Friday, 9 November 2012

The truth about Maelstrom Games




There have obviously been rumours about issues at Maelstrom Games for quite some time now. There was the issue with Battlefront Games and Gale Force 9 that actually resulted in them pulling supply of their product to Maelstrom Games, and the resulting fall out all of that caused. You can read Maelstom Games Battlefront Miniatures statement from that particular incident. I guess that was the first sign that things were not all that good and rosy in Mansfield. Then there has been the perennial problems they've seemed to have with getting a ready supply of stock, in particular Privateer Press stock over the last year or so. At first I brought the fact that they (Privateer Press) were struggling to keep up with demand... but that recently evaporated as a plausible reason when you looked around at other stores and saw they weren't having the same issues Maelstrom Games were having. Yet despite my personal suspicions I have never once had a problem with Maelstrom getting me the stock I've ordered, and the only time I had a slight issue it was sorted within 24 hours and that was the Hell Dorado book turning up water damaged.

But today they posted a statement up on their website, which has replaced the holding statement that the website was down for maintenance:


You can of course see it for yourselves here. It seems though that the Internet rumour mill has indeed got it right, and it seems Maelstrom Games are indeed going to the wall with quite significant debts. I would strike a note of warning here that this is Maelstrom Games version of events, and although I have known for some time now that this was the situation I will be personally seeking confirmation from the other parties included, namely Wayland Games and Simple Miniatures.

As I have said I have known of this situation for about a month or so now, and I can only apologise about not being in a position to confirm this state of affairs, as none of the individuals involved were willing to go on the record over this. I uncovered the fact that Wayland Games had purchased roughly £100,000 of Maelstroms Debt's to Simple Miniatures around the end of October. I have spoken with individuals at Maelstrom Games and Wayland Games about this, and asked them both to clarify the situation for customers primarily. This didn't happen for various legal reasons, and given the litigious nature of the activity I did not want to put my own financial ass on the line as it were. All I will say is this, I don't really think any organization comes out of this situation smelling of roses. Firstly how the hell did Maelstrom Games allow their debts to get to such unmanageable levels, it isn't professional, and I'm sure many of you will know I have a more than cordial relationship with Rob Lane. But, on the point about building up such a significant amount of debt I can not defend him or his company and the way it was run.

Secondly, I'd have to question Simple Miniatures for allowing the debt to get so out of hand. I understand that at times companies feel the need to extend credit to their clients, but to allow such a huge tab seems to be exceedingly unprofessional, and while I have the greatest amount of sympathy for them, because it is they who were owed the funds, I have to question the wisdom of allowing more and more credit to an organization that was either unable, or unwilling to pay off its previous debts. Finally there is the third party to all this Wayland Games. I have spoken to Richard Lawford about why it was that he brought the debt in the first place. He has said it was to do with securing his supply chain, and that Simple Miniatures being out of pocket was a potential risk for them, because of the debt owed by Maelstrom Games. He of course has every right to protect his supply chain and to do so in whatever legal way he sees fit. But, there will be questions over whether that was Wayland Games ultimate motive or whether it was an attempt at buying out, or crippling a competitor. As always with such things I extend the benefit of the doubt to anyone, but questions will remain unanswered, and I will be seeking answers from all parties over this.

But what of the fourth party in all of this? You the customer? Well it looks like you've been shafted. I'm not fully aware of your rights under UK or EU law if you have any outstanding orders placed with Maelstrom Games. I'm not sure if Maelstrom Games will be able to fulfill those orders that have been placed, or whether suppliers will allow them to given the current parlous state of the organizations finances. So yet again it appears the customer is the biggest loser in all this, although perhaps financially that might not prove the case. So there is now one less competitor in the marketplace, which can only be a bad thing for consumers. But, in a way it might actually be healthier for the industry as a whole if such large online retailers are removed from the equation. I've certainly heard enough people express that opinion strongly over the last few weeks while I've been trying to get people to go on the record. I humbly disagree. Our industry needs to find a way to support its growth with these large Internet retailers as key players, because I can't see the model going away. However, it has to be sustainable for all involved, and it's clear that Maelstrom Games wasn't. Peace out!

EDIT: Just for editorial impartiality Wayland Games have put up a statement here. As I said there are always two sides of the story, so read their statement as well. 

