Editorial: The Allure of Gaming (a Games-Workshop review)


Did you play Warhammer? Do you now play Age of Sigmar? Or, are you one of the “noisy few?”

Several things that need to be said before you read this article.

  • Please read the whole article! At times you may feel this is an AoS bash, it is not, please read the whole thing thru. It is a bit long and you might need to have a little bit of higher reading comprehension, but please read it and understand it before you comment. I am not trolling.
  • There are some important quotes that you should know before you read this article, if you wish to save some time and not read all three articles I’ll paraphrase the important bits here; regardless I’d encourage all of you to take some time and read all of them.
    1. “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.” (from Mr. Richard Beddford, link below)
    2. “We have a simple strategy at Games Workshop. We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever.” (Games-Workshop’s Business model, link below).
    3. “To be here next year we have to do what all our customers want, not just a noisy few . . . “ Mr. Tom Kirby from his July 27th, 2015 preamble, link below.

Here is my piece, thank you for taking the time to read it.

There have been some very interesting reads floating about the internet of late. One by a professional investor, Mr. Richard Beddford who visited Nottingham for an annual investor’s report by the company:

There’s GWs business model

And let’s not forget the preamble by the former CEO and current Chairman Mr. Tom Kirby.


Conclusions? Like any company GW is driven by profit and they believe that the majority of their customers are non–gamers. This philosophy has led to its current business model; GW is a model making company, not a gaming company. That has culminated into the creation of the Age of Sigmar. The Age of Sigmar is the ultimate table top, non-game hobby. You the customer, will buy GW’s excellent hobby books, assemble and paint these beautiful models, but not play with them!?!?


Before I continue I should clarify that yes, you can play Age of Sigmar, but that the game is so simple it’s akin to calling tic-tac-toe a game . . . which it is, if your 8 years old. Any table top gamer who has been playing table top games for more than 2 hours will soon discover how unsatisfying AoS is (comps excluded) and will likely move on to any other game such as X-Wing, Malifaux, Warmahordes, 40K, etc.

For those of you who disagree with me and say that AoS is indeed a game, well the guys who make it don’t even agree with you. When this was brought up to Games-Workshop executives at the investor’s review meetings they themselves agree that the game is very simple and basic. “But that’s ok,” they’ll go on to tell you, “because 80% of our customers are hobby-ists and don’t actually play the games.”

So, according to GW they have customers that buy the models and books, assemble and paint them, and then just let them sit on their shelves; what’s more is that 80% of their customers do that. It might just be me, but I have never met one of these people before . . . and I’ve been in the hobby for almost 20 years.

So where does this 80% statistic come from?


When I was doing my Master’s in Economics I remember my Statistics Professor telling us, no matter how clever you are at regressing numbers and coming up with trends, the most important rule cannot be taught or written on paper, and that is common sense. Let me give you an example, the same one she gave us; there is a positive correlation between alcohol consumption and income, if you drink a lot than statistically speaking you’re more likely to be rich. Therefore we can conclude if you drink a lot you’re more likely to make more money. Is this true?  Absolutely not, that conclusion is ridiculous. Causality and correlation is what you’re trying to find as a statistician, not just trends. The correlation here is wealth and alcohol go hand in hand, but the causality is the more you can afford to drink the more you drink, not the more you drink the more money you make. The whole point of large companies spending millions of dollars on data and nerds to crunch their data, find and remove the stochastics and regress the rest to hell and back until they find a trend, is that they’re looking for this causality. But you need common sense or else you run the risk of coming up with the wrong conclusions.

I have no data, therefore I have no idea how GW came up with 80% are hobbyists and non-gamers number, but it sounds to me like some bad statistics. A little bit of common sense in Nottingham should be telling these guys, no, most of your customers play your games.

Part of me believes GW does possess this common sense, as they’ve demonstrated it. Examples are when a new unit is released, it’s often accompanied with amazing rules so that you kind of have to buy that model (Heldrakes, Centurions and Dark Elf Warlocks come to mind) to remain competitive. Models that had poor rules (High Elf flying chariots come to mind) don’t sell as well. GW must have noticed this right?

So the question is, how important is the gaming aspect to our hobby? I say a lot more then GW is giving it credit. Even if the average customer doesn’t play the games regularly (or as they claim at all), they are drawn by, what I’ve coined, the “gaming allure” of it.

download (1)

Let me use an example to help explain what I mean by “gaming allure.” Why do people drop that kind of money on a fast car? For the same amount of money you can buy a much more comfortable luxury car, with way more features and equivalent social prestige. But no, people buy it because it makes them feel confidant , theirs is the fastest. Will they ever take their sports car to a race track? Of course not! Some will no doubt, but most of people who own a super expensive sports car, like a Porsche or Ferrari, will likely never take it to the track, or if they do it’ll only be once or twice. And if you ask them, why did you buy this car if you’re never going to take it to the track? they’ll all answer, because it’s a beautiful car, it’s a piece of art, the engineering, the looks, I just love it; similarily when you ask a Warhammer player why do you buy Warhammer stuff, because I love the models, it’s artistic, I enjoy assembling and painting, etc. but we all know that’s not the only reason. GW customers read the books, similarily to car enthusiasts watching car races, and they get excited about how amazing and battle changing a “Warlord Titan” is (for example). After they’ve read this story  they now want to buy this amazing model. Why? Because it is both high quality and aesthetically pleasing? Well yes, but also because  a Warlord Titan can erase entire armies in one round of shooting, just like a Porsche can beat any other car on the road. Well it’s a lot easier to convince a customer to part with $2,500 CDN on a single model knowing it’s not only amazing aesthetically, but will also crush your opponent in the game! Likewise, it’s a lot easier to drop $100K on a sports car knowing it’s not just a beautiful looking car but that’s it’s also one of the fastest on the road. The guy who buys that Warlord may never use it in a game (or tournament), just like the guy who buys the Porsche may never take it to the track, but that was never the point now was it? In both cases the buyer feels like they bought a product for its aesthetic value and would answer in such a way if surveyed, but there is more to it. The consumer spent money, and indeed more often than not overpaid, and it wasn’t just because it’s pretty.

Don’t believe me? Do you have 10 minutes? Let’s do an experiment. Find a battle report on youtube featuring a Primarch. Watch as the player’s run down their lists, get to the Primarch and then all of sudden watch grown men squeal like children as they all sing their praises to this $120 CDN piece of resin and how cool/amazing it is. They’ll then spend some more time talking about how they themselves would love to have one (or talk about which ones they have) and then continue with the game. Are Primarchs nice models? Absolutely, they’re beautiful! Are they good in the game? yes-ish? Tactically you’re better off with a super heavy tank or walker (IMHO). These people didn’t pay $120 CDN for a small lump of resin because it looks good (if they did busts would be way more popular); no, they paid a large sum of money for a Primarch because they love the character, how he was depicted in the stories, and then they have an opportunity to recreate that themselves by putting that tiny piece of resin on the table and watching him kicking everyone’s ass.

Maybe many of GWs customers don’t play regularly, or according to GW not at all (although I still doubt that) but that doesn’t mean the game was not important.

The game added value to the products so that it was worth more than what its material and aesthetic merits dictated; this in turn shifted the demand positively which allowed Games-Workshop to sell its products at a premium price.

This my friends is the “gaming allure.”

Had AoS come with a set of rules that were fun and challenging, encouraged customization and tactics, then there is no doubt in my mind AoS would have rocked’n’rolled . . . now though I’m not as sure.


So what does this mean? Now that GW has taken the gaming part out of their product, or took out the V8 and replaced it with a 4 cylinder, will their product continue to sell?

My answer, I don’t know.

