Inside the Boardroom: Games Workshop’s Profit Machine


A professional investor heads into Nottingham’s annual general meeting and returns with a full report of what makes GW tick:

via Richard Beddford on Interactive Investor

Columnist of Money Observer magazine Richard Beddford attended Games Workshop’s latest General Annual Meeting in Nottingham, and got the rundown of what the company is up to from the members of the board.  Here are some excerpts of his thoughts:


Games Workshop AGM: A Relentless profit machine

I came to the AGM wondering whether Games Workshop was alive to the risk that it is serving a diminishing band of nostalgic modellers who are prepared to spend a lot of money on intricate miniatures they will probably never use in battle, while through price rises, rule changes, and staff reductions at Games Workshop stores, the company has alienated new recruits who cannot afford armies of figures, and frankly aren’t that bothered about how pretty they are.

…Rountree’s main preoccupation is recruitment. He and Kirby have spent the last five years returning the business to high levels of profitability by taking out cost. Now, if it’s to grow, the new lean profit machine must recruit new storekeepers, particularly in continental Europe and North America. It’s a hard job, he says, running a one-man Warhammer store, and the company’s tough love, it supports managers who “want to continue in the job”, contributes to a 30% turnover rate.

…The company’s attitude towards customers is as clinical as its attitude towards staff. If you don’t like what it’s selling. You’re not a customer. The company believes only a fraction of the population are potential hobbyists, and it’s not interested in the others.

…I’m told that the word “Game” in Games Workshop encourages the misconception that games are its business, but that only about 20% of Games Workshop’s customers are gamers. The rest are modellers and collectors. Maybe half of them think about playing now and then. The other half have no intention. People actually walk into the stores because they’re curious about modelling fantastic armies.

…When another shareholder asks if the company would sell games with pre-painted easy to assemble miniatures like the popular Star Wars themed X-Wing game, there’s a collective growl from the Games Workshop people. It wouldn’t be a hobby business then, it would be a toy company.



Go read the entire piece.  It’s fascinating.  Normally these types of write-ups are done by financial folks who know little to nothing about what Game Workshop actually does, and even less about the details of thier product lines, customer sentiment, and the industry in general.

This piece is interesting because Mr. Beddford has done his research and is asking the right questions and paying attention to the key answers.  Thus we get the further emphasis on models over games, the internal difficulty in recruiting and retaining retail staff, the long-term investment in Age of Sigmar (which I’m assuming is here to stay for very long time), and over and over the “we know what we are doing” and “it’s my way or the highway” philosophy he is reporting.

Then you get to some of the company’s internal distinctions between how it sees itself and it’s competitors.  If you play Age of Sigmar for example, there is an 80% chance you are a hobbyist and collector (and maybe a gamer) in GW’s eyes.  If you buy X-Wing miniatures, you are playing with toys.

It’s clear that GW knows at this point it can’t belt-tighten it’s way out of it’s current situation, and has a clear plan on how to grow in the future.

~ Whether gamers as opposed to hobbyists are part of that future seems to be the real question open to debate.

  • So where did they learn only 20% of us game? When was that study done? If that is the case ebay after sales would be nonexistent because everyone is collecting…

    On top of that, how can you reconcile that statistic, which is at best a guess and at worst irresponsible ignorance, with your stated goal and business plan to recruit teenagers/young adults? Especially this generation know for its gaming and gamer culture. Another indicator should be the resurgence of board games and the wild success of FFG and Privateer Preas. People want games idiots. If I wanted a collection I would choose one that has potential value increase… which for 90% of hobbyists our paint jobs don’t do that.

    • Elanthanis

      To be fair, it’s been years since I played a game. I did continue building armies (albeit very, very slowly). I’d pick up a box that I intended to work on, let life get in the way, model and paint a few, and then move on to whatever came next. Recently, I chose to give away (not sell) my collection because it made little sense for me to continue engaging in a hobby I had neither the time nor bandwidth to take up. I was initially excited that Age of Sigmar might have just what I needed to start gaming once more, but the opposite appeared to be true. I can’t put my finger on it, but the magic is gone. Looking back, I recognize my collection as something that’s more like an addiction than a rational behavior. Whatever. I enjoyed it while it lasted. I hope someone else has fun with it.

      The offhand quip about X-Wing from the staff that it’s a “toy company” is somewhat amusing. Of course it’s a toy company for collectors, many of whom game. The same is true of every Games Workshop product. For most, the models produced by FFG are far better painted than they can produce after picking up a box from a shop. They work equally well as display pieces, and require a much lower initial or completionist investment (though the per-unit price is higher).

      • If they aren’t expecting people to play games with their models, then what is the difference between them selli by incomplete kits to build and the toy company Lego?

        • Elanthanis

          Exactly nothing. And Lego is more socially acceptable. There’s even a blockbuster children’s movie about an adult’s obsession with Lego starring one of the most well-known comedians in the world.

          I’ll also add that there’s nothing stopping me from repainting an X-Wing miniature or any other company’s models.

          I also take back what I said about the per-unit price. I just looked at their new releases. What the heck happened, there?

          • New star wars coming out. Money to be made.

        • Purple-Stater

          The real “proof in the pudding” about what kind of company they are, I think, is rather proven by the number of models that they have ever produced that are *NOT* linked to a game.

      • NikosanPrime

        I have to agree here, I stopped playing because of the rules, and a new child, but I still think about picking up boxes that I can kit bash into better models. Because I still like the hobby side of things, even if I cannot stomach the rules. But I may just be the minority.

        • Matthew

          You are not good sir… I am in the same boat.

        • Muninwing

          if the rules got better, and as your child gives you a little more room to not be at home, wouldn’t you play more?

          i’m in the same boat myself right now. i’ve only played a bit of 40k since 7th dropped, but i keep up from home on major issues, and i read all the new rules. i had stopped palying WHF, because the rules — both on the army level and overall — were prohibitive to me having fun with them. and if the game is not fun, i have better things to do with my time.

          incidentally, you know who has control over that? it’s not me that writes other armies into win-button nonsense. it’s not me that promotes power-builds, or sets me at a disadvantage by having made the wrong army choice years ago. better rules, better balance, and better product quality control mean happier players… who then spend more money. no idea why GW actively seems to torpedo this.

      • euansmith

        Frostgrave is a fun set of rules for small scale fantasy games that allows a lot of space for conversion and kit bashing. Otherworld is a similarly small scale game, though with even more scope for modelling.

    • Locke

      The whole “we are a model company not a games company” thing seems like the lie that’s become too big not to be true. If that’s what they have been basing their entire sales strategy and internal training of their staff on then to suddenly turn around and start promoting the gaming aspect would leave a lot of upper management looking pretty stupid. I remember reading about some guy doing training with GW and being told somewhat cockily by the trainer that his assertion that the “gamers were an important sales demographic” was wrong.

      I can only speak for myself and my friends but when we did play Warhammer and 40k we were buying and painting the models pretty much exclusively for the battles. The lore was a major complement to that and actually collecting models as a show piece was dead last. No-one was buying models from multiple ranges we were all focused on building our armies and I never met anyone who was buying in that manner. Maybe there really is a huge silent majority of affluent collectors but if there is then I suspect it’s all of the older generation. Focusing on them in the long term is a losing strategy.

      • daboarder

        if it were even remotely true they wouldnt have felt the need to scrap WHFB, because it is, currently, only the “game” that they felt the need to revitalise. Or more appropriately, by scrapping the game they hope to revitalise the product as a whole, hardly the action of a company that considers itself a “model company only” and thinks that gamers only make up 20% of its market.

        • I dunno, now they have an excuse to make collectors buy all new scenery, new factions, and updates of factions they may have already collected. How would you get away with that by just evolving the game the way they had?

          And bear in mind they have sales figures to prove what is happening with the old system.

          • daboarder

            buy changing the name so that it worked within the framework of the old setting, supper easy to justify a chaos castle

          • You’re thinking too small. The fluff for AoS allows them to go much bigger than that.

            Plus the Chaos castle can be used in 40K, so they can use that to pull new players across. If they like skulls. 🙂

      • euansmith

        A model company that sells reams of poorly written rule books 😉

        • DeadlyYellow

          – Mass produce for about $3 a piece.
          – Sell for $58 a piece.

          All hail the profit machine.

          • Echo

            Money still has to go into development, marketing, resources, tools, staff, advertising, distribution, etc, etc. These things are not $3 a piece, and every link in the chain has to get a cut.

          • DeadlyYellow

            Aww cute. Good to see I riled up someone enough to make an account. Bit of a waste of a first post though.

          • Echo

            My mistake. I should know better than to try to educate haters.

          • DeadlyYellow

            This post is amusingly salty and I want to give a proper reply, but I just can’t come up with anything appropriately witty.

          • Echo

            No worries. Have a great day.

          • You know they make their money from selling ads to companies that are not GW, and are only running articles about GW to get people like you so riled up you keep visiting the site and making them money, don’t you?

            They’re using you, man! 🙂

          • DeadlyYellow

            Oh yeah adspace, forgot about that. Out of sight, out of mind I guess.

        • NovaeVox

          Ha. That’s what I was thinking too. If they see themselves as a model company, why are they throwing out rule books at an unprecedented rate now?

          They could just go the Andrea/Tamiya/Scale75 route, kick their heels up and call it profit. In fact, FW *used* to sell larger scale display minis. I think their ancient space marine figurine is still hanging around their online store.

          Then look at Codex Daemonkin, which nobody asked for, (Yes, some players wanted mono-god *legion* rules, not necessarily Khorne-flavored renegades.) and, which got no new models, save for the new ‘Thirster tri-kit, technically.

          It’s like they’re doing everything possible to undermine themselves at both ends of the market spectrum.

      • Dimreaper

        I think the key to understanding this is looking at the motivation. I know it’s pretty obvious, but Games Workshop are concerned purely in their own way of doing things. It’s dangerously Black Snow thinking, that if they stick to the same mantra, they can’t be wrong.

        The motivation behind the “We’re a Miniatures Company” rhetoric is because they are tired from the years upon years that they have received massive amounts of criticism for their writing. Rather than address the years upon years of poor quality writing, they simply hand-wave the responsibility. It’s the same trick as they’ve done with removing specific author names from their books and just always putting “Produced by the Games Workshop Design Studio” and similar vague credits. It’s not like they’ve actually fired anyone for sucking, so the fanbase suffers a spiteful “try and notice now” cop-out. Likewise, Forging the Narrative, throwing in loads of arbitrary tables, and the new one, forcing players to balance (or not) their armies and even do so without a points system.

        It’s nice that we’ve got some influence back on how we game, but it’s not because GW cares about our enjoyment of their games. It’s forced on us as a sort of “if it’s so bad, YOU sort it out” attitude. The way they’ve done it is not helpful. It’s almost as if they begrudge any work to make any of their ideals, such as the Spirit of the Game, or Forging the Narrative actually work in the ways that they suggest. Instead of them offering promising ways of making the gaming aspect enjoyable, they instead come across as quick and barely thought through “go and play then” writing that are there for the sake of it, rather than truly acting on their ideals.

        Couple that with the fact that if the rules barely mattered at all, why are they so blatantly corporate? Why are they geared to make the new models the new cheese, along with anything from a faction you didn’t buy last time.

        Pretty much any change is about addressing damage control. I have a hard time believing that Games Workshop gives much of a toss for its fanbase. I’m sure the apologists will say that’s the fault of the “whiners”, but this is nonsense. Games Workshop are a company. If they let criticism affect their attitude, that is unprofessional and thus not worthy of custom.

        Games Workshop will never admit fault. They’ll go bankrupt first. Frankly, I don’t expect that to happen. They’re kind of right about the fanbase. They’ll buy anything, and put up with any nonsense. I’m not excluded from that, sadly.

    • sandwyrm

      Even a top-notch paint job will rarely earn you back more than you paid for the models themselves. Something that I know from personal experience.

      • Yeah, you have to BE AMAZING

      • ThorOdinson

        I don’t know. I’ve sold some models which I didn’t think were that great on eBay and made monster profits off of them. Like a $325 Imperial Knight with a purple paint job and a terrible right arm conversion (some damn fool thought it’d be a good idea to stick a thermal cannon on the back of the battle cannon).

        • Shawn

          Lol I have that Knight now! Someone in my local area must have picked it up on ebay from you and then I got it from, suffice it to say its been repainted and the thermal cannon has been fixed (it was the thermal cannon arm with the Battle cannon barrel and gun shield glued to the back.)

        • sandwyrm

          I’ve done well with single units/models before, especially old fantasy stuff. But on the whole even well-painted stuff doesn’t do much better than getting you back what you originally paid for the kits.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      If collectors were 80%, then why bother changing from WHFB to AoS? Why would killing WHFB benefit them if their market was collectors when some of the greatest models they have ever made (Nagash, Glottkin etc) were made for the WHFB End Times? Why bother updating codices, why not just let them run? Why have so many staff writing rules? This 80/20 statistic is obviously a lie aimed at deflecting investor anxiety when investors hear people are unhappy with the game. That’s the only reason I can think of that GW would say this.

      Of course it may be an artifact of their market research. If they have 10 kids come through the door and buy a box, only 2 come back and buy something else like some rules and play a game, do they count 80% of their customers as collectors because they have one badly painted box of minis under their bed? Perhaps they count the tens of thousands of players who hate what they have done to the games and thus no longer play (but haven’t yet ebayed their armies because they hope GW will change) as collectors, even though they buy practically nothing?

      Either way it saddens me that GW obviously know so little about their market. It explains bad behaviour that impacts on gamers, such as the lack of FAQs. I imagine eventually this will be a self fulfilling prophecy, as the game gets worse and more expensive to pursue with the ever increasing pace of rules updates and they haemorrhage players eventually it may reach the 80/20 split they describe.

      • Because collectors will collect AoS in the same way they collected the original WHFB. It’s teh new shiny.

        Collectors obviously had collected all they were going to collect of WHFB.

        The difference between WHFB and 40K is that 40K is futuristic and can literally go anywhere. The Old World setting can’t change that much and still be the Old World.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          thats not how collector work. They are much more likely to continue to buy something they are already invested in, so they have the new models for the faction they collect. A whole new line is an opportunity to lose the goodwill of collectors, not gain it. If this is what GW thinks, then no wonder they are going bust, with such a slim grasp of the psychology of what they perceive to be their core market.

      • DeadlyYellow

        Maybe they go strictly by the numbers of kits to rulebooks sold for their army building games.

    • Spacefrisian

      Well they found 5 blokes on the street just passing by GW HQ and only 1 of them gamed, the other 4 just got a bag of lotr models they had around collecting dust and they seemed interested, 1 out of 5 is 20%….something along those lines.

      • Jamie Garrett

        HA! I bet they asked the builders working on the tram line outside the HQ!

      • benn grimm

        I reckon it was just an internal memo in the studio; ‘Do any of you still play our games? (don’t worry you wont be fired), and 4 guys (the old guard) said yeah, i still play..;)

    • Well, one would have to assume they are analysing the sales figures, which is one thing that nobody outside GW has.