SECOND EDIT: Simple Miniatures have placed  a statement regarding the situation on their own website here. Again if you want to get the full picture I'd advise you to go and read their side of things.

366 comments:

  1. An interesting twist. While I did think Maelstrom were verging on fraud, if this is true it seems they were genuinely trying to keep their business afloat, but their business sense and respect for their customers was woefully lacking.

    I have little pity as I was nearly bitten, though Paypal managed to recover the funds after I succumbed to the sale temptation. The only people I feel for are the decent customers who have lost their hard earned money.

    Not a good story, but thanks for sharing.

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    1. No it's really not a good story. Like you the people I feel most for are the customers who lose money. Organisations shouldn't be leaving themselves open to this sort of aggressive business practice. If you owe money you pay up or bad things happen.

      If Maelstrom didn't have the debt or were paying the debt off then the truth is Wayaland Games wouldn't have been in a position to do what they have done. It is as simple as that, and while I'm sure some people will look at the business practices of Wayland Games on this one in a dim light... I have to say I think it is a legitimate business practice. Cut throat no question about it, but this sort of behaviour goes on in other industries all the time.

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  2. Yeah, it was pretty obvious they were going bust. There's a reason I cleared out my account with them a couple of months ago. It's a shame, as they did pretty well by me before they started having troubles.

    It does look fairly obvious that Wayland wanted them out of the way, but then that's probably just one of many reasons they acted as they did.

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    1. I could ascribe a myriad of motives to the bahaviour of Wayland Games, some more likely than others. It might have been the first stages of a hostile buy-out. It certainly has been in other industries because most company directors etc. would rather take a last pay-day and ensure their staff are looked after rather than letting the business go to the wall and get nothing. It might have been about protecting Simple Miniatures from a large loss. Truth is only the management at Wayland Games and their solicitors will really know the truth.

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    2. Buying a £100,000 debt and giving 7 days to pay it, is only after one result, the death of the company.

      Wayland obviously wanted Maelstrom out of the way and achieved it after offering to buy out Maelstrom.

      I can only say that your experience of company directors differs from mine. Most I have dealt with prefer to go down fighting, including the one (who lost) whose cars personal number plate is now mounted on the wall behind the COEs desk.

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    3. In my experience a most company Directors like money, and many would rather walk away with some than none. Those that go down fighting when the fight is clearly lost are fools. Most decent company directors are pragmatic.

      As to Wayland Games giving only 7 days, yep there is only one outcome of that, and that is Maelstrom going to the wall, which as it happens is exactly what has happened. I'm not too sure how much in the pound Wayland brought the debt for, and I'm not sure we'll ever know. Either way it's a moot point as Wayland Games have removed a serious competitor from the marketplace.

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  3. My question now is what does Wayland do? if they are sitting on 100,000 pounds worth of debt that is now unlikely to be fully paid off...what do they do? Are they really big enough to take a huge loss like that without any negative effects?

    Although it almost seems like wayland bought the debt to force Maelstrom into closing. Say what you will about protecting your supply chain, but not negotiating a payment plan, and the fact that a the debt is on a competing company..sounds like Wayland was planning on forcing Maelstrom out of business.

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    1. As I say it sounds like that from this press release / statement. However, as always in these cases there will be two sides of the story. We don't know that Wayland Games didn't offer a payment plan. It reads like that here, but we just don't know for certain. If that is the case as I've said above, it might be brutal, and it might be cut throat but that is business and if you get caught with your pants down you should expect to be rogered!!!

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    2. You buy the debt at a discount, best I have heard of is 10p in the pound but that would have to be a desperate situation. Simple Games certainly would have lost money on the deal.

      But if you were Wayland and you reckoned that you would mop up the business that was currently going to Maelstrom, it might be worth it. However I have seen posts from gamers who are now mad at Wayland for foreclosing on Maelstrom. So if Wayland will see any benefit, I don't know.

      It certainly is a classic way to dispose of a vulnerable competitor.

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    3. @VVV, believe it or not I know. I happen to have advised companies on such matters as buying others debts. It doesn't always work out for any of the parties and in a closed community like ours I'd have been advising against it had I been advising Wayland Games. I would have told Simple Miniatures to go for the throat themselves as early on as possible.

