While it is indeed a smarter thing to do from a business perspective, it is sad to see battle bunkers go away. Today I was told that its not just the LA and Chicago Battle Bunkers going away, its all Battle Bunkers in general. Here is the latest.


Please remember that this is still a rumor and nothing formal has been announced.

via the Faeit 212 inbox (cant be named source)
ALL battle bunkers will be phased out over time. The issue isn't the sinking ship of a company, but how much it costs, against how much it earns. Bad business ethic. You wouldn't pay $1000 to earn a $100, it's just stupid. So they are phasing them all out in order to have stores that suit the numbers of customers. This probably means that although the bunkers will close, they'll open stores closer to the larger concentrations of customers. So if you've been asked for an area code recently....or something similar, watch out for a new store opening soon!!

41 Comments:

  1. Maybe this really does make more sense, given that it took 'til 2012 to get a GW here in Indianapolis.

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  2. I don't know about bad business ethics? I think your source doesn't know what business ethics are. I would suggest that this tactic (of reducing playing space) is actually bad from an ethical perspective...

    What you say? Think about this, GW has a large play space and uses that to sell models. Part of the cost of doing business. Now, GW closes play space, still tries to sell models but sends players to other stores to play once they drop $500-$1000 on a first time army. What does the FLGS owner get? A play space mooch that will buy a model here and there, but GW got the big sale and offloaded the cost of play space to their resellers... Booo

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    1. or you can simply look at like this,

      more smaller stores opening in new locations gives people that have never had a GW store in their local area a chance to have one.

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    2. As someone who's managed and then owned a hobby store, I can't say I'm too surprised by this. While the idea is to have a place for gamers to hang out and hopefully then buy more things while they're there, this tends to happen very infrequently.

      Over a period of 7 years my stores hosted a lot of tournaments for different games with areas for people doing their own thing. The majority of people that showed up to game didn't buy more than a few snacks or something else small, unless it was an event with an entry fee.

      The fact of business is that once people have bought what they want, they don't continue to spend. And that gaming space has a per foot rental cost in your lease.

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    3. @Punchdub - That's a two-sided sword. Yeah, a FLGS gets a "space mooch" - but FLGS's sell other products, like glue and such. And (Sorry GW) based on the hobby materials GW sells vs what I can get at a FLGS - I buy them at my FLGS. I realize GW HAS to sell that stuff to have a "complete" hobby - but the markup, and the quality of some of the stuff, suffers in comparison to other things out there - since the same manufacturing acumen doesn't go into the hobby supplies (glue, brushes) as goes into the model production. (or at least it doesn't appear to.) And exposure to "other" gaming systems at a FLGS has a two fold purpose. One, it can generate sales for the FLGS, and two, it can also highlight the difference between the quality and versatility of (most) GW's products. AND, even though it's "taboo", some FLGS's offer regular customer discounts that GW stores don't. So it CAN be a win/win for a FLGS too.

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  3. Had to use our beloved Seattle bunker in the photo eh? This would be a bummer.

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    1. Exactly what I was thinking. I hope they don't close that Factoria spot.

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    2. sorry for the photo, the Seattle Battle bunker is the only one that bunker that I have been to. although its been a number of years.

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  4. only 3 battle bunkers in USA?Chicago,Seatle and LA?

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  5. this has been happening in the UK for around 5 years now. we now have no battle bunkers left. believe me, it sucks. small stores, crap tables, rubbish opening hours, tons of kids. not good.

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  6. The Chicago Bunker wont go away til the lease is up anyways, which is a few years off. I would be really surprised though as it actually does turn a profit last time I checked. As if now there's no plans to close it.

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  7. Smaller stores doesn't quite mean no playing space. One could easily open a smaller store with three gaming tables and still serve customers effectively. My local shop in Oak Park only has two tables, and I rarely have issues getting in game time.