      They would be able to reconcile for each customer (and they have credit card data to identify a sizable proportion of customers) what is being bought, and extrapolate from that a trend. With the large number of customers they do have in stores and direct, it’s a better sampling than an election opinion poll.

      The thing is, none of those 80% collectors have any reason to come on BoLS and make themselves heard, so if you get all your informed opinions from the internet (or even a FLGS), you will see a skewed “market”.

      • Most US sales though are not through GW directly. And sales data cannot indicate games played outside of stores.

        • Frank Krifka

          But games played outside of stores don’t make them any money. GW doesn’t make money from games, they make money from selling models. The motivation for people to buy models is their own, and GW is not really able to track people’s intentions. All they can really track is sales data. I think this is why they referred to their customers as “collectors”, rather than gamers.

          • Muninwing

            why make the claim either way, if it’s not something they have studied? or *can* predict with the information they collect?

          • Frank Krifka

            I’ll bet they have studied it. But again, they an only study sales data. And while they can’t track resales through eBay, any sales through eBay are still third party sales, which guarantee GW can track.

          • Muninwing

            let me rephrase it then:

            how do they know why i have bought the product of theirs that i have bought?

            if they claim that 80% of their customers do not play their games… and they do as any remotely responsible statistician does, and check for a correlation to 80% of their sales go toward not being played on the tabletop, how did they determine that?

            are they including the LotR/Hobbit numbers in that? given the mysterious “no, it’s totally popular somewhere else” responses everyone seemed to get about their popularity (a game company’s “canadian girlfriend”), was probably 80% popular with collectors.

            you dont assume the outlier is the norm, unless your statistician/analyst was totally faking their credentials and was actually larry the alocholic from the mail room wearing a wig and a fake goatee…

            last box i bought wasn’t festooned with a survey about what i was planning on doing with those models. are they looking for patterns? how do they map that, when people pay cash? do they see that i once bought goblin Wolf Riders but never any other goblin products and assume i’m only painting them instead of using them to convert wolf-Centigors?

            what about people who originally only painted, but who have come to playing over time? or vice versa — people who have become frustrated with GW’s many failures and decide to only paint for enjoyment instead of seeing yet another change rob them of a fun game?

            unless i missed a survey…? did any such survey exist? do they ask that when people order from them? do they ask from 3rd party retailers? they certainly take no note of tournament results, given their poor effort toward rulings or FAQs. they have no registration or ranking system, such as Chess or Fencing do (though i’d love to see that change…). how do they even know how many active players there are, and how do they mark one as an active player?

            i didn’t unpack my WHF case nor buy any WHF models for over two years (considering what they did to the game, it was imposssible for me to get a match with anyone), but i still considered myself a player… is there an expiration date on that? when i make armies, even ones i never intend to play, i make them tabletop standard… do they still count if i want to play but do not for awhile?

            as far as i am aware, they have zero ability to chart what their product is being used for. thus, to not only make a statement about “only 20%…” but to build the entire company’s business model around the idea, should be an indication to shareholders to immediately replace the upper management.

            the level of bad leadership involved in GW’s decisions over the last half-decade it astounding.

          • Frank Krifka

            Do they track Muninwings purchases specifically? No. Do they track how many of each box type? Yes. do they track the sales of a particular shop over time? yes. Do they track repeat sales via the website logins? absolutely. Can they match website account purchase to credit card purchase made in store? Possibly.

            They do not claim that 80% of people do not play their games, they claim that 80% of their sales are primarily to collectors. That is to say, people who collect a range of miniatures. I imagine that is is rough figure priced together from extrapolating sales of codex and rule sets to sales of models. But truthfully, I don’t know exactly how those figures are calculated.

            your examples are all reasonable, but I don;t think they’re the norm. I think it very possible that the “gaming” and “collector” function overlap. But it’s more likely that of that overlap, they re referring to people primarily as “collectors” rather than primarily being “gamers”. For example, I get to play a game maybe every 2 months or so. I have bucketloads of unbuilt models in my studio, from a mishmash of armies. Some for conversion, some for filling a spot in my army lists, some because I like they way they look even if they’re not tournament optimal. I spend maybe 2-3 hours a day painting, 4 days a week. That’s 28 hours a month, or roughly 60 hours every two months. an average game takes about 5-6 hours from arrival, set-up to tear down. That translates to roughly 10% of my time is spent gaming. I imagine then, that I am 90% collector and 10% gamer. I also image that these stats are roughly average.

            I also imagine your much more likely to see people purchasing GW models fall primarily in the “collector” category, who occasionally game. People whoa re mainly interested in the “gaming” aspect do not NEED to buy GW models, if all they care about is playing the game. One could easily play 40K with Warmahordes minis, or even GI-Joes if they did so choose. Those people are not at all of interest to GW because the financial investment of that type of gamer is of little consequence compared to those of use who have stacks and stacks of built grey plastic.

          • Muninwing

            having records of sales is different from having studied the market. that’d be like me claiming that via sales figures of various kinds of sliced of cheeses at grocery stores i could predict that only 20% of people used that cheese on sandwiches, and the rest all ate it toasted with a glass of milk.

            or, based on sales of high-end cookware, predict how often people ordered chinese instead of cooking.

            i understand that the percentage of people who only play, and do not paint or model, is low. i understand that many people add to their collection as collectors and painters and modelers, and do not (or rarely so) ever play with the whole of their collection.

            but how do THOSE people look at themselves?

            if “not a player, just a collector” is a designation, where do you define the dropoff?

            i’ll admit… i stopped playing WHF. but i never stopped being a player — i was just waiting for the company to fix the mess they made, and was not playing until it was less not-fun to play a broken game with a badly-constructed army ruleset against broken win-button armies. but my purchases were play-driven — i’d make a new unit to convert that’d look neat once they hit the table, i’d buy a new unit that i could convert into theme and field once my hiatus was over because i’d never tried them.

            but without the game, i’m not going to bother buying the models.

            i am not saying everyone is like me. what i am saying is that the available information cannot tell GW any of this, and it’s a vital part of what should be their sales strategy — know how to sell a product to people based on how they view the use and purpose of said product.

          • Frank Krifka

            As I said before, i don’t know how they analyze the data they have, nor am I entirely sure what they have at their disposal. But you can tell quite a bit from sales figures alone. Cheese is not a good example, because it’s not a luxury item, and you don’t collect cheese anymore than you collect steaks. A better example would be decorative spoons, or cat mugs. Can you use them for tea? Yes. do some people buy one and use it for tea? Yes. But largely they are “collected” and displayed in sets, with the majority of the time they are not being used for tea.

            You admit yourself that, “the percentage of people who only play, and do not paint or model, is low. i understand that many people add to their collection as collectors and painters and modelers, and do not (or rarely so) ever play with the whole of their collection.” Which is, exactly my (and I’m fairly certain also exactly GW’s) point. How those people see themselves is irrelevant to GW. You can see yourself as collector or gamer, but all that really matters is your spending habits. Gamers buy “the game” and “playing the game” is whats important. Models not so much. “collectors” lavish attention on their models, find “counts as” options for models they like the look of, but dislike the rules for. They buy two boxes to convert one unit (doubling the price). These are actions of people who are primarily collectors, not gamers.

            I think your description of your activities, qualifies you as a collector who games occasionally. I think it would be naive to think that GW doesn’t expect that collectors will play the game. And I don’t think thats what they meant by the above statement. I think it has more to do with purchasing habits than how players see themselves. A person who is primarily a gamer buys the game, dice, codex and rulebook. Doesn’t care about sculpts, plays with what he has. Imperial guard models are green plastic soldiers. Tyranids are stuffed animals. They don’t care about GW models, because they don’t have any interest in collecting an army. Maybe they buy one or two to get started, but they’re primarily interested in having access to the rules.

            That pretty much the exact opposite of what you’ve described. You buy models for particular rages for your collection. I assume you paint them, and even if they re grey plastic, you put them together which takes time and attention. You might have a Blood Angel stand in for a Dark Angel if you don’t have one available, but if one comes up on Ebay at the right price, you’ll buy it and add it to your collection. You’ll convert a model whose pose you don’t like, or proxy it for another entirely. These are the actions of a collector, one who may use the rules to guide his purchases, but primarily, your money and time go toward MODELS; Not RULES.

          • Muninwing

            i buy models.

            i paint models.

            i convert models.

            i amass large volumes of models.

            … so i can play the game.

            if there was not a game, i would not do any of these things.

            when the game has been bad, i have quit. the second half of 5th was a hiatus for me, as was 8th WHF. bad rules, cheez builds abounding, not fun to play.

            that’s why i’ve been saying “where do you draw the line?”

            because it’s not what you spend your money on, it’s why that matters. and they are only looking at the what.

          • Frank Krifka

            and you do all that when you don’t HAVE to to play the game. The reason you collect is not important, the fact that you collect is what makes you collector.

            The what is more important than the why. They are only looking at the factor that generates income for them. The terms “collector” and “gamer” describe spending habits, not intentions or the way their customers see themselves.

          • Muninwing

            … but again, without the game, i would not collect.

            and when the game got bad, i stopped.
            contrary to the blame game after WHF folded (there is no world in which AoS is its successor past copy-pasted names), sales for WHF did not plummet or dry up because the models were subpar. or because the veteran players failed to support their company.

            it is the company’s job to create product to be sold. GW created subpar product for WHF in the rules department for years, and sales sank accordingly.

            if only 20% are players, then why did rules have such an effect on sales?

            all i’m trying to assert with this whole chain of comments is a simple truth: in the past, GW has claimed they do no market research. their sales models and company focus are at odds with their customer base, to the point that they alienated a large chunk of their regular loyal customers. and they seem to not understand that many of their decisions over the last decade or so have been directly contributing to their product sales sinking.

            … and perhaps some actual market research might help this. because what they are doing seems ineffective in yielding the figures they are claiming.

            i don’t HAVE to collect. and now that WHF is dead, and AoS is just not my thing, i will wait until the market is not bottomed out (if that ever happens) and i will sell all my WHF models, or i will find a way to repurpose them toward a 40k army, or i will find a new game to play with rules that i don’t think are childishly simplified. i will not buy more just to buff up my collection. i will just shelf them, box them, and wait until i can find something worthwhile to do with them, since the value of said collection has plummeted for me.

            without the game.

            so tell me again that i am primarily a collector, and that GW’s estimation of 20% is in line with reality, and then tell me that their business plans based on this misconception are a good idea. please. go ahead.

          • Frank Krifka

            Yes. GW created a game for players to use their COLLECTIONS with. Rules may motivate your sales, but it’s not rules alone. You buy models because you like them. (if that’s not true, then why proxy? Hell why buy models at all?)

            You don’t need models to play the game. You are primarily a collector, who games occasionally. I think the estimate the 20% is anecdotal but quite in line with my comments posted above. I actually think their business plan is decent, but only time and sales will tell.

            You can huff and puff all you want. You’re a collector. The reasons why you collect are your own.

          • Muninwing

            ok. you’re taking a silly stand on a tangental issue. good to know.

            you don’t happen to work in GW’s HQ, do you? because this is the exact level of irrelevance that their guess has on the situation. and i wouldn’t base an international marketing strategy on your beliefs on this issue either.

          • Frank Krifka

            Tangential? I thought this was the whole reason for the last 6 posts you made…

            Aside from that, I think your being intentionally dense. I don’t work at GW headquarters, but being able to see the thinking behind comments like these without getting nerd rage about “arrogance and blatant disregard” (or whatever buzz words the vocal minority use these days) makes things a lot easier.

            In the end, we’ll need numbers to come to any sort of conclusion how well the strategy is doing, but if you think your not a collector just because you game, you’re splitting hairs. McDonalds characterizes any customer who buys products from them twice a week as “heavy users” regardless of how they see themselves or why, thats what corporate calls them. You buy a bunch of models, your a collector. You buy every single codex (how many codexes do you own anyway? Do you own any codexes for armies you don’t have models for?) and play with bottle-caps, you’re a gamer. Thats the distinction they’re making; and I think its an appropriate one.

            You can get self righteous about it all you want, but it won’t change the fact that your a collector by those definitions.

          • Gennadios

            Ebay is only a third party sale if someone buys current minis and sells them directly on ebay in the same financial quarter.

            The majority of models on ebay are long out of print, assuming those models aren’t chinese recasts, they did make GW some money at some point, but long enough past as to be irrelevant.

            I’ll go as far as to say that Sigmar was an attempt by GW to invalidate older models in circulation by forcing a change in style, but that would have meant that somebody at Games Workshop thought that the rule and settings books had enough pull even with ‘collectors’ to force the switch.

          • Muninwing

            have you been on ebay? i don’t think mos of what you said is correct based on what i’ve seen.

            then again, i think it matters what you search for.

            there are tons of new bitz, recent models, NIB, etc. more, i’d say, than old stuff.

          • Gennadios

            My entire SM army is OOP Ebay purchased (I guess I’m just a ‘collector’ at this point, even I don’t want to give GW money.)

            There are two reliable bitz sellers I buy from that are probably legit resellers and GW is probably making money off of them, but alot of new stuff on Ebay is kind of off. Either the color of the resin isn’t quite right or it’s way too brittle to not be a recast.

    • Beyond Boredom

      On reading the whole article, the author goes on to say it isn’t a hard stat but a figure banded about in conversation. Even if not based on fact, it makes me unhappy that the GW suits make figures up to justify their poor approach to their fans. Are they saying nobody really wants to play 40k?

      • Hard Fact or not, they are telling that to investors, then it is very indicative or the corporate offices beliefs and philosophies

  • Yessir, this does seem like a reasonable company who knows what they’re doing, and not like a bunch of desperate, frothing madmen.

    • Muninwing

      CEO arrogance.

      look at GM in the 90s-00s.

      they once tried to change the grill on a buick and sell it as a Cadillac. they added some extra features, but it was still a buick, and in profile they looked identical. the cadillac name jacked up the price tag though…

      and nobody bought it. in fact, cadillac customers started buying elsewhere (lincoln’s market share went up the next year) because they were insulted at being treated so callously.

      just like WHF veterans when AoS dropped.

      GW, rather than spend effort expanding and building their brand and their customer loyalty, spent its time slimming down the excess and cutting every corner they could to save money. now, we get subpar product because of it. next, they will show us how they plan on creating product growth by ignoring their customer base, alienating their longterm customers, catering to new customers that may not become long-termers, and then cutting all support for the involved new customers who are suddenly no longer new.

      • Adam Murray

        Apart from the fact that the AoS starter box is the best starter box GW have ever made for either system.

        Hardly a subpar product.

        • MightyOrang

          Depends on what you mean by ‘best’. AOBR did more for the game / hobby than anything that’s come since.

          • daboarder

            battle for macragge was pretty good

          • Yes, that was my gateway.

          • MightyOrang

            Yep. Still have those too!

          • Local Ork

            To be fair Black Reach was TERRIBLE as starter set.
            It had like 300 points of Orks and 700 of Marines, good game. Great for getting cheap Tacticals/Boyz and Terminators/Nobz tho, also Kopters and Dread were pretty sweet, not to mention rule book in soft A5 format.

          • MightyOrang

            No argument there. But it got people into the game in a big way (though props for DOW as well for that) in a way not seen since. It was cheap (at first) and it was good re contents.

