Editorial: Why I Only Buy GW Products

GW-product-wall

Why I Only Really Buy Games Workshop’s Products, And How I’d Prefer It If That Was Not The Case.

a column by BoLS Alumni York Necromancer

“You Do Know Wrestling’s Fake, Don’t You?”

As long-term readers may be aware, I am a massive fan of wrestling. Last month, I was told that you can’t be an adult fan of wrestling; to the person who had that particular hot take which I’ve obviously never heard every single time I’ve ever mentioned my love of wrestling, my answer would be: I can be a fan of whatever the f**k I like. I mean, I’d explain why, but after two decades of wasting my breath, I just can’t be bothered any more. Either you’re a fan yourself and you get why, or you never will and nothing I can say will change your mind.

This move is ridiculous. Either you love it because of that, or you never, ever will.

Anyway, doubting my mental competence because I like ballet’s more brutal cousin is by the by. You don’t need to be a fan of the greatest form of modern performance art to enjoy this article. I’m only going to use wrasslin’ because, as a niche product regarded with open hostility by the mainstream, it forms a useful comparison to wargaming.

Those fans of wrestling who are my age grew up in the heyday of Austin 3:16, the smell of The Rock’s cooking and Mrs. Foley’s baby boy getting thrown off a steel cage. The WWE’s ‘Attitude Era’ was a glorious time to be a wrasslin’ fan. The talent roster had literally never been deeper, the angles had never been nuttier, the matches had never been as vicious.

Until suddenly, the good times were over. The Rock left to make films. Stone Cold left in a cloud of vicious acrimony and domestic abuse convictions. HHH buried every rival beneath half-hour promos of interminable tedium and thirty second matches of shameful disrespect. WCW had been run into the ground by egotism and stupidity. ECW had disappeared in a cloud of ill will and unpaid bills.

Of course, there other companies. A scrappy little group called Ring of Honor tried make a name for itself based on quality wrestling, but the matches were frequently high on action, low on ring psychology, and so left me wanting more. A slightly more well-off company called TNA tried to win over WWE fans by creating an inferior version of WWE television on less than one percent of the budget and one hundredth of a percent of the talent. Their matches just left me feeling sad.

So that was that. With nowhere to go and nothing to see, I gave up. Wrasslin’ was done. I’d occasionally stick my head round the corner, see what was happening, but the last ten years of WWE ‘superstars’ have been nothing but a bland piss-drizzle of nothing men. Steroids are no replacement for that star quality, no matter how much they might wish it so.

So, after nearly two decades of disappointment, imagine my surprise when I fell back in love with wrestling this year.

’This Gold has POWER.’

“Have you heard of ‘Lucha Underground’?”

No mate, I replied. I haven’t. What is it?

And Raph explained how one thousand years ago, an ancient Aztec prophecy foretold a great and terrible evil. It would take the strength of all seven Aztec tribes to face off the coming nightmare. Cut to our time, with the prophecy due to bear its dark and terrible fruit any day, and the seven tribes scattered into obscurity. Broken by the conquest of Mexico and the decimation of the indigenous peoples, the surviving members of the tribes live shattered lives, denied their legacy as humanity’s destined saviours. With the world’s fate on the line, unless they unite, everything is doomed.

Of course, not everyone has forgotten the Old Ways, though perhaps it might be better if they had. In a forgotten industrial warehouse, a place pregnant with dark power, the prophecy slowly grinds towards horrific realisation. Hidden from the eyes of the authorities, an illegal gladiatorial arena thrives. Managed by the son of a secret follower of the Aztec gods of slaughter, it exists to feed the secret gods of the arena with the violence they need to rise and assume power… And in a sick irony, this dark apostle forces the survivors of the seven tribes face each other, squabbling over the gifts of the gods so they can never unify and elevate themselves to greatness again.

And the seven tribes are not all that thrives in this dark Temple. There is a man possessed by the spirit of an ancient dragon, come from the bowels of the Earth to test himself in combat; a time-travelling alien, sent from the stars to save us; a one hundred and ninety six year old Lich desperate for the sweet release of death; the boy she rescued from an earthquake and fashioned into her deathless golem of war; the last prince of the Puma tribe, once homeless and scavenging in the barrios, is now rising to meet his legacy… Even the secret high priest’s own brother fights, and his soul was sacrificed by their father to the gods of slaughter… gods which now use his flesh to wreak utter ruin on any who would oppose the Temple’s grand and terrible design.

violence

I am not making any of this up. This is the most basic outline of the plot.

What is ‘Lucha Underground’? ’Lucha Underground’ is what happens when Robert Rodriguez decides he wants to produce a wrestling show, and it is possible the most insane television show I have ever watched. It is also MAGNIFICENT. The story is completely bonkers: magic is real, there are undercover cops, some wrestlers have been killed (in character, but still…) It’s unlike anything else anywhere, and it is completely addictive.

Unlike ‘LU’, every other wrestling fed ultimately tried to emulate the template established by WWE. They pretend at being sports. They pretend at being real. They have the bright lights, the colourful characters, they go after that sweet, sweet PG money.

But not ‘Lucha Underground’. It’s shot in an arena that sits maybe fifty people. It utterly embraces its crazy premise, and dares you to say something as dumb as ‘You do know it’s fake?’

‘Do I know it’s fake? Look son, after the time-travelling alien had his match with the nunchuck-wielding dragon, a skeleton ninja just broke the arm of a vampire with a split personality. Do I know it’s fake? Yeah son, there are subtle clues…’

Visually, ‘LU’ looks like nothing else either. There’s a few muscleheads, but there are skinny guys, fat guys, tough girls, psychopathic moth girls, and more awesome luchador masks than you can shake a stick at. And the location of the Temple is like nothing else on Earth; a grimy, dark fight club, it embraces the poverty of its setting to create an outlaw setting that is entirely its own. Everything about ‘LU’, from the lighting, to the guys wrestling, to the backstage scenes, to the Mexican aesthetic is completely unique.

ultima-lucha

A champion for abuse survivors, a Mexican showman, an undead revenant, a rich boy serial killer, his psychopathic sister, a sniper with PTSD and what turned out to be a F**CKING WEREPANTHER fight for the literal favour of the Aztec gods. Seriously, it’s the best show on TV and everyone should be watching it.

In a world where every other fed wants to be a tiny version of WWE, ‘Lucha Underground’ dares to be itself with a relentless purity.

I f**king love it so much for that.

An Inconvenient Truth

Games Workshop is the premier wargaming company in the world. This is a fact. It has more shops than other wargaming companies, makes more money than they do, and has deeper IP penetration than any other company in the field.

It’s so ubiquitous in the wargaming world that for those of us who have lived lives immersed in the culture, it’s easy to forget why this is. After all, we all grew up with Space Marines. By the time most gamers have been in the hobby for a couple of years, they’re sick of Ultramarine blue. Familiarity breeds contempt, and those of us who choose to stay in the hobby after the age of sixteen – those of us who just can’t quit it – are usually so used to the GW aesthetic that we’re pretty sick of it. We start looking elsewhere for a different kind of gaming fix.

Maybe they discover Warmachine, or Malifaux, or X-Wing, or Deadzone, or AT-43, or DUST, or Gates of Antares, or any one of the various other products out there. Maybe they begin to evangelise about their favourite game, lionising the little guy and pouring scorn on The Great Beast that is Games Workshop.

After all, how many times have you heard that 40K’s rule set is garbage? How many times have you said so yourself? Sometimes, it feels like everyone hates Games Workshop. Christ knows it did back in the days before the internet.

But Games Workshop still remains the top guy. So why is that?

Well, I’m not going to pretend there’s a single, simple answer to that, and anyone who argues there is? Is a fool. Business is tricky and complicated, and even more so in the strange little niche markets our hobby flowers in.

However, one of the key components is one that hardcore gamers are inclined to often overlook, lost as they are in the crunch of dice or the fluff of background.

