Expect huge amounts of derp and rage, punctuated by /tg/ extracting humor from it.
- Games Workshop is in the business of selling toy soldiers to children. - Tom Kirby, Chairman of Games Workshop PLC
- ...we recruit for attitude, not for skills. - Tom Kirby, 2013 Chairman's permeable (Note how he claims it's to provide quality service and good attitudes, but avoids mention of customer complaints and what exactly those "desired" attitudes are).
- Games Workshop is in the business of fixing itself from the piece of shit Tom Kirby left me with. I mean, have you seen our stocks lately? - Kevin Rountree, if he has any common sense, even if he doesn't say it out loud.
Before reading this article, see this chart for an illustration of what is GW current situation.
They started out making shit that you could use in other publishers games, and printing American RPGs up in jolly olde Angleterre. Soon they made a wargame and a few board games and people began to take them seriously as something other than a magazine publisher. They are now run by idiots.
Laughably, Games Workshop are extremely precious about their intellectual property. This is funny because you can count the number of original ideas in their core games on one hand. The vast majority of backstory in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 is a rehash of established fantasy/sci-fi literature, padded out with stuff the writers half-remembered from A level history lectures. This is particularly true in the case of Warhammer Fantasy, which actually makes sense when you realize most of GW's founders actually had history degrees.
- 1 The PR¥€£$
- 2 A look into GW's codex-writing processes
- 3 More about
- 4 History
- 5 The Digital Age (And Completely Missing the Point)
- 6 Why Games Workshop is Bad and it Should Feel Bad
- 7 The Beginning of the end?
- 8 Network Utility, and How it May Contribute to the Fall
- 9 GW The Bully
- 10 So This Is How The Shit All Began...
- 11 Things GW should do if it wants to survive
- 12 In Summary
- 13 See Also
In the grim darkness of the near future, there are only price raises.
GW is infamous for their steep prices, and they would have been replaced by a more reasonable company for gaming dominance if their popularity wasn't XBOXHUEG compared to competitors. They have a nasty habit of making prices proportional to how good a model/unit is in game, rather than the actual cost of materials and manufacture. Of course, if we really want to stop the price hikes, /tg/ should probably start a legitimate campaign to give perspective and shine the spotlight on other wargames like Warmachine. Of course, /tg/ can't actually get REAL shit done!
A look into GW's codex-writing processes
For The Lord of the Rings tabletop game: currently on hiatus.
For Warhammer Fantasy: Currently being changed, balance between army books as a guideline. Also of note is that every time Games Workshop creates a nation in Warhammer Fantasy, they follow a three-city formula; one city is the capital (eg; Naggarond, Khemri and Altdorf), one isn't the capital but has a lot of cool things (eg; Clar Karond, Lybaras and Nuln) and one is the butt monkey of cities that the writers neglect and/or shit on (eg; Karond Kar, Quatar and Middenheim).
1) Is the army a Space Marine Army?
- Yes; go to question 3
- No; go to question 2
2) Is the army a human army?
- Yes; Keep them effective as long as they don't surpass Space Marines.
- No; go to question 4
3) Do they fight for the Imperium?
- Yes; Give them a badass update, keep them strong and patch any weaknesses they may have in the crunch.
- No; go to question 4
4) Do they have anything that's good at killing Imperium-aligned Space Marines?
- Yes; Go to question 5
- No; Change the crunch by nerfing popular units and buffing unpopular units with the occasional new units, rules and fluff.
5) Is it a popular faction?
- Yes; Nerf slightly, as in question 4, but keep the army as a whole effective. Buffs are done at the discretion of the writer and can outweigh the nerfs.
- No; NERF THE SHIT OUT OF THE ARMY, ESPECIALLY ANYTHING EFFECTIVE AGAINST SPACE MARINES!
The most notable exceptions to these rules are the Eldar, who are currently the single most overpowered army in the game so far, and the Sisters of Battle, who are given the opposite treatment to the rest of the Imperium.
Games Workshop Real Estate section, the site most of the hobbists probably have never ever visited yet may allow you to see GW plans and beliefs. Dead. Another infamous thing GW does is to chop off more and more pages from their website, until nothing seems to remain except their store's new releases page.
I sent two e-mails to GW. They were both about the prices, one was in my name, one pretending to an investor. To one they didn't respond, to the other they just bullshitted me- try it for yourself.
It is a well kept secret that the Board of Directors of GW are in the same situation as the God-Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40,000. Their defiled corpse-bodies lay dormant upon their Publishing Thrones, maintaining only the smallest semblance of life due to the constant influx of money. It is unknown what would happen if the Board of Directors were allowed to truly die. Some say Games Workshop would collapse in on itself, ceasing the production of all that is good and expensive. Perhaps Games Workshop would be free from the necrotic collar of the Directors' irresistible will, and the company would be free to explore new areas, such as advancing the story of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, or reviving older "specialist" games like Space Hulk and Blood Bowl.
Much to the embarassment of the entire rest of the industry, they are the biggest single seller of military miniatures. But these are not scale mini-chures, so modelling neckbeards ignore them and get back to folding 1:35 scale photo-etched hydrogen molecules for their dioramas.
Games Workshop also has a ridiculous hard-on for heavily armored armies, their version of Space Marines (who are also heavily armored) and Empires. Regarding the latter, the go-to human faction in Warhammer Fantasy is simply called the Empire. The other playable human army in Fantasy, Bretonnia (named after Britannia, the ancient title for Roman Britain; a faction based on a mixture of medieval English and French pseudo-history), is currently being neglected by GW. The non-playable human FOR COMMUNISM faction that gets the most attention from GW in WHFB fluff is the EMPIRE (note the pattern) of Cathay (it's ruled by an Emperor and based on ancient China). As for 40k, nearly everyone knows how much favoritism the Imperium gets from GW. We also have the Tau EMPIRE, the Necron EMPIRE, the ancient Eldar EMPIRE, and even Ork EMPIRES (despite the fact that Orks live in tribal "Might Makes Right" societies and also have no concept of hereditary leadership aside from stealing the name of the last ork in charge).
In Warhammer Fantasy GW has designed WF's map to resemble the real world, and have shamelessly made
Britain the High Elves (come on, Ulthuan is Atlantis; the WHFB equivalent of Britain is Albion, a land of swamps and tribemen) Then again, North America is Naggaroth (Showing GW had a sense of humour at some point). Not sure what they are trying to say by locating the Wood Elves where Switzerland would be though.
The original Games Workshop was established several hundred years BCE, originating in China. However, when the Emperor placed a commission for thousands of life sized soldiers, this predecessor began to collapse, as with all production geared to the creation of these soldiers, they were unable to introduce price rises. As one, their board of directors resolved that they must fall into hibernation, to wait out the storm, screaming defiance at the one man who ever defeated them.
Games Workshop was established in 1975 in London as a small literal workshop that created wooden boards for public domain games, such as Chess which it sold through mail-order catalogs (not its own). In the same year Games Workshop put out its own newsletter, called "Owl And Weasel". In 1977, Games Workshop invested in importing the increasingly popular Dungeons & Dragons game to the United Kingdom, followed by other games such as Call of Cthulu. This was followed by one of the founders of the company and the one responsible for the mastercraft (yes, that word once applied to Games Workshop) wooden boards leaving the company as he had no interest or patience in new games (yep, complainers every time something new comes along have been in since the beginning). After he left, Owl And Weasel was discontinued and replaced with White Dwarf, a small magazine (originally just black and white on colored stationary) which covered industry-wide tabletop gaming news.
