G'day all. Griddon here with a rant. Albeit a rant with factual information. It was meant to be a quick update on my Panzergrenadier Division Grossdeutchsland as I said I'd detail where I bought my stuff from but I kinda got mad half way through and thought I'd chuck some emotion into the mix. ;)
Where you buy your stuff is an important factor for Australians. Perhaps not so important for those living in the UK or the US. Before we get into the meat of this, let me say this:
I totally get the need to support local gaming stores and I have done so with my latest Flames of War orders as well as the entirety of my last 40k force and all my Malifaux. However, I feel the viability of local gaming stores are being completely undermined by the pricing policies of a particular and very popular gaming company, Games Workshop. That's my opinion.
In Aus, we've suffered for a few years with the price of miniatures and games as compared with the US and UK. Taking currency rates out of it, the UK and US are cheaper and probably for valid reasons. They have a higher density of buyers and shorter more efficient supply chains. Maybe worthy of 10% premium in Australia. Hell, let's even make it 20% and give GW the benefit of doubt. However, in practice we really can't ignore the currency rates when making our own purchases. In this world of Ebay and large online retailers, we have many choices to maximise our dollars when purchasing minis.
I have a basic understanding of how the pricing works and I do understand that miniature companies can't change at will to reflect the latest Forex fluctuations. However, given that the Aussie dollar has demonstrated strength versus the Pound and parity versus the US dollar on and off for over a year now, I think the major players should have adjusted their pricing accordingly.
Battlefront did. Games Workshop did not. Battlefront basically got very close to the prices we pay for goods from the UK or US to the point where I am preparred to buy local and support my local stores. If I was still interested in buying Warhammer 40k miniatures though, I'd be using online retailers. Here's why;
Price of a new Grey Knights Box set at Aussie RRP: $55
Price of a new Grey Knights Box set at UK RRP (GBP20.50) converted to Aussie dollars with year average FOREX rate: $34.
(I used the year average Forex rate Feb2010 to Jan 2011 of 1.66)
Granted, local retailers can offer discounts off RRP but they are typically matched and exceeded by UK or US retailers. The net result for GW miniatures is that it will be cheaper to buy from the UK or US until the Aussie Dollar depreciates considerably. For a line ball decision between UK and Aus purchases, we'd need the forex rate to be 2.68 AUD to the Pound. I mean, that rate hasn't existed in years. Seriously. If you're a gaming store in Aus and you're reading this, how does this make you feel? Sure enough, rates will swing away from Aussie strength at some point when global interest rates come off rock bottom but I don't think any analysts are predicting anything like 2:1 any time soon.
Let's be honest. Buying a whole 40k army from overseas is massively cheaper than using local gaming shops. Massively. Is my will to support local gaming shops worth the 40% premium? It's a moot question as I have no plans for a new 40k force any time soon. Battlefront however should be commended for their actions on their prices. If you look to the internet to purchase the required bits for my German Panzergrendadier list, you'll be able to secure the whole lot for $197. I ordered my stuff from Realm of Legends here in Australia for $204. Yep. I'm preparred to pay the gap for the friendly service and to support the stores that support our gaming in Victoria. I also recently spend $125 or so at Battlebunker on more British bits to round out my late war list. Both stores do great things to support the local Victorian wargaming communities.
Am I a Battlefront fanboy? Not really. You can't go past the facts. If 40k was the same price here you'd get more Aussie sales. That's the truth of the matter. I'll continue to do what makes sense to support local gaming stores and I'm sure most Aussies do the same.
/ rant :)