Five Ridges On The Forehead

tyranid_raveners___warhammer_40k_emperor_s_chosen_by_jubjubjedi-d6hkznkHave you ever noticed how every Tyranid model has five ridges/plates on their foreheads? I had to have that pointed out to me.

Games Workshop does a lot wrong. A lot. So much in fact, that it’s easy to get so lost in people’s nit-picking that it becomes easy to miss what they do well. One thing they do better than almost anyone is their sense of aesthetic.

Take a step back and just consider the way 40K models look.

When you see those ridiculous shoulder pads, do you think anything but ‘Space Marine’? When you see that sickle mag and the barrel with a single hole through the side, do you think anything but ‘Bolter’? When you see sword with massive triangular teeth, do you think anything except ‘chainsword’?

How many Games Workshop models are immediately identifiable as what they are from a distance? I would argue that it’s all of them. Looking down on a battlefield, even if you don’t know which faction is which, you can always tell each army apart… and even if they’re unpainted. Every GW model always looks like a GW model, and you can almost always tell everything about it immediately.

It’s my opinion that GW crafts effective model silhouettes better than anyone else, and there’s a number of things they do which help create this immediate, striking appearance.

The first thing is that each army has a distinct, utterly unique aesthetic. Astartes are all hard edges and rectangles. Astra Militarum are boxy and covered in rivets. Eldar are sleek lines and bumps; Dark Eldar are sleek lines and blades. Tyranids are hunched over with too-many limbs. Orks are muscles and asymmetrical lines. On and on, every army has a distinct style that is entirely its own.

The second thing is the decision to make the models in ‘heroic scale’. Examine a 40K model up close and you’ll start to notice how big everyone’s hands are. How wide the guns are compared to real-life weapons. How huge their heads are. Stare too long and it gets a little off-putting.

Of course, that same exaggerated scale gives every model a distinctive heft that truescale models lack. 28mm truescale weapons are all reedy little sticks, whether they’re spears, swords, or shotguns. 28mm heroic scale weapons might be hyperbolically proportioned, true, but that only means they’re characterful. They’re not guns; they’re the idea of guns, and that distinction is a critical one for a hobby where so much takes place in the imagination. In truescale, a model’s face looks like dough that’s in the process of rising – only the vaguest sense of eyes and a nose. In heroic scale, features are exaggerated, true, but they’re also refined; refined, and detailed enough to be completely characterful.

wgf_male-survivors-sprue

What are these? Guns for ants?

Finally, and most critically, for all their war-bling, GW models have a surprising lack of greebling. Consider Astartes armour: apart from a handful of simple lines on the thighs, most of the plating is almost completely flat. A Cadian trooper’s outfit is a handful of smooth plates interlaced with areas of uncomplicated fabric. Eldar armour is almost completely featureless; at its most complex, there might be a couple of buckles, but mostly it’s just plain. Modern GW figures are hugely complex, but simultaneously, they lack the insane levels of detailing you’ll see in something like ‘Infinity’s figures, or on some of Mantic’s newer offerings. Those huge areas of plain, featureless plastic help to create strong lines, and strong lines create a powerful impression. In the case of such small figures, less is most definitely more.

I believe these three factors – strong individual army aesthetics; heroic scale; generally uncomplicated sculpting – are what makes GW’s models so much more fundamentally attractive than other companies’ offerings… As well as the final fourth factor I haven’t mentioned yet.

Genre Theory of Originality

Look, let’s be honest: 40K has everything and the kitchen sink blended up in it. Magic rubs shoulders with science, demons get fought off with fully automatic rocket-launchers, Tolkein sits smiling next to anime, who’s holding hands with Stan Winston… It’s all in there.

But it’s all completely 40K. Astartes aren’t just ‘Knights In Space’, even though that was how they were originally conceived. Nor are they the power armour of Heinlein’s ‘Starship Troopers’. Sure, they might wear their influences openly and unashamedly, but anyone who argues ‘They’re just a rip-off of … <insert thing I just noticed here>’ is just being too simplistic. 40K’s ripped off so many things and combined them together so effortlessly, it’s got an aesthetic that’s just completely its own, no matter how much people might argue otherwise. A Tyranid isn’t a velociraptor crossed with a cockroach by way of H.R. Giger. It’s… well. A Tyranid. We can all see where every army gets its ideas, but they’re so far evolved from the original source they might as well be completely original.

Nothing else looks like a Space Marine… and when it does, the very first thing everyone says is ‘Christ. They’re ripping off 40K quite blatantly, aren’t they?’

In film critique, genre theory argues that just because a film comes from a specific genre, that doesn’t mean it’s unoriginal or unworthy. The joy of genre is seeing the ways in which artists reinterpret existing tropes to create something that’s familiar, but new-feeling.

So, ‘The Incredibles’ is basically ‘Fantastic Four’… but it takes the characters and tropes of the superhero narrative and does something no-one’s ever seen before.

fantastic-4

It takes out the superdickery for one thing.

Games Workshop does the same thing, but for literally everything in the entirety of science-fiction. Like ‘Lucha Underground’, it is relentlessly and unapologetically itself.

The 40K universe, torn from the pages of a thousand pulp novels, stolen from the screens of a thousand sci-fi novels, remains one of the most strikingly unique visions in speculative fiction.

And this is where we get to why I don’t really buy from other companies.

Mantic, What Are You Playing At?

So I’ve spoken before about how I couldn’t get into ‘Infinity’. However, at least ‘Infinity’ is being itself as hard as it can be. ‘Infinity’ has a near-future anime-inspired aesthetic, and while I can’t tell the different factions apart, at least there’s a sense that I could if I sat down and learned the background lore. If GW is WWE, then ‘Infinity’ is Ring of Honor: it’s clearly doing its own thing, and while I personally think that thing is a little uninspired and ultimately somewhat drab, at least there is a clear, unified vision of what the product is and how it’s unique.

However, if ‘Infinity’ is RoH, then Mantic is TNA, because Mantic openly and shamelessly actively aspires to be an alternative to Games Workshop. ‘Diet GW’, if you will. And in this pandering to GW’s playerbase, I think Mantic actually gives an almost step-by-step guide to how not to do models.

This column was inspired by Mantic’s latest ‘Dreadball’ Kickstarter. I saw the words ‘cyborg zombies’ and nearly lost my mind. I was like YES. THIS. ALL THE THIS. GIVE ME STROGG THAT I MAY FINALLY MAKE THE ‘QUAKE 4’ FANTASY ARMY I’VE BEEN NURTURING SINCE 2005. I mean: cyborg zombies. With hideous prosthetics, ruptured skin, stitches, rubber tubing hardwired into bones and pistons instead of muscles. You can’t get that wrong. You just can’t.

virus_jamie_lee_curtis

What I wanted…

Mantic_DB_CyberUnDead…and what I got.

But somehow they found a way.

Looking at the concept pictures, all I saw was the usual Mantic style: people in skintight armour… and that’s it. Oh, they’ve got a little ball over their heart to create a unified look have they? How amazingly innovative.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been so underwhelmed.

Now, the thing is, I want to like Mantic, because they’re a scrappy little underdog and they say all the right things. ‘Deadzone’ is a great game, as is ‘Mars Attacks’. I’m keen and eager to get on-side and evangelise for them.

I have almost no interest in their models because in almost every way, they’re the diametric opposite of 40K’s. Every faction looks mostly the same. The Corporation – the Astra Militarum analogue – is a bunch of skinny guys with sci-fi looking guns. They’re exactly as skinny as the Asterians – the Eldar expies – who are a bunch of slightly skinnier guys with sci-fi guns. You could hold up almost any model from any faction, and with the exception of a couple of the big models, you’d think they all came from the same faction. Maybe not the sumo lizards, but even then, they’re just… well. Sumo lizards. Has anyone ever gone ‘You know what I think sci-fi needs more of? Sumo’?

