Tabletop Games: What You’ve Been Buying

pie_chart

Lets have a look at the last 2 years of miniature wargame releases and see what’s been selling.

The good folks over at Element Games have supplied me with some normalised sales data to help me make sense of the major miniature games releases since the beginning of 2015. Rather than give you the full data which exists in an Excel chart, I’ve thrown it into Excel to make some easy to read charts for you all.

Firstly a caveat: This is sales data from one UK based retailer and assuming that the data is the same in every FLGS around the world is folly.

Secondly: Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower was a big seller but doesn’t appear to show up in this chart, either it wasn’t as popular as people thought or this is a statistical abnormality.

How GW releases are doing compared to non GW games

gwvsnongw

1) Age of Sigmar.

2) The lowest selling month for GW games with the tail end of the Age of Sigmar releases and the Tau Stormsurge.

3) Betrayal at Calth (The data shows this was the major month for 40k sales since Jan 2015).

4) Deathwatch: Overkill.

5) Imperial Knights: Renegade.

6) Age of Sigmar: Sylvaneth.

7) Codex Deathwatch.

Again caveats: This is only one supplier, however it appears to show that:

  • GW games are selling more in the last 12 months while the combined non GW games seem to hold steady.
  • When GW games sell more, non GW games seem largely unaffected.

How each game system has been doing:

systembreakdown

Again I’ve circled some major points:

1) Age of Sigmar.

2) Betrayal at Calth.

3) Deathwatch Overkill.

4) Imperial Knights: Renegade.

5) Codex Deathwatch.

6) Age of Sigmar: Sylvaneth.

7) Warmachine Prime.

8) Guild Ball: Hunters Guild and the Infinity – Human Sphere N3 book.

9) The X Wing miniatures game releases during the Star Wars film.

Again caveats, however it appears to show that:

  • Customers love 40k
  • Customers love major boxed game releases
  • Customers love Space Marines and Imperial Knights
  • Age of Sigmar can outsell 40k when there is a major boxed game release
  • Warmachine can outsell Age of Sigmar, however as both have gone through a relaunch recently it’s difficult to say what the future holds for either.
  • The major releases for Games Workshop are spaced out by about 4 months.
  • The most interesting part is that the two spikes for Age of Sigmar and the Sylvaneth are the same high which mean that

The last point is interesting as we have 2 major releases that could both come out within the next 3 months, BloodBowl and the Betrayal at Calth sequel.

That’s all from me, again if you’re in the UK check out Element Games who are top chaps.

~Do you want to see more research on this? Let me know in the comments

Read more at:

Chilvers Industries

  • jcdent

    “When GW games sell more, non GW games seem largely unaffected.”

    It’s like Hams players don’t play any other games or something!

    • Richard Mitchell

      That is what I got to. Since this an English store, I wonder how the data would compare to something like TheWarStore or DiscountGamesInc. Now that would make an interesting sequel article.

      • ZeeLobby

        Yeah, it’s sad we can’t get bigger picture data. Only game makers seem to have that, and it’s not something they should be throwing around, but it’s a shame for us consumers.

        • Chilversindustries

          It’s tricky, my hit rate for replies wasn’t great which isn’t surprising as most of these shops have nothing to gain from telling me about their sales, I will try and get some data from the US stores if you let me know what the biggest ones are?

          • ZeeLobby

            Warstore and MiniWarGaming are probably the biggest online stores. The warstore would be really interesting as they sell just about everything and don’t specialize in anything specifically.

          • Friar Tuckk

            Except from what I recall MiniWarGaming got out of the GW retail completely a couple of years ago.

          • ZeeLobby

            Oh snap. Didn’t know. I guess war store us it.

  • miteyheroes

    The AoS Sylvaneth peak is possibly actually the AoS General’s Handbook peak?

    • NovaeVox

      Good catch.

    • Severius_Tolluck

      Was a really good month over all for AoS

      • Richard Mitchell

        What the data also shows is that AoS is still having a hard time selling. GW advocates in England definitely seem to be retreating deeper into 40k territory rather than embracing AoS.

        • Greg Fleming

          Have to disagree though. On average, AoS sold far more units than Warmachine, with Warmahordes having 1 spike per year while AoS has had several in the last year, and even their worst month was pretty much equivalent. I don’t quite see your logic that AoS is not selling when the data clearly shows that it is outselling the nearest competitor steadily month to month. I’d be very interested in seeing AoS sales ongoing since the release of the General’s Handbook.

          • vlad78

            And X-wing? And Mantic?

          • miteyheroes

            Look at the bottom graph. For this shop, the 40k or AoS is the biggest seller every month. Nothing sells more than 40k, except AoS during 2 months. Nothing sells more than AoS except 40k most months often Warmahoards (but Warmahoards never has the sort of peaks that AoS has).

