Monday, September 14, 2015

Trust Issues

It is generally accepted that the release of Age of Sigmar was motivated by commercial realities. Warhammer Fantasy Battle was not selling enough for the space it occupied on Hobby Centre shelves. Nor did it reach the necessary hurdles for Return on Equity to please the GW accountants.

These are valid reasons. It appears that the player base of Warhammer Fantasy was just not buying enough to justify its continued existence AND the game was not attracting enough new blood to generate the required sales. Barrier to entry - effectively model count - was cited as one of the reasons for this.

The new business model is in my view clear. Get Little Timmy into the Hobby Centre, show him the cool new Stormcasts and sell him the starter box. Hope he goes to school on Monday and convinces 3-4 of his friends of how cool this game is and they do the same. Everyone has a starter set, a paint set, some GW glue and clippers and eventually one of two box sets. If they are still there in six months shoo them out of the shop. They are now more trouble than they are worth. GW has got their $750-1000 out of them. Time to move onto fresher meat. Rinse and repeat.

From a shareholders' point of view I can't necessarily fault it - if it works.

But what to do with all those pesky "veteran" gamers who bought the Kool- Aid but no longer spend as much as a new customer?

GW addressed this by releasing Warscrolls for existing armies. You can continue to use your models in the new game. Wonderful.

The problem is how long does this go on for? Will those Empire Knights still be supported as new kits are released. What about the three different types of Guard infantry for Elves....sorry Aelfs?

See GW has just finished selling the community a series of books called "End Times". While the title may be honest, I don't think GW was actually forthright in telling people these books would all be obsolete for their franchise Fantasy game within 9 months.

As I result I have trust issues. Why would I convert existing armies over to Age of Sigmar? I have no basis for believing the models I currently own will be game legal in six months.

Being a cynic I see a pretty rapid retirement of the "old" Warhammer range to be replaced by new game types. Yes you can use your old models but they are quickly unsupported and replaced by the new shiny.

Why wouldn't I look at other games, be they Kings of War or Warhammer variants? I'll wait for the release of full scale army books that confirm the validity of my existing models before I commit to AoS.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.


  1. We are dinosaurs living in the industrial age. It's only a matter of time, my friend, only a matter of time.

  2. Exactly my thoughts Pete.

    Although in actuality GW have at last been "more honest" this time perhaps. "Veterans" have by and large been shown the door for a long time already.

  3. You've touched on some great points recently. I've had a few mates starting to pursue 40k but after so much investment (not the monetary kind) Not that I'm tempted, but I would find it very hard to have any trust in GW after decades of loyal service.