Everyone’s got the same body proportions. Everyone’s got the same sort of poses. Everyone’s got the same sort of guns. They all blur into one glutinous, homogenous whole. With the exception of things like the aforementioned sumo lizards or big-*ss models like the Plague stage 1A, nothing really stands out.

plague-lord-final

And seriously, ‘Plague Stage 1A’? I mean, this is an awesome model, so why the crap name? 

Then there’s the choice of truescale, which means everything’s spindly and prone to bending/breaks. The guns all look like needles. There’s lots of excessive greebling, but none of it really signifies anything beyond ‘high-tech’. All the strong lines are broken up and lost; the silhouette of the model is killed.

Even with the move away from that horrible plastic resin which leaves everything with the most atrocious mold lines, I’m not sold on them. When you combine this with some of the lamest fluff imaginable, it all makes for a fictional universe I just don’t care about. The humans are from generic mega-corporations, there’s an alien space plague… You can see explicitly where they’re trying to win over Games Workshop’s existing base at every stage, but everything’s just so cack-handed, they’re never going to succeed. I won’t deny the excellence of Mantic’s games – they’re a superb rules company – but their models don’t cut it. They don’t look unique, or striking, or exciting, or anything. They’re the sort of designs you see in every cheap computer game, or in every SyFy TV series, without anything to really recommend them.

Mantic is the TNA of wargaming: it’s copying the Big Boy and hoping that a lower price point will be enough to lure people over.

But it won’t. With every Mantic kickstarter that comes out, we see how they’re just going to give us more of the same, with emphasis on the word ‘same’. Every time I think ‘will this be the one that makes me a convert?’ and it never is.

And I want it to be. I want to cheer for them. They’re one of the rare companies who make styrene models, and styrene is the best material. I despise metal, and resin requires way too many precautions.

I want them to be the Next Big Thing.

But they aren’t.

Beyond The Gates of What Everyone Else Is Doing

Mantic is the easiest company to attack because they’re so brazenly trying to appeal to GW customers, but there are plenty of other bland-looking models. ‘Beyond the Gates of Antares’ has a tedious near-future aesthetic where nothing really stands out. I mean, maybe the Ghar mechs, but rock people? I mean, really? really? ‘DUST’ has some wonderful mech designs, but their soldiers are pretty meh. Not to mention, the cheap plastic they’re made from is horrible to work with. PP has some lovely stuff, but the models are often a little on the cartoony side.

What I want to know is where is the wargaming equivalent of ‘Lucha Underground’? Where is the company doing something completely different? Where’s the company that takes a step back and says ‘we’re going to create a game that looks nothing like anything else on the market’? Something that plays with the established tropes in a way that makes us all wonder why no-one had thought of it before?

There are still aesthetics that haven’t been mined. I haven’t seen a single company do a decent 28mm scale ‘machine war’ army. Where are the giant robo-spiders, the ‘Mass Effect’-inspired Reapers, the tentacle space horrors, the cyber-Cthulhus…

Where are my genuinely horrifying cyber-zombies?

It seems to me that every company out there is too obsessed with the idea of ‘realistic’ future war. That they’ve spent so long looking at the balls-out insanity of 40K, they’re terrified of doing anything which might be considered too over-the-top for fear of scaring off the older fanboys who are looking for the newest gaming fix.

I think it’s about time some of them tried something new. Lose this tired obsession with near-future bollocks. Stop making every army human-sized. Drop the tired aesthetic that says futuristic = skintight plating.

I’m champing at the bit to champion a new company. I am absolutely ready to evangelise for a company with a strong, unique sci-fi aesthetic and a solid, interesting background, and I am absolutely sure I am not alone.

The thing is GW are on top because no-one’s actually doing what they do. NOTHING looks like 40K; NOTHING has the fluff of 40K. Nothing is even close. Every other company is content to ply a samey-looking mix of seen-it-before tedium and pat themselves on the back because at least it looks different to GW, ignoring how much it looks like everything else. In a sea of generic sci-fi, 40K still stands out as the most original thing there, which means there’s only one real question.

~Which company is going to finally go for it and be the one to develop the first really amazing, unique look that enables them step up and take the crown?

 

Read More from York Necromancer Here

 

 

  • uatu13

    TL;DR

    • yorknecromancer

      Yes, that’s what my blog’s called… 🙂

      • palaeomerus

        And with good reason.

        • yorknecromancer

          Thank you 🙂

      • Gideon Ernesto

        I might have brought up the courage to read it… If it was fully on topic and not so focused on wrestling. I know nothing about Wrestling, like most Europeans. So I don’t care to read all that on top of what I actually want to read from you.

        • yorknecromancer

          *Wipes away a tear. Waves farewell sadly*

          If only… If only there was something that could lift my spirits after this terrible loss. Something purely entertaining. Something silly. Something I didn’t have to take as seriously as 40K.

          But wait! There is.

          *Puts on some wrestling*

          *Smiles*

          • Gideon Ernesto

            Hey, man just trying to tell you how you turned me off from reading this. Take that as you wish.

            I really think you could reach more people by not overdoing stuff like that. Do that on your blog. No one comes here for wrestling. I’m sure there is an interesting hobby opinion somewhere in there. But I don’t want to wade through this stuff to find it. This is not Bell of Last Round.
            … are there rounds in wrestling? I don’t even know that.

          • Azerole

            Just skip to the heading An Inconvenient Truth.

          • Heinz Fiction

            I’m a european who happens to know a thing or two about wrestling and is even enjoying the show from time to time. Still I don’t think the whole wrestling part adds anything substantial to the topic. In fact I think it distracts from the point you’re trying to make and adds confusion for those readers not familiar with it.

            You can easily fill pages with comparing tabletop aesthetics of diffrent manufacturers. No need to go off-topic so much.

        • Shawn

          Gideon, I’m American and skipped out on the wrestling. It’s like reality t.v. and pro-wrestling had a deformed kid.

          • Gideon Ernesto

            I know that much, which is why I’m glad I don’t know much else.
            Only this: You can’t actually see John Cena, and that Randy Orton can strike randomly out of nowhere at any time. But that is about it. Internet memes and gifs thought me that.

      • Muninwing

        some people need twitter, because anything deeper is too hard to keep track of…

        as a fellow “teal deer,” i salute you on coming back around and writing a great parallel. and giving us some food for thought.

      • Balazra

        I quite liked Relic Knights, fun background – cool models in many genres of anime styles – and the gameplay was fast paced and tactical.
        It didn’t really take off but that seemed more because it lacked release pace rather than the actual game and models.
        I managed to pick up 4 armies and enough terrain in a sale for a game, and it only set me back aus$200.00 which is remarkably cheap considering shipping from the US was included.
        I still manage to pick up games here and there but mainly play with a small group of friends.
        I bought a few teams and provide the “toys” they just enjoy the game on a quiet Friday night with a few stubies after the kids have gone to bed.

        • euansmith

          Has Relic Knight got cancelled? I though Sodapop were still bringing stuff out for it? I liked the look of the artwork and the game mechanisms looked fun. I wasn’t really sold on the early waves of models. Their details looked a bit to soft for me.

          • Balazra

            No it’s not cancelled. (Although it felt dead for a while)
            After two years of dithering and stuttering they have redone most the models in the last few months (much better sculpts) and released all characters mentioned in 1st edition “dark space calamity”.
            Check it out they are rather good models now.
            They have also done a good job with the FAQ for first edition.
            It is a really fun game arm and I’ve got a lot of non gamer friends to play and enjoy it even if they haven’t invested in models etc…

            They have written and are currently sculpting for 2nd edition and have a Q1 2017 release schedule.

          • euansmith

            Cool. Thanks.

      • Me

        I enjoyed the read. Something opinionated like this and of this size is never going to please everyone. But I thought that wrestling portion did a good job of setting up and explaining your opinion on the primary point. Just as importantly, I was entertained (I hate reading that doesn’t also entertain me).

