When I started to play Games Workshop games back in the early 90’s I loved it. The background was cool, the miniatures were great and the rules were fantastic. There was a variety of games offered by the company including Epic, Gorkamorka, Morhdiem, Necromunda, Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k to name a few. What was great was playing great games with a group of guys at the shop, eating pizza, laughing and having a great time playing great games.
The golden age has passed I think and GW is in a decline. When I went to work for them in early 2000, I read the “little red book” and understood what it meant to work for the company and meeting great people during that time that are no longer in the company. I could see the attitude changing even then from that of a game company to a corporate money hoar that cares very little for their customers, just the bottom line. While it is fine to be a business, you have to keep customers to stay in business, of late I have watched price increases (including marking up product in the stores I worked for) and the hikes have been steeper and more frequent than ever. Kits are just getting silly in prices, sure the model is of good quality, but is it reasonable in price? No, simply put they are going with a business model of hiking the prices, making less product but still making higher profits at the moment as the price increase overtakes the loss of sales. Anyone with any knowledge of how the economy works calls this a “short gain” it will work only for a short period of time before it will collapse as a business model. This will be the end of GW, I feel that it is on the horizon and they are hitting that crest as we speak. They can make or break the company, if it breaks we may have no more than 5-10 years before it becomes a little fish in a large and growing pond of games out there.
GW has also had a serious bad attitude with their Legal Department, they are happy to slap out cease orders on everything and have become virtual Nazi’s when it comes to showing teaser items and new releases. They instead are trying to promote their magazine or rather their game catalog to be their preview medium as they simply can’t for the life of them figure out why White Dwarf sales are done. Here’s a hint GW, the content sucks go back to the old school days of adding stories, content and good game reports for example and you will sell more copies again! Speaking of Legal, they go after companies that make products they don’t, claiming IP violation….maybe this is the case, maybe not. In any case they feel they own more than they actually do in the IP world and feel entitled to milking the tit for every drop they can. Still, the Chapterhouse lawsuit and given them the finger and has drawn the line in the sand that if someone stands up to them, they may be in the wrong.
The quality of the game has also gone downhill. In an effort to boost the game, they went with “bigger is better” in their models and codex design. Every army in Fantasy and 40k are getting bigger beasties and vehicles. Of course with a nice price as well! Oh yea, you want 2-3 don’t you….cha-ching $$$$!
Flyers have totally broken the game for 40k more than anything, sure there are other units that have popped up in books that have made people shake their head and go what? Of course there are those that are going “cool” as long as it benefits them, but when you are getting screwed over by those same hyper powerful units, it isn’t no longer “cool”. Players following netlist trends are copying more and more lists that people find that are broken and work, allowing them an easier win. This part is what really bothers me but is just an evil fact of the information era today. People have stopped thinking when it comes to army lists; they would rather “research” and then copy/buy that list for an easy winning formula instead of bothering to figure it out for themselves. We have moved into an era of wargaming where people don’t think as much as they used to. We no longer are challenged with making a “good” army list but rather a “winning” army list, or aka WAAC- WIN AT ALL COSTS.
Even the player base is starting to change as has the attitude of gamers. People are placing more and more focus on competitive gaming than just having fun. They again focus on these power lists and winning more than just having a good time and being social. Which his one of the largest reasons I enjoy tournaments, 3 games against 3 different opponents is how I see it as an outing with my friend(s) to throw some dice and have fun. Yet, it is hard to enjoy a game when the person you are player is a huge power gamer and has a hyper competitive list. You watch it chew your army apart and you think “wow this is about as fun as watching paint dry”. There always are those one or two players at an event and I or my friend (or both of us) tends to draw those types of people and then just have a miserable game.
I have not played Warhammer Fantasy since 6th edition, I have tried a few games of 7th and 8th, didn’t like it. They watered down the Psychology that made my Vampire Counts totally useless and only specific builds are viable if you want to be able to play it seems from my reading. The magic is another aspect; I just don’t like the current breakdown of how it plays. Plus they keep plugging all these “large kits” and other crap that makes me shake my head and clearly see GW wants you to buy the latest and greatest big thing. Maybe the next edition will be a savior. I am holding my breath. Already I have sold all my Fantasy armies except my Vampire Counts as frankly, I have not played them much in years and I don’t enjoy the game. I keep the VC for nostalgia and hopes that a better edition will rise from the grave.
Next, GW has killed both their Historicals and Fanatic divisions…guess there wasn’t profit in those areas. Or rather, they would have to work harder to make money there….which is sad, the Historicals had a great line of books including Legends of the Old West and Legends of the High Seas, both great games, similar to their Fanatic skirmish games and a blast….really? You just had to update a book and print it. Not like there was a huge investment there boys and girls and there was a fan base, a fan base you have sent to another company now. They thank you GW. The worst loss was all the support to Blood Bowl, Necromunda, Morhdiem and other great Fanatic games. To be honest, when I started to play, THIS was what I really enjoyed. The story, the flavor and the fun of gaming with these titles. GW could have done so much to revive this line with minimal investment and could have turned profit by taking advantage of the crappy economy. Develop up some Necromunda multi part plastic kits…sell both for 40k and Necromunda, cha-ching! Who would not have killed for a multi-part Blood Bowl team? Yea, pose your own team in plastics?
The only saving grace is a rumor this year that in October that an Inquisitor Skirmish game is going to roll out that targets 2-4 players with 10 or so models for each player with a new product line of minis and scaled to heroic level instead of the 40mm old scale. This appeals to me as I loved the Inquisition concept, loved all the books and feel this could be a saving grace if they did a good job with the rules. One can only hope and wait.
I have decided to keep my Chaos, Dark Angels, Space Wolves, Imperial Guard (small) and Orks in my collection. The Tau are about to go up for sale and my Necrons have already been sold about 6 months ago. I just cleared out the last little bit of my Sister’s of
metal figures also. I am tired to trying to keep up with everything, I am going
to consolidate my collection and play with what I got.
I will keep playing and trying to enjoy what joy is still left in this game and I will be back to adding more content to the blog as well with discussing things about the new Space Marine Codex.! Until then GW, you have been warned and oh yea....
I just love these images that I found on the internet!