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"For how much longer will FoW be financially viable?" Topic

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Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 9:49 p.m. PST

Let's assume that Flames of War is … 40% of the WW2 market. I have no clue, it could be lower or higher. Probably higher.

Ny my estimate, "The Flames of War Hobby" is nearly 70%-80% complete, for WW2 in the European Theatre. Not much is left, just a few more books on Barbarosa. For books and new figures, let's say a year.
Then, MAYBE, Flames of War Pacific. Another year?

Battlefront is always being accused of following the Games Workshop model. That means "codex creep", new editions, new minis, etc. I don't think that new minis are called for. Do we really "need" a "new" Sherman M4A1? Maybe in a different medium, like 3D printed?
Would a 4th ed that required a total reprint of the
codices be accepted? Somehow, I doubt it. FoW players are older, more mature, grumpier than 40K players. We would NOT accept a cynical rewrite that diod not improve the game. A cynic might say that that is exactly the reason for fiascos like the BAR and the Tank Destroyer Company. grin.

So, where does that leave Battlefront 2 years from now?

28mm Fanatik18 Dec 2012 9:56 p.m. PST

I think they'll be viable in the long term. Like GW, BF will draw in new, younger players down the line, and they will release new plastic miniatures and vehicles to replace their existing metal and hybrid metal/resin stuff.

Sure, BF realizes the older players won't go for it and they can only 'force' these players to buy new editions and supplements once every few years, but they're aiming for new players anyway. This is exactly what GW has been doing for nearly three decades.

The only disadvantage they have vis-a-vis GW is that they can't make up new units and vehicles, since they have to stay true to WWII history more or less.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Dec 2012 10:00 p.m. PST

It might be one of the few viable business models for a miniatures company to get out of the basement. I agree with 28mm Fanatik, they will probably follow the GW model, which is obviously a good business model, and stay viable for a while.

GW has been lucky with the LotR stuff and now the Hobbit stuff pumping large amounts of cash into their coffers and introducing a bigger audience to the GW hobby in general.

FoW will have to find that thing to bring new players in. Ironically it may be the Hobbit since that will introduce more people to gaming through GW and then they might find FoW from there.

CorSecEng Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 10:04 p.m. PST

They have not even touched pacific yet. So lots of new models down the road. Plastics will help them a lot.

They can also adapt the FOW framework to other eras. Cold War Era stuff would be popular. Maybe even some modern tank battle stuff.

They will need to start diversifying at some point. GWs longevity is partly due to the fact that they have so many pillars to stand on. You can let a system rest for a bit without having to worry about the month to month income because you can have a major release in a different game and space things out.

BF could easily make a WWI and WWII air combat game or even fall back to do some ancients stuff. Let GW own the scifi fantasy stuff and they can branch out to become the major player in historical gaming.

tauwarlord196 Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 10:21 p.m. PST

I'm still waiting for Late War Leviathans!

Meiczyslaw Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 10:21 p.m. PST

I, too, agree with 28mm Fanatik.

Also keep in mind that, if Battlefront follows the GW model, it hasn't touched the "Specialist" games yet. There's a place for a Mordheim-style skirmish game, a naval BFG-style game, an air combat game …

Leadgend18 Dec 2012 11:03 p.m. PST

BF is doing a major Vietnam release next year. I assume if successful they would try to expand into other cold war/modern periods as well as finish their WW2 coverage by doing the Pacific. The core rules would also work passably well back through WWI to late colonial periods.

GW presumably had to pay a lot for the Tolkein licences so while the LOTR/Hobbit stuff would have helped turnover a lot the profit margins may not have been as good as their regular products.

Leadgend18 Dec 2012 11:09 p.m. PST

The old and grumpy ancients players have gone through 7 editions of WRG ancients before moving to DBM which went through 3 major and several minor editions before finally the players split into the DBMM and FOG camps, each of which is also on it's 2nd edition!

FOW has a long way to go before they catch up…

Dan Wideman II Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 11:28 p.m. PST

With the new Open Fire st they are really starting to hit the younger crowd as well. We had two younger gamers show interest at the tournament we ran a couple weeks ago. One (a father son team) watched at the Mid war tournament and played in the Late War tournament. The Open Fire st looks great, and has some great introductory material for what is a very good price these days.

In addition, there is (as stated by others) the Cold War period and WW1 as well. You also can't rule out some kind of Sci Fi or Weird world war 2 or Wehrmacht '46 style of stuff.

