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Nov 23

Games Workshop: Fun. Interesting. Expensive.

The Lowdown

For those of you who don’t know me, or don’t possess the ability to acquire information, I’m a bit of a GW fanboy. I’ve been playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 since I was but a wee nipper, and played Lord of the Rings for the couple of years I was obligated to because I was working there, but nevertheless admired the schmexy models.

Shockingly, there are still some people out there who don’t know anything about Warhammer and/or tabletop wargaming in general. This is unacceptable! Unless you’re living in a mud hut in the middle of the desert somewhere desperately spending every moment of your waking existence trying to survive; you really don’t have an excuse! I guarantee you can get a White Dwarf subscription sent to a mud hut!

I make it my own personal little mission to try and share the ‘hobby love’ with as many people as possible. In the style of a fundamentalist religious nutjob, I feel like it’s my duty to shine the light of knowledge onto the infidels out there in order to better their lives. However, in recent times I’ve found this getting harder and harder to do…

Price Rises

I think I speak for many GW fans when I say that the price of the products are the major factor contributing to our difficulty in carrying on and promoting the hobby to others. While I (and most sensible people out there) understand that GW is a company, and that a company’s sole purpose in life is to make money to feed their pet squigs shareholders; there comes a point when you’ve got to ask yourself where they think their customers are going to get all this cash?

A comparison between Finecast and a metal cast

I for one was very pleased when Finecast came out. Yes, yes, yes, we all know that the rate of mis-moulding is a lot higher than with metal; it’s a more fragile material, it’s to be expected! I have yet to find a GW store in the world (and yes, I’ve been to GWs all over the world) where the staff wouldn’t be only to happy to exchange your Swiss-cheese Finecast model for one slightly less cheesy. If in your case you don’t think your local store would be willing, you’ve got a problem. Tell someone!

The only thing that confused my poor little brain concerning the Finecast range is this: one of the main things we were told about the material is that it’s far cheaper to produce/use than metal. Great, we thought. Maybe that’s GW’s way of combatting the recession, we thought. Nope, it just so happened that the release of Finecast merrily coincided with another price-hike. Needless to say, I spouted my fair share of “FFS”s that day.

Nevermind, though! Ever the optimist and loyal GW munchkin, I overlooked this extortion and instead chose to look at it from the perspective that the things I was after were now only able to be purchased every now and then. I’d have the opportunity to save up some money for a little while, and look forward to my next exciting purchase. Then I remembered it was me I was dealing with, a person who finds it hard enough to save room for dessert, let alone money for toys! So I found myself looking longingly at things on shelves, thinking that in times past I could have had at least three of them with whatever loose change I had in my wallet.

To my mission of promoting the hobby to others and roping my friends into it, this was a BIG speed bump. Similarly to pretty much every person in the world who uses money, my friends don’t have that much cash to throw around. So, naturally, I let them use my models. This made my insides do somersaults every time my beloved longbeards toppled headfirst down a hill to land amongst the pointy, paint-chipping spears of a dark elf regiment. I dropped Hiroshima-scale hints that people would have to get their own models at some point…. soon… in the near future… NOW! Oddly enough, that was round about the last time we played…

I honestly don’t blame them. If someone introduced me to something I really enjoyed, and then pretty much held it to ransom, I’d just resign myself to the loss and get all moody about it.

Gaming Clubs

Many’s the time that I’ve thought to myself, “screw it… I’ll give up on trying to recruit new people and just ally myself to people who already play”. Each time that thought washes through my mind, it’s instantly crushed by ‘Nam-style flashbacks of people bickering over 1/2” moves, whether a soldier was under a template, or if something was amended in an Errata which was conveniently left at home. I hate these people. They ruin the game and give a bad reputation to the people that play it. Admittedly, I’ve played at some brilliant clubs with lovely people who are cheerful and help you out if you’re new/unsure/retarded; but a honeypot will always attract wasps.

So, how do I combat this? I try to create my own, much smaller gaming club. The beauty of being a really sporting player who’s passionate about the game and loves to teach people how to play is that the people being taught will be similarly good sports, and will be in the game simply for the joy of watching things die; not to act out personal insecurities by yelling and bawling because your favourite thing got blown up! This is getting increasingly hard to do because of the aforementioned expense of the hobby, and having the time and effort to make it something people will want to turn up to!

Suggestions?

Are you a wargamer? Are you in my situation? How would you go about getting people into the hobby despite how expensive it’s become? Please don’t suggest getting pre-made/painted models from eBay; they’re nearly always awful! I’d really like to hear how people have overcome the increasing inaccessibility of the hobby without breaking the bank.

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway just in case: I don’t own the GW logo or have any rights over any of the products blah blah blah. Any intellectual property contained in this post is the property of GW yadda yadda yadda. *sigh*

About the author

Mr Llamatastic

2 comments

  1. Michael

    Well, nice of you to put these sentiments on record. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have 3 players in the family – myself and 2 sons – each sporting a different army (Necrons, Orks, Salamanders). It hurts my heart each time I have to make a purchase of GW merchandise. The latest being the Necron codex. It’s printed in China for God’s sakes but still cost AUD55 for nearly 100 pages of not all coloured pages. I could get a full on cookbook with full colour in hardcover for that price. I couldn’t bear to tally up how much I’ve spent over the last 2-3 years on the purchases. Couldn’t codexes be spiral bound for convenience? After weeks, if not days of use, the pages start coming apart.

    I did resort to a bit of eBaying and getting really really badly painted and maltreated models. Why, oh, why do these people spend so much money to destroy and maltreat their models?!! I appreciate not everyone can paint well.

    I believe price is a barrier to entry to the hobby. We’ve already got a neighbourhood GW shop closed (probably due to inadequate revenue).

    As a business and going-concern, I don’t think the folks at GW are fully business types. Short of Games Day and licensing to video games, what else are they doing to expand the hobby/the business? They’re not creative in that way. I can think of a multitude of ways to take their business to the next level with more customers, more revenues and more interest in the entire hobby and gaming world. Now, that’s another article and half or a very chunky blog.

    Notwithstanding above comments, I may yet continue my GW hobby and gaming into my twilight years, my arm length and pocket depth permitting.

    1. Mr Llamatastic

      I heard about the problems GW were having in Oz, but don’t know the ins and outs of it. Something to do with licensing, was it?

      Re: giving up, I don’t think I will either. I’ll still be pottering around with the odd model until my eyesight fails me completely! Thing is, you don’t look so much of a crazy dwarf-obsessed old man if there’s a few of you! I need to carry on my little quest to recruit people into the hobby to preserve my future dignity!

      That is (he says in hushed, almost inaudible tones) if the company hasn’t gone bust through over-charging; or the people of Earth haven’t risen up against them.

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