So its official that the LA battlebunker is being downsized into a small store with only a couple tables. Which is sad, because I know they had just hired a bunch of people within a year or so down there. Are Battle Bunkers going the way of the Dinosaur?


I have also heard that something similar is happening to the Chicago Battle Bunker. This is a strange one as I had thought the Chicago Bunker would stand the test of time, but the manager at the new and upcoming Portland Oregon store, is from the Chicago Bunker. I have not found an official release that this is happening, so perhaps Chicago is still in the rumor stage.

Here is the official news for the LA battlebunker.

On Sunday, February 24th the Games Workshop Los Angeles Battle Bunker will be closing its doors, to be re envisioned and reopened as a Games Workshop Hobby Center. The new doors will open on Thursday, February 27th.

We thank all of you for your patronage and participation in the activities and events that have been showcased at the Los Angeles Battle Bunker over the years. Though our new store won’t be designed around hosting large scale events, you can be assured that you will still have access to the same, great range of Games Workshop product as before, with the ability to enjoy a friendly game and improve your hobby skills in a smaller environment.

This Games Workshop Hobby Center format will allow us to better deliver on great customer service to our wide range of customers who are working on their own collections of models. This change also allows us to better focus on recruiting new customers to our great hobby.

We truly appreciate all of our customers support within the Los Angeles Battle Bunker and we would like to invite you to visit the new Hobby Center beginning on February 27th.

25 Comments:

  1. yup, they all went the way of the dodo in Britain, you're lucky to find a shop with more than one staff member these days. I think the only reason the US bunkers survived as long as they did is the prodigeous distances involved in getting to the US HQ. In the UK it can't ever be more than a 5 hour drive.

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    1. Same in Spain. The few "real" Battle Bunker were bye bye. And now a shop with a regular table with with some terrain are the new definition of Battle Bunker. Th rest of the shop even don't have the gaming regular table

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  2. We lost anything bigger than a postage stamp here in Canada a long time ago. Still a bummer to hear.

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  3. I would like to think this would have to do with the LA store losing money as a "large" store, BUT Im am doubtfull. I also think they ARE currently equiped to help new players as well as maintain the older customers.

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  4. Boy I hope we get to keep our Seattle Battlebunker (which isn't, in fact, in Seattle, but hey, what's a couple cities' distance and a lake to do with naming)...

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    1. Yeah I hope not either. Im just about finished with my fantasy army and wanted to get in some games...

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  5. It was Tyler they sent over, wasn't it? He was a pretty cool guy, hate to see him go. But yes, sadly, the rumor is true, insofar as the Chicago Bunker getting downsized. Over the last year or so, I've seen the store where I've bought my 40k for the last 6ish years been downsized from the sweet-looking nerd den that it was into the tiny storefront next door. Originally they'd had both, and the small place next door was just a room full of playing tables, so I don't know what happened, but yeah, it's a real bummer.

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  6. I used to frequent the Chicago Bunker often with my friends. Tim, the manager, is a really nice guy, but the rest of his staff are either mouth-breather nerds or complete assholes, hence why I said I and my friends "used" to frequent it; it's not the most comfortable atmosphere. Tyler, formerly of the Chicago Bunker, is the manager in Portland now. He was a real great guy and we hope he's doing well, but it was a shame to see him go. In any case, it's no surprise they're scaling down - the people who are typically at the Chicago Bunker are elitists. We ended up making our own tables - two at my place, three at my buddies - and that's been much better than the Bunker.

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    1. Anyone that would describe the staff as assholes must indeed be an asshole as I have gone to the bunker for years and even when I was new, the managers AND staff were very nice and helpful and I see them act that way every day towards new hobbyists. I can count Tyler and the rest of them as friends, and to hear someone just shit on em for no reason is pretty low. All this speculation is stupid anyways, he got a managers job, thats all, thats why people work at the bunker, to become GW managers. Sounds like you have an axe to grind buddy, no one want to play with you? Maybe examine your own outlook.

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    2. And they hired a replacement so learn your stuff

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  7. Don't you think it has to do with the fact that GW only carries GW (over-priced) products at their stores. I can buy elmer's glue, super glue, etc. for a 3rd of the price; as well as getting a higher quality product.

    When you have a business model based on such a niche, you have to carry a wider range of products. There is warma-hordes, pathfinder, d&d, magic, etc. If they carried these cash-cows, along with their own products they wouldn't be going out of business. Look at your FLGS, they carry everything, which makes them viable. GW only stores are not viable, especially when I can get a 10%+ discount at my FLGS.

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  8. The ship is sinking slowly I think. Smaller stores, fewer staff, crappier customer service, less major activities in store, less Games Days and rising prices.

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  9. I don't know if it's necessarily sinking, insomuch as changing for the times. Online gaming draws a lot of the younger crowds away from stores, and modeling isn't exactly a huge hobby in the U.S. My local store in Oak Park, IL, seems to do fairly well for itself, but it only has two tables to play on. Multiple tables aren't really necessary unless you're hosting a large tournament, and then you can just rent out the space.

