Games Workshop, their share price, and hatred…

So hatred allows me to re-roll my share price roll, right?

Yesterday, GW released their half year results which was interesting. Revenue (in constant currency for ease of use) was down from £67.5m to £59.8m (11% down) and profits were down from £11.1m to £7.7m (31% down). Almost immediately, their share price dropped from 723p per share to 575p per share (down 20%). This has led to a lot of posts on the internet with many people using this information to try prove their position on a range of issues from “GW is sinking” to “finecast is bad” and on to “Wood Elves will be discontinued” (and I’m not even joking about the last bit).
I thought I’d take five minutes to try look into the numbers a little more and come up with a more balanced perspective on all of this.
H2 2014 results

H2 2014 results

 
Firstly, there’s no doubt that the six months to the end of December 2013 were not particularly good, especially when compared with the previous year. There are a number of reasons for this. There are a number of other products that compete with GW products in the same target demographic, and the end of 2013 was a big release time for them. The new XBox and Playstation were released after a long cycle of the XBox360 and PS3. In general, the same people that buy GW products would be interested in these gaming products leading to a natural reduction in turnover. Many FLGS are reporting the same – Christmas 2013 was not a good year for the sale of hobby products.
It’s also important to note that we are entering mid-cycle for 40k 6th Edition, and end-cycle for WHFB 8th Edition which traditionally are slower times. There were no big releases for either in H2 2013 while new 40k was launched in June 2012. So, we’re not exactly comparing like-with-like. The launch of 40k Sixth would certainly show H2 2012 to be reasonably strong. I’d also note that the Hobbit has hardly been a resounding success, with general chit-chat suggesting 2012 was poor and 2013 even worse.
Interestingly, GPP has increased – this means that GW are getting more bang for their book in terms of raw materials. It’s only small, but this would represent either (a) increased sales price relative to cost, (b) decreased cost of their materials or (c) increased efficiency of production. I suspect it may be down to the mix of materials – i.e. ditching Finecast and moving to plastic (again) and increased prices…but it’s hard to tell exactly.
Overheads are down slightly but these aren’t split so it’s hard to know what’s going on. We have to take Chairman Tom Kirby’s word that it’s partly down to the decision to move to single-man stores and that overheads will be reduced further in 2014 when new systems are in place for sales.
So, despite all of these disasters, the company made a profit of £7.7m. Not a loss, a profit…and quite a considerable one at that. In a half-year with no major releases for 40k or WHFB and the Hobbit doing poorly, that’s really not so bad.
So, if that’s not a bad thing, why all the fear? Well, the drop in share price compounds things, because it means that those who own the company and those who may want to invest in the company believe it’s not worth the current valuation. That could mean either that the company has dropped in value, or it was initially overpriced. The company is valued, by the market based on capitalization, at about £175m…even after the 20% drop. Is that too high/low? Well, GW operate in an unusual industry, so getting a “true” valuation is very hard. I’d suspect that this valuation is still a little high based on some simple calculations…but it’s so specialised that it’s very hard to be sure.
Valuation is kinda  set by the market…people will pay what they believe it’s worth. GW stock is very non-volatile and investors don’t sell their shares often. Ownership of the shares hasn’t changed much over the past number of years and a lot of shares are held by a handful of investors – Investec, Ruffer, Nomad. This means that there isn’t really a “true” market as shares aren’t being traded much.
So why haven’t investors sold? Well, why would they sell when the share price has gone from 176p per share in January 2009 to 575p now? Even after the drop, that’s a phenomenal jump and is a massive success in only five years. GW are also, IMHO, generous with dividends which would lead to price inflation. If profits reduce, then dividends reduce…leading to an almost double-hit in valuation.
Share price 5 year
So what’s happened? I suspect that a bit of a bubble has burst, as the company appeared somewhat overvalued (and I think might still be). The H2 results for 2013 are trying to compare with the H2 2012 which included the release of 6th Ed 40k so were never going to be favourable.
The death of GW? Far from it, though if it was to continue then it would be a worrying trend. I’d expect H1 2014 to be reasonably poor too, in truth, with a pickup in H2 2014 with the expected release of WHFB 9th. For the record, there are big numbers here, and things such as “they better drop Sisters of Battle” or “this is what they get for not releasing Wood Elves” or even “if their rules were better they’d be fine” is all rubbish. Those issues are far too small to impact on the big picture.
However, there are threats to GW from all of this. If this trend continues for all of 2014, then the expected blip may become something far more serious. I expect the trend to reverse in H2 2014, but that’s not guaranteed. The departure of Mark Wells in January 2013 may have shaken a little confidence in the company too – as we can see above, there was a spike in share trading in early 2013 after his resignation leading to a small drop in share price.
In saying this, GW are continuing to adjust their strategies and have started to become more community-focused, so they have already started to respond to their issues. Long may this continue.
So, GW might not have hatred on their share price…but it’s okay, because they’re steadfast (at least for now…)
Note – don’t rely on any of this for investment advice or anything like that…it’s only a quick comment and makes many assumptions and inferences!

