My Abusive Relationship with Games Workshop Leads Me to a Budding Romance with Mantic Games (by Vinnie Virga)

Little 12 Year Old Vinnie can hardly contain his excitement as his Gram is taking him to the store with all the nicely painted fantasy creatures in its window today. This is none other than the now closed Games Workshop Store of the Buckland Hills Mall in Manchester, CT (but don’t worry folks there are thousands of independent distributors and other Games Workshop stores though out the United States even if we are unrepresented in New England… AHEM!). From the moment my foot touched down inside that magical fantasy realm, a realm where geeks ruled and those popular jocks were the one’s excluded, there was no going back. I was from that point forward forever destined to be a geek. I was officially addicted to the plastic crack known in the hobby industry as Miniature Wargaming. Looking back now 9 years later I still am addicted to the hobby (symptoms include chronic dice rolling syndrome, first Codex obsessive disorder and sudden 8th edition rulebook Tirades). However, now far older and wiser than I was when I first started the hobby (keep telling yourself that) I am beginning to gain a new perspective on the industry and one which will test my loyalty to the company that started it all for me (and cost me Multiple Thousands of Dollars).

What I Like to Call the Wallet Factor

When I entered the hobby I was a kid and kid’s have absolutely no perception of the value of money (not like us Ramen Noodle eating College Students do!!!). As a kid my collection of miniatures was build over a time period which consisted of multiple Birthday Presents from Various Relatives, Multiple Christmas Mornings and Doing Chores around the House just to squeeze a few more dollars out of dear old dad. But now that I am an adult and the dwindling dollars reaped in by birthday and christmas cards is insufficient to cover the costs of even an Army Box I can’t help but think of better days (sad coming from not even a 21 year old). Anybody out there remember the days when a Tactical Squad of Space Marines Costed just $25?! Well BAD NEWS those days are long gone and I can think of 15 dollars, I mean reasons why they are never coming back. We, the avid and loyal gaming community, are paying 60% MORE for the exact same product. Nothing has changed but the price. Same number of miniatures. Same sculpt used for the Miniatures. Same trying to get our Fingers Unglued after putting our miniatures together. While I will be the first to admit I have allowed Games Workshop to get away with this atrocity, I finally passed my Leadership Test and am going to rally those who will listen.

Taking the ME Out of GaMEs Workshop and Placing it in Mantic GaMEs

Never thought the day would come when I would say this but GAMES WORKSHOP WE’RE THROUGH! I can’t handle this abusive relationship anymore. All you do these days is take, take and take some more–at the end of the day what am I left with? It’s time I start thinking about myself. That is why I Am Going to Take My Talents to Mantic Games. While there may be riots in the streets of Nottingham (the headquarters of Games Workshop) I will still divulge my  reasoning behind this highly emotional decision (sniff sniff sniff… how many sniffs does it take to convey your sad?). My primary reason is that following its success with Dreadball which placed Mantic Games on the map, it has gone a different route then Games Workshop. Where Games Workshop took the success of its games and used it as cause for drastically increasing the price of everything, Mantic is doing everything it can to keep to prices as low as possible with its trademark KICKSTARTER Method. To save you time and energy of reading this link I will break it down. A Kickstarter is where the company in attempt to either Fund a New Game OR Revitalize an Existing Game asks its gaming community to commit reasonable Pledges. While the obvious gain of the business is getting the money necessary to cover their initial costs of producing new miniatures and terrain, you are probably wondering how this benefits the consumer (ME ME ME!!!). The answer is that Mantic Games uses a Reward System where they list a variety of Pledge Options and depending on how much you Pledge, you are sent in the mail a certain number of products. The best part about it the More you Pledge–THE MORE YOU GET EXPONENTIALLY!!! Add on top of this that those who Pledge get Products for less money than what they would have to spend if they were to just purchase the same thing following the release of the game. SIMPLY EPIC! While this makes sense in terms of Dollars and Cents does it really matter if I don’t like the game? ONCE AGAIN Mantic Games impresses. Ultimately Mantic Games Statement is that it wants to build a game that its community wants to play so before producing the rules for a game they put them out to the public for FREE and allow us the community to test and comment. This is nothing revolutionary but a great personal touch that really builds loyalty in a customer base. You the paying costumer like to know that the company you are investing your hard earned money in is taking the time to listen to what you have to say and even implement your suggestions! Top this off with an active Facebook Page which provides frequent announcements, replies and photos, and you have yourself one interactive environment! Games Workshop NEVER seeks out the feedback of its community–there is no forums on their website, they do not reply to people who like them on Facebook and they do everything they can to hide products before their release. This trademark Cloak and Dagger approach leaves far from “Feeling the Love” over at Games Workshop (“I thought you said you liked to hold hands”).

The Breakdown 

Note: The Company Denoted as Greater Than is Considered by this Writer to Have the Advantage in the Category

  1. NOSTALGIA: Mantic Games < Games Workshop
  2. QUALITY OF PRODUCT: Mantic Games = Games Workshop
  3. DETAIL OF MINIATURES: Mantic Games = Games Workshop
  4. COST: Mantic Games > Games Workshop
  5. POWER OF THE CONSUMER VOICE: Mantic Games > Games Workshop
  6. INTERACTION WITH COMMUNITY: Mantic Games > Games Workshop
  7. VOLATILITY OF PRICING: Mantic Games > Games Workshop

Conclusion

I hate to say it but Games Workshop offers only nostalgic value (ah the good Ol’ Days) when it comes to advantages over the up-and-coming contender Mantic Games. The Grandfather of Miniature Wargaming may have revolutionized the genre but the rest of the industry is catching up. While the premium used to be justified by the superiority of the product that just is no longer the case. The gaming systems of both companies are on equal ground as well as the quality of their miniatures. Breaking down cost, chances that price will rise, interaction with its consumers and power of the consumers Mantic Games topples GW in a LANDSLIDE!!! This is why ultimately until Games Workshop sees the error of its ways and goes back to making a game for its consumers (NOT FOR PROFIT ALONE) Mantic Games is making all the right moves to steal from its community and coffers. Mantic Games, while it may not have the history and long standing reputation of Games Workshop, certainly is exhibiting all the signs of a Business keen on the needs of its market.

After 8 years Games Workshop I think its finally time for us to quite and start seeing other people ( fact I have a date with Mantic Games this November!). Its not YOU, its ME–its time you realize that you have to put your consumers need before you own or you won’t have any consumers left. I hope we can still be friends though; after all you were my first.

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