Perhaps these new one man stores will have what it takes to build a core base of AoS customers, and I hope they do, because GW still produces the nicest models and it’ll be a shame if us “noisy few” turn out to be right, eh Tom?

~How much do you think “Gaming Allure” is responsible for sales of GW (or any other company’s) miniatures?

  • Drathmere

    It might be nice if BoLS spent more time in articles about painting, making terrain, game play, and tactics. These kinds of articles do nothing to help our community.

    • Adam Murray

      Yeah we need more positivity. More hobby less whining.

      • Benjamin E

        I think the problem is that BoLS is too deeply entrenched in GW culture, rather than actual gaming culture. Needs to shift away from the aging, dying giant and broaden it’s horizons, before it goes the same way.

        • Ira Clements

          Wait you don’t find 6 Skarbrand the Awesomness posts worthwhile?

          • Mr.Gold

            most of them by one person…

        • Xodis

          Probably would require a name change, seeing as the name is based on 40K lore.

        • USS Daedalus

          I concur, it would be great to see more posts about Star Wars X-Wing, Armada, etc. Or how about Malifaux terrain, which looks super fun to make. I really liked the DZC articles that ran about a year ago, with intro tactics, faction overviews, etc.

          • Zingbaby

            There are X-Wing articles nearly every day. But those articles, like warmachine etc generate soo many less ‘clicks and comments’ than any GW article.

          • Chuck Rankine

            Still worth having those X-Wing articles, though. I read them after I read the 40K articles. =)

        • reynor

          Ha ha i remember when people used to complain if there was a single non 40k article on BoLS. A SINGLE WHFB article. This site is more diverse than I’ve seen it in years.

        • Emprah

          Are you mentally challanged?

          There are so many alternative gaming articles here , that if I ran GW, I would sue this site to have it shut down for advertising all the competition, especially all the 3rd party manufacturers that dont even make their own games, just make bad gw ripoffs.

          The only thing I can think of is that Warmachine, for its number 2 place in popularity, is not that well represented.

          X wing has almost as much artivles as 40k for example.

          So son, go get some glasses, you need them.

    • Sythica

      I agree. What was the point of this article? Everyone with “higher reading comprehension”, as Mr. Thrawn so impolitely puts it, already has figured out that GW’s completely screwed the pooch with AoS. Are we reduced to hoping GW exec’s read these blogs, and will suddenly change the direction of the company?

      • Aezeal

        AoS IMHO was mostly screwed because of the over-reaction of the crowd.
        I’m not saying the negative reaction was completely unjustified but it hasn’t been put into perspective.
        I think GW wanted to gives us some very basic rules to play the game and that could be expanded upon without needing to counter previous rules too much.
        And I think the rules will work perfectly if you only have the starterset.
        Their scenario’s all give options that apperantly (I’ve not played them myself) give players a fun game.
        A few pages of comp (which makes the total rules still only 10 pages or less and then some pages for points) make the game more balanced.
        I will be the first to admit that I DO NOT understand why GW didn’t release something similar themselves but that doesn’t make the rest of the rules terrible.

        • Adam Murray

          Absolutely once you start using the warscrolls it gets good. I don’t think it’s a tournament game, at least not without house rules, but GW have always said that they have no problem with house ruling stuff. Measuring to bases, army composition rules, banning summoning etc etc.

          • Aezeal

            Agreed.. but if GW had put it’s own point system into place the scene wouldn’t have been so fractured I don’t understand why they didn’t release a 2nd document with an alternative for army building. It wouldn’t have to be in the boxed game since I guess those armies are balanced as they are.. but for people like us (I guess) with pretty big older armies and wanting to play with them the rules just do not suffice. The whole summoning thing is just strange I think.. if the casting costs had been higher unlimited summoning would still have to be comped but now it’s just strange. Summoning entire units on a 6+ ?? a 9+ would have been better.

          • Adam Murray

            Yeah but we’re all adults here (alegidly) if we don’t like something in a game we don’t have use it. I kind of wonder if GW won’t release another version of AoS rules v2 in the future with points or whatever. But I don’t need an official GW seal of approval to play the games how I want to play.

          • DeadlyYellow

            It’s not like these things will ever have official tournament support. Go hog wild!

          • Aezeal

            I think Azyr could very well end up being a tournament comp. Or maybe a comp with a bit more differentiation in points.

          • Adam Murray

            Clash comp is pretty good too.

          • dodicula

            but for most people playing WFB there is so much not to like, that its just easier to play another rule set.

          • Adam Murray

            Play any rule set you like! Personally though 8th is dead for me and I can’t get over how much better my models are looking on ovals and rounds. I’m not a tournament gamer these days so tbh it’s easy for me to play AOS with a few tweaks. I think people forget how much annoying stuff there was in 8th.

          • dodicula

            I think most fantasy players will never ever accept round bases. Not because round bases are bad in and of themselves, but because all of a sudden, manuever and formation (which already suffered in 8th) ceased to matter at all.

          • dodicula

            Scene would still have been fractured, most WFB players want manuever to matter more than can be done with round bases

          • Grumpy Scot

            I started using Warscrolls immediately. It didn’t get very good and I quit Age of Sigmar soon after (and 40k, in fear of it becoming garvbage too).

            It’s not even a good narrative game. Why are my archers and handgunners allowed to shoot whilst in melee combat? Terrible.

          • Adam Murray

            House rule it so they can’t then!

          • vlad78

            At that level of price, we shouldn’t have to house rule for something so obvious.

          • Someone

            That level being fre rules?

          • jeff white

            you are sane. and this is surprising. thank you.

          • Aezeal

            I hardly care about that.. there is no real reason you can’t quickly take an arrow and shoot in a lull in the fighting near you.

          • Grumpy Scot

            Yes there is. There are lots and lots of reasons why you couldn’t do that. What do you think happened when Archers or Crossbowmen were charged by cavalry on the battlefield? I’ll give you a clue: they didn’t turn around and shoot them whilst they were being mowed down.

            Do you even know how a crossbow is loaded? What about a musket? You can’t sit there and seriously argue that it makes sense, lol.

        • mugginns

          Lol yes, AoS sucks because of fans. Lol

          • jeff white

            yes, and iron maiden is great regardless.

        • dodicula

          AoS was mostly screwed because GW wrote roles that most (admittedly not all) current fantasy players think are utter garbage. Now maybe they can recruit some new customers to actually play, or if most people really dont play, or if the currently player base moves to KoW/9th age, and continues to to buy models (which is possible depending on how mantic ups its model quality),this may be a good thing for GW the company.

          • jeff white

            i will be collecting for 9th with mantic models. forever. from now on. bless you,

          • vlad78

            Don’t forget how they destroyed their own fluff which was one of the best thing GW had against the competition. I’m not willing to give them my money anymore just because of that.

          • Aezeal

            Ehm the books are still there.. nothing is destroyed.. it’s just the past now.

      • Horus84cmd

        “higher reading comprehension” – What an obnoxious statement from the article writer. Given the essay is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors; all whilst being poorly structure and presented. The phrase “pot, kettle and black”, comes to mind.

        • DragonZnork

          It’s also full of sophistic arguments, sadly.

        • Kreoss4u

          You echoed my thoughts precisely. By starting with such a pretentious statement the author invited exactly this kind of criticism.

    • cudgel

      Knowledge is always helpful

    • kloosterboer

      I couldn’t agree more. Either shamelessly promoting or relentlessly defaming,this is a waste of time and energy at this point. Onward, our wargames hobby!

      • chip6793

        GW said that they don’t produce games…. You have to take the “games” out of your statement.

      • jeff white

        hobby? gw? mmm…. wrong.

    • Aezeal

      I’d certainly like some guides to making good Woodelf terrain with cheap materials (like a few bucks). Buying trees seems to be 9 euro’s for a nice tree… but don’t have a way to make a good looking tree cheaper without investing more cash :D.

