So, the big buzz amongst my fellow Warmongers on Twitter today revolves around the latest GW news. First off, there are the leaked images of the forthcoming Space Marine, Ork and Necron aircraft for Warhammer 40,000. Most of the talk is about who does and does not like the new Storm Talon gunship for the Space Marines. I personally think it has some strengths, in this is clearly inspired more by helicopter gunships rather than fixed wing aircraft the way the Storm Raven is and it does look interestingly futuristic. That said, the weapons do look cumbersome and over sized and like they were bolted on as an after thought. I will wait until I can see a better image than a scan of a magazine page before I make final judgement.
The bigger news – in the eyes of many – is the news that price rises are imminent from GW. Details are sketchy at the moment, though some rumours suggest that some kits (like the aforementioned Storm Raven) could go up by as much as 25% – though the average price rise should be much less than that.
I’m not going to launch into a rant about Games Workshop and their pricing policy, for what would be the point? I know I’m not qualified to provide any kind of worthwhile analysis of the financial implications and I have no desire to throw my lot in with whiners and haters and the sort of people who seem to think it’s unreasonable for a business to act as such. But this still unwelcome news.
As mentioned in a relatively recent blog post, I have been becoming more well disposed to Games Workshop in recent months, after having been turned off them by last year’s price rises. I had started to paint up by Brazen Angels Space Marines again, and I even succumbed to temptation and splashed out on some of Forge World’s excellent MK IV Marines to use as a unit of Sternguard Veterans. I was even thinking of starting an additional army, to compliment my Brazen Angels, but that plan might now need a rethink.
This is a hard hobby sometimes, it requires us to balance our hobby against all our other commitments, work family and all our other interests, just to get our toys built and painted and read our rules, let alone to play any games. Paying over the odds is another thing to make the hobby just that bit more difficult.
My fellow Twitter Warmonger @TheBlueHeretic (aka Ryan) expressed it thusly:
I’m thinking this is the year GW prices itself out of my reach. Not Doom & Gloom, or rage quitting, just realization I’m not made of money. A price increase, plus a new edition of 40k (new rules, new models needed to counter new tactics), means unhappy wallet. Not going to decide on it right now, but it is a distinct possibility. Then again, its not like I play much anyways.
I had been drifting back to 40k. I had been won around by so many excellent Black Library books and some cool new model releases. I was even thinking of painting up another Space Marine army using some of the cool new Forgeworld Marines and Terminators and the new Storm Talon gunship. But Ryan’s words crystallized in my head all the reasons why this is not a good idea.
A new edition of 40k is imminent, it will probably be presented in a sumptuous rulebook that will have to be paid for in diamonds and platinum. Every player will then have to go through the traditional period of optimization when they have to tweak their army to gel with the new rules – maybe retiring some models in favour of other unit choices, maybe bringing a little-used troop type out of the depths of the cupboard. Then will come the march of the new codices, new troop types, new models, more changes. It’s a lot of work and potentially a lot of money.
And the thing is, I just don’t think it’s worth it.
Games Workshop are very good at making you want their stuff. Their models are arguably the best in the industry and their background is one of the most compelling – that’s how they were tempting me back. Spartan’s models are fantastic, but there’s something just a bit more visceral about toy soldiers compared to model ships. But the models cost, and so do the books, and more than any company, a GW army is never finished and as time goes on there will always be new models to be sandwiched in and rules changes that mean you have to recompose or enlarge your army. There’s little question that GW are aiming to have gamers playing ever larger battles so they can fit in the growing number of cool super-monsters, mega-tanks, aircraft and other super units. I have never felt the same pressure to buy toys for the other games I collect for that I have for GW games.
So, yeah, I think I’m done. And if this cause me any anguish it’s because GW will always be what got me into this hobby and will always be one of my favourite fictional universes and dabbling with their games if like a familiar comfy coat, or a security blanket to ward of the frighten unknowns of the gaming world. Plus, as the market leader they do dominate the gaming scene and Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars will have to pick up a bit if I want to get a game in the local clubs. Part of me wants to finish painting up the 2000 points of Brazen Angels I still have cluttering up the study, though that might be a futile endeavour. That said, painting is fun in itself and I like painting Marines. Otherwise, I will start getting my Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars stuff sorted. I have two fleet for each and only a fraction of them is painted.
Maybe, in the future, something will come along to scratch my 28/30mm itch – maybe Privateer Press will finally release their long promised sci-fi game. Maybe my fellow Warmongers will convince me of the virtues of Warmahordes yet. Or maybe I will turn to the ways of the 10mm game and give Dropzone Commander a try (though I’m buying an Odin Attack craft just to paint whatever happens).