TLC get all ETC-style!

TLC logo

Last night, the Last Chancers gaming club went all ETC and played a four against four team event using ETC rules. We played down at the Shack in Wicklow town as always, and the evening was a lot of fun. Dave Leahy was the main organiser, with help from Dave Holohan and the tables were ready and waiting for us…along with a couple of interesting twists!

These were the introduction of waystones to help channeling, having tables side by side allowing you to temporarily flee onto the adjacent table…and Dr Pepper and sweets for miscasts and losing certain characters.

We ended up having the forces of destruction playing the others – or, as we put it, the real guys against the soft pansies. The teams lined up like this:

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John’s Warriors prepare to take on the Ogres

Nigel (Daemons), John (Warriors), Dave H (Dark Elves) & Eoin (Warriors) versus Elliot (Wood Elves), Jarvis (Ogre Kingdoms), Dave L (High Elves) and Matt (Bretonnians).

The game starts!

The game starts!

The first game to end was between John and Jarvis – an almighty dust up that resulted in a 14-6 win for the Warriors and first blood to the forces of destruction! The next two results came in quickly – Matt’s Bretonnians accounting for Eoin’s Warriors 20-0 while Nigel’s Daemons did a similar job on Elliot’s Wood Elves. With one game to go, the forces of destruction were winning 34-26…but it would all hinge on the last table where the Daves matched up and it was looking good for the High Elves.

Great roll for Matt as he causes some problems for Eoin's Warriors...

Great roll for Matt as he causes some problems for Eoin’s Warriors…

At the bottom of turn six, with Dave H losing slightly he had a choice to make – either go for a big spell to try take out points but risk a miscast…or hold off and try sneak an overall win by restricting his loss. In the end, discretion won over valour and Dave chose not to cast. When the final scores were totted up, it was a win for the High Elves on a score of 13-7, which meant that overall, the forces of destruction managed to take the win on a 41-39 scoreline – as tight as could be!

Dave considers his option at the bottom of turn six.

Dave considers his option at the bottom of turn six.

Overall, this was great fun on a standard club night and we’d recommend team events to anyone! We’ve been having a bit of a look at Triumph & Treachery now too…

TLC logo

Knavecon II

Knavecon 2 – Being a Drax Report

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The idea for Knavecon was a very simple one.  A boardgaming “night”, but for the whole day and with a few more people.  After the first one which was limited to friends, it’s quadrupled in size and it’s still maintained it’s laid back, friends around a table vibe.

I had a blast on the day, granted we were run off our feet making coffee and registering people but I got to try out some new games, show others how to play a few games I love and enjoy the company of some fantastic people.  Oh and I got to run a big game of werewolf. I LOVE werewolf.

Everything went with military precision on the day, fry up at 9am, doors open at 10 and then people arrived…. and they kept coming.  We were hoping for 40 or so to break-even but we got upwards of 80 people on the day.  They came from all over, Cork, Kerry, Clonmel, Dublin, Wicklow, and Belfast.  They brought their kids, they brought their spouses, some of them brought their own games, some of them borrowed the ones that were there or joined in with others with shouts of  “I need two more for Waterdeep!”,  “Who fancies a game of imperial?”.   Friends who had chatted and gamed online met for the first time in person, gamers who didn’t know there were others living not so far from them got to game, chat and drink coffee together and it all worked out perfectly.

