Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wargames Supply Faced An Uphill Battle

Wellington has two wargaming retailers. It has a Games Workshop Hobby Centre in a cinema complex and Wargames Supply next to a prominent foodcourt. Wargames Supply has announced that it will be closing at the end of the month. By my reckoning the shop opened in early 2007 so it has been in operation about 5 years. Those five years must have been five of the worst possible year’s to be a wargaming retailer with the GFC and especially the high level of the NZ Dollar.

The shop has done remarkably well against this background. When it first opened the NZD was around 0.38-0.40 pence and it is now well ensconced above 0.50. I remember thinking that if they lasted six months they would be doing well. That they have lasted this long is testimony to the resolve of the owners.

To give you an idea of the inequities they worked under – and leaving GW aside for the moment – they are currently selling off their stock at 20%. Yesterday I went in and bought a number of Gale Force Nine buildings. Gale Force Nine are owned by New Zealand’s Battlefront, manufacturing their product in Malaysia.

The item I bought cost $43.00 which, with the 20% off, I got for $34.40. I could buy the same item from Maelstrom Games for $31.75 delivered. So even with the 20% discount I get it cheaper from Maelstrom. To demonstrate the ludicrousness of this situation, consider how the identical product gets to me. From Wargames Supply it is Malaysia to Auckland to Wellington, whereas from Maelstrom it goes Malaysia to the UK to Mansfield to New Zealand to Wellington. Charitably it travels three times the distance and goes through at least two extra pairs of hands. At full price the difference is over 25% (and a world tour), whereas with the closing down sale the product still is 5% cheaper but still gets its holiday.

Is it any wonder that an outlet like Wargames Supply struggled?

The customer base for wargaming products is sophisticated and internet savvy. The product is a commodity and people will balance price versus convenience when making their purchasing decision. I suggest that available price differentials have outweighed the convenience factor over the past five years.

I wish the owners of Wargames Supply well and thank them for have provided me with a choice.


  1. Where GW's pricing structure is absurd at best, Battlefront is just taking the piss!

  2. I actually bought more board games from then then I ever did wargaming materials and even then it's pretty shocking the inequity of the world wide market vs. NZ. There's just not a deal to be had and I'm impressed they lasted as long as they did.

    It's really unfortunate because in the board gaming world more than War Gaming it's nice to look at the box and see the bits.. much more likely to impulse buy if I can see the contents.

  3. 30% off everything now