      • Adam Murray

        Grab a few old blank CDs (I’ve got loads kicking around) cheap hot melt glue gun some twigs and grit flock etc. Hot melt glue to cds add grit paint add flock instant forest or rocky outcrops or whatever you want. CD basing terrain is awesome.

        • Zethnar

          Agreed. I have a whole bunch of ruins sections on CDs. They can be arranged in a whole bunch of ways to create varied terrain whenever you play.

    • Luke Frankcombe

      Agreed. This article isn’t good for the community. It also seems very contemptuous of AoS players. I’ve been playing few games a every week and am having some of the best games I’ve had in 20 years. The game gets much more complex (and fun) once you start using combinations of units and scenarios.

      • Grumpy Scot

        It really isn’t that complex, man. It’s fair enough that you find Age of Sigmar fun but it is neither complex nor competitive. Combo effects are cool but they’re meaningless when the game itself is inherently unbalanced.

        • Autumnlotus

          This. It’s a decent game if you ignore its connection to GW, but its complexity is very skin deep. The rules encourage everyone stick within 12″ of eachother, and no actual penelty for having huge units of ranged models and monsters that are impossible to kill if screened by said huge units. Scenarios are identical to what was available in 40k and previous supplements of fantasy so there’s no uniqueness there. And without them it becomes killpoints with a giant brawl in the center field with ranged units shooting inside and into melee. It’s not even a good narrative game because it does not add unique choices for players. I have a Nurgle sorcerer who uses the Life spell list and a great weapon, and that Cannot be done unless I go grab from High elves. And if I do that all of their abilities will mention “order” or “aefs”, so there goes the Narrative get again. It takes extensive houseruling to make this game work, and at this point I’m better off playing Mordheim or a comped version of 8th. It’s just trash that BoLS white knights like it was a givin

          • jeff white

            mordheim should have been the focus of the reboot, what dum a$$es at gee dub.

        • Luke Frankcombe

          It’s about as complex as it needs to be. I have plenty of other grognard wargames if I feel the need.
          I haven’t found balance to be a problem. I mostly play narrative games which don’t require balance in the same way. Uneven games can often be the most fun. A Empire State Trooper detachment vs a horde of Reavers. Can the hand gunners and swordsman put up a good fight before they are overwhelmed? It can be a lot of fun.
          Anyway, the main point was that there have been plenty of articles bashing AoS now. I can say that the worst part of AoS is not the game itself, but listening to people that presume you are an idiot or a chump for enjoying a game that they do not.

          • jeff white

            you got screwed. if you don’t complain about that then you are what our people call a “schmuck.” good luck with that on your forehead.

          • Zingbaby

            Exactly complaining on internet blogs has solved all of life’s problems.
            Those dumb schmucks that are too busy enjoying life, hobbies/gaming and other things don’t know what they’re missing!

          • jeff white

            exactly right

          • Grumpy Scot

            Narrative games must be a lot harder in a game in which your handgunners can shoot those reavers whilst being smashed in the face by an axe in close combat. There is nothing more “narrative” about Age of Sigmar. I actually find it harder to get into the story of it because the setting is so “KOOL” and the rules are immersion breaking.

            You can easily make WFB 8th edition (or any other edition) narrative. There are books and chapters of rulebooks dedicated to the subject. Age of Sigmar on the other hand can not be easily made into a balanced game. So for me the game is NOT as complex as it needs to be and actively makes narrative play difficult.

          • “I can say that the worst part of AoS is not the game itself, but listening to people that presume you are an idiot or a chump for enjoying a game that they do not.”

            Most true statement on the Interwebs this MONTH!!! Thank you.

        • Aezeal

          Seriously tactics isn’t that difficult anyway with a few 100 models involved and when everyone know what each model will do.
          It’s mostly a matter of outflanking and getting most units against a single enemy unit anyway. Since movement was more restricted that was the thing in 8th… hardly complex though.
          @ autumnlotus
          And ofcourse there is a big down side to having large units.. if they get charged by somethign strong and loose 12 models there is a good chance they will loose another 8 models too…. which can’t happen with MSU.
          And unique choices.. in the end most builds on certain characters where pretty similar in the end anyway except for 1-2 small items of 5-10 points that hardly mattered anyway.
          And your Nurgle sorc & narritive combination…. If you play narratively there is exactly 0 problem to just take that elfs stats and use him as nurgler and change aelfs to demons etc.

          • Luke Frankcombe

            Thanks. I was going to respond to these points myself, but I think minds have been made up already.

          • Grumpy Scot

            Yes, they have. You are not going to convince me that Age of Sigmar is a balanced game. And that guy you are saying thanks to? In another post he said that it makes sense in the NARRATIVE for handgunners to be able to repeatedly shoot muskets whilst engaged in close combat and then attack in melee. Let that sink in for a second and then tell me that this is a game which has been designed for narrative play.

    • MightyOrang

      And please run the Out of the Box article more often. Once a week is good. Twice a week would be better! There’s all that stuff that gets left on the cutting room floor — bring that into its own article please!

      • That’s up to the author, he chooses to only do once a week

    • Chosen of Khorne

      Well, since only 20% of GW consumers actually play the game, articles on tactics, gameplay, and terrain would not be of interest to 80% of GW consumers….. What we need is more articles on the best way to collect miniatures!

      • jeff white

        and…. we stop reading bols

    • Zingbaby

      Agreed – Article Summary:

      I demand you read my entire hackneyed interpretation/revelation because you are all stupid. Business, business blah blah… I’ve never played AoS but I’m an authority; people like the idea of gaming – and the sky is blue.

      • jeff white

        u r not getting the point

        • Zingbaby

          Please enlighten us with your barely legible wisdom.

          Wait… are you Donald Trump?!?

          • Valeli

            Don’t knock your next president 😡

          • jeff white

            OK, yes, I am the Donald.

          • Zingbaby

            Hah! …I f’n new it.

          • jeff white

            smarter than you look.

        • Aezeal

          Ow another one who knows it all better (as if we didn’t know that from your previous know-it-all posts above).

          Yes obviously his point is that the gaming in this wargame is important to more than 20% of the people.. which I agree with. He just starts with acting like this short column is a frigging piece of high literature combined with deep philosophy… as if there is a single 10 year old who couldn’t read this and understand it.

          The sad thing is that apperantly he really thinks he’s written something special “I’m not trolling”…

          In the mean while he say’s he’s not bashing AOS.. but he actually means I’m bashing AoS to get to another point and he’s doing it in a very one sided way.

          • jeff white

            man. you seem sensitive. maybe this is the point: gw management has split their community, and this is ultimately going to be bad for their business. and no, i don’t know “it all” but i do know enough about greedy idiots to understand why gw management is making such tragic mistakes. someday, you might too.

      • Drathmere

        That pretty much sums it up. Starting off by insulting readers was definitely a weird way to start. My wife and several of her girlfriends are playing AoS now, that is a very positive sign. I think writers like this forget how much stuff is buried in the war scrolls. Comparing AoS to tic-tac-toe shows a hateful editorial bias.

        • dodicula

          This is true, if 40k is checkers, tic tac toe is too good a term for AoS

    • Dave

      I think the problem is that GWs the celebrity of war gaming. People like to love or hate them and want to be vocal about it. It’s silly sure, but that’s how I see it. I get sucked into these articles as much as anyone. I’d also love to see Bols distance itself from the coming train wreck. Sure, an article here and there analyzing the company is great, but more hobby related posts would be better. Why not show case the creativity of the community, house rules, scenarios, campaigns….there are tons of options other than gossip.

