WarGames – A new wargaming store that does what all stores SHOULD.

Just when I was starting to feel crushed under the weight of disappointing Kickstarters… along comes Martin McNeil. The WarGames project is as ambitious as it is appealing. I’ve always wondered about the business practices of wargaming / hobby based stores. Loving Space Marines may well allow you to start a business that permeates passion for the hobby, but that is not enough to make an organisation a success.

WarGames comes to Kickstarter, and therefore in to the public eye for the first time this week. But this is far from the beginnings of the project for its creator Martin McNeil. Martin has worked as a business consultant for 15 years, and has a solid grounding in how to turn an idea in to a success. And not just a success for the business, but the for the consumer too. And this is something sorely lacking in the industry at the moment. We all know the stories of online hobby retailers who last a year, are incapable of delivering their product.

Martin is equally aware of this, and many of the other pitfalls that can arise as can come from being a hobby shop owner, and has been working on failsafes to avoid these with his enterprise. Alongside the physical store will be an online shop, with live stock levels, and clear definitions of what is and isn’t available, something lacking in the current climate.

He has been raising the capital for his store for a few years, which is good news, because  if this were a Kickstarter asking for 5k to open a shop, they would be laughed at.  But WarGames will be opening regardless of whether the Kickstarter is a success. Because the groundwork has all been done. The extra funding is just to bolster the stores opening stock levels.

So what will WarGames be offering that isn’t already out there? Martin will not be making a standard shop. A few shelves selling tatty products that have sat there for years listening to the screams of upset Yu-Gi-Oh players. This will be a destination. To quote his Kickstarter:

  • A bright clean space with lots of demo and gaming tables available. Plenty of room to move around the tables, plus an area on each table for reserves, dead minis, books etc.
  • Full lines of all the main game systems including GW, Bolt Action, X-Wing, Warmachine/Hordes, Malifaux, Mantic etc. All at discounted prices and IN STOCK.
  • Clean toilets, hot and cold drinks plus snacks and sweets.
  • Good quality tables with proper terrain to play on, a couch and seating ‘chill out‘ area to play board and card games or just have a chat with fellow gamers. There will also be a reference library of books, magazines and novels to read or take away for a short period.
  • A fully equipped hobby area to paint, build and airbrush away to your hearts content.
  • On the higher floors will be the mass of gaming tables (approx 50) for club events, apocalypse style games and regular tournaments.
  • Martin already has a space secured in Southport. When WarGames opens it will be able to fully accommodate hobbyists of all levels and once the dust has settled there will be tournaments, painting events, and gaming leagues all active from the WarGames hub.

Matin’s vision is very clear. But it’s more than just a vision. I spoke with him for almost an hour on the phone and he has the business sense and the balls to back up everything he is claiming. Even if you’re only able to throw a quid his way, it will be a quid well spent. WarGames will set the bar high. And that is what we need.

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About Kev Walsh

Kev Walsh lives in Liverpool England. He has played in numerous hardcore and punk bands over the last 10 years including Seconds Out, The Last Chance and Down And Outs. Kev focusses most of his efforts on painting rather than playing, and is currently trying to push himself to learn some new tricks.

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