The Winning Road for Warhammer Fantasy

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The pessimism is rampant across the boards. Fantasy is a hole in GW’s ship! What can they do to turn it around?

By now, if you’ve been keeping up with the spoilers, you’ll know what’s coming for Warhammer Fantasy. If you don’t, I, Dr. Bored, am not about to spoil it for you, so go check it out yourself!

That said, Warhammer Fantasy is up for some changes, not just in lore and characters, but as a whole game. 9th edition is upon us! The end is here! But it’s also a beginning.. (oh the cliché hurts so good)

Here’s the thing guys, if the new edition of Warhammer Fantasy is not a smashing success, GW may be going the way of the Titanic. It may seem like a small enough hole for us on the outside, but we won’t know the damage until it’s too late…

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Step 1. Clean the Garage

Obviously, right off the bat, clean out the metal and finecast. Simple, straightforward, right? That said…

Fantasy is huge. We’ve got Ogres, Lizardmen, Orcs, Beastmen, Skaven, three types of Elves, Chaos Warriors and Chaos Daemons, two types of Humans, and of course the stocky Dwarves, and I haven’t even mentioned the Undead. 15 armies! Holy crap! To a person with social anxiety decision-making issues, that’s a lot to take in at once! It’s bad enough when a Dungeons and Dragons player has to choose between Elf, Human, or Dwarf, but now you’re telling me there’s three kinds of Elves and a bunch of mutant creatures to choose from too? Woah nelly! Let’s pare some of that down. One Elf faction, one Human faction, one Beast faction, one Chaos faction, one Ork faction, and one Undead faction. Six factions in total, if the rumors are to be trusted.

Slow down, get your hands off that keyboard for just a minute. Yes, let’s pare the selection down. Does that mean your favorite force is going to be nullified? If GW is smart, no. You’ll be able to use your current models, as the rumors suggest, to play your Fantasy games, and that’s a good thing. It would help GW NOT alienate their current veterans. However, the veterans are not the target audience…

 

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Step 2. Stay on Target

Red Five Games Workshop needs to Stand By their target. For game companies, the target audience is not typically going to be the older generations, even though they have more disposable income. The target audience? Children. Yes, Games Workshop may need to pull a Nintendo on this one, refocusing their attention on the new generation coming up. That means simplification, making the game more family friendly, making the game easier to pick up. Fewer rules, quicker gameplay to keep the fleeting minds of kids focused on the game and interested, and lore that reflects GW’s target. Yes, my favorite Chaos God Slaanesh may be up for a makeover with this, or may simply be taking a back seat. It might seem like all the big nasty mean kits that have come out via the End Times line are targeted at the advanced players, but in my mind, this is GW’s way of saying ‘Here you go, one last Hurrah before we upend your table’.

 

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                                    What is even happening here?

Step 3. Fast and Furious Production

Finally, if Games Workshop wants to create a new series of IP’s in order to pare down and redistribute the races of their lore, create new lore, and create new army books, they’re going to HAVE to do it quickly. No more beating around the bush with un-modeled army book entries. Keeping the Chinese knock-offers, bits companies, and competing miniature lines off their back is going to be key, and the only way they’ll be able to do that is if they push forward with a lot of product really quickly, at least to get things started so that each new faction gets good attention and kids can start playing right away.

Why might they not produce a lot right away? Two reasons: Risk and Capital. In order to create new sprues and runners for kits, they need molds, and to fill those molds they need plastic, and boxes, and art and books and all sorts of other things to go along with it. This costs a lot of money, a lot of capital, and doing so after totally rebooting their line is RISKY. It doesn’t get much riskier than this actually (which is probably why the rumors are also pointing at a Space Marine codex this year too).

Obviously, the first thing they’ll do is produce the rulebook and a starter set. My guess, in order to protect their IP’s, is that they’ll release the new factions one at a time. They’ll have lore for the factions in the rulebook, but few rules or hints at what those factions will contain in terms of units. They’ll start off with something iconic and neutral, splitting away from Chaos and Undead (since they’ve gotten a lot of attention lately) and I’ll call it now: the first conflict will be Humans versus Orks. These two factions are not only iconic, but kid-friendly and can be made quite unique.

If Games Workshop can pull this off and create a success, they’ll have a great new line to go alongside their recent 40k successes. We know they can do it. They’ve had great editions of Fantasy in the past and they’ve been doing great with the recent 40k releases.

I’m ever optimistic, and am looking forward to what Games Workshop has planned for Fantasy into the future! If it’s a nice, sleek system and the new armies are compelling, I’ll certainly join in! I for one was always intimidated by the scale of the range… what do you guys think?

  • Dukesofh

    Anyone have thoughts on whether a potential new player should just wait to start playing until the new stuff comes
    Out?

    • We are starting our fantasy campaign in June, and we have new players picking up forces. I am pretty confident that no factions are being erased so whatever you pick up now would be usable in 9th.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        I am not as confident as you but my bet is that if GW does consolidate factions, your models would still be usable. You would just switch from the Wood Elf Army Book to the Tome of Elves or what ever GW decides to re-brand their army books/codexes as.

    • Malisteen

      You should absoluttely wait, yes.

    • EndreFodstad

      That sort of answers itself. Unless you enjoy picking up a game you have no idea if you will enjoy, you wait until it’s out to try it.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      What’s 2 or 3 months in the grand scheme of things?

      Just wait.