            X-wing is very much down the bottom of the graph. Infinity and Malifaux both normally outsell it.

            Of course, this is just one shop.

          • vlad78

            Then this confirms AOS seems to work well in the UK.

          • Simon Chatterley

            Whilst just “one shop” it has a pretty mighty online presence and I would say it’s safely in the top 3 independent online retailers in the UK (Darksphere, Wayland and Element Games being what I think)

            So whilst antidotal it’s not just a view of an area but probably a fair reflection of the UK as a whole.

            What it shows is that despite some pretty bad rule sets GW is still the company we love to buy…to hate…to buy more.

    • jcdent

      General’s Handbook would be a great explanation because it made AoS great again*

      *AoS had never been great, yet this only demonstrates the power of the book

  • WellSpokenMan

    Google search “Element Games”

    Result:

    “Element Games: Warhammer and Warhammer 40k Store”

    Still, this is probably reflective of the rest of the UK. It’s no secret GW has a stranglehold on that market.

    • Badgerboy1977

      With good reason as far as I’m concerned.

      • ZeeLobby

        True that. Importing games can be expensive!

    • Xodis

      True, but if more stores provided this information fans could build an actual set of real data instead of all the arguing back and forth.

      • WellSpokenMan

        I doubt the data would stop any arguing. GW’s financial reports give fairly solid data points and they provoke some of the bitterest fighting.

        • Xodis

          Yes but key points of the arguing is left out, like how well a specific game or product sells along with a comparison of the other major tabletop games.

          • WellSpokenMan

            Most of the arguing I’ve seen has more to do with feels than data. GW fans try to shout down those who don’t and vice versa. The reality is that how another game is doing doesn’t really affect a player that much, not beyond their local scene. The arguments are primarily between GW fans who want the company to be seen well even if they make their miniatures from the tears of kittens, and GW haters who want the company to be seen badly even if management is selling their organs and using the money to care for orphans.

          • Xodis

            I agree, but at least if we had solid statistics we would be able to filter the trolls as white noise easier. Still I believe its good to know what games are being accepted outside ones local community as well as inside, since any game finding large amounts of acceptance will inevitably find its way into every local meta. My local area for example was very “anti X-wing ” and “pro GW”…..around wave 7-8 suddenly X-wing was everywhere.

          • ZeeLobby

            Both stores I frequented were very pro-40K, anti-anythingelse but it really changed a lot in the past 2 years.

        • Hawt Dawg

          Some of the most entertaining if I may say so myself.

        • NovaeVox

          I see your point, but I kind of agree with Xodis.

          The author acknowledges the anomaly of Silver Tower, however, as miteyheroes pointed out above, the author conflates the Jul-16 spike to be the Sylvaneth release, either forgetting or ignoring that the General’s Handbook was also released at that time. It would actually be helpful not to mention interesting to see the individual product sales numbers in this case. The strength of the new IP/product vs. customer desire for GW sanctioned matched play, either with existing Fantasy collections, or otherwise on the fence about AoS, per se.

          We can make inferences. Compare that spike to Apr-16 “new” Ironjawz line, and May-16 “reboxed” Flesh Eater Courts.

        • vlad78

          Yes they said overall sales are still falling. ;p

    • its one of the largest retailers in europe when it comes to wargaming, not just UK.

    • I’ve been to element to play in tournaments, big on 40k but they do a lot of other game system events too

  • Badgerboy1977

    Prefer Darksphere myself in the UK, they do have P&P costs but have a 25% discount so it works out roughly the same or cheaper to other online stores, depending on what you’re getting, but their delivery times and communication are great which I haven’t found to be the case with Element in the past.
    They may have upped their game since I last ordered though of course.

    • pad_uk

      I tend to switch back and forth between the two. Element are very very slightly more expensive, but tend to reach me a tad quicker. Service from both is really good, but you do get sweeties in the box from Element! 🙂

      • Badgerboy1977

        To be honest I just realised that I was thinking of Wayland games, who’ve been a bit rubbish in that respect in the past, when I mentioned delivery times as Yeh Element are also very good in that respect. And the sweets/ pens etc you get from Element are a nice little bonus of course 🙂

        • Nik Dixon

          Lol. I have a more pens than i need. No spare mints though….

    • Ross Howard

      Same here with Darksphere. But It’s roughly on my commute so most of my orders are pick up.

      They let you know when your order is part ready which is handy if you’re looking to get a model built for a club night. But usually it’s a case of “Your Treelord and Kurnoth Hunters are still out of stock but why don’t you come in and grab that plasticard you ordered” haha

      Still, 2-3 day turnaround on orders is great on average.

