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Subject: Is Days Of Wonder Swirling The Drain? rss

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Rory
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Poll: ...
Is Days of Wonder swirling the drain?
Yes
No
      366 answers
Poll created by roboman


Does anyone else think Days of Wonder might be heading down the tubes into closing down permanently? First they limit their distribution by going the exclusive route with one company, now they have sold all rights of BattleLore to FFG. They seem to be riding the Ticket to Ride pony pretty heavily with nothing revolutionary in sight.

As for Memoir '44, they recently announced 2 extremely underwhelming (in my opinion at least) expansions that seem out of touch with what the community is looking for.

Are they swirling the drain toward leaving the business for good?

Discuss.
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MrSkeletor wrote:
They announced a new expansion to Battlelore consisting of a paper map, a figure, and no cards. And expected $18 for it.
Fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
Then suddenly an announcement comes that the game has been sold off to another company.

Call me paranoid but when I see them try and flog off a subpar el-cheapo expansion for a high price then do this I get suspicious that cashflow is bit of an issue down there.


I don't know how much you follow Memoir '44, but their recently announced pair of expansions didn't receive the warmest of reception either.

Both are solely for the Overlord version of the game, which is a very small subset of M44 players. The other is a pre-designed roll-out map for playing a scenario on. If the game is built on being modular, why make a pre-designed map like that?
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MrSkeletor wrote:
They announced a new expansion to Battlelore consisting of a paper map, a figure, and no cards. And expected $18 for it.
Fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
Then suddenly an announcement comes that the game has been sold off to another company.

Call me paranoid but when I see them try and flog off a subpar el-cheapo expansion for a high price then do this I get suspicious that cashflow is bit of an issue down there.


I don't think the Troll expansion was a cash grab. Buried in the FAQ on the Battlelore sale on the DoW website is a notice that people who pre-ordered the Troll expansion through the website will be receiving it free of charge.

Seems to me DoW is concentrating on a few core brands and Battlelore isn't one of them. Wizards of the Coast is doing the same thing with Magic and D&D. Sign of the times -- there are a lot of nerd games out there chasing a finite supply of dollars.

I hope both DoW and FFG come out stronger from this transaction. And I am looking forward to seeing what FFG does with one of my favorite games.
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I think this will actually make DoW better. All the heart and soul they put into BattleLore wasn't converitng into tangible product. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to get some cash in house to keep them floating, but I really don't see that. I think they realized they couldn't do the game justice and wanted to see it grow - that meant handing it off.

BattleLore was consuming them. All their other lines (maybe TTR is the excpetion) were getting punished as the result of the time and energy allegedly being devoted to BL. And that hurt their new game line as well.

DoW can return to the company it once was (hopefully) and BattleLore can get the treatement it deserved (hopefully). I think re-diverting their energy into Memoir shows that they have faith in that title and the draw it still has with a lot of us. I expect them to stick around for a while and change some of the policies that caused them to ditch BL.
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DOW started off well with the gorgeous re-release Murder at the Abbey, then later picking up the intriguing Shadows over Camelot when that was dropped, but inbetween and after these two there were the mediocre card games, the interesting Ticket to Ride series and Memoir '44. However, with variant after variant of the last two made me glance at any further release announcements, but as soon as they step heavily into the silly fantasy skirmishes ala Games Workshop, they lost me. Am I the only one?

Nick
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I havent bought Battlelore, but if Fantasy Flight does a release with new minis and some rule tweaks I think I'll be purchasing it. All the best, Jonathan
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i remember 2 things that dow said:

1. they had been planning battlelore for a long time, realized that they needed some cash cows before they could materialize it, which they got through ticket to ride.

2. after getting their cash cow, they promised the mother of all games - a system in fact.

now they sell it off. no reasons given. can we believe them ever again?

also, this is their 2nd bombshell decision with no reasons given. the 1st was when international distributors were told overnight that dow is now exclusive and as a result, everyone was reduced to sub distributors with margins chopped by 7-10%.

can someone tell them that brand integrity is all about COMMUNICATING with their partners and customers. but i guess, they are not interested in what people think of them?
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
I think this will actually make DoW better. All the heart and soul they put into BattleLore wasn't converitng into tangible product. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to get some cash in house to keep them floating, but I really don't see that. I think they realized they couldn't do the game justice and wanted to see it grow - that meant handing it off.

BattleLore was consuming them. All their other lines (maybe TTR is the excpetion) were getting punished as the result of the time and energy allegedly being devoted to BL. And that hurt their new game line as well.