            8 years and several hundred million dollars later and my Ork (that started with AOBR) army continues to grow.

          • euansmith

            It must have put a dent in the sales of Tactical Marines though… most of my army was AoBR clip-together marines.

        • Dennis J. Pechavar

          If you A. like the models and B. want to play AoS. Not bashing as GW had to do something but I dislike the art direction that the models have taken so haven’t bought any. If the money value is there then all good.

        • crevab

          Not really a fact

          • daboarder

            barely even an opinion

          • Adam Murray

            Oh get fact!

        • benn grimm

          Unfinished tripe would have been more accurate, to call it a subpar product is being too kind.

          • Please. Tell us how you really feel.

          • Adam Murray

            Ok I need to explain why I think AOS is GW’s best intro box.

            The models are a joy to put together and paint. There’s the easy Stormcast Eternals (ideal for younger people and new hobbyists) and the more challenging Khorne models (to paint). The game itself is balanced with the forces in the box nearly every other starter I can remember is biased in favour of the ‘good guys’ not here.

            The games is fun and uncomplicated but with a lot of potential and depth. With the different scenarios you can use from Ghal Maraz and the other book you can keep it fresh, or just homebrew your own.

            For me this edition is GW saying go ahead and do what you want we won’t stand in the way. Want an army of 6 giants? You can do that! Want a points system? Make one up! (The community has already done this for you). I loved 8th but it’s dead now AOS is actually pretty good if you give it a try (I mean 8-9 games using different forces and scenarios).

          • benn grimm

            The models aren’t bad, pretty bland conceptually and kind of busy, but not entirely bad. Everything else though I have to politely disagree with; its not balanced out of the box, its heavily slanted towards the ‘marines’ as always.

            Its not fun, I have tried it. I recognise it may be fun for some, but for the majority of people I’ve spoken to, whose playstyle/hobby approach I identify with, it is like playing half a game of 40k, without the fun of list building or rules that even half function.

            Yeah, that is like a parent or teacher saying no probs, spend the day in front of the tv, do what YOU want! Heck spend the whole summer, its a lot easier for me… So the kid never learns that actually they prefer sports to sponge bob, because they never get a chance to find out. We know, but the kid just gets fatter and more stupid.

            Ive tried it, I know what it is, its a rebrand; which I’m actually ok with as it means I can still buy fantasy models. But its less than half a game, and gw is going to haemorrhage customers and fans if they carry on being so blindly and provocatively arrogant.

          • MightyOrang

            AOS: Fatter and More Stupid.

          • Matthew

            Your post has a lot of credibility until the last sentence. It was an emotional statement, not a factual one.

            I assume they have the same issues as any large organization and are struggling to meet stock market expectations. Stockholders are GW’s focused customers, and I suspect they will fail them by not paying attention to their actual paying customers.

            I do agree with your overall statement prior to that though. Its an excellent metaphor to explain the problem.

          • benn grimm

            Haha, thanks, yeah, you are right, though tbh the whole response is somewhat of an emotional reaction on some level.

            I find the attitude supposedly displayed by the board to be troubling to say the least, but I’m curious as always to see where it goes.

          • Michael Gerardi

            Every time I see some GW cheerleader hide behind “shareholders” as justification for the latest GW idiocy, I have to laugh.

            Whatever problems GW may have–and almost ALL of them are self-inflicted–alienating existing customers to the point that some of them publicly burn their armies is NOT the way to solve them. Nor is it the way to increase sales, market share or STOCK PRICES. If I were a GW shareholder, I would be calling for the entire upper management of GW to be shown the door due to their utter failure to understand, let alone respect, their customers, their intent to drive away a large fraction of their customers, and their appalling arrogance.

          • Matthew

            You must be Italian:

            All joking aside, I highly suspect you lack the capability to resolve the issues of a corporation. I am not making an accusation either, look at your own post. It’s full of slander and demands.

            Its that very behavior that got GW into its current state… It will require different type of behavior to get them out.

          • Michael Gerardi

            Actually I’m an American, but of 100% Italian ancestry. And I’m sure you are aware that there are two kinds of people: Italians (by birth or ancestry) and those who wish they were 🙂

            As for “slander”, that’s your opinion. I stand by every word. Prove me wrong.

            Maybe the thing for dissenters like me to do is actually buy a share or two of GW, then speak out on the idiocies of GW management. AS SHAREHOLDERS.

          • Matthew

            I am American with mixed Irish & German ancestry. Its a good mix because a part of me wants to take over the world but I keep getting too hammered to actually do it.

            Its not my place to prove anyone wrong or make them abandon their cause. I was stating my interpretation.

            I do believe everyone (including myself) have a wide variety of opinions on GW. But none of us actually do anything about it besides broadcast them. I personally wish GW would do more to save their hobby too. I would help them too, but I cannot with the direction they are headed.

          • Michael Gerardi

            Actually, there is at least one thing we can do about it, and that’s switch to other games. That’s why I’ve started buying into X-Wing. I’m keeping all my GW armies in case the opportunity to play Oldhammer comes up, but that’s about it.

          • Spacefrisian

            40k 2nd edition starter box

            -20 blood angel Tactical marines
            -40 gretchin
            -20 Ork Boys
            (multipose, not snapfit)
            -Cardboard ork Deffdread
            -Multiple Templates
            -Rules book
            -Rules Sheets
            -Decent amount of cardboard terrain (so you can get started without playing on planet kitchen table or desertplanet.)

            Yes lots of paper stuff but look at the amount of plastic models. And all that for less than half the price AoS has, I think its pretty hard to keep a straight face saying AoS is a good starter set

          • Shinnentai

            Much as I love 2nd edition, calling the Ork Boys ‘multipose’ is stretching it a little! (this one has his gun pointing a little up! This one has his gun pointing a little down! The possibilities are endless!)

            And there were what? 6 different sculpts in that game? I couldn’t care less about AoS, but in the past few years GW has released some truly great starter sets that blow the 2nd Ed 40k starter out of the water – WH Island of Blood & 40k Dark Vengeance were superb.

          • Adam Murray

            Can’t really judge how good a starter set on how much plastic you get in it surely.

          • I found the models really difficult to put together for a starter set. That Lord on the Dracoth required more fingers than I actually have. And I’ve got 10 including the thumbs.

          • Adam Murray

            If you think that’s hard never try to play infinity.

          • Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.


          • John Felger

            Do they give you guys a brochure with the talking points or what?

          • Adam Murray

            Yeah I get paid in Bugmans

          • Gridloc

            Actually the box isn’t balanced, the stormcast actually win more often due to better states and synergy. Its why many GW stores were told to have demo’s where the players had the stormcast (also i’m guessing since they are the space marine equal and much sooner releases).

            Now the rest is opinion, but the models are bland and clones of their successful game. The story in the box is a joke. I see tons of people brought the box and were excited for game, only to show up and realize that GW was pulling a fast one and the next boxes were through the roof. Maybe it will do well, but the people who enjoyed it are doing their hardest to give it praise to a community who really just doesn’t care about it anymore.

          • Adam Murray

            The Khorne stuff with all the buffs up smashes the Stormcasts. It comes down to whether or not they can kill the banner guy and the whip guy before the horde makes it in.

        • ThorOdinson

          You get more models in Island of Blood for less money. So no, Age of Sigmar is hardly the best starter. And Island of Blood introduced you to a game which was actually GOOD.

          • Adam Murray

            More models but the quality wasn’t nearly as good. Trust me I painted enough of those clanrats to know.

          • euansmith

            I really like the clan rat models and use them as a basis for Space Skaven. It would have been easier if the shields hadn’t been molded on; but the heads are great.

          • Valeli

            I thought Island of Blood had some very nice models in it. I really liked most of them.

        • vlad78

          Which content is made of 50% awful sigmarines .
          Furthermor it’s really expensive.

        • Muninwing

          overexaggerated high-fantasy models in what was always the low-fantasy counterpart.

          ridiculous armor sculpts that cost $8/model, supposedly trying to get kids to buy in

          uncomplicated rules, but each new unit has its own rules, tricking the new player into thinking the game is simple

          terribl fluff. i mean, utterly the worst i’ve read. what little was in the actual starter.

          compare it to Dark Vengeance, and i don’t see how it’s “the best” in any way…

          • DeadlyYellow

            AoS starter is $125, with a price per model of $2.66 for 47 minis. Individual value GW thinks the units are worth are about $508.80. Also included is a copy of White Dwarf 75 rebound as a setting book.

            Dark Vengeance is $110, ppm at $2.25 for 49 minis, with individual value of about 350.25. Note that for both, some extrapolation was made (MSRP for equivalent kit, Knight Vexalor in place of Lord-Relictor, etc.)

            ….so make of that what you will, but holy crap do AoS models have an inflated price.

          • Muninwing

            i find it interesting…
            – comparable price per model
            – comparable overall price
            -drastically different a la carte price.

            on that note, either the sigmarineinherjar are way overpriced when sold outside of the starter, or the starter gives you an immense deal on the models. you take your pick.

            but wow… Terminators are $10-11 per model… but higher points to compensate. my old 5th ed Deathwing army clocked in at 32 models for 2500 points (3rd ed restrictions still in effect). a Land raider might be expensive in real money, but it’s points-costly too. and the new Tau supersuit is 600 points for over $300.

            not like we have points values to compare the new stuff to.

            i can field the larger end of the standard-sized battle range with $700 worth of DA/SM models. is the combined volume of three starter sets’ worth of the gaudy followers of st. jesus of the hammer considered a huge battle?

          • “uncomplicated rules, but each new unit has its own rules, tricking the new player into thinking the game is simple”

            Good Lord man, how much of a “glass half empty” person do you have to be to think that unique unit rules are a way of “tricking” the customer?

            You must have hit the roof when you saw Chess after playing Checkers for so long. 🙂

          • Muninwing

            that’s a nice bit of misinterpretation you’ve done there. allow me to clarify.

            it has been touted, whether by GW or by others, as a simpler game, and by being simpler being an intro-style game for new players. given GW’s vocal concern for amassing new customers (and despite their inexplicable disregard for keeping customers), it at least seems plausible.

            AoS has simple rules. but each model has its own rules, and special ones, depending on the warscroll.

            playing other GW games is alway easier if you know what each unit does. people become better players when they have a more thorough knowledge of their opponents’ capabilities, and understanding how rules work is definitely an important aspect of certain necessary skills such as target priority.

            adding in the warscrolls, the rules are not nearly as simple as they are being trotted out as… and can become rather burdensome, for a game that claims “only has four pages of rules!” as a pride-point and not as a design flaw.

            i do not think that GW is an evil conspiracy hellbent on world domination via price-gouging and customer manipulation. honestly, i don;t think they’re capable of maintaining their current games at the level their old team was, so any plan not listed as “deliberately sabotage their own efforts” seems beyond them. their strategies seem contradictory and weak, their policies actively undermine their greatest asset (the committed long-term gamer), and their deliberate moves seem slapdash and clumsy.

            tl;dr: if it’s a “starter game” meant for newer, potentially younger, players, then the involved volume of rules when added in from the warscrolls are potentially huge, and it’s not the simple game they claim.

            and any effort to diminish this with reductio ad absurdem does not take away from the actual point.

          • You started off at absurdem, there’s nowhere to reductio it to.

            Ooh look, I diminished your argument with no effort at all. 🙂

          • Muninwing

            only by adding useless content that dilute its value…

  • Eyno Eflov

    Only 20%? Really? The weed is strong with this one.

    • Muninwing

      yes. a company that has prided itself (somehow) on doing no market research feels confident coming up with that number and building a business model around it.

      it makes AoS make so much more sense. they don’t care whether the game works or not, because you’ll figure it out if you want to play it and use all your pretty new models. and aren’t the new models pretty? buy some, buy a ton of them, and then don’t bother to care if you can use them with a game or not, because only 20% of the people who buy them are looking to play a game with them.

      • Kyle Schlichter

        AoS actually has me curious about trying Fantasy. I like the idea of a four-page wargame.

        • Nameless

          Give it a go, it might have a poor reputation online but make up your own opinion of the game. having said that a shorter (simpler) rules set is for the most part inferior, complications arise or in the case of Age of Sigmar the rules are berried on douzens of separate pdfs

          • Muninwing

            my general takeaway from a couple of tries is:
            – easy to play on the surface
            – hard to play logically
            – easy to get through a game fast
            – hard to set up a game that actually plays well due to not bothering with a balancing metric
            – less complicated than WHF to start
            – less thorough than WHF in general
            – less interesting than WHF over time

            it’s not what i signed u for when i made my multiple large armies, and as such i feel shafted by GW. but others feel differently. personally, if i wanted a skirmish game id already be playing WM/H, and if i wanted a cheezy high fantasy game i’d never have bought into GW products in general. but it is what it is.

          • Adam Murray

            It’s more interesting if you play scenarios other than just line up and smash into each other. Most games of 8th were just that. Also AOS allows games with more scenery which look visually more appealing.

          • Spacefrisian

            Its odd that AoS seems to be more fun playing it with a Warmahordes scenario (so i heard).

          • James DeGrey

            I’d bet its more fun to play Warmahordes with a Warmahordes scenario.

          • Adam Murray

            Yeah you can do whatever you want with it including pinching warmahordes scenarios. I reckon using a variation of maelstrom of war cards might work too.

          • Gridloc

            Scenarios free? or are they only in the 75$ books?

          • Adam Murray

            If you like or just use one of the free ones that’s floating around, make some up, use your imagination

          • Adam Murray

            If you want or just use one of the free ones like the ones from Clash. Or make up your own.

          • Erik Setzer

            I’d certainly recommend giving it a try if someone’s curious, and not taking any positive or negative views too much to heart beforehand. It’s free, so it doesn’t hurt to at least try.

          • vlad78

            If you want to upheld GW business policies which consist of charging
            always more for less content, then yes, there’s no harm trying.

          • Muninwing

            to be fair, every company does that… it’s called inflation.

            GW has on occasion been really good at it, and others has not kept up.

            if Terminators were kept up with inflation from their debut, for instance, they’d be $60… like the new DA ones are, with all their extras. and many kits that used to be a lot cheaper didn’t include special or heavy weapons, which would have to be bought as metals in a blister, and would ring up the price of the unit to about the same as today adjusted for inflation.

            i’ve only been able to find 2-3 kits that don’t follow this pattern.

            check it out yourself. it works best in line with a US CPI calculator. 1. find when a kit was first released in its current configuration (or any, really). 2. find the price at debut. 3. put that into the calc and see what it should be going for today.
            a lot of us have turned into our grandparents, remembering that candy bars were three times the size for a nickel.

          • I love the fact that the rules for each unit are on the PDFs and not clogging up the rulebook. Why should I carry around rules for Skaven hordes when neither I nor my opponent are playing Skaven?

            If I have 10 units on the table, the rules are 14 pages long, and all of my units can still have unique rules. That’s pretty cool.

          • Nameless

            generally having universal rules gives players an understanding oh how basics work.

            As an example there are a lot of different rules in magic the gathering, but a lot of the common abilities work the same way card to card so rather than having to explain every game how it works a player needs only to say it has this ability.