Fantasy And Citadel
In 1978, Games Workshop opened a retail store and hosted gaming conventions there, followed by signing a deal allowing exclusive distribution of all Dungeons & Dragons goods in the UK. This was followed by the release of Games Workshop's very first new product, Reaper (not to be confused with Reaper Miniatures) which was a basic fantasy skirmish game for between 5 and 30 miniatures. In 1979, Citadel was established as the miniature manufacturing division for any future Games Workshop products. Although initially a separate company simply owned by the same people as Games Workshop, it would eventually merge in the 90's into one company with the name only being a vestigial remainder of independence.
Around this time, Games Workshop entered into negotiations to merge companies with TSR Games, although in the end all of the owners at the time other than Gary Gygax (who always supported the idea) rejected the terms.
This was followed in 1980 by the release of Valley Of The Four Winds, a mostly forgotten fantasy game where two players fight over the fate of a realm. The side of evil consists of demons and the undead while the side of good consists of Elves, humans, and
Dwarfs Dwarves (that spelling comes later).
In 1983, Warhammer was released. Originally having no actual miniatures associated with it, it simply consisted of a single set of three books giving a basic rule system and scenarios. While filled with typos, contradictory rules, and BADLY needing an FAQ that never came (so basically Games Workshop has always been bad at creating rules) it was well accepted for introducing the concepts of magic failing and of the psychology of forces on the field. The setting was almost non-existent, and what little lore there was only existed in the flavor text of magic items. Of special interest is the game was originally conceived partly as a wargame, partly as a roleplaying game with actual guidelines for leveling up your general and interacting with the world-even an alignment system! If anything, the game combined the role of Dungeonmaster and player into one as a character lead a force of generalized encounters against each other and looted the dead.
Due to popularity, an expansion was released in 1984 which began to describe the factions in the world (all still extremely generalized, mostly Dungeons & Dragons based). The same year also saw Games Workshop stop importing printed books from the United States, and instead print them in the UK while also expanding into having a US headquarters and manufacturing division so as not to have to physically import goods in reverse.
In 1984, the second edition of Warhammer was released. It combined the expansion with the core game as well as suggested supplementary rules from White Dwarf. Still having very loose rules, the game was three books although this time they were actually professionally printed rather than looking like something off a photocopier. Paper punchouts were included to represent troops rather than any miniature although Citadel produced a range of minis which were advertised in White Dwarf (although the rulebooks still said in those days to simply use whatever you want), and the very first Warhammer lore was established. The Empire was a vague kingdom of men in decline, Chaos was some kind of Demonic extra-planar threat that prophesied the end of days, there was some kind of ancient race that created the monsters of the world called Slann, and Elves had some kind of civil war going on. Three supplements were released, the first adding the very first Warhammer villain, Heinrich Kemmler, in the "Terror Of The Lichemaster]] campaign. The second, "Bloodbath at Orcs' Drift", introduced the first Orcs to the setting (although they weren't the asexual greenskins of today, but rather generic Dungeons & Dragons Orcs and Half-Orcs). The third, "Tragedy of McDeath" was basically Warhammer Macbeth, involving a plot of necromancy with Dwarfs and humans who would eventually come to be the Bretonnians. The final expansion, "Blood In The Streets", was just rules for fighting with buildings as well as paper scenery.
On the side, Citadel had acquired the rights to produce miniatures for everything from Judge Dredd to Doctor Who, and collaborated with many other companies including Ral Partha (one of their most successful partnerships, which launched Citadel into the mainstream of tabletop), Iron Claw Miniatures (which went out of business with their molds and copyrights being absorbed by Citadel), and Marauder Miniatures (technically another company owned by the founders of Games Workshop, much like Citadel itself, which was absorbed into the company in the early 90's much like Citadel would be absorbed by Games Workshop not long after).
Games Workshop saw aggressive expansion during this time, as White Dwarf went from a newsletter to specifically just a catalog for Games Workshop products. By opening physical retail stores to encourage gamers to meet at, they got easy advertising as Games Workshop products were on the shelves all around them. Many smaller companies began to suffer and close due to the slow death of the mail-order catalog business model that many companies relied heavily on.
Third edition Warhammer was released in 1987, and was just a single hardback book (the ancestor of the Big Red Book of today). The rules were finally ironed-out although the magic system remained the same. Players now controlled large forces with specialized troops including elites and warmachines, movement was extremely important tactically as there was Charge actions, and generally the game was considered a bit more complicated to pick up and learn than your average tabletop game. Games Workshop began to push it's own miniatures more and more, and the rules for certain types of troops came bundled with them rather than in the core book. The Warhammer setting was more fleshed out, and many consider this to be the first true edition of a Warhammer game fluffwise. Orcs and goblins were not connected and had females, undead didn't really have a reason to exist, Chaos only really mattered if you were talking about Chaos, the Empire's decline was because of cultural problems rather than being buttfucked by everyone else with twelve men or more at their command every other season, Elves were pretty much just snooty Elves and douchey Elves, Dwarves had no real flavor beyond Joseph Bugman existing, and the rest of the world was just kind of assumed to be like our own somewhat. Third edition had two expansions; Realm of Chaos which introduced everyone's favorite (or hated) Evil Sues and established Chaos in a way it would basically remain from that point on, Slaves To Darkness which detailed pretty much everyone in the actual physical world who wanted to kill you for no particular reason, The Lost And The Damned which continued giving reasons why living in Warhammer would fucking suck, and finally Warhammer Siege which gave scenarios. So more or less the late 80's introduced grimderp.
Later that year, Games Workshop released Rogue Trader. Conceived as a combination of Warhammer and Judge Dredd (and Dune, and Moorcock, and so on), the game was functionally a combination of Warhammer 1st edition with Warhammer 3rd edition as a roleplaying/skirmish/wargame. It was mostly just an updated version of the game Laserburn by the same creators, who after the financial failure of their creation re-imagined it for Games Workshop. Forces were originally just a Space Marines faction decided by rolling dice rather than listbuilding, which was added later as well as with most of the story in White Dwarf. The Imperium was given fluff, Orks were created as green skinned assholes described briefly in 3rd Edition although now with asexuality to go with it. Extremely complex rules for vehicles were added, and finally Chaos was copy/pasted from Warhammer to Rogue Trader.
Many employees in 1988-1990 left the company, unhappy with the increasingly profit-driven model of the company. Many created their own games, publications, and even went to Games Workshop's (few remaining) competitors. Notable was Fantasy Warlord, which barely sold enough to break even before shutting down. The miniatures created for Fantasy Warlord by Alternative Armies are actually still available, although some were sold to Mayhem Miniatures (which became Kennington Miniatures).
Unchallenged in the market (being the Apple of miniatures in that day), Games Workshop sought to expand its customer base into the mainstream. Television commercials were made, Games Workshop expanded aggressively into France and Australia, and the miniature lines were made less grotesque and more like the artwork.
Warhammer 4th edition was released in 1992, with changes to rules bringing the term "Herohammer" into the fanbase as most of any given army was simply there to protect the powerful characters the game was REALLY about. This was the first edition that had miniatures specifically for everything in the rulebooks, had specific race selection that prohibited using troops of another type in your army, and had a starter set which contained a two-force starter game which was High Elves VS Goblins. Magic was entirely redone, and was marketed as an expansion and used cards as spells. Magic had two further expansions, one for general magic and one for Chaos. Warhammer lore was more fleshed out, coming to resemble more or less the factions of today. The Empire was the human focus of 4th edition, with the valiant knights having no mention.
In 1993, Games Workshop came out with Warhammer 40,000, normally called Second Edition. Like Warhammer (now "Warhammer Fantasy Battles"), it was built around small units of infantry supporting ridiculously munchkinized special characters with complicated rules and wargear and appropriately pricey lead models, but at this stage Games Workshop actually cared somewhat about customers; models were made in plastic or wallet-friendly, Roman-Empire-collapsing lead, game sets included serviceable army lists and collections of miniatures, and paints were provided in 20ml pots, later 17.5ml. This switch was perhaps the first sign of the next age (and every other age, by the looks of things as paints are now just 12ml per pot).
