Historicals: Expanding Your Customer Base

It has been amazing to watch Flames of War take off at my local store. 99% of the players are coming from a Games Workshop background. I would not call them “converts” because they are still playing 40k and Age of Sigmar, but they readily bought into this new company, system, setting and scale. I wanted to talk about how this happened and why it works so well

How

As someone who is always interested in different systems this was a question I wanted answered. I’ve ran a “everything but GW” Facebook group opposite the local GW one for years, posting news, youtube videos and the like. I buy into systems with a rulebook and two different forces to do demos and maybe get a game in. I even came into the shop a few times and did demos of Flames of War using the starter. I got little interest and ended up playing myself and streaming it.

The first thing that happened was the local owner got interested. He saw me playing and had heard me talking about it. I tried to order some stuff through him but he was unable to get it from his distributors. As I understand it, Flames of War can only be purchased direct from Battlefront. Not sure this is a good idea but what can you do.

I cannot stress enough, how much influence the owner/manager of a store has in what locals play.

What sealed the deal was a call from Battlefront, out of the blue, to the store. Nobody in Mississippi was carrying them, and not that many stores in the southeast either. Flattery aside, the deal that Battlefront made was also key in the stores decision to carry them. Two important factors there:

  • How much for an initial order, in dollars and product. Future order minimums
  • “Free” product. Stuff for demos and terrain for tables

Why is this game successful?

Battefront and Warlord Games just to name a couple, are making historical gaming very accessible to the average gamer. They do this by following a similar model to Games Workshop.

All in one. The company sells the rules, miniatures, paints and everything else you need to play. You don’t have to purchase everything from the company, but it makes things easier for a new player.

Organization. The game has a point based system. The models are organized and sold with this in mind.

Ease of rules. The rules are well written, simple and easy to understand.

Company involvement. The company maintains a online presence and makes themselves available to answer questions and clarify rules.

All of these factors combine to make things easy for the average gamer to buy, play and enjoy historical games. I feel like this could easily work in any time period. I think ancients, Napoleonics or American Civil War would be perfect for a company to bring to market using these factors.

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