Friday, August 25, 2017

A Black Day for the Hobby - Multiple closures!

Today seems to be a very black day for the hobby with the loss of two smaller
Independent gaming companies!

Today sees the closure of both Tor Gaming and Spartan games. It's sad news and given the links to the halo game for Spartan some very surprising news. Both have statements on their sites and can be seen below. It looks like a worrying time for the UK gaming industry.

If you have orders with them both it's a shame but it looks like it will be a credit card or PayPal claim back unfortunately.

Such a shame and hope those loosing their jobs are fortunate to pick up something new soon.

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SPARTAN GAMES
Company statement

Spartan Games
  • Firestorm Armada, an exciting space combat game featuring highly detailed starship models
  • Dystopian Legions, a game based in the world of Dystopian Wars using highly detailed 32mm scale figures and vehicles (now retired)
  • Dystopian Wars– an exciting journey in a Victorian sci-fi world encompassing naval combat, ground warfare and aerial combat.
  • Spartan Scenics – a range of detailed and easily assembled wargames terrain.

Written by Spartan Games | 
The following statement is issued today, Friday 25th August 2017.
Following a prolonged period of challenging trading and despite the directors’ best efforts to manage through, Rebel Publishing Ltd was unable to continue to trade and the directors have taken the difficult decision to cease. All members of staff were made redundant.
The company, which traded as Spartan Games, is a Somerset, UK based provider of tabletop miniature games which include
Rebel Publishing Ltd was formed in July 2002 and traded successfully for a number of years. Spartan Games was launched in 2008 and grew rapidly.  However, the tabletop games market is challenging and has changed over recent years, and suppliers are predominantly a small number of large well-known names and several small, cottage industry, type businesses.
Initially the business outsourced production but following quality control and production management issues, manufacturing was moved in house between 2009 and 2011.  Over this time and since, significant investment was made into machinery and infrastructure. The business also expanded to provide models for a well known video game, moving this into the tabletop games arena.  However, significant new development costs, timing issues and the deflection of management time from the core games brands resulted in a significant trading loss for 2015/6. The business was able to continue to trade by raising additional finance and refocusing on core brands, and direct / online trading improved significantly.   Results for 2016/17 were significantly improved.
However, despite this it continued to encounter challenging trading conditions and it became clear this month that the company could not continue to service its liabilities, particularly given the burden imposed by the amounts owing to finance companies.
The company was in the process of running a Kickstarter project to raise funds for expansion of one of its successful product lines.  This was well supported and positive feedback on the new products was given showing the popularity of the product line and ongoing demand.  However, this does not, unfortunately, provide the full range of success and resources needed to sustain the business.
In addition to challenging trading issues, one of the directors has suffered from a long period of poor health which became significantly more serious earlier this year and although now back in the business, requires ongoing treatment.  That has inevitably taken a toll on the amount of time available to the business so, along with other challenges, has significantly contributed to this difficult decision.
The directors are extremely saddened by this decision and particularly regret any losses incurred by employees, customers, suppliers or other trading partners.  The directors fully committed their time, energy and personal resources to effect a turnaround.  Employees will receive redundancy payments through state funds and although efforts have been made to fulfil customer orders, it is hoped that anyone who does not receive their goods will be able to redeem their payments through their credit card or PayPal.
If customers have made a deposit or paid for goods or services by credit or debit card and the goods or services are not going to be received by the due date, they may be able to get their money back by claiming a refund from their card issuer.  They should contact their card issuer as soon as possible.  Further information including time limits that apply is available from the UK Cards Association: Credit and debit cards: A consumer guide.  Similar schemes exist in other countries.
Throughout the years that Spartan Games has traded, it has prided itself on the highest level of product quality and customer satisfaction.  This has been delivered consistently and is evidenced though annual customer research that the company has undertaken.
We would encourage anybody who may be interested in acquiring either stock, assets or the business to make contact as soon as possible.  Spartan Games and its product lines have a strong reputation in its markets together with an asset base which may be of interest to a number of parties, and a variety of machinery in addition to Intellectual Property.
All enquiries about this matter should be sent to spartangames@mail.com.