      • jeff white

        yes, 9th and KoW. let’s acknowledge that GW is failing, and leave it at that.

    • jeff white

      u r an idiot

    • As a rule telling a blogger what to write about is like telling a painter of portraits that you don’t like pictures of people and instead they should do landscapes. If you want that content, write it and submit it, they are always accepting guest articles and new contributors.

    • The health of the community reflects the health of the companies they support, though, and as this is a community of customers, we SHOULD critique and criticize where necessary for the benefit of both the community and the company.

      This article does nothing for the community? Does it not directly address the source of much of the divisiveness both within the community and between the community and company that has existed of late? Does it not call into question why the community exists in the first place, and how that community’s self-perception differs from the company’s perception of it? Does it not put voice to the questions the community and company are–or perhaps more importantly, /aren’t/–asking of one another? Does it not highlight a gross mismatch between the conduct of Games Workshop and the conduct of its competitors? This article does nothing for the community? If thoughtful discussion to you is “nothing”, then I suggest that a less intensely social hobby may be more to your liking.

      You would rather have more of Larry’s drivel and tripe than well-laid, thoughtful discourse on matters that concern and involve us all?

      • Michael Gerardi

        Preach it!

        One thing the community DOESN’T need is people telling others to quit posting dissenting opinions. (Not that such people are going to get their wish in any event.) It’s one thing to say, “You don’t like AoS, but I do, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree.” It’s another thing to say “Like it and shut up!”

        The issue is not settled, and it probably never will be settled. At least not until GW management has a major change in attitude toward their customers. Until then, all voices, including critics, need to keep speaking out.

  • Aezeal

    Hmmm I think you still have quite a harsh attitude to AoS. Saying it’s not a game is just odd. Of course it’s a game but obviously the vanilla rules have severe balance problems. But if it was not a game and the rules where completely bad the game wouldn’t be much better with just a few pages of comp. With the comp I’ve been using lately (Azyr) I’ve had very fulfilling games which where reasonably evenly balanced (at least as balanced as fantasy was over the years). Saying it’s tic tac toe is just strange since you certainly need tactics to win AoS, different tactics than in fantasy yes but I’ve had to make some tough calls in my last games, more so than in my last 8th edition games (I will admit that this probably come due to being new to the game.. but still).
    I have actually been playing with more different troops in AOS (in vanilla all the specials/elites only I admit, even the ones not viable in 8th, but with the comp most have their merits)

    • Theik

      I’d argue that it is not a game, just like how Monopoly is not a game if you leave all the street values and chance cards empty and force your players to fill them in.

      At best Age of Sigmar is a toolbox you can use to make your own game, because playing it “as is” is just going to result in ludicrously onesided games because you have to figure out how to balance everything yourself.

      • jeff white

        i like games. i like meta-talk. i will never buy a model for AoS. I spent maybe 5grand on WFB. Screw Kirby and the drunkard they put at the helm since.

        • Michael Gerardi

          I’m feeling your pain, friend. I probably spent at least that much on 40K, and despite my disdain for 40K 7th, I’m REALLY dreading the day (which is coming, no doubt about it) that GW turns 40K into 40KAoS.

          • jeff white

            yeah, that is when i will admit that i wasted fifteen years painting everything from old metal harlequins to new plastic morkanauts when what i should have been doing was hunting frat boy CFO wannabes with a crossbow.

  • Bethayne

    “For those of you who disagree with me and say that AoS is indeed a game, well the guys who make it don’t even agree with you. When this was brought up to Games-Workshop executives at the investor’s review meetings they themselves agree that the game is very simple and basic. “But that’s ok,” they’ll go on to tell you, “because 80% of our customers are hobby-ists and don’t actually play the games.””

    Regardless of your opinion of AOS it is pretty clear that they consider it a game. A simple game is still a game.

    • Aezeal

      It was a stupid statement he made.. if there are rules to play with the models it’s obviously a game. Just not very balanced if you have more than the starter set.
      I’m guess the rules would be pretty acceptable if you just played with the starter set.

    • standardleft

      where are those quotes from. Am I missing a link or something?

    • jeff white

      aos is a frat-boy sales pitch. not a game unless u like a credit card motivated spin the bottle type environment.

      • Bethayne

        Congratulations for completely missing the point of my post. I don’t really care how you view AOS.

        • jeff white

          nah.. i get your “post”.

          • Bethayne

            Doubt that.

          • jeff white

            aos is a game. fine. it is not a GOOD game. this s the problem. what have i missed?

          • Bethayne

            No. The point of the post was that the author attempted to prove that AOS was not a game with a quote that mentioned it being a game in the very quote. He really should look over what he writes before he submits.

          • jeff white

            ummm… ok. so, rock paper scissors is a “game”?

          • Bethayne

            I am not arguing if it is a game. The author stated the quote was saying how it wasn’t a game. Said quote said opposite. That is all. Poor article writing.

          • jeff white

            ok. so, aos is a game. it just sucks as a game. right? that is the point from what i could gather. no?

          • Bethayne

            No. I already stated the point above.When making use of quotes you don’t use them for evidence for something they don’t say.

  • standardleft

    Do you think that the 80% was derived from the amount of time people spend painting and assembling vs actual gaming?

    I would say that I spend about a 80/20 split on my hobbying.

    • Chet Atkinson

      I like this point! I doubt it’s true for where GW came up with the figure tho. But in terms of time spent between gaming and painting/assembling it’s similar for me too

    • madphil101

      I have played GW games twice (excluding bloodbowl and necromunda) in the last 12 months. I’d label myself a hobbyist, a collector but hardly a gamer. All my mates fall roughly in that crowd. There’s a couple who are gamers first. I play xwing. I play malifaux. I am painting infinity. I am collecting more than I play. I think if you ask a lot of the people who buy they would answer the same. Poll here and you will get sque’d stats. This is a more game related site. Poll of figure painter or CMON and you’d get a different answer (I’m not sure GW are right in their direction) but I can appreciate their method…

    • chip6793

      I agree with you, for me even less than 20%, but that’s not by choice.

      I have a feeling that GW considers competitive, TOURNAMENT players their 20% base… This is the ONLY way I can see that number even being remotely realistic!

      If that is the case though, God only knows how they determined that the other 80% don’t play or aren’t as interested in the “game” aspect of the collection.

    • For me it’s more like 99.9/.1 split haha, but I still call myself a gamer

  • Kymmerus

    I like this article and think its spot on for considering the “gaming allure” of particular models. I know that is a part of what makes me consider a Primarch or a Warlord Titan as a desirable item.

    Keeping the analogy though, I’d say you and I have already bought into the allure of 40K/Fantasy as the “Ferrari”. But not everyone has the resources or desire for playing 40K/Fantasy with respect to time and commitment available to assemble and paint all the models, learn the rules, tweak the army composition, buy more man dollies to keep current, etc.

    To keep with the car analogy: People may like to race, but they don’t need Italian sports cars to get their fix or for there to be an allure. Motorcylces, Speed Boats, Go-Karts and Bicycles can all have fanatical groups willing to expend resources on their alluring aspects as well.

    Does Age of Sigmar offer an allure, to enough people, to draw a slightly different set of fans into the miniatures hobby?

    I hope so, and hope that is what GW is after…

    • jeff white

      aos is not attracting anyone with an attention span. to choose a fickle fan base is either idiocy or predatory, and this is what rountree has done.

      • David

        I like your comments, they make me laugh.

  • Nameless

    I am pleased you have included your sources for your article; however you can’t paraphrase a quote. “because 80% of our customers are hobby-ists and don’t actually play the games” does not appear anywhere in the article by Mr Beddford. It is also important to note that as accurate as that article maybe it is a second hand source and thus would need to be supported by other pieces of evidence.

