Sunday, January 20, 2013

Games Workshop to Close Los Angeles Battle Bunker



Games Workshop has just announced their plans to close the Los Angeles Battle Bunker and turn it into one of their one-man stores.  
This is an absolute shame, not only because it is my home base and I run the Apocalypse games out of there, but because it leaves a whole for all the gamers playing on their 22+ tables on a regular basis.

 The obligatory big Space Marine statue.  Love that it is Dark Angels!

The Battle Bunker was close to profitable according to GW, but the store doesn't fit the one man store model that GW is rolling out all over the nation.  Basically GW wants to sell models and the support of that hobby by providing places to play is not a priority.  Frankly, I find this attitude incredibly short sighted.  With no gaming available, the Bunker will become just another store, and frankly in a BAD location.  The only reason people went to Westminster is because of the Bunker.  It is not the ideal location for a game store.


This photo shows the shop portion in the background from the front of the gaming room

 The game room

And of course the question is will another game store pop up that replaces the bunker in that area.  There is no reason to go to the bunker to pay full price if there is no support.  Like many of us, we paid full price at the bunker, rather than go to Brookhurst Hobbies to get 20% off, because the Bunker was where we played.  And they supported the game like no other store in L.A.  Chris Cailor the bunker manager when I moved to L.A. was a great guy and became a good friend of mine and co-founder of SoCal Apocalypse and the first Big Game.  James Bell, the bunker manager after Chris was the reason I went to the Bunker 3x a week, until James moved to Memphis and took over the GW Bunker there.  However, without the gaming area, I probably won't even go to the bunker, and certainly I won't be buying there.  Now my buddy Drew took over the GW store in Tustin, and I will probably go there to buy things I need from GW because I like him.  But online discounters are going to see most of my money with no place to play big games.

So I wonder how you all feel about GW bunkers, one man stores and the role of your FLGS.

Loken


29 comments:

Michael Whelan said...

I could say welcome to Australia. The one man stores are a world wide model and if you want to talk about paying full price, then try paying double, because that's how the pricing is here in Australia and given that our dollar is on parity with the US dollar, it just doesn't add up.
GW used the arguement here that the higher pricing is because of their support of the hobby, but that support has long gone and the high pricing still remains. I think the reality is that they've just lost touch.

Jeremy Hansen said...

I've never lived in or near a city with a Games Workshop store. I visited the one in San Francisco twice before it went out of business, and the one in Pleasanton once (though it was more like a closet). I've always gamed at FLGS and done most of my shopping at online discounts. It's too expensive to do otherwise.

Knight of Infinite Resignation said...

My local GW (Salisbury, UK) just became a one man store, which means no vets games night.

How stupid, so you sell a product which is used to play games, but take away people's ability to play, thus destroying demand for your product.

Col. Dracus said...

I had made a couple trips to the LA Bunker even though it was a several Hr drive away. I enjoyed playing in the Apoc games there and in a few of the tournaments, but now there is no reason for me to make the trip and connect with new gamers.

Sad to see it go. It was a great place to see some of the unique models that were on display that I had only seen previously online.

Anonymous said...

Ever thought of playing at home? Realistically In store gaming is aimed a kids. You don't take a DVD or a console game back to the place you bought it from & expect to be able to watch/play it there. There's always the option of setting your own gaming club up in a pub/community centre/church hall etc

Tony said...

Anonymous...are you serious? This must be a GW lover!!! You can't compare DVD/Video games to our hobby. LOL! GW is out of touch with the gaming community and most of us(gamers) have seen how these prices have killed the new blood from growing in the hobby. Please anonymous we're not idiots!!!

Kevinmcd28 said...

Since I have never been to an actual GW store I never understood, is it literally a store with one worker? haha

Anyway they couldnt manage to keep control of a location as big as a bunker open the way they are with just a one man store format, they would have to downsize

Anonymous said...

