Saturday, February 26, 2011

Welcome to the End Times

by Anonymous Foodie

With all the talk of bankruptcy (and the hope that GW will avoid it for years to come), I got to thinking...

What would we do if the company did die out?

How many of us would pack up our minis (that we couldn't sell off), and forget about the dead game, moving on to something new with company support?

Who among us would step up and continue the game for ourselves?

Sure there would be no new models (and yes, this is sad), but with the quality that we have now, plus the large selection of plastics for easy conversion, this is not the worst scenario out there.

The big question, the one that would make or break progression above and beyond GW (or the lack thereof) - rules.

Here's the thing - never have I been a part of a game system with such an active fan base when it comes to making offshoot rules, be it for a new unit, revising an old codex, or making an altogether new race.  I would put this down to both a player base with a larger than average imagination and other necessary "tools", and also the current push from GW to create house rules as we so see fit (easier to do at a true house level, but would it really be so hard for a gaming club to have a few fixes in effect?  Not to be too biased, but is it entirely necessary to have Shadow in the Warp not affect units in vehicles?  Can't we just ignore that terrible FAQ - which is, technically, unofficial as it's not true errata or amendment anyway).

If you've never seen a homebrew codex for an old army, you're actively looking in the other direction.  There were books being web-written for the Dark Eldar that were years in the making - and while I personally didn't like a lot of what went into it, it at least goes to show that there are people out there who are willing to put forth the sort of time and effort that GW's design staff does, even without the paycheck.

Now, sure there would be a few cases of multiple rulesets for the same army, but by and large when I see an unofficial codex, there's one per army.  If we, as a community, got together (on, say, I think we could come up with a functioning base of operations.  I think that, for the most part, we could have standardized rules for each army, tweaks to core rules, and other such things.

The question remains - if Games Workshop announced on their website tomorrow that they were going out of business, what would you do?  Would you close shop yourself and look for a new game to play, or would you stick with the models and rules that we have now, and build up from there?


  1. Some of us would no doubt move on.

    Others of us would hunker down and wait it out.

    Let's be honest, Games Workshop is a large entity at this point. Being an international company leads to things we like, new cool mini’s, and things we hate, like oppressive IP infringement rules.

    That being said, they have a lot of assets and will do just fine. If they don’t and they end up in Bankruptcy that isn’t the end either as they will get to absolve themselves of a ton of debt, if they are carrying any.

    Side story, I work in the family business, we sell snack nuts and candy (no I can’t send you any – well maybe SandWyrm) and a grocery store chain on the east coast went bankrupt. That grocery store chain owed us 50,000 dollars. Imagine my surprise when we learned that we were being sued, along with hundreds of other suppliers like Kraft and RJ Reynolds, for causing the grocery store chain to go out of business. You see, the suit explained, if we had not asked to be paid for the product we sold to the chain, the chain would not have gone bankrupt. We ended up clearing the 50,000 dollars they owed us and sending them an additional 5,000 just to make them remove us from the suit so we wouldn’t have to pay a lawyer to fight it.

    Insanity, I know.

    So, it won’t be as cut and dry as going bankrupt and shutting the doors. Besides, with worldwide distribution, sales and retail locations – don’t think they aren’t shopping to investors.

    Now, in answer to your question: I would no doubt go to Flames of War and build my ultimate Panzer Grenadier army of dewm! (sorry for the sidebar above!)

  2. I would have to agree that a lot of my local players would probably just hang up their hats, and move on down the line. I however, would continue to play, as I have far too much money invested in the game to stop.

    On my little side do you figure that GW FAQ's are not 'true errata'? It is much better than Magic, at least they give you your FAQ's...Magic doesn't even do that. Anything handed down by GW is for the most part (aside from the Grey Knights Release >.<)correct, and legal, or not legal depending.

  3. I honestly think that with the International fan base the 40k Has it will not go silently into the bankrupt night..More likely it will be absorbed into a rival company.

