There is a trend in Games Workshop store of disallowing drop in gaming to occur there. They are requiring that you book your table in advance, to keep the tables free, as the stores are looking to become much more of a recruitment center for new customers. This means keeping the tables open to allow learning games.


Now the above is just a rumor still, but seems apparent with GW stores dropping down to 1 man shops. This is being seen in the US, so those people with bigger stores elsewhere are among the lucky. Of course we have had this discussion before, as it allows Games Workshop to open up these 1 man stores in places that have never had one, thereby expanding the hobby into new markets.... like my own here in Portland Oregon.

So before you just drop in to your local Games Workshop store for a pickup game, please give them a call.

Gadget Wargaming on Twitter has been discussing this new trend of disallowing drop in gaming, and the rest of the information is all from past discussions here on the site.. like when the Portland GW store was opened here. Thanks ieuan for bringing this to light.

55 Comments:

  1. All this does is push gaming toward your FLGS and those stores are going to get more sales and profit. Thanks for supporting our FLGS GW. Idiots.

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    1. Dud a Lot of People lern about flgs Reayl Late into their Hobby. In my area GW Stores are more than flgs and better and Bigger.

      IMO this New Strategie is just a Way to get rid of pesky customers that ASK rules questions. And its forceing People to Play at home and BuY a battlereealm Board, Terrain, Ect

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    2. From my understanding Dennis this is actually a way to bring in new players, get them familiar with the game then push them over to the FLGS so they can become more veteran players. Rinse, wash and repeat.

      GW still gets your money regardless who you buy through and it keeps their stores from being baby-seal clubbing locations.

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    3. 13 years ago when I was a GW store manager that was the policy. There was no open gaming. There were organized game nights and the tables were used for demos.

      The thought pattern then was exactly what you said, we catered to new hobbyists and felt that if vets wanted open gaming or to use variant models or unpainted models, they could do so at their FLGS. I didn't even know they had open gaming now except at bunkers. But I don't think its a bad policy. The goal then was to build experienced hobbyists.

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  2. Sadly there are no FLGS within 50 miles of my house (that's a big distance in the UK) and my local GW has now ended Vets night and any gaming in store that isn't a starter session.

    So apart from the once a blue moon game with my friends we've moved out of Warhammer into board games and I paint a few models here and there for fun.

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    1. Someone should one a game store in your area. Seems a place that they could do well in.

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    2. Here lies the issue with dictating policy for so many stores in varying situations. Obviously if there are FLGS then this plan is fine, it means that it complements the FLGS rather then directly competes. But in locations with no FLGS they obviously need to act as one, otherwise they can gather all the new players they could wish for and still fail utterly because they'd stop at those smaller relatively less expensive armies.

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  3. FLGS (or someone's own home) is where the gaming should happen anyway. GW needs to sell their product at retail (which most veteran players won't buy - they just loiter in GW stores), and attract new gamers. That's fine.

    GW themselves have said they want to encourage people to go to their FLGS.

    I love how internet know-nothings think they understand GW's business better than them; yet GW has grown bigger than ever (and at a faster rate than Privateer Press) in the last 18 months.

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    1. Maybe it should. I dont now what a Vet. Player is to you. But the only Players i have Seen in GW Stores are New Players. And this is to Drive them Out!
      Once People have droped 600-700 on a Army they Need to Leave the store!

      Yes GW Said they want People to go to Stores. But Not for playing. They want you to drop Money in the stores.

      Growth of Profit doesnt mean anything that we Players care about. It only means more Price hikes in may!

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    2. So I'm expected to pay $83 just for a book, then around from $300-1000, and not even be able use the product. Sure it might be intially good for business, but what happens when those new costumers began semi-knowledgable and actually want to enjoy playing a game?

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    3. GW focusen on Profit... Not so much on happy customers
      Playing is Not Part of what you buy.

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  4. No they haven't. Check your research. GW is down roughly 30% sales by volume over the last 18 months, only keeping positive figures and profits via price hikes and slashing staff hours.

    Check their quarterly financials for the last 12 months prior to making statements. As reference, PP isn't even in the same ball game, making ~$20mil gross last annum

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    1. Yep stuff like this shows how much GW is flailing around trying to keep their profits high. They still haven't seen that they have priced most of the potential new gamers out of the market. All of the FLGS's that I go to report that GW sales are way down since the last price increase. That The Hobbit and Dark Vengence only sold to veteran collectors and not many newbie players. That mommy and daddy looked at the price of these "beginner" sets and balked at their cost.

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  5. My local shop here in the UK has been physically shrinking in size over the last few years and it's a real shame. 2 years ago they had 5 6x4 tables available for gaming and now they only have 3 4x4 tables for the veterans night (so 4 hours per week).

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  6. In my area (uk) the local GW has been appointment only for years. Haven't been able to have any casual games there in that time because there's too many local hobbyists and all these darn kids who have time to go every week book all the time up...
    Fortunately we now have a FLGS opened around the corner that just upgraded to a 2-storey venue; one floor for shopping, one floor for drop in gaming/painting (minus the few times they do tutorial sessions).