Fifth edition was released in 1996, along with its magic expansion which rebalanced and simplified the magic system and included all three 4e expansions. Cards remained available to buy, although all the Winds of Magic-based magic spells were included in the core rules (meaning you still had 20 more spells you had to buy cards for). Of particular note is the Slann finally being fleshed out, creating the Lizardmen army with the starter being Empire VS Lizardmen. Campaigns were released which were heavily involved in the lore; The Grudge Of Drong featured a conflict between Elves and Dwarfs which lead to the War of the Beard, Tears Of Isha involved the bitter war between the High and Dark Elves, Idol Of Gork was the first time that Orcs were truly Orcy as known today with the introduction of Gork and Mork (or was it Mork and Gork?), Circle of Blood as the Vampire Counts (then still one army with the Mummies) VS Bretonnians as the first introduction of the Blood Dragons, and Perilous Quest as a war between the Bretonnians and Wood Elves during their introduction to the lore . Each campaign came with multiple endings decided by player involvement (becoming the precursor to Warhammer events), paper scenery which defined the architectural styles of the featured races from then on (although this was sadly the last time these races got scenery before everything simply became Empire and Chaos), and a campaign book summarizing the story.
At some point it was determined that the stock army lists weren't enough, and so "Army Books" (for Warhammer) and "Codex Books" (for 40Kl, later simply "Codex:(faction)") began to come out, each bringing new models and rules into the game. The last round of these for 40K (Codex: Tyranids in particular) tended to make the army ridiculously overpowered and make everyone else want a new Codex to rectify the balance. Perhaps the ultimate example of Second Edition philosophy was the last book, Codex: Assassins, which consisted of nothing but four hideously powerful special characters. These included this asshole who caused the psychology effect Terror to all psykers, regardless of anything, meaning Greater Daemons and Hive Tyrants would occasionally shit themselves and run for the hills when faced with a normal-sized human.
One notable aspect of this period was that Games Workshop hated trees, and would thus include several million cards in every boxed set if given the slightest provocation; the core sets for Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 both received an update governing the magic / psychic system which consisted solely of cards and templates (which were card). Some entire games (Doom of the Eldar, Battle for Armageddon, Horus Heresy) came out in this period which consisted of nothing but OUR GREAT SOVIET UNION a board and lots of high-density card counters to lose down the back of the sofa or inside the dog.
The Age of Stealing Your Money
Sometime in the run-up to Third Edition, it was decided that models should switch from toddler-murdering lead to safe, pointy pewter (or "white metal" as the industry [not just GW] insisted on calling it). This WILL LIVE THROUGH THE AGES led to a 25% cross-board increase in all metal mini costs, even those ordered through Citadel's back catalog (<-- Yes, because those figures from their back catalogue were cast up, when ordered, in the new white metal). At this point, it seems, something clicked in the heads of GW's management; they had just made a ton more money without actually doing anything. Perhaps they could do that again.
Third Edition 40K came out in 1998 and Warhammer Fantasy Battles 6th Edition (featuring Orcs VS Empire, and the last edition to come with paper scenery) came in 2000, both reducing the dominance of single munchkin characters in favour of large armies, conveniently meaning players had to buy far more models. Then along came the fucking screw-tops, and proof that any pretense of caring about the customer had been cast aside.
Games Workshop had begun to suffer financial troubles in the late 90's with competition from the surging (and independent) Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, Magic The Gathering, and Pokemon (no seriously, Pokemon was THAT fucking big back then).
The "problem" with the older paintpot designs was they actually kept paint usable for a long time; while the fliptops suffered from shit hinges and opening tabs which would both break after about four uses, unlike the screw tops which were good for years of storage. Obviously this was no good to GW, and so a new pot, the Screw(you)top, was designed which would gunk up its own thread and either glue itself shut forever or prevent an airtight seal forming after a couple of uses. Apparently forgetting every other company in existence that made model paints, GW also raised the price of these new and terrible things; clearly justified, since they contained a mere 30% less paint than the old design. It was also around this point that photographs of the 'Eavy Metal studio started to vanish from the pages of White Dwarf (along with all other content that could be considered useful for anything at all) since they kept forgetting to hide all their non-Citadel gear for photoshoots. Even though, of course, everyone had known for years that the painters didn't "mix Snot Green with a little Chaos Black" to get a paint shade that was in Tamiya or Vallejo's stock range. Nowadays we can get the good stuff for cheap from Privateer Press (problem, GW?), but back then it was just fucking terrible. GW managers and staff also suffered a change in personality, anything other than GW was a plague, and it was treated as such. Saw you just bought some Knights of Minis Tirith, well, what about a Stompa?
Games Workshop, highly resistant to change (ironically), began to see the shifting face of tabletop gaming towards electronics as unimportant with their CEO even calling video games "a fad". Just as Games Workshop had crushed their competition with physical stores, the internet distribution saw many new companies begin to emerge as they brought their products directly to the consumer via the internet. Games Workshop attempted to compete in this regard, although they never moved past having anything more complex than a digital version of a catalog and a little-moderated forum (which was closed down to much rage in the 2000's). Games Workship kneejerked and made White Dwarf exclusively Games Workshop products, allowing longtime competitor Dragon Magazine to reign triumphant as the source of tabletop gaming news in the last age of printed publications. Meanwhile a new market had emerged of making miniatures specifically designed to look like Warhammer models and be used in the game. This...did not go over well, and Games Workshop came to be known as ready to sue anyone at the drop of a hat, even once famously attempting to copyright "Pauldrons" and sue over the concept of a wolfskin cloak on a viking-looking warrior.
Prices began to ramp up ridiculously as GW realized they could charge whatever the hell they liked and their longterm fans would still pay. While GW was never particularly cheap, their chunky kits ended up in the same price bracket as top-quality scale miniatures by other companies; today, a Citadel Space Marine Hunter( 125-parts entirely cast in opaque plastic) costs about the same as AFV club's Churchill mk3 (400+ parts with 2 vinyl tracks, 22 metal springs, 29 Etched Brass pieces and a turned aluminium barrel). At some point, someone remembered that back in Second Edition days they actually had people willing to pay for gigantically expensive, limited-edition lead Thunderhawk Gunships. To hit this niche of "people with more money than sense," Forge World was created; all you had to do was get mom and dad to sign that second mortgage and stop being so damn selfish and a 40K-scale Titan would be yours.
Fourth edition Warhammer 40k was released in 2004, and was more an advertisement for more models than an actual edition. It was advertised as being "backwards compatible", mostly because by itself it was barely a game. The rulebook was mostly sections of painted licensed plastic terrain and large models than anything else.
Around this time the bulk of plastic Warhammer scenery was released, with almost all of it in Fantasy geared towards the Empire or Chaos (with some trees maybe representing Elves?) and 40k towards the Imperium or Chaos (with a few Necron and Tau pieces from Forgeworld).
Seventh edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles in 2006 luckily avoided this, with Battle For Skull Pass as the starter set between Dwarfs and Night Goblins. This marked the last major change for Warhammer Fantasy, with the current system having only changed by adding more models and having minor rebalancing. Storm of Chaos was released as a major event to much pomp and circumstance, supposedly being the canonical transition from the old into the new as Chaos made its great attempt to destroy reality while every faction strapped on their wardrums and marched into the clusterfuck. Players were selected to actually play the factions to drive the narrative, and the community was kept informed of what was going on. Except...Chaos couldn't win. The bulk of the story for the event was driven by the fact a fuckhuge Chaos army was invading, but the players for Chaos couldn't even manage to scrape out a single win. So the narrative kept going that Chaos was barely delayed at great cost (despite the actual battle report results saying no Chaos survived the battle). In the end, Chaos was given one last chance as the defenders (meaning they had the advantage) in the last battle. Even this, they lost. Badly. In a phone-in result where Games Workshop hoped fans would choose for Chaos to win and make all the actual promised narrative unnecessary, players chose to let Chaos deservedly lose. So the event ended with a crazy fucking Orc headbutting Chaos Darth Vader in the balls, laughing, and walking away and thus saving the world in an ending befitting Saints Row. Games Workshop quickly stopped promoting the event and from that point on pretended it never happened. This also marked the last time Games Workshop put any control out of their own hands. Many fans of armies like Bretonnia and Wood Elves were left very unhappy their army was not updated in 7e, relying on outdated rules and thus being extremely underpowered all in favor of an event that went nowhere.