Games were played, bought and traded.  Coffee was quaffed, donuts demolished and still they came.  Tired children were relieved of gaming duty by spouses. Flagging gamers were revived by application of Pizza and chip with oaths sworn of “Gym Tomorrow”.   Dice were rolled and moves made, orders issued and strategies planned, shouts of “HA!” and “AH FECK!” echoed around the room and still they gamed, long into the evening and into the wee hours, some exhausted but thoroughly satisfied with a good days work left the field of battle with words of thanks and queries of when will we meet again?  And I stood amongst it, striding between tables coffee in hand, watching everyone revel in their favourite pastime.  It was the best of times.  Nothing beats a good gaming session and this was truly a good gaming session.

The people who attended on Saturday were stars.  They came, they got stuck in and they had fun, they we’re courteous and helpful and they shared the love of their hobby.  The trade stands that came had a great time and they too got stuck in, abandoned their shop posts and joined in the gaming revelry.

A big thank you goes out to all those who attended, you guys made the day and what a hell of a day it was.

As I write this it’s been a few days since Knavecon ran but people are still talking about it, posting pics, sending texts, PMs, email, organising their own game nights and planning what games to buy.  The main thread being, “we loved it”, “we want more” and “we can’t wait”.  That’s the best accolade we could have hope for.

We are delighted with how it went and I reckon, it’s here to stay.  To paraphrase the game Spartacus, “My Knavecon will Rage on!”

See you all at the next one

Vic

Today’s post was brought to you by Victor Gannon (link) of the League of Bastards in Limerick. I attended this, and really enjoyed it. Definitely one to add to the gaming diary for any board game fans – Nigel

A Northern View – Interview with TNI 40k captain Rowan Sheridan

TNI 40k hero?

TNI 40k hero?

Rowan is the captain of the Northern Irish 40k team for the ETC this year, stepping into the role vacated by  Jonny Fisher after many years’ service. Rowan kindly spent some time running through his thoughts on Team Northern Ireland, the ETC and the importance of community gaming.

When Jonny Fisher stepped aside as TNI 40k captain, it was the end of an era. Jonny is one of the mainstays of the WHFB community (ex-TNI captain there too), has run numerous events and has captained TNI 40k for years. Anyone looking to take over from Jonny would have quite a job on their hands. Taking on such challenges is nothing new for Rowan who has already set up and sold a game server company while at university. That computer gaming as a business attracted Rowan is no surprise, seeing as his first forays into gaming were games like Wolfenstein, Duke Nukem and Half Life. Rowan played some 40k many years ago and, like many players, he started for the game and stayed for the community.

“I was introduced to 40k when I was in second year at school, back then it was Second edition and I played Eldar – not very successfully. I don’t think I won a game. In 2009 I decided to revisit the 40k game and this time it’s 5th Edition. I started with Space Wolves and really enjoyed the social side of the game. I learned of Lisburn Gaming Club (www.lisburn-gaming.co.uk) a great community of guys who taught me the basics of the game and helped organise games for me. What surprised me was the size of the community – it was great to know that there are so many like-minded people”

TNI have often found getting players to be a challenge and a priority. It’s no surprise that Rowan ended up on the radar of the Northern Wasters in 2010. Rowan picks up the tale of moving from being a casual gamer right through two ETCs.

“In late 2010 I found out about the ETC thanks to Jonny Fisher and the Northern Wasters who had been building a competitive community in Northern Ireland. In 2011 I went to my first ETC; it was held in Switzerland and I was using Dark Eldar – let’s just say that I got my ass handed to me. I learned a lot from this and I could really see an improvement in my gaming when I returned. In 2012 I worked hard on my army (now Necrons) and was really trying to move up the rankings. In the 2012 ETC event, I fared much better winning most of my games – excluding the last day (long story but I had far too many drinks on the last night which inhibited me *points at Alec and Phil from the Irish 40k team*)”

The camaraderie between the 40k teams north and south is no surprise! The players attend the same events, mix socially and generally hang out together. Rowan’s focus is on trying to keep events up north going strongly and overall things are very positive.

“The Irish 40k scene has never been bigger. There are now so many people who travel to events and enjoy the craic of competing. Obviously my focus when it comes to ETC is the gaming scene in the north which has rocketed with events in Derry, Belfast, Lisburn and Bangor. This is good news for us as it means a bigger player base which in turn means that we will be able to produce better players.”