DoW can return to the company it once was (hopefully) and BattleLore can get the treatement it deserved (hopefully). I think re-diverting their energy into Memoir shows that they have faith in that title and the draw it still has with a lot of us. I expect them to stick around for a while and change some of the policies that caused them to ditch BL.


Well said!
Although a bit sad, this might prove good for both games (BL and Memoir) and might be the best move for DOW!
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ColtsFan76 wrote:
I think this will actually make DoW better. All the heart and soul they put into BattleLore wasn't converitng into tangible product. Why? I don't know. Maybe it was a last ditch effort to get some cash in house to keep them floating, but I really don't see that. I think they realized they couldn't do the game justice and wanted to see it grow - that meant handing it off.

BattleLore was consuming them. All their other lines (maybe TTR is the excpetion) were getting punished as the result of the time and energy allegedly being devoted to BL. And that hurt their new game line as well.

DoW can return to the company it once was (hopefully) and BattleLore can get the treatement it deserved (hopefully). I think re-diverting their energy into Memoir shows that they have faith in that title and the draw it still has with a lot of us. I expect them to stick around for a while and change some of the policies that caused them to ditch BL.


As someone who bought BattleLore with high hopes, I hope you're right about it improving both M44 and BattleLore. I prefer M44 over BattleLore by a large margin, so hopefully DoW can focus on that again. However, if their most rent 2 "expansions" are any indicator of their future plans for M44, count me out shake
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roboman wrote:
ColtsFan76 wrote:
I prefer M44 over BattleLore by a large margin, so hopefully DoW can focus on that again. However, if their most rent 2 "expansions" are any indicator of their future plans for M44, count me out shake

I think the Operatin Overlord is a half-way decent expansion. It wasn't entirely thought out - or at least it was too heavily intertwined in this Battle Map concept. If they allow a single Countryside/Beach map to be made, I think it will make this a decent offering.

The Battle Map concept is flawed but I think they will re-think what led to that or at least share with us why they choose this route.

With all the jubilation over the BL takeover, M44 kind of got lost in the shuffle. But DOW stated on their forums that they would give updated news on Memoir in Septemeber, once the BL transfer to FFG was complete.
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I wish DoW would release an electronic version of M44 already.....
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macedwin wrote:
i remember 2 things that dow said:

1. they had been planning battlelore for a long time, realized that they needed some cash cows before they could materialize it, which they got through ticket to ride.

2. after getting their cash cow, they promised the mother of all games - a system in fact.

now they sell it off. no reasons given. can we believe them ever again?

I don't recall them saying they needed cash cows (nor implied that) in order to bring about BL. What I remember is that they wanted to do this a long time ago but didn't have the experience (perhaps I am too naive and that equals need money). What came of that was the M44 system - allowing them to "learn" the system and gain that experience.

What is obvious to me is that experience didn't carry them through or they underestimated the manpower as well. If they didn't care about the game or were lying to us, I think they would have continued to let the game whither. Instead, they pass it off. That was probably their best example of stewardship of the line so far.

Quote:
also, this is their 2nd bombshell decision with no reasons given. the 1st was when international distributors were told overnight that dow is now exclusive and as a result, everyone was reduced to sub distributors with margins chopped by 7-10%.

I'll admit, I don't know why this happened. Perhaps it was to save on their own cash?

Quote:
can someone tell them that brand integrity is all about COMMUNICATING with their partners and customers. but i guess, they are not interested in what people think of them?

I agree. This has been my major sticking point with them for a long time. I have tried talking to their president and marketing director but they felt the fiasco over the carry case delays was more important to avoid than to give the fans a constant source of news. I wish they had struck a better balance earlier.
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MrSkeletor wrote:
They announced a new expansion to Battlelore consisting of a paper map, a figure, and no cards. And expected $18 for it.
Fan reaction was overwhelmingly negative.
Then suddenly an announcement comes that the game has been sold off to another company.


Well, that's easily explained if you consider, that they are now giving away these said expansion for free IF you preordered. So only the most devoted fans, those who preorder for $18, get it from them as a kind of "thank you" gift.
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I suppose it's a possibility that DoW could be moving toward closing shop, but I think it's more likely that they're just looking to simplify in order to cut costs. If they focus on the systems that have proven to be profitable, and limit the number of systems that they have to support, then they'll be better off in the long run. The only thing they have to worry about now is alienating their fan base, which seems to already be in progress.

Honestly, DoW can't catch a break. They release an exclusive edition of Ticket to Ride, and fans gripe and moan over not being able to get it. Then, DoW releases it to the US, and people who ordered it from overseas gripe that they paid too much for it when they imported it. Folks bitch and moan over the Battlelore system not getting the sort of updates the fans want, and DoW turns the franchise over to a publisher who has a proven track record to get that sort of thing done. People bitch and moan about that, too. Customers complain about prices, so DoW changes the method of expansions for Memoir '44, from mounted maps to preset paper maps, and the forums explode with disappointment.