        It also brought back a bit of nostalgia. My grandfather was a huge WWF (note the F and not the E) wrestling fan. I got an aisle seat once and watched Andre the Giant walk within two foot of me. Now… That was one big man, especially to a (I think) a six year old. Then there was the Great Kabuki, the Von Erichs (RIP), the Junkyard Dog, King Kong Bundy, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and so many more. Sigh. I knew even then that it was not real (the Piledriver would likely kill or maim someone), but the action, the drama, and the very real hard work made it so much fun to watch.

      • Dweezil

        Just because you made one god-awful paragraph after another with little or no coherent flow doesn’t mean you’re a godly writer. This article was a mess that could have been done within 1-3 coherent pages. It’s like the guy who thinks using big words makes him smart when he’s not using them in the appropriate situations or contexts.

        If you wrote this, you’re a really bad writer. Take some courses in writing that aren’t from Liberal schmucks with little or no experience.

  • OldHat

    Wait a second here… are you trying to peddle the idea that somewhere someone doesn’t adore the People’s Elbow? SIR! Unbelievable.

    • yorknecromancer

      Hey: it doesn’t make sense to me either…

    • Median Trace

      The Rock sells tickets whether he is pretending to shoot people or pretending to elbow people. The Rock is still my favorite wrestler and probably the best Heel ever

    • bobrunnicles

      Seriously. I mean who doesn’t love the most electrifying move in sports entertainment today!

  • nurglitch

    I always love reading your work Von. We should talk…

  • Sythica

    Darklands, Dark Age, Arena Rex, Guildball all have models that trash most of GW’s offerings. The rule sets are all miles away from GW. There’s lot’s of choices out there, if you know where to look.

    • Mira Bella

      Absolutely! And there are even more out there!
      Seems like the author didn’t really bother to check the alternatives or at least not many of them.

      • yorknecromancer

        Ahem. I did.

        But you may notice that this column is already ten hours long. And what’s the first comment I get? TL;DR.

        I am VERY conscious of the fact my articles are f**king massive, and so I always try to keep them down. I mean, I fail, but I still try.

        So yeah. I could have provided links to Statuesque Minis, Anvil Industries, PuppetsWar, Onslaught Miniatures, Mad Robot Minis, Ironclad Miniatures, Pig Iron Productions, Troublemaker Games, Hasslefree Miniatures, Ramshackle Games, Paulson Games, Gregster’s Lab, Prodos, Antenocitis Workshop or any of the other superb companies whose work I like.

        But that wasn’t the point of the article, and it would’ve made it far, far too long.

        • mugginns

          You could have taken out the 75% about wrasslin that nobody read and spend more time than a half sentence on stuff that is growing really fast, like WMH, lol. Just sayin’

          • Xodis

            Without the 75% of wrasslin that later is used to define the status of the game companies the article wouldn’t have made sense.

          • mugginns

            Intro: I love 40k
            Middle: I looked at all these other things online, they’re not 40k and I don’t like them
            End: Why am I wrong?

          • Xodis

            Your middle is wrong.

            Middle: All these other things are playing it safe and not really standing out at all. Its all the same blob of boringness while trying to rip off of 40K with just a better ruleset.

          • mugginns

            That just doesn’t align with reality, though

          • Xodis

            After reading your thoughts on GoA being “realistic” I actually believe that you believe that.

          • mugginns

            So do most other wargamers, who are flocking to stuff like WMH, X-Wing, Bolt Action, Wrath of Kings, Dropzone Commander, BtGoA, Infinity, etc etc.

            I mean just because you say things doesn’t mean they’re true, lol

          • Xodis

            Would be wise if you listened to yourself for a change.

          • mugginns

            Oh man, can you meme that for my FB wall, gonna look super profound to all my boomer friends

          • Xodis

            to my boomer friend*

            Fixed it for you.

          • ZeeLobby

            To be honest, a lot of GoA is based in scientific principles and background. They spent a lot of time on it. So it is more “real” in that sense then 40K.

          • Xodis

            Some people argued that about Dr. Who as well, I have to respectfully disagree. A lot of the “science” is usually some theory (thats already been dismissed) brought to life in an extreme scenario.

          • ZeeLobby

            Well it’s all theoretical. We aren’t plying the stars in space ships. But I fail to see how the Warp is more realistic then fusion reactors and pulse lasers…

          • Xodis

            Sci fi tech I can be lenient on, as you said we are not there yet. Its the becoming the same as your environment thing that while “tropy” is ridiculous. Chaos is all weird because of “space magic”, its a sell out but it works, evolving from a human into something inhuman though….sorry I just dont like that.

          • ZeeLobby

            Why not? All you need is an ample supply of the same mutagen. DNA is a pretty simplistic building block, and yearly we find new ways to manipulate it for desired effects (look at genetically modified crops). That makes WAY more sense then feelings created creatures in a parallel universe. Let’s be honest, 40K’s Sci-Fi is more like religion than it is like science.

          • Xodis

            40K is Sci-fantasy, always has been much like Heman, Starwars, etc…
            Star Trek is the king of actual Sci Fi.

            Youre simplifying GMOs way too much, its one thing to remove seeds from a plant, its another to change the entire DNA structure so a “Human” can thrive in a place where normal Humans could never live. Plus as advanced as science is in GoA, the human body would NEVER evolve or change that much because it wouldn’t need to due to technology picking up any slack.

          • ZeeLobby

            Actually the human body HAS changed. Our eyesight has become predominantly worse since with the advancement of technology, from a purely genetic standpoint. and Golden Rice is a perfect example of genetic modification that went beyond just removing seeds. That strain now produces something it NEVER did in the past. Will the warp open up and the chaos gods rain down on the earth in the next 500 years, doubtful, will humans be able to improve eyesight or add a limb before birth, much more likely.

          • Xodis

            Human vision getting worse actually helps my point. Being able to wear glasses or to utilize any other corrective measure to increase vision shows how our body becomes dependant on technology.
            As for Golden Rice, again its not nearly as severe as the drastic change between normal Humans and the Stone men. Golden Rice already produce beta-carotene, they just upped the dosage. Its just like when we take testosterone or estrogen enhancements to to help our own bodies. What you’re describing is changing rice to provide caffeine while also growing from a tree instead of a grass.

          • Aezeal

            But in the end I guess most of both doesn’t and will never exist.. so using realism as any kind of measure is kinda poitless. If you want realism you shouldn’t be wargaming anyway but join the army.

          • ZeeLobby

            LoL. There is more than just black and white. A lot of people enjoy playing games that could be a plausible future.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Not in my bedroom…

          • euansmith

            Please don’t mention “Dr Who” and “science” in the same breath. It gives me the cold shivers. Dr Who is magical fantasy with zero science. 😀

          • Xodis

            Thats my point though lol

          • ZeeLobby

            But it’s a bad point, because Dr. Who DOESN”T use actual scientific principals and theories from the start. They may word drop here or there, but there’s a ton of fantasy interjected.

          • Xodis

            Its actually a good point because thats exactly what I am saying. People still think of it as sci fi and not sci fantasy and think its somewhat scientifically accurate.

          • ZeeLobby

            There are still varying degrees. It’s not black in white. I would definitely consider some games to be more sci-fi than sci-fantasy, and vice versa. But they all contain elements of both.

          • Xodis

            Sure, Mass Effect attempts to be Sci Fi, but eventually loses its grip on the fiction and becomes fantasy…happens to most Sci Fi IPs. Even Star Trek has gone too far fantasy, luckily they usually come back somewhat.

          • lorieth

            Hear hear! I’m a theoretical physicist and I can’t even get the wretched neutrons to *start* flowing.

          • euansmith

            😀 😀 😀

          • Hawt Dawg

            And as we all know those games always need to be defended.

            Unlike GW. They just need some good old inbred scorn.

