Monday, July 16, 2012

Company Edicts & Prize Support

It appears to be not only Games Workshop that can be portrayed as an uncaring money hungry behemoth. Over the past 4-5 days the rage has been flowing regarding New Zealand's Battlefront and their decision to require any models or miniatures used at their official events to be the company's models.

Now as always people are quick to jump on the net and forums and say that Battlefront is banning them from using their minis. And as always that is only half the story.

Battlefront, to my knowledge, has said this will apply to "official" events i.e. ones they run. Personally I understand that - it is a sound commercial decision. Their event, their models. I'm pretty sure MtG events don't let people use unofficial cards at their events. GW has had a similar rule in place for their events at Warhammer World, and at GTs when they use to run them in this part of the world

Where things move to a greyer area is events where the company is providing sponsorship. They have the right to put any conditions they want around their sponsorship/prize support. However, it is up to the TO to decide whether he accepts these and then for him to communicate his decisions to the players.

Importantly players have to accept that there is no free lunch....or to put it another way "he who pays the piper calls the tune". If you want prize support from the company you have to expect them to protect what they perceive are their interests. If you want carte blache then little Timmy doesn't get free stuff. However the sense of entitlement on the FOW forums has to be read to be believed.

In the past GW sponsored "Felds of Blood" Warhammer 40k event. When they did they insisted GW only models. As a result I made an explicit statement in the Players Pack. Participants knew upfront that that was a requirement. When they withdrew their sponsorship, I removed the requirement. Nothing personal, just business.

I know the local Hobby Centre Manager was disappointed at one of the Call to Arms events (after I had left the Warlords Committee, I'll point out) that they had provided prize support for the event and their were non-GW models in the GW competitions. I suspect neither side was clear what their expectations were. However the upshot after this was no further GW support (though this coincided with a general retreat from sponsorship).

So I understand Battlefront's position. I also understand that of TOs who choose not to be restricted. Either way, there is no free lunch.


  1. I'm surprised you expected anything different from generation entitlement...

  2. The Flames of War crowd are generally 25+ so yep, I did expect the response to be a bit more measured.

    However, the US posters, in particular, see it as an attack on their Freedom of Choice, First Admendment rights etc.

    I never understand why if people don't like the rules they don't exercise their right not to attend. For me there is only a problem if the TO is not upfront with Tournament Conditions - which is the reason why I hate evolving Players Packs e.g. Equinox, NiCon.Make a decision and stick to it so others can make an informed decision.

    If you want to go to official BF events, use BF models - it's not like you have artistic differences with historical WW2 vehicles

  3. Its only really going to affect the couple of GTs BF host each year 95% of the NZ FOW tournaments are supported but not run by BF and the ban wont impact on them. Storm in a tea cup really

  4. I have no sympathy at all. Has the company lost all subtlety? Why not just make one of the major prizes "Best Painted Battlefront Company?".

    Am I wrong to expect that if some of my money is used to pay the marketing department they have half a clue?

    Wait, what am I saying!

  5. Why should they? These are events that they are running?

    Do you take your Burger King to McDonalds to eat? What's the difference?

  6. It's not about the facts, it's all about the way it is done. Sure, you have the right to shoo someone from your restaurant for eating food from the competition, but if you are rude about it your customers are also going to feel less enthusiastic about being there.

    Now it is the 21st century, and every twit with a mobile device can voice thier tuppence 'orth, it behooves companies to be a bit more savvy than they actually are.

    I doubt anyone at Battlefront did a cost/benefit analyis or risk assesment on the action. I save my sympathy for those that think first and still get screwed.

    1. You've missed the point....they aren't their customers.

      I certainly wouldn't pander to them either by doing a cost benefit analysis or risk assessment.

      But then I don't think that everybody is a beautiful and unique snowflake either.

    2. No, I agree with your points, but would expect any company to take a wider view point.
      While someone bringing competing models to your branded tournament is offensive, what benefit does a company get from being offended and making an edict style ban?

      To use snowflakes, If I am seeing yellow snow in my group of flakes I would be better off find the source of the yellow then banning snow from being yellow.

      What harm does it take to reach the goal of only BF models at BF tournaments in three years with a little subtlety?

      After all, the ultimate goal is to get more people spending more money on your company and making a people feel guilty (even if well deserved) is not the best way to making money.

      Any aggregation of people tends to be dumber than its parts, and counter-intuitively requires more thought to manage.

      There are plenty of examples of edict style announcements to customers that went sour, so I have no sympathy for a company creating a storm in a tea-cup in this manner.

  7. I am as well a FoW player, and I must say that BF decision on only bringing their models to their tournaments is fine. People should really get a grip on thing, my armies are 0% BF so I guess I won't be going to any 'Battlefront' tournaments but I still have all the Indy ones to look forward to.

    Its purely a business model that many people have incorporated in the 21st century, and people have just got to learn to live with it.


  8. I think it's perfectly reasonable to say that at x company event or a condition of sponsorship only the company's products can be used.

    Pete has already quoted perfectly good analogies from other industries, so there's no point trying to compete.

    I'm not sure how you can make this subtle either.

    Interesting over on the Spartan Games forums, people are angry that Spartan have not listened to them and made the changes to the new versions of the rules that they wanted. makes you wonder why companies bother with online forums these days, they seem to be a vehicle for putting off prospective customers nto enticing new ones.

    people seem to want to take their cheap hooch to all the posh nightclubs these days.

  9. So Battlefront have reversed the decision. Now only the majority of models must be Battlefront.

    1. Makes me feel guilty every time I tell my kids whining never gets you anything.