      True this action has theoretically put Wayland Games in a strong position but some of the vitriol I've read, like you, on teh Interwebs has been phenomenal. Many people seem to be just as pissy at Simple Miniatures, who arguably are the biggest victims in all this, AND they're just as pissy about Wayland Games. I said to Richard Lawford a few weeks ago now that I thought it'd be what politicians call a negative sum game... a game where you all lose, a subject that put simply is best left well alone.

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  4. 2 things, forcing Maelstrom games out of business means that Wayland HAVE to absorb that 100k debt, as per Tylermenz comment, can they really afford to do that?

    And 2, and this is un-substantiated rumour here, I have heard that Maelstrom games was basically taking all of the turn-over out of the company and not paying debts, and using this cash to float 2 other companies, meirce miniatures and Eye of the storm (that we know of). If this IS true then I feel no pity for Maelstrom games (and I had an outstanding order from September so that doesn't help).

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    1. If, and I repeat IF Maelstrom Games were siphoning cash off to their other "businesses" and doing so without clear and distinct separation of function and without payments back to the parent company to "buy" them off of Maelstrom Games that would constitute fraud and any half decent auditor / accountant could prove it in seconds. So I'd suggest that if that is the case we'll be hearing about that very shortly. The truth is it's not nice when any company goes under, I'll be honest I've not had any problems with Maelstrom Games at all. They've always be great to me as a customer so I'll be sad to see them go. But any company that allows that much debt to build up could have proved toxic to the entire industry. It's like a house of cards, take one foundation card away and the others begin to fall. I'm flabbergasted it got to this stage, I really am. As to Wayland Games being able to absorb the loss. I'm pretty sure no business buys another companies debts unless they are willing to accept the possibility that they will not be seeing a penny of it back. It's a risky business debt recovery, and I'm sure they'd have taken advice about it, well having spoken to Richard Lawford I can't believe he wouldn't have taken serious amounts of advice. Plus he's unlikely to have brought the debt at the full amount.

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  5. Crap... I used them for some pre-orders and wanted to cancel my order for the last months to no avail... there goes my money. I would prefer to get the rulebook I was missing, rather than the money...

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    1. Sorry Andres, that sucks. I'm not sure what the situation will be and whether or not you'll get any money back or indeed get your product.

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  6. I wonder how much Wayland bought the debt for - that is, what discount the bought it at. I'm sure they won't have paid £100k for a £100k debt with that level of risk attached to it (unless they are very silly).

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    1. No, I agree. See my comment above in response to maxxev. I might ask that very question, but I really, really doubt I'll get an answer, and quite frankly I wouldn't expect to get an answer.

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    2. True. I would assume that there was a pretty high risk premium, ultimately it depends on how bad of a situation simple minatures was in.

      This whole article raises some pretty big questions, i mean 100000 pounds is almost $160K, and since it is from a distributor, that is probably discounted off retail by maybe 40% (on the low side) which means that's like $260k retail in product. I know several of the FLGS by me barely do that in a years worth of sales.

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    3. The thing is the larger online retailers here in the EU do actually do some serious trade from what I've gathered from talking to various people about this. I'm not sure how the hell Maelstrom Games got themselves into this situation, but I just can't believe it was just bleeding money out of the company like the Internet rumours suggest, and not paying their bills. IF that turns out to be the case it will be very disappointing to hear.

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  8. Hi as far as I can tell simple are a sole trader as I was unable to find any active registration as a ltd company, as such from what I understand Maelstrom had them over a barrel effectively saying if you stop supplying us we will fold the company and you lose your cash.

    In those circumstances simple would be screwed and maelstrom would do as they did and reopen 2 new companies

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    1. Simple Miniatures were a Limited Company until 2010 - https://www.duedil.com/company/06176344/simple-miniature-games-ltd

      So yes, I'd guess they're a sole trader now, which... IMO... seems a bit risky in that business when part of what you do is extend lines of credit to retailers.

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    2. @Will C, if Simple are a sole trader they should not have been extending credit in the first place. That's a bloody risky business. While I agree with the premise that Maelstrom could have indeed had Simple Miniatures over the barrel it was Simple who decided to lie on said barrel in the first place. Unless they extend £100K's worth of debt from day 1 in a single transaction they clearly allowed this debt to build up incrementally. At what point they should have cut Maelstrom off and written off the bad debt I don't rightly know, because I don't know the risks or liabilities of that firm. Don't get me wrong, I feel sorry that a compan that was trying to run itself honestly and got itself in a mess was being shafted, but lets be honest allowing a company to build up £100k of debt is tantamount to dropping your pants and saying take me roughly from behind. If you don't get tough straight away with debts people will take you for a ride.

