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Friday, August 30, 2013

The Future of Games Days and Games Workshop - Part 5: Now it's getting personal

3x42 viewers at 3:42 in the morning. It does not get more epic than this! 

The Future of Games Days and Games Workshop
Part 5 - O lawd, it's a fire! 

- Disclaimer -

Dear GW Management! 

Please hang in there - just one more nerd rage post! Today is going to be 
somewhat painful, I know, but I promise that starting with the next part in our popular mini-series, things for you will be much more pleasant again! 


Galactic President 
and #1 GW/FW Fanboy

Guys! You are all amazingly hoopy froods who really know where your towels are! 

Over 15.000 people read, shared & enjoyed the first four parts of our more-and-more epic mini-series about "The future of Games Days and Games Workshop". Many of you participated in the discussion both leaving public comments or by sharing insider views of Games Workshop with me in private. The popularity of this little series proves that the subject (as always) is something we fans are still very emotionally connected with. We all seek some form of closure which GW has denied us for decades now. 

Prepare for another epic wall of text full of cat-astrophes ^^.
<-- This random kitten KNOWS!

A short history of almost nearly everything: Parts 1-4

In Part 1 we looked at whether Games Workshop's top management really sucked and came to the conclusion that - as much as some might want it to be true - they really don't. 

Then, in Part 2 we talked a little bit more about what Games Workshop's management has done over the last few years, how this in particular effected independent retailers and whether Games Workshop would be sold to someone soon or later. In summary, part 1 and 2 put Games Workshop's top management into an unexpectedly positive light (as we looked at the business side of things exclusively)

Part 3 then included some of the first signs of nerd rage as I explained why, in solving their financial crisis in the early 2000s, GW has caused a lot of pain(t) for everyone - including themselves. GW's complete misunderstanding of the customer, the market and first and foremost the Internet lead to nerd rage, closing of local, independent hobby stores and an ever revolving upward price spiral. The reasoning behind my argument was covered in detail in part 4. Nerd tears everywhere. It was heartbreaking to write this. 

In the comments to the posts we learned more about some of GW's greatest mistakes - including a lot of insider stories about the Lord of the Rings line, cost cutting and investments. If you have not already read them, I strongly recommend doing so. 

Leaving your own comments might also not be the worst idea. ^^

Now it's getting personal 

Today I will remain #1 GW/FW fanboy and a such will talk about my personal disappointment with some of the developments in the last couple of years. 

In part 6 (probably out on Tuesday), I will then talk about what I think Games Workshop should do. Free advise to be ignored. Don't miss our Birthday Bash Giveaway on MONDAY!

Why do I care?

I love the hobby, I love the community and I love Games Workshop and Forge World. Well, most of it anyways. For me 'quitting' is not an option. I want GW to do well. Unfortunately, a lot of stuff GW does is so incredibly and excruciatingly stupid that my reaction can only be compared to a the reaction of a red-faced John McEnroe yelling at the referee after committing an 'unforced error' and losing the game.

In my opinion 'unforced management errors' are the biggest threat to Games Workshop. And if you read the shareholder reports of the last few years, Tom Kirby agrees with me: "The biggest risk is us!". So Tom, we hear you can talk the talk - but can you walk the walk?

Watching GW committing 'unforced errors' time and time again is particularly unbearable to me as I am absolutely convinced that doing it right - or at least better - would be so mindbogglingly frakking easy.  But I am getting ahead of myself.

GW's greatest mistakes

Let's look at what the Games Workshop Hobby is all about. According to their own Website, Games Workshop make the best fantasy miniatures in the world! The hobby is about painting, gaming and collecting. Oh boy, where to start... 

"I feel pretty!"
The Best fantasy miniatures in the world?

Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, I won't argue that. You decide for yourself whether you like Space Marines inside of Space Marines or Khorne Demons on wheelchairs. So let's talk about something more objective: quality.

I actually agree that Games Workshop makes the best plastic miniatures in the world. Tons of bits and fine details. 

Still I don't understand why a single Herald of Nurgle plastic mini costs almost as much as a full 10 unit squad of Nurgle Plaguebearers (they basically look the same), but oh well, it's pretty, I like it, I buy it. 

In these times of Kickstarters I would even argue that GW does NOT make the best fantasy miniatures in the world. But they make the most popular ones and they have one Ace up their sleeve: Their incredibly fluffy IP. 


How about Finecast? I am not going into the as omnipresent as justified Finecast bashing here (read up more on that here, if you like), as I grew tired of that discussion.

Only Games Workshop thinks that their "Citadel Finecast models are the latest step in hobby evolution, providing [us] with incredibly detailed, high-quality resin kits to bolster [our] army. Painting and modelling Citadel miniatures has never been as rewarding as this.". I read it on the Internet, so it must be true. 

Finecast has helped GW kill the Collecting part of the hobby and turned into a full on double shit-storm all the way across the sky for GW. It's almost as if the Games Workshop management and marketing wrote The Book of Shit-Storm themselves.

The Book of Shit-Storm, verse 1:1 - Army Deals

"For he who seekest rare and shiny things in exchange for golden coin shall be denied." 

For the most of my 21 years in the hobby, I have been a collector. As we all know, true nerd hero collectors are hunters and gatherers. We collectors seek out the rare items, snipe them on ebay and think that one day our collection will be so valuable so that we can retire in style. 

Last limited army box mini:
2007 Dark Angels Dude
A few years ago, with every new army book and codex, GW sold an Army Box (at around 200€ a pop). Each army box contained a limited white-metal miniature that was only available in that box. These boxes sold out within days after release. I am not the 14 year old that seems to be the one and only target consumer that GW values today: I bought EVERY army box just because of the limited minis. Make that around 2500€ a year just on Army Boxes. And I know I was not the only one.