IanB3406 Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 11:31 p.m. PST

No figures sales associated with ancients makes it difficult for anyone to follow this model. It's a very saturated market. If they bought up a couple existing manufacturers and established a full line "maybe". But your still not talking huge volume as too many already have armies and figures. I would also note that fow has poached competition gamers from ancients…..on a given weekend con in the USA players that do both generally seem to run to fow.

Mardaddy Inactive Member18 Dec 2012 11:33 p.m. PST

Well, after WWII, there is always Korea…

Just similar enough technology-wise to transition easily, and a whole gamut of casting options with new figures: Chinese, Korean, all the applicable UN participants that were not represented in FOW WWII play.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 12:32 a.m. PST

Finish WWII gets another year. Pacific gets two years. Korean War gets a year. Then do Weird War Two, and Alternate History including 1946 which gives you another year each. That's 6 years. That gives you a long time to work on a new strategy to keep going.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 2:37 a.m. PST

It's quite possible that the operating costs for BF are much lower than GW, they don't answer to shareholders so there is no pressure there.

I guess they stay in business like most other companies by steady sales and adding new products to their ranges.

Green Tiger19 Dec 2012 2:56 a.m. PST

Whilst I can't comment on the rest of the world, here in old York FOW is not a great seller both the local retailers that have stocked the range have had real trouble shifting it and haven't restocked. the rules don't exactly fly off the shelves in Waterstones either.

Martin Rapier19 Dec 2012 3:22 a.m. PST

As long as people are still willing to buy 15mm figures and vehicles, then BF can keep going. They may grow or contract depending on the vagaries of the market, but there is no reason for the company to fold.

How much longer will NavWar or Essex or Irregular be financially viable? Well, as long as there are wargamers, forever unless the owners lose interest or die (as with Tabletop Games).

langobard Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 3:35 a.m. PST

At a 'strategic' level, GW actually has a two game approach(I'm assuming they'll dump the Hobbit within a couple of years of the last movie coming out…). WH and WH40k. I'd suggest the ideal answer in terms of this approach is not another 20th century game, but an ancients/medieval game to complement Flames of War. That way, as GW does, they can release 1944 SS panzers this month, and Saladins army next month.

In fact, given the scope of ancients gaming, they'd never run out of new armies to introduce.

That said, I think the chances of coming up with an ancients game that would dominate to the extent that FoW does, pretty remote, and it would be a high risk strategy to try to implement.

Mind you, it would be a high reward one if they got anything like the OFF's suggested 40% of the market…

Cosmic Reset Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 4:11 a.m. PST

I think their growth is tapering off, but don't expect them to disappear. Area stores have reduced inventory, one has dropped the line, so something is happening, but I think they are finding the limits of the market for their current product line. Re-inventing WWII probably isn't as easy as doing so for 40K, etc, but they could introduce the skirmish game in 28mm, a naval or air game, and expand the current system into pre-war and post war conflicts and hypotheticals. I don't think it would be too hard to maintain an expanding FOW product line for decades.

altfritz19 Dec 2012 4:28 a.m. PST

Well they are re-doing Vietnam in the Spring. Why wouldn't everything get a re-do?

Some Chicken Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 4:34 a.m. PST

What Martin Rapier said.

There is also the possibility of expanding the WWII range into related conflicts, whether real (eg SCW) or imaginary (VBCW, 1946, Western Allies v USSR),which would enable BF to produce new books and models for years to come.

Chatticus Finch Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 4:35 a.m. PST

The Flames guys are smart, they're already trying their hand at where they will develop next… why do you think we've had the Vietnam supplements? It's to see how well they can get the game into modern environments. A few limited guided weapons, most of the weapons can be compared to current FOW rules due to the manner in which insurgency/ counter-insurgency battles are fought – perfect testing ground!

They'll push forward into the future, some historical Cold War forces perhaps – maybe even make a 'Cold War goes Hot' scenario which would open whole elements of different forces (French/ West German/ British/ NATO/ USA/ USSR/ East Germany/ Poland etc) African brush wars would be another excellent way to go.

They'll find a way, trust me!

Rommel Rocks Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 5:04 a.m. PST

The latest from the BattleFront is they are going back and re-addressing MidWar. Along with what everyone else has said. A new Vietnam book, Early War East Front books, plus the end of the Late War Arc of books. So, they still have alot on their plate.

Mr Elmo19 Dec 2012 5:17 a.m. PST

So, where does that leave Battlefront 2 years from now?

The greatest untapped gold vein is FoW Sci Fi. They can use the FoW "rules engine" for a company level 15mm near future sci fi range.

That would be limitless expansion and profit potential.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 5:17 a.m. PST

Throw in a minor countries book, Russia v. Japan in '45 book, a book on SS units, a book on foreign SS units, a Spain joins the Axis book, etc., etc. By thenit will be time to reissue and update their old books….

