Monday, November 5, 2012

Mini Monday: Games Workshop

After watching a Warhammer 40k Tournament over the weekend, and hearing about even more of their figures being converted to that Citadel Finecast crap, I realize now that my business with Games Workshop is coming to an end. The tournament signaled to me that few people play Warhammer Fantasy, at least in this area. I have a large (3000+ point) Empire Army which I've collected over the years. Why bother investing more time and money into the army when it won't get play time? And I really don't want to invest time and money in a Warhammer 40k army.

This is a big decision. I've put together that Empire Army over the course of ten years. I've bought and read a few of the Games Workshop fiction books. I even have most of the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay Second Edition books. Finally, I own the Dark Heresy RPG and it successor Black Crusade.
So, I'd hate see this as a "lost investment."

The end of my love/hate relationship with Games Workshop has been looming for awhile. It knocked me upside of the head when I bought the latest Empire army book, last May. After I flipped through the pages, noticed that the point system had been altered, I though: "I'm gonna have to re-calculate everything? Gah!"

I had other things to think about, however, like the massive move to Georgia. But now that I've sat down, considered the pros and cons, I wonder: "Why did I dump Games Workshop long ago?" Denial, I guess.

So, here's my list of pros and cons in dealing with Games Workshop. Your list will probably be different. Note, also, that I left out the cost and expense of their game lines. Yes, their prices go up every year. But people will continue to pay the price point, so its not much of an issue for me. It's all the other headaches that go with investing in the GW hobby. But first...

The Pros
1. Cool miniatures. Let's face it, GW produces some of the best-looking miniatures.
2. Cool settings. Both Warhammer 40k and Fantasy are some of the best detailed settings out there.
3. Support. GW does support their lines well with miniatures, bits, background material. There is no end to it all.

The Cons
1. The Rules. Whether 40k or Fantasy, the rules can be a headache. They are hard to learn because they are exception-based. That is, the basic rules are fairly easy to learn, but then the advanced stuff basically  overturns the basic rules. I'm all about bringing new players into the hobby, but GW makes that hard with overly convoluted rules. When teaching a new player, I always feel like a jerk ("Sorry, you can't do that." "No, you can't do that either.")
--1st Sub-argument to #1. There's also no way of knowing all of the rules because each army has its own little shtick (unless you buy all the Army books, of course.
--2nd Sub-argument to #1. To help me cope with some of the madness, I no longer view Warhammer as a game, but more as an excuse to push miniatures around the table. The rules will never be balanced, and the latest Army book will trump everything that has come before. Painting miniatures is the hobby, not the game.

2. The miniatures have become more of pain in the ass to assemble over the years. The Empire State troops from eight years ago were easier to put together and base. The same goes for some of their cavalry. Yes, I understand people want to kit bash. And maybe others don't have this problem with their armies. But all this need for customization has led to having to put together the whole miniature. And the poses have become more dynamic, which you have to make sure all of the miniatures in a unit can "fit together." Empire State troops use 20mm bases. The 28mm figs is already a bit to large for the bast, but when you factor in all the spiky bits, arms and weapons waving around, you've got a problem. And I've noticed that with cavalry units the legs stick out to far--bumping into the adjacent figure if to don't assemble them just right.

3. The paints. I used to like GW paints. And the paints themselves still aren't bad, its how they store them. The old jars were so-so. The newer jar let too much light in. The paints dry up quicker now. Before the move I went to a gaming store to pick up some Reaper or Army Painter paints. They were out. So reluctantly when to the GW paint rack. Not only were the paints I were looking for dried out, but so were all the paints in the row. I checked by shaking the jars. The store got these paints maybe a month before. Obviously I didn't buy any. At the Warhammer 40k tournament a player told that he has to keep putting a little bit of water every week in some of his GW paints that he bought just a couple months ago to keep them from drying out. Why are people putting up with this?

4. Citadel Finecast. Google it and you'll see that the reviews are in. Many are calling it "Citadel Failcast" and rightfully so. Citadel Finecast is an example of Games Workshop's lack of quality control, and just plain bad business practices. Their goal was to replace most of their metal miniatures with resin equivalent. Fine. Metal is become more expensive. But then they do so, raise the price anyway (d'oh, I talked about price!) and put out a faulty product subject to chips and temperature variations (they get warped in heat, such as in a display window or in the back of a car). Apparently, even in face of customer complaints, there's to foreseeable end to Finecast soon (I guess they have to get through the production cycle, then go through a period of denial, like WotC did with 4e). I've haven't bought any Finecast miniatures but have seen their drawbacks first hand (miscasting, warping, etc.) from other players.

Fortunately, I picked up most of the Empire minis at discount before they got converted into Finecast.

Well, that's the top four cons. There's others. Just look on the Internet and you'll find them. But since I haven't experienced of heard of them first hand I won't repeat them, save one, which I find quite disturbing: Some year back, I heard that one of the GWs policies is to use local game stores to build their market. So? Well, the game store would be given preferential treatment if they sold mostly GW items and did things to built a customer base. When GW felt that the game store had built up enough of a market, GW would build a store nearby, thus destroying the old store's customer base, effectively putting it out of business.

If anybody can confirm this, I would like to know. Business is business but that's downright nasty.

So, I'm done with Games Workshop. I'm not sure what I'll do with my Empire Army--finish painting it I suppose. If I find players, I'll probably play. But I wouldn't encourage anybody to invest in GW products ("Here, you can borrow my rulebook,""Why buy those GW minis when Mantic Games has the equivalent at cheaper price?", "Sure, I'll let you proxy.")

All right, enough negativity. I'll post something more positive tomorrow. And for the next Mini Monday I'll have some photos of some miniatures I've recently painted. (Yes, one or two might be from Games Workshop... but I bought them over a year ago...)

1 comment:

  1. Well, I tend to agree. I like the minis, the setting, and the rules, but dislike the direction GW is taking in terms of "luxury" pricing, 5-year reboots, and Citadel finecasts. On the other hand, it's been many years since I paid full price for a GW miniature, and I know I could scrounge up a game of Warhammer Fantasy here in the Midwest where people still play it.

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