            Conversely in Age of Sigmar, shields work differently in each army, sometimes differently withing an army, so letting your opponent know they have shields is useless to them.

          • Well in pretty much every game “guns” work differently between units. So there are different types of shields in AoS. Of course they work differently.

            What’s your point? That because something happens in AoS that happens in countless other games, it’s wrong just because it’s AoS? That kind of sounds like hating to me.

          • Nameless

            the point being that having to explain very game that this unit’s shields do x, where as this units shields do y gets repetitive fairly quickly, but not telling your opponent is poor sportsmanship.

            in counter to your point all guns of the same name work in the same way, baring only a hand full of exceptions. imagine if scouts bolters worked differently to tactical marines bolters, and differently again to blood angels’ bolters.

          • Gridloc

            Not infinity, weapons work the same across all factions. Nice thing is the gear they carry modify the shots. So when i hear they have an HMG i have an idea of what i’m getting into.

          • Yes, you can always trade off ease-of-use against lack of variety.

            Although I assume Infinity adds variety in other ways, since I hear good things about it.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          there are some great wargames with just a few pages of rules, or even one page, but sadly AoS isn’t one of them.

      • daboarder

        actually the opposite, if this was remotely true they wouldnt have considered scrapping WHFB a pre-requisite to revitalising the product range…..And yet…..they did? less cool aid man

        • ThorOdinson

          This wouldn’t be the first time GW has canned a successful game for idiotic reasons. And Warhammer Fantasy was still turning a profit. Right up until Summer 2012 (around when they would have begun working on Age of Sigmar) it was the third best selling game on the market. GW pushed Age of Sigmar because they want out of the rules business and want a setting they can copyright.

          • Frank Krifka

            Work on AoS began right after 8th dropped. In late summer 2010.

        • Muninwing

          don’t use idioms you don’t understand.

          if you do, and are just using it poorly, then please tell me *whose* koolaid i’m drinking (though you edited that comment out).

          i don’t actually follow your logic in any way. please spell out exactly why your comment makes sense please?

          • daboarder

            yeah sorry mate, I’d miss understood your point a little. My apologies

          • daboarder

            as to logic, well if they were only collectors, just by changing up the product line and releasing the models they have in the last year or so they could have reinvigorated the game, all within the previously existing framework of the setting with little to no change and a lot less effort.

          • Muninwing

            that’s what i mean.

            WHF could have been “saved” pretty easily. fixing the rules would have drawn back enough players to justify it.

            if WHF was functional as a game, and fun, and not totally imbalanced, then people would buy more. collectors would start new armies. just like if they wanted to sell Sisters of Battle, they’d make great models and fair rules.

            i’d field a squad or two as allies here and there, just to have them.

            to only offer nearly 20-year-old flat models, then complain when they do not sell in comparison to multipart detailed computer-designed plastics?

            how about this… design a Sisters SC that via dataslate could be fielded as an independent ally, give it the detailed new-design treatment, and debut it as an addendum to another release. see how it sells. if it tanks, then let them rest. if it does ok, experiment with new rules and new units.

            either that, or do a kickstarter to see if players would invest… i’m betting the response would be astounding, but it would also force potential customers to commit.

    • Muninwing


    • knotdragon


      • Vice: preposition
        1. instead of; as a substitute for

        • knotdragon

          Well you learn something new every day. I thought you meant “Vs”

          • Versus to me would imply that they are doing both or that the former is possibly a better solution than the latter. I am tryingineering to indicate no choice and one is better, hands down.

          • knotdragon

            And “vice” to me implies chinos and Hawaiian shirts – I’m glad I was wrong!

          • Whfb is to Miami vice original as what AoS is to the Miami Vice reboot

          • knotdragon

            On a more serious note, I don’t think I’ll sign your petition. As you can see from the report, money talks with GW. AOS bombs and they’ll have to do something differently, at least with that game. Until then, they’re not listening. I guess they might mess up 40k too before realising this (possible, but unlikely I think/hope) in which case they’re in a very bad place.

            But it just reminds you of the madness of AOS in the first place. Like, if 40k wasn’t selling, surely it’d be better to alter the game in some way and see what happens than burn the universe to ashes and expect people to be wowed by your two new races and bizarre new setting – Space Pigs vs(!) Warp Broccoli in a world made of fluted toenail clippings!!!

            Personally I’d have had the Old World invaded by an alliance of Cathay and Nippon. Maybe eventually releasing Chaos warped versions of both as they come in contact with the ruinous powers. Not a perfect idea, but it only took me a minute and it’s already better than AOS – if I say so myself! 🙂

          • The hope is that they will at least get the petition and the concepts will be in their minds when making business decisions. They may choose to ignore us, but it does not diminish our right to express our desires.

          • Matthew Pomeroy

            Watching all these younger, hungrier games come out of kickstarter and the cheaper in general costs of other games, GW should be concerned. FASA was a titan in its time too, then it went extinct.

          • 3dken

            And, TSR too. Maybe we’ll see both at the local museum exhibit! Haha!

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            next to the Rackham display…

          • knotdragon

            I just generally feel that people sign petitions to feel like they’ve affected something they actually can’t. I agree with everything you say in it, so no disrespect and fair play on the numbers so far. I think the sales will be what’s heard most clearly though. But I think it’s possible if AOS fails they’ll value it more and the details you have in the petition will seem like what they are – the genuine desire of dedicated fans who love this hobby and a clear indicator of where we feel they’ve fundamentally lost touch

        • Your unnecessary use of a dictionary may have cost you votes amongst those who don’t speak English good.

          Has anybody used that word for that meaning since Victorian times? 🙂

    • chip6793


    • surfpenguin

      You honestly think that these online petitions actually effect anything? That’s so cute.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        38 Degrees have had quite a big influence on British government policy with their petitions.

        • euansmith

          I was going to say, “In a pig’s eye…” but maybe that will have an influence on them too 😀

        • 38 Degrees are absolutely insufferable, they jump on any bandwagon that looks like it’s gaining traction.

          They have never been the cause of any influence, they just take credit for it.

      • vlad78

        Doesn’t hurt to try. At least when the ship will sink, we’ll be able to say we warned them.

        • Spacefrisian

          We are warning them for ages, instead of petitions online we should send shovels with that same petition on it, maybe GW gets the hint than.

      • You honestly think we should just do nothing and take the abuse forever? That’s so pathetic.

    • Emprah


      I always had the idea that 40k should do a balanced tournament codex for competitive play, and an entire different, possibly D10 based “scenario” ruleset that would be “realistic” for the setting and for friends to play out lore-friendly games.

    • Cant see this working. Plans never seem to work when they come across like “you suck at running your business, here lemme show you how” its nice to see the interwebz used for more than whining aboot it for a change though.

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        it will work if it informs investors that GW fundamentally misunderstand their market. It is ammunition for investors with that point of view, if nothing else.

        • The article in the OP will do far more to inform investors than that little petition will ever do.

          You know big businesses never care about a vocal minority of customers, don’t you? 🙂

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            its not a big business.

          • Frank Krifka

            It’s a multi million pound a year, multinational company that makes toy soldiers. It’s a goddam juggernaut compared to anything else in its genre.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            its still not big enough to get into the FTSE 500. So whilst bigger than my corner shop, its not really a big company by corporate standards. A big (but perhaps not the biggest) toy soldier company though.

      • chip6793

        Knight is right. Even if they don’t pay attention, their investors probably will. How many GW fans do you think there really are? Even if it’s 100,000, having 10 – 20% of a fan base showing how they feel will at least make the people investing the money in the company realize that there is a problem.

        For a “model” company, having 15,000 people sign a petition stating that they are not happy with them, is a pretty big slap in the face… Now our only problem is whether or not GW management will realize that… Or care for that matter.

        • The official figure of GW customers used to be 2 million (when they were promoting the Ultramarines movie), I don’t know what it is now, but they probably don’t believe it’s gone down that much. Even if a customer hasn’t bought anything for 2 years, they’d still be considered a fan.

          And before anyone asks for a citation, I was at a presentation when they were raising money for the movie, and a rep from Codex Pictures was talking. It wasn’t the sort of audience you would lie to about a fanbase.

        • They just dont care dude. They just dont care.

      • The point is to hopefully ate least get them to read it and consider the opinion of over 16,000 enthusiasts when making decisions.

        • I wish you luck. I still think they wont listen as they would have to live their lives with their heads buried in the sand (red sand to be authentic hopefully) these last few years to not know what you are telling them. I think they just dont care and will just do what they do till they have a catastrophic year. I can see em learning unless they get punched in the pocketbook.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation


    • Michael Gerardi

      Posted on FB!

    • vlad78

      I say let them rot and die.

      They are hopeless.

      It’s not as if there are no other alternatives on the market anymore.

      Hopefully after they’re gone, someone will do better with their IP.

    • Way to prove their point if you don’t get more than 20% of their customer base signing it.

      Good luck.

      • That is assuming I get 100% of the customer base to view it.

        • And that there is the problem with these online petitions – if you only get a fraction of the market, the GW execs can point to it as evidence that they are right.

          “Only 16,000 people care enough about the game to complain about it, the other million plus customers we have must therefore be totally happy with it. And 6,000 of those complainers are probably Vlad78 sockpuppet accounts anyway.” – GW exec

          Anything less than a resounding win is actually hurting your cause. 🙁

          • I have actually combed through the signatures, and unless people are putting in a lot of effort, there are no duplicate names, with a few English plain names “James Smith” kinda ones, and these are are entirely different locations. And at least 1/2 the signatrues are from outside the US and UK.

          • That’s interesting – so extrapolating from that, half of GW’s customer base is not from the UK/US. You should write that up for BoLS, it would make a heck of an article. Seriously.

            Even if it isn’t half (because only people who play the game are voting), it would be a sizable proportion if the 20% figure isn’t true.

      • And agree to it. Some people want NO COMPETITIVE GAMING whatsoever

  • Muninwing

    somewhere along the line, they lost the plot.

    are they ashamed of what they do? sounds like it. and when people avoid a problem, issues grow at an uncontrolled rate.

    Kirby and Rountree have been sinking a lot of time and money and changes into a new business model — but the model itself has massive holes in it, and they are too focused, arrogant, stupid, or… something… to see any of them.

    WHF died sales-wise. why did people stop buying? because rules had been bad for years, and 8th was a mess. they laid blame on the fans for not being dedicated enough… but look at their competitors that are catching up in sales. they embrace being gaming companies, they foster community, they welcome new players, and they respond to problems. thus, they gain loyal customers. GW was like this, resulting in many loyal customers, but have squandered all that good will and loyalty for years.

    it’s like they are embarrassed of being a “games company” or “selling toys” when that’s a really disingenuous explanation of what they do. and yet they want to attract new players despite their own aversion to the product? they don’t want to be seen as a toy company, but they create a slimmed-down easy version of their most complicated product, which gets compared to children’s board games? there’s something that does not line up here.

    they’ve made comments (i believe it was specifically Kirby) about doing no market research… so maybe that 20% figure is wrong? and if it is, that torpedoes the effectiveness of their whole business model. well, that and trying to sell AoS $8 models to starter hobbyists and gamers, then denying that there’s actually a game involved despite that being their hook.

    and the worst thing is that i’ve met and spoken with and batted ideas around here with at least 50 people who would, were they the CEO of GW, be smart enough to do the market research, acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them, and commit the company in a direction that would embrace its audience instead of being ashamed of them. and this would revitalize the company.

    no… WHF died because of bad leadership. AoS was released unfinished and sloppily because of bad leadership. all the imbalances and flaws in 40k are due to bad leadership. a burnout rate of 30% of their staffers (unacceptable, honestly, even for a retail job that isn’t food service) is due to bad leadership. gleaning every cent from a product line in the short term does not guarantee longevity, and often results in explosions of problems. this is one more example.

    • Spacefrisian

      Oh wait till you read there statement about why certain models arent getting an update (Sisters of battle and Bretonnia). There research indicated that (yes research) not many bought those models, so there was no need to make new ones.
      Note that all battle sister models are the same since 1998, i think that over 17 years most already have gotten more than enough of those models.

      • Muninwing

        … yet we want to court new players. but…

        we have few to no female models, and by focusing so much on boys we have alienated a large number of women from stores and games, so the solution to this is to never update the female models?

        the Toughest Girls in the Galaxy Kickstarter sold like crazy, but that doesn’t mean there’s a hole in the market we’ve left untapped?

        Sisters have gotten crap rules for years, yet people still play them out of loyalty and interest, but they don’t need new models?

        i thought the businessmen in the 80s used up all the cocaine in one giant binge at the end of reagan’s second term. where did rountree and kirby find any left? or is there another explanation for the fact that they seem to utterly nothing about their product or market?

        • euansmith

          I’m waiting for my new resin SoB minis from TGG; I’ll probably be waiting 18 months or more for them, and would prefer some nice plastic GW SoBs, but beggars can’t be choosers.

  • I like (not really) how they are basing the success early on of AoS around downloads of free rules (something every 40k player did out of curiosity) and White Dwarf purchases (hey a free model and the AoS core rule in hard format, what’s $4?) instead of how many boxes of the core game they have sold (or not) and the large heap of limited edition AoS books that are still there, as compared to the 40k ones that sell out in a week.

    • Xodis

      Comparing sales of limited edition books seems pretty asinine, even if it was still WHFB in 9e, chances that the books would sell out as fast is very low. WHFB nor any other wargame that I am aware of has the crowd and pull of 40K.
      The rest I agree with though, success should be based on fantasy sales as a whole not downloads and WD. I’ve seen quite a few that have been purchasing other factions besides the Stormcast/Khorne simply for AoS, so I wouldn’t be apposed to all fantasy sales being considered a win.

      • Nameless

        the End Times books (which well not listed as limited, but did have limited run) sold out, most of them sold out inside of hours of their preorder going up.

        Age of Sigmar might do well, in fact I hope that it does. but it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t really the best that it could be as shown by the number of people who don’t like the game.

        • Xodis

          Im not saying it couldn’t be improved upon, bet lets be real, some people were going to hate the direction regardless of how well it was done. Happens every new edition.

          • vlad78

            Again you are repeating VRP talk used to explain customers complaining.

            It’s not our fault sir, the game is not bad sir, they would have complain anyway sir.

            If GW had brought gradual changes to the old world instead of destroying everything for IP sake, few people would have complained. But providing an excuse for a background after destroying the former one and providing an excuse of a game after several poorly designed editions (and AOS was already planned during those edition which makes of 8th clearly a rip off) could not end well.

            Everything is subpar within this game compared to the competition.

            If you buy anything from AOS, you’re simply uphelding GW policies of taking their customers for fools.

          • Xodis

            Obviously you havn’t read my other comments but that aside….
            Just because YOU dont see any value in a product doesn’t make the people who do “fools”. Honestly you just sound bitter, its like complaining that 100K for a sports car isn’t worth it…you may be right in some logical aspect but if you can buy a 100K car chances are the reasonings are not logical in the first place.
            Im sorry that YOU dont like or enjoy the game, others do, others dont. Every game system has flaws, EVERY SINGLE ONE, we however dont know if its a success or failure until the numbers come out.
            Before calling the other customers names, maybe you should just accept that not everyone looks for the same things, and others could easily call you a fool for still being part of the GW community if you’ve been disappointed for so long with them, or if you still come to a predominantly GW site expecting change.