    As far as rising prices and crappier customer service, well, maybe. Prices are rising, but it's not a crazy amount compared to inflation (maybe the value is going down in number of models, but kits contain tons of bits any more). Crappy customer service? At the bunker, I may agree on that. The employees were alright, just a bit too nerdy at times (this coming from a 14-year hobby veteran). The biggest problem, IMO, was the people who frequent the bunker. They are the least friendly group ever, more concerned with being elite and snobby over enjoying the game.

    Overall, I think GW is more in the public spotlight than it's been in years, thanks to somewhat successful video games and marketing. It's not in any danger of going away, and the smaller stores really make more sense.

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    1. The Chicago bunker turned me off to 40k for a while. It wasnt till I started to frequent the Oak Park store that I realized all GW employees werent jerks.

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    2. I have to say, two of my three local GW stores were downright unpleasant to play in if your weren't a regular. Add to that the recent trend of the one employee to pounce on you as soon as you walk in, has REALLY turned me off to spending any time there. I'm all for having a place where everyone knows your name and all, but when the customers send out hostile vibes to "newbies" and make sport of them when they do deign to play them, that's gotta be bad on the cash register. But what do I know, I'm just some guy. Way back when we used to be extra nice to new people to encourage them to stick around and build armies so we had more opponents.

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  10. I don't know if the ship is sinking... Based on the financial report it looks like they are just trimming the fat & further streamlining their distribution - moving away from elitists & tourneys in favor of your casual gamer.

    They are looking kind of aggressive with their business strategies, but, with more alternatives than ever out there, one could argue a case for it from a business perspective.

    Plus there are tons of board & video games out there now with GW licensed materials.

    I'm not saying I like it. Just that, I can see other niche markets opening up to fill the need for gaming spaces just as when GW stopped selling bitz, others stepped up & began selling them instead.

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  11. Well, that's certainly a shame; I've only just recently started frequenting the Chicago bunker

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  12. So wait, is the Chicago Bunker the one in Downers Grove or one of the other ones closer to Chicago like Oak Park? Cause that'd be a bummer to hear them down sizing Downers Grove. They just remodeled it last year to add more tables and a better layout. I just got into this hobby two years ago, it's a bummer to hear the downsides of it and dreary future...bleek...dark...full of unrest...like..like the the 41st Millenium!!! OMG!!!

    In all seriousness, I do worry for the Hobby, prices and all. Yeah my brother built his own table because sometimes the vibe at the Bunkers are just wrong. Let's hope for some better change I guess.

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  13. The bunker in Chicago is the Downers Grove store. It would be a big blow to the AWC group (adepticon organization) if they did downsize that store. It was nice to go and buy most of the less popular stuff (like tau) right off the shelf there too.

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  14. I would love to have a store like this in my area. Sad to see stuff like this downsize.

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  15. I usually play at the LA bunker at least once a month. It was a really nice place. Quite a shame

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  16. Games Workshop continues to drive away any customer that shows any interest in the hobby. The stores here are all tiny, you would be challenged to find any kind of community because there is simply no support. Why support official stores who provide nothing online shops can't do better and cheaper... The only point of difference GWS has over other gaming companies is the stores.

    I entered the hobby for large stores with painting and playing facilities and a strong community. That strong community is being undermined by lack of rule support and rising prices, now the removal of facilities is the final nail.

    If anything one man stores need more tables for painting and playing so people can actually do something while they wait for service.

    What a pathetic state of affairs. If online gaming is the competition then building communities and gaming venues is the only answer.

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  18. About a year ago to a year and a half, the Chicago Battle bunker went from its old format, the duel store front with two rooms of gaming and the original store with the painting bar and small store front, the game room, vending machines, bathrooms, and back room. The old store is still there with the painting bar, but is no longer in use, save to allow access to the bath rooms.

    The current format is they have taken over the larger game room, the store takes up the front area, where you enter at, and the game room is behind them, and store rooms are in the back. You still have to walk in to the old store to access the washrooms.

    Technically, this is a better set up, as the old set up was a loss prevention nightmare. You entered in to the game room, and then walked it to access the store. The cash register and staff station was the Paint bar.

    With the new set up, you walk in to the store, where most of the staff are, then enter to gaming room.

    They may have lost half dozen tables at the most, but there are still more than enough to hold large games or event games.

    Now, with talk of downsizing the La bunker, there may further change the Chicago Battle Bunker. I haven't been out there since late summer, so I'm not sure if anything has changed.

    I called the Chicago Battle bunker and talked to the manger there. There are no plans on closing the store. The change was made due to the awkwardness of the old store, and to provide more tables and a better gaming space.

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  19. Chicago Battle Bunker is closing and good riddance. GW games are a joke compared to what they used to be. See ya!

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