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TOR GAMING
Company statement

Statement date: Friday 25th August 2017.
Tor Gaming was started back in 2010 with the intention to product the tabletop wargame Relics and with it, bring some originality to your gaming table. We tried to create a world that was distinctly different to what was already being presented from several fronts, and I like to think we managed in this task.
Unfortunately, the last few years have been a difficult trading time for Tor Gaming. Running a business in a niche market is never easy but the gaming industry has become very crowded in the last few years for a number of reasons. As such, I have made the difficult decision to close Tor Gaming and sell off the Relics IP and product range.
The reasons for Tor Gaming closing are many faceted but as I mention above the gaming market is a much more crowded than it was when I started out. The arrival of crowdfunding platforms certainly shook up the industry and made it even easier for new companies to appear and vie for the limited funds our customers have to spend in this hobby of ours. I have made use of them a number of times for Relics and whilst they are good for raising funds I have found each time I ran a project I had a nasty taste in my mouth afterwards.
Coupled with the fact that the traditional ‘distribution model’ of selling product to end users through retailers is a difficult task in this industry as retailers have only so much shelf space and as such are less inclined try out every range that comes along makes continuing to trade in this industry as a producer is difficult.
Over the last couple of years we have seen a steady decline in sales and as such Tor Gaming no longer has the resources to spend on the marketing and advertising required to make our voice heard over all the other voices in this industry. This has ramifications on our ability to develop and produce new products to support the Relics line. We could continue by making use of more crowdfunding projects and moving away from the more traditional ‘distribution model’ for selling but I feel that would be the wrong decision as I am not happy putting the financial risk on to the shoulders of our customers.
It’s been a fun journey but as with all journeys, there has to be an end. For Tor Gaming, that end is here. The journey has been fun and exciting, even frustrating at times. But along the way we have met some great people in this hobby and I am proud to call many of them friends now!
Enquiries
If you wish to contact us about this closure, or you are interested in purchasing the Relics product package and Intellectual property, we invite you to contact us on contact@torgaming.co.uk

Monday, August 07, 2017

WarGames UK - Seller Review

Hi folks, been a while since I did a seller review so thought with the purchases of 8th completed now would be the time!

This review covers my experiences with WarGames UK - who instantly get bonus points for using the image from the 80s film :)


Initially I hadn't planned on using them as a seller as their discount varied between 15-20% when I had looked in the past, but their stacked deals on 8th ranging from 20-27% off was more than enough to tempt me away from my normal sellers.

Overall the site was easy enough to use and pleasantly simple - not too much faffy stuff on it and importantly it worked as expected (8th edition popping up on their site at 1am was a help seems as I was going to be busy on launch day) and let me check out as easily as any other site. The pre-built packages were good but being awkward I didn't want one of those, but even still ordering 8th, the imperial indexes and objectives was easy enough and didn't cause any issues.



My only real bugbear with the site as such was that there was no confirmation emails received at the time (something the guys assure me will be resolved in future).

Overall ordering was smooth and then just a case of waiting and seeing. However this was where problems began!

I expected being a reseller I would get my items after launch but after almost a week no dispatch email and no updates I decided to check my account. On there it was showing as "scanned" by courier but no further activity. On contacting the guys I was advised it looks like Fedex scanned it but they would need to chase them and would get back to me. They did explain that they had 470+ boxes going out with Fedex alone for the 8th releases and apologised there was an issue.

It took a day or so to get somewhere with Fedex but once they got hold of someone that knew what was going on it appeared the box had being scanned by their courier but had then gone walkabouts. The guys advised me they would get a replacement sent out to me asap, again the items were sent (and no dispatch notice) and arrived promptly within 3 days. There was then a further issue with the objectives no longer in stock and I was given a choice to wait for them or get a refund (which I took). I was also granted a £5 store credit to use on my next order if I use the guys again (depends on their discounts on the new Primaris toys but the £50 minimum for free postage could be a factor too).

Overall despite the disappointment/frustration of being behind the curve on 8th the experience was good and the guys sending me out a very costly replacement order and sorting their insurance/cover with Fedex without involving me too much was appreciated. 

Good service and pleasant guys overall a good 7.5 out of 10 but the glitches with the email system and stock on the replacement were a disappointment. I would recommend them to anyone if they have the item in stock you are after at a good discount and you are looking at spending over £50.

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Edit 07.08.17
Since this post a couple of subsequent orders have gone in and have all progressed smoothly, in fact one of them I received before the GW release so was happy.
Only thing to note is that on both subsequent occasions there were no update emails, I received the initial order placement ones but nothing to say it was shipped or anything.
This improvement in service and the good packing bump them up to an 8 out of 10.

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