In 2008, fifth edition Warhammer 40k was released and borrowed heavily from 7e WFB as well as implemented a HEAVY emphasis on cover rules while making shooting much more important.
The Fall of Warhammer
Additionally, all metal models are being discontinued, to be replaced with much more expensive Resin kits. Unlike the pewter kits (which are basically tin), the resin kits are loaded with carcinogens; strange, since last anyone checked the reason for switching to pewter in the first place was that lead was toxic (and nothing to do with hiking the price). The quality of the product could lead one to believe it was much much cheaper, but resin damages the mold more than pewter because it sticks to the mold more. It gets expensive when you have to replace molds more often, and they also break fairly easily so that all the little ten year old Smurf players have to buy new ones when they snap them in half. So essentially, Games Workshop not only ruined the quality of their models, they jacked up the prices and made it nearly impossible for anyone outside EU to obtain it. Kinda like going from fine French wine to your corner-store cheap beer... and the beer is more expensive than the wine. Yes, we're also wondering how much more retarded GW can get.
Eight Edition Warhammer Fantasy was released in 2010, introducing 40k-esque large models (and pretending Storm of Magic didn't happen). Many fans hold this is the most balanced the game ever was, despite some particularly nasty cheese existing and some factions STILL not getting long overdue updates. In 2011 it was expanded with Storm of Magic which introduced fuckhuge monsters from Forgeworld that could be summoned, as well as a redone (and pretty broken) magic system. Blood in the Badlands came out in 2012 and added siege combat and advanced scenarios to the game. In 2013, Sigmar's Blood came out with a campaign between the Empire and Vampire Counts lead by Mannfred von Carstein, introducing advanced diplomacy rules mostly involving misfortune.
Between all that in 2012 came sixth edition Warhammer 40k, borrowing even more heavily from Warhammer Fantasy with psychic power taking on a decidedly magical system with scenery becoming interactive. Furthermore, armies were no longer exclusive with mixed-faction lists being possible.
Finally, in 2014 the End Times event was announced for Warhmmer Fantasy while Warhammer 40k got its seventh edition. 7e 40k removed restrictions even more on armies and simply allow you to mostly take whatever you want if you are okay with some penalties, although you get advantages for sticking to groups existing in the canon. Otherwise it just added more diverse style of play for scenario-like gameplay in simple games and added even more Warhammer Fantasy-esque psychic and terrain rules. Meanwhile, End Times... ended Warhammer Fantasy. Billed as the next big thing, the event consisted of staggered releases of extremely expensive books and new models which also removed a great deal of restrictions on how armies are built, all while everyone takes it up the ass HARD from Chaos as it slowly meandered its way through all opposition to the heart of the Empire (read: what they wanted from Storm of Chaos). In the final book, ALL rules regarding limiting what you can take are thrown completely out the window as the world simply ENDS. Fantasy fans were left feeling cold and full of hate.
When it seemed it couldn't get any worse, Games Workshop then decided that since it had made 40k mostly like Fantasy, it would make Fantasy into 40k. A happier, LSD-fueled version of 40k. That version, believed by some to have actually been made with Skub mixed directly into the material, was Age of Sigmar which removed literally ALL limitations on army building and consists of a skirmish game with absolutely no upwards limit on what you can bring and only has four rules, officially making it even less of a Warhammer than Warhammer 1st edition.
Because Games-Workshop fucking hates you, about the only way this could be made worse is if GW decided to forcefully shove a RAPEX onto your dick each and every time you placed an order, and even that's debatable.
Games Workshop have sat pretty at the top of the miniature sexgames shit-heap for many years (indeed, the scale models industry tries to ignore that they're the biggest single seller of miniatures) and have abused this position to increase their own profits. However, fortunately for the long suffering gamer alternatives are emerging. Privateer Press for example produce the games Warmachine and Hordes and offers slightly cheaper models and starter sets. In the market for wargames Privateer Press and Coolminiornot are rapidly emerging as a viable challenger to GW's monopoly while Reaper Miniatures takes them on using the same tactics that made them in the first place; licensing IP's, and making things for other games. They are the Tau, Dark Eldar, and Chaos to GW's Imperium.
Also worthy of note is Mantic Games who produce Kings of War, a fantasy battle game in a similar vein to Warhammer. The rules system was even written by former GW man Alessio Cavatore (essentially succeeding at what every frustrated ex-GW employee since 1988 has dreamed of) and it is fast, fluid and a lot more fun than Warhammer. The company is pioneering the use of plastic-resin alloy (or 'restic') as a cost effective alternative to pewter. Oh, and equivalent plastic models cost about HALF what GW charge (e.g. GW High Elf Spearmen (16 models) - £20, Mantic Games Elf Spearmen (20 models) - £13.99). Which detail wise aren't close to comparable.
One can only hope that these new upstarts will beat down GWs monopolistic hold on the wargame market.
The Second Impact
In 2013, Games Workshop decided to transfer their semen sales restriction to Canada, just as they had to Europe. As the United States had already had international sales cut back in 2003, this had lead to a large online market for Canadian retailers, selling their products at discount sales to US customers. However, with this new change, all international sales in North America are now completely gone, as GW once again decided to fuck over long term customers and local retailers in favor of luring more small children with disposable income to their overpriced, neckbeard-run stores.
MiniWargaming, a well known FLGS with an extensive online store, has decided to close shop because of these new rules. Their store manager made an entire video explaining their reasons and going over just how asinine Games Workshop's new rules are. Between jacking up prices, locking down international sales, and screwing over online sales and bitz sales, Games Workshop is on the fast track to running itself into the ground in the eyes of long term followers. Probably due to their apparent belief that removing the entire world (excluding European Economic Area and Canada) from their consumer base is a good idea. But they won't care, so long as the almighty
dollar POUND STERLING of impressionable twelve-year-olds and spoilt (by GW and Forge World) Space Marine fans keeps them afloat.
In a meeting with shareholders, Games Workshop exhibited their attitudes quite plainly.
- "- the word “Game” in Games Workshop encourages the misconception that games are its business, but that only about 20% of Games Workshop’s customers are gamers. The rest are modellers and collectors. Maybe half of them think about playing now and then. The other half have no intention. People actually walk into the stores because they’re curious about modelling fantastic armies."
When asked "-if the company would sell games with pre-painted easy to assemble miniatures like the popular Star Wars themed X-Wing game" they said:
- "It wouldn’t be a hobby business then, it would be a toy company."
- "-introducing products at new price points is different to reducing the recommended retail price, something the company resolutely refuses to do. It’s considering “putting more value in the box”, discounting in other words, when people buy in number. That ought to encourage gamer-modellers."
- "Potentially lucrative income from licenses granted to video games producers like the much anticipated and soon to be released Total War Warhammer will always be incidental because video gamers do not become modellers, and Games Workshop doesn’t know how to make good video games."
In their 2015 Financial Report, they stated:
- "The Group does not undertake research activities."
In the same report, the words "market" and "research" never referred to the same subject. They claim their main audience is teenagers, although they also state that the hobbyist crowd is their main fanbase.