          • euansmith

            I picked up the GoA starter on kickstarter and expanded my Ghar in to a decent sized force; but was kind of disappointed the Warlord don’t seem to have a cohesive vision for the game. The Concord look like hi-tech sci-fi dudes, and the Ghar continue this, provided you ignore the whole 3-legged thing; but then you get the Isorian’s with their cartoon eye balls with teeth.

          • euansmith

            I actually liked the stuff about Wrestling.

          • lorieth

            I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get to the People’s Eyebrow. Still, it’s a start.

          • JJ

            The only thing i disagree with is ripping off GW. Kinda hard to rip off GW when they did it so well first. (Rip off ideas that is) I don’t think I need to go into the whole list but the only thing GW didn’t rip off is large shoulder pads and chain-swords . (Looks wise, I know that they write unique-ish stories)

          • ZeeLobby

            Yeah, if anyone here hasn’t read the book Armour before, you should give it a read. It’s basically Space Marines vs Tyranids before either existed.

          • Xodis

            Did you read the article? That point is directly addressed. Its like Stranger Things, it rips off so many things and makes it their own that it doesn’t seem like a rip off, except to someone that is DEEP into a specific setting where something was stolen.

          • JJ

            Yea I read the article,

            I Guess what I’m saying is 40k stands on the shoulders of every other scifi/fantasy IP and that’s cool, but to look at other companies and say be unique, find other stuff, quit copying GW is BS.

          • Aezeal

            And not better enough to matter if you already know the ruleset.

          • An Le

            The title specifically states “Why I only buy GeeDubs products”. Not “Why GW products are objectively the best products”.

            Did you even read the whole thing?

          • mugginns

            Not sure what you’re meaning here, but I skipped all the history about wrasslin

          • An Le

            So you did not read the entire article, and thus missed the point he was trying to make. Case closed.

          • Ross Allan

            May have read that final zinger in a Lionel Hutz voice…

          • mugginns

            Nope, I definitely got the point: “very other company is content to ply a samey-looking mix of seen-it-before tedium and pat themselves on the back because at least it looks different to GW, ignoring how much it looks like everything else.”

            This is only true, really, if you only want to play 40k and nothing else.

          • Aezeal

            The looks of models and their similarities do not change depending on what games you play, I’m reasonably sure of that.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Like you skipped school?

          • blackbloodshaman

            People who play 40k are typically not the deeply analytical type.

          • Hawt Dawg

            I read it.

            Tumbling…

          • Pyrrhus of Epirus

            great point, read for a min, was all wrestling, skipped the rest to come to the comments, wasnt disapointed.

        • blackbloodshaman

          They are massive because you have trouble getting to the point, and your side yarns are not particularly interesting. Your should have done a little more research and analysis, malifaux fits your lucha underground analogy really well

        • euansmith

          “my articles are f**king massive”; there’s the title to the yorknecromancer autobiography.

        • hokiecow

          The whole article was the last paragraph. Just add a couple paragraphs to back it up and BAAM! great article worth discussing.

        • amaximus167

          I read the whole damned thing, which is more than most of the ‘articles’ on BoLS get from me. Usually I am just here for the pictures. I will admit it…

          I enjoyed it, but I also loved wrestling. So, I was not lost at all.

        • Jamie Kelly

          Not everyone has the attention span on a flea. Complexity and depth isn’t a vice, and I enjoyed the read. I agree strongly about the aesthetic the GW holds over other manufacturers. The only thing I think missing from the discussion is the manufacturing technology itself. I believe that GW is leaps and bounds ahead of any other model manufacturer on how it can produce the quality of product at such scale. Ask FFG about how hard it is to meet demand for quality models for instance. They produce them at a solid economy and while they charge a pretty penny, we pay it (grumbling) because there isn’t another game manufacturer who matches them to me.

        • Did you ever consider the fact that you might talk too long about your beliefs?

          You should join the clergy.

    • Talos2

      I’ll give you darklands, they’re truely unbelieveable, the others are generally just a different look and better or worse is a matter of opinion

    • Mechabri.zilla

      Really? I just looked these up. Datklands: ok design, too expensive for what you get. Dark Age: meh. Arena Rex, ok, these are awesome, but the idea of gladiatorial combat doesn’t really draw me in story wise. Guildball, again, nice minis, but I don’t see the theme of medieval football with minis holding my interest. So yes, very good, maybe even better minis may be out there, but they don’t contain the total package. Fluff and story I’d huge for me.

  • Chad Underdonk

    The guns on that sprue are perfectly proportioned for the models they were designed for.

    • yorknecromancer

      Not saying they aren’t.

      I’m saying the very concept of truescale itself is the issue, because everything becomes too weeny, indistinct and fragile.

      • Chad Underdonk

        Nah, those models are actually a very good compromise between wargaming heftiness and truescale “falls apart when you look at it”.

        • yorknecromancer

          Personal taste being the entirely subjective thing it is, on this, you and I will have to agree to disagree forever. 🙂

          • nurglitch

            I think of the GW sculpting aesthetic rather like a cartoon, in that they capture the essence rather than simply miniaturize. In that they’re like the statue of David, which was intended to be view atop a huge stone plinth, hence the proportions that only appear ideal from a low angle, and a distinctive silhouette intended to be skylined from far away.

          • yorknecromancer

            I’d say it was more ‘iconic’ than cartoonish. GW tries to represent the idea of the thing rather than the thing itself.

            Cartoonish implies a level of comedy to the sculpts that hasn’t been present since 3rd edition IMO.

          • nurglitch

            I don’t think of cartooning as being necessarily comedic.

          • palaeomerus

            “GW tries to represent the idea of the thing rather than the thing itself.”

            Exaggeration. Caricature. ->Cartoony.

          • Xodis

            Its only a Caricature when used for grotesque or comic effect.

          • euansmith

            So Space Marines then 😉

          • Xodis

            Well yeah lol

          • Aezeal

            I agree except for orcs/orruks/orks I do not find GW stuff cartoony. Iconic might be the right word. The text with the pic of that sprue is on the mark imo.

          • palaeomerus

            My hot take on why your hot take is such a hot take by the Jerry the Hot Take King. (It’s 2016!)

      • euansmith

        I guess a bit part of the GW “look” is down to their rules. GW need to make minis easy to differentiate on the table because there are going to be a lot of them and they are going to be the source of a variety of special rules. Players need to known that a particular individual is armed with a particular weapon.

        This is less important in historical games, where units tend to be treated as a whole rather than as an agglomeration of individuals.

        It is also less important in skirmish games, like Infinity, where there are very few figures and the players probably know them by name.

        Having said that, I’m a big fan of heroic scale, partially because I like the chunky, cartoony look, and partially because I struggle to paint small details.

    • TenDM

      There’s a concept when you draw comic book heroes that sums up to ‘they have to be 7 foot tall or they look like dwarves’. That’s why Iron Man looks so good in the movies. Unlike most heroes they’re free to manipulate his costume in a way that allows for heroic proportions. It has to do with the way your brain perceives things.
      It’s why a lot of cartoon characters have four fingers. Five is the correct amount but the fingers look too small so instead you go with four slightly larger ones and somehow that looks more correct than five. It’s why an animated character can look alive with little to no detail yet an extremely detailed near flawless 3D model gets stuck in the uncanny valley.
      You probably notice it a lot when you paint your models. Shadows and highlights generally make no sense from a lighting perspective, yet they make the models themselves look more realistic than using actual lighting techniques. Edge highlighting is stupid yet it makes features pop.

      In this case both methods are valid, but truescale is about accuracy while the games mentioned here as Warhammer competitors are more about fantasy.
      The way Games Workshop does it really puts an emphasis on the features rather than the detail. A Space Marine Captain without his helmet on showcases the grizzled veteran’s features rather than trying to be an accurate representation of a human within a suit of power armour. It’s all about the idea of a Space Marine Captain.

      A power fist looks powerful. A bolter is just plastic but the stupid proportions let you feel the weight of it just by looking. The Eldar look fast and agile. An Ork looks like it could shrug off getting hit by a bus. They’re laughably unrealistic but oddly enough it cements the differences between everything in a way that makes the concepts feel more realistic.

