Friday, September 23

my .02 on this new "Dreadfleet," launch.

Well, just when we think GW can't possibly screw things up any more (Sorry sisters players), they go and surprise us again with weird business practices.

First things first, this is going to be a fairly short post, but I just had to get this out.  So, recently GW kept us in the dark about its new game (like it always does).  Now that it is finally out we discover that it is a splash release.  



WTF!  seriously,  they come out with a brand new game and we have what, a couple weeks, to play it a handful of times to decide if we even like the thing.  As soon as we have determined if we like the god-forsaken game it turns out that there are no more to order.  

Have you ever been to Costco?  You know how they have people out giving free taste tests on foods they sell? Well, besides being how I pretty much ate dinner all through college (free food FTW!) it was a great idea cause a lot of times you ended up buying that food.  How stupid would it be if you tried to go purchase the food and they said "yea, we don't have any of that thing you just discovered you liked." Then, after asking if they will get more they say "No, it was a splash release."  Do you see how stupid it is?  I do. 

Now some of you will say, "but Duke...What about Space Hulk, that was a wild success!" That would be a true statement, my FLGS sold 100% of their copies and they thought they over-ordered.  Here is the difference between Space Hulk and Dreadfleet.

We knew and loved Space Hulk already!!!

Dreadfleet is no Man-O-War (Duh). All they had to do with SH is not screw it up and we would swallow that pill like it had cake batter all over it. They did their job on that one and it remained a great game. simply because it was pretty much the same game, but prettier!

I don't want to go on and on, about this.  It is very possible that I am 100% wrong and that this game will catch on like wild fire.  I may regret not buying a copy.  But for now my dollars are staying safely in my pocket.

So, what about you? are you excited for this game? Are you going to purchase it, or take the wait and see approach?



  1. First, I dont go to GW's web site on the regular so I didnt even know this was out there untill reading this. Now they are all gone I guess from what you said.

    Second, Why produce something if your not going to back it up? I just dont understand that.

    Third, do people play Space Hulk or was it a success just because it sold from people wanting the figs?

    My firend got one we tried it 1 time, he tried to play with his son 1 time, then it got split up and parted out on ebay.

  2. This is just GW being GW. They know that they can sell out a splash release like this to their fan boys in the 30K number probably produced. Just show some pretty pictures and talk about how great it is. They have fixed known costs for one bulk purchase of components and 100% sell through so they can have a guarantied profit level. No need to send out demos or anything since that just cuts into profit and they already know they are going to sell out.

    But the problem for GW is that 30K copies is really nothing to the bottom line. It might make up for the flagging sales from last year (about 3M) but as a one off it does not build the customer base so it is not going to affect the trend. A little risk at a 100K printing could really show a good boost in sales but what if they have trouble selling the game in that number since that is a significant portion of all their active customers. They need a good game for that if they only sell 50K then they probably make less than printing and selling only 30K.

  3. I don't understand why they don't just keep producing more copies of Space Hulk? I bet they would still sell (seeing as how they do on Ebay). I can understand building excitement and trying to capture that impulse buy, but it just seems like a losing strategy.

  4. I actually sold my copy of Space Hulk on eBay a few weeks ago, ended up going for $140 so I was pretty happy about it. Was really excited to buy it when it came out, but the game itself never grew on me. The models were nice, but I play neither BA nor Nids, and couldn't muster up the desire to paint them let along convert and paint.

    The game was... ok, had a hard time finding people to play with, and I think I made it through the first 3 missions (playing with Cruor Vault no less) before I decided it was kind of meh.

    I suspect Dreadfleet will be similar. The models look amazing, but you can't really use them for much else. The game will be fun for a while, but I suspect it will have at best a very niche market and group of players.

  5. GW does not have its own card printing resources so it has to contract out that manufacturing. You get the best deal on that in limited large runs since machine setup costs is always significant. You can probably get like 25K printed once for the same price as like 5-10K printed twice.

    Back when they made a good number of games they printed a lot of card materials so probably had multiple vendors. Now their standard products hardly have any. Blood Bowl costs like 85 dollars now for something which Wotc of FF would sell for like 50-60 in a large new print run.

  6. I just don't see the point of it. Generally side product are designed to lead into main line products. Space hulk did this fairly well, I know a few people who started or significantly expanded their tyrnadis/ blood Angels armies because of space hulk.

    Also, as has already been said, how much can this actually add to the bottom line? Not much in such limited numbers, so again why do it? At corporations you have limited human capital, how about pitting it into a full sisters codex with a new plastic range instead of a ship-ship game that is only a splash release which we seer familiar with?

    I love side games, but side games that arent supported after initial release are irritating.

    Long story short, this game could be the greatest thing ever, but then they will lose potential sales as they can't fill demand. Or, it isnt amazing and they wasted time and resources while not affecting the bottom line by any significant margin.