    • chip6793

      I read mister Bradfords article, and he quoted that from one of the GW execs… Who it was, I can’t remember offhand. It was definitely in the article though.

      • Victor Hartmann

        He never says who made the statement, even in the general sense. We’re just supposed to assume it was an official GW person. If so, then why not say so?

        Here’s a direct quote from Mr. Bradford in the comments:

        “I’m not sure how precise the 20% figure is. It was bandied around in conversation rather than put on a powerpoint!”

        • jeff white

          and…. they based company policy it so….

      • Nameless

        when quoting someone it is important to keep the wording the same, this is what was not done in the article. although you can derive the same meaning from

        “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.” and

        “”because 80% of our customers are hobby-ists and don’t actually play the games”

        however they are not the same quote. one is in the aforementioned article and the other is not.

        As to second hand sources even if Mr Beddford did identify who had made the comment, it wouldn’t change the fact that the source would need some level of support. Consider Tabloid journalism where it is not uncommon for a newspaper to print a quote of a politician or sports personality which is either taken out of context or falsified. whilst I have no reason to suspect that Mr Beddford has done either it is important to regard all secondary sources with the same level of scrutiny.

        • jeff white

          gw movements in the market speak for themselves.

          • Nameless

            if I am honest the movements of Games Workshops marketing are completely beyond my ability to analyse. I would never have thought a (non apple) company would release 3 products only a year after they had last been released (Eldar, Knights and Space Marines) but they showed me how wrong I could be.

          • jeff white


  • benn grimm

    I think in some ways AOS is a test as to the importance of rules-model ratio, do minimalist rules still sell models as well as deeper (I assume more costly to produce) rules? If so, why would they want to spend more than they have to? Its not even new; any one who bought one of the supplement codexes or ‘mini-dexes’ for 40k should recognise this.

    I think ‘rules’ are held somewhat in contempt by the company, which is kind of funny, since thats all they really brought to the game; they were the company that gave you the rules so you could buy more models, sorry, play the cool game. I think they need to be careful about how close they are to shattering the illusion that the models actually have a tangible purpose outside of how cool they look. If they did away with the games entirely, how many of you would buy the models? How many people buy models from a different game system just because it looks cool? A few, but I highly doubt anywhere near as many as bought the latest SM codex ‘just’ for the rules.

    • jeff white

      right on.

  • Chet Atkinson

    When it comes to the infamous 80/20 split why aren’t more articles written about the painting and collecting of miniatures rather than the playing of games? IMO the mix of articles written online would be geared more 80/20 in content of painting/collecting

    • 6Cobra

      There are a few. They each have 2 comments and 10 ‘clicks.’ I guess the alleged legions of “eighty percenter” dedicated modeler/painters are too busy churning through vast display armies for their shelves to spend time blogging.

  • Desc440

    Great article. You hit the nail on the head with your point about “gaming allure”.

  • JD Robertson

    So I actually happen to be one of those hobby-only customers that the author dismisses so freely, at least in terms of GW games. I’ve encountered plenty of others, although I would question that 80% number. I did play at one time but declining rules quality (across all lines) and lack of time brought that to an end. I continue to enjoy the hobby aspect, however, and so periodically purchase models that interest me and paint them up. The thing is, I wouldn’t do this if I hadn’t been drawn in by the gaming aspect in the first place, and I don’t spend nearly as much money on this now as I did when I was actively gaming. There are certainly companies which survive by catering to hobbiest alone (historical miniatures and the like), but not at the scale which GW currently has, and I would question whether their current path can actually be successful.

    • Theik

      Doesn’t that basically make you a casualty of the fact that GW things most of their customers don’t play their games? You say you stopped gaming because of declining rule quality, not that you never gamed to begin with.

      The declining rule quality is fairly easily explained if they truly believe that 80% of their customers will buy their models, even if they spend less than a minute writing the rules to make sense.

    • 6Cobra

      Good comment; I’m pretty close to being “hobby only” since I’m lucky if I play 4 games a year. Laying out the reasons for that would take a lot of digital ink, but it boils down to just not having room in my life right now to be an active gamer.

      HOWEVER.. If there were no games, I would never purchase another mini, sell every last one of mine and never look back. Without the context of the games, my collections of counterintuitively colorful armored space soldiers have no meaning for me. Any nostalgia factor is for fun *games* had with friends – not hours hunched over a painting table alone. When I’m planning my next purchase, tabletop gameplay utility is always at least a large factor in choosing what to get.

  • MightyOrang

    If GW wants to scrap the game and just sell models like Revell or Italieri, etc, that’s fine. But as an affirmed GW junkie of old, I can tell you that I won’t need to buy, build, and paint 300+ parks because I’m collecting models.

    I’ll only need 150…

  • Robert Duke Newnham

    1“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.” (from Mr. Richard Beddford, link below)

    I agree on this you must take into account every gamer is a collector by heart and also people who don’t game are collectors. Take into account sub factions to a army for instance a chaos collector in some sense they will buy 4x the models just to make 1 Themed army per chaos god that is 4 times over what a gamer on his own would do.

    A gamer will only buy what is needed for optimization and once the list is optimized they just stop unless a new edition hampers there army. Collectors on the other hand will just buy for the sake of what they like

    2“We have a simple strategy at Games Workshop. We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever.” (Games-Workshop’s Business model, link below).

    That’s standard goal for a model company.

    3“To be here next year we have to do what all our customers want, not just a noisy few . . . “ Mr. Tom Kirby from his July 27th, 2015 preamble, link below.

    That’s also standard goal for a model company.

    • 6Cobra

      Who are all these collectors building out multiple Chaos armies without ever playing them? Where are they? Why don’t we ever meet them?

      Having been in this hobby for 22 years, I can think of exactly two individuals I’ve met, and about five or so I’ve read about, who collect and model but don’t game at all. The two I met were both just starting to play games actually. It seems beyond ludicrous to me to claim that 80%(!!!) of GW customers do not play with their minis. The overwhelming majority of these must also be intensely reclusive, because they’re not blogging, not posting their work online where I’ve been able to see it, not patronizing stores I’ve ever been to (GW or FLGS), or going to conventions. Heck, I’ve met several gamers because we were visiting their home for a dinner party and I saw their minis. They all play games; none were the elusive non-player collectors who are supposedly ubiquitous. Hmmm hundreds if not thousands of hobbyists met over decades, and they/we’re ALL in the 20% minority. Who’d of thought?

      • Robert Duke Newnham

        The collectors are at home with there collections they don’t play them. okay so I count 3 that is including yourself who play and 5 who don’t play that’s 8 people in total there it might not be 20% but sure as hell its close also some people don’t play in GW/FLGS because some of them are ashamed to be playing them in public areas so sometimes they keep it to themselves.

        The reason I side with GW on this one is because they kinda have all the statistic’s of sales and annual reports also of how many people enter and leave a GW hobby store that is how they have a rough estimate of how many people invest in hobby/collecting unlike people such as yourself on the internet making claims of how you know there incorrect.

        Lets put it this way if a medical company tells you this will help deal with the pain but the internet tells you otherwise who will you trust more?

        Last thing to add you do know those who also game are collectors too you buy the models to collect to game with, your still a collector so technically your hole group is 100% collectors. but about 37.5% of them game in your group.

  • Horus84cmd

    I’d hazard the 80/20 Modelling/Gaming stat has come from the GW website itself.

    By that I mean, to my recollection, since launching the current GW website, there has been at least two feedback surveys that have popped up when you visit it. Now, beside asking the specific questions they are wanting to ask and get answered, both surveys also asked generic things like, age, gender, time in the hobby, what you do more for modelling, painting or gaming etc….