    • Wired4War

      I’m waiting to get into it until I see the new edition. In the meantime I’m going to practice my painting and basing.

    • oldhat

      My friend works for GW, his advice for me was to NOT buy any models from the “old range”.

    • onlyonepinman

      My advice would be to wait. I that it is likley all current models will be usable in 9E when it arrives but for me the key is whether that army wil be supported in any way in 9E, either as a standalone army or as a subfaction within one of the new factions. The best example of this is Lizardmen, many of the rumours suggest that they will be no more once 9E comes along. You will be able to play with your models but will not likely see any further releases for them.

      Personally I would wait and see what the new factions are and then decide what to start collecting. That way you will get the most enjoyment out of your investment because it will be something that you want to continue collecting on into the future rather than feeling like you have to switch factions and start again

  • Honestly a lot of what I see with fantasy comes down to that style of game (mass battles) has faded from mainstream, like ten years ago.

    People will say its the model count, but the model count to me is not as much an issue (my 40k armies and my fantasy armies have similar model counts at their standard game sizes. In fact, a couple of my 40k armies have more models than some of my fantasy armies) as much as scale is the issue.

    Whats popular today are games that go quick. The appeal for mass battles seems to be mainly an old-guy thing like myself. You see it in complaints in 40k as well – people wanting small model count 40k forces and games that go quicker.

    I think if I was GW i’d focus on a system that plays in an hour or less and is tournament-centered with 20-30 models tops. As much as I hate that and would probably not be a part of a game like that – I am also not the majority and realize that thats just the way it is.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      I completely agree. A focus on speed is what the masses want. 60 minutes is a great number to shoot for.

      I don’t think the game needs to be limited to 30 models tops but that would be a good bench mark for the size of games if trays are not being used. If trays are being used, then I could see games being a bit bigger, since moving a tray is much easier than moving 20 guys individually.

      Another factor to consider is the number of dice being thrown. Dice take time to assemble, roll, see the results, roll again, roll saves, etc. 20 guys running into melee throwing 3 dice a piece is a lot to deal with, as opposed to 20 guys throwing one dice a piece.

      • deuce1984

        but dice is nice

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Some dice. Not all the dice ever created.

      • Muninwing

        i’ve never seen dice be that much an issue… if you’re confident of your numbers it’s just a few extra seconds here and there.

        i had a friend who complained incessantly, back when tabletop rpgs were still going strong — his biggest argument for d20 and against white wolf die pool systems was that rolling dice was hard.

        it never made sense to me in that arena, and never made sense to complain about in this one. maybe it’s just me.

    • Fuppylodders

      Models that paint themselves the exact way I imagine them to appear in my head, and in minutes instead of hours would be nice too 🙁

      • Marky

        Models that are easy to paint would be a good plan. Space marines are easy if you spray them, then throw on a bit of detail then dip/ink/wash

      • Muninwing

        well, we’ve already been given armies it’s easier tow in with, and that didn’t end up as we thought it would.

        wait… are we using the genie that gave me that twelve-inch pianist?

    • Maine

      Kings of War does the ~1 hour game with the same model count. They do this by focusing on the unit rather than the models in the unit, and not trying to micro-manage individual models into unit hit points and counting attacks and such.

      • Kings of War is also, at least to me, very boring and very vanilla. I tried getting on board and just could not get into it.

  • Christie Bryden

    I dont know, maybe make the things people actualy want? the blood thirsters were a good start, maybe those chaos dragons that have needed a update for 20 years.

  • WestFargo Dave

    There’s 3 things that can increase interest in WFB: 1. Sexy Chicks 2. Sexy Chicks and 3. Sexy Chicks

    • Arthfael

      I like your thinking ^^

    • Craig Biddulph

      What about Sexy Dudes, to attract the Sexy Chicks?

      • hahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahahah…oh yer serious..

      • ChubToad

        If that ever happen i would quit gaming and go out with sexy chicks. i guess GW knows that too, so no sexy dudes whatsoever.

      • el_tigre

        SIIIGVALD! Unless he’s dead already? Haven’t kept up entirely with the end times blood bath.

        • kremmet

          They’re all dead. Everyone.

          • Mr.Gold

            near enough the same amount of death as the battle for the iron throne…

        • Craig Biddulph

          Everybody is dead. Literally everybody. The winners, the losers, they are all dead.

          • Wraeccan

            What about Todd Hunter?

          • templar46_2

            YES Todd Hunter, Dave… everybody is dead. everybody’s dead Dave.

    • Christie Bryden

      your more right than you think, alternative body types have proven popular for converters, so normal female chaos lord would be a huge seller, look how popular a fat one was.

      • deris87

        Where has there ever been a fat female Chaos Lord?

        • DoctorBored

          Sounds like you have something you could capitalize on. Go make a fat female chaos lord and sell it!

          • deris87

            Not really in my wheelhouse, it’s just that I’ve never heard of or seen this supposedly popular “fat [female chaos lord]”.

    • Skeksis

      Sad and probably true. I’d advocate increasing interest in WFB by implementing original ideas and increasing interaction with the community, not by painting male gamers as drooling neanderthals, and female characters as cliched eye candy. YMMV

      • WestFargo Dave

        You can paint male gamers all you like. Me? I’ll paint minis. 🙂

      • Cylux

        No need to be hating on Kingdom Death’s marketing strategy bro.