  7. When I worked at the GWUSHQ in Glen Burnie, there was a running joke that GW could package a pile of dogshit in a 40K or a Fantasy box and it would sell...

  8. Cliff isn't far from that, i was at a manager's meeting and something similar was said back in the day when I worked for GW. If you package it, they will buy it.

    As for Duke's comments about "samples" GW in their defense is posting up everyday this week 360 shots of the models, sprues, game contents, example of play and background fluff in their web content. So, they are sampling, much like Costco, for a limited time. They same between X to X time, show up when they open, more than likely they won't have their stands setup. Show up late before they close, they are already gone and went home for the day.

    The set is great looking, but I wonder about "eye candy factor". They are without a doubt a "collectors game" not the standard gamer but those that want to own something unique. Like Space Hulk you can play it a few times and the game is going to get a bit stale and your going to put it aside once the frenzy wears off. Space Hulk did the same thing, people bought it, played it and put it up. Sometimes it comes out for beer and pizza night.

    The nice thing is you can find and download the old expansion to Space Hulk and the other home grown versions using other races with the rules.

    If GW was savvy they would have a Dreadfleet expansion setup to sell with a rerelease next year or 6 months from now with say 6 new ships, new card and scenery in the expansion.

    I am on the fence about buying it. It appeals to the collector in me, but the player says like the new Hulk I would not play it much.

  9. I also am pretty sure I won't be buying it. I went online to GW's battle report and I admit the game looks beautiful and that makes it interesting. But what I really want is re-playability. I want to be able to build an empire fleet and have it be different from my high elf fleet, which is different from my skaven fleet (skaven fleet?!)

    I want to include this game in campaigns and all that crap. I have a feeling that this game is a "well, I guess I'm sick of 40k so I'll play this thing."


  10. Most Board games are Beer and Pizza night things. Once you add the random element of dice (so remove things like chess and go) it is hard to overly focus on a single game in a box like you can in a table top war game like 40K where you have all these options for lists and infinite different battle field arrangements. There are only so many variables to discuss. Most boardgamers have large collections that they rotate through in their games. Many of them also have more than 2 players which keeps them more interesting.

    For example if you had Blood Bowl which is a great game but only the Human and Orc teams and none of the extra skills. You are essentially playing the same game over and over. Add in the other 22 teams and now you have like 200 different matchups. Add in the player advancement and skills and the fun is only limited by the narrow focus players make on the optimal skill choices (ie everyone gets block).

  11. A lot of you seem to be ripping on this whole splash release thing, but I believe that it is because you are looking at the DreadFleet release from a miniatures stand point. Instead look at it from a board game perspective. Dreadfleet is not meant to be a new miniatures line, nor does it provide miniatures for any existing miniature line from GW. It is in essence a Board Game with a hobby aspect.

    Looking at it in this perspective, board games are usually not printed indefinitely, many many of them go out of print not long after a release. GW is doing the same with Dreadfleet. Also, honestly, for anyone who is a boardgame buyer, you don't really play them that much. In my gaming group it is generally good enough if a game gets into the "played once" pile. When you look at a game that you need to build and paint, its going to be even harder to get it into the played once pile.

    Now for a little bit of a business perspective. A splash release is the best way for GW to get the highest ROI. There is always high demand for this type of product, and so there will probably be high sales for a short period of time, and then it would probably die down to a trickle.

    The problem with keeping the product going is that the production costs probably too high to to justify it if the sales are too slow. Even if GW would make money, it may not be worth it. For instance, if GW can make 6% elsewhere, then it doesn't matter if Dreadfleet/Spacehulk/whatever can give a 5% return.

  12. Looks really cool to me but then again those ships are painted up really nice. It seems like a good game.

  13. This is more about GW showing their competitors that they can beat them at all facets of the biz. I bet Spartan is shitting their pants seeing the quality of the ship sculpts. Hell, even their partners at FFG would have a hard time doing this game.

    Development costs have been soaked up and it probably has almost zero overhead considering most of the components are produced in Asia from what I understand.

    I think it's a huge win for GW and, if successful, you all will get your 40K-related release next year.

  14. For the $115 you spend on Dreadfleet, you can buy a pretty bulked out army for Dystopian Wars by Spartan Games.

    I picked up the starter fleet for the Japanese, the aircraft carrier, the Dreadnought and the Kraken (Ika).

    While the minis for Dreadfleet are pretty swanky. The game itself has very low replayability b/c it mission based games.

    Dystopian on the other hand has full armies (four more being released shortly bringing the total to 9) and is actually (GASP!) supported by Spartan.

    Dreadfleet is simply Deadfleet on arrival IMO. Your better off buying Dystopian Wars and playing that.