The logs of another dice chucker
Gaming, ranting, bitching, and moaning

Bringing Down The Price

I know exactly what everyone wants me to talk about, but I’m not going to do it. GW is just being GW and tossing around more hollow BS reasons to try and screw over the many people who have supported them over the years and it’s just not worth my time.

So instead let’s talk about how to make this a less wallet crushingly expensive hobby.

Obviously the biggest barrier to tabletop wargaming, aside from it being considered a hobby populated exclusively by neckbearded weirdos, is the price. It’s not a cheap hobby, and everyone knows that little fact. Is it the most expensive hobby out there? No; I’m sure all my guitar equipment adds up to more than my miniatures in value. Is it cheap? No. There’s no two ways around it, but is there ways to make this a cheaper hobby while still retaining the level of quality we expect/demand from it?

Well one way is the material models are made of. Metal can be a pricey material as the price of tin seems to go up pretty high every year which makes metal models more expensive. So how do you counteract that? Make them out of a cheaper material, such as plastic! Well there’s one major problem that the “if it’s not plastic models the game is garbage” fanboys seem to leave out: molds for plastic models are crazy expensive. They cost more than molds for metal models, which is why many smaller, up and coming, companies start out with metal: it’s cheaper for them. Sure some companies can start with resin(which is even more expensive per mold than plastic) and plastic, but those companies usually have a lot of start up capital to work with. The Warzone kickstarter is a good example of this. They had the capital to make resin models for three factions, and each of those factions would have molds for their troops(10 to a starter box), a single large model and a hero(again going by the starter boxes). Their kickstarter is set up to get the extra funding to produce more models, more factions(they’re up to five now) as to get money to create plastic models. Hell; the entire Reaper kickstarter(you know, the one that made 3.5 million dollars) was set up get money to create more plastic models and cover a large portion of the costs of getting plastic molds made.

Why do you think Privateer Press started off exclusively with metal? It was cheaper on their end to do it since they weren’t going to bring in as much revenue per player as something like 40k because Warmachine requires less models to be playable. Hell; you can play the game on a single $50 investment. Plastic molds right off the bat would have cost way too much to do. Same with Infinity; although I suspect they stick to metal despite their apparently quite good profits because of its ability to hold detail as well as it does.

Now mind you this is all speculation, but I suspect that a company like Dreampod 9 could lower the cost of their products by switching to a cheaper material. Whether they have the spare income to do so is the question. Still; it can suck trying to get people into a game like Heavy Gear because, despite how good of a game it is, the cost is simply too high for some people. Now they have their bigger stuff like striders and tanks in resin, but really is would do wonders to release the Gears in plastic or resin simply because it would mean they wouldn’t need to charge $50 for a box of five models.

Of course the profits made from model sales fuel more model production, new books and the likes so it’s not like they’re just over-charging to see how much they can get away with(although it really does seem like that’s what GW is doing sometimes). It’s all a very delicate balance between making sure they have enough money to produce new products while at the same time not pricing themselves out of the market.

In the end it’s a tricky subject. I don’t have solid numbers to say it costs X dollars to create a single model, or that a unit box really costs X dollars to do from start to finish. I’ve heard some numbers on how much molds cost, but they seem to vary depending on both material and where you do it. Some companies have to cover the costs of working out of China, while others don’t(Reaper manages to keep prices pretty low by doing everything in house). There’s a lot more going on than my simple little brain can wrap itself around, and since I’m no business or economics major I can’t say anything is for certain. I can take guesses and give general ideas, but that’s about it. Still; it would be nice to see some of my favorite games become a bit more affordable. Doubly so if it would make it easier to get other people playing more games and expanding their horizons.

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