  4. To quit the game would be foolish on our parts. We're invested in the hobby.

    The rules of Chess haven't been updated for what, hundreds of years? No new models, nothing. Just the same old same old. Yet it is a thriving game just the same.

    If anything, it would be the home-brew rule/game fragmentatioan that would hurt the future of the game, not the disappearance of the official GW company.

  5. I like Mantics Kings of War game so would not care if WHFB died. I would be sad to see 40k go and expect I would carry on playing that for as long as my friends still wanted too.

    That said I expect the company would be asset stripped and the IP sold to other companys long before they went bankrupt. They could sell off Blood Bowl and other stuff to make cash.

  6. So far as I know from looking at their latest financials, GW is no longer carrying any appreciable amount of corporate debt (and they never would have if they hadn't borrowed money to pay dividends during the LOTR bubble days). So bankruptcy at this point is highly unlikely.

    What's more likely is that they simply fail to thrive, due to a shrinking market segment (miniature wargamers), an inability to attract new players to the hobby, and/or an inability to hold on to experienced players. So as sales fell, their stock price would also fall to the point that they would face a hostile takeover from a rival company or a investment bank that would sell them off in pieces.

    This could actually happen at any time, since GW is majority-owned by 2-3 hedge funds. Which I'm sure is why they're so focused on short term results (cost cutting). Lest they be sold off by those funds and see their stock price plummet into hostile takeover territory.

    So GW is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They have to appease the hedge funds with short term results, while somehow addressing their long term market problems. The recent deal on the Hobbit IP is probably their best chance of pulling this off. If it brings in as much cash as the LOTR IP did (when the movies were in theaters), they can show earnings growth and still have enough funds left over for long term investment in rules and community development.

    At least, if they don't waste the windfall again on bonuses and dividends paid to executives. Which is what put them in this situation to start with.

  7. In any case, someone would end up with the IP. 40K isn't going to just die. Though it might end up in legal limbo for a while, like the James Bond franchise currently is.

    If another company stepped up with a competing (and compatible) system at the right time, you might see 40K die. But if there's no alternative offered, then it's a sure bet that the community would self-organize a solution. Though I don't see the hobby as a whole doing anything but shrinking if there's no new models available. A lot would depend on independent companies being willing to step up and provide these. Though whoever bought the GW IP would be sure to defend it.

  8. I would continue on. As for the rules there are many places online people are making for alternative example
    as long as majority of the community agree on using the site as the Inquisition of rules then the game will survive as long as people play. :)

  9. I think that 40k is too big of a thing at least right now to go away completely if gw shut down. Someone would buy the rights and at least continue the universe, if not the exact game that we love.

    I'd probably keep on playing with whoever stuck around... and maybe then like others have said the unofficial dexes will come out of the woodwork.

  10. Nothing is too big to go south, GM or greece are great examples.

    I think that the game would go on but there will be a time where the lack of the main models would come to hurt the other companies that make non official models (pig iron, hassle, etc) and the number of models would be smaller and smaller everyday. With that the number of newcomers would dimish and the game, onde day, would become an alternative that "someone heard about from a friend" to D&D minis...

    I think that fanpower is able to mantain a game even after it's gone (mordhein is an example of dead game kept alive) but if GW could stay in business, we'd be much more happy and at ease.

    Srry for the bad english, not main language lol

  11. look at star wars miniatures. they closed up shop on a GREAT miniature game. but a group of the best players in the world got together and made a new "set" with new characters and have done that twice. i could see that following on in gw's case. this year at gencon there will be a sanctioned tournament with star wars miniatures and ppl will be using the new "sets" in the tourney. but i digress. gw will not fold over night. it will most likely get bought out by another company and over time be slowly phased out.

  12. My friends and I are still playing DnD 3.5 and haven't even gotten into Pathfinder very deeply yet. It would be years before we started feeling that 40k was dead to us.

    That is the difference between tabletop and online. Folks still play the original Mechwarrior. MW: Mercenaries is dead.

  13. Personally I would be happy to see GW go belly up. I can not see whoever gets the IP doing worse than they have. Also it would free up Blood Bowl.


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