Yes Tony I am serious. Why don't you play at home? Or set up a gaming club of your own? People were playing tabletop wargames years before GW came along. When I started 25 years ago we played on a dining room table, using piles of books for hills. There's plenty of online guides for scratch builing scenery these days too.

EnglishmanInUkraine said...

Have you considered a signed petition, or showing GW the number of customers that will stop coming to the store. GW are English. We English understand and appreciate a good petition!
Get a couple of hundred signatures (complete with addresses or email addresses to prove they are real people) and send it over to Head Office, telling them that if the store drops to 1man status, you will all stop using the shop, and start using internet discount stores.
GW also understands numbers. 200 customers removing 40% of their model spending profit from a store vs employing a second member of staff....

Rhaevyn said...

the problem is always going to be floorspace. the cheapest space you can rent in most cities comes down to about $15/sq ft. so your average 40k table costs GW $360 per month to provide. not included the cost of the table, the extra space for dudes to walk in, heat, lighting, scenery etc.

its expensive to run places like the bunkers.

even if they lose a ton of regulars, the cost savings is tremendous when downsized to the size of a small boutique store in a mall.

I'm not saying i agree with changing a bunker into a 1 man store, Personally i think it should iether be a Bunker... or no store at all.

Support your FLGS.

fleshterror77 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Anyone know if this is impacting the other bunkers too? I can't find anywhere else with this news so I'm curious as to the details.

Anonymous said...

I dont see that one man store lasting long at all its in a pretty bad location, why go there when you can save money online at other retailers

Mitchos said...

GW dont need to provide gaming areas, its just nice they do. I've never seen a PP shop, and warmahordes is huge. Oh and OZ tried the petition thing, basically Mr Wells spat in our face, and said we will pay what GW want us to pay. Ok so there wasnt any spit, but it didnt do us any good.

Daishi said...

It's sad to hear this.
In my city are two GW-stores. A big one and a one man store. The interesting thing is that the one man store got the veterans oO
But I can understand - a big place to meet and play with many players... it's great. To lose such a thing is really really sad (and like said before: GW is good for providing the tables you need for your games so you can "concentrate" on new armies to buy ;) ... as long as they do that >.< )

Anonymous said...

There is Mercenary Market in Costa Mesa. Its the only shop in the OC area that even comes close to the same number of gaming tables, and offers a much wider range of games to play. To top it off, they do whatever they can to work with the community, sponsoring events of all kinds.

Atreides said...

Happened in my hometown, Cambridge UK, about 3 years ago now. We also had a battle bunker, and once it was gone the thriving local gaming community all but died. Such a very short sighted move, I am sorry it happened to you as well.

Anonymous said...

I'm no gan of gw but salisbury is also my local store and at least in this instance the manager is going out of his way to make sure that there are games clubs able to provide the same support to play if not more in the way that there will soon be three seperate clubs throughout the week all with more playing space than the shop. If you have a problem with the shop losing tge vets night have you talked to the manager about your worries and if you cant play at home why arent you going to the two already established clubs in salisbury, one of which is even advertised in the shop so no excuse as too not knowing about it.

Arqaurian Yriel said...

Yep this just happened to GW Uxbridge too. It is strange how they seem to be bent on driving people out of their shops. I don't shop there anymore as its too expensive but I did used to pick up a few things every now and then but as I can't game there anymore there's no need for me to go at all.

Anonymous said...

Sad times.... Do you have a link to the original notification? When do they plan on closing? - Wild Bill

Jonathan Meyer said...

There is also The Realm, in Brea, CA (north OC). We have 4 regular large tables. And can easily drop 4 more down on our card tables. Thursdays are our Minis night, and we run tournamnets every 1st Saturday for GW.

No Apocalypse on the calendar at the moment, but if we get enough requests we will put something together.

Jon

Anonymous said...

This is a real shame because the bunker was the one thing that other mini games don't usually have... a big club/store to go hang out and play games at.

Anonymous said...