      @Mike, that's my understanding of it too, and like you I think it is exceedingly risky of Simple Miniatures to not be in a position to limit their liabilities... especially if they are giving out such whopping credit to businesses.

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  9. It does seem like a lot of debt to a wholesaler who does not represent that many manufacturers. Seems like it would have been better to deal directly with the manufacturer if you are at these levels. Given that they were paying down at a rate that would take 200 days when generally these type of things are 30 days for established lines of credit with your vendors. They were clearly cut off on new orders from this vendor and were trying to sell stock to make the payments.

    Small businesses have to be constantly monitoring their cash flow especially in dealing with paid after delivery type products. You might have orders but if you do not have the cash to build the products then you cannot fill them. You might borrow the money but that adds to your costs and if something goes wrong then real problems can occur.

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    1. erichrome, I'm more than aware of the business issues faced by a SME in the distribution chain. What I would contest from my understanding of the situation, from what others have told me is tat this wasn't a one off debt but one that was built up over time. In terms of dealing direct with manufacturers I wholeheartedly agree. When I looked into retail myself a few years back I realised myself that dealing direct with most manufacturers was a far more prudent, especially at such volumes.

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    2. Essentially with the online sellers offering standard 20-25% off stuff all the time you cannot really compete with them if you get your products through a wholesaler since they are selling at only marginally more than you are paying the wholesaler.

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    3. Indeed. I think the only time wholesalers are worth it is when you aren't doing the numbers to make dealing with companies direct worthwhile for them and you... in this day and age I'd suggest that arguably means you aren't doing enough to make the business worthwhile though.

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  10. I have to say that I have only ever used Maelstrom a couple of times, but these days I buy mostly through Arcane Miniatures and the Troll Trader. So I guess I'm one of the lucky ones who stands to loose nothing. I cannot really put my finger on why I had so few dealings with Maelstrom, I just didn't feel comfortable with them for some reason.

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    1. A question about Arcane Miniatures Angus. Do they send you a mail when they dispatch your orders?

      I pre-ordered the Infinity campaignbook there in august because it wasn't available on Maelstrom yet and I'm impatient (lucky!). They mailed me about the delay, but I haven't heard from them since. And as it's my first order there I'm not sure what to expect about communication and such.

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    2. @Aeria, Honestly I have had nothing but issues using Arcane Miniatures. Getting hold of the guy who runs them was a nightmare. No communication whatsoever. I had an order turn up with stuff missing and he said it had been sent. I contacted him repeatedly over it, and given some of the items hadn't even been released yet I found the fact that he claimed they'd been sent really suspect. Opened a PayPal dispute with him over it and the lack of communication. Just very frustrating company to deal with and I would not recommend them.

      @Angus, I never had much issues with Maelstrom, perhaps because I'd been to their store many times and met the guys, and knew who some of them were. I know some people have had dire service from them if you read enough threads on the Internet. Evidently I think it's a case of swings and roundabouts, I hear people who swear by using companies I've had nothing but issues with and vice versa. personally I think it speaks to the huge lack of professionalism within the industry as a whole. Lets face it, our industry is at times a little bit Mickey Mouse.

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    3. FAKK! Thanks Frontline. We'll see what happens.. You wouldn't happen to know any webstore you could recommend, would you?

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    4. Obviously cant recommend myself (would be a bit biased) but if you want Paradiso camp book with the ltd edition mini we still have some in stock

      http://www.valiantwargames.co.uk

      We specialise in infinity stuff and only allow orders against instock items, avoids disappointment on both sides.

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    5. @Aeria, I'm very hesitant to recommend anyone at the moment. I've found Firestorm Games pretty darn good for HoMachine and Mofaux over the years. They've not got a great stock of Infinity stuff though and when I've visited them they've had a paltry stock.

