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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Its All About the Benjamins

Hey there,

Post #5 is here with a much shorter interval between posts than the last few. Since people seem to be reading this and I'm up to 11 followers I'll do my best(and that's not really that good) to post a little more regularly.

I'd like to thank The Gamer's Lounge for mentioning this blog on Episode 9 and for the link on their Blogroll. It was very, very cool to hear about my blog on a pod cast and hear some excerpts read by the host. As soon as I figure out how to do a little more with the blog mechanics I will be sure and link to their site because their shows are good and they sound invested and passionate about the things they discuss. Since I was always passionate about the things I discussed on the pod cast I can identify with and appreciate that. In the mean time, please follow this link(or copy and paste if the linky thing doesn't work):
and check out what they have to offer. I have some catching up to do but I like what I've heard so far.

I'm still working on getting together with the as yet to be revealed person to record that yet to be revealed podcast but hopefully this weekend will be fruitful and a pod cast(or at least the bit that I'm on) will spring forth. Hopefully, the fruit it will bear will be well received and we can do some more in the future.

Today I'd like to talk about the Games Workshop price increases. I know I'm a little behind the times but this is something I had planned on discussing in another medium but events conspired to prevent that from happening. Besides, it has become painfully clear that GW is not going to lower their prices any time soon.

GW increasing its prices is ridiculous, insulting and a square kick in the crotch to anyone who has supported their game systems and products for any amount of time at all. Didn't they learn anything from the White Dwarf escalating price debacle?

Here's the thing: They don't make things any differently now than they did in the recent past when prices were much lower so how can they justify increasing the prices on the very same items we've seen on the shelf for years? In my opinion they can't. If they made the models drastically different or retooled every model(and book) they've increased the prices on in the last 2 years I would probably be able to understand and more easily accept the price increases. If a brand new model came along, the Valkyrie is an excellent example, they could price it however they chose and people would probably give their pound of flesh to have that sweet new model and the capabilities that came along with it. The problem I have is that they haven't done a damn thing to the models except raise the prices. A Land Raider now costs $62 US Dollars which is $12 or so more than the first one I ever bought and that was not that long ago. Why does it cost so much? They didn't retool the model or add sprues to the box. Hell, they haven't even given us new box art to go along with the new prices. I am a firm believer in the idea that when you pay for a GW model, you not only pay for the art and technology that was involved in the creation of the model, but you pay for the effectiveness of that model when its on the table mixing it up with the opposing army. There is no way in Hell that five Terminators cost anywhere near $50 to take from concept art to finished product, mass produce and ship to the wholesalers but yet we are expected to pay that much for them. Why? Because Terminators are worth a lot of points and are usually a worthwhile monetary and points investment for the general fielding them. We all want those awesome Terminators so we all line up with our $50 in hand to buy them because if we don't, someone else will and we will feel like we cheated ourselves out of the chance to do better or have more fun because we were cheapskates. Land Raiders are the same because they cost a lot of money and a lot of points but they rarely disappoint when you put them on the table and utilize them to their full potential.

I have said before that any hobby that involves competition and has any kind of required equipment or accessory will ultimately be influenced by how much a participant is willing and able to pay to be competitive. I have raced radio controlled cars, played tournament level paintball and now pit myself against my fellow man(and occassional woman) in the war torn universe of the 41st century. Not single time in a single one of those hobbies have I thought "If I only would have gone with the cheaper(insert expensive toy here) I would have done so much better and had so much more fun." Let's face it, I could buy 2 Assault on Black Reach sets and have 2 nearly 1000 point armies that, with a few exceptions, could be fielded within their respective Force Organization Charts and technically be playable. But, and this is a big but, would those armies be competitive against another 1000 point army of any type that was not built on a budget but was assembled with the effectiveness and capabilities of each and every unit in mind? This is the difference between building an army to meet a points threshold and building an army to kick other armies asses. I CAN build 1000 points of Space Marines for less than $90 but I can guarantee that it would not be as effective as 1000 points of Space Marines(or any army really) that were hand picked and assembled with the attitude that money is no object and winning is everything. It sucks but the cold hard truth of the matter is that the guy with the most money will have an advantage over almost anyone he plays that does not have as much money to spend. How does this affect the game? It affects it by creating different classes of gamers based on their financial capabilities instead of being based on their gaming capabilities. Could Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France on an $89 Wal Mart bike when all of his competition was using equipment that cost 100 times as much? Not a chance for poor Lance.(Ha!I'm a poet and I don't even know it.). Its the same thing when applied to tabletop gaming although admittedly to a much lesser degree. A brilliant or lucky general whose dice are on his side could concievably win with a budget army but it if he was playing a similarly skilled opponent with a "money is no object" army, that would happen very rarely. The points system we use, in combination with the Force Organization chart is designed to provide a level playing field for all who care to step up to the table with their army but the reality of the game is that meeting a points threshold and having an effective army do not always go hand in hand. Some will say this is a cop out and a good player would overcome the hardship of a cheap army to persevere no matter what the situation but I think you all know in your hearts that what I'm saying is at least a little bit true.