Today I buy 0€ worth of Army Boxes. Hey, GW, some KPI ringing here? No? Your problem. 

So why did GW discontinue the successful army boxes? One part could have been cost (design and production of the limited mini), but I doubt that. Actually, I don't doubt it, because you can cut cost on really stupid ideas very well... 

No, In my opinion the reason for the discontinuation was a combination of the wild-west online-discount-market and in particular the declared enemy of GW: Ebay

Some clever people bought an Army Box cheap from some now extinct online-discounter (40%+ discount). Then they sold the limited mini for 60, 70, sometimes up to 100€ EACH. The rest of the box was also sold separately on Ebay. Many people made a very nice and quick profit this way. And we all know by now that GW does not like that. Instead of building a marketing strategy on an otherwise successful product they just cancelled it. FACEPALM. No sales for you!

Really GW? You NEEDED to re-release 
this COLLECTOR's item as mail-order-only?
And on a very personal and really angry note: 

WHO the frakk is responsible for re-releasing one of the most-collector-sought-after-LTD-Army-Deal rare items, the Shrine of Redemption for mailorder only? This ugly little pearl sold for 60-100€ on ebay. People hunted for years just to find one.

Well, at least until GW decided to re-release it as a £6,65 item on mailorder only. Now NO-ONE wants it. Well played.

Really? This? Out of all of the limited miniatures you chose this to bitch-slap every serious collector? With THIS? Bitch-slapping without even using baby powder?

I hope the likely around 0£ sales on this crappy little thing were worth turning away every serious collectors forever!

Ebay is dead (and will be even more dead after the new trade terms go into affect!) Collectors turned away, demand fell, very few people are left trading or even collecting white-metal formerly known as 'limited'.

The sad thing is, I don't even think, GW thought about this. No harm intended. Irreparable harm done. Because the don't understand collectors. 

The book of Shit-Storm, verse 1:2 - Skullz

"Come hither, loyal subjects, so WE can bitch-smite ye."

If I was CEO of GW, I would get skullz back NOW. 
Another interesting concept was the Skullz program. THAT is what collectors want: To buy stuff you can't buy. For every 10$/DM/£ you spent at a GW store, you got Skullz. If you ordered enough from GW's Mailorder, you got tripple points! 

So, for example, you collected 300 skullz and you got a Forge World frakking BANEBLADE. For frakkin FREE. And there were tons of big and small incentives. 'Free' stuff - most of it could not be bought for money. Of course, it was discontinued. 

Today there is absolutely ZERO incentive to buy from Games Workshop directly. Quite the opposite, as it is the most expensive way to buy GW stuff. The only reason to buy at GW directly is that you don't have paypal (sorry, 14 year olds) or can't get the items anywhere else. Dear GW, if you think this is clever: DOUBLE FACEPALM. Throw a collector nerd some bones, dudes!

The book of Shit-Storm, verse 1:3 - Finecast

"On the 40000th day WE created Finecast. And the Finecast was without form. And WE saw the Finecast and decided it was good. Because so it is written. So say WE all."

EVERY finecast miniature could look
like this. Unfortunately, it just doesn't.
Again, I am not gonna comment on Finecast any more than necessary. I know GW CAN produce high-quality finecast. It's just that outside of Games Day miniatures and 25 year commemorative Space Marines they seem to chose not to. 

From a collector's perspective, I will now share a secret with you, GW: No-one collects Finecast miniatures. As in 0. It is simply not done, Tom! Make em Metal and make em shiny. For Metal lasts longer than Finecast in the sun! Return limited miniatures to The Metal and see your sales soar high in the sky.

In summary, collecting GW miniatures is dead. There's a very thin silver lining on the horizon that I will talk about in the next part.

As a side-note: Whoever came up with the excellent marketing strategy to tell their fans that GW would release a new material that was cheaper than white-metal in order to produce even better miniatures but then does the opposite by raising prices and releasing poor-quality products should receive some sort of award. Make it so!

The book of Shit-Storm, verse 2 

The book of Shit-Storms, verse 2:1 - Black Snow

"For he who believes in Our Truth will soon see that snow is truly black!"

In my career I had the opportunity to sit in with a lot of high-level management meetings. And in general, there were two types of people: 

The first type were those who knew that snow was white and who were willing to tell it like it is and act upon it. 

Then, of course there were those, who preached snow was black, because a) it was written somewhere or b) because they had no clue or c) they were willing to drop all sense of self-esteem for the off-chance of a promotion. Often it was a combination of d) all of the above. Often times, these lovely people were leaders.

I knew leaders that knew snow was black and surrounded themselves with people that loved nothing more than to agree with them. We all have the questionable pleasure to know one or two of these prime examples of humanity. 

If I was ever of the impression that snow could actually be black, my team would not hesitate to set me straight and tell me to the face that snow in fact was more of a whitish appearance. 

I listened to my team and we all listened to our in-house 'customers'. Life was good. Yay!

From my personal experience and from everything I hear and see at GW I can only deduce that Games Workshop's biggest risk facing the future is Black Snow.

When I talk to store staff at GW they often shake their head at decisions of the middle management. When I talk to the middle management, they complain about what was ordered from above. And when I talk to top-management, they just roll their eyes at HQ and apologize for not being allowed to engage in more sensible business activities... 

At GW snow seems to be black. A clear sign of an overly centralized, KPI driven company. 

The book of Shit-Storms, verse 2:2 - Bubble Boy

"All WE need is US. We are Legion."