    So if I would have guess, that’s where the data’s come from and not thin air

    • chip6793

      Yup, I didn’t see this when I posted my comment. This is what I’m talking about.

      That being said, I couldn’t remember where or when I actually filled in my survey. It may have been when I actually purchased something from the online GW store, all those years ago now that you mention it… If that is the case, and they are taking information from a survey that is only found when you purchase something from their online store, then that survey is DRASTICALLY skewed!

      I don’t purchase anything from GW directly anymore, because of their atrocious pricing policy. If they consider themselves a model company first, then they should take a hint from companies like Revell, or Tamaya, that make fantastic, realistic models and don’t ask for a body part in monetary compensation.

      It’s too bad that they don’t do actual market research

  • chip6793

    You know, I find it interesting that people are saying that GW has never had any kind of poll or otherwise…

    Several years ago, they sent a poll out via email and requested that we fill it out. It was one HECK of a long poll and was quite annoying at the time… Some of the questions though included “do you play or collect”.

    It was so long ago, at least 8 years ago….. Does anyone else remember the survey? I wonder if this is where they are getting some of their information and statistics?

    Another point of reference is when they lowered their prices for a few months…it was around that time.

    • Horus84cmd

      Yep I remember that also, see my point below. They’ve definitely survey in the last two years alone

  • DragonZnork

    When did “20% of our clients play the game” become “AoS is not a game at all” ? That’s a massive shortcut you take.
    AoS is a game in all regards, no matter how well or badly designed the rules are.

    And I might not have that “higher reading comprehension” needed to get what the point of that article is.

    • jeff white

      aos is not a good game. that should be the qualifier here.

  • Victor Hartmann

    Do take that 80/20 thing with a large grain of salt. Quoting it as fact is misleading, intentionally or not.

    Here’s the quote from the article:

    “In conversation, 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.”

    In conversation with who?

    And in the comments from that article the author, Mr. Richard Bedford, says:

    “I’m not sure how precise the 20% figure is. It was bandied around in conversation rather than put on a powerpoint!”

    And again fails to mention who the source was or even if they were GW management. We’re left to assume that it is. Which seems a little . . . convenient.

    At any rate, the 80/20 is not in official statements or records.

    But what if it is actually true? Or even close to true?

    Then those 80% should be seen as an opportunity rather than the 20% as taggers-on or whatever. They’ve already got the models, why not try to entice them into playing . . . and buying the rule books? Although maybe rule book collectors who never play are already figured into it.

    At any rate, to me the best strategy moving forward, is enticing new players with cool models combined with fun and dynamic game play. And I think 7th Edition is already achieving that. Most of the complaints come from people who already have an established mind set of “how things were” or “how I want to play”. New players have none of that baggage. Everything is new and exciting. They see a Wraithknight and its rules and say “that’s awesome, I want one!” Now, they may complain about game and points balance later but by then it’s too lat, their already hooked!

    What 40k really needs is a starter game. They’re trying that with AoS but I don’t want that kind of rewrite for 40k (due to my own previous experience and baggage). And they already have it: Kill Team. It uses the vast majority of the actual game rules and holds off a lot of the complications such as fortifications, heavily armored vehicles, flyers, Lords of War, Monstrous Creatures.

    They create a variant of kill team which focuses on small point games (500?) using infantry units with a 3+ and/or 4++ save or worse with a few light vehicles. And Dreadnoughts. Dreads could be very cool in a small game but still vulnerable to that melta gun guy or armourbane girl. Limit Psychic powers to just Divination and maybe Pyromancy. Nice perks but nothing game breaking. You could have multiple starter sets with balanced versus armies. Package it with the core rules. Maybe even include the three basic pots of paint for each faction and a couple of brushes.

    That would keep the complications, costs, and time commitment reasonable.


    Of course, this is purely anecdotal, and is based only on the experience of my friends and myself.

    I have dedicated my entire screened-in Florida patio to WH 40K. I have four full sized tables and enough really good terrain to cover ten full size tables (variety is the spice of life, eh?).

    Every Wednesday evening, 5 to 7 friends show up and we actually, really, truly play the game. There is also at least one game on the weekend, and, when our FLGS has a tournament, two or three of us usually show up. This goes on all year long.

    I started in the game in 1995. back when GW was running GTs, I went twice to Chicago and once to Baltimore. When the Independent Circuit started up I went once to Kansas, once to Nebraska, was part of a group who started an Independent Tournament in Orlando and I attended the independent tournament in Little Rock, Arkansas twice.

    In all this time, I have never not played the game. I am truly disappointed that I am outnumbered 4 to 1 by the gazillions of people who buy the models and never, ever play the game.

    To all of those who have the models, but never ever play the game, I say “Try it, you’ll like it!”

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      I doubt it is “never, ever” play the game and more “rarely, if ever.”

  • Phillip Bloodgod

    I liked that article.
    A bit challenging as a non-native speaker/reader, but good nontheless.

    • Craven Moorehead

      I think it has less to do with your comprehensive ability; the above is a terribly-written article.

  • Dan Brown

    There are plenty of people out there who will buy to paint/collect and not game. I was one myself for a number of years before getting back into gaming.
    Some current warhammer players are , somehow not aware they can play sis as a mass regiment game. Probably the same lot that were moaning about points values ruining there fun. .
    Just as easy is to play a previous version of the rules. If you thought v8 was bad for rules then play version 3. (Still my favourite rule set.)
    Anyway lost my train of thought. Did have a poi t to make but oh well.

  • Simon Chatterley

    My issue is thus:

    GW’s issues have for time has been making a game that is unbalanced to push sales, then ignoring players who complain about that and then denying they even do it at all.

    They clearly know rules sell models (ahem – Skyhammer I am looking at you…) so why do this at all?

    If they stopped making rules I wonder how long bankruptcy would take…1 year? Too long?

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Rules sell particular models to a particular kind of consumer. GW’s core business may focus on the kind of consumer that buys models and rarely plays but that does not mean there isn’t much money to be made by appealing to the flavor of the month crowd.

      GW is a business after all.

      • Simon Chatterley

        I have a Skyhammer so I’m not saying it didn’t work. But like the author I struggle with this phantom 80/20 (Which I heard several times last year so it isn’t new thinking)

        I just don’t know anyone that just collects the models.

        Also since GW does no market research you do have to wonder how they know anything at all on their client base these days.

        • Red_Five_Standing_By

          The quote in question lacks context of what a gamer means. Is a gamer anyone who plays or has played or is it just encompassing people who regularly play.

          Magic the Gathering has done extensive studies and found the majority of their consumers do not go to tournaments or post online. They play occasionally with their friends in a very casual environment.

          Most games are going to be that way. Those who bother to post online are the most vocal and interested players.

          Games Workshops numbers are likely derived from the surveys given to people who visit their site. I myself have taken the survey. It shouldn’t be their only source of numbers (since the group is self selected) but it could form the foundation of their understanding of who their consumers are.

          True collectors are out there. I think gw is lumping people who rarely play but still buy kits in with collectors.

  • Ira Clements

    In over 30 years of gaming from San Diego to Portland and everywhere in between I think I have met TWO people that didnt play GW games that still bought the models. Both were scale modelers that bought them because they liked the odd sci fi/ fantasy model now and then and liked the “Heavy Metal” aesthetic. One of them only bought them now and then (because they were overpriced for such simple kits) and the other one actually ended up getting in to 40k out of curiosity.

    • Matthew Selig

      That’s funny because I know lots that collect and hardly ever play. I think it probably depends what you enjoy. If you game lots you probably meet people with similar interests.

      • Ira Clements

        Well there is a BIG difference between “hardly ever play” and “are modelers and not gamers at all”. Heck I buy miniature kits all the time and I easily fall into the “hardly ever play” category. However if it wasn’t for the occasional game (I have played ONE game of Bolt Action this entire year) i wouldn’t buy the miniatures at all from any company.