        :^)

      • Carnage

        but we are drooling neanderthals who don’t know what hygiene is, and all we know how to do is make female gamers uncomfortable and just love scantily clad oversexualized models. did you miss the memo of why women just love our hobby or what? /sarcasm (i think)

        • Muninwing

          sad how not-sarcasm that is in certain cases…

      • zeno666

        GW doesn’t have any original ideas, so thats a no no

        • Muninwing

          yeah… aside from revolutionizing a genre, adapting some of the best fluff into even more of the same, and being the standard by which a whole industry is judged, nothing at all.

          • Chardun

            They were revolutionary in the 1980s, and the people that made that happen have since left the company.

          • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

            most (some) of them have started quite successful companies of miniatures themselves if i recall correctly.

  • Andrew Batter

    If they’re going to completely reinvent the game and try to protect IP by making sure every unit has rules and miniatures at the same time, I think they should consider going the route Warmahordes and Malifaux have taken and release expansions each year that add models to every faction at the same time. If they’re going to keep it to 6 factions that should be manageable and also eliminate the lull that armies can be in when they don’t get a new army book for a few years (or a decade…).

    • TweetleBeetle

      Which is exactly what 40k has been doing.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        Different than that because they could release a single rule book that updates every army, rather than bunches of rule books that update certain armies or pieces of certain armies or new factions.

        • deris87

          It’s still preferable to no updates at all for 5 years. Plus, the campaign books can leverage GW’s biggest asset, which is the background and IP, in order to sell the new models.

        • Brandon Rutter

          Yeah that isn’t what 40k does at all lol. You really couldn’t do that with 40k, but you are right, if they stayed with 6 “core” armies, then make a large supplement, maybe every 2 years?, that could work. I would really like that-if I ever feel like I may want to concentrate on a different army in the future, I dont feel like I am missing out on one that I am currently working on(sure is a concern for others as well). Of course, if you never have any 2 armies you may feel like you are paying for extras you dont want, but at least that option will be available to you, or you can read up on the competition, maybe even share the HUGE BIENNIAL TOME with your gaming friends/club/show to a newbie to let them get a visual feel for every faction. I really like this idea actually. I would love for everything to just be there. you can photocopy to make w/e you need portable, but can peruse any future investments. Note I would like that this most-likely-not-happening piece of work to be biEnnial, every 2 years or there abouts, and on a schedule of, lets say, every fall. That would mean if the new edition of WFB would come out in boxed set in summer, which it appears like it shall, the Super supplement would follow shortly after that same fall. Maybe further address how to work all your old collection into the current format(if that is an issue idk), add some scenarios, then have a format of new core troop, elites, specials, then a named character or 2 per faction. We know the story probably wont advance for another 30 years so Im not going to ask that they have a constantly evolving story, but this is all speculation, so have that also(while I am daydreaming).That should keep people going for awhile. Make it huge. I would rather pay like 150-200 for rules over 2 yrs than w/e is going on now with EITHER of GW main games. its like the Wheel of Fortune Codexs out there-“whats coming next?! We don’t know! It is a secret!” srsly, being on a KNOWN schedule would really belay alot of worry. And there is nothing to stop them from throwing things in, book/ruleswise, in the meantime, if the interest is there, obviously. Some of us might hate to see one faction become the Space Marine equivalent in popularity and kind of overshadow the other factions in terms of model support, but if you guarantee every faction these biennial “reports”, I dont think anyone is going to feel TOO left out in the cold, which is definitely the sentiment of some army lovers now(sorry Sisters of Battle….you even made it into a WFB post for your lack of attention). Anyone think they might totally overhaul the rules also? There is already speculation that they are moving to round bases, so what is next?

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            You’d need to produce a supplement at least once a year, probably two or three times a year.

          • Brandon Rutter

            How about just the supplement once per year PLUS a boxed game w/ some of the new content also? That would keep people busy all year still I think and offer plenty of choice. If they make it a little more skirmish based people might be more apt to run 2-3 armies instead of 1-2? Remember, I am talking about making these babies real thick, like old-school 300-400 page doorstops, make it a real event when it comes out annually. It will all depend on the popularity anyways-if there is a clamor for multiple huge supplements, then GW will farm it out to get it done. Also, nothing stopping them from making very small supplement if the clamor for a specific faction is that intense. Anyways, I don’t think that this will be the case either way, which seems like a shame. One or 2 huge all-encompassing WFB books per year would be so much cleaner.

  • ted1138

    It’s GW. They’re gonna ignore what their customers need and just produce a ton of new army books(15 races? I’m sure we can stretch to 30 books!). They can’t charge 40k prices for fantasy figures(though they will try from time to time), so they’ll focus on massive character/monster models instead(easier to copyright). They don’t have the creativity to come up with a whole new rule system, so expect more of the same rules, only tweaked to make you buy more of what they want you to buy.

    • TweetleBeetle

      None of what you said is true. Not only is the current 40k system good, but previous Fantasy systems have been good, and nearly all of their skirmish games have had good, creative, and balanced rules.

      It won’t be hard, especially if they appeal to the WarmaHordes/Dark Age/Malifaux players with fewer factions and tighter rules.

      For all the great rules writing people (incorrectly) credit those other companies for, it’s really just because they have far fewer factions, fewer units, and fewer rules to worry about. It’s easy to write tighter rules for a smaller scale game. Fantasy needs to start there and then expand. If 6 factions are fully supported, the game is in the black, and there’s balance, then GW can expand it again. A total reboot is effectively a new game entirely, so starting small is a better route to success. Like the pilot to a good show.

