Friday, July 9, 2010

WFB-8: Interest... fading... fast...

by SandWyrm

So there I was, actually interested in playing Warhammer Fantasy again with my old Dwarves. Then GW comes out with a $75.00 rulebook that's bigger/heavier than my Art History books in college were. No problem, I thought, I'll just wait for the boxed sets to hit this winter and pick up a mini-book for $10.00 or so off of ebay and then pick up the Dwarf Army book at the local store.

Then the FAQs got released...

It's not that I don't like the decisions that GW made. Heck, having been out of the game for 8+ years, I don't know what most of those changes mean. But the FAQs are full of "Ignore the last line of the 2nd paragraph" and "replace rule X with this rule Y, but keep sentence Z".

(sigh) And so the reality hits home. To play this game in 6 months, a year, or 3 years, you'll have to buy the official book for your army and then start crossing out sentences like an FBI redactor scanning through a FOIA request. If you're lucky (and I doubt we will be) GW will release a sticker sheet with the books that will allow you to cover over the old rules with the new ones in 5 minutes or less.

And, once you've done that, you'll have to make sure that the guy you're playing at the local store or (gasp!) a tourney will have properly redacted and updated THEIR book.

AND... how long will it take, with GW's normal army book release schedule, to totally update everyone and stop this nonsense? At least 5 years. Probably more like 10. With some armies not getting updates until after 9th Edition hits.

The Solution

Having started playing Fantasy back in the heady days of yore (1989), I remember a time when there were no individual army books. Just a single book called "Warhammer Armies" that contained the army lists for all the armies in the game together. Each army got a page or two of fluff and a list much like what we get now.

That's what we need now for both 40K and Fantasy.

Each year, GW could release a new Armies book with all the current updates included (and re-balanced) for that year in January. Imagine a spiral-bound (lays flat) army book that you could get new pages for from White Dwarf and you'll get an idea of where I'm going with this. Unwinding a spiral-bound book to insert new pages isn't hard at all. Some smart design could make it even easier. Making the army rules a free PDF download would also be a very smart move.

The introduction of new models, fluff, and rules could then be done in White Dwarf magazine, where it should have been done all along. Heck, we could have both "White Dwarf" and "Black Squat"to cater to Fantasy/LOTR and 40K separately. Which would allow GW to update more than one army each month with cool new toys.



  1. What you're proposing makes a ton of sense...and that is why GW won't do it. They have their business model set to "trickle". Drawing out every release and squeezing every possible cent out of each item they sell. That is what has helped them maintain their profits and is thus written in stone.

    Good article.

  2. Gotta agree with the Colonel. It's an amazing idea, and would be immensely helpful/useful to all ... but GW won't do it. It would cut into their profits too much, and would minimize the potential for the amount of hype they generate with each codex release.

  3. This is the first time I've ever heard someone argue that FAQs are a bad thing.

  4. It would be great indeed but, as has been mentioned, GW would lose a lot of money over their current business model so it'll never happen.

    Now, if some ambitious individual wanted to make such a book themselves, that would be pretty cool. Of course, it'd be either illegal or super expensive and you wouldn't be able to share it. But it would still be nice to have.

  5. Thorough playtesting and proofreading would help...

  6. Brilliant.

    I'm actually not convinced GW would lose money. They could continue to release army books too, at perhaps a slightly faster rate, but leave out rules, so each book would be just fluff, painting and conversion tips, lovely photos of top quality armies and models, and good looking 'tabletop quality' armies.

    They could also include scenarios and 'use with your opponent's permission' special characters. Sure they wouldn't sell as much as an army book with rules, but it would sell enough that the business model would survive.

    Plus, people would start buying white dwarf again (so they'd make money from that).

    Plus they could bring out campaign books and run worldwide campaigns etc - all of these encourage 'bursts' of spending on particular armies - which is what the current business model is intended to achieve.

    I think if it was done properly, it would bring in at least as much money as their current business model, if not more.

    One more things. Their current business model / release schedule and FAQ policy is driving players away from the company altogether. I've lost count of the number of times I've heard people say they started Warmachine or Flames of War because the parent companies provide the support that GW games lack.

  7. Great idea, but as Col Hessler said, I can't see GW embracing it any time soon. The culture is simply geared in a different direction.

  8. I was thinking about taking the new edition as my reason to start lizardmen and learn how to play fantasy.... ya, probably not going to happen. Just doesn't seem like it is going to be worth it.

  9. I don't think GW would lose much money, if any, because more people would start buying white dwarf again as stated earlier. I would buy it just to keep the "40K army index" up to date and I'm sure plenty of other people would do as well.

  10. A good idea, but you'd make the hobby even more expensive for all of us. Having to buy every single copy of White Dwarf just to keep up to date with the armies, if you can't/don't buy them then your army will quickly become out of date and you wouldn't be able to keep up with others.

    Add to that the fact that it currently takes most people a month or two to get used to playing against new armies, and your proposal would mean having to change the way you play on a monthly basis to deal with the changes to every army that you face.

    I think GW's application of a relatively comprehensive FAQ to update every army book to the new addition at the time or printing is a very good one, and your idea of supplying a sticker-pack to update the older editions is a brilliant one.
    Changing the future prints of the books to reflect these FAQs would be even better, and wouldn't cost GW too much, and including one of the sticker sheets in the older ones that are yet to sell would be great. You could even put a marker on the front of the updated books indicating 8th edition so people know whether to check for stickers or not.

    A very good article and a very interesting idea.

  11. I don;t know man, stick with it, I had pretty much QUIT wfb for 7th edition, and got back into it with 8th editions, and have been having a BLAST with my Chaos Dwarves (converted, but using dwarf rules) The new game is so much more fun, though I think there are too many "mystery' terrain pieces, we've cut back on them locally. We tend to go with d3 + 4 terrain rather than d6.

  12. The new edition of fantasy is a very interesting game now. The 4 page FAQ for each army book is more to bring abilities into line with the main rulebook due to things working differently or to fix wording issues.

    It isn't nearly as bad as it seems to be. Trust me, its not as bad as it seems Sandwyrm. The new edition once players have it down will actually play faster than before.


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