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 5:20 a.m. PST

It will be viable until something shinier comes along and everyone says, "Oooooo, look at that…"

kevanG19 Dec 2012 5:44 a.m. PST


ww2 land is probably about 60% of the ww2 market and 15mm is only about 50% of that total with 6mm, 20mm anmnd 28's having a big say…and fow isnt likely 60% of that portion that is left.

they have a niche market of a subset of a niche.

Sci fi is probably where they want to go. But gruntz probably beat them to it!

Another Account Deleted Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 5:51 a.m. PST

I think Pacific could easily stretch into 2-3 years (don't forget China vs. Japan, etc. too.

They've already started a foray into Vietnam and it wouldn't be much of a stretch to expand into Arab-Israeli Wars and Cold War (given that a lot of us grumpier guys lived through it… :) ).

Even current and future wars could be game.

FOW WWI is a distinct possibility also.

VonBurge Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 5:58 a.m. PST

Plastics could be a key element in future progression of WWII FoW. If BF can do what others companies seem to be able to do with plastics (i.e. lower prices) maybe then those who have full WWII FoW collections already could be encourage to expand those collections, add new forces etc, using their miniatures?

Nick H Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 6:24 a.m. PST

Areas left to cover: Early war Eastern Front, Norway, Holland, Belgium 1940. Yugoslavia 1941. Campaigns in Abysinnia. Sicily and Italy still haven't been covered in great detail. Operation Dragoon. Rhine crossings. Final battles for Germany. The entire Pacific theatre which can be broken into mid-war and late-war. Campaigns in China.

and then…

Korea. Spanish Civil War. Chaco war. Japanese invasion of Manchuria. 1948 & 1956 Arab-Israeli wars. French Indo-China war. The FoW model has been used for Vietnam and a whole host of possibilities can be opened up there. Wars from 1945 to, conceivably, 1973 can be covered by FoW.

and then…

"What if?" Sea Lion, cold war going hot, Allied invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece. Spanish and Turkish involvement in WW2.

And that's without another rules reprint or re-release of miniatures. I think BF are good for about 5-10 years.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 6:38 a.m. PST

I doubt Japan/China will be all that big at least here in the US. Let's face it, it's German kit and Band of Brothers that drive it all with the younger crowd.

Know any kids who think Japanese tanks look cool?

They will certainly look for higher-revenue periods i.e. those with loads of vehicles etc. There's a lot more sculpting costs in infantry than vehicles and the margins are lower. 15mm WW2 felt fairly minor in scope prior to FoW. Now it dominates and is the most successful historical game ever.

Now Cold War (with loads of theaters and kit to sell) would make sense. Plus the Soviets have that cool propoganda look going for them.

Mr Elmo19 Dec 2012 7:33 a.m. PST

If BF can do what others companies seem to be able to do with plastics (i.e. lower prices)

So far, the only thing BF did with plastics is fill their pockets with cash. The models that switched to plastic components are still the same price as the metal versions.

richarDISNEY Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 8:22 a.m. PST

They will keep expanding until people stop playing it.

boy wundyr x Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 8:23 a.m. PST

On the figure side of things, isn't BF kinda like GHQ but at another scale? GHQ is closing in on 45 years – but the 6mm guys still have way long wishlists of stuff they need for WWII, nevermind moderns and their Wehrmacht '47 what-if line.

So I think the "they'll find things to do" camp is right on the fig side, and I guess they can keep cycling through rules, or like GHQ, supply rules if you want, but mainly dominate the figure side of things.

Personal logo Flashman14 Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 9:53 a.m. PST

What about back? World War 1? Spanish & Russian Civil wars?

Lion in the Stars19 Dec 2012 10:15 a.m. PST

I don't think you can really push the FoW rules engine much farther back than the Spanish Civil War. FoW does depend on three interactions to make things interesting: Infanty:Armor:Artillery.

Pacific theater Late-War, and there's also the Second Sino-Japanese War in the 1930s.

Korea, and that will probably take two books.


Arab-Israeli wars in '67 and '73.

I think the Flames model is starting to break once you get into the 1980s with T80 tanks, Leo2s, Challys, and Abrams.

VonBurge Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 10:16 a.m. PST

If BF can do what others companies seem to be able to do with plastics (i.e. lower prices)

So far, the only thing BF did with plastics is fill their pockets with cash. The models that switched to plastic components are still the same price as the metal versions.