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    1. Let me guess you live in Maidstone? The new store is "no man's land"

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    2. Perhaps... :P
      I'm sure we had all the Maidstonians on here shout out before to reveal themselves xD

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  7. This is the case at my local GW store. Because of this, it has encouraged me to find local gaming groups, which has led to me meeting more gamers and getting more games than I ever did before. So thank you GW.

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  8. It's the same here. The shop owner told us that GW doesn't wish any come-in-gaming due to test games. The only time you would be welcome are the veteran nights. Lucky that he does not care ;) we have just 3 tables here so normally if you want to be sure to get one you have to book anyway cause there's a lot casual gaming around here.

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    1. Additionally it's a better selling argument if the customer can see a healthy gaming community imho.

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  9. The new one that just opened in my location even requires everything to painted to an high standard. I genuinely don't feel welcome playing on their one table so I tend to only go to the other independent store, who also sells the models and supplies I need.
    Which begs the question, why even bother going to the GW store. I will tell you now, I don't. I would rather give my money to a local business who is far, far more accommodating.

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  11. The regulars at my local GW actually had a big discussion with the new GM on Thursday whih we agreed to introduce a booking system, mostly because there are only 3 tables set out for gaming on a games night and there are usually a herd of ppl in just milling around.

    One thing he said caught my interest, as I don't think he meant to say it "the way te store is changing atm, with games night maybe becoming 'late night shopping' and to me it enforces the notion that GW are withdrawing their direct support for the community and focussing on recruitment and sales. On the same note on a plus side is that he is very interested in promoting local gaming clubs like the one I attend and also the one I'm setting up.

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  12. i play at home anyway. I have always preferred it that way.

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    1. Same here. If I can't, at least at a friend's house! Either way, you can play as long as you want, at anytime!

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    2. Yup. I've played at home since Rogue Trader. Now my buddies have more space to play at their places as well. Playing in the store is a fairly new and completely foreign concept to me. At GW or FLGS you can't cuss, grill, drink beer, or have otherwise clandestine or inappropriate conversation.
      And don't try to tell me you don't have room to play. It's not even a 4x8 board anymore.

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    3. @brossate:
      I am lucky enough to have a FLGS that caters to more mature individuals I guess. We tend to be fairly good at self-moderation when younger folks are around, but there is very little in the way of prohibition against...really anything...in the store. Still have to be a little shady with the alcohol, but there is a bar next door.

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    4. Sounds awesome! That wouldn't be South of Houston, would it...?

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  14. I have never played at a GW store but based on this they sure do know how to make the customers feel welcome...

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  15. having used to work for GW untill recently i can safely say by this time next year even booking tables for games will be non existent. The company is all about one thing, and thats recruitment. This word is driven into your skull with a hot branding spike when you are a blue shirt and if you dont "recruit" enough new players you can quite easily lose your job.

    Vet players mean NOTHING to the company because they are inconsistent revenue which is why they are being kicked to the curb. The reason it will be new recruits instore only by next year is because once they push vets into FLGS's the vets are more then likely to buy from there because of the x% discount on GW goods over a normal GW store, and in the end GW still get that money.

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    1. The new GM at my local store said something to that effect

      "If I had my way, you regular gamers wouldn't get any table space; we would only have new players in here"

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    2. How do they get New Players?

      Do they think People will just Walk by the store and Start spending Big bucks on a wierd Hobby only to be kicked Out After they droped their Money?

      Everyone gets draged in by other Players. Not GW Stores and their Sales Talk.
      If you kill of youre Customer base, there will be no more Warhammer!

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  16. This is up to the Hobby Center Operator. I have covered 5 different one man stores in the past and each HCO had their own policy. You would really be surprised how much leeway they have when making decisions. The shops are pretty much autonomous in how they hold events, set policy, generate sales, etc. If a FLGS holds a trade account, GW doesn't view them as a competitor due to the different services they provide. One of these services is a large amount of gaming space. On that note, I have never witnessed, or have never told a gamer they couldn't play a game regardless of policy. They may have had to wait a few hours due to table reservations, but they always got a game in for the day.

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  17. I've never felt as if the GW store was a place to actually play. Too small. Too filled with stuff. And usually the guy/gay (usually one person) isn't particularly interested in your army. The place has ALWAYS felt like a place to get just the figs and get out. Never felt the welcome at ANY GW I have ever been too like at I have at my FLGS. I like it that way.

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    1. I'm guessing 'gay' was supposed to be 'gal'?

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  18. The Cambridge (UK) store has done this. No drop in games at all or painting. The shop has become purely a recruitment store with painting advice, and that is it.

    I think this trend is really going to hurt them and I cannot for the life of me see why they have done this.

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  19. This is just stupid...

    GWS stores were recruitment centres when you could buy something, sit down, build it, paint it and have a guy giving you a hand as needed while you used their paints and glue, etc.