So what can be learned? Games Workshop has absolutely no longterm plan other than to make more expensive models, and cater to those who can drop thousands in a single impulse buy. Rather than expanding and reaching out to new customers, they are intentionally becoming a niche market for an elite crowd. In other words? "Fuck you, you smelly hatless Irishman."
The Digital Age (And Completely Missing the Point)
Games Workshop would sign a deal with Apple to sell eBooks on the interwebz, instead of Amazon, because then the books would have to be cheaper. Games Workshop refused to understand the fact that eBooks almost always cost less than what they would if bought from a book store. That 1 pence discount doesn't count. (From GW point of view, even tho it's stupid to put the same price on eBooks as the Hardcover Armybooks/Codices, it makes sense. Because if they were to sell them cheaper, they would sell much less books, meaning they'll lose money from the traditional books. Yes, it cost $80 in Australia for both the eBook and the Hardcover, which again is bullshit.)
Though in this regard, GW does seem to be slowly figuring out what works: Dataslates are a cheap effective means of deploying models without committing to entire armies/detachments. Essentially like microtransactions. While around £3 might seem like a lot of money for only a few pages of crunch and only two or three new units/formations, they are some of the cheapest products GW have released in a good long time and they do also use these to repost entire rules sections dragged out of the codices in addition to the product itself, so you never needed the codex if you never owned it in the first place.
Some of the Dataslates are extremely high quality (like Cypher) and are virtually must-haves, while some others are complete dross (Reclusiam Command Squad?) that were dreamed up over a 5 minute coffee break just to sell something. But with the advent of 7th Edition, armies can be made up entirely of dataslates (or just go unbound) so they are no longer telling you how to build your army any more and you can keep it cheaper by bringing only a few models to make up your chosen formation.
Oh, and they sell them in various formats so you don't need that iPad if you don't have one since eReaders can be downloaded for free and if you still don't have anything to read them on, then have a think about how you got onto the Internet.
Just fucking pirate them. Pretty much every 6th edition Codex is available in PDF format on torrent sites. If GW don’t want to play nice then why should you?
Why Games Workshop is Bad and it Should Feel Bad
When speaking of a company, a person is tempted to think of a large body of human beings coming together in an efficient group. The group is governed, and it is thought that someone is there to ascertain the best possible choices are being made granted the information available at hand. However, this perspective, like most of 40k's explicit war “tactics”, is absolute nonsensical trash.
Never mind that large groups are often less efficient due to the fact that most people like to agree and be part of a group, even if the group is wrong. Forget that the burden of hard work is often shrugged off thanks to the assumption that everyone else will be carrying enough of the real challenges to pull things through (and that when things go wrong, it's a flaw of human nature that people don't like to admit and accept when they screw up). Instead, focus on the fact that the people heading GW – or most large corporations for that matter – are successful, rich, ordinary men who are blessed by good fortune in an unfair universe and probably don't realize the reality. Further, examine the knowledge that, according to Sun Tzu and a variety of psychological studies, successful rich people with the aforementioned profound luck are the folks most likely to make stupid mistakes out of anyone!
Now you know why GW (or the entire world, for that matter) is run the way it is.
A source of some debate on /tg/ is whether or not it is actually charging prices that make sense for the hobby. All logic points to a resounding “no”, but another interesting social phenomena is this: fanboyism is an inbuilt human process. Whenever money is spent on a good, especially a luxury item, man has a way of increasing the illusionary worth of that item.
Imagine buying tickets to see your local team play football, and they lose. It's not even a good game, to be honest. People around the country were disappointed. However, those tickets cost a lot of money, and having spent all that money for so little in return makes a person feel stupid. We grope for other things, then, to make the tickets worth while rather than admit we were wrong (even if we were only wrong due to events beyond our control) and learn from it. Yes, it was cold, but your wife was there, so you bonded! The beer was too expensive as well, but they sold your favorite brand! You had an experience! It was fun! Yes, those tickets were worth it in the end.
We'll even do this with soft drinks. Even if brain probes reveal a man likes Pepsi more than Coke, going back and telling the man what he was drinking can actually alter his memory so that he remembers liking the Coke more. It's amazing.
GW products are exactly the same way. They're ludicrously expensive. Even people who support GW fervently wish they weren't. It hurts. In a rough economy, it's hard to play the game. You spend months, years – who knows how long waiting for that new codex, it turns out to be awful compared to expectations (hello, Tyranids!) (UP YOURS ASSHOLE.), and now you've either got to suck it up and keep playing (got to buy the new Trygons, I guess, even though they aren't that great), or take a huge monetary loss and give up. Fanboyism steps in and makes it all okay. You're not just buying the models, but the game and the network utility too, so 40k is still totally fun and cool!
Big corporations, and GW as well, are predators. They feast on fanboyism. Like the Dark Eldar, they prey on your suffering and write sick, stomach-turning poetry about the flowing, green streams of vital wealth they siphon from your being. You are a toy. That cute girl at the convenience store you see all the time? Thanks to GW, you have to choose between inviting her to the theater and buying that new squadron of Guardsmen. Those of you scoffing at the dilemma, shut up; those Guardsmen are not going to nag nearly as much after you've had them for a little while, so it's
totally a tough call.*BLAM!* HERESY!!! NOT CHOOSING THE EMPEROR'S FINEST IS HERESY!!!
But putty in their hands you may be, there are still some principles of basic economics that imply GW might not be earning enough revenue, and surprisingly, they can only lose more money by raising prices! There's no real way of knowing how things really are within GW without a look at the delicate, inner machinery they never should have let Matt Ward near. But it does all come back to our first consideration: GW is run by the type of person most notable for making poor decisions – lucky, successful people, and a group, no less.
Whatever idiot wrote the following has no _actual_ business sense. Revenue =/= Profit. Profit = Revenue - Cost... yes, but still give you a good idea about GW policy.
The situation is thus: there is more to money flow than just the bottom line, though often it's all we think of, but basically there's income, cost, and revenue. What is of most concern is revenue, which could also be thought of as profit. GW sells their models for a greater amount than what they cost, and the amount they make is revenue!
So now, there's revenue, and then there's marginal revenue. Revenue is just how much you make. Sell a thousand Guardsmen and make ten thousand dollars? Your Guardsmen revenue is $10,000! Marginal revenue, on the other hand, is how much you make compared to selling one less of the item. In this case, the Guardsmen have a marginal revenue of $10. Each Guardsman made a profit of $10, and if you sold one less Guardsman, you'd make $10 less. See? Easy. Well, for this simplified example anyway (in reality there are a lot of fixed start-up costs, but point made).
Now let's raise prices. From now on, we'll sell half as many Guardsmen per box, and the boxes will cost the same. Now marginal revenue is $22, because every time a Guardsman is sold, we bring in $20 per Guardsman plus an additional $2 gets saved thanks to the Guardsmen we didn't make! This is cool – we're in business, just like GW, /tg/! Let's do that again – our customers are fans, they'll bear it! Now we'll sell five Guardsmen to a box, and we have a marginal revenue of $45!
Okay, wait, wait. I've got it. I'm a genius. Let's sell one Guardsman. Sell it for the same price we used to sell twenty of them! We're going to be rich! Marginal revenue is going to be amazing! Like, what, over a hundred dollars a purchase?
So what's our profit in the end? What! Negative? How!? We're making so much per model! The marginal revenue is so high!
The answer is simple. Not enough people are buying one crappy Guardsman for $200 dollars. A few of the fans are sticking it out, hating us relentlessly, but newcomers to the game see the price tag and run screaming. People who can't afford it leave because they have no other choice, but they're happy in retrospect. Even some of our most loyal customers finally decided to just date that girl after all – she's not nearly as pricey and they'll deal with her constant bitching. Actual revenue is at an all time low.