In reading the last 10 or so shareholder reports of Games Workshop I realized that Games Workshop and it's Management live in some sort of bubble. 

GW is like a teenie-boy-group in a fully sold out stadium, that performs towards managers, producers and the media nly while turning their back to 40,000 screaming, plush-bear-throwing, premium-price-paying fans for the full duration of the show.

Of course, these fans are angry. 

And it's the same with Games Workshop. In my opinion, with all the issues discussed up to and including in this post, there is a clear and massive chasm dividing the Games Workshop Management from the reality of our beloved hobby.  

And by opting to make someone 'from inside' the next CEO of Games Workshop, the risk is rather high that he or she will inherit the same spacious bubble, that the Games Workshop management have built and dwelt in over the last couple of years. 

I know of only one instance where the Games Workshop management responded to 'their market' directly. It was an open letter by Mark Wells to European Trade Accounts. I was unable to research ANY SIGN of a direct connection between Games Workshop and the world-wide fan-base and communities whatsoever. No surprise they don't hear the screaming fans... 

If there only was a way to shut up these screaming fans that are still somewhat audible in the bubble... Oh wait!

The book of Shit-Storms, verse 2:3 - Silence, infidels! I kill you!

"For ye who darest to speak to US shall now and forever remain silent. Lalalalalalalalala"

The miniature painting and gaming hobby is a niche market. It is globally distributed with a few hobbyists here and there. 

Over the years, the Internet has enabled the creation of massive miniature-related communities. Internet Forums, blogs, gaming clubs, tournaments and much more - all organized by dedicated hardcore fans and supported by a devoted community. Not by GW. (I will discuss Games Days in the last part of our series, so please know that I ignore them here completely).

Over the years, GW has actually worked in the opposite direction. Instead of promoting the hobby by establishing strong communities and providing them and GW's fans with resources to further the hobby, they decided to pretty much take everything away from the fans that was free. 

Who remembers the old GW web-store? Tons of hobby articles about painting and converting, raising armies and sending them into battle. Downloadable rules for all (or most) out-of-print GW games. Where have they gone? Other than Games Days - what exactly does GW do for the community? NADA! And why? To protect their precious IP? Seriously?

Newsflash: GW, you can't copyright game mechanics anyways (unless you can patent them), so give us back the Gorkamorka rules! Why the hell not?

OK, we get it. GW does not engage in communication with the fans. But the fans still wanted to talk about their hobby! And so they did.

So what happend? The Internet happened! (You remember, that's the thing GW totally failed to comprehend in Part 3 and 4 of this series). Devoted fans started to fill the void with countless blogs, forums, how-to's, videos, artwork, sculpting & conversions. Hundreds of thousands of people read these blogs daily. People want to know about everything the company that produces the hobby they love does. N'Sync, Miley Cyrus, Games Workshop: It's all the same everywhere: Fans want to know and feel appreciated.

So what are the most sensible responses a company could come up with in this scenario? That's right: The Spanish Inquisition! Mostly because nobody expects it - and rightfully so!

The book of Shit-Storms, verse 2:4 - The Spanish Inquisition

Ain't nobody got time for that!
"Hark ye! Bring hither those who worship US! Gather women and children who praise OUR name! Invite those who spread OUR name! And let all those shepherds come to us who drive new sheep towards our glory! Then rejoice as the righteous fire of love from the heavy flamer of our Sister Mercy burns them to a crisp. O lawd, it's a fire!"

This blog could be shut down by GW's Legal Department (aka the Spanish Inquisition) at any time. Why? Because we SHARE & ENJOY our hobby. Someone shows a picture Games Workshop does not want us to see? Take em down! Faeit 212 was the most prominent victim this year. Gary generated quite literally millions of views of interested fans. All potential customers for GW - no, what am I saying? Not potential customers. ACTUAL CUSTOMERS! Maybe GW was afraid that all of them could actually order something from their site and that they couldn't meet the massive demand. So I guess the most sensible course of action was to stir up yet another shit-storm by shutting Faeit 212 down. (Glad you are back, Gary!)

Oh, of course, it is GW's RIGHT to defend their precious IP whenever they feel it is infringed upon. However, enforcing your RIGHT is NOT always the right thing to do. I would characterize those dreadful moves as stupid. And - ain't nobody got time for that!

I have yet to meet any business that misunderstands the necessity of protecting IP as much as the Legal Department of GW. Protecting IP - you're doing it wrong! Chapterhouse vs GW? 1 MILLION DOLLARS down the drain. Shutting down bloggers, vloggers and forums? Tens of thousands of disenfranchised fans. Retailers can't use product pictures? I gladly repeat myself: This is not only stupid, it's devastatingly counter-productive. From my perspective, the legal department so far has done more harm than good. 

Shutting down Faeit 212 because he shared a picture YOU could not keep secret? Wow, that really helped your business! How about those illegal Ukraine re-casters of Forge World miniatures and vehicles I sent you links to six months ago? Still up and running and rollin' in the dough! Go home Legal Department, you're drunk! I know where I would start cutting cost, if I was in charge. 

Oh, and one more thing: GW, IF you decide to shut down sites and products - do so CONSISTANTLY, for frakk's sake! Shut 'em all down. Why is it that small-time-company Miniature Mentor has to withdraw instructional videos, that sells in the dozens just because they show your minis on the cover when at the same time big player Coolminiornot markets thousands and thousands of DVDs that exclusively deal with painting your models? Are you afraid to pick a fight with the big guns so that you rather bully someone who faints at the dreaded letters 'C', 'o' and 'D'?

No-one will complain if - like Metallica - you implement 'Justice for All'. No-one will understand when you pick-and-choose to shut down those whoever you dislike the most at the moment. 