  • I play GW games because I am not first and foremost a gamer. If I was first and foremost a gamer I would not play GW games because the games tend to be rather horrible and poorly balanced.

    I play GW games because of the appearance, and because I enjoy telling stories with my wargaming. Those are the most important aspects to me.

    That is why, until a company comes out that has an aesthetic that strikes me or has a deep story that goes beyond “you should only take this this and that if you want to win games brah”, I will stick with GW games.

    • yorknecromancer

      You and me both, brother. 🙂

    • ChubToad

      That’s why I also enjoy GWs games. There’s so much more than min/maxing a unit to win.

      • jcdent

        …there is?

        • nurglitch

          There’s also spamming units, synergistic units, and risk-assessment.

    • palaeomerus

      I buy the $35 GW fantasy sets to get little warbands of mostly D& D compatible stuff. I got some gnoblars to be comic goblins. I got some glade guard to be elfses. Big whoop.

      I did buy the $60 giant spider infested with goblins once.

      I don’t play the GW games, like the games, or really even follow them much any more though I might like a Space Hulk set for old time’s sake.

      I use Mantic’s sci-fi guys(deadzone, dreadball) as dudes for Infinity or Two Hour wargames along with reaper figures. Yeah even the not-squats. Mantic however has kicked up their own prices lately so I’m not really buying much from them anymore either. The old thirty zombies/orcs/dwarves for $30 seem to be over.

      • GingerPowered

        Mantic is turning into a bigger joke as time goes on… The only products of theirs that I can stand is the terrain

        • Beefcake the mighty

          Then you clearly haven’t tried the games.

          • GingerPowered

            Actually I have, I’ve backed multiple Mantic kickstarters and played the games I received from them many times. Also, why, at this point, do they need to keep running kickstarters? They have to have their own money by now

          • yorknecromancer

            I think because Kickstarters are an easy way to create brand awareness; Mantic clearly uses them as a form of advertising and a way to build hype.

            Plus it helps people feel like they’re personally involved in the company, something Mantic likes to encourage as part of its brand identity. They want to be the anti-GW; where GW ignores its fans, Mantic embraces its… the Kickstarters are a way for Mantic’s fanbase to show its loyalty, and to help themselves feel good about supporting Mantic (or attacking GW, which, let’s be fair, is a very real motivation for some people).

            Finally, all those successful Kickstarters means the company looks successful (even if it’s not), which can only be a good thing when presenting to investors outside of crowdsourcing.

            I think it’s a really clever strategy myself. Like I say, I really want to support Mantic. They get everything right except the miniatures. Which are horrible.

          • nurglitch

            And the background, which is invisible.

          • TBH, only SOME of the miniatures are horrible.

            These days I use any miniatures I want for anything I damn well please.

          • GingerPowered

            See, I can agree with a lot of what you said. GW is starting to not ignore their fans though (having interacted with them on Facebook myself), and they really have been trying harder since Kirby left.

            And I agree about wanting to support them, but the Dungeon Saga was the nail in the coffin for me. I backed EVERYTHING for it, and the miniatures are so sub-par even compared to their usual offerings. They never said during the campaign that the pieces wouldn’t be like their standard materials.

          • Beefcake the mighty

            I see no problem with Kickstarter. You get a heap of free minis. Sounds much more appealing than spending 80$ on a box of Sigmarines or 165$ on 5 blood knights.

          • GingerPowered

            Lol your numbers are so wrong

          • Beefcake the mighty

            No sir I live in Australia and those numbers are 100% accurate.

          • yorknecromancer

            Their games really are superb.

            Can’t recommend ‘Mars Attacks’ or ‘Deadzone’ enough. Great fun.

          • pad_uk

            Dreadball is a really fab, fun game too. But as you say – the minis suck. Which is a real shame. Blood Bowl is on the way and that I suspect will be the final nail in Dreadball’s coffin. Not because BB is a better game, but we all know the minis will be sooooooo much better.

    • Hawt Dawg

      I have been using my GW background to spread the same gaming style to the guys I play Warmahordes with. Needless to say I have been busting nuts to get them to the same level as me with great looking terrain, cool and mellow gaming, scenarios a plenty, to the point where we are even talking about creating an Iron Kingdoms campaign (for the wargame, not RPG).

      Luckily they all paint their armies to a very good standard.

      Great post!

      • Aezeal

        Why did you stop playing your GW game?

        • Hawt Dawg

          They canned R&F Warhammer for good (and no, 9th age is as interesting as me as an annoying rash). And every now and then I just change hobbies, not because of any reason. I just like the change.

          I have not left GW games for good. The problem is that there is only 24 hrs per day. That is like 12 hrs too short. I am actually building Silver Tower and would like to see more games like this that are as awesome.

    • Mira Bella

      This is strange. I understand what you are trying to say BUT, currently 40k is the game where you can go”you should only take this this and that if you want to win”.
      You can take whatever you want if the game is balanced. 40k is certainly not balanced at all.

      Please tell me what I should take in infinity. (seriously I could need some help)

      • Because in infinity I can’t find players that want to do narrative campaigns. In warmachine I can’t find players that want to do narrative campaigns. In X Wing I can’t find players that want to do narrative campaigns.

        In 40k I can find lots of players that want to do narrative campaigns who won’t bust the game.

        What you are saying would only be accurate if I could also not find players that want to do narrative campaigns in 40k. I’ve never in 25 years had a problem finding people that want to do this because while 40k does attract its share of powergamers, it also always seems to have players willing to do narrative style games where they won’t be exploiting bad balance.

        I already also said if I was primarily a gamer first I wouldn’t be playing GW games (refer to origingal posting) because if the game was my primary goal then GW would definitely not be close to achieving that for me.

        40k and whfb and aos are really the only games besides Battletech where I can find players that are willing to do campaigns where building an “A” list is not the primary goal.

    • Guido Hockmann

      This. A thousand times this.

    • Beefcake the mighty

      Well said sir.

  • nrop
    • dave long island

      wow she’s really goin’ to town…

  • Gotthammer

    Ok one thing about these that always bugs me is that they say “by BoLS Alumni York Necromancer” – clearly you’re not an alumnus (alumni is the plural form) if you’re still posting here.

  • dave long island

    Ya don’t be giving the ants guns. That’s all those little &%#*$##! need…

  • LordCastellan Vas

    Excellent article!

  • mugginns

    Beyond the Gates of Antares has more sci-fi realistic models because people want them. I love space marines and tyranids etc, but having factions that are somewhat similar with minor differences means I can paint dudes that look how I want them to look but they’re not super special snowflakes. Super special snowflakes, ala 40k, almost always creates massive imbalance (ala 40k).

    • yorknecromancer

      ‘more realistic’?

      Rock people.

      ROCK

      PEOPLE.

      People made of rock.

      More realistically scaled? Sure. But more realistic?

      Respectfully, I must disagree.

      • mugginns

        Humans in the very far future who have evolved to have rocky skin is definitely more realistic than, say, magic wizard orc people that grow from spores and don’t have any women.

        • nurglitch

          Could you explain the metric of realism you’re using here, please?

      • Ryan Adams

        I have to say just they way stuff looks in Gates of Antares i would never say it looks realistic, almost every faction looks like eldar.

        • mugginns
          • CMAngelos

            I see that and just all that runs through my head is “Nahhhh, that’s not Garros… What’s MASS effect!? *wink wink nudge nudge*”

          • Hawt Dawg

            No, that reminds me of my dogs processed food.

        • DeadlyYellow

          Humorously, I ended up using a spare set of Eldar legs for a Concord that was missing theirs. Proportions are almost spot on.

  • Davis Centis

    Thank you for finally describing why I just can’t get into Infinity or any of those other games. I just never feel anything that pops at me the way GW’s stuff does. That said, I think diversification of the market has finally gotten to the point where GW is starting to sing a different tune, so I won’t be leaving them anytime soon!