  • Theik

    This article makes very little sense. 40k has what… seventy-five different flavours of space marine and it doesn’t sink, so why would 3 different kinds of elf (only one more than different kinds of eldar) cause the game to be “too confusing” for new players?

    • TweetleBeetle

      Fantasy doesn’t have nearly the player base to support that, however. Even when it wasn’t sinking, there were factions completely in the red. Wood Elves haven’t sold well despite two complete book and model releases since their original drought in the 90’s and early 00’s.

      • Deathwing

        yep. I heard a rumor that they even had a completed brettonian army book that they basically just deleted as they didnt think they would make money off of it and the release was too close to “the end” of fantacy 8th.

        • Dd Ss

          OMG! If that is true, then it would be too kind of a fate for all their Board members to be emasculated by Truffle Hounds and then impregnated by Nurgle.

      • Theik

        Haven’t sold well…where though? We have 3 wood elf players at my local games workshop. People claim that “x doesn’t sell well”, but nobody has any numbers to actually back it up.

        Fantasy sells as well, if not better, as 40k in the Games Workshop I frequent, but that doesn’t exactly make 40k a sinking ship, it just means that tastes differ per region.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          No, Fantasy is a sinking ship. 40k is immeasurably more popular.

          • Carnage

            care to share the figures with us? i have looked everywhere but i guess they didn’t give out copies of that info to the public. would be nice to see if 40k is as good as it appears….but since none of us know that….well either game could be sinking..

          • Red_Five_Standing_By

            We only have anecdotal evidence.

            40k sub-forums on most sites are much more popular than Fantasy ones.

            People online often talk about how Fantasy isn’t as popular as it once was.

            GW just blew up the WFB world, the universal sign of trying something drastic to rekindle interest in a flagging property.

          • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

            well also anecdotal evidence would also suggest that a younger crowd use the internet more frequently as well as play 40k over an older crowd who play fantasy and due to work use the forums less, or have less knowledge (for some of the “older gamers”). meaning those older gamers use twitter or facebook/youtube, younger gamers (or collectors) use the forums (as well as social media).

            but as we don’t have factual evidence that 40k also isn’t sinking. i mean if they need to release (codex) space marines again this year if the new fantasy flops doesn’t that tell you something? that even though space marines and 40k make up more “theoretical sales” it might need more “consumers” to also keep it afloat. (i rarely see more than 17-30 people on most forums and i am on them (different name of course) most days) but that said i totally agree that fantasy is/might be rebooted soon. (assuming GW don’t pull a storm of chaos campaign on us again) which on the one hand is a shame (models are great) but on the other it might be a good thing. (new models, tighter rules, possibly cheaper price point)

    • Me

      Actually… There are now three types of Eldar. The Harlies got their own dex. 🙂

      • Cylux

        Four if you count FW corsairs.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          Even more if you count the possibility of Exodites some day. #ElvesRidingDinosaurs

      • deris87

        Two and a half.

    • WestFargo Dave

      Cause Elfs are bitchy and sassy. Eldar are cool, ’cause y’know they’re like Space Elfs, or ‘Spelfs’ for short….

  • Testar

    If new Warhammer is going to be like: “Here is my army, which contains Nagash for 1800 points and three tomb chariots versus your Bloodthirster and one Rat Ogre, just because Skaven and Chaos are in one faction now, right?” and I’ll have to pay for Nagash half of my salary I’m going to find another hobby.

  • Talos2

    Over dramatic imo. Fantasy will never be the sales success of 40k, kids like guns but it hasn’t been for quite some time. Gw will remain strong as long as 40k does as that’s where it’s money has come from for years. They sell models at a large premium, as we know, worst case scenario would be selling off the whole fantasy range at cost and then dumping it. Unlikely though, and I hope not as I prefer dragons to tanks personally

    • vlad78

      Everyone likes good stories, they let wfb background become bland, this is the maon difference with 40K.

      • Theik

        Do you actually -know- the WFB background? It is not bland at all, it has tons of interesting lore in it. I could just as easily claim that 40k background is bland because it’s basically space hitler tries to take over the universe and is now sitting in a golden throne.

        • vlad78

          Yes I know it quite well in fact.
          There are really good parts but they mainly come from the early game in the 80 90s.

          GW then gave a shot of high fantasy, then included artificially an arthurian setting without much effort to blend it, put vampires in there, some of them coming directly from Dracula, stopped the timeline, never allowed changes which might happen ala battletech or shadowrun with each edition, like wars, civil wars, real invasions, successions and so on…

          and finally since 2004 they focused on chaos chaos chaos and changed the background into a 2mn to midnight thing to increase the hype, spoiled totally storm of chaos and now have just destroyed everything.

          Honestly the WFB background was top notch but GW never really had any interest in it. Most of their campaigns changed nothing until people lost interest in the setting.

          It was the story of how a fantasy world, full of life managed to delay the end again and again, against all odds.

          and GW killed it. They killed what made their game unique. Do you really think a new fantasy setting without the depth wfb could have will thrive?

          Wait and see.

      • Red_Five_Standing_By

        WFB was bland to begin with. It is a generic post-Tolkien, post-D&D kitchen sink Fantasy Setting* (made all the worse by Blizzard co-opting the look and feel of the world and making something that is, arguably, much more beloved).

        Creating something more unique is never a bad idea.