          • Nameless

            people complain with each new edition, they see the rules as an assault on their own army, then after a month or two the majority of them have stopped complaining, either they have realised that no the new edition isn’t the worst thing to ever have happened. Age of Sigmar is different.

            It is not a new edition, it is a new game. it can be played with old models, but not in the same way and for it to exist something that a lot of people where invested in had to be destroyed. So yes hate is a good word, but the game itself isn’t doing much to help that opinion. I do urge everyone to at least play a game if not a handful and make up their own opinion: but plenty have and have disliked how the game plays myself included.

          • Xodis

            I can see your points, but as much as you dislike AoS, I enjoy the game and found plenty of others that do as well. I’m not blind to possible changes that could make the game better however but lets face it, after 8 editions of WHFB and 7 editions of 40K, points systems just are not working for GW.

            It may be a new game, but the “investment” others have made are not completely gone and wasted, which is why I dont completely understand the hate. All models are useful, all models can be used/played, and all older models that “no longer exist” just become a flashier more detailed version of something similar. Lets be real though, GW and every other model/game maker can’t survive because you have an army from 5+ years ago.

            As for the fluff though, IMO it needed to change just like 40K does. “Minute to midnight” has been going on for WAY too long, and it needs to push forward. Even though I dont like the gameplay (like the models though) of Warmahordes thats a key element that I think a lot of people enjoy, the story moves forward and its exciting. Could it have happened without destroying the universe? Of course, but this really gives them a lot more breathing room, just like Disney needed when they dropped the EU.

      • Muninwing

        the biggest variable on the limited editions is number printed, and without knowing those, it’s useless to compare.

        but it does give some insight into expectations.

        the DarkAngels book’s limited edition was gone in hours. that means that either the fans are longer-term gamers with wealthier standing, or that GW underestimated how many people would want copies. one is indicative of the community, the other of GW’s impressions of the community and plans for the product line.

        in contrast, AoS’s first book was… well, pretty useless. it gave the rules, all four pages of them. and it gave the timeline and fluff, which were all pretty poorly written (i still believe it was due to being rushed). it’s unnecessary to play the game, and as a result sales would be low.

        but special editions are not about the rules. they are about wanting something special because you connect to the product and want to brag a bit, or belong a little more, or collect something more valuable or more important. they are about people with money spending that money on extras they do not need.

        as such, they are a great measure of how many longstanding devoted fans exist, how many veteran players and invested individuals. buying the special edition books implies the ability to buy models as well, instead of the desire to do so without the monetary ability.

        that the AoS special edition first book took months to be pulled from the store, and even then may not have sold out (i never saw the “sold out!” banner they put on other similar products) implies volumes. in short…
        – either sales are drastically lower than expected, because too many books were ordered for an honest estimate of their audience
        – or those moneyed long-term invested fans did not buy into the new game quite as much as expected

        either way, especially with WHF killed, it will be interesting if they did in fact take a hit. GW claims AoS is doing well, but thus far i have not seen any financials that would support this.

        • Xodis

          You said it yourself “they are a great measure of how many longstanding devoted fans exist, how many veteran players and invested individuals”. You can’t expect limited editions of a brand new game that was controversial in its release to have that type audience. Sure GW can “hope” that the WHFB fan base and new players alike will jump on it, but its normal for new players and old to be hesitant, its almost like taking a kickstarter risk with some new game. You just dont quite know how its going to work out.

          • Muninwing


            though i do believe that they assumed that WHF players would seamlessly slide into their new AoS player audience, instead of having such a dramatic love-or-hate reaction to the changes.

            and what’s more, that they even did a limited edition fancy copy implies that they expected it to sell.

          • Xodis

            Well it is selling, we just dont know how well lol

          • Muninwing

            it is, and it may end up doing well.

            even if it does not, maybe it will be saved by a good 2nd edition, like many games have been.

            and, drop in the glass, eternal optimist, maybe if it shows more promise, they will actually use it as first rumored: as a skirmish intro game to a new edition of WHF.

            so yes, i do want it to not fail… but only so it can turn into something else that i find more enjoyable, and less antithetical to the game i bought into that they killed.

            but as of late, GW’s terrible leadership from on high causes me to question their moves. time and time again. AoS was a terrible release even if the game was great — bad timing, no control over rumors, terrible fluff, cheap copies of other sources instead of allusion and construction of a new idea… the list goes on. the new aesthetic is a hit-or-miss too. but for a first release from a small company i’d say it was pretty successful.

            it just wasn’t strong enough to be a replacement for WHF. not when it alienated so many players. not when the rumored new edition of WHF would have pulled in veteran players to dust off models and reinforce their armies with new purchases as well as new players to enjoy the aesthetic. not when the 40k “codex blitz” of 6th-7th has revitalized a game that was starting to languish as WHF had.

            where do we measure success?

            does AoS have to beat the LotR properties — who had similar “no, really, other people play them!” hype (though there is actual evidence of it being true with AoS) — in order to be successful? do they have to beat WHF during 8th edition’s start, when new players jumped back into the game and tried to like what they saw? does it have to beat the numbers when they read their audience wrong and released the storm of magic supplement that failed so boringly? do they have to beat the numbers from the end of 8th, when nobody played an unsupported game anymore?

            do they map the sales data to the effectiveness of their products, and see that perhaps some changes made have increased sales of certain products and killed others… in a way that despite their “20%” claim directly matches up with play results and game imbalances?

            do they account for White Dwarf’s pathetic current state for not drawing in new players? not like it was so healthy before, given that turning it into a giant GW ad was also not what appealed to customers.

            it really is like every move they make is poorly-informed and badly-chosen… almost as if their leadership has no idea how to handle their product, so rather even than doing what other companies do, they just make stuff up as they go along without bothering to check the idea.

      • But limited edition indicates collectibility. If they are tryi MG to make themselves into, or see them selves as, a company selling collectibles, then an inability to sell highly collectible items due to a limited nature suggests that it isn’t as collectible as they think.

        • Xodis

          Thats pure speculation though, its just as collectible even if its not flying off the shelves in record time.
          Say they purchased 1k DA CE’s and 1k SE CE’s, the rate of sale is going to differ simply because DA players probably outnumber SE or even AoS/WHFB players minimum 2:1.
          Seeing as we see around 20% (see GW I can use random %’s as well lol) of collectors editions end up on eBay or other stores with an inflated price just goes to show that just because a CE sells out fast, doesnt mean that fans bought them either.

          • vlad78

            Imagining DA players could be twice as much as all AOS players gathered is a pretty bad perspective for GW.

          • Xodis

            DA players probably outnumber most games IMO (since I have nothing to support this other), even more CSM or SM players in general. 40K is THE best selling and most popular game in miniatures. Plenty can argue, but its the main reason everyone still plays even though the rules have been awful since…practically the beginning.

    • Spacefrisian

      Most AoS stuff has been in the store i go since there release, other stuff seeems to be running of the shelves in no time, heck we finaly seem to get some more interested in Warmahordes.

  • Ira Clements

    I think I understand now. GW believes that there is an entire base out there of hobbyists who’s entire focus is dedicated to modelling and painting fantastic armies…..but they are not gamers…..okay. There are scale modelers out there in fact in the 90s I was part of a local group. However anybody that bought and entered GW models into shows were also avid gamers. There were a few and I mean very few that bought the occasional GW model if they were into sci-fi and fantasy modeling just as modelers but they were even fewer. Most scale modelers had a particular focus. All you really need to do is go to a hobby shop and you can tell what subject matter is popular based on selection of theme and scale. I can kind of understand where they are thinking there customer base lies but there is a pretty big hobby divide between the WHY people buy a particular model oriented product.

    • daboarder

      NO, Dont you see, they are all in the basement too afraid of light to come out and actually be part of any sort of community, it makes perfect sense.

  • Xodis

    Its almost like they WANT to beat out EA for the worst company in the world.

  • Kyle Schlichter

    The “hobby” vs. “toy” dissonance still feels like a huge, toxic idea that will gradually strangle out their audience. They make toys. When I buy 40K minis, I am buying toys, to build and to play with, the same as buying a Rattler or a Sky Striker or a HISS or something for my GI Joes and Cobras when I was a kid, which still required trimming from sprues, Snap-Tite style assembly, and decal application. The only difference is size, paint, and glue.

    • Muninwing

      see… i don’t see it that way.

      they make models. toys aren’t as delicate.

      but their models are better than most others because they have another usage as game pieces.

      the toy market’s pricing is much lower. hobby materials, including high-end model kits and game pieces, are priced at a much higher luxury rate.

      still, they seem to be embarrassed of the fact that they make games, and that that implies that they make toys. instead of embracing the games as self-steering marketing campaigns.

      • Katharon

        OK, so models are grown-up toys.

        • V10_Rob

          Indeed, big kid toys. Like thousand-piece aircraft kits, or model railway systems that take up an entire room, or the vintage car that gets tinkered on.

          We always ‘play’, regardless of age, as an outlet for imagination. And as we grow older, we want more sophisticated means of expressing ourselves (eventually you need more depth than ramming 2 Tonka trucks together and making engine noises). Hence, hobbies.

        • Dennis J. Pechavar

          Just like my dolls are action figures… 😛

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            er, what sort of dolls? No, don’t tell me!

          • The ones you don’t want second hand off EBay.

          • Dennis J. Pechavar

            You bought them for me so no use denying it publicly!

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            do they make special piggy dolls for politicians I wonder…

    • An_Enemy

      Nah these are definitely models and part of a hobby. You can tell because if they were toys they’d be sold in stores around the world for a fraction of the price. They’d be painted. They’d have articulation.

      Kids would actually be able to afford them.

      None of that is true so they must not be toys.

      I just don’t understand how a company like GW can exist in the same world as a company like Bandai and think they’re on the right track.

      Bandai has one of the most well known IPs in the world. They sell models the size of a Knight Titan(with the same or more parts on sprue and in colored plastic no less) for $20-$30.

      Bandai’s stock value is currently at 2905. GW’s is at 587.

      Best model company in the business says what now? Nah its cool GW. Keep raising your prices. Keep licensing your IP out to hack mobile game devs. Abandon other forms of media that might actually grow your fanbase. You do you.

  • Also if everyone collected and no one played, then why did LotR fail. And WHFB? Two incredibly collectible and diverse lores… yet the game everyone PLAYED survived…

    • Jimmy Rajden

      This is an exact extraction of the problem.

      With the huge fanbase of LotR out there that brand of models would have continued to sell for quite some time. If the game rules are not interesting then the models wont sell. Simple as that.

    • Shardak

      LotR “failed” because it was completely propped up by the films and when the films stopped coming out the interest was reduced dramatically fairly soon after.

      WHFB “failed” because they released an edition with some radical changes and problems and basically ignored it for 2 years and it had some armies which hadn’t had a release in over a decade. When they re-did wood elves (a faction seen as a poor seller) and actually put some effort into them they sold really well – far in excess of expectations.

      • The point is that LotR will be around FOR EVER like star wars. Popularity may change, but associated memorabilia should stay collectible. But their models didnt. Because no one played a game. But if we are collectors and not gamers, that shouldn’t have mattered. Same for WHFB, which you yourself point out that it failed as a game…

  • Erik Setzer

    The 20% thing is BS. It’s not true, and they know it. If it was true, they wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of blowing up the WFB world and game and redoing the entire game system. That’d cost too much (assuming they didn’t just phone it in, which we’re told they didn’t). So they know the games are what sell their miniatures. Heck, they used to admit it. Now they don’t? What’s up with that?

    And the claim they’re not a toy company? Bollocks! You sell TOY SOLDIERS. That’s something their employees used to admit easily, and some of them (though not at the same higher levels) still do, when not on the record. They’re a bloody toy company as much as FFG is, and if they actually claim they’re a “hobby company” and not a “toy company” and FFG is just a “toy company” (who does well making a profit with GW’s IP), that just shows a more pathetic attitude than I ever thought they’d show.

    Maybe the loss of sales has them so bitter they’re resorting to lying and being nasty about other companies because they can’t let themselves admit the things they’re doing wrong.

    • Elanthanis

      Keep in mind that the 20% number might be swung by first time impulse buys or children whose parents buy a boxed set or two and then leave. There’s a lot unsaid in that 20% number. That said, some (including myself) continued to collect long after we stopped gaming.

      • Muninwing

        there are many people who just paint.

        there are many people who buy one time.

        perhaps 20% of customers is misleading… and is easily confused with 20% of purchases. even then, they are both fraught with uncertainty, especially for a company that has boasted about not doing market research.

        also… look at the people who played a bit but either never got into it, or stopped. why did they not become players in the regular sense? opportunity is one — nobody to play with. but active community involvement would help that kind of expansion. the other would be frustration, and that often comes down to badly written individual or edition rules driving former players out of an active state.

        perhaps had they not torpedoed every program that made their community strong and created regular customers, they might not be in regular states of financial decline now. or perhaps if they had not released years’ worth of terribly-written madly-balanced rules and books, more of the players who got shafted by the imbalances would still be active members and customers.

        we’ll never know.

        • Elanthanis

          Of course, but there’s likely a lot of other data about purchases that goes unsaid, like what percentage of the 80% are repeat buyers or make more than one purchase. It’s data that’s extremely easy to collect. Most customer management software (which I know they have and use) collects this sort of information passively.

      • Spacefrisian

        Or thats 20% smart buyers who buy the rest from Ebay (isnt that suprising)

    • V10_Rob

      They’re kind of like the old minor aristocrat family, whose humble holdings were squandered by a generation or 3 of wastrels and playboys, until they had little left besides a title.

      Now they live paycheque to paycheque, trying to keep up appearances, all the while heaping scorn upon the upstart nouveau riche.

      • Manwiththedogs

        Haha yes! Exactly.

    • Michael Szarek

      The only way 20% makes sense is if they are referring to hardcore tournament gamers. In which case 20% is probably a bit high.
      It’s important to distinguish what a gamer actually is. I dunno what GW thinks that is.
      How do they even get those numbers… apart from web store data and online tournament info I can’t think of how they could possibly tie purchases to specific people to know if someone is or isn’t a gamer.

      Mind you… would they still sell all that new fancy terrain if 80% of people didn’t play games? Would they still sell $50 dice cups? Why the hell would a non-gamer want an overpriced dice cup?

      Clearly they are bumbling around in the dark. Trying to pull in all different directions and failing at most.

      • Xodis

        Gamers dont even agree what a gamer actually is so I have little faith that GW will have a satisfactory idea.

  • Erik Setzer

    Hmm… So they’re not a “toy company,” eh? Totally not like FFG?

    Funny… In their annual report they listed this under “Priorities for Next Year”:

    “Explore new core trade opportunities in toy, craft, book and comic stores. This has always been a great opportunity to extend our reach and help us find new customers. I am working closely with my advisers exploring these types of locations.”

    Wait… why would they be looking to put product in toy stores? Or book stores that sell toys? Or comic stores that sell comic-related toys?