      However I can recommend Dave Gardiner for you over Infinity stuff and Ravage magazine. I used to get Ravage from Maelstrom Games, but had to switch and Dave kindly stepped in and I'm more than happy with the service. Dave also runs Basecrafts who I'd also recommend:

      http://basecrafts.com/

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    6. @David, Thanks for letting me know, if I'm honest I hadn't heard about you before. Great to see you stock Ravage as well, so I gave it a shot :)

      @Frontline, I can understand that. I've checked the ranges I care about with Firestorm Games. Considering they don't even list the Freebooter's Fate Amazon expansion, I'm guessing they're not terribly up to date :p

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    8. I'm going to ask people to stop spamming my B;log with adverts for companies. I don't mind David as I had prior warning and I know him and will verify he's sent stuff to me. Other companies and links won't be tolerated.

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    9. I've had a few orders with Arcane, mostly because they're one of the very few places you can get Anima Tactics models in the UK. My experience with them has been that you're fine if you only order things they have in stock. I had one pr-order, it was significantly delayed twice. They eventually updated the expected arrival date on their website but never contacted me. I emailed them twice and got no reply. Fortunately, I knew about the delays from having looked on other sites.

      For some reason they have a major issue with the most basic communication.

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    10. Yep, communication seems to be their biggest problem. However I've ordered things that were supposedly in stock and they haven't sent them out. They then remain as 'in stock' for a week or so and then suddenly go out of stock. I just found dealing with them far too frustrating for words.

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  11. BOW did a piece on what you can do when your store goes down so looking there may help. Also if you bought with a credit card your covered by the insurance on that to get the money back.

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    1. Hi KeyKey26, yeah they did, but it was vague and nebulous. Perhaps though people will now see why BoW didn't step in and report on the issues with Maelstrom Games when it all first started to hit.

      1) They had the same concerns over litigation that I did.
      2) They are very closely affiliated / owned I'm told by Wayland Games.

      As to the rights of customers in this situation? I'm trying to get a definitive answer on what people should do, but it is really, really complex.

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    2. The rules you're looking for are Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

      Information here:
      http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases

      I'm afraid I'm unable to offer direct advice on this due to my work, but I would flag the following text;

      "The law is plain; the £100 is for the cash value of a 'single item' (so excluding any fees, and charges such as delivery)."

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    3. @TRO, Thanks. :)

      I was wandering which section I needed to look up. My forte is more property / housing law and contracts. Cheers.

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    4. I should also add that both credit and debit cards allow you to make a charge back, but that has a major time constraint on it - so make a claim immediately with your card holder. Details here:
      http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/sale-of-goods/your-rights-when-paying-by-credit-card/chargeback-on-credit-and-debit-cards/

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    5. Yep, but I'm guessing most people because of the timescales involved will have missed the cut off point.

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  12. I'm sad to see them go actually. They were my go-to shop for a while now.

    The debt rising to those levels is indeed unacceptable, but it wouldn't be the first management who kept thinking they could still turn it around if they just had a bit more time.

    As to Wayland, they played it hard but bussiness is a hard place. Maelstrom made it possible and Wayland acted upon it.

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    1. I'm sad to see any business go, even ones I wasn't likely to use, because the truth is it sucks when any business goes down because it leaves people out of pocket and screws big time with industries. The ripples of Maelstrom going down will be felt far wider than just the loss of one company:

      A) How many others are owed money they are now unlikely to ever see?
      B) What will this do to consumer confidence? How many other stores are in similar parlous states.
      c) If you were a customer of Simple Miniatures will you be happy to continue using them? Seriously I'd ask how much of my private business information was actually secure with them and not being sprouted and leaked all over the place.

      Genuinely it is far more damaging than pure financial loss.

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    2. The flip side of course is how much worse would it have been if in effect Maelstrom Games were allowed to continue trading in the way that they had been? They could have taken way more of the industry with them. That's the trouble with speculation... it's just a fancy word to describe guesswork. Truth is they've gone, and it was Maelstrom who built up the debt.

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  13. Wayland has put up an explanation
    http://www.waylandgames.co.uk/downloads/Maelstrom-Action.pdf
    You can subscribe to wayland-news on the Maelstrom business via the above link.

    Not happy with this, as I had an order of about £50 in Maelstrom. Placed more than 45 days ao, so I'm blown.
    /Joakim

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    1. Joakim, I'm sorry about your lost money. It really fucking sucks. You have my sympathies you really do. I just wished everyone involved were able to have been more open about what was happening than they were. However, this wasn't a friendly business transaction and there were clearly fractures.

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    2. PS. I'd already updated the post before you plonked the link down. Cheers though.

