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Monday, October 7, 2013

Games Workshop does it again: Beasts of War

GW does it again: Burning fans just because the devil told them too. And his name is 666 Intellectual Property
Good morning everybody! 

Bearded person hugs clobbered
seal. That's how he rolls.
After a couple of weeks (months, rather) of work and attending events every weekend, I took Saturday and Sunday off completely from anything company related. 

Mati coerced me into playing "DEFIANCE" on PS3 - and I love it! So I 'got back' from the weekend, small-eyed but very relaxed, and incredibly motivated to take our wonderful hobby where no one had taken our hobby before. The final frontier for nerds.

Then, not really from out of nowhere also not really unexpectedly, someone hits someone else square in the face with a rather sizable baseball bat. GW's Legal Inquisition strikes again. This time, they are gleefully clubbering some friendly Beasts of War. Anyone thinking of baby seals being clobbered? Good analogy.

Bearded president hugs clobbered Beast of War
At Games Day UK 2013 of all places...
When is enough enough?

I have never really questioned me being GW/FW's #1 fanboy ever. But I have to say that slowly but surely GW's glorious management get's me to at least to raise an eyebrow slightly, quizzically, menacingly and disapprovingly. For the first time ever, the president is not amused. Not at all. 

Remember when I wrote about the new Trade Term agreements in our popular mini-series "The future of Games Days and Games Workshop"? 

It almost feels like GW designed some of the rules particularly with Beasts of War in mind. Of course, someone who loves the hobby, promotes it like no-one else and does so even for free MUST BE STOPPED. But before I go on an early Monday rampage, let Warren Johnston from Beasts of War speak for himself: 

You have read the "7 walls of texts", starting with Part 1 of our incredibly popular series about "The Future of Games Days and Games Workshop" you will absorb the detailed description of what went on between BoW and GW here. It is most insightful - and sad. 

So what is the result of this?

BoW and Wayland Games will 'part ways' - at least from a legal point of view. I find this as clever as unnecessary. Why GW wants fans to stop talking about their product is simply beyond me. Yes, legally they may have the law on their side (although in some aspects I am convinced they are stretching their luck) but what they do really begins to make less and less sense. 

BoW will continue to report about Games Workshop and their products, now on a 'cleaner' legal basis. And why shouldn't they? Yes, we might not be able to show unpublished pictures that they can't control to keep secret themselves (LOL, fail - even if our legal adviser sees nothing really wrong with that), but our love for the hobby is like hope - we all know that it will die last.

"The biggest risk is us." - Tom Kirby

"The biggest risk is us." - Tom Kirby. Now walk the walk.
Yes, Tom. The biggest risk is you (not you personally, but your GW management style).  

Here is my advice to you: Take a step back and really ask yourself whether using the legal bat to clobber sad looking nerds is really the best way of dealing with your fan-base. 

Then think how your company would be more successful, if you did EXACTLY the opposite of what you are currently doing. 

Think it through for at least 42 days. Make a plan and try to create a win-win-win-win-win situation. If you need help with that, give me a call - I've done it already, it's not that hard. I would even give you ideas for free - or rather, for all the plastic I can carry! (Full disclosure: Like Mr. Neutron, I can carry ENORMOUS quantities of plastic!)

If I held GW stock right now, I would probably sell it. GW is about to successfully aggravate even their #1 fan-boy. And if I get aggravated, I wonder what the rest of the community thinks about this. 

I fear the only way to 'wake GW up again' is if they receive the same wake-up call as in 2007. Losses, and nose-diving stock charts. And for some reason, I could see both in store for them in the next 2-3 years. Only the US operation could turn out to be their saving grace.

What can you do?

First of all, we can SHARE & ENJOY discussions on this subject (on Facebook, forums etc). Then you should take a deep breath and NOT HATE on GW. (At least not yet, give 'em one more chance, or two, or three...). 

Make a decision for yourself: Can you still support GW or do you think other companies have beautiful daughters, too? I'll still support them - I'll probably be their last customer at some point. 

Knocked out? Never! 1+ saving throw vs. Legal.
Secondly, you should definitely SIGN UP with BoW. It's free and you get additional content compared to a non-subscriber. 

And if you have it in your heart (and in your wallet), you can support them by becoming a 'back stage' member of their site. 

What can we do?

I met Warren for the first time - and only for a few minutes and a blurry picture at Games Day UK 2013. In the last couple of days we have been in 'loose contact' about 'partnering up' (whatever that means). 

Warren and Lloyd do everything for the hobby and for nerds like me. It seems we have a lot in common. Oh, and did I mention, I got a lot of crazy ideas?

Let's talk. 


With great beard comes great responsibility!
Don't make me Beard-Slap you, GW!


  1. Part of me wonders if it'd be worth them getting press accreditation.

  2. EVERYBODY should flip the bird to GW for 3 months, then see if they have the money to pay these waste of space lawyers

    1. Heheh, this idea is as old as the Internet ^^
      And I don't really think that would be good anyways - because in the end it's the enthusiasts that work at GW that would suffer first - or do you think the management would put themselves on furlough? ;)

  3. I don't see the fuss. GW are not asking people to stop reporting on their stuff (as suggested in some of the comments) and once their products are released, there's nothing, frankly, they can do about it. But it's not unfair of a company to say "stop reporting on things we haven't released yet and are commercially sensitive".
    If Warren is as supportive of GW as he says he is (complete with LOL fail type comments about GW being unable to stop leaked stories getting out) then he simply should respect their wishes.

