Wargaming – the cost of making new games….well the models anyway!

Morning Folks,

I’ve been ill for a few days and now I’m really bored of it.

This morning I was thinking about war gaming again, well re-thinking about a game I wanted to create last year.

The problem is this.  The smaller companies just don’t have the money to make their games unless they’re lucky to have a friend who’s a sculptor, an artist for the concepts and a caster to make the models.  It seems that you really need these people unless you want to pay good money.

What am I talking about?

Very early last year I found out that Tor Gaming was based in Sheffield and when I really looked their are just 1.2 miles away from me at home.  I looked onto their website and it was one of the best around for indies/small wargaming companies so looked professional.

Plus then I looked at their main game (Relics) and the models that they’ve released, plus at that time they were about to run the Indiegogo project for the Neum faction.

That was great stuff and I thought, this is excellent, maybe they’ll be able to help me out with my ideas as I have some money I can spend.

Before I go on, can any of you think how much it costs to make a single metal 28mm model?

So I contacted them and Gavin replied and was happy to talk.  We had a get together and their offices and then I found out it wasn’t ‘them’ it was ‘just him’.  That’s not that correct really as his better half helps out and his dog, he has a writer elsewhere, plus he has some friends that help and so on, but day to day it’s Gavin and he does EVERYTHING.  You send TG an email and he answers, you post onto their forum and it would be him answering for TG, you check out their Facebook/Twitter and so on it’s him…. during the ‘day’ he also has to make sure the bills are paid, orders are processed and sent out, that he has a cup of tea and some lunch and that he’s made sure the new models are being created, sculpt or concepted, my lord what a lot of stuff to do per day and this doesn’t include testing, updating the rulebook etc etc!

I almost stopped in my tracks and thought he was mad.  Now we’re about a year on and I still think he’s mad because he’s continuing…. these days he’s got a number of other models released for Relics and now currently has a Kickstarter project running to help make up some of the last models from the initial factions in the rulebook.

But the project isn’t getting that much help.

I looked around at others over the last 6 months and some big companies using Kickstarter are making a small fortune (Mantic, MiniWargaming come to mind etc) yet the smaller companies who need the investment to continue their ranges get limited support.

At time of writing the Relics KS has just 65 supporters, that sucks.  I know that on average how many people read this blog and how many friends I have.

Anyway off I digress.

The cost of making a miniature stands at very high for those of us without the local friends.  I don’t know about Tor Gaming (who would share their costs with a madman?) but from my investigations last year I found:

Concepts – depending on your artist and the quality you can pay £40-£75 for a single concept (of a 28mm WWII soldier for instance)

Sculpting – depending on if you wanted multi-part or single cast you can pay from £80 – £300 for a single sculpt.

Casting – depending on the number of models per mould, but seems you need various moulds are these cost around £100-120 in total.

So let’s say I wanted pretty much the best, on par with the Perry Brothers then I can expect to pay per figure £375 just to have the figure concepted and sculpted.  Not to mention I’d perhaps have to pay for shipping and VAT on those prices.  Once we add in the casting and moulds we’re looking at £500 a figure.

How many figures do you need to launch a new range?  That all depends, but probably 2 factions with 8 figures on each side, blood and sand, that’s £8k for the ‘starter sets’.

Now coming back down to earth we can reduce costs by re-using the bodies and having new arms/heads but in a pack of 8 you don’t really want duplicates do you?

So on how on earth can we get back the 8k we’ve invested?

I suppose that all depends on the selling price, but we’ve also got to think about if we want to move the figures via a retailer and/or distributor market then it’ll take us a long long time.

For example, say we make £8 per box of figures (assume we have a GW price!) how many boxes do we need JUST to recover our costs?  Well basic sums say 900….

That’s not too shabby is it?  900 can’t be that many can it?  I’d be staggered if a new small company could shift that many boxes to retailers within the time frame they have to remain in business.  The chances are they’re trickle sell, but then to keep interest from the players who bought at the start, you need to continue to release new material, be that new figures, new rules, something and so the cost continues to build.

So this is where IndieGoGo/Kickstarter come in.  I could get some concepts drawn, I could then start a project and hope to raise the £8k just for the figures. Of course I’d need to set it higher to pay the 5% Kickstarter want, and the 5% that the payment system will want and so my £8k needs to be £9.6k.

It’s a huge effort, but with banks not wanting to lend money without very high costs it’s the only choice.

This is where we need to support our local games.

Any of you reading this have NOT pledged to the Relics kickstarter then please re-think this.  The rules are very good, the figures are excellent and you should feel proud that your money is going to help a company that is fighting against some very big companies and perhaps this year they’ll ‘make it’.

So click here, in fact find any project that means something to you and support it.  What’s £10/$15 to you?  Enough of them could make a difference.

Apologies for my ramble, but it irks me that the larger companies get thousands of sales every day (the products may be good) but that their taking away money from the smaller guys.


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