In-Store Uses of Army Builder
Outlined below are various ways that retailers have put the Army Builder® brand roster construction tool to use in their stores, and we hope these prove useful to you, too. If you devise additional ways to utilize Army Builder in your store and want to share them with other retailers, please let us know so that we can publish your ideas here.
This is the most obvious way to market Army Builder. Gamers have often seen simplistic tools that incorrectly purport to do what Army Builder offers, so they are skeptical about the product. However, given 5-10 minutes to see Army Builder in action, gamers quickly see the value and time-savings offered. When a gamer is given the opportunity to create a roster in the store, the key selling features below can quickly convince him to purchase a copy for use at home:
- Point-and-click simplicity of creating a roster with automatic points recalculation
- Ongoing roster validation that is performed as changes are made
- Printed rosters include extensive game-time reminders, minimizing the need to lookup material during game play
Tournaments and Leagues
The majority of stores that sell miniatures games also host leagues and tournaments. A frequent problem is that participants make errors in their rosters. Using Army Builder, all participants can have their rosters quickly and easily checked for accuracy, eliminating the uncertainty that accompanies hand-written rosters. Stores can also tailor existing data files for their own custom rules, providing full validation of rosters in accordance with the specific rules for a given league or tournament.
Many stores have standardized on Army Builder, requiring all rosters for all tournaments and leagues to be submitted using Army Builder. Some stores include in the registration fees a small amount of computer time for participants to enter their rosters into Army Builder on the store computers prior to events. Other stores allow users to bring their rosters on floppy disk and run them through the store computer for confirmation. Whichever method(s) you choose to use, Army Builder makes the running of tournaments and leagues much simpler, while also marketing the product for store sales.
The majority of miniatures gamers love to win when they play. Quite often, though, there are opponents that they just can’t seem to beat. Army Builder offers these gamers a chance to play “what if” games with their rosters and experiment until they craft the “ultimate” army to defeat their nemesis. The gamer can then compare this to the miniatures he currently owns and identify the pieces that are missing. In this way, Army Builder can be readily used by gamers to generate a “shopping list” for their next purchase. Retailers can encourage this and allow gamers to create a shopping list inside the store by using Army Builder within the store.
There is a second valuable use of Army Builder for shopping lists. Quite a few gamers are young and often rely on new miniatures as gifts. Unfortunately, the people who buy these gifts often don’t know anything about the games and don’t remember exactly what models were asked for. Army Builder can be used to quickly and easily generate a “shopping list” of the models that a young gamer wants and then the store can keep it behind the counter. When a gift-buyer comes in to purchase something, they can refer to this shopping list and the retailer can direct them to the specific items on the list.
Introduction to Miniatures
Stores have used Army Builder as an effective means for getting new players into miniatures gaming. For some people, the notion of army construction for miniatures games is daunting. There is also the question of which army would be a good starting point in a given game system, since each army varies in its personality (fast/slow, ranged vs. close combat, etc.) and each gamer has his/her preferences. Gamers also need to choose which exact forces to start with for the army they select.
With Army Builder, the gamer can sit down and easily experiment with different army lists and different forces. The retailer can offer guidance and suggestions, with the gamers ultimately selecting an initial starting force for the game system. This initial force can be used as a shopping list for the gamer. This enables the retailer to sell the gamer a tailored set of miniatures to get the customer started playing the game and enjoying it right away.
As mentioned above, when new gamers come into the hobby, there is always the question of what to start with. Some stores have put together “starter armies” for various forces for the games they carry. The Army Builder roster printouts for these starter armies can be kept behind the counter and used by the retailer to provide a useful starting point for a new gamer. Each starter army can represent a good, balanced force to start with, and the printed roster immediately provides both a shopping list and a clear introduction to Army Builder (including how much confusion the product eliminates).
Army Construction Clinics
Effective army design is something that often takes new gamers awhile to get good at. If your store hosts tournaments and open gaming, new gamers can become quickly disillusioned in the hobby when they come up against veterans in these events. Some stores have put together clinics on how to design effective army lists. Leveraging Army Builder’s flexibility and its ease of use for quickly adjusting army lists, veteran players can show novice players many of the tricks of good army design. This leads to novice gamers doing better in the game and getting more excited about the hobby, leading to more sales.
Previewing Army Supplements
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in miniatures gaming is the cost to start up a new army. For this reason, many gamers simply stick to a single army, even though they have a strong interest in trying out a new army. The biggest concern is often that the gamer might pick a new army and then not like it.
Quite a few stores have reported that Army Builder is extremely valuable in getting reluctant gamers to start entirely new armies. Army Builder provides the raw information in its data files for other armies. By experimenting with these other army lists and putting together hypothetical rosters, the gamer gets a basic feeling for how each army works. Is it fast or slow? Does it have special tricks? The list goes on.
After experimenting with the armies using Army Builder, a gamer will more readily reach a decision on his next purchase. The gamer therefore purchases the appropriate materials for the chosen army with confidence, including the army book supplements and all the initial miniatures needed to start the army.
Army Builder can be extremely valuable for stores that host ongoing campaigns. With games that include strong campaign rules (e.g. Mordheim), the Army Builder data files incorporate full support for those campaign rules. This provides a simple means for the progression of each participant’s forces to be tracked through the campaign. As resources are gained and lost, or skills gained and injuries incurred, the exact effects can be readily tracked within Army Builder. This eliminates a great deal of the extra bookwork and tracking that often must be done when hosting a campaign. Again, Army Builder markets itself.