When Jonny moved aside, Rowan was elected captain. His manifesto included many thoughts on improving the team through practice days and boot camp sessions…but also to ensure that the process is fun. The team will also aim to build on last year’s success and try not to “win” the wooden spoon at the Six Nations event prior to the ETC. TNI select their team from the top six players on their rankings plus two wildcards chosen by the captain. This year, there are plenty of new faces so we can expect to see lots of new players. Rowan is very much building to the future in many regards.

“Success for me is the introduction of new players into the ETC arena. The fact that the majority of players who played for us last year couldn’t go this year yet we were still able to fill the slots shows that NI even though small has a strong community on which to draw good players. This year’s success will be measured by next year’s team. Hopefully each spot will be hotly contested due to the experience people have learned this year.”

Serving the community in this regard is clearly something dear to Rowan; however, there are many ways in which the community – especially in Northern Ireland – can help out.

“The community can help in a number of ways – firstly, a note to all NI players, no matter how good they are, can contact us through our forum and ask to be put in the TNI rankings. We can help with army lists and tactics. Secondly, if you are playing someone who is in the NI ETC team – give them good hard game!”

Finally, I asked Rowan if he had a message for the Wargaming Ireland community:

“Just a big thank you to all players who go to tournaments and a special thanks to those that run events. Without the community the game would not be as fun. Even though we have two teams that compete at the ETC we come from the same community.”

A big thank you to Rowan for taking the time to chat. The TNI 40k team is definitely heading in the right direction under his stewardship, and we wish the team the very best of luck both in the Six Nations and in the ETC itself. One thing I omitted from Rowan’s manifesto was that he promised not to drink too much at ETC 2013. I suggest that this resolve is tested at the event – you can tell him that it’s our fault!

Some useful links:

www.teamni.org – visit the forum and introduce yourself

www.lisburn-gaming.co.uk – visit the very active forum for help with all aspects of the hobby

https://www.facebook.com/groups/MageeCore/ – the guys that will be running Qcon this year!

http://www.replaygameshop.com/ http://www.krmulticase.com/

A Tale of Wired Gamers Part II – Progress?

Trying to get a bunch of gamers to finish anything? Useless bunch of……we’re on?……Hello there, and welcome back.

So a few weeks have passed now and it’s time to check in with our gamers to tell us about their progress on their projects. Or not.

Nigel Kavanagh (AKA Brooklyn)
Tomb Kings eh? Lovely army. Really want to paint them. Of course, GW caused my issues here because they just released the Daemon army book with a bunch of spiffing new models that I wanted to take to an upcoming event. (Yes, Nigel, it’s GW’s fault for releasing stuff, not yours for buying it!)

So I painted those instead.

In my first fortnight, I painted six Plague Drones, two Plague Toads (counting as Beasts of Nurgle) and a few Plaguebearers so that I could bring a mono-Nurgle Daemon list to Itzacon. I’ve enclosed pictures of the models.

Next on the painting table is an Exalted Chariot of Slaanesh, two Skullcannons of Khorne, Kairos Fateweaver, two Burning Chariots of Tzeentch and some assorted odds and ends. Let’s see how long it takes me to get through THAT lot! (We recommend our readers to indulge in the art of subtle mockery of Nigel for quitting his project first, although he has given us some pretty pictures so we’ll forgive him eventually)

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Jason Lane (AKA Osneros)
I started painting my Chaos and fell into the trap of spending too much time on one model. Ahriman is a fantastic mini, probably one of the best in the Chaos range I threw on some base coats then started on some details on his head (as you can see he is on the old size base – must update it!) I’ve based my scheme on the cover pic for the novel Ahriman Exile.

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I also signed up for a campaign in my local and headed in for a few games with a test list of 1000 points, mostly infantry. I had a HQ in Terminator Armour, Mark of Slaanesh, 2 power fists; Level 3 sorcerer on a disc; 10 Khorne Berserkers; 5 Havocs; 5 Noise Marines; 2 Spawns & 5 troops. I lost two games with this list although no one came near the Berserkers, the Noise Marines and Havocs worked well together, Spawns died too quickly so I’ve bumped them up to 5 in that unit. I reworked my Lord, dropped the Terminator suit and put him on a Steed of Slaanesh, gave him the Murder Sword and several other items and sticking him with the unit of Spawn so they gain outflank and are very fast. The Sorcerer on the disc works very well, I’ve more or less kept him the same the only thing is he is very vulnerable outside a unit. I’ve dropped the troops for a 20 man Cultist squad and I’ve added a Skysheild Landing Pad as a base for my Havocs and Noise Marines. Too many fliers out there! The next game is at 1500 so I’ve added a unit of Raptors and I’ve put the Berserkers into a Rhino.