Another side of this argument is that since we all have to pay the same for the same models, its all fair in the long run. That is true to some extent but I think my side of the argument holds up because there are so many choices and so many different ways to fill each army's FOC that you can build a cheap army and get to "X" amount of points but it will be less effective in many aspects than an expensive army at that same points cost.

I'm going to wrap this up with a final thought because its already gone on far too long. Games Workshop needs new players. They need fresh blood to not only take the place of those who have moved on but to invigorate and reenergize the ones who have been around awhile. Tabletop gaming is, for the most part, an expensive hobby and with the new price increases is getting more expensive every few months. They have to realize that by making things more and more expensive all the time, they are pricing the hobby out of the reach of most people. Its very hard to get new people into the game in the first place because of the stigma that is sometimes attached to it and now its becoming even harder because of two things: 1. Its extremely expensive to get started in this hobby in a meaningful way. 2. If someone tries to dip their toes in the hobby by going as cheap as they possibly can they will have very little fun and a lot of frustration because the money they spent will not buy them an effective and competitive army that will allow them to feel the thrill of victory that we all crave and become addicted to.

If Games Workshop wants to get rich(er), raising prices is not the way to go about it.

And now, your payment for reading alll the way to the end of this mess:

"There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, "Yes," you know he is a crook." - Groucho Marx



  1. A good example of GW's marketing strategy is this:

    I've been considering the costs involved for the new 8th Ed WHFB rule book and the new O&C rule book that I'll need (and is soon to be released) those two alone roll in @ roughly $100. To play a game that I've had for years.


    I haven't played WHFB in about a year and a half, Spending that much to see if I want to try the new incarnation isn't feasible for me in the current economic climate. So i think they'll go to ebay.

    I'll just stick with 40k whose purchases I finance by selling old unwanted minis. Although @ the current rate of GW's inflation, I'lll be out of minis all together in a few years time.

    Starting to feel like I'm too poor to play anymore.


  2. I think that one of the worst things GW can do is raise the prices of it's Rulebooks. It's the damn rulebook! Everyone needs one to play the game.

    The sad part is that the rulebook has a lot of really cool things in it that the assault on black reach mini one does not. It gives you inspiration through the fluff, and makes you want to get more armies that you see in it's pages. I think of rulebooks like the gateway drug. You pack it with cool references and pictures, selling it cheap, and you get paid when the kids come back.

    Here's a partial solution: Like privateer press does, make a soft and hard cover. Just two different tiers of pricing.

  3. At my club, you know who has all the new armies, all the new stuff: kids. It's the younger players who don't have a wife, kids, mortgage, who can afford to spend all their money on minis.

  4. I just got into this game a about 2 years ago. And I am thousands of dollars in. Lucky for me I wanted to play Marines, and AoBR was out. So I bought 4 of those when they where 60 a peice. If it hadn't been for that, I probably would have bought 3 boxes and never been back.

    BTW Chipply, great blog. And I can bet I know another podcast or two that will mention you in the future.


  5. GW has always raised prices to boost their bottom line. They think they are a game company that produces miniatures, but they are a miniatures company that produces games. Few other companies can operate on the scale of GW with the same model.

    The collectible minis market works better as a business model because the contents are random and hidden and people love trying to find that one chase figure in the batch. There are no "peg-warmers" -- all packages have the chance to be something cool. Sure that creates a secondary market, but the figure producer and the store it was purchased from have already gotten their money.

  6. I know I am late to the party, but I just found this site.

    I think that a textbook example of what you had in your article is the leaf blower list. To run the original list I think you need to hand over at least one, if not two, children to forge world for all of the ordnance tanks that gw does not make kits for currently.

  7. Prices never go down..unless they have been artificially inflated to equally inflate the pocket books of those who do the Price Raising.

    As I mentioned on my own Blog, they would have been better served feeding us Cost to Retail price hikes every year as a Quarter or two here and there than they are with what they just did.

    I am strictly NOT buying GW right now just out of spite, instead my money goes to other Hobby areas like custom bases and other non-GW items.

    Oh and I confess, I sometimes scroll to the bottom to get the reward before I go back and read your long winded ranty ass :P But i DO go back and read it! Honest!

  8. Its OK, Hexeter. The stuff at the bottom has stood the test of time already. This mess has yet to prove itself. I know the posts are long winded but I try to fit it all into one rather than breaking them up because I never know when I'll be back to finish what I started and no one likes to wait too long for an installment piece.