    • Xodis

      I felt the same way. Wanted to like these games, but couldn’t and wasn’t sure why. Now it makes sense, it just doesn’t really appeal to me as much as GW does.

      • ZeeLobby

        The GW universe is definitely my favorite, but it’s also had 30+ years to develop, the majority of which it was one of the only options on the market. Give it time and you’ll find whole new generations who enjoy the fluff of game “X”.

        • Aezeal

          Nah… why would I give it time.

          • ZeeLobby

            Hehe. I mean tons of new gamers are picking up X-Wing and Infinity every time I go in the store. We grew up with 40K, they didn’t.

          • Hawt Dawg

            I grew up with Star Wars but would never touch anything FFG related.

          • ZeeLobby

            I didn’t mean the movies necessarily. I meant what you see being played when you walk into a game store. When I was growing up it was GW only, there really weren’t other options. Now there’s tons of other games being played. Sure GW games are still there, but I’m just as likely to run into Infinity, X-Wing or WMH. Exposure for alternatives has gone way up, plenty of young people pick up X-Wing who weren’t even alive for the first 3 movies.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Then you must have your hands full.

            Imagine definding all those games from GW fanboys.

            It must be quite the chore…

          • ZeeLobby

            LoL. There’s very little to defend. Most people I know who won’t give up GW products admit that there’s a lot wrong with the game itself. And I can’t argue that other games have better background/fluff when GW games have 20+ years on them. Miniatures are completely subjective. I find a lot of the newer GW minis way too busy, but they definitely have the most detailed plastic minis on the market.

          • Hawt Dawg

            I am your worst nightmare.
            A Warmahorde player who loves GW games.
            Riposte! En garde! Too the Tower!

          • ZeeLobby

            Hahaha. It is true, you are a RARE breed. Personally I just don’t have the income to support both systems, and I just have way more fun playing WMH over 40K. Still working on my AoS though.

          • Hawt Dawg

            My problem is that stupid 24 hrs per day.

            Why isn’t it like 36 hrs and why do I even need sleep?

            Life is unfair to us old nerds.

          • ZeeLobby

            I mean if I’m lucky I play once every week, if not every other week. That said, I do head into our local game store almost daily on the way home.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Once a week is normal for me. I need to get away from real life.

            Married see.

          • ZeeLobby

            Ditto. It’s a nice break from work too. If i can get it in the middle of the work week.

          • Skathrex

            I think thats partially becaus X-Wing is far more friendly to newcomers.
            When you start to look in a store, X-Wing you know the fluff (most likely), you have your favourites and its way cheaper without modeling and Painting.
            But I have heard from People (more experienced ones) who said X-wing was fun but nothing that could keep them, because it got increasingly expensive and wasn’t so deep.

          • ZeeLobby

            Definitely true for some. I’ve heard that as well. Of course I’ve heard that for many other gaming systems including several new players who picked up AoS. There will always be a need for a game to “click” in order for a player to stay interested and keep it for the long run. That’s why things are great these days because there’s so many options.

          • Skathrex

            Agreed. Options are good for everyone, and even GW could use some healthy competition. I just don’t like GW is crap, everything else is gold mentality.
            As the Shift in GWs ways are visiable I think they understood the Message.

          • ZeeLobby

            As far as rules and balance go, it’s a pretty accurate statement. The game system alternative may not be fun for an individual playing it, but the majority of other options have a much tighter ruleset, and a more balanced playing field. 40K is currently in the worst state it’s been in in a long time. AoS is just too new to judge.

          • Skathrex

            Well I think “the Worst state” is kinda subjective statement. For me for example (played 3-4 then paused and startet again with 6th) 7th is one of the best time, certanly better then 6th. I really can’t compare it to 3-4th because I was young and played bad list. But I lost to Serpent/Wraithlord spam and Big Bugs too at that time.
            But I really like the missions in 7th, even though there is some imbalance going on.

          • ZeeLobby

            I mean the imbalance is the issue. Allies, Battle Brothers and Formations/Detachments are what have skewed the game so far in some directions. Their inability to rotate release cycle love equally to factions doesn’t help either. Imperials have thousands more options at this point than some of their other factions.

            Having played from 3rd to 7th continuously, I’ve never seen so many imbalanced matchups that both equal 2000 pts. It used to be that 2/3 armies had that one build which made them unstoppable. There are easily 5/6 combinations from just the Eldar codex alone which reach those levels. And that’s ignoring corsair and DE they could add in. It just sucks if you only want to play Orks, DE, CSM, etc. I don’t want to HAVE to play an imperial army to have fun, and that’s kind of what GW has made it. The number of xenos players I know who’ve quit the game far outweighs others. Whenever I go to my LGS all i see is Imperials vs Eldar or Imperials vs Imperials.

            And sadly it looks as if AoS is already heading down that road. Their last campaign had Order winning every zone. It just quickly becomes a game that’s uninteresting to play. And in many ways creates a game that’s contradictory to the fluff we love.

          • Skathrex

            Imbalance is a problem, and I can’t really argue that it was better or worse back then, because I lack experience (althou I read in 4th there where like 3 Deathstar Armys and Iron Warriors and that was it).
            Ultimativly for BnB it doens’t really matter that much, but I know it creates a bad feeling and I hope they will fix some things in the future.

    • ZeeLobby

      A lot of it has to do with the sheer mangitude of fluff GW has under it’s belt. For many modern gamers, GW has a backlog of 20 years of material, novels, artwork, models, etc. It really helps a universe feel boundless with ideas.

      • Davis Centis

        To be totally honest though, most of the really cool stuff I find interesting was a part of the game back when I started in 3rd edition. While the details may have become more and more fleshed out over that time, the core foundations of the game’s fluff (the Horus Heresy, the Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, Tyranids… etc), they have been around since at least 2nd edition in all the most meaningful ways.

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, my point wasn’t necessarily that it’s evolved. Simply that there’s tons of it.

          • Aezeal

            Reading 10+ Gaunt or Eisenhorn books did help getting me in 40k lore. If I was a teenager with too much time I’d probably start a 40k army too, but I am not.

          • ZeeLobby

            I mean it was really good stuff. I have to say that even their prized writers have been struggling lately.

  • SacredRoach

    Just had to comment to a) THANK YOU for using “champing at the bit” correctly. Infuriates me when people use “chomping”… And b) that is why I still collect GW.
    I love Darklands with their massively huge rulebook and crazy expensive resin models, but I originally signed up there due to the Rackham vibe and the difference from WHFB. I play Infinity because it is quick, and the entry point for everything is small. I play Warmahordes because if my friends are not playing 40K, they are playing PP stuff.
    But I dearly miss the old Legions of Steel…the walrus Communists, the Dark Eldar Humans, the UN from Canada, the Predators made of steel and stone and the Terminators on Steroids and Crack. But again, that just sort of reinforces your point.

  • Dalcor

    Where is the statement that this is advertisement?
    I am refusing to buy GW anymore with only minor exception when market does not cover my needs.

    • nurglitch

      Because it’s an appeal to someone to understand the enduring and broad appeal of GW products in what would otherwise seem to be a golden age in sci-fi wargaming. As in, look, here’s what GW does, and here’s why various companies with putatively better (cheaper, more realistic, tighter rules, etc) products aren’t competing on the same level.

      • mugginns

        It definitely is a golden age of wargaming, that really is kinda indisputable. Kickstarter and the cheapness of manufacturing made it so.

        Competing on the same level is purely subjective (this looks cool, this doesn’t look cool), as most companies don’t release their profit numbers, excepting GW who has shown hits to their own profits lately.

        • nurglitch

          Profits in the millions of dollars.

          • mugginns

            Right, less year over year for years, because they’re losing share, every year, to game companies who are doing different things and making money doing it (with better business practices, too).

