Monday, January 28, 2008

An Open Letter to Games Workshop

'Ello There Gents,

I'd like to have a word with you, as a retailer who does fairly well with your miniatures games and very well with the role-playing games that Black Industries has produced for you. Specifically, Warhammer 40K Dark Heresy, which was selling so well on its opening weekend that I ordered about three times more than I initially thought I'd sell over the product's lifetime because the momentum seemed so impressive. Given how well Warhammer Fantasy was supported, how beautiful the production values were on Dark Heresy, I thought it worth taking a several hundred dollar risk on your product.

So I'd like to know why you decided to cut me off at the fucking knees by announcing that you're ending the line come September. I mean, as someone who bought the game for himself and hopes to run it at some point, I'm mildly annoyed from a personal standpoint. But don't get me wrong, you've got plenty of fan ire right now... let's change lanes a bit.

Because as a retailer, a *partner* in selling your games, I'm pretty fucking livid. You had to announce this the very day that I purchased hundreds of dollars in stock from you? You think maybe this might come back to affect my bottom line on your products, and then as a result your bottom line? It's certainly affected the amount of trust I'm willing to extend to you in preorders, which will begin affecting you pretty much immediately.

So thank you for the thoroughly puzzling decision to cancel a game so anticipated and so popular that it sold out at manufacturer *and* distributor level within days of release. And while we're at it, thanks for deciding to cancel Talisman, one of the best-selling fantasy board games of all time, after finally bringing it back.

I honestly have no idea what the fuck kind of business plan you have at Games Workshop, but I can only assume someone there has an almost paranoid fear of stacks of easy money. I guess selling out of a product in six minutes is somehow not an indicator of success in the world of Games Workshop, but a deadweight line of miniatures based on an expensive license (Lord of the Rings) is something to be carried for years, and foisted as an unnecessary expense on your partner stores in order that they might be able to carry your actual products that sell.

P.S. To anyone confused by this post who wants to know what I'm talking about, you'll find the whole thing detailed at the Black Industries site.


Nate Southard said...

Damn, man. Sorry they did that. On the other hand, the game looks badass, and I'd love to play it sooner rather than later. :-)

Greg McElhatton said...

Wow. That just seems... well, like a poorly disguised attempt to hide that they're about to go under, or something, because there's no other way that makes sense.

Randy said...

Games Workshop has a history of mind-boggling decisions like this. They've been around for at least 20 years making decisions like this, so they're definitely making money on their core product (miniatures games and novels).

What I don't understand is the seeming desire to not make *more* money on other products. Especially when all the risk and development is already done on those products.