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    3. Joakim, if your order was placed >45 days ago via Paypal, and you fund Paypal via credit card, just go to the credit card company. I'm currently doing that, and while it takes a bit longer (though one immediately gets an account credit, at Amex at least) it's relatively business as usual for the cc company.

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  14. http://www.waylandgames.co.uk/downloads/Maelstrom-Action.pdf

    2nd side of the story.

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    1. Yep, I'd already placed an edit at the bottom of the article, and I said in my main article that there are always two sides to any story.. although in this case there is possibly three or four.

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  15. Interestingly, I got a mail on Wednesday from Darksphere (http://www.darksphere.co.uk/), who had dropped out of doing GW mail order - they've now restarted...

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    1. Interesting. I'm not a GW gamer or fan, but it is interesting that a company like Dark Sphere would think they're more than capable of surviving without GW in the first place, and secondly that they then decided to pick the line back up again.

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    2. Twas my local shop for a while. They got out of GW mailorder due to a variety of reasons (at least from what was relayed to me). Some included stuff to do with GW and how they could make orders and the knock on to their customer relations, others due to finecast returns and finaly I suspect they couldn't compete with the 'big two'. Maybe with MS out the way they feel they can by offering a deeper discunt than wayland (they are offering 25% off)? Be interesting if they include finecast in their range or not.

      Also of note if you visit their shop they sell some Mantic stuff at 50% off :)

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    3. @Chris, thanks. I think a number of independent retailers I've spoken to have a list as long as my arm when it comes to complaints of having to deal with Games Workshop. I too looked at the mark up on GW product, saw the discounts required to be competitive, the size of the range, not just the number of products, but the physical size of the boxes and thought what a bag o' shyte!!! :P

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  16. I don't know, only have my experience as a customer. But Maelstrom did have some sloppy order checking IMO. Used them for about three years, did some great deals on GW starter sets.

    But they frequently sent wrong stuff, like Plastic Soldier Company 15mm tanks instead of 20mm tanks, Dust Tactics boxed sets instead of Dust Warfare books. Each and every time they sent me the correct items when I pointed out their error and let me keep the first item. Many times the item they sent in the first place cost more than the one I bought.

    So not only are they out of one item, they are also paying extra postage. Now, it is possible that those erranous items wasn't deleted from the web-store, leading to those situations were things in stock when ordered are suddenly out of stock, leading to unhappy customers, and so on.

    Now what irks me, is that in their initial statements all those fire sales were to generate cash to fullfil previous orders. As they always had come through on previous orders I had no reason to doubt them. Now it seems like they were a last minute dash to try and settle their debts, at first paying off Simple Miniatures, then Wayland Games. And what about that warehouse they were claiming moving to? Does it even exist?

    I can take loosing the 35 pounds I had in pre-orders (X-wing and PSC kits). It sucks, but it's not that much money. But I don't like being lied to.

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    1. Yes the warehouse move does seem to be a fabrication of the truth now doesn't it? Which, by definition is a lie. That is unforgivable and I'm sure any other company Rob Lane will wish to run within the industry in the future will be tarnished with that reputation.

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  17. Simple miniatures have put a statement on the Wyrd Miniatures forum. Apparently Wayland didn't buy the debt for the full amount, and Simple Miniatures chose to sell the debt to Wayland out of several possible buyers.

    Full statment here:
    http://www.wyrd-games.net/showthread.php?36615-Retro-Fate-Deck-out-of-stock&s=b108968c638dbf04ee17fedc5d202f5c&p=472409&viewfull=1#post472409

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    1. Cheers. I'd already seen the statement on Wyrds forums... which I think is odd. Until its on Simple Miniatures own website I'll not link it back here. I've asked Simple Miniatures to email me when the statement is on their own website. When it is I'll link to it.

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    2. Ah ok... feel free to delete my post if you feel it's inappropriate to post the link.

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    3. No, no I'll leave it in the comments section because it exists. Although I have to be honest if I was Wyrd Miniatures I'm not sure I'd be happy for my UK distributor to be making official business announcements on my forums. If they've OK'ed it then fair enough... but it's just not very professional in my opinion. A statement on their website and linking to it fine, but actually posting the statement up on another companies forum? No that's odd.

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  18. Statement is accurate, its the same one the retailers all received (me included) earlier.

    Interesting point to note thats different from the maelstrom account is SMG saying that the card maelstrom were using to pay 500 / day was frequently declined and eventually declined constantly.