Damn, but we're a fickle bunch.
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macedwin wrote:
i remember 2 things that dow said:

...
can someone tell them that brand integrity is all about COMMUNICATING with their partners and customers. but i guess, they are not interested in what people think of them?


Mac, I always think your shift keys are broken or missing, then you capitalize that ONE word in your posts to show it does work after all.
 
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I've noticed the shark jumping long ago. They are putting out nothing but retreads of TtR and expansions for BL and M'44... no real new ideas or interesting designs at all coming from them.

It certainly does give the impression they are simply content to continue sucking off the teat of TtR and M'44 and not do anything new. That's fine but just don't expect much interest or excitement in their product line from gamers.

BattleLore going to FFG will likely be brilliant for gamers interested in that gaming system. I expect FFG to expand and update that product line well and make it a winner.

If DOW indeed does have cash flow problems then hopefully this selloff will help them get a bit more capital to work with designers and finish some new designs in the pipeline.

My guess is they are just being conservative and don't want to risk having too many fingers in too many pies in a recessionary climate... hence their retrenchment into a tighter distribution system and away from a relatively costly expansion oriented system like BattleLore. I assume all those various figures aren't all that cheap to produce and warehouse... especially if sales of some of those expansions aren't what they had anticipated.

I wish them the best because they were one of the brightest sparks in boardgaming in the last 5 years or so... but that role has now passed on to companies like FFG and Z-Man. Hopefully they can join those companies and continue to produce entertaining games for years to come.
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nexttothemoon wrote:
I've noticed the shark jumping long ago.

The shark doesn't DO the jumping, the shark GETS jumped.
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CapAp wrote:
nexttothemoon wrote:
I've noticed the shark jumping long ago.

The shark doesn't DO the jumping, the shark GETS jumped.


That's what he said. The activity is "shark jumping".
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I think the recent developments about DOW do suggest some financial trouble but could be a move towards reorganization rather than a death rattle.

I had an idea fairly early that BattleLore was not going to be what they thought it was. Remember the original plans for monthly blister pack expansions etc.? The command and colors system doesn't really provide enough unit differentiation to justify that kind of regular expenditure (for most people at least). I own Battle Cry, Memoir, CCA and almost all expansions for those but even I wouldn't bite at a fantasy battle system that required constant expenditure to keep up with the system. Thankfully, their decision to do the Hill Giant and Earth Elemental promos helped keep me away as I realized my completist bug would cause this game to be a huge pain in the ass over time.

In terms of the Memoir preprinted scenario maps, they are again making a big mistake in my opinion. They have already marketed this product as a modular system. The preprinted maps make an expansion like the Terrain pack even more useless than it already was. I have purchased Eastern Front, Pacific, Air, and Terrain expansions so that I can play the scenarios that the designers (and others) whip up. I (like most people) am not looking to design my own scenarios. I like the idea of additional scenarios and would be willing to pay for a book of them. I am not going to pay for individual scenarios released on an inferior paper map. I also have no need for a canvas bag to carry the games.
 
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One of the things I noticed at GenCon was that the DoW booth had an amazing lack of product there. No copies of Merlin's Company, no copies of the TtR card game, quite a bit of M44. No clue what that means. Just an observation.
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CapAp wrote:
nexttothemoon wrote:
I've noticed the shark jumping long ago.

The shark doesn't DO the jumping, the shark GETS jumped.




No...the FRIDGE gets NUKED.

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franklincobb wrote:
CapAp wrote:
nexttothemoon wrote:
I've noticed the shark jumping long ago.

The shark doesn't DO the jumping, the shark GETS jumped.




No...the FRIDGE gets NUKED.



YOU ARE MY GOD! This is now my replacement phrase for "jumped the shark", which nuked the fridge a few years ago.
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I know that jumping the shark is a Happy Days reference, where does this Nuked the Fridge reference come from?

Game ON!
 
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Indiana Jones 4, where Indiana Jones hides in a fridge, it gets nuked, he survives, and you realize that the Indy franchise has just gone to shit.
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franklincobb wrote:

No...the FRIDGE gets NUKED.



Excellent metaphor. I'm going to start using that. The only problem is that not enough people are ever going to watch that piece of trash to make the term recognizable.

For those that don't get it, be glad (it's from Indiana Jones & the Crystal Skull also known as Indiana Jones IV: So Very Tired).
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