Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Thoughts, And Rants, And Moans . . . .

Before I worked for Games Workshop, the ONLY GW Game I played was Necromunda.

I really liked it - it was cool and funny and violent. Played tons of Games - and had tons of fun whilst doing so.

Of course, no big-bucks could be made from it - so it was relegated to the backest of back burners.

The Mordheim came along,whilst I was actually working for GW.

I LOVED Mordheim (even though I didn't win much LoL - except maybe with Fat Otto and his band) and AGAIN it splashed onto the scene, made a few quid and was then pushed into the shadows of GW games that once were.

Oh you can still get the rules for both games in one form or another, and most of the miniatures - but there is no support, you can't play them in-store etc.

All very bad calls IMHO, alienating even a small part of your customer base is bad business - but to the powers that be at the Evil Empires HQ that makes no never mind to them.

GW's focus is on the RECRUITMENT and not the RETENTION of customers - once they have you, and they think they've GOT YOU - you quite simply cease to be important to them - no more beginners weekends, no more Sunday gaming - nothing.

All they want from you is your "big initial spend" then you are relegated to the same treatment as the much vilified veterans and regulars. Whilst I appreciate GW is a business, and they need to make a profit (which they do, most products are produced by them for a start - and wargaming is an "addictive" hobby meaning even customers with little or no spare cash, will find the resources to purchase something on a regular basis) - but (and this is an issue for another time) how long can they keep increasing their prices till they price themselves out of the market they created.

They are moving over to resin apparently, one would presume to combat the increasing costs of metal raw materials - with resin being more stable price wise (and cheaper with certain types) the accountants at GW will be happier thats for sure. A few GW Fans have been bouncing for joy at the prospect, citing that resin models have more detail - to them I say don't be too disappointed - chances are GW will be using one of the newer pourable "plastic" like resins, and though its flexible (so its not brittle and fragile) the detail aint that great . . . .

Plus it will probably lead to another price increase too . . . . .

For a while I quite enjoyed 3rd Edition 40k, but as is GW's way it wasn't generating much "immediate" spending - so 4th Edition came shortly after I left. I "dallied" with 40k and Lord of the Rings for a while after I left (I still quite like Lord of the Rings actually, in spite of the rules weaknesses) but I would (pretty much) have to give up ALL the other non-gw Games (that I love) JUST to take up Lord of the Rings as an 'ongoing' hobby (and that SIMPLY ISN'T HAPPENING) - and then, that bubble finally burst with the release of 40k 5th edition, which came really REALLY quickly.

Whilst I can appreciate passion and dedication to a Game, it saddens me a little that such dedication isn't mutual -  leaving the GW fans pretty much out there, spending veritable fortunes and not really being appreciated for their support - I'm NOT referring to individual Store Managers and Staff - but rather the parent company itself.

I still Game, I still paint, I still collect (on the rare occasions I can afford it LoL - upon saying that recently I've had good luck with generosity and swapsies) - and the games I love are so much of a higher standard of game play and miniature quality its untrue.

My favourite Games - in no particular order.

Pulp City - Pulp City is a 32mm miniatures game loosely based upon pulp comics and is set in the 80s, in a fictional place  called Pulp City. Two (or more) players choose sides, mercenaries, heroes or villains, and fight it out in the streets of Pulp City. A true skirmish game for anywhere from 1-8+ figures, players use a unique action system to activate each hero, or supreme, to perform a set of generic or supreme specific actions. The Miniatures are wonderful, the fluff is excellent, and the game play is fast and satisfying. Nuff Sed!

AE-WWII - AE-WWII is a skirmish-based miniatures game set in the retro sci-fi setting of an alternate World War II. The game is intended for use with the Darkson Designs line of AE-WWII "true" 28mm miniatures.AE-WWII combines wargaming and historical fiction into a game that has much to offer fans of both. With a flexible, points-free detachment design system (it's weird to begin with, but excellent when you get the hang of it) players can create purely historical forces or units comprised entirely of the terrifying new wonder weapons available to each side of the conflict. In AE-WWII it's up to the players to decide how historical or how fictional the game will be. It's got an AMAZINGLY detailed alternative timeline, the points-free force organization system (which is pretty dynamic and impressive),l vehicle rules (generally missing from 28mm WWII games), a very comprehensive and detailed section on scenarios and campaigns! The Miniatures simply rocked my world, great ideas and great fun (realistically scaled too - no hands bigger than the models head shit here).

Infinity - Infinity is a game with 28mm high metal miniatures that simulates combat and special operations in a science fiction environment with Manga styling and aesthetics. The game system is fast, impressivley realistic and offers enormous tactical flexibility. PLUS it uses a system that allows both players to be active during each turn. The 40k Rules TOTALLY SUCK by comparison to be frank. AGAIN the miniatures here are utterly stunning, beautifully sculpted and realistically scaled.

Although I play other games (Vor - The Maelstrom and Starship Troopers being my favourites) some are totally out of production (as is the case with Vor and SST) - or they aren't as much fun or have the sheer beauty of the miniatures of my Top Three.

I am STILL looking for a fantasy game, Anima Tactics and Hell Dorado are ALMOST what I want - but not quite.

Spinespur and Malifaux are almost right horror-wise, though different types of horror - both great fun in their own way. But the Wyrd Malifaux range kicks the living CRAP out of the Spinespur range of miniatures, I'm not going to pretend it doesn't.

I ADORED Starship Troopers and Vor - The Maelstrom, but both ranges has quirks to the Miniatures. Some good, some atrociously bad. Vor was finished by Fasa closing its doors and being left in limbo because the rules were owned by the creator, the art by the artists, and the miniatures range (now) by Iron Wind Metals. Starship Troopers had the potential to give 40k a real run for its money - but hiring the cheapest sculptors possible, constant dissapointments over releases. Changes of direction led to it being dropped by Mongoose because the "license had become too expensive" (I always took that as "we fucked things up so badly we can't be arsed anymore") which was a crying shame for me and a lot of other Starship Troopers addicts.

Don't think just because GW is on the high street its your only option, its not like you can just wander into a GW and play games nowadays (we almost always had gamers in, and I know a lot of Staff/Managers felt the same - even though the Evil Empires Overlords frowned upon it) - so why tie yourself down in choice and imagination, its not like Games Workshop games are even convenient to play anymore.


Dr. Willett's Workshop said...

Really interesting read, thanks a lot!

Frontline Gamer said...

Drew as you well know from reading my Blogs I 100% concur with you. Just doing a write up on why the GW have finally stomped on any lingering fondness I might have had for them and their products!!!