    In reference to being forced in with kiddies, I've never had a problem with interacting with younger players. Why should the hobby be reserved only for adults? Kids, while not battle geniuses, are enthusiastic, excited about the hobby, and tend to be easy going with others. It's the adults that tend to be hobby snobs and ruin the fun for others. The Chicago Battle Bunker is rife with this, people turning their nose up to kids and "noobs".

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    1. You won't be there. Seriously. The stores in the UK have recently stopped gaming nights, or ate in the process if phasing them out.

      Put it this way. If you have a full army for the system and you don't want the other systems, they couldn't give a rats arse about you now. All the time is being pushed into beginner hobbyists. Anyone considered a veteran us being told to set up gaming groups.

      Gw is not in the business of supporting local hobbyists anymore, unless you are new hobbyists.

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    2. It is a very short sighted strategy. So gamers don't go the GW stores any more to play, so they will buy stuff online instead. Then the stores become unprofitable and close. New gamers stop being recruited, the gaming population slowly ages, losses from attrition aren't replaced. Eventually GW goes bust.

      For want of a nail a shoe was lost, etc.

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    3. Actually no, the gaming population gets younger because they have a steady stream of youngsters they develop. I don't fear for the short term health of GW, it will be the long term loss of market share that will affect them more.

      I agree that it is massively short sighted.

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    4. I don't know what your local GW is like, but the one in Edinburgh is pretty active on gaming nights and schedules its vets night (no kids) on a day that doesn't clash with the two main gaming clubs in the city.

      Maybe we just have good staff or something.

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  8. GW wants to use it's store to recruit people into the hobby and connect new players. Once you've done that you need your local store less. My assumption is that unless you really like the guy who runs the the store, you're probably going to buy your stuff online for a discount.

    I think kids in the hobby are great, lots of energy. As an adult, my main interest is playing with people my age.

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  9. Nooo! Not the seattle battle bunker. This is the only gws I have every been in and I love it. The staff are great, there is plenty of tables and terrain to pick from. You casn usualyy find a pick up game and tournaments are held often. Not to mention the huge amount of supplies they carry. It would be a real shame to see it go away.

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  10. I don't know about over there but here in Australia (Brisbane anyway), if they removed the battle bunker at Mt G. then the store couldn't handle the amount of people that go to said bunker to game...

    If anything the FLGSs would get an influx of Warhammer players simply because they tend to have more space then a GW does.

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  11. Complaint won't actually do anything it's not till the whole community stops buying their product will the company Change its strategy, I've been playing this game since I was 13 and I know how hard that would be lol

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  12. Sad news!

    Hope this is not applying also here in Europe...

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    1. It will be everywhere. They want FLGS or gaming groups to take away anyone who knows how to play.

      They don't want veteran hobbyists taking up time or space that could be given to new hobbyists, who would need to spend £250 to get an army, and will listen like a minion to the store owner saying that the latest big kit is "really good in games".

      It's sales tactics at its most pure. Honestly didn't think I would ever see them end gaming nights, but I guess I was wrong.

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    2. Chris, I sense your bitter or hateful towards the company and its stores, but without them, you wouldn't have the hobby. At the store I work at, we have Veteran nights for all three main systems. We don't stop people playing the specialist games either. We spend our time creating, and running events, for both veterans and beginners with equal energy.

      I think you've either had a bad experience, or your just naturally bitter about the company. Too many "Veteran" hobbyist's talk negative and complain about the company, and thus rebel by getting their product at a discount. The best part of that is: It still goes into the companies coffer. By all means Rebel all you want, but when Wheyland Games can't fix your Storm Talon with a missing piece, or your miscast Terminator Librarian, just remember that we will fix it for you. We will sort it for you. We will try out best, but thanks to your silliness of biting your nose off to spite your face, we won't replace it.

      We appreciate and respect each and every customer that comes through the doors. Not once have I told someone that they should take something to earn more money into my till. I tell them what they need, and I sell them what they want. Imagine a Veteran at the till, or in a blue shirt? You'd end up with everyone having the same army, the same units and the same tactics because its whats "Best". Thats not what we do, and that is what puts us, head and shoulders above, Veterans.