    They have a job opening that is literally just dedicated to finding ways to sell their product through TOY stores:

    And yet they have the audacity to claim they’re not a “toy company” while suggested FFG is and that it somehow makes FFG inferior?

    • Michael Szarek

      That’s the problem… they keep saying things, but it doesn’t look like they mean it. It looks like they have no idea what they are and what they do. It’s so bizarre.

    • Dennis J. Pechavar

      You have to understand that they do mean it. They are very, very, very serious about this distinction. If they are a “toy” company then they must compete with a very different group of activities. As a “hobby” company they can afford to price things as they want as they are going for the elite status. It’s foolish I agree but verbiage is extremely important when you have to justify your profits or lack there of. Comic book companies tend to sell a great deal more graphic novels in book stores than comic book stores but few large book stores will carry a decent selection of regular comics, graphic novels are elite versions and can be counted on for sales.

    • daboarder

      come on erik, its all WHOOP WHOOP WHOOOP WHOOOP WOOOP and we know it mate, we’ll never convince mystery or path though, too much cool aid on their brains

  • Fezbearer

    Not buying the GW line. Yes, they made some great sculpts, but most of the stuff I bought from them was because I wanted to use it in my army.

  • One major problem is leadership no longer invested in their product. I trust apple and Microsoft to try and make good products users want because they too use these very products.
    I get the feeling from gw that the customer is distasteful and they sully themselves by making our addiction, but there is a dollar to be made so they do it anyway.

  • Victor Hartmann

    Don’t take the 20%as an actual fact. From the article it seems to be an offhand remark, not a statistic. And personally, if it were actually true, imagine how many people must be spending loads of money on simply collecting and painting models? 4 times as many as the gamers? I find that hard to believe. If anything, I’d say GW is misreading their data if they actually believe 20% to be true.

    But let’s imagine that it is true for a moment. Only 20% of purchases are by gamers. That should not be dismissed as the minority to be merely tolerated. That should be as an opportunity. Which area is easier to grow? Convincing people that building and painting your models is fun or convincing people that playing games with their friends is fun? Which is more likely to create a network of interest which boosts sales?

    The answer is so obvious, it doesn’t even warrant discussion.

    The accepted perception is that GW’s leadership is out of touch with the gaming community. But there is evidence that there are factions within the company, if not the company itself, which is trying to service the gaming community. Not as fast as we would like but their are people in the company who are listening. Maybe they could react more quickly if they had the support of management.

    How do I know? Here are a few examples.

    Space Marine Librarians. When the new psychic phase was added, there were many complaints that there was little point in taking a Space Marine Librarian because their dice pool would be too small to be effective. About a year later we have the Librarius Conclave comes out. Suddenly a group of Librarians can be quite effective. Some say too effective but then again the points cost helps rein that in.

    • Spacefrisian

      No doubt Tigurius has something to do with that. I wonder what would happen if a certain Assassin was put in a blister and its rules were released in a Whitedwarf, i think it sells well both that blister and that Whitedwarf.

  • Old zogwort

    This might actually be true. There are 4 places that sell 40k in this city and there are about max ~20 active players here. Those players don’t buy that often and are never able to support one store with their purchases. I’m not going to comment on the AoS thing. But the active player base has to be a small minority of the GW costumers around here, otherwise the stores could simply not exist and GW has to know this.

    • I have played 10x the amount of games in my own home then at a store. Just because it isn’t seen doesn’t mean it isnt happening

      • Old zogwort

        But you are playing sometimes at a store, or at least active at local fora right ?

        • Old zogwort

          And what do you answer to a nice GW employee of a local store that asks you about it. I’m pretty sure GW does have decent estimations about the ratio of players to players who actually don’t play that much but do like to buy that 3th knight or other shelf model just to collect it.

          • Michael Szarek

            Collectors don’t tend to buy more than one of the same thing without good reason. Do you collect minatures or armies?

            A gamer might buy an army once and not buy anything again for a long time. A collector might buy more but only 1 of each thing. A collector might also buy at a slow pace because they are more likely to work on one project at time.

            Bottom line is this stuff needs research, polls, data… not GW guessing.

          • This. They have no basis. Maybe in the UK where most of the stores are the “warhammer shop” but in the US, unless you live in a major metropolitan area in TX or IL, you likely aren’t that close to a GW…

          • My entire high school career (years ago) there wasn’t a single GW store in the state of FL. The closest games store was sci-fi city, and that was a ways away and in a really crappy part of town. So I am all my friends ordered everything online and played a ton. I actually never played at sci-fi city, just shopped there once and a while, so even the FLGS couldn’t get an estimate. However there were about 20 of us doing the same thing. This may be anecdotal, but I guarantee I am not the only one.

    • Dave

      My group always played in someones home. The local GW store wasn’t close and not particularity hobby friendly. To us the hobby was about creativity (and the game). A lot of our models (vehicles mainly) were kit bashed or custom built. That wasn’t “appreciated” at the local store. Not to mention comfort. If you can afford the space for a gaming table, then why go to a store? Maybe if my FLGS sold booze 🙂

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      in the UK most people play at clubs which are usually in pubs, village halls etc, not visible to GW.

  • NovaeVox

    Ugh. This article, this article…

    GW did probe the pre-painted miniatures market, and the CCG market as well, with Sabertooth games. Granted that was back when WizKids stormed the market, years before X-Wing. Roundtree was head of sales over Sabertooth. When GW hit financial trouble Sabertooth was dismantled and assets and licences where sold to Fantasy Flight Games. The GW execs either have dangerously short memories, or dangerously bruised egos.

    Also, I “incidentally” got a friend into the hobby by introducing him to 40k: Dawn of War, as he was a Warcraft fan years ago. Although it’s nice to see them finally be more liberal with licensing their IP they seriously don’t seem to understand it’s potential to generate revenue in multiple markets, and drive customers to it’s core systems. That’s assuming they’d view them as affordable…

    • Mathew G. Smith

      “Games Workshop not thinking their own spinoff games sell” has got to be one Fantasy Flight’s biggest sources of income these days.

      • Michael Szarek

        I think star wars is making FFG much more money, but the GW IP is a large part for sure.

        As for other industries… I can’t believe that a business this big can’t see the benefit in social networking, TV, Movies, Video Games.

        The fact that a company like FFG (basically a competitor) can have awesome success with your IP should be a wake up call. The fact that a relatively small team at FFG can make a roaring success from X-wing should be proof enough of were the market is right now.

        • JJ

          I keep wondering when GW is going to start looking at pulling its licensees from FFG. Technically they are the competition now!

        • NovaeVox

          A friend and I were sort of talking about the availability of Star Wars merch vs Star Trek merch even before the later franchise went downhill. And also how Trek positioned itself more in the adult market.

          Now Star Wars hit the mainstream with the force of the big bang and has expanded ever outwards since then, whereas GW and the Warhammer franchises began nebulously and have coalesced into what they are now. It is a bit of an apples to oranges comparison. But…

          Say what you will about George Lucas as a filmaker. But he’s obviously a shrewd businessman and he knew how to leverage the hell out of his IP, and left no niche unexplored. He had to foresight to set up Lucasarts studio to manage the development of Star Wars video games (as well as create a few cult-favorite original IPs) well before that industry became the multi-billion dollar juggernaut it is today. Even after partially breaking the Star Wars IP in the prequels Lucas managed to come out strong on marketing and spinoffs, while simultaneously introducing a new generation to the mythos. (There may be hope for AoS yet.) Ultimately however, I think he didn’t lose sight of the fact that franchise thrived because the fan-base which became invested into it were more than just numbers.

        • Vomkrieg

          Personal opinion, but I think “Chaos in the Old world” by FFG is the single best thing made in the Warhammer fantasy universe.

          That game is great, both in terms of strategy and play, and in capturing the feel of the Chaos gods. It’s a gem.

      • NovaeVox

        I totally bought BFG, and Inquisitor, even though I never actually got any games in. :

        I thoroughly enjoyed the Dawn of War games. And I thought Space Marine was good too. It captured the atmosphere of the universe fairly well if nothing else. BFG Armada is looking pretty sexy too.

  • Snord

    I see a lot of indignation and denial at the suggestion that only 20% of GW’s customer base actually play the game, but I’m not sure why we would know better then them who is buying their stuff. It seems like typical internet arrogance to say “yes, but that can’t be true because GW doesn’t know what they’re doing”, but it actually explains a lot of the apparent disconnect between the gaming sector of their customers and GW itself. Maybe the gamers really are just a vocal minority, and the majority of GW’s customers are just buying the models and the collector’s edition books without any real interest in putting armies on the table.

    That’s not to say this is a viable long-term strategy, because I think that (sadly) there’s something in the description of many GW customers as a “diminishing band of nostalgic modellers who are prepared to spend a lot of money on intricate miniatures they will probably never use in battle”. It’s my belief that the number of people who are prepared to spend the time and effort building and painting miniatures is declining. While it’s always been a part of wargaming, even many ‘traditional’ wargamers are really only interested in putting models on the table, so it’s not as if every gamer is by definition also keen on the modelling angle. These days, the instant gratification provided by computer gamers, the increasing quality of pre-painted miniatures and (perhaps most importantly) the proliferation of other diversions to pass the time, means that fewer people are going to want to spend the time on that aspect of wargaming.

    I think there’s still a huge number of us buying GW models on the basis that we intend to build them ‘some day’; older modellers like me have the money to afford to do this, but even we will eventually realise we’re just filling cupboards with boxes of plastic bits that will never get built, and we’ll stop buying. Meanwhile, I think increasing numbers of gamers will gravitate to pre-painted models. Even ‘collectors’ will do this – I’ve already bought some of the ships from the Star Wars games even though I don’t play it.

    Where will that leave GW? Maybe they should just become a model company? There might be a market for detailed kits of Land Raiders and Battlewagons, and full colour reference books (as distinct from rulebooks) – although I don’t know how big that market is, and they can’t charge any more than they already do. I don’t know if there’s a viable business there.

    • Michael Szarek

      Without Lore, Background and Games, what incentive is there to buy a land raider? A cool crazy model like Nagash or the Warlord Titan maybe… but a rectangular tank with 2 guns out the side… If there’s not rules, story or historical significance in a model, then what’s the point?
      Even military scale models and train dioramas have a purpose.
      I dunno about the Gundam scene but I imagine it’s pretty small. I think there’s movies and comics though right?

      • Snord

        Good point, but the lore/background is all well established. It’s then just a case of selling the kits. It’s already FW’s business case – look at th pseudo-historical books they sell alongside their kits. They even look like WW2 reference books.

        It’s just speculation on my part, but it seems like the logical extension of the current approach, assuming the customer base for models aimed essentially at wargamers is likely to shrink.

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          but they write those books to facilitate gamers, not collectors, because games are more fun with good background.

          • Shardak

            A lot of the impressive paintjobs/conversions the hobby side of things are very openly inspired by the lore. They have an entire line of Primarchs aimed squarely at hobbyists who like the lore.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            agreed, and there are certainly people who want that, and who are hobbyists not gamers, but I think it is substantially less than 80%.

      • An_Enemy

        “I dunno about the Gundam scene but I imagine it’s pretty small. I think there’s movies and comics though right?”


        Gundam’s fanbase is larger and more profitable than GW’s will ever be. Their IP has crept into every form of media. There are Gundam razors…as in to shave with.

        When’s the last time you saw a Space Marine on a can of Coke?

        • Spacefrisian

          Gundam kits also making there way on the 40k tabletop, look my army of Riptides, and now we can bring even bigger Gundam kits to the table.

        • There are PLANES with gundams all over it.

          Not small business-jets or something, full-on airliners of ANA. Gundam is huge. And the models are from a technical standpoint above and beyond anything GW has ever produced.

    • Dave

      At this point I think half the crap they say is aimed at investors who don’t understand what the company actually IS and how bad things are getting. Our player base is shrinking? Well, that’s not a problem because we really don’t NEED the players, we sell collectibles.

      Why anyone would want to support a company that seems so ashamed of the product they produce (and the customers that buy it) is beyond me. I mean, come on. How many ways do they have to say they don’t want to make games? They just want us to buy lots and lots of models to play ..I mean admire (they’re not TOYS after all).

      40K is not too big to fail. They’ve abandoned competitive play, gargantuan (expensive) units everywhere, formations that give tons of vehicles for free – it’s been silly for a while now. Isn’t that the same sort of thing that alienated a lot of WFB players and discouraged new recruits? It’s unsustainable without a constant stream of new blood to soak up the attrition. With all the competition out there now, that stream is smaller than ever. So, eventually they’ll need to reboot, it’s inevitable. How will they justify investing into the game side of 40k when the time comes? Considering that portion of business accounts for less than 20% of the customer base (AOS is doing so awesome, they have to account for some of the gamers), my guess is they’ll do it on the cheap.

      Best case scenario, they farm the game side out and keep making models. But they wont do that. The stock will tank and someone will buy them, hopefully, someone that likes making games.

      • Michael Gerardi

        I’m now proud to say I’ve put my money where my keyboard is and gotten into X-Wing. I’ve had more fun in three weeks of playing X-Wing than I had in all of 40K since 5th edition.

        GW didn’t want me as a customer. Well, now they’ve gotten what they wanted: one less gamer sending them money.

        Oldhammer for nostalgia. X-Wing for the future!

        • Dave

          Same here. I love X-Wing, and I feel like FFG loves ME. They support the community and manage the meta with faqs and fixes. I gave up on GW years ago, but like many others I keep hoping the company I grew up with will get their heads on straight. So, sitting in my basement is a trove of 40k stuff just waiting to be used (though I will use them for other games every now and then). I’ve spent money on other companies products and don’t have the same bad taste in my mouth. I looked forward to AOS until it came out and I played it. Still not sure what the point of it is. Not terrible, not great and certainly not intriguing enough for me to start collecting SEs. Now, I look to the rumored HH box. I’m really hoping for a great stand alone game that is priced reasonably. Don’t see it happening anymore, but maybe. Until then, more X-Wing and Frostgrave. I wonder if that makes me part of that 80% collector base?

    • ThorOdinson

      “but I’m not sure why we would know better then them who is buying their stuff.”

      How would they know? They do no market research. They proudly admit that they never communicate with their customers. So how in the world would they know what percentage of their customers does what with their miniatures?

      Moreover, it flies in the face of common sense. Do you really think that 80% of GW’s customers do nothing but assemble and paint models and never, ever, ever ever ever, play with them?

      • Codex sales are a big clue, for a start. And Battle Magic/Objective Cards.

        And yes, given the size of the world’s population, I could believe that 80% of GW’s customers are not playing games. Look at how many people build model aircraft and train sets without requiring rulesets for them to interact with other people.

        Maybe GW are so much bigger than Mantic and PP because they have more success with the non-gaming market.

        • Dave

          The model plain and train demo isn’t big enough to grow a company the size of GW. No matter how much they seem to hint at wanting that business model, it can’t work. Not at the volume they need to sell. They could still make money, but growth is what the shareholders care about. The only way that works is to go private again. Otherwise they are stuck in a cycle of expected growth and increasing revenue. Fail to show that and your stock takes a hit which devalues the company. Repeat that a few times and you get bought. I wonder how snarky they’ll be when FFG owns a controlling share of GW.