Only when the last blog has vanished, the last vlog been deleted, the last forum been deserted - then you will find that you have zero community skills and no customers left.  

Btw, I invite everyone to read (and of course religiously abide by) the wonderful rules that GW has described in their 'Legal' section of their website. Of course, from a pure legal and business perspective I can see what they did there, BUT just to show you how much out of touch these rules are with reality, let me quote from that site: 
T-shirts, Clothes, Tatoos and the Like
As always, we cannot allow third parties to obtain money from our intellectual property.
This effectively means that you would either have to buy Games Workshop T-shirts or clothes or make them yourself. You would not be able to sell any t-shirts or clothes that you make.
This also means that we cannot allow tattoos as an acceptable use of our IP as a third party necessarily has to perform the "service."
OK, I get the T-Shirt part. But... let's seeeee, hm...., someone with a GW tattoo enters your store. What then? Rip it off this tattooed flesh-bearer? Usher him out of the store? Put him in jail until he tells you who performed the illegal act of tattooing the "I love Games Workshop" heart with a picture of the Emperor of Mankind? Maybe the Legal Department could Audit Tattoo Studios... hm... 

A rule or law that cannot be enforced is by definition totally and utterly void. What I really wanna know is: does it rain on your planet?

Anyways, the statement is not correct regardless, if the tattoo was made for free... just sayin'... 

Ooooh, I'm in T-R-O-U-B-L-E!!!!
Devalued existing GW products. BAD TERMI!
Another Gem: 
Cardboard or Paper Conversions
Unfortunately, we cannot allow the printing or publishing of such conversions- such action devalues existing GW products.
First of all there is nothing you can do to PREVENT the printing of cardboard or paper conversions - at least I'd like to see you try. I am gonna print one in a moment, just in spite. Of course, selling cardboard models is right out, we are in agreement here. But do you really think so lowly of your own product that you fear paper conversions are a threat? Seriously?

If I had little kids, I would let them print and build paper terminators by the hundreds when they are seven or eight years old, so they will be conditioned properly to gladly follow me into our local independent retailer to buy their Space Marine Company when they are 14 - only to join their hoopy old daddy, who still plays with plastic toys, in his eternal fight against that what is Xenos! My children for the EMPEROR!

Quick question for clarification: If it is true that printing paper terminators devalues existing plastic terminators... Does it mean that if I print 1000 paper terminators the plastic ones in the store get cheaper? DEAL!

I got one more, this I think is my favorite one of them all: 
Avatars and similar monikers are now commonplace on nearly every forum or chat program that you come across. As cool as they may be, they can cause problems if the use our trademarks since we need to maintain the distinctiveness of our trademarks in relation to their origin.
If you want to use avatars and similar monikers, create them yourself and credit the origins of the IP in your message sign off.
HAHAHAHAH! OMG! I really wanna see GW try to enforce this! Please, please, PLEASE - with cherry on top! :D 

On a more serious note, I really like the word 'moniker'. Had to look it up. Everytime I use it now, I will credit you for it.

What would Radaghast say to this?
YES, GW. I know, you are RIGHT. For the most part (except for some legally incorrect phrases) the law is on your side. Just write: "We do not allow anyone to make money of our IP unless he has licensed it's use." Then allow people to license your IP. Make everyone happy, make some money on the side and protect your precious IP all day long. 

Right now everyone just looks at you with this kinda sympathetic expression on their face, though. You may be protecting your IP, but what good does that if your customers starts to associate lawyers in suits with your brand name? 'Nuff said. 

One last thing. No 14 year old (which is your self-proclaimed target consumer, remember?) reads the legal terms or is educated enough to understand how funny they really are.

GW trying to enforce their IP by making 14 year old kids not use GW avatars on GW fansites and forums? I'd like to see them try!  

The book of Shit-Storms, verse 2:5 - The Silencer of the lambs

"And those who can be heard shall be silenced and the fingers of those who can be read shall be cut and send to the corners of the lands as a warning. For WE don't need to hear or read about anything. WE know it all."

When I started this post I wanted to make it short and to-the point. If you reached this, you realize that - again - I have totally and utterly failed :D But hey, it's the INTERNET! Few more bytes won't kill it. I think. (^.^*)

So let's close with a little summary.

Early 2000s: Games Workshop is in financial trouble. 
A wild Management appears. 
It uses business analysis and KPIs. 
It's super effective! 

10 years later, GW is a financially sound company. The share holders rejoice. The management feels they have done everything right. 

Countless bodies lie slain on the battlefield of business. Small independent stores closed their gates forever. Product prices soared. The Spanish Inquisition is hated by common sense. The masses are angry although they love the hobby. They feel the management has done everything wrong. 

Using social media to strengthen the relationship
with fanatically devoted fans of one's product?
No-one could ever mess that up. No-one? Ooops.
They voice their opinions the only way they know how: Forums, Blogs, Social Media. Some unexpectedly got shot down by an unexpected force out of nowhere. The survivors seek a way to move the heart of Games Workshop and find THE ONE channel: Facebook. 

Ah! FACEBOOK! This is going to be good!

Games Workshop's customer base is the miniature gaming and painting community (sorry, collectors are out for the moment, as explained). Devoted fans. A lot of companies have recognized that Social Media can dramatically increase customer loyalty and increase sales in the short and long term. 

It is almost impossible to mess this up. But lo' and behold - GW & Facebook. OMG - GW's Internet fail is stronger than anyone could ever have expected. 

Once upon a time, all was good in the world. A fan-based company called Games Workshop had a Facebook Page. Tens of thousands of 'Likes' indicated that the force of the community was strong with them.