    • Nik Dixon

      I don’t know when you last used them (and i think i’ve only used Darksphere once), but I get all my GW stuff from Element.
      Normally i get pre-orders and in my experience they are the best supplier i’ve used. The information from them is great (normal dispatch notifications etc. but also as soon as they have stock problems, it’s GW after all, they write and let me know what’s going on), plus 9/10 times pre-orders get to me on the Saturday its released. Even GW don’t deliver that fast!

      • Badgerboy1977

        Yeh it was Wayland I was thinking of (I’ve changed my original post to reflect this).
        Element have always been great but just a little more expensive than Darksphere who I use more often.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          I’ve had bad experiences with Wayland too. Triplehelixwargames is the only real competitor on price with Darksphere. Its worth putting your order into both their carts, sometimes one is a few pounds cheaper, sometimes the other.

  • John Robert Hurley

    So this tells us essentially zero about the worldwide market.

    • SYSTem050

      It’s more than we had yesterday

      • ZeeLobby

        Haha. Yup. That’s about it.

    • tells you something about the european market at least, since element games is quite large all over europe and not just uk

    • DeathBy SnuSnu

      Given there’s no scale on the Y, those graphs also tell us nothing really. Could be single units, could be tens, hundreds whatever. Of course I’m surprised they published anything since this sort of info is usually commercially sensitive.

  • FerociousBeast

    I suggest a change to the title:

    Tabletop Games: What [Some of You in the UK] Have Been Buying [from Element Games]

  • JD Robertson

    I feel like there’s some sample bias from the single supplier. From what I’ve read, globally, X-Wing is the second-best selling tabletop game behind GW yet this data has X-Wing well below Infinity and comparing poorly to Flames of War, which is generally more niche. It would be interesting to see more global numbers. Nice article, though.

    • Chilversindustries

      Thanks, it seems there is call to get more data from worldwide suppliers so i’ll see what I can get hold of. As I live in the UK i’ll need to have a look at the most popular US stores.

    • Lord Blacksteel

      Yeah you can’t infer -anything- from a sample size of one in a market of many, I don’t care if they have a sizable online presence. In fact, a small sample can be a big negative as people say “oooh – data” and start drawing conclusions about the market as a whole. It’s not “better than nothing” or “more than we knew before” as it’s one drop in the pool as it can lead to false conclusions based on a tiny bit of knowledge rather than openly acknowledged pure speculation.

      Based on a sample of one state’s status today (a heavily populated state) I might conclude that the entire US is experiencing high winds, torrential rains, and that the entire country is evacuating to Canada!

      A comparison between a UK store and a US store would still be interesting, let’s just hold back on the conclusions about large scale GW games behavior.

  • rantersheaven

    Interesting, but definitely not global, and also a GW-biased store. Their very first tab says ‘Games Workshop’. In Canada, I’ve heard that one of our biggest stores sells more Warmachine & Hordes than GW product in general.

    Also, not sure what these charts are charting. Is it $$$ or units sold? 1 GW customer will likely pay much more for their army than any 1 customer of another game. As gamers, we care about # of players, not how much we spend.

    • Chilversindustries

      Its in $$$ or rather £££

      • ZeeLobby

        Ah, units sold would be interesting.

  • Emprah

    40k sells, who would have thought.

  • vyrago

    lone game store that sells 40k reports that 40k has been selling.

    • zeno666

      haha yeah

  • ZeeLobby

    While interesting. It really doesn’t say much. 40K focused gaming store sells lots of 40K, makes sense. The charts are in £, not units sold, so more expensive games are going to peak higher purely because of the price difference. It’s a good metric for the store revenue, but does little to signify popularity.

    The big takeaway is pretty much: GW is still top dog, and other games are still selling stuff too. Regardless none seem to be tanking, though the GW sales definitely fluctuate wildly with their releases, which is to be expected.

  • Nameless

    interesting note, but following the line for Warhammer fantasy/Age of Sigmar the points for January 2015 (End times Archeon) and January 2016 (chamber extremis) line up fairly close to one another.

    it is difficult to tell without more data but the base line for Age of Sigmar seems to be fairly level with that of the end of Warhammer Fantasy.

    on other notes, Warhammer 40k shows clearly the biggest variance

  • Painjunky

    Well this tells us exactly nothing.

  • Chet Atkinson

    Don’t forget guys that the data have been normalised. No seller is going to come out with exactly how many units or how much money they’ve sold or made. The graph just shows spikes of sales – so all you can take away from it is that when an item comes out it gets bought. That’s pretty much it – some stuff sells better than others but as this is a money graph and not a normalised units graph its a bit meaningless

  • zeno666

    Its cute how they have labled AoS “Warhammer Fantasy”

  • Andrea

    I don’t see this as representative of the market,right now in my area , GW is almost DEAD,with FLAMES of war, X-wing, Infinity replace, our club(10 ppl ) don’t play a 40k/AoS, since a year .We only had some Silver tower but the game is kid-oriented so we aabandoned that game too