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I’ve made a couple of purchases, something I shouldn’t have done until I had a certain amount painted, but I had to. I feel kind of dirty because it was a Heldrake (Boo-urns!) but I promise not to use until the battles are 1805 pts!

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Brian Leonard (AKA Lenny)
So you remember that army list I put up in the last post. I have half of it…….assembled. Yep, that’s it. I could blame a lot of people for that (mostly that Paul Quigley chap, if it wasn’t for his Shack Attack I wouldn’t have to build and paint two Stormraven Gunships, grumble, grumble, grumble……) but it’s mostly my own fault. However, I have had another one of my great (mad!) ideas. I was reading the 5th edition Realms of Choas army book and for anyone who doesn’t remember it, the way armies were selected was a little different. Each character selected had to have an equal or greater points value of units to be his “retinue”. I think I might steal this idea for building my army’s background. Each of the characters will have a retinue of equal or greater points value. All units in a character’s retinue must have the same Mark of Chaos as the character, or no Mark. As my first character will be a Sorcerer of Slaanesh, his retinue will consist of the Marauders and another unit TBD. The Nurgle Warriors will be the retinue for a forthcoming Nurgle character.

In this way I can represent my army as having an Overlord who has gained the fealty of a variety of Chaos Champions and Sorcerers, and through them, their retinues. This way I can include a variety of Marks of Chaos in the army (hopefully all of them at some point).

Brian Stack (AKA knotdragon)
I found myself facing a huge amount of resin FW models to build and simply get prepped for this project, so I won’t burden you with pictures of primed little men. However, I did manage to assemble and make some real progress on my non-FW Valkyrie, so here’s the photos of that.

I had problems with my airbrush in that as I got to the last stage, the white paint I put in was too thin and it flowed over all my previous work! That was me done for the day. I’ve since tidied it up a bit, and I’m waiting also on a new airbrush head which will also hopefully help when applying the paint. Hope to have much more to show by next week!

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Dave Stafford (AKA Mr Saturday)
Here’s what I’ve been up to the last couple of weeks:

Over the last fortnight I’ve been pretty productive. First up, I finished my unit filler for my half-dead (Chosen). Anybody familiar with Slaine might recognise the name, they’re essentially peat bog bodies animated by sour magic. I hadn’t seen any undead like this before, so I thought they would make a great premise for a unit. I still wanted to tie them into the main Fimir army though, so I added the slave driver as a unit filler, whipping the half-dead into battle.

I think I once worked for him...

I think I once worked for him…

Other than that, I managed to put together the first of my four marlwyrm riders (Skullcrushers) and I’m pretty happy with how he turned out. I had a bit of fiddling to do with the saddle, my first attempt wasn’t up to par so I had to tear it off and start over before the greenstuff cured. In the end I went for animal hide with patches of fur still clinging to it. Since I took the photo I’ve added links piercing the body of the wyrm that the hide is tied to. I’m really looking forward to painting this guy.

Skullcrushers meet Dune

Currently I’m working on another batch of three half-dead, including the musician. I found a celtic horn for the musician in the Warlord Games Celtic Warriors set, which fitted the theme perfectly. I’m using the half-dead to try some techniques for rust and verdigris I’ve been playing with, mostly to do with ratios of paint to flow improver. I’m also trying some OSL with glowing eyes. As these guys are mostly browns, reds and a little metallic, I need a decent spot colour to jazz them up, and the glowing eyes seem the best way.

Pots of doom

Pots of doom

Lastly, I’ve been mocking up some warped ones (Forsaken) mostly for fun, as I don’t have them in the list right now, though that might change. There’s been a general backlash against the forsaken kit, but I love it. Not only is it a modellers treasure trove, the kit reminds me of the Realm of Chaos miniatures more than a little. So, there we have it. An unusually brisk modelling fortnight!

Very gribbly indeed...

Very gribbly indeed…

So there you have it, some of our gamers have made some great progress on their armies, others not so much. With any luck we might have some more success next time out!

It’s over, thankfully. Now to get back to my other hobby. You know the one…..