But then desaster struck: Price Increases. Finecast. Blogs shut down. Restriction of product availability in independent stores. Everything you read about in the last 5 posts in this series happened.

So the restless masses told Games Workshop what's what - and never ending flames of righteousness engulfed GW's Facebook Page like an angry swarm of fiery scarabs. People demanded a 'hate' button from Facebook - alas to no avail. Games Workshop shut down their 'fan-page' and replaced it with store-specific pages. Not a bad tactic, considering that everyone in the stores is pretty cool and people just don't like GW's management in general. See no evil - hear no evil. Don't say anything at all. Splendid.

The book of Shit-Storm writes: "There was commotion among the masses and thunderous noise of crackling flames of fury! All was drenched in the vile stink of sulfur and burned nerd tears. Hence, the Heralds of the Apocalypse slammed shut the book of faces never to be opened again. And thus The Bubble was sealed shut and made fire-retardant and it was peace inside. And then there was silence. Ah, golden silence!"

Reality check: There is still noise, guys. It's just that no-one inside the bubble hears it anymore. And thus, my friends, I fear the story will continue. 

End of wall

*phew* Long wall post is long. I hope it was informative and entertaining, thanks for hanging in there, guys! ^^

What are YOU most disappointed with when it comes to developments at GW? What are you happy with? COMMENT BELOW! I really would love to hear (or read) what you say! 

Part 6 is here < clicky clicky

;tldr - Bubbles are reality-proof.

P.S.: I download my blog every night - just in case ;) 
P.P.S.: Thanks to all of our supporters. YOU can support us to:


  1. I miss the "creativity" in the hobby. When I started playing 40k we played on the kitchen table, the floor, anywhere that was flat. Hills were books, terrain was simply anything you could find to use. Didn't have a tank, build one yourself, whether it was a kitbash or scratchbuild it didn't matter. Today, you're not even allowed to use a non-model in a GW store, even if it's 90% GW. (or at least at the GW in the nonexistent city in Germany.)

    Now as for I'm happy with... I enjoy the models, I still enjoy the fluff and the Horus Heresy series. I wish there was a few new Guard models, but in the grand scheme of things it's ok. To be honest though, I rarely go into a GW store, I only play at my local Club. But GW's models are still great (for the most part)

    1. >>Today, you're not even allowed to use a non-model in a GW store, even if it's 90% GW. (or at least at the GW in the nonexistent city in Germany.)<<
      I even know of a case where a customer was "forced" to buy (buy or leave) the superglue while doing a demo battle because something broke and he wanted to fix it with his own glue (which was not the citadel one, suprise). That's just ridiculous.

  2. very good article, only item missing is the fact that many PLASTIC kits are being whithold to retailes now, it wouldnt matter too much if they werent for basic stuf for the armyes to have the boys and girls started on the GW product line (Wave serpents for example)

    keep going really nice article series as already stated before.

  3. Another great read,cant wait for part 6. future of games days?
    Keep up the good work.

  4. I LOVE this series of articles! I also LOVE GW - or used to. They got most if not all of us into the hobby and that is awesome. They are like the gateway drug for wargaming/painting. That said, I have outgrown them a bit. I don't play anymore and so I don't collect armies. I have become a bit of cabinet painter and as my skills and tastes expand i look at other cool minis out there and move further away from GW. Their prices are what they are, but their static sculpts and tendency to bigger is better is getting annoying. I still browse their sites, but rarely buy anything.

  5. anotheer great read, look forward to the next one

  6. That is what I was waiting for!!
    A well informed a clear reasoning on why although GW has succeeded as company has failed as supporter of the hobby (which is actually their business)
    Go for it my most bodacious president of the Universe...42 for you!!!

  7. Primarily, I am a collector, who enjoyed converting and painting, and playing games in-store when I can. With the removal of the bitz service and massive price hikes, converting is difficult and time consuming (finding the right part at a reasonable price). Consequently, I don't paint as much as I used to. In-store, we are actively discouraged to hang out, chat, paint, swap ideas and generally increase our hobby knowledge (inspiration to buy more 'stuff'). I enjoyed helping others play games, with modelling and painting tips, end enjoyed learning form the experience of others. Instead I hang about online, in forums to get my hobby fix, buying specific bitz from third parties (as opposed to a box of minis for a few parts). The atmosphere in GW stores is now a lot less vibrant as it is a shop with tutorials as opposed to a true hobby centre.

    Mordheim was my favourite game and I contributed to some of the Town Cryer magazines. The old GW website was a bit of a mess (it could have been managed better), but doing away with the alternate games from the new site seems a real waste of good material.

    I volunteered to run a game a GD UK for 10 consecutive years but the support or even interest from the company seemed to dwindle to the point of being non-existent. Given the hard work that goes into building a game board, painting minis, etc, (not to mention the expense of getting there and getting up at stupid o'clock on a Sunday) it just became gruelling for no reward.

    After 30 years I am seriously considering selling my entire collection (which is huge) and quitting the GW hobby in favour of online gaming or at least an alternative (Mantic's Deadzone, for example).

    1. My favorite part of 'the hobby' is converting miniatures. I miss bitz service as well, and have spent almost no money on GW items from their website or stores for years.

      I find eBay to be a great source of bitz, at least plastic bitz. I just buy a bunch of stuff that looks interesting for low bids, and what I get, I get. I also sell a bit of stuff on ebay, so I often buy lots of miniatures, which results in leftover bits that I keep for conversions.

      Basically, I try to look at bits as shapes rather than named parts, and they are parts that can be modified extensively as well. I've built entire models (motorcycle and rider) out of bits.

