"They shall be my finest games these games who give of themselves to me.
Like greenstuff I shall mould them and in the fires of playtesting forge them.
They will be pewter will and old-school flavour
In great marketing shall I clad them and with the mightiest of marketing arm them.
They will be free from power creep and lorewank, no stockholders will blight them.
They will have strategies, tactics and mechanics so that no foe will best them in commerce.
They are bulwark against competitors.
They are my defenders of the stocks.
They are my Specialist Games and they shall know no fear."
- – Alan Bligh, (RIP) On the recreation of the specialist games.
Specialist Games are the category of Games Workshop's games that aren't Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, Warhammer Fantasy, or The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game/The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game. In other words, these were the really interesting games, which naturally means that GW gave them little or no attention. Seriously, some of them haven't been updated by GW in ten years or longer. This is not seen as a bad thing by everyone; fans of the old school systems say, why fix something that isn't broken? Change for change's sake is the way of Tzeentch.
In line with GW's fine tradition of not supporting Specialist Games, GW decided not to convert SG's pewter figures to Finecast. Since they also thought it would be a good idea to completely end production of pewter figurines in favor of Finecast, this meant that once their existing SG stock is gone, they wouldn't even bother casting new figurines, though part of that also being that Lead is controversial to use, especially considering its adverse affects to human health. During 2013, the SG products available for sale on their website slowly dwindled until they vanished entirely. To add insult to injury, in April 2014, GW redid their website; the new website had no mention of Specialist Games whatsoever, not even the PDFs of the rules.
Then, at the start of the 2015 Holiday Season, an announcement was released promising the return of all of the classic Specialist Games (other than Mordheim) by folding Forgeworld into the division.
The Specialist Games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe are:
- Aeronautica Imperialis, a 6mm-scale air combat game. Unlike the others, this was produced by Forge World only.
- Battlefleet Gothic, a spaceship combat game.
- Epic, a 6mm-scale wargame for fighting battles between massive armies (lots of Titans and other super-heavies).
- Gorkamorka, a 28mm-scale narrative skirmish wargame involving fights between Ork mobs.
- Inquisitor, a 54mm-scale role-playing game in which players were an Inquisitor and retinue. Most notable for being the spiritual predecessor for Dark Heresy.
- Necromunda, a 28mm-scale narrative skirmish wargame involving fights between Hive city gangs. Now in its 2nd edition.
- Lost Patrol, You're dead. Flip off.
- Space Hulk
- Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth
- Horus Heresy: The Burning of Prospero
- Deathwatch Overkill
- Stormcloud Attack
- Assassinorum Execution Force
- Gangs of Commorragh
- Imperial Knights Renegade
- Shadow War: Armageddon. This is basically Necromunda.
- Adeptus Titanicus
- Kill Team
- Speed Freeks
- Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress
- Combat Arena
- Space Marine Adventures
Warhammer Fantasy Battle
The Specialist Games set in the Warhammer Fantasy Battle universe are:
- Blood Bowl, a football/rugby team management game, now spun off into its own little universe.
- Man O' War, a naval combat game.
- Mordheim, a 28-mm scale narrative skirmish wargame involving fights between warbands over warpstone.
- Warmaster, a 10mm-scale wargame for fighting large-scale battles between massive armies.
- Dreadfleet, yet another naval warfare game albeit a more modern gameplay version.
Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
- Gorechosen, which put champions of Khorne duel against each other for their God's favour.
- Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower
- Warhammer Quest Shadows Over Hammerhal
- Warhammer Underworlds. X-Wing meets Sigmar in a hex based combat arena.
White Dwarf Expansions
GW likes to release a TON of rules for their specialist games, which, while awesome, can be hard to keep track of when you're looking for specifics. Below is a handy list for all the additional rules for each game, and what issue they're found in.
Assassinorum: Execution Force
- New Achievements - WD 95 , 21 Nov, '15
- Daemon Prince Boss - WD 99, 19 Dec '15
- Daemon opponents/New Achievements - Sep '16
- Tempestus Scions w/new mission - WD 114, 02 Apr '16
- Kill Team Excis - 5 new Characters - Sep '16
- Genestealer Cults expansion - Dec '16
Gangs of Commorragh
- Harlequin Characters - Mar '17
Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth
- New Mission - WD 94, 14 Nov '15 (Requires two copies of the game)
- Scenario 7 - WD 99, 19 Dec '15
- New Mission - WD 116, 16 Apr '16
- Alternate Squad Compositions - Sep '16
Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero
- Contemptor Dreadnoughts/New Mission - Nov '16
Imperial Knights Renegade
- Wraithknights/Stormsurges - Dec '16
- Gorkanaut/Knight Valiant/Castellan - Jun '18
- Terminators - Sep '16
- New Rules/Multiplayer Mode - Dec '16
- New Weapons/Assets - Feb '17
- New Scenario "Claim the Spire" - Jan '18
- New Scenario "The Gauntlet" - Feb '18
- Genestealer Gangs - Mar '18
- Chaos Cult Gangs - Apr '18
- Venator (Mixed) Gangs - May '18
- Perpetual Campaigns - May '19
- New Mission - WD 33, 13 Sep '14
- New Mission/Ductway Rules - Sep '16
- New Mission/Genestealer Cults - Dec '17
- Corvus Blackstar - Sep '16
- Goblin/Halfling Referees - Jan '17
- Special Balls - Mar '17
- White Dwarf/Black Gobbo - May '17
- Goblin Balls - Jun '17
- Chaos Balls - May '18
- Dark Elf balls - Jul '18
- Fexgor the Flayer, Skarr Bloodwrath, Valkia The Bloody - Sep '16
Warhammer Quest - Silver Tower
- Lord of Plauges character - WD 121, 21 May 16
- Slaughterpriest character - Sep '16
- Grombrindal, The White Dwarf character - Sep '16
- Tzaangor Shaman Character - Feb '17
- Tzaangor Enlightened/Skyfires enemies - Feb '17
Warhammer Quest - Shadows over Hammerhal
- Slambo - March '17
- Kharadron Overlords characters - May '17
- Freeguild General/Gunmaster // New Mission - December '17
- New Scenario - Jan '18
- New Mission - Feb '18
- Nighthaunt/Stormcast Eternals expansion - Jul '18
Warhammer Quest - Blackstone Fortress
- Prequel Mission with one new piece of gear - Dec '18
- Additional rules for hostile players - May '19
- Specialist Arms, where all the people who played and talked about specialist games went when Games Workshop shut down their official forums.
- Realm of Chaos 80s Blog of a dedicated Oldhammer. This guy has been fan since the 80s, and he knows awful lot about Warhammer Fantasy of that time, like a now-obsolete Specialist Games starting Goblins trying to outshoot each other with a catapult.