      Sorry for shooting you down Chris, but you need to learn that what the company actually wants rather than spraying negative comments everywhere.

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    3. I can see where you come from. If you are an exception then that is a good thing.

      I have a local gaming club I can go to. I do frequently. I'm just surprised at this direction. I do not "hate" GW. I certainly don't have a vendetta against them. I just don't understand the choices made.

      I'm sure I'm not the only one on here that would appreciate some insight into that long term policy.

      For example, closing down LA. it's obviously a rental money issue, which in a recession I understand, but what will the impact be on the local gaming scene?

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    4. I don't work higher up, so I have no idea what the decision will be, but its bad business. If you earn £4000 a month but your rent, wages, bills are costing you £5000 because of the Battle Bunker, why would you keep wasting money? Its bad business and if people want to keep playing Games Workshop games, what would you do?

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    5. Indeed that's the black and white of it.

      But that battle bunker might draw in and keep GW games alive in that region.

      Removing it might lead to competing systems taking those clients. Thus long term you reduce the market for games of GW products.

      What's the point of owning a wfb army if no one around you plays it?

      It may cost the company £12,000 a year (£1000 extra for 12 months) to keep the bunker open, but they may make increased sales over 5 years and create a thriving GW community which would pay that back long term 4 fold.

      As a store manager the responsibility is to make it profitable, I see that. The central management team though should be looking at trying to develop a long term revenue stream.

      For those that have no where to play in LA, what should they do?

      Also any new hobbyists will have no where to move onto after learning the game. What should they do?

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    6. If what I've heard is true about even the hobby centres eliminating "other" events that are not geared towards new customers, I can see a long term fall off effect. However, I don't see a danger with competing systems automatically taking those clients Chris. If there was suddenly a "Mantic Games" store, or a "Privateer Press" store, maybe. But I've never even heard of a "Wizards of the Coast" store. GW is the only major game company that has opened their own stores. Time and time again, GW has tried to take new directions with their company and the experience they sell. Because in reality, all these years, that's what it's been. GW sells the "GW Experience". And no other game company does that yet. When they do... when I have a choice between going to a Privateer Press store, Wizards store, or GW Hobby Centre... then I can see a danger of anything they do at, or to, a Hobby Centre having a direct impact on whether a customer moves to a competing system or not. What is, and always will move the customer, is the eventual price point vs quality and quantity of goods. GW prices rise faster then petrol sometimes. Eventually when it comes down to "Petrol to get to work, or the new GW model kit?" - then customers are going to shift hard. GW used to be the "Convenience Store" of gamers, but they are quickly becoming the "High End Major Department Store". I continue to watch this progress with great interest.

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    7. And Len, you sound like a company guy so, I wanted to say something about your initial "Veterans" comment. You fell right into the same "Trap" that Chris did. You lumped "Veterans" into a group, and then proceeded to comment about "... that's what puts us head and shoulders, above, Veterans." The problem is, not all Veterans are negative about the company. There are quite a lot of them who still love the company. I'm not always happy about the choices the company makes. I can understand WHY they make a lot of those choices, and be unhappy with the result, but my love for the company has remained for the last 25 years, since I bought my first 10 terminator blisters as proxies for a roleplaying game.. and then learned that they were for this awesome game called Space Hulk. And it all went downhill from there. lol I was sucked in good, and while I'm sitting on four armies and what probably amounts to 10k worth of product at today's retail prices - none of my armies ARE Rogue Trader any more, but still maintain some of the best parts of the unique look of that era. (Thank you Horus Heresy Product Line!! lol) Sorry to ramble... but you want us to realize there are great Employees out there like you, that's awesome. My local GW guy is, well, a placeholder. That's as polite as I can be. The guy knew nothing about the games when he came to the hobby centre, and even put out a blurb, basically saying, "Come teach me how to play 40k". Really? How does that draw NEW players? lol So there's good and bad on the employee side, just as there are bad and negative vets... but I know some fantastically great ones as well. Just like I know some fantastic (former) employees as well. Just really trying to say, don't typecast and lump all us vets into that negative category either, and I won't lump you into the "Corporate Stooge" pile. Deal? :)

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  14. This, in a word, sucks.