          • What’s the market cap of the big companies in model planes and trains? I have no idea, so I can’t refute your point.

            I just see model planes and trains in “real” retailers like toy shops, places I would normally never see GW or PP stock. So I don’t think it’s that small a market.

          • Dave

            It’s not a small market (although it used to be much larger), but it’s a completely different market. I don’t see a lot of traditional models kits in Toy stores anymore, at least in the states, just actual hobby shops (non game related shops). When I do go to my local hobby shop (not game store), I don’t see folks picking up multiple boxes of the same kits. UNLESS they are using those kits for a game. Lots of 1/72 stuff sells for that reason.

    • Shardak

      I’d probably have played their games more in the past year if they weren’t such a chore to set up and if they didn’t take so long.

  • TweetleBeetle

    Wow. That article was biased, useless, and slanted towards conventional wisdom. If this writer knows what he’s doing and what to ask, it never showed.

    That said, GW has missed a huge opportunity in the US. Sure, a lot of Europeans are showcase modelers and painters only, but the US is all about options and competitive play. (NOTE: I didn’t say focused competitive play, as the US tends to have far too many options to choose from, thus diluting the skill level.)

    I do agree with GW execs at the notion that they should tell us what we want. I mean, the best companies in any industry do it that way. They accept customer feedback about things, sure, but they are the designers. They have been profiting for years. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Facebook, etc., don’t ask what people want. They TELL them what they want, and present the products as though there aren’t other options (even when there are).

    Despite huge product overhauls, massive production increases, software and shipping logistics, they are still profiting more than any other miniatures company out there. That was despite carrying a product line – Fantasy – that hadn’t made money in years. The move to faster releases, attention to every faction, better balance between codices (since Necrons and that detachment-style model), free content, spreading the IP, etc, have all been good for the hobby. Prices are prices – it’s an expensive hobby. Deal with it or leave it.

    Age of Sigmar is already outselling most of the other skirmish games, and will only grow as more of the new/revisited factions receive attention.

    We can gripe and give in to the groupthink of the know-nothing forums, but chances are, GW will continue to take better steps for existing and future player bases. Pruning the curmudgeons is a good thing. Grows a healthier tree.

    I can’t wait for the vitriol headed my way in 3, 2, 1…

    • JJ

      I’ll say this again “CITATION NEEDED” please keep repeating the “Age of Sigmar is already outselling most of the other skirmish games, ” BS with no data to back it up. Perhaps it will come true.

      • Yeah the box sets on the shelf of my FLGS that have been there since day 1 disagree

        • JJ

          I just want to see some data to back up his statements! Every time he posts this comment “which is frequent” people ask him for some data to back his comments up. Guess what he just keep ignoring them b/c no one has that data yet! Personally I’m curious how it’s selling but we wont know any thing definite till we get a new financial statement!

        • Michael Gerardi

          I was at my FLGS tonight. Age of Suck-More took up maybe 5% of the table-top gaming shelf space, and that’s being generous. NOBODY was playing it. Meanwhile, there was an X-Wing tournament today (I won my first game ever, yeehah!), and they’re about to start an X-Wing league.

          AoS is circling the bowl. Meanwhile, GW fanboys are telling us to believe them and not our lying eyes.

          • There is nobody more biased against people smoking than someone who has recently given up smoking… 🙂

            PS congrats on winning your first game of X-Wing. 🙂

          • Michael Gerardi


            As for “giving up smoking”–that’s a good one 🙂

            But GW drove me and my SEVEN armies out of 40K with 6th ed, and did the same for my TK Fantasy army with 8th ed WHFB. I’ve been advocating for Oldhammer and divisional play ever since.

            Btw: I’ve said from day 1 that anyone who likes AoS is welcome to play it, and good for them. And I also support player-based revisions and improvements like Auticus’ system.

          • Is calling it “Age of Suckmore” a player-based revision? 🙂

          • Michael Gerardi

            More like a more descriptive alternative.

    • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

      we don’t know how much profit GW’s competitors make because either they aren’t publicly listed (like Privateer Press) and so don’t need to post their accounts, or they are part of larger companies (like FFG is part of Asmodee) and so it is impossible to tease out the profit made by their games arm. I suspect FFG make more profit than GW do.

      • Given that FFG have to pay a hefty tax to the licensors (Disney & GW), are you sure they make more profit?

        GW get to keep the cost of licencing the IP to theselves (since it’s their IP).

        • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

          its really hard to know, yes licensed IP can be expensive, but it gives huge marketing advantage.

    • ThorOdinson

      “Age of Sigmar is already outselling most of the other skirmish games, and will only grow as more of the new/revisited factions receive attention.”

      BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Is that “resounding success” why they were totally unable to sell out of their first 2000 copy limited edition, didn’t sell out of their second 1000 copy limited edition, and are still sitting on their still unsold third limited edition? You’d think that if it was selling so well, it would have done better than, say, Mantic, who sold out of three times as many books for Kings of War, from rulebooks to limited editions, IN A WEEK! And these were books for rules freely available online.

      But hey, keep telling us how great a seller Age of Sigmar is… meanwhile I’ll check eBay and Amazon and find independent retailers trying to move those boxes for a whopping $10 profit, something which retailers ONLY ever do if the item in question isn’t selling and they’re trying to get rid of it before the bottom drops out completely so they can get their money back and pay their electric bill.

    • An_Enemy

      When you say crazy things in public people will tend to call you crazy. It’s not vitriolic.

      I think it’s pretty reasonable for other people to wish aloud that you’d stop doing what amounts to dancing naked in the street and eating your own feces like its peanut butter.

    • Gridloc

      Maybe as a GW fanboy, you can be told what to buy. You are what they are looking for; a sucker with a wallet. GW needs more of you and applaud you on your continued recruitment for other simple minded gamers.

      Those of us who enjoy a growing community with companies that are doing well appreciate the communication between customer and seller.

      Also love your wild lies about the current outselling of AoS, do you honestly believe those or do you just love the responses you get on BoLS?

  • AreyouaNazi? Isthatyourelf?

    I will say here the exact thing I said to him,

    I would like to comment from my own perspective, as a person who both runs his own business and a blog site for the Horus Heresy, the most expensive GW line. First of all, the 20% figure is a load of junk. Our blog has a Turnover in excess of 10,000 people per month, and almost everyone who is inclined to comment is commenting with some degree of interest in the rules of the game. Horus Heresy is the game where the £1200.00 miniatures are sold and they are not for display! People like myself do collect them and display them, however we ALSO actually use them to game.

    My experience with the company over the last 20 years has been one of continual decline, where they stemmed from having great initiatives like skulls (essentially a rewards program for mass purchases) to continually driving up their prices despite he competition in order to maintain the profit margin. I hate to break it to you, but they are on the verge of pricing themselves out of the Australian market.

    GW used to be an affordable hobby, but with starter sets costing a weeks wages or more for their target audience I’m not sure how they think they can keep up, not when Fantasy Flight Games (as one example) are able to provide a miniature (pre painted for those who lack the time or skill to paint, and re paintable for those who want to paint them) with heir own simple and balanced rules for a mere fraction of the price.

    Do you know where GW is really at right now? As an example, take it with a grain of salt, but proportionately, They started selling kits for $1. They used to sell 100 kits a day, and made $100. One day, due to rising costs and such, they had to raise the cost to $2. The customer understood this, so, they still brought and the company now made $200 per day, or double what they used to make. Unfortunately, the company got made public, and now they want to impress the share holder with good dividends. So, now they charge $3 per miniature. But, the customer knows they are getting ripped off, some stay, some go. Now they only sell half the models, and only make $150 per day. Seeing that they have now dropped in incoming money, they attempt to fix it by raising the cost again, reasoning that “if we still sell 50 models per day, at $4 each we will get back to $200 per day.” Unfortunately, they neglect that the customers will drop off again, and now they only sell 25 models a day, making them $100. They are now shipping less product, have the costs they had when they found $100 couldn’t support them, but are back to earning what they were before the first price rise. This is GW.

  • TheNickelEye

    The lack of imagination and vision on GW’s part is astounding. If they believe future profitability is through finding new customers and not exploiting current ones, how can they think it’ll be easier to find new modelling custoemrs than gaming ones? If gamers are only 20% it would seem that would be an area of potential growth!

    The disdain for pre-painted shows what a dinosaur they are becoming. As a market leader they should be at the front of that wave. New younger players will be less inclined to spend the time and the old-timers have less time due to responsibilities of family life. It is hard for me to envision GW coming out with a new version of Blood Bowl, Necromunda or Space Hulk featuring pre-painted mini’s and sold through mass market retailers like Banres and Noble would sell like gangbusters.

    Also why are they so sloppy with their IP in other media? We have a new Blood Bowl, WFB and ManOWar games coming out this year with no minaitures or games supported for them to find if they are interested by the game. Why didn’t GW work to make it Total War AOS so it serves as an advertisement for their new game instead of a dead world?

    The games/modelling/collectors market is changing and GW is internet on proving that they know best by staying in their niche. That’s what leads to moribund companies.

  • crevab

    I wonder what demographic they would consider me?

    I started out as a collector, grabbing a few of the models I loved from each range. I had many model types as a child. I collected Star Wars, Star Trek, Gundams, and miltary models. The prospect of a game to go with my small collection intrigued me. I found when people played and watched them. Then I started to dabble.

    I was in love. Started buying units I needed for the game that I never would have otherwise bothered with. Shopkeeps joked for years that I was their #1 customer.

    However the closer I got, the more faults started to irritate me. Price increases like clockwork. Model prices used to go down when they became plastic, not up. Codex design that could’t stay the same for an entire edition. And a rapidly decreasing reponsibility for making a game that runs without extensive dialog and house rules.

    I was jaded. They don’t care so I don’t care . My shopping rapidly dropped from full price in-store to internet discount to outright piracy. I’ll buy a decently priced troop kit these days but thats about it. $30 single sprue character? Ha, I know where I can get 6 for the same price.

  • Swimpackus

    Don’t get too angry all. This is a textbook case of Zipfs law. Watch the Vsauce video in the following link to learn about this incredible phenomenon.

    Just about everything is divided along the 80/20 divide except in this case GW has clearly misread their data. I would gather 80 percent are gamers and 20 percent are not. This is clearly an apocalyptic level of bone-headed-ness and explains the company’s difficulties. Also it’s a law and not a theory so treat it accordingly.

  • steelmage99

    “It’s clear that GW knows at this point it can’t belt-tighten it’s way out of it’s current situation, and has a clear plan on how to grow in the future.”

    I see no evidence of that.

    • ThorOdinson

      Oh, they have a plan.

      …it’s a deeply stupid and idiotic plan which is doomed to failure, but there’s a plan.

  • sleeplessknight

    I worked for GW for 8 years between 2004 and 2012. I worked in 3 different stores of varying size and managed one of them for 5 years. My recollection of my customer base during this time is purely anecdotal and probably not representative of the community as a whole. I’d probably say about about 20% of my customer base played in store with maybe 1/3 of them being really hardcore tournament and event goers. About 40% seemed to play at home or just within their own group of friends or just talked about gaming with their purchase. 20% consisted of people we sold a starter bundle to (starter set, paint set, primer and maybe a white dwarf), got frustrated with the hobby and never came back. About 20% bought just to collect the models and about half of those people who just collected, based their collections on the fact that it would be nice to play with their collections at some point in time.

    So in my 8 years working in a GW store I’d probably say 10% of my customers bought models with no intention of ever playing the game. Obviously this wouldn’t include customers from the website or indy retailers and my breakdown is at best a guess, but GW’s notion that only 20% of their customers are gamers is not true based on my experience.

    • Badgerboy1977

      It’s not actually “GW’S notion” to be fair, it’s one man’s recollection of a number that possibly got bandied about in an unofficial manor at an agm. I really wouldn’t read that much into it myself…

      • An_Enemy

        “To be fair”…do you really think GW has employees speaking with the press at an investor’s meeting that aren’t full briefed and vetted beforehand?

        Think carefully about that. One option is that this was a completely official and approved talking point. Another is that GW is completely incompetent.

        Arrogance or incompetence? Which shakes the pathological apologist dogma you routinely post here more?

        • Badgerboy1977

          Well aren’t you a charming individual…

          “I’m not sure how precise the 20% figure is. It was bandied around in conversation rather than put on a powerpoint” is a direct quote from one of his replies in the comments below the article.
          He also states elsewhere that he’s unsure if it was actually 20% he heard.

          Also you’re using supposition to presume what happened, whereas I’m simply advising caution based on his own words.

          I’d say my statement was fairly accurate and I’d say yours as usual it would seem is coloured by some extreme views of what is essentially just a harmless toy company.

          It’s very easy with companies like this who aren’t actually causing any real world damage or mistreatment, if you don’t like their products or the way they do business then vote with your wallet and don’t buy them and leave it to those that do.
          It really is that simple…

          • An_Enemy

            So if it was on screen in a power point presentation you’d believe the writer’s account, but because it was GW employee cleared to interact with invited press SAYING IT ALOUD you can dismiss it?


            Right. Who are you really trying to convince here man?

          • Badgerboy1977

            At what point did I make a statement of belief one way or the other?

            This is one man’s opinion of events that he even admits he may not be remembering correctly, I think caution is the only way to approach it.

            Does not mean it’s untrue but it may not be entirely accurate and will always be coloured by the authors views.

          • An_Enemy

            Dude…your reply to sleepless said basically that people should ignore a journalist’s testimony. You do it again below. You pretty much did it again in this latest response. You’re actively dismissing this story and advising others do the same. That’s not an impartial stand by any stretch of the word.

            Are you ok?

          • Badgerboy1977

            It does astound me how someone’s prejudice can blind them to reality….

            At no point have I dismissed his article out of hand or stated that people should ignore it, that is complete and utter nonsense.

            What I have done is advise caution as any journalist no matter how credible can be affected by their own views and perception of events and this one in particular states that his memory of that 20% number in particular is vague, these are irrefutable facts my friend.

            Stop letting your anger blind you and maybe grow up a bit with the insults, it ain’t big or clever I’m afraid.

  • The flair for the dramatic in the writing makes it sound like a disillusioned ex player got his chance to take a swing at big bad gdub. Even if he had a point it was really lost in the unnecessary rhetoric.

    Interwebz garbage columns do not equate real journalism. This read like a terrible black library novel.

  • ThorOdinson

    “(which I’m assuming is here to stay for very long time),”

    Did you think the same thing when GW released Dreadfleet? Because from all indications, Age of Sigmar is making Dreadfleet look like a financial success.

    • I didn’t say it would be a success – but I can see GW propping it up for years with occasional releases regardless of sales. The humiliation of having to shutter it, or reverse course and trying to somehow bring back a square base game would be untenable for the executives and their internal culture at this point.