Believe it or not, lots of other companies really do make this mistake, albeit not often to this extent (unless you check out Forge World, anyway. Anyone want a Tau Manta? Under £1,000). It's because maximizing marginal revenue is very easy. It's simple arithmetic, and if your market base is rather inelastic (and GW's market base certainly is due to the high investment requirements of their games), a lot of times price changes won't have a huge impact, so it's easier to focus on. GW is at some point in the middle here, where it has started to become questionable.
It's hard to say if they're making right decisions or if their pricing makes the most sense. It's becoming the status quo that their games are really a hobby of those with absurd disposable income, which is not a quality described of the young men who are presumed to make up 40k's primary demographic. It's possible that they're targeting young teens with parents who will buy the models for them, but that's hard to say as well since parents will lack the dedicated fanboyism to continually invest in the absurdly priced hobby.
Mix in unbalanced rules that unfairly favor certain factions, long wait times between army updates, inferior model quality compared to what's provided to model hobbyists outside of the wargaming industry, and GW may have a recipe for a failing market.
In fact, by using some math and basic market theory, we can actually take a look at how much GW is supposedly spending to bring our hobby to us.
The list below will give us some basic numbers to work with. We know that GW currently sells its rule books at $74.25. What we don't know is GW's actual costs or how many books they're selling. These things have an impact on the math, but we'll sort of fudge it. Now, based on that alone, we want to price our book at twice what it costs to make the thing. In the real world all this nice math has the tendency to fly apart, but generally speaking that's the ideal manner of doing things. For example:
Quantity sold: 0 Price of book: $0 Estimated cost to GW: $0 Marginal Cost: $0 Marginal Revenue: $0 Total Revenue: $0
Quantity sold: 1 Price of book: $74.25 Estimated cost to GW: $37.13 Marginal Cost: $37.13 Marginal Revenue: $37.12 Total Revenue: $37.12
Quantity sold: 2 Price of book: $74.25 Estimated cost to GW: $74.25 Marginal Cost: $37.13 Marginal Revenue: $37.12 Total Revenue: $74.25
And so on. Since we're assuming that every book has a fixed cost to produce, we just get a rough idea of what it's actually costing GW to make rule books for us. Or so such is true only if we figure they're trying to price things according to a competitive market where the consumer sets the price. Basic economics says we want to have a marginal revenue equal to our marginal cost if we want to work with a price we can't really control, and that's what this does.
See, there's a few things to consider. The first is that, in a competitive market, people are just going to buy the cheapest product. That means whoever is selling cheapest kind of wins the day, but while GW could maybe sell their rule books at $20 each, they'd be suffering huge profit losses that are not directly proportionate to the change in price. Instead, they'll try to follow along with what the market is doing, and to their very best possible effort, they'll try to lower their costs so that the marginal costs equal the marginal revenue (or, again, their prices are basically double their production costs per item). That just simply maximizes revenue, since if they raise prices their competitors will undercut them and GW will be able to sell nothing.
But honestly, if you've read this far, then hopefully you're braced for this shock. According to estimates from a few publishers, it only costs about $3 per book to publish 5,000 hardback books, and that cost decreases as you publish in greater bulk. 40k books do have a lot of pretty pictures, so maybe that increases costs somewhat, but again, costs generally tend to get smaller as you order more of an item, and it's pretty likely that GW is not just settling for a measly 5,000 books internationally. They sell all over the world.
So where are all these other costs popping up that should cause GW to spend $37 on every single book they produce? In small production quantities, we'd consider the cost of labor. Who knows how much Matt Ward demands to be paid to lick every rule book before it leaves the factory! What do the photographers want in compensation? Actually, stop. At GW's production rates, those expense considerations become almost completely negligible. You pay Matt Ward a salary to lick all the books. It's a yearly thing. You pay him once and you're done, so by the time you've produced a million books, even if you paid Matt a million dollars to slobber on every single page, Matt is only increasing the cost of the books by a dollar each.
Margins are all that matter. GW talks about overheads and so forth as an excuse, but that's insanity. In a perfectly competitive market you don't increase prices to cover overheads. You reduce the overheads because they're predictable annual costs that you more or less established on your own! Besides, you shouldn't be able to arbitrarily raise prices like that, seeing as how your competitors are supposedly keeping you in check! So really, what we can infer is the following:
A. Basically, GW has no competitors controlling their pricing right now. (This was especially true in the old days. Nowadays, this is less of an excuse as wargames and miniature companies branched out into all sorts of different fields. Thus, the monopoly GW used to have is no more.)
B. They are price gouging their players to fill the pockets of the people who run the company. (This scares off a lot of players, especially ones who have to buy a bunch just to keep up with the inconsistent update schedule or wish to start with a full army. Thus, the only people left are the people rich enough to afford it and those too ignorant to really think otherwise/the GWIDF)
C. Their pricing is not directly related to their costs, and anything they say to the contrary is a big fat lie. (This particular argument is used by Recaster supporters and proponents of 3-D Printers as they slowly advance in complexity to begin making more accurate and good-quality resin models.)
D. You could play another game, but all your friends are playing 40k anyway and you don't want to feel left out.
E. Fuck Games Workshop
This article also explains the problem with Australian prices, in a slightly less detailed manner; 
The Beginning of the end?
Games Workshop's poor treatment of their customers is finally catching up and hitting them where it hurts. The first evidence was when they started making changes (you know how Games Workshop feels about change). They have started making supplements to armies besides Space Marines in Warhammer 40k, started increasing the amount of plastic models and, once or twice, making them reasonably priced. With the End Times, Warhammer Fantasy's plot is actually advancing. They've even released discount box sets from the new IG stuff. This sounds good, although long overdue, but one must ask; Games Workshop hasn't made these changes despite years of complaints or demands, why are they doing it now? The reason is simple. There are cracks appearing in Games Workshop's foundation, and these tidbits are too little, too late. So many customers have said "enough is enough" and washed their hands of GW's merchandise that they're starting to lose revenue. For example, many GW shops in Australia have moved from upscale shopping centers to smaller stores in less-expensive locations as it's cheaper and easier to control.
Their Chairman Tom Kirby mentioned in a 2011 press release that they were increasing cost cutting measures and making more products while avoiding mention of actual profits (note this is a summary, not his exact words). If their profit was growing, they would be more likely to announce it. If their profits were stable, considering cost cutting measures, that suggests a decrease in the actual profits (the decrease offset by the money saved from cutting costs). Just as the Imperium is starting to come under increasing threat in 40k (ie; their stagnation, Chaos starting get its shit together, Necrons reawakening, the Tyranids rushing towards Terra), Games Workshop could be in their final days. Since this is real-life, they don't have the plot armor of their Creator's Pet "Imperium of Man" and are less likely to survive. (More on this can be found here . It would make alot of sense that the reason The Imperium in 40k is GW's favorite faction is they have a lot in common [and that's not a compliment]. The article is old, but it's still relevant today).
Whether Games Workshop will actually fall and go out of business is unknown for now. They may survive another twenty years, or less than five. There's a possibility (however unlikely) that they may pull their heads out of their asses and revamp everything about the hobby; from supporting expansions (such as Blood Bowl) to charging lower and more reasonable prices for their products, and maybe even advancing the plot for Warhammer 40k (yeah right!). Whatever Games Workshop's ultimate fate, none can deny that the ground is shrinking beneath their feet. As the old saying goes "Fist of iron, feet of clay"...
They have also demonstrated another old saying; "the bigger they are, the harder they fall". Games Workshop's stock as of Thursday the 16th of January 2014 took a nose dive of 24 percent . Adding to this, it's now been rumored that the GW Headquarters in Germany, France and the United States will be closing down, too.