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    1. I'm aware that the statement is accurate, I saw one from a local shop near me. I just find it odd they'd choose to post it on Wyrd Miniatures forums, especially as they haven't posted it on their own website.

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    2. To be honest i dont think SMG really use their own website much at all. When they first replied to that Wyrd thread it was because Nathan one of the Wyrd owners had linked to the dakka thread and mentioned that MS wouldnt be getting any more Malifaux.

      So i guess Wyrd were fully aware of the situation that MS was in, and SMG were just clarifying on the wyrd thread.

      Delete
    3. I take it you meant rarely!!! :P

      That's fine if that is the case David, but I'm sorry I just can't agree with using another companies forum to make your official public statements on. I just can't. They have a website use that. If not how about sending it to various news websites first. After all it is news. But Wyrd's forums? No, sorry no matter what way you slice it I'm sorry it's not a very professional way to handle it. Wayland handle the dissemination of information properly, as to an extent did Maelstrom Games... even if I think some of the statement borders on the petty, if I'm being kind to it. If Graham wanted to update the Malifaux community he should have published the statement on his website and then posted a link to it. I have no problems with comapnies communicating with fans on forums, in fact I applaud it. But there are right ways and wrong ways to handle specific communications.

      I just don't think it looks good personally, and it might speak to an endemic lack of professionalism on Simple's Part. If you can't get an official statement out properly what about the rest? I know a number of retailers who have raised their eyebrows at that and the way they were talking about another firms business so openly with them. Many have asked how much of their own business critical information is safe with them. I'd be personally concerned if I was using them as a supplier now.

      Delete
  19. I am truly amazed... I have to say that I had decided to not give any money to Maelstrom a year back or so because the customer service I got was at best abysmal. I had no illusions that Maelstrom was "moving", but I succumbed to one of the latest sales and just gave it a shot. I got most of my stuff so I'm not seriously pissed about that. However I think this was as discreet as a blowjob in a public parking and handled with the finesse of a figure skating turd. I just don't understand how the "new" businesses are ever going to be credible? I know people have short memories ;) but honestly this one will be hard to forget and forgive. I think everyone should be given a chance etc, but playing the blame game? Are we five? That just blows away any credibility that was left. It will be interesting to see how this will play out...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have said myself to Rob Lane that if this was handled poorly that he would find it almost impossible to run other companies inside the industry. I'll leave it up to individuals to decide how well or badly it has been handled. I think most people could see through the warehouse move smoke-screen, yes I think it was a smoke-screen, and if I'm being harsh a flagrant lie. However, some with their ear not as close to the ground could not see through it. It is those people who have lost out. But this whole blame game thing does seem petulant, simply put Maelstrom Games was clearly financially mismanaged, to then blame their woes on others who have taken advantage of the situation just seems a bit... well insert your own adjective here.

      Delete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Well, IIRC end of September Rob Lane was very, very offended by any indication that the founding of Mierce Miniature has anything to do with Maelstrom Games financial situation...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes I know. I interviewed Rob Lane on this very Blog about the formation of Mierce Miniatures.

      Delete
  22. From what we've heard locally it's a combination of circumstances hitting them while they had too much tied up in the launch of Banelegions/Darklands that has brought Maelstrom down, not any one thing. There's more gone on behind the scenes than we've heard publicly and I have questions about the roles of some specific individuals in all this. I don't expect to find out the truth though unless things get very, very messy in public... If that happens you'll need more than one bag of popcorn... :-(

    I don't have a tremendous amount of sympathy for anyone involved apart from the customers who are out of pocket and the ordinary Maelstrom staff who are out of their jobs or having to deal with the fallout having had no control over the situation.

    I can't believe Graham at SMG let this get so far out of hand to be honest, nice guy but... Ah well 20/20 hindsight and all that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rich_B we all have 20/20 hindsight. As much as Rich Lawford and Wayland Games seem to be getting flak lets be honest here, he's done what many savvy businessmen do when they sniff blood and gone in for the kill. Had the debt not have existed this would never have happened.

      I also have no reason to doubt Graham at Simple Miniatures is a nice guy, I actually spoke with him briefly I think at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham in 2011 and he was pleasant enough and really knew his product. However, he had a £100k hole in his accounts, that was not being serviced. I have no reason to doubt him, because if he had a written payment plan and it had only been breached once or twice no court in the land would look favourably on just selling the debt. I have no doubt that there were more than one payment issue. So he acted in a way to recoup as much of the debt as he could.