        *Parts of it were pretty good but almost always they were the more unique bits of the world, like the Daemons, Skaven, etc.

        • vlad78

          Maybe you should return to the basics, wfrp 1e and realms of chaos. Those were anything but bland.

          It is what GW let the game become which is totally bland.

  • Bobsyouruncle

    1.) In store discount of 25% for under 16’s and full time students aged 16-21.
    2.) Allow people to use other companies models in store , they will be surrounded by GW product while they do it which could generate micro purchases .
    3.) Specialist games . A good , fun , fast and easy to learn dungeon crawl properly marketed at 8-12 year olds followed by a Mordheim style skirmish game with a low model count . This helps young/new players take baby steps into the hobby while enabling vets with limits on time and money stay in the warhammer universe.
    4.) Produce a ravening hordes style army book with lists for all the nations and races not currently covered like Kislev , the hobgoblin empire , Cathay etc. This encourages established players to explore the world and build second armies without having to produce individual army books . Yes they may not be using GW figures but anything that gets people playing warhammer or keeps them in the hobby is a good thing.
    5.) Enough staff in store to have the manpower to nurture kids , put on tourneys for vets and put on demos in youth clubs and after school clubs .
    6.) Take a long hard look at what Perry Miniatures are doing . 40-50 high quality , multi part , hard plastic models for £ 20 a box . Why can’t you do this GW these guys used to work for you for 35 years !!

    • 5 metal ones for 7 gbp. Perry is awesome, and since they sell historical stuff, it can actually be considered collectible

    • Ben_S

      Most of these ideas, especially 3, 4, and 6, I wholeheartedly approve of, but number 1 is surely unworkable – you’ll just get kids buying at a discount and re-selling at somewhere between that and RRP.

      • Carnage

        get a younger sibling to buy that has zero interest in the game, sell on Ebay for Retail NIB = profit.

        • Bobsyouruncle

          Yea your both right , dam my idealism , I just wonder what GW,s mark up is . I mean £30 for 10 witch elves is never going to attract any kids or newbs .

    • Douglas Burton

      In regards to the Perry stuff. I have always wondered how they, Victrix and any other numbers of historical miniatures manufacturers can offer high grade plastic sets for such a cheap price even though they have to contract out to a secondary plastics company such as Renedra to make their figures when GW, who own their own plastic facilities have to charge 2 to 3 x the price for their figures. To me this would suggest that historical players must outnumber fantasy and 40k players by a 2 or 3 x margin, which I didn’t think they did.

      • Bobsyouruncle

        Yeah, I guess you might be right although I do speak to a lot of historical gamers who also bemoan the fact that there isn’t enough new blood coming into their hobby . You would think that a fantasy game would be a bigger natural draw for younger players than historical but GW really need to look at how the historical figure makers do it so well in terms of quality yet so much cheaper . Teamed with low model count, fast to play specialist games to introduce kids to the universe and it could yield long term gains to the player base .

  • Rob

    I hope whatever 9th edition brings us works. I’d hate to see Fantasy go away. I’m optimistic that the new game will be fun. Granted, I have a good group of friends that play Fantasy – if we hate 9th ed, we’ll be just keep playing 8th with the few house rules we use to fix our problems with the system.

  • Chris. K Cook

    I’m not sure what you are describing but it’s not Warhammer. I’m sure its a wonderful game you have in you head but it aint warhammer!

  • Brian Migliarese

    Step 2 is exactly what’s wrong with GW’s approach. Their core games do not need to be simplified to appeal to children. GW needs to take Warhammer fantasy and 40k back to its darker roots and make it more adult oriented, so Slaanesh is fine just where he/she is. There is nothing about this hobby that is really for beginners, so GW needs to make a game specifically aimed at kids that is simple and cheap, and gives them the opportunity to learn how to build and paint models, and play wargames, then they can move up. The constant dumbing down is alienating the adult players and turning this hobby into something that really isn’t appropriate for either kids or adults.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      That is the point. WFB becomes the entry game.

    • Marky

      Unless you are in the USA or Iran killing people with weapons isn’t thought of as child friendly. The idea that murder is more kid friendly than desire is probably not widely held in the UK (where they write the wfb story)

  • I like nothing you said here and am super happy I started Napoleonics instead of WHFB last summer. Even as rules change, I will never have to worry about everything being turned over on its head

    • Carnage

      he doesn’t have a clue and is claiming otherwise to have answers or solutions to a rather un-fixable issue/problem. the way they (GW) might fix things is if they stop fantasy as a whole. focus on 40k or something else and give it their all, welcome the community or attempt to build a new one as well. out with the old in with the new. but i totally agree with you Historical Games are awesome. some minor tweaks here or there, but nothing major. (plus models will always be valid, something warhammer “x” edition cannot claim)

      • DoctorBored

        Actually I have a degree in International Business and am drawing from examples that other companies have used to find incredible amounts of success. People may have moaned about Nintendo making their games easier or more family-friendly, but the numbers speak for themselves: they sold butt-tons of Wii-fit pads.

        I believe that the problems with Fantasy can be solved, that GW, if given the time and effort, can start over and do a great job, make something unique and compelling and attractive to kids and veterans.

        • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

          yes but you overlook the fact GW have priced “family friendly” out of the hobby doorway and bounced it down the street before drop kicking it to the curb along with “veteran friendly”. so your business degree doesn’t mean much i am afraid.

        • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

          not sure if my reply went through so i shall retype it out again:

          GW priced family friendly out of the hobby along with kid or veteran friendly. until they know which is their target audience then they are all over the place almost skitzo meaning they cannot use current model of sale to attract either family oriented groups or younger crowd for long term profits. but as GW have proven as long as they make a quick buck it’s all good.

          also i don’t really care what piece of paper that makes a claim that you “know” something.

          • DoctorBored

            You’re cute.

            There are versions of the Nintendo Wii-U that cost over 400 dollars. They only contain one or two controllers. If you want more, they’re about 20-30 dollars a piece, so a full set of four controllers so the whole family can play would be at least another 60 dollars on top of the 440 you’re already paying, and that’s just one game.

            You want more games? 40-60 dollars apiece, and plenty of kids can easily go through a game a month as the new hotness comes out.

            Let’s see.. what does that sound like? 500 dollars just to enter the game, and 60 bucks a month to keep adding to it…

            Sounds a LOT like the same sort of budget GW is going for!

          • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

            *blushes* maybe so. but how many parents are going to buy knowing that it will cost their kid about $1000 to play competitively compared to say $400 (wherever your currency is at $400, here where i am at *the real world* it cost about $280 tops & lets face it most kids are competitive (buy 1 game and some controllers and bam good to go, unlike tabletop gaming). also it might be a one off purchase if they did not enjoy the “hobby aspect” of the “game” or even the game side of the hobby. or their parents would prefer the TV educate and babysit their kids like they themselves were. a Wii on the other hand….well videogames aren’t more popular for nothing.

          • DoctorBored

            You make fair points, but here’s the thing about what’s known as the ‘Target Market’ or the ‘Target Audience’. GW isn’t going for those kids of parents that want games and TV to babysit them. GW is going for those kids that have engaged parents that might help them participate in the hobby, to build their models, to learn the joy of building something and painting something with your own two hands, to learn the joy of participating in a social game, instead of wasting away behind the screen of a computer or iPhone.

            Yes, that population of kid is dwindling, the population of parent that teaches their kids those things is dwindling, but that’s not going to stop GW from trying. They *have* to try, it’s their business, and in my mind it’s that demographic that they need to keep trying to target.

            The latest post on BoLS is about the age of the average wargamer. That scares and encourages GW. The hope is that those older wargamers will teach their kids or nephews or nieces to enjoy the hobby like they have, so they can pass it down, but the worry is that it’s going to become an uncool ‘old person’ game, which will doom it completely.

            And the kids that I’ve seen haven’t been smart enough to be competitive. They play with models that are cool, that they enjoyed building, that they enjoyed painting, that they like the lore of or the weapons of, and they play the game casually because they don’t have the know-how to play competitively. That’s GW’s target audience. It’s why they don’t worry so much about the rules, because tbh, the kids aren’t worried too much about the rules either!

          • Carnage (pax-imperialis)

            i genuinely agree. but with exceptions of competitive. i merely mean’t that kids generally are competitive not in wargaming but more so in everything else. example: computer games.

            also for GW and the hobby future i hope they succeed in drawing in new players (young and old alike).

          • Bobsyouruncle

            Good point , if I’m honest when I was a kid I didn’t care much for the rules but loved the painting , model making and the spectacle of having them on the table top .

  • Deathwing

    still trying to figure out what to do with those 4000 pts of brettonians in the display case…

    • Keep using them. They are as viable today as they were five years ago. We have nothing official on them “dying” or “being squatted” either.

    • Cylux

      Look wistfully at them while drinking brandy, as a single tear streaks down your face.

      • Deathwing

        I dont need any more excuses to drink brandy. or scotch, or bourbon… welll maybe bourbon, but only if its cask strength. oh wait thats the only kind i buy = )

    • Bobsyouruncle

      Don’t get rid of them , the way GW act these days they could easily retcon the new edition within a year or two .

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Time to play D&D!

    • dimonju

      You can use all your warhammer fantasy models by playing Kings of War, which also has free rules.

      • deris87

        Yeah, I’m not as big a fan of the KoW rules but it’s definitely still an option, rather than chucking tgem or leaving them unused.

    • You mean 4000 points of “elf worshippers,…

  • Alex Williams

    Holy Crap! 15 armies?! Compared to

    Imperial guard
    Space marines
    Space wolves
    blood angels
    Dark angels
    Chaos marines
    Chaos Daemons
    Eldar
    – Iyanden
    Dark eldar
    Grey knights
    harlequins
    imperial knights
    inquisition
    khorne Daemonkin
    militarum tempestus
    Necrons
    officio Assassinorum
    orks
    Tau
    – Farsight enclave
    Tyranids
    Adepta Sororitas
    Adeptus Mechanicus

    15 is huuuge!

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      The difference is that the playerbase for 40k is massive enough that it can easily sustain the 14 or so “real” factions and the dozens of sub-factions.

    • AND you can mix and match to your hearts content.

      BTW you forgot sentinels of Terra and clan raukken (sp?)

    • DoctorBored

      Indeed! 40k is now bloating up just like Fantasy is bloated now, but the reason that 40k is bloating is because it is GROWING.

      Fantasy, on the other hand, already has a bunch of bloat. It hasn’t grown in a while, hence no new factions. Instead, it’s shrinking, and shrinking company assets are pared down to what sells, getting rid of the chaff that doesn’t.