However, GW claim they are Abaddon and all of this is no failure but just as planned. Whatever may be, on 7/29/2014 Games Workshop Chairman and CEO stepped down. Whether that will be for better or worse? We shall see.
It is also believed that 3D printers are going to be affordable for the layman in the near future. This has already led to people pirating models. The End Times are nigh...
Network Utility, and How it May Contribute to the Fall
On top of all the other financial considerations involved with a company like Games Workshop, there's one major concern that was probably gravely overlooked by the company as it raised prices and cut smaller retailers out of the picture: a concept called "network utility". A lot of products are useless unless they're used by a ton of people. A fax machine is a good example - if everyone owns a fax machine, then one person can use his own fax machine to send pictures of his ass to everyone on earth. That's a good value for a single person, and really makes the fax machine worth buying! However, if fewer people buy fax machines, it becomes less and less desirable to own one. After all, why buy a machine that's only capable of sending a picture of your butt to your grandmother, the only other person who still has a machine? Grandma is never impressed, anyway.
A similar concept exists with GW, and they've ignored it over the past couple of years, especially as they've cut models out of starter sets to reduce costs. If you go down to your local game store and everyone is playing Warhammer 40k, not only are you more likely to get into it because of friendly recommendations, but you're also likely to start playing because you know everyone has an army and everyone can play with you! Even if you aren't personal friends with the folks at your local game store, you know that anywhere you go, the people you meet at the FLGS can play the game with you!
Well, several things have happened to the hobby. First and foremost, the models have gotten more expensive; granted, many models only scaled in price with inflation, but since wages have largely stagnated in a lot of markets these past couple decades, to the typical consumer the costs still feel like they've gone up and the players notice the hikes. When a product gets more expensive, people naturally quit buying it. This thins the herd.
Meanwhile, GW also drags its feet when it comes to codex updates, and when it does update, there's no telling whether or not a new codex is going to be a complete load of shit. The Tyranid codex being a huge let down for two editions running is probably one of the most critical examples. Anyone who collected Tyranids as a main army has pretty well given up hope by now, and they've quit collecting. Other players with armies in similar straits, likely feeling abandoned during 5th edition when GW focused exclusively on Space Marines, have also probably drifted away from the hobby. Of course, there have also been a few people who just quit playing out of disgust because their local meta was a bit too hardcore and there was no way to win games without exploiting the broken, disjointed lack of balance.
Although Games Workshop continued to hike up prices and showed fantastic profits in the short term, these issues probably alienated too many people, and as they roll along with the next edition and new codices, they're probably discovering, with great horror, that there aren't enough players buying into it anymore. Worse, the effect can snowball out of control, and GW will probably lose their market control in one big flash of failure. Almost overnight, it'll suddenly seem that 40k has evaporated.
When there are too few players in the game, it's no longer true that you can go to your FLGS and play with any stranger in the store. There's always that one guy - that rich asshole who owns every army in the book and consequently has some of the most boring, broken, frustrating army lists to play against. But do you really want to play against that guy every single weekend? Eventually, you quit showing up to play 40k as well, and once you're gone, even that dick with all his money has no more reason to play. The final pillar falls, and Games Workshop is no more.
In other words, the player base has always been the most important foundation of the company, and it was always GW's greatest strength. Not the model quality, not the rules, not the setting or any of the IP that they keep suing their fans over. The reason Games Workshop dominated was because everyone played their games. As soon as that's no longer the case, the company can't save itself by releasing new models or updating the rules. Their reign is over. They topple, because the foundations have shrunk.
GW The Bully
Games Workshop has long had a history of being one of the most litigious companies in regards to its IP in existence. One needs look no further than our own Pauldrons article to get an idea of how bad it is, in that it uses its designs to openly fight any company that dares have any remote similarity to its own models in any way, shape, or form. You have any wargame with armored dudes with big pauldrons? Lawsuit. Unless you actually have the money to take on GW in a lawsuit and win; then you can get away with basically copying entire game systems without being called on it. Then again, there are some things you can't trademark because their use is too widespread (eg; power armor), or they're public domain (eg; the character Dracula).
You run a company that makes third-party components for existing models? Lawsuit. You make anything remotely resembling any GW IP ever and aren't a massive company that could actually contest the giant copyright stick GW is swinging around and make them look like the idiots they are? LAWSUIT.
Whilst GW has a lengthy history of overstepping boundaries in its war to enforce its copyright, it only recently decided to go nuclear. GW is now claiming that it owns the phrase Space Marine, ignoring that sci-fi has used the terminology for the better part of eighty years (and shows their hypocrisy as Games Workshop shamelessly stole the term 'Eldar' from Tolkien; yes, he invented the word 'Eldar'). The story in question "Spots the Space Marine" is about a middle age housewife, nicknamed Spots, being recalled back to the Marine corp (ie a Real Marine, in space) to fight giant enemy crabs (in space). It has nothing to do with GW's Space Marines or the Warhammer 40K setting.
- The History of the term "Space Marine"; The term 'Space Marine' was made famous by sci-fi author Bob Olsen (real name; Alfred Johannes Olsen, 1884-1956), who may be the true creator of the term. He first used 'Space Marine' in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" from his "Amazing Stories" series, first published in 1932. Warhammer 40K started as the Second Edition of Rogue Trader and was released in 1993, while Rogue Trader itself was released in 1987. Games Workshop was founded in 1975; even its oldest founding member (Ian Livingstone) was born in 1949. Therefore the term Space Marine was in use for forty-three years before Games Workshop existed (even James Cameron has more right to trade mark the term than GW, as his 1986 movie 'Aliens' came out one year before Rogue Trader did).
Clearly GW needs to sue Bob Olsen. Sarcastic jokes aside, seeing GW fall on their ass for trying to sue Bob Olsen, the rightful owner of the term 'Space Marine' (also remember he died over fifty years ago), would be hilarious. Even in 2026 (seventy years after Bob Olsen died) when the term Space Marine should become public domain, that doesn't help GW as they can no longer trade mark it then.
This means that what GW tried to do was plagarism, which is a direct violation of copyright law. Games Workshop's strategy is to make "space marine" less generic by launching high profile, bullying attacks on every professional author or artist who isn't associated with a huge company who uses it, so that there may yet come a day when people hearing the phrase immediately conclude that it must be related to Games Workshop, because everyone knows what enormous cocks they are whenever anyone else uses the phrase. These attacks will not, again, be targeted at any opponent that can credibly fight back; this is because if it actually came to attempts to litigate over the phrase, GW would be laughed out of court. It's not going to stop GW from being cocks, though. In fact, as of 2014, Games Workshop's website still has 'Space Marine' listed as one of their copyrights. This copyright backlash made them rename the Imperial Guard "Astra Militarum" (This is not the correct Latin declension for "Star Military." If it was the correct declension, then it would be just as hard to trade mark as "Imperial Guard"), but their hard-on for space marines stopped GW from renaming the codex something original, such as "Adeptus Astartes".
GW would after the failure and fiasco of the Spots the space marine post a lengthy and self defeating rant on their own Facebook page, which basically displayed the ignorance of those writing the post. Shortly afterwards, the Facebook page went down after the backlash it caused. Several who queried GW over the pages removal were told that GW wished for the experience with the fanbase to be more personal, thus people should be following their own GW stores.
Recently, their bullying came back to bite them in the ass after a failed attempt at suing the third-party manufacturer: ChapterHouse Studios; when they refused to back down from GW's threats to sue them for making unauthorized models (specifically Mycetic Spores, the Doom of Malan'tai, and the Parasite of Mortrex), the lawsuit went to court- which GW failed to argue the majority of alleged copyright breaches. Apparently just writing up the rules for a model doesn't give you the sole rights to making that model after all. Undaunted, GW did the next best thing-they removed the offending models from the Tyranid codex, cutting off its nose to spite its face. Way to put the customer first, GeeDubs.
