BDD 126 – Wayland Games vs Maelstrom Games

Wayland Games vs Maelstrom Games

In this episode I am going to have a News round up and unfortunately its not all good news, I will be talking about is the case of Wayland games vs Maelstrom games.

On Thursday of last week the following notice replaced the ‘Down for maintenance’ notice that had been on the Maelstrom Games website for the previous few days. 

Maelstrom Games Statement

OFFICIAL NOTICE 
Maelstrom Games Ltd. has ceased trading and will enter liquidation at some point over the next few months.
A creditor of Maelstrom Games Ltd., Wayland Games Ltd., issued a Statutory Demand under section 123(1)(a) or 221(1)(a) of the Insolvency Act, 1986 on the 17th of October, 2012 for £99,773.61 plus costs of issuing and serving the demand.
This debt was purchased from Simple Miniature Games by Wayland Games Ltd on the 1st of October, 2012 and payment of this debt was demanded in full by Wayland Games after seven days had elapsed. Unfortunately, Maelstrom Games Ltd. could not pay Wayland Games Ltd. this debt in full within those seven days.
Previous to the debt purchase, Maelstrom Games Ltd. was servicing the debt owed to Simple Miniature Games at the rate of £500 per working day, claimed by the creditor when convenient for him by charging a credit card owned by Maelstrom Games Ltd., which had been occurring since mid-June and continued to late September, the last payment being taken on the 25th. Maelstrom Games Ltd. did not cancel these payments and were not aware that this debt was being transferred.
Maelstrom Games Ltd. offered to pay the debt purchased by Wayland Games Ltd. in the same manner as it had paid Simple Miniature Games, but this was not taken up by Wayland Games Ltd.
Maelstrom Games Ltd. can only apologise to those customers whose orders have not been fulfilled as it is now impossible for Maelstrom Games Ltd. to fulfil them, excepting those for Mierce Miniatures products (fulfilled by Mierce Miniatures in November) and Battlefront Miniatures products (fulfilled by Maelstrom Games in partnership with Battlefront Miniatures and Maunsfeld Gaming in November), all of which will be sent by Maelstrom Games Ltd. Other customer orders for certain ranges may be fulfilled in the future and any customers whose orders can be fulfilled will be contacted by Maelstrom Games in due course.

All creditors will be issued the relevant notices by the assigned Insolvency Practitioner when Maelstrom Games Ltd. enters liquidation.

Wayland Games Statement

This was shortly followed up by the following response from Wayland Games

As news of our action regarding Maelstrom Games is public we would like to take a moment to explain the steps we have taken, and why.

Some time ago we became aware of discussions at various events where there was a constant chatter about the financial situation that Maelstrom Games found itself in and the significant debts it suffered from. We ignored them to begin with but it seemed that in the events scene in the UK it was being discussed openly. We noticed that tickets were being sold a year in advance for some events. We then see hundreds of thousands of pounds being pushed into a miniatures line whilst Maelstrom Games still owed significant monies to suppliers. Suppliers we (and countless other retailers) share and rely upon for the timely distribution of product to fulfil our customer orders.

This industry is in our opinion, too small and too close for such a situation to occur, as the wider implications would mean hundreds of people – customers – you – potentially losing the money you had paid out for product and event tickets.

It was clear that Maelstrom Games Limited were in significant trouble, yet they continued to invest in other areas despite still owing very significant and growing amounts to suppliers causing a great deal of pressure on the supply chain.

In early May we decided to offer to buy Maelstrom Games, including honouring all liabilities for the business. Our email was ignored. In late May a follow up email was sent and again that was ignored.

We therefore looked to protect our customers by looking to protect the supply chain and also ourselves (as well as any of the other independent retailers who rely on this same supply chain) from the collapse of a ma- jor retailer, and managed to purchase the main debt that Maelstrom owe, in an attempt to force a resolution, rather than allow an uncontrolled collapse and all the knock on effects that would unleash on the industry.