    One man stores rarely have the room to do this for more than a few people AND definitely don't have the staff to help in this way!
    They don't even have the staff to show people the game, let alone any meaningful entry level playing...

    No one can see this helping the hobby. It is just DUMB.
    What was cool when I started playing was that you could drop into a store and see people playing real games with amazing armies, then grab the table next to them with your 500 points and verse a friend while watching them.
    AND there was 4-5 tables ready for use.

    Those people aren't even in the stores anymore, all it is is kids with unpainted armies with no idea what they are doing.

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    1. They sell Model
      Rules
      Paint
      Painting guid
      Gaming tabels
      Terrain

      Everything you Need or Need to know... You can BUY!!!

      Thats the Hobby now. Buy or Leave!

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  20. Im very happy to say that our local shop here in south florida is blowing the GW shops here out of the water. Mostly because GW keeps with this new model. no drop in games... why would i ever want to support such a place your better off finding a good FLGS where people still give a damn about the hobby.

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  21. I can tell you there is no official policy for this. The HCO and HCM have say over the activities in their stores. My store has the following policy...open gaming when open; tables CAN be reserved in advance; Beginner Nights tables are first reserved for beginners then existing hobbyists. Other then that it is first come first serve.

    I am seeing a lot of misinformation here and misperception, hopefully people will take the time to find out for themselves then read and believe hater posts.

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    1. What I have said has come straight from the horses mouth. I don't know how the US franchise management hierarchy work but here in the UK, the higher ups are quite strict in their governance of stores. Each store is given set parameters for what they have to have for what (display/intro tables, red tray painting intro tables, and gaming tables) depending on the size of the store and the store managers are not given much freedom beyond that.

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  22. It seems silly to me to drop store staff down to just one person and expect them to be able to run demo games for new prospective customers. They'll have to drop the demo every time someone wishes to make a purchase.

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  23. Meh, no GW stores in my state nor any in my neighboring states, makes no difference to me.

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  24. My experiences here at the newly opened local GW shop seems to differ from some of these experiences. It is one of the new 1 man shops, only been open for about 2 months, with 3 tables, 1 for teaching and painting, 2 for gaming.

    They do run events from time to time that will take up one of the additional tables, but they have enough people walking in for pick up gaming that if you want to make sure you will play on a certain day, they ask you reserve a table and you better be there no more then 15 or 20 min late and then its back to open gaming.

    This last Wed when my friend and I played, we had one table for the day, and there were at least 3 walk in games that played on the other table during the time we were there. Not to mention the amount of people that just walked in, hung out with people, talk games, armies, and shop.

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  25. This isn't a rumour in the UK, this actually happens.
    Since my local store's original manager left the store, the only day you can go in and game is a thursday evening. This would be fine, if it weren't for the fact that if you go in on a thursday you have to play in the campaign he's running, sounds great right? a cool campaign to play in. Lolno, he reels you in with this promise then says to actually participate you must have your own copy of crusade of fire. And its not only my store that is starting to do this, its sad really that GW pushes away customers by constantly reminding us that our favoured hobby means nothing to them but money, i mean i know its a buisiness but come on now. My friends and i used to spend entire days down at the store gaming and buying things, now the store is usually empty. Well done GW, well done.

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    1. Then play at home with your mates, or round their house, or better yet,start up a gaming club. When I started gaming, we had no GW shop in my town. There was one small store that didn't have a gaming table, or school/uni clubs.

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    2. Whats the Point in starting a store just to Support a Company that gives Not a f... about customers or the Game.

      Srry... GW makes Money of the Hobby, they should do the work!

      If i go as far as to open a store Ect..... Why do i Need their Books and Models?
      I can make my Own aswell!
      At least that gives me rules & Model Range Support :D

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    3. @Dan, we do tend to do that (now that we have no choice) but it was nice to have the variety that playing with other players brought.

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  26. I love my Indy shop 2k sq ft of product and 2k sq ft of gaming space.

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    1. Same here. Not sure about the sq footage, but 19 4X6 tables, plus 8 tables for working on stuff (which we share with the Magic players, which is cool), plus a fully stocked wall of product and all the supplies I need at my fingertips. They run some kind of 40K tournament twice a month, with either Fantasy or Warmahordes the other Sarurdays. And when one kind of tournament is going on, there's always plenty of table space on the other side of the store for the other hobbies/games...

      Never been in the local GW store; got no reason to, would rather support my Indy FLGS, which supports me...

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  27. Not gonna lie, ever gw store I have been in doesn't have the space for true open gaming. I dont mind the idea of getting new gamers into the hobbby and pushing them to flgs. If I had seen 2 entire armies going at each other, I probably wouldn't have wanted to play much as a kid because it was such a huge commitment.

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  28. As many others have stated, I don't really mind due to the general lack of space in GW stores anyway. And if I may make a semi-unrelated suggestion: hyphenate "drop in" as it can be taken to mean a decrease in gaming activity at first glance rather than dropping in to play.

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  29. Wait I was just in Portland for a week and I had my army damnit we coulda played

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