  • Badgerboy1977

    Something to bear in mind is that this is just one mans opinion based on his perception of events that we can’t really verify, just a friendly note of caution is all 😉

    Not that that’ll stop the haters sharpening their knives of course though, oh and (looks at the comments) it hasn’t. There’s a surprise…

  • Pretend Workshop

    I think you’re seeing the 20 percent that play post a lot more than people who don’t. Gives the illusion that more people play. I sell to tons of customers that talk about the game non stop. However they don’t play at all. These are usually my best customers. They collect multiple armies and build and paint them beautifully but never once roll the dice. I’m very close to that way myself. I adore the game and own sizable forces in just about every faction. Yet I’ve played maybe 10 times in the last 20 years. I look at total war warhammer and wonder why I actually play the board game at all. Oh yea….I love the models.

    • An_Enemy

      If 20% of GW’s customers play the game and the other 80% only collect models then how do you explain the Rhino kit outselling entire WFB factions? It’s a thoroughly boring model. And yet you REALLY think collectors are the ones propping up those profits?

      • If you’re collecting an entire Space Marine Company and you want one Rhino per squad?

        There are different types of collectors. Some want one of everything, some want only the models they like, and some want to be completist and make “historically” accurate forces.

        I’m collecting a Company, and I will get around to buying 10 Rhinos, but I’ll be darned if I’m ever going to use them all in the same game.

        • An_Enemy

          You’re part of a minority of the minority. If I was your friend I’d worry about you tbh. Your plan is to spend what amounts to a used car for no concrete reason.

          I’m even more concerned that you think more than a handful of GW’s purported two million customers do this.

          • Patronize much? With that sort of attitude I’d be surprised if you were anybody’s friend.

            Oh wait, wait, I’ve got one… Only your enemies would be my friends. (see what I did there? 🙂 )

    • sleeplessknight

      I love the models too and rarely actually get a chance to play. Last time I played was in October.

      But think about it this way. If there was no game to play or even talk about, would you or those customers buy as much as they did? The intention is that some day, they might see use on the game table even if they actually never do.

      • Shardak

        Yeah – if it wasn’t for the idea of some day playing the game then last year when I got the High Elf army I’d always wanted I would have stopped at buying a box of Shadow Warriors and some old metal stuff off ebay, rather than getting 2,000 points of tiny plastic elves.

        I didn’t actually play all that much at the time (adult life is busy and GW games tend to take a bit too long) but the one game every few months was a big incentive.

        I definitely wouldn’t have ~60 Orcs and ~100 Goblins in boxes either.

        I’d have like 10 Orcs and 20ish Goblins (I find them cathartic to paint).

    • I think you’re very right. I happen to know quite a few that rarely play or do not play at all, and the one big tying factor with all of them is that none of them post in game forums.

  • vlad78

    Stormcast are crap imho. So half the starter is worthless.

    • sandwyrm

      Oh yeah, forgot about those. I only bought some of the Chaos models on eBay. 🙂

  • Valeli

    I agree there’s a distinction between hobying and playing with toys. And I agree that the hobby aspect is a very key part of what makes GW what it is.

    But this idea that only 20% of people invested in GW are interested in playing games….. I didn’t read the original yet. Do they actually have /any/ data to back up that claim? It sounds mad.

  • ted1138

    Half the value of the miniatures and models lies in how they play in the game(s), the other half is in how they look. If a gamer can’t paint, or a painter doesn’t game, they aren’t getting full value from their collection, and when prices go up, sooner or later they’ll be priced out of collecting more of them.

    As for not wanting to make pre-painted miniatures, I recall a time they didn’t want to make cards for their tabletop war games. They also thought board games were a thing of the past, and there wasn’t any profit in skirmish games.

    • Shardak

      God they really did throw away much of their hold on the market when they stopped supporting specialist games didn’t they?

  • Manwiththedogs

    In all my years I have never met anyone who is simply a collector. I’m sure they exist but I haven’t met them.

    • sleeplessknight

      I assure you they exist. But they are greatly outnumbered by people who play or even collect with the intent to play at some point in the future.

    • Where would you go to meet them?

      • Manwiththedogs

        I’d go to their house, bro.

        • Lol, I walked into that one… 🙂

  • Gavin Bateman

    We are a model company not a game company. Why do they consistently push powerful rules for new units then?
    Why is it common that the last editions poor performers become army staples? And why do they encourage you to buy specific formations which come with powerful bonuses?
    However they run their business is their concern. I just find it odd.

    • Because gamers will buy as many of the powergamer models as they can and have done so for many years. Its purely marketing.

  • While the “X-wing is a toy” quote is a PR nightmare, you can sort of see what they mean. X-wing appeals to the non-wargaming market too, and may well be the only miniatures game some people ever play. Especially those who don’t want to be considered “nerds”.

    I’m neither a GW fanboy nor a GW hater, but I do wish they would get a spin doctor. 🙂

  • NagaBaboon

    20%? I wonder where they got that number from. They wouldn’t have just made it up would they? Of course, not that’d just be lying to yourself, like insisting that the petrol meter must be broken in your car when it keeps warning you to fill up.

    • Badgerboy1977

      Again: it’s one man’s recollection of a number that possibly got bandied about in an unofficial manor at an agm.
      He even states elsewhere that he may not be remembering that number correctly and in a reply to a comment below the article he also states: “I’m not sure how precise the 20% figure is. It was bandied around in conversation rather than put on a powerpoint”.

      It may possibly be true but it really should not be taken as an absolute without more than just one mans vague recollection.

      • NagaBaboon

        I don’t think it’s in the least bit accurate, if 50% was true I’d be surprised. I’d be interested to know if GW officials think it’s true though.

  • Victor Ques Ramos

    In the reading there is a very good point when talking about the 1250 pounds miniature (the titan of course). How many of them you see on the table, then why we see some painting studios doing Titans. These are really pieces of collection that most of the gamers will never care about them.
    They also comment about Age of Sigmar, very clearly they say that the intentions is an evolving universe that allows them to keep creating more miniatures.
    There are lot of people that is more interested in the hobby aspect and collecting doing games occasionally like me. In the GW eyes we are collectors and not gamers.

    • euansmith

      We need some BoLS articles about the dangers to the collecting hobby of BAAC (Buy At Any Cost) Collectors; discussing the Collecting Meta and breaking down the current Hot Collecting Net Lists. 😉

      Actually, I guess that, because I buy GW minis but don’t use them in GW games, I must count as a “collector” too.

      I wonder if there are non-players who still only purchase GW minis?

      • We have a lot at our GW store actually that never really play but maybe a couple times a year. They do, however, spend a lot on models and are repeatedly involved with the painting competitions and armies on parade.

      • Tynskel

        I’d read these articles.

        • euansmith

          Where “OP” stands for “Over Priced” instead of “Over Powered”

          • Tynskel

            although… I don’t believe GW miniatures are over priced… but, it is BoLS, so it has to complain about something…

          • euansmith

            I guess that in the mini painting community there must be minis that are an “auto-win”; too easy to paint in an eye catching way, causing “serious” painters to gnash their teeth when someone enters the model in to a competition.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            that skink shaman with the feathers is one of those judging by how many times I’ve seen it in a competition.

          • euansmith

            In Inq28 conversion modelling, everyone ends up doing a Cairn Wraith and a Nurgle Champion… I’m currently working on my Nurgle Champion as a street cleaning servitor…

  • Douglas Burton

    I think this article kind of proves GW’s disconnect with the customer base. For whatever reason though, GW can be completely off in left field and people will still buy their figures. I liken a GW buyer to a crack addict, people just can’t seem to kick that habit. Trust me, a long while ago I was the same way, I continued buying something, anything from GW until I just said I’m going to stop that insanity since I don’t even play the game any more (except for the specialist games). But back to the point. Whether they consider it 20%, 30% or 40%, their actions fully prove that they make models NOT for the hobbyist and collector but for the gamer. Yea, you may see a forgeworld model here or there, but you wouldnt see boxes of line troops if they were not making them with gaming in mind. Each figure would be an individual sculpt with distinction on each and every figure. Hell, I would argue that in days past, the metal models, where you would see 30 or 40 different sculpts of an Orc Warrior or 30 or 40 different sculpts of a standard Space Marine were more likely to be considered aimed at collectors than gamers. Even with AOS we’ve seen how many book releases already for that game?

    Hobbyists? Nah, not at all. Its squarely aimed at gamers, but I think this could possibly be GW’s way of insulating themselves from making bad gaming decisions so if a line fails, they can say to themselves, gee, I guess hobbyists moved on to a different line of figures.

    • Tynskel

      I think you are wrong. Almost everyone I know doesn’t play, because we don’t have time. But we still meet up to paint and build. We talk about the fluff, and we continuously purchase new miniatures. I think that puts us in the 80%!

      • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

        funny, I go to three clubs and know lots of people, but I don’t think I know anyone like that.

        • Tynskel

          That’s because… they don’t play! hahahah. They are only in the store to buy stuff.

          • Knight_of_Infinite_Resignation

            there are quite a few guys who come to the club mostly to have painting time, but they also play at least occasionally. I know a lot of 40K fans outside of club circuit too, I should say, as I have like 1400 Facebook friends and occasionally post about wargaming stuff.

          • Tynskel

            The gaming group i’m on in facebook, the vast majority are collectors. play occasional games, but collecting each company and meticulously painting them.

  • this just shows that GW doesn’t want to be a game company. They want to put out models and be a model company. We already kind of knew that with the Age of Sigmar release.

    • euansmith

      I wonder how much they get from their rules and codices; whether they could just say, “Screw it, some one else can make the rules and take the flack; we’re just going to make cool looking things and sell them…”

      • You’d think a lot but then again pushing out hardback books is expensive as well.

        I wish someone else would make the rules to be honest. The games out today all disappoint me.

        • euansmith

          “Beyond the Gates of Antares” (Bolt Action in SPAAAAACE) is just about out. Maybe they will add some army lists for 40k units.

          • i’ll look at it. the biggest thing is how much work will i have to put in to get 2 people to play it lol. (meaning everyone here either plays 40k or infinity)

          • euansmith

            Maybe you can use the power of nagging and moaning to undermine their allegiance to the 40k rules and get them to use other rules for their games 😉

            Also Warpath: Firefight and Warpath: Epic are up on the kickstarter today from Mantic. Epic is for large scale battles using 28mm minis but organised in to units like 15mm minis in Flames of War.

          • I haven’t been impressed with Mantic. The only game I like from them is Dreadball so far.

          • euansmith

            Mars Attacks! is great fun to play, with the various cards really selling the theme of a totally over the top struggle with your little guys dodging the burning cattle, heat beams, mutant bugs, air strikes and lobbed cars.

  • Svenone

    They’ll continue to make money but their sales will still probably be shaky. Their models are no doubt good but the percentage of hobbyists are a lot lower. The article linked in the OP is a good example.

    If there’s no legacy hobbyist in your family, odds are you may not get into it yourself or continue it if you don’t have a gaming, sorry — HOBBYING, group to keep you going.

    As far as the games thing… A model will make me buy a kit once, but the rules will make be buy it twice. Why GW doesn’t realize they should take their game more seriously is strange.

  • Psytox

    Seeing as GW point blank refuse to do any market research, let’s do it for them and set up a poll. That will show us how accurate their 20% really is.

    • Muninwing

      set it up in the forums, and post the link?

    • Slaanesh_Devotee

      I’m not sure the people you would be able to reach would be so representative of the customer base as a whole.

      All such a poll would do is to prove that internet whingers are good at assembling to talk to themselves.

  • Bill Anderson

    Wow!? Read the Bedford writeup and the comments for yourself. He is spot on and reemphases that GW has no clue what their customers want nor are they interested. This wwould make a great business school case study on how to lose market share during an economic recovery while your competerors are showing 20 to 30% growth. Reminds me of when Scully ousted Jobs at Apple and drove it into the ground.

  • dodicula

    You know what, let em do and say what they want, I don’t care anymore. There are other games to be played

  • Frank Krifka

    ” [Collectors?] Speak English to me, Tony. I thought this country spawned the F*$%ing language, and so far nobody seems to speak it.”

    Col·lec·tor [kəˈlektər] noun


    a person who collects things of a specified type, professionally or as a hobby.

    “a glass collector”

    A collector is a person who goes into a game store and selects models of a certain type; Dark Angels, Tyranids, or Skaven. Collectors don’t just collect things as an investment; they collect things because they collect them. I, for example, collect vintage straight razors. I know plenty of razor collects who do not use their razors to shave.

    in contrast:

    gam·er [ɡāmər]


    1. a person who plays a game or games, typically a participant in a computer or role-playing game.

    A gamer by contrast, does not need models to play Warhammer. i have seen Warhammer games played with scraps of paper marking which units are which. (and we’ve all used proxy models when we wanted to use a unit ing game when we didn’t care for the GW sculpt) The GAME itself does not inherently push players to BUY GW models. Players who are interested in adding models to their “collections” (a group of things of a similar type) buy models.

    That’s of course not saying that those two things don’t occasionally or frequently overlap, because they do. It does show that gaming does not necessarily translate to the buying of models.

    I imagine the old WHFB was scrapped partially because the game became a barrier to collecting models. Players who had enough of a collection of a particular army felt restricted from buying models from a different range because they couldn’t be use din game unless you were interested in starting another “army”. When your sitting on 5k points of chaos, starting a 500pt skaven army seems a bit pointless. Regardless of your opinion of it as a game, AoS puts no restrictions on collecting. 40K is trying to do this as well with Unbound armies and a wide range of allies and alternate force orgs.

    I think the distinction between “collector” and “gamer” are appropriate when you consider what the words actually mean….

  • Kenneth Portner

    I find it hard to believe that people don’t come to GW via the games. I can’t believe there are many people who saw the models and said “I want to start painting that and converting that”. I think people play the game, which leads them to want to own miniatures and prepare themfor the game, which leads them to buy Black Library novels and get into the fluff, which leads them to convert their minis. But i think it all starts with playing the game

    • Michael Gerardi

      That is exactly the path I took. Until GW told me to sod off.

  • crusader284

    Not a bad read, but…

    “…When another shareholder asks if the company would sell games with pre-painted easy to assemble miniatures like the popular Star Wars themed X-Wing game, there’s a collective growl from the Games Workshop people. It wouldn’t be a hobby business then, it would be a toy company.”

    To be fair, I’d be growling too. Can you imagine what a pre-painted miniatures range would be like? We’d be practically forced to play as Ultramarines!

  • 20% of its customers? That’s 1 in 5 hobbyists. No friggin’ way. I’d personally imagine it to be the other way around.

  • Crablezworth

    GAMES workshop… if you guys wanna just go by citadel miniatures and tell gamers to get stuffed, do it already.

  • wolfpuppet

    My “main” hobbies are collecting action figures and building models. I got into 40k because I wanted to actually do something with models other than displaying them. So even for a collector-hobbyist such as myself, the gaming part was the biggest draw.

    I don’t see the appeal of GW models as strictly-display pieces. They look awesome, but there are better model makers out there. Until a Land Raider matches the complexity of an armor kit from Dragon, I won’t consider GW a model-first company.

  • Loki

    Pro-click, excellent article. And if GW don’t want me as a customer, I’m more than happy to find another business that does.

  • ted1138

    At the rate they’ve been driving people away from playing their games, that 20% is starting to look a bit on the high side to me.