      I am partial to Chaos, and Chaos Squats at that. So it is relatively easy for me to be flexible about specific bits. I also collect Eldar, and they are definitely much more difficult to convert without specific bits available.

      But perhaps you can find some inspiration in the "buy lots of bits and see what parts you get" approach.

      Also, I have dealt with the issue of miniatures vs online gaming. I used to play a lot of video games, especially civilization. When I graduated from law school, I said that I had to pick one or the other: miniatures or video games.

      Video games are fun, and can be extremely cheap in terms of fun per dollar. But after thousands of hours, I have memories of fantastic cities and awesome characters. But they don't compare to seeing my ancient RTB01 World Eaters that I've had on my shelves for almost 25 years.

      And my alternative is the Mithril Miniatures Middle Earth minis. My Hobbit militia has also watched the borders of my personal Shire for 25 years as well.

  8. I can't claim to be the smartest guy in the room, so take it with salt. Right now, I am enjoying the ridiculously pricing that Games Workshop has instituted. By choosing not to pass on the economy of scale that their organization can employ, they have provided a standardized price list for all small companies that cannot benefit from economies of scale. As long as you are not more expensive than GW, I think you have a shot at selling your miniatures AND making a living while doing so. The limit, of course, is being able to produce a wide range, and so more and more skirmish games are being produced.

    I like GW stuff, don't get me wrong. But it’s nice to see new games out there and the high pricing prepares the consumer for other products where the pricing is necessarily high just to survive the year.
    In addition, and because I am a wargamer and painter, more than collector, GW isn't updating their rules to the more, slicker, better, rules mechanics that are out there. The newer games have some of the best mechanics I've ever experienced. Bolt Action by Rick P and God of Battles by Jake T are brilliant new sets. God of Battles, particularly (it works great with GW figs, too. If you haven’t tried it, you haven’t played the best Fantasy game invented, yet). No surprise (and a complement to their previous employer) that they are both by GW ex-staff.

    1. That is actually an excellent point! I have not thought about that yet! Hm.... Interesting ! :D

    2. But is is a very good point Jason P. Companies used to rely on that difference....Heartbreaker, Harlequin, Even Simtac (though they were older) relied on GW charging more so they could go for the "lower price and we'll make it at volume" strategy. Not sure that works with figs costing 1.50 - 2.00. But figs at 14 sure work well! A lot of the old ones are gone or been bought out. But the newer companies have a lot larger price point because of the increase and they can be at a much higher margin and still be "under". Agree on Bolt Action (Warlord Stuff in general) and God of Battles. Not too thrilled with some of the others though (trump systems, "set" character driven, etc.). Would have been interesting to see if Alessio and Rick had still been there if 6th would have some more from Bolt Action. 8th is one of the reasons Rick is at Warlord now, after all.

    3. In the games development department they have most certainly allowed a brain drain. However, I think it's at least in part the fact that the management decisions discussed in this series of articles pisses off the hobby side of the development team as much as it does actual hobbyist consumers.

      In fairness to them though, they've kept the quality high in terms of the art department. Their books really do look great nowadays.

  9. More of these articles. I think you hit the mark and speak out what many of us think!

  10. Lets talk about best plastic miniatures... If we are speaking wholy in the wargaming area, I dont thing they are on the top. Mantic has very good kits, from what I saw. Moreover they are not failing with precision of the forms. Dark Eldar for example. What an idiot should produce form, where the split is done in the very tinniest piece - the shoulderpad... And now termitubbies... wtf?

    Check an official 360° showcase on GW web for Stalker - check if from behind and watch left gun - you see?
    Or photo of Valkyras in Rulebook (page 261 IG Showcase). 2mm hole between canopy and the fuselage. ON THE PROMO!!!!!

    Why we are supposed to pay that huge amount of money, for kits that are worst then models from Tamiya from late seventies (try PzKpfW-IV from Academy, its old Tamiya model - cost of it is 150CZK - 7 EUR!!!!!) The kit is better, with greater quality than the actual GW "BEST PLASTIC MODELS", so why we have to pay for Razorback some terrible 40EUR? Trademark? Fluff? Is it still short run? What is actual real product price of the model?

    For 40 EUR I have super-duper M1A2 Abrams from Trumpeteer.

    SM Captain - 18 GBP one failcast model with 2 heads and 1 wpn Combi Grav option.
    Vanguard Veterans - 25GBP - 5 models, 98 components
    Tactical Squad - 25GBP - 10 models; 179 components

    Hey this is not Magic the Gathering, where there are rares, uncommon, common, and mythic cards with realy rarity... No these are always the same models. It means margin of the Vanguard is double-three times bigger for no real reason.

    Failcast is another story, thats one big huge fail. FW resin is fail, and the GW is worse then FW. See the quality of Anvil Industry (BTW new Sternguards stole some of ideas from Anvil)

    So no, we are definetely not geting the best models... We are geting mediocre models for biggest prices...