      • Bobsyouruncle

        I feel the real problem is not the number of factions but that in recent years GW have mismanaged the process of bringing in new and younger players which once upon a time they were very good at . Having lots of factions can be a benefit because it gives people choice and scope but at the moment the entry cost and lack of stepping stone games like Mordheim is starving the main game of new recruits. Simply reducing the number of factions wont save the game but will just add to the general downward spiral .

  • Carnage

    unless price is fixed good luck making fantasy or 40k “family friendly”…..GW isn’t even “veteran friendly” and look how that is working.

  • Alessandro Azzone

    “and they’ve been doing great with the recent 40k releases.” is it a joke?

    • DoctorBored

      Have you SEEN how well Harlequins have sold? Have you SEEN how many people are excited for Adeptus Mechanicus?

      • Alessandro Azzone

        Not as many as the ones who stopped bothering with the complete mess the game had become considering sale are down.

  • Carnage

    why release an armybook/codex at all if they literally are gonna make a dex/book release once every 12 months. say goodbye non existent game testing and say hello to a mess of rules…..oh wait we already have that last bit…..can’t imagine it being much worse…..oh wait i can imagine it being worse. (that’s what we can expect to look forward to)

  • Senexis

    If GW wants to appeal to kids, they need to get into console games or iPod apps. Kids don’t hobby anymore – even their Lego is called Minecraft these days, and thinking they can suck them into what has become an older man’s thing is fallacy.

    I ran a GW back when the PS2 was released, and I’ve been watching this trend for a while. Console games and iPod apps are immediate and immersive, and painting toy soldiers is no competition. Nor is the GW price point.
    If you want a future, GW, wake up to who your real audience has become.

    • Carnage

      warhammer legos why hasn’t this happened yet. i’d totally be down with something like that. get my nephew into warhammers legos. shame i sold my $15k worth of legos now.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      They have many successful games on Android.

      • Senexis

        Yeah, cool. What I probably should have highlighted is that last point. As far as their toy soldier lines go, they should give up on the fantasy of kids and market to their real audience.

  • Michael Gerardi

    So, GW’s master plan and hope for salvation is to treat vets like mushrooms and focus on 9-year-old brats with ADHD and daddies with too much money.
    Do we need any further justification for OLDHAMMER?

  • Andrew

    The big problem is that you need too many frickin’ models to play a decent game. Even if you have enough disposable income to get into the hobby (like me) and buy a whole bunch of plastic, you may have other things going on which means you have a whole shelf full of unpainted plastic. (sadly also like me)

    Fantasy doesn’t even have that many factions, 15 is a lot sure, but they could have 3 factions or 30 factions, and it still wouldn’t matter if you have to buy 200+ toy soldiers at $2-$10 a piece, plus a couple of $50 books just to play a game. That is what is off putting for most people looking to getting into playing. 40k has the same problem, but that’s mitigated a bit by how many people have a Space Marine army of some sort, since those have such a smaller model count. Both systems have seen a huge decline in my area, in favor of games with a lower investment of time and money.

    Then again if they introduce some really good skirmish rules, maybe we will see an uptake again. Time will tell.

    • The only time you have to buy 200+ models is if you’re doing something like skaven or an all goblin army.

      My chaos army is less than 50 models. My elves are 50-70 models depending on what build I want to do. My empire army is about 50-60 models. (these are at 2000 – 2250 pts)

      Those are the same numbers as my 40k armies are at standard sizes.

      My guard infantry army has 145 models in it for contrast at 2000 pts.

      • Andrew

        200 is a bit of an exaggeration, for sure, unless you want to have a variety of units to choose from. Let’s take my Dark Elves for an example: in a 2500 point game, which is largely agreed to be the “sweet spot” for games, I may run 40 spearmen, 20 crossbowmen, 10 dark riders, 20 corsairs, 5 doomfire warlocks, 5 cold one knights, a chariot, 2 bolt throwers, and characters. That’s over 100 models for a single game. That’s not even taking into account any other units a player would maybe want to have on hand for variety in their list building. (Granted I’m a completist, so I own a unit of almost everything, many players don’t, I’m well aware) A friend of mine has a Wood Elves and a High Elves army, and he takes even more infantry than I do.

        I will agree with you though, 40k can be just as bad, if you aren’t playing only Space Marines. Hell, even Chaos relies on cultists now, pushing their numbers up even more.

        The point being, just compare the startup costs of a Fantasy (or 40k army, being honest) where you’re paying over $100 just for the core rules and an army book, and then a starter army that will set you back close to $200, plus paint, and even then you’re only looking at maybe 1000 points, tops. It really becomes a no brainer as to why new players jump into Bolt Action, Malifaux, Infinity, or whatever instead, where they feel like they’re getting their money’s worth after only spending around a hundred bucks, and they’re willing to spend more afterwards to enhance their gaming experience. *I* personally love GW’s IP, and their games, and their new models as of late, but they’ve got to reduce the time and money required to get a good gaming experience if they are gonna get new players in.

        • Oh yeah I’m not arguing the start up cost to play fantasy and 40k are higher. If money is the #1 priority when choosing a game, GW games would definitely be eschewed for skirmish scale games where you only need a handful of models.

          For me, I got into it based on the spectacle of two largish armies clashing and thats what drives me so I had to come to terms that that means spending more.

      • Marky

        Yea, you don’t have to buy that many models (you don’t need any if u use proxy) , but my skaven, goblin and undead army’s have way more than 200

  • coeffinger

    Fantasy is the best miniatures game ever. I hope they don’t F it up….