True so far…as you say for models with plastic components…but it's the fully plastics models/sets price point that I'm curious about. There are some theaters/forces I might be compelled to expand in to beyond what I already have. But for me to add another army for "that period" or "this theater," it's going to take a less expensive way to do that to motivate me to add to my already largely "sufficient" collection. So for me it's a mostly question of who will get me what I want first, PSC, Zvezda, somebody else, or BF? If other FoW gamers are in a similar position as I am, then BF would do well try to meet that expectation because if they do not, somebody else will.

The greatest untapped gold vein is FoW Sci Fi. They can use the FoW "rules engine" for a company level 15mm near future sci fi range.

Perhaps there is just no interest there for them? It seems like they've had more than a good decade or so of a high level success to allow that branching off to occur if that's what they wanted to do.

JohnnyPainter Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 10:30 a.m. PST

I've always felt FoW would be fantastic for WWI, and would love to see it.

VonBurge Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 10:39 a.m. PST

There is a FoW-1918 Yahoo Group. I played a Turks vs. ANZAC game using list from there and thought it was OK for an open battle, but I'm not sure how the trench fight aspect of WWI might work out under FoW..

Personal logo JammerMan Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 11:56 a.m. PST

I think they head into the future also. Korea, Vietnam and cold war. That would keep em busy for 5 years with new models and rules

Puster Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 12:15 p.m. PST

When the general brush is tarred, there are many details to fill out.

If they cover all of WW2 at the detail that some battles in northern Europe got, we could expect some 2000 more books on the Russian front… while that is ridiculous, there will always be a lot left. Just looking at campaigns or scenarios here…

Naturally, the plums are already taken.

Dynaman878919 Dec 2012 12:53 p.m. PST

> Know any kids who think Japanese tanks look cool?

My son loves them, when playing the marines…

Nick H Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 1:28 p.m. PST

The Pacific Theatre of Operations would see all those US Marine amphibious vehicles which would make the vehicle fanboys wet themselves. I'm certain they will do the Pacific, but they'll wait until the demand for it is deafening.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 2:06 p.m. PST

Regardless of whether they do Pacific, Korea or Vietnam, they will still be asking the question, "how will these sell in volume?"

The model that you are talking about with GW and such is based on volume. It is not based on going into a period and then hoping you move volumes of items. It deciding if the game can move volumes at the start and keep going.

This is not to say that they won't dable in some new areas, just to test the market. Apparently, if they are planning a big release in the area of Vietnam, then their dabling has told them it will pay off in the area of volume.

Volume is what separates companies like GW and Battlefront from the rest of the market. The rest of the market runs to the cries of the vocal, and then wonders why they need to stop a little ways down the road. The issue is that the vocal aren't committed to volumes or they were only a tiny part of the whole market.

The thing that separates WWII European theater from all other parts of that conflict and other conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam and others that only military history buffs know about, is that a vast majority know about it. There are lot of movies made about it, regardless of fact. The European theater has volumes who know about it.

I am not saying that Battlefront won't be around, because they seem to very good at recreating themselves. The only downside they face, is what John has pointed out, it is hard to recreate the Sherman tank over and over again to keep younger siblings from using them or someone new buying up an existing army from someone getting out of the game.

GROSSMAN Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 2:46 p.m. PST

The world is ending in two days so why are we talking about this?

VonBurge Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 3:05 p.m. PST

Forgot about that Mayan stuff!!!

Aapsych2019 Dec 2012 5:43 p.m. PST

This sure looks a lot like a FoW focus group! Let them do their own market research! ;)

coopman Supporting Member of TMP19 Dec 2012 6:59 p.m. PST

and by publishing at least six revised editions of each supplement book, the well will not dry up for a long time.

wingleader35619 Dec 2012 7:06 p.m. PST

I would love to see:
1. US and Germans combined ops vs Soviets ( There was this great moment towards the end of Otto Curis' Tigers In the Mud Memoir where an american officer told him to keep his hunting-tiger crews together because they would be need for "joint operations"- a great reason to get a Plt of Pershings or even tigers in american paint)

2. Spanish Civil War (international battalions and Hemingway- what's not to love?)

3.Korea- Only if there are MASH units with klinger in a dress

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 7:57 p.m. PST

Forgot about that Mayan stuff!!!


Grandviewroad Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 8:47 p.m. PST

it'll never end – there's tons of campaigns and battles and books to make, fun lists to scribe, and then there's the two obvious areas, Spanish Civil War and Korea, which will both work well with the core rules. Either of them could take years to get out.

The real question is not will they run out of stuff, but when will they get bigger so that they can provide enough of it!

Madmike1 Inactive Member19 Dec 2012 9:23 p.m. PST

They can get into doing scenario books and mini campaigns. Plus I would like them to get into WW1, with suitable rule changes to cater.

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