Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Open Letter to Games Workshop

To:  Games Workshop,
        Nottingham, UK

From:  Blake Walker
            St. Louis, MO

Dear Games Workshop:

I have played your flagship game, Warhammer 40K, since it first came out as the Rogue Trader first edition in 1989.  I have invested thousands of dollars into four different WH40K armies.  I also have recently purchased two Warhammer Fantasy Battles armies.  However, I am now at a point where I will no longer play your games or purchase new product. 

My reasoning is simple.  I can no longer afford to keep up with the constant codex creep and annual price increases.  Your marketing ploy of coming out with new editions of the same game has gotten old.  I also resent the fact you killed off Warhammer Historical Games.  I play Warhammer ECW and have the booklets and rules for Chariot Wars and WAB 1.5.  My next project is going to be 25mm Trojan Wars using the Chariot Wars codex.  The way you handled WAB 2.0 and using Forge World to kill off a viable gaming system is outrageous.  I could go.  But there is no point.  There are still people who play Warhammer Ancient Battles.  But they are few and far between now.  Gamers have moved onto other historical systems like Hail Caesar!  and Clash of Empires.

Aside from that, I decided to put up my WH40K and WHFB armies in storage for a year.  I thought about selling everything off I now own.  I can briefly list what I own, namely, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Chaos Marines, High Elves, and Warriors of Chaos.  I also bought the 6th edition box set, Dark Vengeance in October 2012.  The figures are now assembled.  But I won't be painting them.  I won't work on the rest of my WH40K armies that are in need of painting like DA Ravenwing and Chaos Space Marine vehicles.  I don't see any reason to work on them in 2013.  I don't see any reason to buy any additional GW products, either.

GW seems to think it's market is teenage boys who's parents will pay for anything they want.  The truth is rather complicated.  There are have always been a certain segiment of gamers who play 40K for the "fluff" aspect.  There are also a number of gamers who have grown up playing the system and have stayed loyal to the GW brand name.  And there are powergamers who game it for tourament aspect.  GW's nebulous product release schedule and arbitary price increases have driven many of its older customers away. 

Privateer Press has also made major inroads here in St. Louis, MO.  I know more people who play Hordes/Warmachine than they do WH40K.  That will continue to happen until GW either lowers their prices and no longer marks up the margins on their products.  Or GW spires into bankruptcy and closes its doors, or is bought by another entity.

For the record, I'm not going to buy or work on any GW related product for 2013.  I have too many other things on my table to worry about missing WH40K.  However, it's the game I have played the most this year and I do enjoy the game itself.  It's the company and current management I distain.

Mr. Blake Wood Walker


  1. Hiya, I have a really simple acid test to figure out what game to play: Am I having any fun? Around here the GW crowd is pretty much WAAC all the time, which for me sucks 99% of the fun right out of a game. I stopped playing GW 3 or 4 years ago, don't miss it one bit. I much prefer historicals since insanely bent units like the Death Company do not tend to exist. Also, at Game Day in BWI a couple years ago the GW talking heads declared they never expected 25+ year olds to be playing their games; all their business models are made to get the new generations into their two cash cows, Fantasy and 40K. A guy like me buying a new unit or two every once and awhile simply does not compete with a 14 year old buying a couple entire new armies. And even though a few gamers stop buying new stuff every time they have a price increase, there are enough new guys and a high enough profit margin for them to continue. After all, GW is still a GIGANTIC company in this cottage industry. Whatever they are doing seems to be successful.

  2. GW is exactly as Blake described them - the discontinuation shows that regardless of the SIZE of the company mismanagement can be found whether its in the gaming community or in the American Auto industry - SIZE does not matter - customer service and a good product does. Much like the retooling of the GW paints anothe recent poor management decision. The pigments I hear are better, but if the shading doesn't match previous product what good is a name change. No like the Auto Industry poor management is everywhere even in a quaint little hobby company like GW- As Blake points out there are other companies that can fill the void of GW mismanagement. I wish more Americans would make a similar decision and reduce GW's footprint in the US

  3. Blake,
    GW does not care if you leave, as long as their products they build are being bought and they make money. And that is how it should be, as a company needs to survive. (has to be profitable)
    I prefer having profitable companies making products that I do not purchase, versus having no companies making products that I cannot purchase.
    I do not buy all GW products. only the products that I like. Also I buy most of my stuff on Ebay from disgruntled peoples like yourself. But I only buy a figure here or there. this year I bought 3 ratlings. I buy stuff that I like and then incorporate into my army... and that's it. Must have discipline and a budget.

    Other items I bought or won in tournaments with substantial discounts (Chimera for $10) Valkyrie for free, etc.

    I am trying out Necron, but that is on hold for now. Not as much fun for me to play them.

    Thanks for reading... TonyZ

  4. Use your GW minis for other games. You still get to have fun and you can avoid the codex creep.