    1. Actually you did bring up one thing that a lot of people know, but not the reasons for it....The whole rare, uncommon, common thing. GW has for a long time charged for figs based on what it does in the game, rather than what it costs to produce. (this actually started happening based on product costs back in late third, but raced ahead when the had to pay back the bank after the management buy-out. Banks do want their money back, darn them!) So the idea came to charge for what they did in the terminators were no longer more expensive because they were bigger (in the old way they'd give you less for the same price), but now were more because they were better in-game. This concept used to be called the Goblin anything to a goblin, if it was 3x more expensive or 3x better in the game, then it was supposed to be 3x more....This totally simplifies it, and is just a rationalization the managers and sales would use to justify the rising costs back then. Of course, GW left the goblin codex idea in the bin just after the turn of the millennium....all the sudden prices were based on "hey, just how much do you think we can charge for this." [note this was always the case, but now it started taking leaps forward]. Round about then they actually hit the first time they raised prices and did not turn more units....this was hidden by the fact that they were losing a lot of blister codes, and replacing multiple codes with one [metal to plastic]...But the sudden jump has already been explained before. Anyway, that's the back story, but in effect, GW has artificially created Rare, uncommon, and common themselves through direct pricing (something Magic does not do because you buy random assortment). Of course WOTC does not sell you just a rare, they sell packs...but in effect, GW has created this system to replace that one - but they not collectors or 2nd hand stores get the money....But as above, I also used to buy all the limited minis - and even worse, the unreleased minis I got to collect when I worked there. But when the market started selling these for prices like Magic cards, as above, GW pulled them - or brought some back out...

    2. There was a short period of time where the price point of plastic box sets was determined by (probably a complex matrix of) how many sprues were in the box combined with where on the the Force Org chart the unit resided.

  11. I really miss the way that painters, collectors are NOW of no importance to GW any more. We (I have been collecting, painting and purchasing from them since they started - late 70's/early 80's) are part of the reason the company did so well and grew to what it is today, shame on them!!!
    Evidence of this is clear, just look at the last 12 months of White Dwarf, there hasn't been a single article (apart from the golden demon coverage, which doesn't count) that has been aimed at higher end painters ala masterclass type stuff.
    Along with the demise of the games days/golden demons this year, I think they are doing their utmost best to alienate us all!!!!

  12. The problem with GW is that they are monopolist. They have no real competition. Because it's the competition that could pop the bouble...

    As with their IP policy problems. I heard that same thing was with WoTC DnD before 3ed. They anihilated fanbase disallowing anything connected with their IP. People changed, editions Changed, in 3ed anyone could publish their material. huge success.

    We have a problem - because the market - our hobby market isn't expanding. GW no longer invests in fanbase, ignoring the fact, that customers fall out, grow up, and leave, with no new ones to replace them. In a long term it just wont do.

  13. Well, a little bit about the GW inquisition.
    I have just read introduction for Pathfinder Fan Fiction Selection E-Book. 100% fan made stories from fan fiction portal. Why I am say that? The introduction was provided by Mr. Sutter from Paizo, editor of official Pathfinder Tales, Journals and Pathfinder Web fiction.
    And he speaks how great it is if the fans show such a big dedication to a setting they love. If I am right I downloaded it (for free of course) directly from PAIZO web store.

    You should try it with GW...

  14. Why Ukraine recasters? All recasts are made in China or Russia AFAIK, and then sold through many channels. E-bay recasters are more appropriate IMHO.

    1. They're made everywhere. But mostly China - you make it there, you can expect some "extras" to be made there.

      Why Ukraine? I don't know. I think that the name of the country is more interesting than China or Russia. It's more exotic and it seems like you know what you're talking about when you pick a less well known country than the big ones.

  15. That posts are really informative.
    However, I still love GW's stores, I enjoy the atmosphere, talking about conversions, painting techniques, fluff, everything.
    It's those moments were I forget what GW is. But I'm in an age were I'm too old to let my parents finance my Hobby, but too young to afford a GW army by myself.

    However, the worst part is that I allways hear about the great old times of GW and I missed them, I'm about 8 years in the Hobby but I felt the downgoing of GW strong.
    I love the Hobby, but my minatures are catching dust, as I didn't buy anything myself from GW for about one year...

    You made an good example with the old GW Homepage. That was the greatest Hobbytime I had with GW, and I was about 14 or something.

    Well but GW is trying to do Videogames and Movies (agin) which is a concept I like. I love all DoW's and the game "Space Marine" is one of my favourites.
    Well nevertheless the biggest downside is in my opinion that GW is focusing too much on Space Marines if it comes to Miniature releasings.
    I mean the Space Marines got a new Taktical Squad, but the old one was good to go, there are other Boxes which need a fix up.
    Chaos was poor, Eldar need alot of new stuff to name a few.

    Maybe it's the best to burn all of my effords, the blood of my finger I shed, the Green Stuff I twisted, the Paints I painted down and forget this all...

  16. I miss the days when there where Articles in WD that informed me of future events such as:
    Note! The Citadel colors so and so will soon be out of our range! So everyone in need for them to paint his army please buy now as long as we have some pots left.

    This is customer service to me!

    The only thing that is left for me to do in my limited "hobby-time" is to constantly monitor the miniature range for vanishing products which I then have to find (sadly enough) mostly on eBay because no GW-Store or retailer has them in stock any more. Because they have all reduced stock to the must basic of products that are of no interest to a hobby veteran. That is how I spend the precious time I can spare for my hobby.
    Gone are the times when I travelled to every GW and retail store I could manage to find some rare treasures. When there where Annuals (Books depicting the whole GW range)
    and when you could buy every single bit separately.
    That was the time when I loved spending my money on GW stuff.
    Now I have no more pleasure in doing so.
    All the collector gets when he (mail) orders special miniatures (e.g. Characters) off the main stream is a white box. Wow!
    Can you imagine the difference when you open a big box with your collected GW stuff and all you see is white boxes to former times when you could look at full color printed boxes to take out and look at time and time again? (Before finally opening the one you where looking for just now to build the models within).
    All I can tell you is that I am the last man standing in our whole district because everybody else quit the hobby and all the retailers threw out the GW stuff off their shelves. With no GW flagstore within 60 km (single way) it is no easy job to keep the banner flying. Honestly I don't know for how much longer I can self-motivate me to continue the hobby as GW seems not to want loyal long term customers like me (nearly 20 years now) any more.
    It is so disapointing because what was the most fascinating thing to me when I discovered the GW hobby in the 90s in a small GW store in England was the fact that there where three to four generations in the store at once playing and building and painting and talking together around the same game. This generation spanning thing was what I wanted to have and take home because I wanted to have something to share with my children and hopefully grandchildren. But this magic it seems is lost and not favoured any more. But I ask you one thing: can there be more loyal customers than those that where brought to the hobby by their fathers and grand fathers? Can there be a grandad more ready to buy things from his grandsons GW christmas whishlist than the one who has an army or two himself? I guess not.
    This is a lot of sales potential careless given away!