The situation is complicated and there is quite a process to move through, but we are undertaking this action with the best of intentions for our customers, customers of Maelstrom Games and our supply chain, and will endeavor to keep all affected notified of developments as they occur. 

Simple Miniature Games Statement

Then to add to the Wayland Games vs Maelstrom Games fight, Graham Clark of Simple Miniature Games posted this;

Statement Regarding Maelstrom Games Ltd

On the 1st October we made the difficult decision to assign the debt owed to Simple Miniature Games to Wayland Games Ltd for a nominal fee. 

This debt at the point sold stood at just under £100,000 and has been outstanding at that level and higher for over 12 months. This debt built up during a short space of time during the busiest period in our 10 year history just after significant amounts had been paid for other invoices. Promises were made to clear a large portion of the debt within a short space of time but that payment never materialised. A repayment plan was then agreed which should have seen the debt reduced significantly beyond the point that it actually has been. Unfortunately many of these payments were consistently declined and at the last the payments were continually declined. 

It was around this point in conjunction with our reading into the accounts of Maelstrom Games that we contacted debt recovery and debt purchase specialists in order to take further action and begin the recovery of assets to cover some the debt.

Demands for the reimbursement of the failed payments and for payment of stock supplied on the 12th September for Maelstrom Games customer orders were completely ignored. As such on October 1st 2012 the debt was sold to the company which offered the best solution, not immediately for us, but for what I considered the best long term solution for our industry in the UK. We chose Wayland Games as they have a vested interest in the hobby and industry and will offer better protection to potential customers, suppliers and manufacturers, other companies would not. 

We have continued to trade as normal during the entire period of this debt and continue to order from our suppliers and pay them on time. Maelstrom Games are only one customer out of several dozen and our whole customer base is far, far greater than any one company.

You should understand that Simple Miniature Games have supported Maelstrom through the last year even though we knew they were struggling but with our support they would continue to trade. However there are only so many broken promises that you can listen to and it became perfectly clear that assets of Maelstrom Games were being moved to other companies that had been funded by monies which should have been paid to suppliers including ourselves. There was no way Maelstrom Games could pay the debt and it would appear that steps were being taken to avoid the debts and protect other assets. 

This debt has not adversely affected Simple Miniature Games as a company as we can afford to continue to trade with this debt outstanding due to the reliability of our customer base and strong product lines. It has however affected myself and my wife personally as the reserves we have built over 10 years of hard work have had to cover the debt. It was always our intention to use around half of this profit to expand our warehouse and bring in another two or three new ranges including manufacturing our own. However this will now have to wait whilst we consolidate and build up the reserves for our future once again.

Overall its a sad happening for the hobby.  Maelstrom over the last year have had an ever decreasing reputation online but even so, no one want to see a company going out of business.  The impact that this will have on the industry is yet to be seen.  I’m not entirely sure that Wayland have painted themselves in the best of lights, while they openly say that they did it for the interests of the customer, it is clear to most who read between the lines that it was a move to take out their biggest competitor and that may have an adverse effect where customers could be put off by that business ethic.  

Wayland Games vs Maelstrom Games is clearly a huge story and is being talked about all around the hobby blogs. Here are some links to the discussions taking place and you can find similar discussions on almost every hobby blog and forums out there.  Table Top Gaming news,  Wyrd Miniatures Forums, Dakka Dakka Forums, Privateer Press
If you have any outstanding orders with Maelstrom you would do well to read the article Warren from Beasts of War posted last week.

Feedback

If you have anything to say about this episode feel free to let me know by leaving a comment below or sending an email to bencurry@baddice.co.ukI look forwards to hearing what you have to say!

Sponsors

This episode was brought to you by Og Games. You can visit them at OgGames.co.uk. Don’t forget to use the offer code BADDICEXMAS to get an additional 5% off all orders.

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