        • Matthew Selig

          well I guess it depends on what GW mean my hobbyist/gamers. I would say some one who hardly ever plays but still collects is more of a “hobbyist”.
          I don’t know how I feel about the rules though. When I go out to game its not so much about the rules or even who wins or loses, it’s more about having a good time. If the rules are just ok and not great I don’t think I would care too much.

          • Ira Clements

            I think I just use the rules as an excuse to play with the things I have spent so much time on buillding and painting. Even before minis gaming when I would build scale models I would never be happy with setting them on a shelf I always haad to play with them.

  • Stormbane

    If you’re going to present an article that claims you need higher reading comprehension to survive it, it becomes you to actually write something that does. As it is, this is just the same litany of AOS sucks complaints that continues to swirl around this community, just dressed up as an article instead of 20 separate comments.

    • Craven Moorehead

      Clearly, the Master of Economics at DeVry doesn’t include any sort of writing-for-business classes.

  • Having played probably over 100 games of AoS now, the whole “AoS has no tactics” thing is just blatantly false. Its the same as when people claimed 8th fantasy had no tactics and was ‘ranDUMB’ back in 2010 and early 2011.

    There are tactics and strategies in AoS. They are not the same as block movement tactics and strategies. Its a completely different game.

    Now what AoS is NOT is a tight tournament-style game. It seems written around the premise of scenario play as opposed to just running the same variant of pitched battle over again, and reminds me a lot of historical games that i played in the 80s.

    Not good for pick up games. Can be made into a tournament game with the right comp.

    In a world filled with tourney style games, the choice to go this route is questionable and of course generated a huge rift in the community between those that hate this style of game and those that can deal with it and make the game adapt to what they want.

    “How important is the gaming aspect of the hobby?” IMO – huge. About 1 in 4 of the people I hang out with that buy GW models do so with no intention to play the game. Another 1 in 4 play a handful of times A YEAR. The other 2 in 4 play regularly.

    The 80% malarchy is … well… obviously not researched very well. However, the idea that gamer-gamers make up the vast majority is also false. The truth, as always, lies somewhere nearer the middle.

  • Beefy

    i can accept that GW thinks people mostly buy their models for collecting purposes, even if they are wrong. If they truly don’t care about rules, why don’t they farm the rules out to somebody else. Surely IP laws would allow them to do this. Or hire someone as a consultant. They let FF do most/all of their rpg rules, so let them do the 40k/AoS rules.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      You are only creating your future competition when you let someone else make the rules for your game.

  • COsteve

    “I am not trolling.”

    Yeah, you pretty much are.

  • ted1138

    I got into the GW “hobby” back when they were a board game company that also made miniatures. Saw them expand into skirmish level games that everyone adored. Then when their ever expanding chain of retails stores became their primary focus I watched as they discarded anything that didn’t drive sales of miniatures. If 80% of their customers only buy their miniatures to paint and display, why did GW stop making fantastic miniatures displays? And why are their magazines filled with boring pictures of their new miniatures painted to such an average standard? I wonder if they know what their job is any more.

    • standardleft

      I’ve always really looked up to GWs style. Its very much the best of tabletop quality.

      Its achievable and relatively usable if you want to paint an army is a reasonable time. I thought that was quite good for the type of games and models they sell.

      • ted1138

        They paint them that way to get you to buy their paints. It’s like painting by numbers these days.

  • Red_Five_Standing_By

    I know plenty of people who are basically non-customers because they only buy the new rulebook when it comes out. When their army is updated they only buy the new codex and maybe a kit or two of the new hot unit. Heck, most of those players don’t even bother with the rulebook until they can get the floppy for cheap online. So really, they are spending like 150 bucks every 4 years directly on new GW products? That’s 37 bucks a year. They are basically non-customers at that point.

    Worse still is when people only buy a codex because they are buying used models on eBay.

    I also know a lot of people who buy lots of models but rarely play the game. Whether due to time constraints, a bad community of gamers, disinterest in the current edition or lack of friends. There are loads and loads of people who regularly buy a few kits a year and hardly ever play with them.

    I am doing this with Warmahordes right now. I can’t game on the day when everyone else plays but I still love the game and pick up and paint a model or two every few months.

    Your opinion on AoS is so poisonous Thrawn. Just because the game does not appeal to you does not mean it is bad or evil. Star Wars Armada does not appeal to me but that doesn’t mean I go around and complain about it constantly, telling people who their game sucks and they are children for liking it. Grow up, man.

  • Crablezworth

    I didn’t buy centurion devastators for my love of the model, I bought a box because of how effective the models are in the GAME. Rules sell models, we as gamers tolerate fugly models all the time so long as their rules are enough to merit using them in an army.

    • Red_Five_Standing_By

      Centurians are not fugly though.

      • sleeplessknight

        Sorry dude, you just lost all credibility there with that statement.

  • I foubt AOS would have ever made it even if it had all those things you mention. Its just people being people and wanting gw to fail no matter what it is.

  • jeff white

    gw is dead. a walking head wound. done but for 40k and video games. everyone hates them, good job, MBAs. hang from a short rope.

  • Valeli

    This seems like a reasonable point.

    I’ve gone through multiple intervals where I didn’t really play 40k or Fantasy at all. For most of college I didn’t get a single game in with my high elves, but I kept them around and continued to buy (a little bit). Then when I got to law school I found a nice FLGS within easy driving distance, and picked up playing again (at least on the few weeks I wasn’t painfully busy).

    Did that make me a collector for the 4 years I was in college? As much as I scorn GW’s “80%” figure, I guess it did. However, I definitely wouldn’t have kept the army around, much less kept buying stuff for it, unless I knew beyond a doubt that someday I’d be able to sit down and play again. As such, GW viewing people like me as pure collectors is a huge mistake on their end, even if that’s fundamentally what we are for significant periods of time.

    GW’s stores were the ultimate assurance that I’d always have the chance to get a game, back when they were actively encouraging gaming and hobbying in-store. You knew that you could always find one, hop in, and pick up a game on a Wednesday or Saturday night (or whatever days your store focused on).

    I think that was an interesting but tough position for the stores. It was great for company, as people knew they’d always have a place to play and would keep buying product. However, it wasn’t necessarily great for each individual store. Many people used them more as community centers of sorts than shops, and got their stuff from online stores with discounts. … I still think the brick and mortar stores were a unique asset GW had/has over every other company though, and that they should really find a way to leverage it.

  • Agent OfBolas

    I know one thing.

    Since some time I really don’t care about games workshop. Leaving games that this company provides opened my eyes to dozens of other games, that are simply better, more fun and more balanced.

    That’s why I really don’t care what GW will do in the future as I simply won’t buy any of their products anymore.

  • Dennis Harrison

    So you start off your actual editorial by talking about statistics. And you say don’t generalize. Just because a lot of rich people consume alcohol, doesn’t mean that drinking alcohol makes you rich. But see this is where you lost me. You are quoting three sentences that you found offensive, and wrote an entire piece repeating them again and again.

    I am probably more of a hobbyist and less of a gamer, but you don’t believe I exist and therefore what I say is probably irrelevant. But at the same time, you have probably ignored all my previous posts saying how much I really like the streamlined rule system. Fast too play, less complicated, no point values- this is all perfect. But because you don’t agree, you see it as not a game.

    I can accept your position that you don’t like the game. But when you completely ignore all that people that do, you are doing us and injustice. I really resent the fact you summed up everything that Games Workshop is in three sentences.