Yhea, I agree, I used to play there all the time. Always cool to swing by see the terrain and look at the nicely painted figs to get inspired, also convenient to stop by and check the new stuff out in action. With no gaming, I fail to see the point of going by there when I can go by a local FLGS and see more variety of products. In hindsight its a damn shame GW even opened up its stores, it drove lots of great LGS out of business and that business model has been slowly dieing ever since. 100% of my gaming dollars will be going to the FLGS. I have been to the Realm in Brea and its a great store with good tables and a nice selection of terrain and players. A good alternative to GW imho.

Anonymous said...

Here in Australia the majority of us have shunned GW for their trifecta of rape bestowed upon us. The prices here are frankly insane and to top it off GW decided an embargo would be the right way to go in stopping us buying overseas (I now buy in bulk from the USA).

Their hobby stores I can't even bring myself to enter, given they have to shut down for an hour in the middle of the day just so the staff member can get lunch - yes really. Upon entry you get jumped from behind by an over enthusiastic redshirt who for all intents and purposes reminds me of a scene from LOTR with Gollum pouncing. Any hobby support has been removed, White Dwarf is pushed and tactical advice is in aide of buying the new shiney thing on the shelves.

We have started PDF shopping and buying gear from Russia and China just so we don't have to throw away thousands of dollars worth of investment. Over 90% of the gamers here run their hobby out of clubs rather than the sycophant run GW stores. The added bonus is you can play more than just GW games there and find out tabletop gaming is actually affordable - just not with GW systems!

Anonymous said...

Guys, just remember there was a hobby before Games Workshop and there will be a hobby after Games Workshop, they have producted some real good stuff, but they seem to forget it's not their hobby it's ours, I have brought my boys up with the attitude it's our universe and what goes on in it is up to us.I've been in it for 40 odd years now, and seeing the new stuff coming out is really exciting, so use what figures you want and paint them with the paints that suit you, buy from where ever you get the best deal ( Long live Wayland Games) and play when and where you can.

Anonymous said...

Shop where you play, play where you shop.

If that means you shop from home, then you should expect to play at home, whether you go to a GW Store or another Hobby Store, Always Shop where you play, and play where you shop.

Sure... you get a better discount online, even more so than at a independent store, you don't get the experience of sharing your hobby with other people.

Also keep in mind, a GW Store isn't there to support you when you are this far into the hobby, for goodness sake you're all self sufficient, what more support do you need when you breach the 5k+ point collection, without the GW stores in place new people won't get in the hobby which means your games won't see new people.

Call me a GW Tard all you want, I'm using logic and reason on this one, don't get me wrong I'm going to miss the bunker, but between having the location shrink, and seeing the location close, I'd rather see it shrink, than lose the possibility of new people not get into the game, there will always be an apocalypse game somewhere.

Shawn350 said...

Chris Cailor is a great guy loved working with him and Kyle Kinghorn back in the day.... GW is in a tailspin.

Anonymous said...

Those were the better days of the bunker. They have become more and more pushy with how they try to sell. What was the biggest draw to come there was the community that played there.

Another thing that always bugged me was the "LA" part. It's not in LA!

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is this & it follows thusly:

- Yeah. GW are a franchise failing it's key, albeit, still niche & corner stone customers. And yes they have become a business and company solely focused on product sales, direct online commissions and share pricing for their stakeholders.

- BUT they could argue from a realistic front that people playing on the tables are not buying stuff (eep, anymore?). Because, one, they have their army(ies), made all their purchases and completed their lists and only visit these places to play.

- GW are no longer focused on repeat sales it seems. Their objective is new sales, branched sales. They want young and dumb to the scene (I would argue kids), not the scaly faces of attrition, who have been there, painted then played that. They could care less for a revolving door basis, so long as the cattle call gets new cows, or as it be (so it seems), calves.


Another typical door closing. Which is a shame. The World needs more places with tables. There just never seems to be enough tables.. or places. Or people for that matter. Or dice. Mmm. Dice.

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