Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Great Price Increase Debate

Trailer Park Boys

BF customers are as mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore!

Amiss much hang wringing, swearing, outrage, and sworn vows to boycott, the world isn’t about to end because Battlefront announced a price increase to coincide with the release of EW: Blitzkrieg.

Or so the theory goes...

On the FOW Forum, there is a thread with 21 pages (and growing) of debate. Many posters suggest the price increase is a comet, heralding the doom of Mankind and Battlefront. They see a nefarious plot. They think Phil of Battlefront spent hours upon hours in a dungeon below Battlefront headquarters, sacrificing cute hamsters to the god of Early War, to conjure up what we all wanted - - Early War. Ah, but everything has its cost and the Unknown god demanded price increase before he would yield up the secrets of EW in time for its August release date.

Still others see nothing but corporate greed. BF sneak peaked EW in June and there was much rejoicing, seeing all the army lists and new models. Boom! Price increase announcement right before EW arrives like a ball peen hammer between the eyes. Foul! Foul! “Oh, Phil, why do you torment us?” Diabolical Phil is greedily his hands, laughing and cackling knowing we can’t resist the siren call of EW and will still slap down our money to buy $200 box sets and $12.50 blister packs.

I did some calculating, basing my idea on what a Mittlere Panzerkompanie will look like by the time Barbarossa arrives in 2012. From all the EW articles on the FOW site, 3x Pz III E’s will cost 390 points (130 pts per tank). I know this cost will go down in Barbarossa because FA 3, AT 6 isn’t the world killer when facing down T-34’s and KV-I/II’s. With reduced cost, a platoon of 4 Pz III E/F’s is doable (and a 5th Pz III will be the HQ).

I’m not sure on the number of Pz II’s. I know one will be part of the HQ section (along with a Pz III. I imagine another 4 Pz II’s will be a light platoon, providing a substantial number of machine gun dice. So perhaps 5 Pz II’s is an option. Or I could just get another 4 Pz III E’s and 1 Pz II for the HQ.

Assuming BF doesn’t put two Pz II’s in a blister, that’s 10 blisters @ $12.50 a pop or $125.00 (not counting any local taxes or VAT). Ouch!

Guess what. You don't have to buy EW minis from BF.

Old Glory has a large variety of vehicles for EW and they come in packs of 3 for $13.20 at Warweb. Let’s do the math, 4 packs of 3 @ $13.20 is $52.80 before shipping and local taxes. Wow, what’s an $80 savings!

Peter Pig offers another choice from BF.

Here’s a look a the Old Glory EW minis from Little Lead Heroes here and here.

Old Glory minis are good quality. The knock on them is that they are slightly smaller than BF’s resin models and sometimes lack detail (like tools and spare tracks). I own Lend Lease Shermans and ISU-122’s. They are all metal and have good weight to them. There's something to be said about a mini that can be used as a throwing weapon in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.

However, I’m not a fan of thin, metal guns that can easily bend. That’s my problem with the Old Glory Shermans along with the turret design. The turret looks like the “hand of god” squashed it flat, giving it a much lower profile compared to a BF M4A2. I may eventually replace my 9 Old Glory Shermans with BF ones.

On the table, the differences between BF, Old Glory and Peter Pig are very little. At arms' length, the models all look the same and you still roll the same number of dice when shooting or armor saves regardless if its a BF, Old Glory or Peter Pig tank.

It comes down to personal preference. I LIKE how the M4A2 of BF looks compared to Old Glory. I like Old Glory’s ISU-122. In the end, you are still putting bailed out and cotton on the vehicles during the game.

What am I going to do then for EW?

I have 4 BF Pz IV D/E’s painted and ready. I want to keep my force all BF. I may be willing to pay more for the detail and because I have German stowage from BF that I can add. The stowage won’t fit on the smaller Old Glory minis. I don't know though.

Now to counterbalance the higher costs of minis, I will likely NOT buy Blitzkrieg for $50. There’s only one army list that I want to know about and that’s the Mittlere Panzerkompanie. I don’t plan on starting a British, French or Polish list, despite how fun I think they will be to play. I made the plan to do the 11.PD in 1941 for Barbarossa. I’m missing out on the cool French tanks. Check out WWPD and see how much fun indie is having with his Char-1b’s. GeekEGuy's of GeekEGuy's Military Models told me awhile ago he’s angling to do a French list too. Before you know it they’ll both want croissants for breakfast and talking with a French accent and grow mustaches.

Also, I have to take into account my budget with the Stalin’s Europe (or the Budapest) book due out this Fall (see link). It will contain M4A2 (76mm) army lists, I hope. The money not spent on Blitzkrieg will go to the book and however many 76mm Shermans (likely 8) and SU-100’s (3’s a good number) I will be buying.

Those are my choices.

You have options. You, as the consumer and player, will make the choice on where to put your hard earned money. Everyone is different. BF is a business. They are allowed to raise prices. We also don’t have to buy from them.

To EW or not to EW. To buy BF minis or not buy BF minis. Those are your options. It doesn't take reading 21 pages of postings on a message board to come to that conclusion.

I'm stepping off the soap box. Thanks for reading.


  1. I agree with the sentiment here. I have not strayed from BF much before, but I've been picking up some others.

    The price increase doesn't bother me terribly- BF stuff is still usually the best in my opinion. That being said, I will be looking for deals more than I ever have.

    Anyone know how good the Old Glory French Laffy W15 gun truck is? Can't find any pics, but I want some of those guys :)

  2. For me it is simple. I am bound to BF products. I don't have PayPal / Creditcard so i can not buy stuff online. I need my LGS to do so and he only orders WWII stuff from BF. And FoW is already very small here. He can't order from an other company just for 1 person.
    Further i am not bothered with the price increase because i have a fixed budget per month to spent on FoW. So it only means that i get less for the same amount of money.
    About EW. Way before the release announcement i had decided not to start with it.