Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Long Lead Times

Over the next couple of weekends two big releases come out in the shops, both of which I was originally looking forward too, but as release date comes around I've just lost all interest in the pair of them. I blame poor marketing here allowing the impending releases and rumour to ferment for just too long. I think this is a danger with very long lead times whereby a product is announced very early and then all that enthusiasm is allowed to just dribble away. I strongly believe this is what has happened here.

First offender is Saturday's release of the Warhammer 8th Edition boxed set "Island of Blood". This has the slim, A5 sized rulebook (all rules, no fluff) and Skaven and High Elf little mans. GW's mistake here was to release the big, fat £45 rulebook ages ago rather than keep it back and closer to the big box release date. This means that there is no anticipation of rule/game improvements for Saturday since we've seen them all already. Months ago in fact.

My initial plans were to skip getting the big rulebook and wait for the boxed set. This has had the effect of effectively shutting down my entire outlet for playing Warhammer as friends went over to the new rulebook and I refused to pick it up with what appeared to be much better VFM several months ahead in the pipeline. Stick your finger in the air and take a stab/guesstimate at how many people feel likewise and you can see a clear split in the Warhammer community whereby one group are playing the new rulebook, another group is refusing to move over until the box is out and the rest have mothballed everything waiting for the cheaper option. This isn't good for the game.

A lack of Warhammering over the Summer has meant a lack of drive and focus for painting which has ended up suggesting that I won't bother with either Skaven and High Elfses which has itself suggested that I don't really want nor need the £65 box set anymore. The obvious result of this is that I bought the £45 rulebook a couple of weeks ago and decided to concentrate on the Night Goblins. By selling the rules months ago, all the thunder has been stolen from the big launch and now Island of Blood boils down to just being a big box of two small sets of figures that I now realise I don't want.

It's been in the offing too long, lost interest.

Now Workshop probably think they are being clever by pushing the playerbase into buying both whereas if both were released on the same day they'd see people buying one or the other as sales of one cannibalise the sales of the other. Trouble is I think they've now scuppered their own big box launch with lots of players not deciding not to bother with the latter - we have the rules, the small form rulebook will be on eBay shortly and the box set is now only attractive to Skaven or High Elf players. I can see Island of Blood being a massive sales disappointment. It should have come out right on the tailfeathers of the rulebook release, no more than a month or so later.

Second up is of course, 4E Red Box on the following weekend. I've been excited about this but again, too long, didn't read maintain enthusiasm.

Now if this was announced and on the shelves within a fortnight, impulse purchasing would have made me pick this up and probably another copy at the same time to sit on the bookshelf until not-really-a-nephew is old enough for it. But it's been too long and given everybody the opportunity to see all it's flaws (no proper character creation rules) and to see through it's sham-beginner pretensions with it's original Mentzer version cover and now I'm not interested.

At this point it might appear simply that I don't want these games so what's the problem? There are lots of games I don't want. The problem is that when announced I wanted these games and had launch followed announcement very quickly I'd own both now.

Note to games companies - don't give people too long to think about non-essential, game luxury purchases. Interest to purchase ASAP, don't let people go away and think about it too much.

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