  17. I have said before, and I will say again, that the runaway success of Privateer Press (who are having some problems of their own) is because they copied every thing GW did right (great art, interesting models, basic and easy to get started rules, and lots of fluff that's fun but derivative enough to not be challenging) and did the opposite of everything that GW did wrong (they have strong Internet presence, a decent online store, and put in strong support for local stores and tourneys)

    However, Privateer wouldn't be one half as successful if they hadn't released Warmachine at exactly the right time; 2004. I'd guess that the owners at Privateer anticipate every announcement from GW with a mix of joy and dread.

    Joy because they know it will increase their market share, and dread because it will continue to exacerbate their production woes. Privateer can't keep up with the demand from disgruntled GW gamers who've switched over to them.

  18. Thanks for the many replies, guys! They are very insightful and much appreciated!
    To some extend, the comments are as interesting - or even more than the OP :D

  19. Nice post .Efficient WOTC programWOTC Screening allows a company to use the interactive Q&A to screen for potentially eligible candidates and fill out the required paperwork in good order. Efficient WOTC will help an organization understand how to process their own credits without using an outside vendor.

  20. I miss the painting articles: they were funny to read and useful for new painters like me. Now I fell lonely.


  22. Shit Storm of the Ancient Ones, Book of Grudges Edition Verse 1:

    As part of my 17 (and counting) Part History of the Squats, the Historia Squataticus, I discovered the precise location where GW reported that the Squats would no longer be a presence in the 40K universe. Citadel Journal Issue 27.

    ' This issue includes several Convention Reports for late 1997 and early 1998 events (p. 54-67). Mr. Ian Roberts reports on the “Mighty Empires Campaign Weekend” held at GW Headquarters in Lenton UK on 21-22 March 1998.
    Roberts (p.60) writes that he “hung on to the bitter end” of the event, drinking at Bugman's Bar, listening to discussion about the event and upcoming Warhammer releases. During this barroom chatter, it was revealed that “the Squats are to be left out of the next issue of 40K so they can be totally re-written for the issue after.” '

    Yes, the letters page of a not-very-popular magazine, reported by a hobbyist, who lingered at an event for a not-very-popular game, until enough beer was had to let loose the lips...

  23. Shit Storm of the Ancient Ones, Book of Grudges Edition Verse 2:

    Now should that not be obscure and nerdy enough for you, here's where the "Squats were eaten by Tyranids" myth comes from. White Dwarf 240, letters page again.

    Letter from Concerned Squats Commander:
    Sorry, I just assumed this was how most people have been reacting since the Squats were dropped from the 40K universe. This race was the reason I joined the Games Workshop family in the first place. If I was so impatient back in mid-2nd edition and started collecting my second choice army (Space Marines), I would have quickly lost interest and never became the obsessed freak over the game that I am today.

    The history and characteristics of the Squats are interesting and unique in the 40K universe. In the 2nd edition rules they were a mix of Orks, Imperial Guard, and Space Marines... with a grudge! The honor, toughness, and excellent weaponry (I would have loved to see a Mole Mortar in action) were the big draws to this under-appreciated army. Also, something very cool about the 40K universe was the fact that it was a sci-fi mirror of the Fantasy world. Nearly every race from Fantasy had its high-tech cousins represented in the 'far, distant future', and that's how the people liked it! Would you even consider robbing the Fantasy world of Dwarfs. With their wonderful weapons and bitter-sweet rivalry with the Elves? I don't think so! Nor should we players of 40K have to do without. Just the humble opinion of one dedicated fan. Tim Gutierrez”

    Response from Games Workshop:
    “Would you believe they were all eaten by the Tyranid invasion? Or, due to the Squats biker life style, everyone of the was arrested for disturbing the peace and sacrificed to the Emperor? Where do you think they get all of those souls anyway? All kidding aside, it doesn't seem likely the Squats will ever again see the light of day. When they were out they never seemed very popular, showed up at our stores, or tournaments, and didn't sell on top of all that [Note that this claim is directly contradicted by Jervis Johnson in 2002]. Their look was really outdated compared to the hundreds of other great Warhammer 40,000 models. Don't send us hate mail, it's just the cold hard facts of the 41st Millennium.”

    Commentary from Hungry Ghosts:
    Would you believe you sound like a huge dick? All kidding aside, this is a flippant and disrespectful response to a devoted and enthusiastic customer about a favorite product. Comments like this are why there is so much Internet Hate for Games Workshop.

    But let's make it clear: the “Eaten by Tyranids” comment is not Warhammer 40K Canon. It is just an asinine comment by an unidentified GW employee who does not understand:
    1. Squats (very few of them have a Biker lifestyle, and the comment about the lifestyle is insulting to actual real world human bikers),
    2. GW's business (Squats were not selling poorly),
    3. or customer service (the sarcastic tone of the response).

    Let us also make it clear: Based on our source above, there is an equal chance that “The Emperor Ate All The Squats” as “The Tyranids Ate All The Squats”.

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