  • I bought Mortarion to paint, not play, hell I don’t even play 30K. The vast majority of my collection has never seen a tabletop. I’m probably who GW primarily views as their customer. I game, but less than once a month most of the time, whereas I try to make hobby progress every week. If GW stopped publishing rules tomorrow and kept making minks I’d keep buying. Hell, I just finished a Necromunda crew I’ve been working on.

    • MightyOrang

      Ahhh…the Underhive. I have a Goliath gang I’m about to start.

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    Like the great companies of old (who are now all extinct) GW has drank its own kool-aid. They do not make the best models, they make pretty dang good ones, they have alot of competition. Like TSR, FASA, and White Wolf, they are churning out ever more subpar products at higher pace and price. This will not end well now that kickstarter and 3d printing has made more folks willing to put out products. By assuming players will simply buy their miniatures just for collection sake, they are ignoring all the other companies out there who actually make museum quality figures for painting. great models with terrible or non existant rules did not save confrontation.

  • Urban Bungledorph

    I actually enjoy the business analysis articles, especially when money people break down the financial reports for me. I’ve learned a lot. Like why a stormraven went from $40 to $80. So despite the hate. Thanks guys.

    Actually about the article, in art we’d call what you’re describing as Gestalt principles. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So yeah the models are cool, but without that perceived value of fluff and rules no one would care.

  • WellSpokenMan

    Games Workshop is Scientology for geeks. They don’t even know what’s real anymore.

  • Michael Gerardi

    Speaking for myself, there are few things in table top GAMING I care less about than how “cool” any given model looks. I got into this “hobby” because of the GAME. I liked being able to build my own armies, to my own specifications, with options I chose, for the purpose of GAMING WITH THEM. As long as the model didn’t look completely like @$$ (and by that I mean like 2nd ed Tyranid warriors), I would use it if it was useful in one of my armies.

    I built a complete DIY (yes, DIY–I worked up that much background) Space Marines battle company, with almost every option available for all ten squads, NOT because I wanted to “collect” it, but because in Apocalypse I could USE it (and use it I did).

    If the faceless (if not BRAINLESS) suits at GW think that players constitute a tiny minority of their customers, I submit that they will be proven fatally–Epic-ally!–wrong. In fact, I’m hoping for just such an outcome. Followed by GW being taken private again, to get rid of the nonsense of hiding behind “shareholders” whenever customers criticize their latest ridiculous, broken, plastic-pimping rule sets, and to restore respect for gamers to GAMES Workshop.

  • edendil

    Good article. I liked reading a different perspective on the AoS debacle. And it seems like a reasonable one to me. Its true that i hardly ever actually play the games, but I do read the rules and spend a lot of time thinking about playing. And I appreciate a good ruleset.

  • miniwar monger

    they are wrong. their custumers are hobbyists 80% of their time ! because its part of the game to get to the game and if there is no game waiting at the end of the tunnel its not worth walk the long hobby road.

  • crusader284

    I play Age of Sigmar, but I can see why people are frustrated. I see Age of Sigmar as a good way of introducing people to the Fantasy setting, but they’ve pretty much gotten rid of everything that was old Fantasy, except for the old factions. GW just don’t know how to make sequels out of their settings properly, they just end it then assume that no one wants anything to do with that setting because its time has passed in the lore. It really wouldn’t have taken much effort to supply square bases as well as round ones, and make the 8th edition rules free to download so people actually have more of a choice on how to play Warhammer Fantasy.

  • Jamie Kelly

    Oh for the love of god, can people please stop making assertions about the depth of AoS! You may not see tactical depth or enjoyment in the game, others might see it. I can accept that some people won’t see or enjoy it, why can’t you see that i might enjoy it? I’m not trying to convince you of anything, just don’t make blanket assumptions that your own view is universally adopted and right!

  • One Angry Dwarf

    This is a terrible article that is inherently biased while pretending to be objective, speaks condescendingly to its readers and argues from expertise, has pretty ironic examples that don’t serve the argument and has in fact encouraged a whole new round of bashing people who like AoS. So yes, Thrawn, you are trolling.

  • David

    I enjoy the game of AoS, I have fun, which is an important part of my definition of gaming.

  • MarcoT

    I like AoS as a game. Personally I think 40k is the one that needs help the most. At least AoS has a clear scope.

  • Richard Mitchell

    Ya, with so many great games on the market offering pretty models and great rule sets, with official tournament support I don’t really see the sense in playing something that has to have a bunch of comp rules to work, so it may differ from LGS to LGS. I am not paying a bunch of money for models, I am paying for a tight rule set with high quality models.

  • Victor Ques Ramos

    I do not agree on the opinion on that article at all.

    First of all, the point depends on how you define Hobbyist and Gamer. I think from GW eyes their definition is competitive gamer = Gamer, casual gamer = Hobbyst. And I have to say that I know more people on the second block than on the first. Just some weeks ago I play against a person owning big full army of chaos and he told that it was his 3rd game but he was collecting for years. I have been collecting Warhammer miniatures since 4th edition, but I did not play 6th and very little 7th and 8th. So I guess I more a Hobbyist than gamer. When I buy a miniature a lot of times I weighting more the aesthetics than the strength in the game. This is the reason I painted a full army of Harlequins.

    Age of Sigmar is a game with simple rules set, what is great for people like me that I do not want to invest a huge time reading rules that I will forget because I play once a month if I am lucky. I prefer to dedicate my time painting and assembling than reading complex rules, that on top the competitive players twisting to heir advantage thinking that is tactics.

    I understand that for most of the competitive players AoS is not the game and GW has broken completely the continuity as I think they are looking for a complete different target consumer. The target of AoS is for casual gamers that like fancy toys on the table. I want my dragon to scare the no enemy not just die in the first round by a cannon ball. The other target people is new players, the starter kit has very reasonable price and you can play AoS without need of increasing your collection for a while. If you ask a teenager to read 100 pages rule book it is going to be difficult to convince, but if you reduce this to 4 pages….

  • I like age of sigmar rules tbh, it doesn’t overwhelm you with massive nitpicking on the smallest details. There are no rule discussion, and if they are, they are resolved in seconds.

    I never really cared for competition anyway, because of this:


    So if you have 1 of those armies, you are boned because you didn’t put ( A LOT of ) money in the correct ( expensive ) army in this revision. This is also the reason why I am so reluctant to even try this game or any other expensive game. ( I am looking at warpath though because it is cheap )

    With age of sigmar, i can play with the (expensive) models i bought. And not worry about them being underpowered.

    ** https://instagram.com/banemus/ **

  • Drathmere

    So Bell of Lost Souls is now deleting comments from people who disagree with incindiary articles like this?

    • Horus84cmd

      it would seem so one of mines gone

  • TumbleWeed

    I wonder what the statistics were a few years ago, or ten? What percentage of customers were players vs. collectors then? What I’m getting at is it would be interesting if, in the case that the 80%/20% stat from GW is true, that it is only so because their rules writing has been getting worse and worse over the past few years?
    I for one am not a fan of formations, allies, detachments, etc. and would love GW to make an honest effort at making all their factions at least somewhat balanced alone. Instead we have power creep, a complete lack of FAQ’s to fix bad rules, and shamelessly overpowered models just to get people to buy them.

    • Matthew Selig

      It could be because the rules are worse( but I have been in the hobby since the 90’s and the rules were never that good), or maybe it’s the models are better?

  • Gridloc

    I’ve voted with my wallet. I don’t buy any more GW products. I still read the articles in hope for good news and some vindication for my choices… I see alot of people complain about the game (i did too during first couple months) but then go and buy 40k models. The company does not care and all they are doing is making it worse. I get people don’t want to lose 40k and fantasy, but supporting them via any means is just as bad. Vote with your wallet, they will listen that way, if not them the next guys to come in and buy them out once stocks get low enough.