And now there are rumors that GW has been bought by the same corporation who owns Hasbro Toys. Expect "My Little Space Marine: Friendship is HERESY!" to follow if true.
So This Is How The Shit All Began...
So GeeDubs apparently got this idea that, a company that made its name and infrastructure as a wargame hobby company, is actually a collectibles hobby company. This would help make sense of their previous decisions to minimize what you can get at your FLGS, and make much of their lines as web exclusives (and the accompanying £4 million site), as well as extending Citadel modelling and certain questionable modelling decisions that would make sense on paper (but is brimming with shit and FAIL in practice), and the regular price rises. While this all would make sense if they were a collectibles company, nobody but Games Workshop is under the delusion that they are. The good news is that GW can hypothetically survive as a collectibles company, the bad news is under that model, all six of the pure 40k Collectors could collectively shell out just enough to support Alan Bligh and Simon Egan working a business out of a garage. (Don't pretend you didn't know this already.)
This attitude towards one's IP, company history, and misunderstanding of one's own consumer base is now known as the "Games Workshop handstand", or the "fecally incontinent handstand". The reasoning behind it is that one maladjusted asshole is held in a position above the rest of the body, and shit starts to shower all over the whole. In other words, with an executive board pushing a misaimed business model and misapplied corp-think into the whole without being able skillfully shift their target consumer, or without adapting to a model that can support their logic, then profits start to fall. Oh, wait...
Things GW should do if it wants to survive
- GW understandably is a for-profit business. GW should strive to grow its sales, improve its market share, and try to grow the size of the market itself. Such a strategy would be forward looking, and consistent with the company mission statement to do what it's doing forever. The current strategy of price-gouging is obviously reducing sales, losing market share, and turning away potential future sex partners in the market. The existing customer-base is shrinking from being priced out. Prospective new customers are repelled by the pricing. From a basic financial standpoint, GW needs to commit to growing future sales, even before diving into the minutia of issues below. Fix the pricing.
- Ensure that the wants and needs of the share holders do not overrule the needs of the customer.
- Fire the whole management staff, their obsession with the bottom line is slowly destroying the company.
- Allow the setting to progress and change, even if this involves killing off special characters. As wide and encompassing the 40k universe is, the cracks are growing increasingly apparent with time. (These changes to the setting need not affect the crunch; for example, in the present day point of the Warhammer Fantasy timeline half of the Vampire Counts special characters and half of the Orcs & Goblins characters are as dead as they can be, but you can still use them in the Games. See also the Lord of the Rings models such as Éorl, Gil-galad and Isildur).
- We now have that for Fantasy with The End Times.
- Get over their fucking hard-on for Space Marines and (Germans?). And every army should get an update in each edition, lest any of them be left behind.
- Do a proper update for the Sisters of Battle.
- Encourage players to build their own armies with cool themes and feature these armies in books and White Dwarf; allowing Games Workshop to save money and at the same time let the players feel like they contributed in some way to the overall fluff.
- They finally did that with their new magazine "Warhammer Visions." (Yep. And that was doubtlessly an excellent decision on their part. Let's hope to see more of that.)
- Stop trying to monopolize things like terrain and game boards. It was a lot more fun and interesting when GW encouraged people to make their own stuff from scratch, but now they seem to think everyone has to have a Citadel Realm of Battle board and use only the plastic terrain kits that are sold at GW. This pisses off all us proper gamers who like to make things that look unique and original. Also, they really should stop selling those stupidly overpriced movement trays for Warhammer, they're cheaper and easier to make using sheets of plasticard and trimmed down sprues! Also, everyone knows "Green Stuff" is "Kneadatite" or simply "Modeling Putty," and that every other hardware company in existence sells it more cheaply than GW does.
- Many players remember the days when paper scenery was included free with issues of White Dwarf and both that and plastic scenery was included with starter sets.
- Stop charging ridiculous prices for cheap and nasty tools with the Citadel brand on them. The £20 novelty flamer airbrush is inferior in every meaningful way to a £5 Silverline. The Citadel Razor Saw with a fixed, low-quality blade costs more than a decent razor saw with interchangeable blades (hell, some places will hook you up with a Tamiya saw with two blades for £10). The "Citadel Hobby Vice" is utterly useless. People do not automatically come to GW for every single thing the hobby requires because they realise GW's idea of service is sticking its dick in their wallet and fucking their credit card to death.
- Cut the production costs, thus reducing prices of their products. This is a good business decision as it would increase volume while retaining profit margins. Lowering prices increases accessibility while also increasing demand, and when you have more customers buying shit at worst you suffer minimal profit loss if you decrease the prices by the right amount.
- Good news, they cut production costs. Bad news, they did NOT pass on the savings to you, the consumer.
- Start advertising. Without the infamous "In the grim darkness of the 41st Millennium there is only WAR!" ad we never would have the term "grimdark". Also promote Warhammer Fantasy more. Without it there would have never been a Warhammer 40k in the first place.
- They're trying that with video games and movies. Now if only the movies could give a non-Creator's-Pet-faction some time in the limelight.
- Support independent retailers. They started as one, after all.
- Hire more competent writers for both the fluff and the crunch then get rid of the incompetent (and downright Spiritual) ones (with the recent departure of Ward from GW; though I don't hate him as a person we wish he'd left before he did all the damage he's done such as Spiritual Liege and Newcrons). GW itself may not care much about tournaments, but the players certainly do- and consistently poor Codices and updates have driven off allthose who wanted a good bit of sex quite a few of these competitive players. And it says a LOT that their best fluff writer
- Try to take examples from their competition like Privateer Press and put both the rules and fluff on their site along with selling Codices/Army Books (dunno if this would be good or bad). Also put all their games into indefinite Beta Testing and take in feedbacks from players in order to rapidly update rules and units in order to make them both fun AND competitive (though probably it will put a lot of strain on them in both physical/mental and financial areas).
- But for the people who love good Nid codices; FIRE THE CRUDDACE! He had already destroyed the Tyranids (For the mean time), tried to crush the Space Wolves, most likely hobbled the Dark Eldar and fucked over the 7th edition, making almost no difference to the 6th edition. He is so bad that even Matt Ward's fluff work is starting to look like that of a higher quality in comparison. Although to be fair, considering that Ward made a good High Elves army book and invented a neat Eldar Special Rule, maybe overtime the Cruddace would overcome his Imperial Guard boner and improve on a change.
It is the 3rd Millennium. For more than a hundred months Games Workshop has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Nottingham. It is the foremost of wargames by the will of the neckbeards, and master of a million tabletops by the might of their inexhaustible wallets. It is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with business strategies from the early Industrial Revolution Age. It is the Carrion Lord of the wargaming scene for whom a thousand veteran players are sacrificed every day, so that it may never truly die.
Yet even in its deathless state, GW continues its eternal vigilance. Mighty battleforce starter-sets cross the online-store-infested miasma of the internet, the only route between distant countries, their way lit by a draconian retail trade-agreement, the psychic manifestation of the GW's will. Vast armies of lawyers give battle in GW's name on uncounted websites. Greatest amongst its soldiers are the Guardians of the IP, the Legal Team, bio-engineered super-assholes. Their comrades in arms are legion: the writing team and countless untested rulebooks, the ever vigilant redshirts, and the writers of White Dwarf, to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from other games, their own incompetence, Based Chinaman - and worse.
To support Games Workshop in such times is to spend untold billions. It is to support the cruelest and most dickish company imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of Specialist Games and Warhammer Fantasy Battle, for so much has been dropped, never to be re-published. Forget the promise of cheaper digital content and understanding the fanbase, for in the GW HQ there is only profit-seeking, Space Marines and Sigmarines. There is no fun amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and spending, and the laughter of Privateer Press and Corvus Belli.