  • Spit-Burn

    If this article gets any more pollyanna, I’ll choke on my own vomit.

    In essence, it’s another spin on the ‘we had to destroy the village to save it’ argument. Babies, bathwater etc.

    • DoctorBored

      Yep! I didn’t say it was the right thing to do, but companies regularly rebrand themselves to appeal to new market audiences. This is what GW is probably going to be doing with Fantasy.

  • RexScarlet

    1) Sound Rules, get back to the basics, Short Bow, Bow, Long Bow, Crossbow, etc. stop making up a million different “special” rules for the same things, players will obviously choose the unit/army with the best “special” rules. History has shown codex creep and imbalance leaves crap units/armies collecting dust on store shelves and in the GW warehouse. There were reasons for Halberds verses Spears, verses Pikes, do not make those reason obsolete. GW you do not need to make super-duper-special rules to sell miniatures, have not you learned that yet, players will just not play. DBA (DBR, etc.) has sound rules, but also has Elephants to Cannons, maybe take a hint from that.
    .
    2) Mordheim; We had success with using just the basic book, but allowing “counts as” armies (Orks, Lizardmen, etc. counts as human, vampire, etc.), and it brought out some great scratch-builds, GW needs a way to incorporate all races, but avoid #1 above.
    .
    3) Multi-Player battles rules, FLGS have limited table space, and new players need to start small; Mordheim, then multi-player, then one on one games.
    .
    Making WHFB the “everything and the kitchen sink” mess 40k 7e is, is probably what will happen, and more players will leave, and less players will start, mainly because of the price tag attached.

    • Bobsyouruncle

      Some good ideas there , building up forces or armies in a graduated way with interesting specialist games like Mordheim is the way to go . A simplified , slim downed rule set for newbs would be a big help while maintaining the full rules for experienced players . 2000-2500 point games are great but more could be done to make 1000 point games popular . Way back in WD 153 they had a battle report featuring 1000 points of Brets trying to stop a 1000 points of Dwarves breaking into a tomb defended by about 200 points of undead . Total model count per side was about 30 figures but it made for one of the best battle reports WD ever did .

      • RexScarlet

        Yes, FLGS stores have limited table space, MTG and etc. competition for said space, so large is no longer the norm; two players take up one 4×6 table, or 4-6 MTG players, hmmmmm…
        .
        If you have a good group, look up DBA and DBR, DBR at year 1700 is a hoot, elephants to great cannons, to naked guys with slings, possibilities are endless, and cheap.

  • Trevor Malkin

    Sorry to say but after reading this all I can say is what a load of rubbish.

    • DoctorBored

      You’re totally entitled to your opinion. 🙂

      • ImpactUK

        Yes but it would expect an artical to have some grounding in fact not 100% fiction.

  • guillaumetexas

    Simple GW, make a warhammer fantasy boardgame (1-4 players), where kids can learn all about the lore and play with a few models per players ( I am reminded of the very successful kickstarter game Blood Rage) Play time of 1-2hrs with easy and advanced rules. Expansions allow warhammer Fantasy Battle players to use their own models in the game. Start the base game with Empire, Chaos, Orks and Dwarf.

    • Marky

      Sounds a bit too much like specialist games…

    • RexScarlet

      They did that, it was called Battle Masters by MB was sold in GW stores in the way way back…

  • Scott Sprague

    GW not alienating veterans? My Sisters would like to have a talk…

  • Elliott Gaal

    The thing is bits company offer some parts that enhance the customisability of the minis.

  • sloth42

    as of today I have heard via the horses mouth there is a brand new army for fantasy appearing in the summer( as the same for the new 40k army releasing this week)

    • DoctorBored

      That’s certainly interesting, but is it a new army for 9th edition added on top of all the existing ones, or is it just the first army of 9th edition?

  • WestFargo Dave

    They’re Orcs in WFB. Doggone it. Clean out the garage inbetween your !@#!%#& ears! LOL… Just some mock nerd rage for no particular reason…

    • DoctorBored

      I tried man, I keep getting Orc and Ork confused!

  • onlyonepinman

    I have to disagree with the sentiment that there’s too much choice. If that’s the case how do you explain 40k which currently has 18 factions (discounting the Inquisition and Officio Assassinorum), is about to add a 19th faction (Adeptus Mechanicus) and is rumoured to be adding a 20th faction (Genestealer Cults). It has as much, if not more, ” overlap” between factions in that has 3 types of Space Elf (Eldar, Dark Eldar and now Harlequins), two types of vanilla humans (Astra Militarum and Militarum Tempestus) and no less than 6 “super human” factions 5 of which are space marine flavoured (Sisters of Battle, Space Marines, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Space Wolves and Grey Knights). Even Infinity, a much younger game by comparison, has 8 factions each of which can be played as sub-factions. Kings of War by Mantic has 9 factions with dedicated model ranges and plans, I believe, to add a further 2 factions. There are also army lists for additional factions that have no model ranges so you can use armies by other miniatures companies.

    If having too much choice is a failing of WFB, which has 15 factions and no obvious plans to add more, then how come 40k, with it’s 5 extra factions is so successful? Why is Kings of War growing in popularity whilst increasing the number of available factions? The amount of variety of warhammer as a reason it is unsuccessful is nonsense. I don’t have the answer to the question of why WFB has fallen into decline, but I am fairly confident that the range of choices available to new players is not it.