossed it all in the landfill.

    Dead games are an extreme example, but we can see the same kind of thing with games from existing companies that have a modicum of publisher support but very little FLGS support. Like, say, Necromunda or Legend of the Five Rings CCG (until it’s recent cancellation). L5R’s demise can be linked directly to deep discounting through Potomac Distribution. FLGSs simply stopped carrying it. The hardcores contonued to buy their boxes at near-wholesale from Potomac, but found it harder and harder to find places to play OP. As players dropped out of the game, new players were not being recruited due to lack of FLGS support.

    In short, no game can thrive without FLGS support. The idea that the FLGS model is dead is not borne out by evidence, and the manufacturers disagree with the idea, as well. What we’re going to see increasingly is manufacturers giving preferential treatment to FLGSs through better discounts, premium FLGS-only products, early shipping, and so on. In extreme cases, expect to see online shops cut off completely, as I expect to see with Miniature Market being cut off by Privateer Press in short order.

    • Countdiscount

      You sir, should have written a BoLS article about the necessity of LGS, because you actually sound like you know what you’re talking about.

      I can’t like this enough

      • James Cowling

        Thanks; I appreciate it!

    • Jerry

      ^^^THIS!! THIS!! THIS!! ^^^

  • Countdiscount

    Recruitment of new players would go into the toilet if there were only hobby centers with no staff. As much as people complain about salesmen, these are the only people that have a real motivation to consistently do their best to introduce the hobby to someone that knows nothing about it. With out them, you rely on word of mouth, friends of friends, and the rare and elusive gamer that is friendly, outgoing, and doesn’t mind answering a million questions about the hobby, but honestly, this hobby attracts a lot of type B personalities.

    Also, many people that work at LGS/GW stores are really nice and cool people if you just drop the defenses and allow yourself to get to know them.

  • ANevskyUSA

    I will take this idea seriously after I see the author operate a profitable hobby centre.

  • ErgonomicCat

    Articles like this remind me how good I have it with my local store. They’re open until 9 and stay until 10-10:30 most nights for us to finish up.

    Also, kids still hang out at the mall. What they’re not doing as much is *buying* at the mall, other than impulse buys (based on my kids at least). Which I think is important.

  • Commissar Molotov

    My FLGS also sells comics – and has a large gaming area. The owner has told me that the comics sales are the steady stream of income, while gaming is much more feast-and-famine based around new releases and new editions. “The comics keep the lights on and the doors open, and the games are my profit margin.”

  • gordon ashacker

    Bricks and mortar stores are not the problem. AoS is the problem. The flop of AoS took sales away from stores, and shifted it to the mail order system, as for the most part, that is who sold all of the discontinued kits and books. If AoS had been a success, the store network would be going just fine…….

  • Korvalus

    I see a little problem there…

    Do you think it’s more likely to a “moogle” parent to say to his/her kids “hey, let’s go to the industrial district. I’ve heard that there’s a place where you can play with pretty figures” or “Look kids, this store has pretty figures. Do you want to enter?” instead?

    That’s the problem I see: the common folk that doesn’t know of this hobby. Your argument and proposition seems to be from the position of those who already know how to find, where to buy and the usual stuff; the position of those ALREADY STARTED. While it isn’t hard to find out these, things most people doesn’t know where to search or even what to search.

    That’s where the blick and retail stores enter. They have (usually) the visibility and atractiveness for that, to show the hobby to those who doesn’t know a thing and make them try if this is what they like, making new customers (and hopefully, drawning new blood into the hobby) in the process, furthermore if they hold/propose/promote events. Industrial warehouses have the con that are (usually) in the outskirts in towns, making their visibility to the common folk drop.

    That’s why I believe that they’re favoring the stores. While a closed circle can (hopefully) mantain sales and income to an exent, stores, and especially those in reknown commercial areas, can draw more people into the hobby, with the sales and growth that comes with them.