A word to the wise

"Ask not the Eldar a question, for they will give you three answers, all of which are true and terrifying to know." - Inquisitor Czevak Turns out, the answers are; "Oh, just a few days", "Our friends will be here shortly" and "We have quite the appetite".

Thursday 9 January 2014

Gaming on a budget (Now for something completely different...)

Today I figured that I'd write something a bit different from the normal Eldar related postings.

With the new Nids being released and other costly goodies (Black Library, i'm looking at you with your $175 comic book), a LOT of people have been upset by the ever rapidly increasing costs Games Workshop advertise as their recommended retail price (RRP... perhaps RIP one day).

Given over the last 17 years i've amassed close to 120k of Games Workshop miniatures, I thought i'd weigh in and publish some pointers on how I did it with very little cash and living in Australia (those who want to use the minimum wage argument, need a wake up call).

*Disclaimer - This is not a rant. Whilst I love the creative teams at Games Workshop, I do not support the general business strategy at all (which is why i'll buy their product... my way). I know there are a lot of very unhappy employees at Games Workshop that do not agree with the business practice, however continue to strive on because they love the hobby as much as we do. That, in a nutshell, is why I continue to support them, and them alone. 


In the last decade, there has been a massive shift at Games Workshop to claw at every penny they can (and rightfully so, being a business). What has a lot of people up in arms is how this has been achieved. Starting with price increases well above what we term CPI, the trade embargo and  introduction of Finecast (a cheaper medium, with a far lower consistency of quality level than metal) which jacked up cost, you can understand why folks are a little upset.

HOWEVER... this article is for those who wish to keep playing the game, pick up their odds and sods etc whilst not invalidating their investment by giving up (due to prices/geoblocking/etc). When the cost of items got too much for me, I was not one of the people screaming "stuff it, i'm out" - adaption and sourcing cheaper offers for the same products became my priority.

So where did I get my "plastic crack" fix? Well see below...

1. Overseas Discounters - Being an Aussie, I looked to the UK and USA for products - which came in at about 60% cheaper than the local pricing (yep, that's shipping inclusive) - such as;
  • From the UK these stores were Maelstrom Games, Wayland Games and other smaller shops. 
  • In the US it was Mega Comics and Games (they no longer stock GW by the way), The War Store, various eBay suppliers etc.
Now, I know if you're an Aussie, the first thought that comes to mind is "But we've been geoblocked! We can't get goods that way anymore!". And yes, as someone with a trade account in the USA, I've read the terms and conditions (for both distributor and retailer). Sadly, for those of you who aren't up to speed, the GW policy is "If we catch you supplying our goods to other countries, no more stock for you! ONE YEAR! - well indefinitely". This is where point number two comes in...

2. Trade Sites - First up, I have to give props to both the Americans and Canadians of Bartertown.com. A nicer more generous bunch of folks I could not find, and if it wasn't for the good people i've dealt with over there, I certainly would not have the miniature joy I have today. Trade sites are the best place to get a decent bargain and also very RARE items that simply can't be bought in stores. So here's the list;

  • Bartertown.com - US focused trade site
  • WargamerAU.com - Australian based Forum with a Buy/Swap/Sell function
  • Dakkadakka.com - US based forum equivalent of WAU
  • Warseer.com - Another US based forum
  • eBay.com - I put this one last, because prices are generally inflated - Note: Discount Games Store sells US product to Aussies at about 20-25% off the US RRP
3. Miscellaneous - Ok, I have a few sources that don't really fit into the traditional discounter or trade site bracket that i'll list below;

  • PaintedFigs.com - If you're looking to get your miniatures painted commission style, then you can buy the GW kits from them for 35% off the US RRP quite easily. The only catch is you should do the right thing and have it painted by them in the process.

4. Third Party - Well now that the Chapter House case has pretty much defined what can/can't be done in terms of creating new models or add-on kits, a lot of smaller companies are filling in the gaps. For example, the Russian Jetbikes in my Eldar Warhost. I won't go listing a bunch of names here, just a few to give an idea;
  • Chapterhousestudios.com - We're all pretty familiar with this company due to the press it has received
  • Sciborminiatures.com - These folks mostly make add on kits, i'm particularly impressed with their range of model bases
  • miniaturescenery.com - These folks picked up the slack and made terrain affordable (well at least in Australia) by producing MDF kits etc
  • Etc...
There are LOTS of options out there, you simply have to spend 10 minutes on google looking around. The various community forums are also a great place to post a question, as someone else has undoubtedly tried looking for the same thing - and found it!

5. The Unmentionable - Yep, since March 2011 when Games Workshop unleashed a trifecta of doo doo at their customers (a price increase, geoblocking and Finecast.. with its own price increase), a new force entered the market. Recasters... and lots of them. While it is of ethical debate as "to purchase, or not to purchase", they still exist and simply due to the fact they prove Games Workshop has priced a lot of its customers out of reach.