      It's just a mess, and I can see it getting messier as accusations and recriminations are tossed around. Hopefully it'll quieten down a bit and the three companies can just get on with sorting things out in as amicable a way as possible.

      Delete
  23. The big problem I have with the full thing is that Wayland are hiding behind the story of "...looking to protect the supply chain...".

    If the supply chain was in that much trouble why did Simple Miniatures Games state "...This debt has not adversely affected Simple Miniature Games as a company as we can afford to continue to trade with this debt outstanding..."?

    Someone, somewhere is being, how shall we put it? Economical with the truth.

    Also, if Wayland have purchased the debt have they also purchased the liability to supply customers? Methinks not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the point about Wayland Games purchasing the liability to supply customers, well I'm sorry but legally they have zero responsibility to Maelstrom Games customers.

      As to the inconsistencies between Wayland Games and Simple Miniatures accounts... well that's what is causing so many people furrowed brows. Truth is though it seems like Maelstrom Games' goose was cooked a long time ago.

      Delete
  24. There have been knock-on effects to this whole saga. GW have also taken a hit as a result of Maelstrom's demise and have issued a notice saying that retailers are now capped at ordering 75k of stock per annum (can't remember if € or £).

    Whether that will apply to Wayland and other e-tailers is not known to me although its bound to affect them more than a bricks-and-mortar shop seeing as most wouldn't order near that amount.

    As for Wayland buying out Maelstrom's debt and sticking the knife in, I have to commend them on making a clever business decision if nothing else. If Maelstrom were repaying that £100k loan at £500 a month, wouldn't that have taken about 15 years to repay, assuming things didn't improve for them in the meantime? Surely that kind of drain might have eventually seen two companies fold rather than the one?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe the £75k cap pre-dated Maelstroms Demise, and has been cited by some, not I, as contributing to Maelstroms demise. The limiting of stock has little to do with GW potentially losing money, and far more to do with them wanting to control large online discount retailers like Maelstrom and Wayland. They've been restricting trade like this a number of ways. GW believe the best way to promote the hobby is to do so via bricks and mortar stores in town centers and their business model has reflected this attitude for years. However, I think these caps they keep on imposing are blunt and badly refined tool for achieving their aims.

      True if Maelstrom were repaying the debt at £500 a month that would have been a retardedly long time for a large business to repay what in turnover terms should have been a small debt. However, you should re-read the press statements, the debt was supposed to be repaid at a rate of £500 a day. So Maelstrom should have been making about £15k of payments every month. Now whether that agreement was been stuck to or the extent it was or wasn't been stuck to, at that rate it would and should have been more than acceptable rate of debt repayment.

      As to eventually seeing two companies fold? Simple Miniatures maintain it was not a 'material' threat to their business. Although I can fully understand that having a company owe you that sort of money would be bloody annoying. Especially if they consistently missed payments, which is what Simple are saying happened.

      Delete
  25. This has been a very interesting situation to watch unfold. The appearance of an identical webstore branded "The Eye of the Storm" was the point which made me think shenanigans were involved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I think opening up of the EotS website is what tipped most people off that things weren't right and confirmed for me some of the things I'd heard about Maelstroms demise. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the upshot of all this is. The fall out could be HUGE.

      Delete
    2. I had some suspicions of things not being right for a while before that, but it was really only when the new store arrived that I was starting to think things better left confined to non-recordable media :p

      Delete
    3. Yeah, it became pretty obvious at that point all was not well. I honestly thought there might actually be an honest reporting of what was going on around that time from all concerned parties. But I guess it's a quite fractious 'transaction' so given the litigious nature of the relationship between the three of them I guess it was expecting too much.

      Delete
    4. Were I still neck-deep in the Warhammer Fantasy "in" crowd I'd go asking questions and probably get better answers than the press releases, but it's been years since I talked to any of the relevant parties and spreading around priviledge info might be a great way to make things even worse and get a bad name for myself (in a whole new batch of gamers :p).

      Delete
    5. Honestly I only think you'd ever be able to get a version of the truth about this. There are a few facts, the rest is personal opinion and conjecture really. So I doubt there's little point going any further really.

      Delete
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