    GW have more competitors than ever, with all these new Kickstarter-backed companies springing up. It's not unreasonable for them to ask people to stop compromsing their in-development products by publishing pre-release information.

    I'm ambivalent to GW (as I am to most games companies) but because they've threatened legal action against a company/person for repeatedly refusing to co-operate with protecting their i.p. doesn't make them evil.

    1. I do agree with you to some point. However, after a recent discussion with a lawyer about IP in general, it is not illegal at all to post 'leaked' information - just imagine that was true - the whole rainbow press could pack up.

      I find it funny that GW is unable to keep information secret - the source of the leaks is clear...

      And don't get me wrong - they got the law on their site. The question whether exercising their right is such a clever idea, is the question at hand, isn't it.

  4. What annoys me is that through BoW's having to distance themselves from Wayland it has killed two years of planning and negotiation, moving and establishing themselves at Tabletop Nation. For ONE company (even if it is the biggest) to have the weight to swing around like that, putting BoW out of pocket (which only makes enough to keep its staff really) isn't right. Instead, do what other companies offer BoW. Send new releases early, give exclusives, Corvus Beli do it, Privateer Press do it, hell, flames of war staff came in and did a lot of work alongside BoW, as well as Mantic and so on.
    So why can't GW have THAT relationship? They were appraoched by Beasts while I was still "daemon john" and the attitude was more or less "well, let's keep them at the end of this very big pole" and even when BoW really took off the pole only got longer. Then again my ripping apart the basilisk kit probably didn't help. But I think if GW took Beasts more seriously it would be giving them amazing positive advertising for pretty much NOTHING. Promoting their games through GD and their own website doesn't really make them accessible in comparison to the video games industry and with the IP hammer having been swung a lot in the last few years (not all of it unjustified I might add) it might be time for GW to look at doing something more positive.

    1. Couldn't agree more. But that would be 'common sense' and not 'IP law' :D

    2. Whato John, you are quite right. It's the terror of control that GW are frightened of losing that keeps them pushing people away.

      It is also the honesty you showed over the Basilisk kit that they don't like. They screwed upa dn wanted a quick buck. Integrity on telling the truth doesn't fit sales very well but then, that should have brought them about to bringing out a better kit instead of a re-hash.

      They shot themselves, got greedy and didn't like the home truths.

      Mr Beeblebrox, this has been a great read. My sincere thanks. I too have drawn similar conclusions - that they're destroying their customer base. Even as an adult and a collector of their books, I can't justify it any more.

      Games Workshop really couldn't give a stuff, and that's sad.

  5. While this is sad for BoW, I think it has more to do with Wayland and how they operate. They aren't the friendly milk and cookies brigade themselves (remember Maelstrom Games anyone?), their service is awful and getting worse and they have had a reputation for tweaking GW's nose for a long while- these were the guys putting up pre-orders almost before GW had a chance to break their own news. I've had terrible experiances with Wayland and was put off watching BoW content when they merged because in my mind that made them just a mouthpiece for people that I didn't much like.

    Doubtless as I've not instantly leapt on the hatewagon I'll get some negatives here but I actually think this may be good for the long term future of BoW. Sad, annoying, but it isn't as cut and dried as they want us to think. Workshop also have the problem of no right of reply. Any time they stick their heads over the parapet they have a swirling vortex of rage and bile directed at them (hence forums going away). I dunno. I was going to write more but this whole issue (GW's conduct) wearies me. They're the only company subjected to this sort of scruitiny, indeed, because they had to use shareholders to raise money for expansion - no kickstarters for them - they have to allow their finances and every utterance be pored over by an army of armchair lawyers on the net. People seem determined to see the company as evil for wanting their message controlled. It's tiresome but not evil.

    1. I agree that the separation of BoW from Wayland is not necessarily a bad step - at least legally it makes things easier now.

      To me the question is: Why does GW want their message controlled? If that was the case, withdrawing from the Internet altogether would be the wisest step for them. You don't face a swarm of Termagants with a single slingshot, that may or may not take one out, you know :)

  6. Still a little bemused myself about the whole BoW issue.

    As a backstager I would like to encourage people to sign up to BoW. For the price of a large coffee you can help support these guys in what they do. Celebrating the wonderful Nerdom that we all exist in.

    Like Zaphod I am a GW fanboy, it's hard not to still love what they do from a minis and fluff point of view but their business policies are quite frankly an abomination.

    Btw Zaphod, on a completely unrelated note, when can we expect season 2 of painting buddha? Hurry up and take my money for goodness sake!

  7. I think GW often forgets these days that it is fun that sells their products. I wrote my own take on how GW seems to forget that lately, especially when it comes to Games Day:

    1. Good read! Amazing how GW does great events when they are almost bankrupt and stop running good ones when they are rolling in the dough.

  8. @Chris Holden: the only problem, that most of the videos taken down were not sneak-peaks, but unboxings, tactics and reviews. So they force to shut up about their products.
    As for the whole thing. I don't understand GW at all. Getting rid of free advertising AND making your customers hate you because of your actions just doesn't make sense to me.
    Most TT gaming needs a large-ish community, with just 2-3 players it will die. So why are they trying everything to make people quit? If a critical level is reached in number of players, then the game will die off, leaving them without their customers.

    As for their IP-Law: I'm faaaaar away from being a lawyer or anything, but I think what they are doing is not really protecting their IP, but bullying others into silence. Against those who could really be a threat they do nothing, against bigger players they don't even dare to try.



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