    I never had a battle bunker in my area, but losing someplace to play is just horrible. Of course it makes more "business" sense to just sell your products and not have to pay to provide your customers with a nice place to play. But that's not great customer service either.

    These "bunkers" could do a whole lot better profit-wise if GW just changed their strategy to one that not only makes them more money, but also supports the community... The community that they SHOULD be trying to build. Then again who am I to tell GW what THEY should be doing with their business. Its not like I give them my money...oh wait.

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  15. Wehn I was at Warhammer World in October I couldn't praise the event, staff and facilities enough to one of the events team and wished there was the same facilities in the US, unaware of these battle bunkers. I surmised that Warhammer World must turn a profit and the guy nodded and when i suggested there should be something like this in America he kind of smiled knowingly. I hoped this might mean good things so American hobbyists could experience the same vibe. I guess I was reading too much into it, if they're closing these things down they're unlikely to open a Warhammer World USA... shame.

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  16. I have to agree, the in basic economics it is hard to support such square feet - thats a lot of models to sell. In a micro level, this makes sense.

    However, as part of the bigger picture - it may be a mistake. As any business does, GW needs to get new customers - the battle bunkers were a great asset in recruiting new blood - seeing the hobby so well established (i.e. a lot going on, lots of people in a place, lots of models, etc.) and even if they were directly profitable themselves, should be retained as just long term marketing expenses (many companies have a similar costs).

    The next issue, is well, the high barrier of entry into this hobby. Sure, its not much more expensive than and Xbox and year's worth of games - but that is not obvious to the new player....so this is a marketing hurdle they need to address.

    Secondly, there needs to be a cheaper starter game - while one could accurately claim that dark vengeance is a value bundle compared to the retail of the units in it - it not at the right price point - there needs to be a $50 game you can take home and get hooked on the hobby with.

    But I could go on...

    Regardless, it is sad to see these fade into the past...

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  17. BS
    That's the Seattle bunker (whoot, represent)
    were doing fine, the place is always full and i've seen there profit margin, there making plenty of money.
    I dont know who is running this scare tactic but closing this bunker down would be a horrible decisions.

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  18. I'm from Minneapolis and we don't have a GW store here (that I know of).

    What is the definition of a "Battle Bunker"? The name of the store, how much it sells of GW stuff, some combination of # events they hold and amount they sell, something else?

    I ask because I thought FFG EC (Fantasy Flight Games Event Center) had upgraded themselves to a Battle Bunker last year, but I may not understand the real meaning of that definition. I also haven't asked lately about it.

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    1. generally it is a GW store with a designated gaming area off the shop floor

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  19. So. There are no battle bunkers here, so has it really been free to play there? If not, couldn't those have been made non-loss-making by collecting a small fee for using the tables, not high enough to turn a profit but high enough to offset the rent costs for the "extra" area used? I mean, if a bar with a pool table (whose whole purpose is to gather people in and get them to buy stuff) can do that, why couldn't GW?

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  20. Well, here in Spain we have battle bunkers associated in the stores, they called them bunkers but we speak about 5 gaming tables...

    Hope they don´t also dissappear

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  21. That's called spin. GW is an old hat at it.

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  22. in regards to battle bunkers in the uk, there is actually 2 left one in Aberdeen, Scotland and one in Poole, Dorset.

    I cant confirm details of Aberdeen but the Poole store has downsized the gaming space in the bunker from about 16 tables down to 8 all of which are realm of battle boards (I hate these always too slippery or steep)
    and they also have a couple of tables in the main store.

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    1. also uk does have warhammer world if like me you live near it they have a big space

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