          • Xodis

            Which game companies are they losing to? Are you sure they are losing to game companies and not essentials (which hobbies are not regardless of what some try to say)? Do you also know its a down economy so loss in profits is expected? A lot of factors being missed in your assumptions.

          • mugginns

            They’re losing share to: Mantic, Privateer Press, Warlord Games, Fantasy Flight Games, CoolMiniOrNot, Corvus Belli, Hawk, Spartan, etc. Plus probably a dozen more.

            These companies are eating their lunch, and it isn’t because of a ‘down economy’. It isn’t because people aren’t spending on the hobby – these other companies are doing better than ever.

            It isn’t because 40k sucks, its a fun game, with caveats. AOS is likely going to be a failure, sure, but the bigger reasons are – newer, innovative designs, better pricing, more consumer-friendly focus, better use of IP, and better products. ‘Down economy’ is not it, although you can’t really spend $6.6 million on a website in a ‘down economy’, lol.

            (I do love 40k, and I play it every other month or so, but I can’t stand the direction GW is going – although it is helping these other companies to light on fire, so that’s cool)

          • Benandorf

            Do you have any evidence for any of your claims? Because honestly, it sounds like you’re parroting what every other anti-GW “fanboy” on the internet says, and the sentence “although you can’t really spend $6.6 million on a website in a ‘down economy’, lol” doesn’t strike me with a lot of confidence that you know what you’re talking about.

            The fact of the matter is, GW is bigger than any other wargaming/model company, by an order of magnitude, even with waning profits. The only other companies with similar market power in the industry have that power due to a parent company that hits other industries (Like FFG’s parent Asmodee, or WizKids’ parent Hasbro), and this article was looking to explain why, despite all the hate for GW that is out there, they still manage to be significantly bigger than anyone else.

          • mugginns

            Just imagine I put a bunch of links in here of wargaming Kickstarters that went bonkers with $$, articles about WMH Mk3 not being able to ship enough products to every store because of the volume of orders, Gates of Antares going into a second printing before it shipped, etc etc.

            (you really think their website cost them $6.6 million dollars?)

          • Xodis

            2nd printing? Wow FFG does that with all of its RPG book too, of course thats also because they print smaller runs, but Im sure thats nothing….

          • Benandorf

            Kickstarters bringing in several hundred thousand dollars and product shortages are not particularly compelling evidence for the health or sickness of a company that brings in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year. They do suggest the industry as a whole is doing well, and I don’t doubt that GW is losing market share, but they’re still far and away the biggest company; hardly having their lunch eaten.

            You lost me on the website thing; I thought you were suggesting that no one would be investing in a website during a down economy. As for if it cost them what they said, as a public company they are subject to significant auditing, so I have no doubt that they spent what was claimed.

          • mugginns

            I mean, investing in a 6.6m website (I don’t particularly know website costs, as that is not my business, but it doesn’t pass the sniff test – and when it happened, I recall people ‘in the biz’ saying that was like, hundreds of percent too much) that most people would say is probably worse, or at the most the same functionally as the old site in a ‘down economy’ is probably not the best move.

          • euansmith

            Come on, Mrs Kirby put in some really hard work on the GW website; worth every penny her husband paid her for it. 😉

          • crcovar

            If a company like Mantic was “eating GW’s lunch” as you say, they wouldn’t be running Kickstarters.

          • Xodis

            How do you know this since, in your own words, “most companies don’t release their profit numbers”. Ah thats right you have a secret source of this info no one else does?
            AoS isn’t going to be a failure, it was doing fine (not great) prior to the Generals Handbook and has received amazing support since. Even on the comment section here we have seen a change in attitude since its release.

          • ZeeLobby

            Let’s be frank. A lot of game companies have sprung up, who are continuing to release new games and expand their franchises. This simply wouldn’t happen if their profits were also dropping every year. While numbers may never be released. It’s safe to say that other companies are succeeding in the tabletop game space.

          • Xodis

            But companies have always sprung up, it’ll survive for a bit then either make it or fold. This is nothing new in the business world, it’s just new for this part of it, the hobby world. Talking profits between companies like GW and these other companies (PP is probably out of their league but not quite up to GWs league either)is apples and oranges. GW losing a couple ten thousand here and there hurts, but its like these other companies losing a single thousand. Success is also measured differently so its really not a good comparison.

          • ZeeLobby

            The majority of these companies are past the springing age, and are on their 2nd/3rd major release of some systems. I mean PP is 15 years old, Mantic is 8 years old, FFG 21 years, Corvus Belli 11 years, Hawk 4 years, Spartan at least 6 years, etc.

            So basically a lot of these companies came online when the economy WAS bad, and are still producing more each year. I’m sorry, but you don’t keep a company viable losing profits yearly from year 1. They MUST be doing well.

            And the point of falling GW sales is NEVER that they’re going to lose money, or tank, or go bankrupt, etc. The point is that the loss in sales is a good indicator of loss in interest, especially when it’s repeated year after year.

          • euansmith

            You can look up any UK company on the Companies’ House website. Don’t the Americans have something similar?

          • Xodis

            Not that I am aware of although its entirely possible, I only remotely become interested in such things during these conversations and I assume that if the information was easily accessible the anti-GW crowd would be flooding BoLS with it.

          • Xodis

            FFG has Star Wars rights…thats not surprising, but everyone you listed cant even take the number 5 spot from Star Trek according to ICv2, and that game sucks.

          • mugginns

            and ICv2 is not reliable data, yay. The point is not “ur game sux its not on my list lol!” the point is “GW is still the market leader, but losing more and more of that position every day, and still raising their prices.”

          • Xodis

            Point to some more reliable data and your objection will be noted. Dismissing it while having literally nothing else to add seems silly.

          • mugginns

            Just imagine I put a bunch of links in here of wargaming Kickstarters that went bonkers with $$, articles about WMH Mk3 not being able to ship enough products to every store because of the volume of orders, Gates of Antares going into a second printing before it shipped, etc etc.

            When the only available data sucks, and you want to do armchair analysis, you gotta look at alternate sources of data

          • Xodis

            By all means, provide that and not ask someone to believe you at your word and just imagine that you are correct.
            As for Mk3 I can also provide links with tons of angry players that are calling PP the new GW…so I guess we both have some bonus evidence to support our claims

          • mugginns

            Yeah I mean calling PP the new GW is baseless, tho. MK3 is freely available online in a PDF, prices don’t go up 10-20% every summer, they don’t produce rules to get people to buy models, etcetc. etcetc.

          • Xodis

            Actually that is the claim because MK3 broke a lot of models causing lots of players to buy new models they wouldnt have in MK2…thats pretty classic GW right there.

          • ZeeLobby

            Except it really didn’t though. Only armchair commentators that don’t play WMH think that. If you go to the PP forums, many people are still having fun playing and winning with the armies they have. Sure the top-end meta changed, but just like the GW games competitive scene, it’s only a small fraction of gamers.

          • Aezeal

            It’s hard to believe companies that are part their strt up phase have no power creep. Might be me being used too gw … but it’s hard too believe since it seems only logical.

          • ZeeLobby

            Most of the new companies constantly release factions and/or units that aren’t part of a power creep. Heck, I’d say half of the PP releases would be considered too crappy for tournament play. But in the end I actually see every faction in tournament play, unlike GW games. It’s really annoying that GW has just dedicated so much to SMs and so little to the other races. I don’t even think they try to power creep, but when you release 50 releases that are playable by 1 faction, but only 5 for another, there’s bound to be a disproportionate number of strong units.

            My happiest situation would be if GW made all their faction rules digital, and released one new update, or new unit, for each faction every 2 months. I think things would just balance themselves out eventually. The biggest issue GW has is that they still follow the releasing one faction every 2 months a year schedule, and then not updating factions previously released for years.

            If every army got a GMC/SH walker with D weapons when the Wraithknight was released for Eldar, it would have been a lot less unbalancing. The same deal happened with fliers, where armies that got them first, just dominated with them before all the factions got the tools they needed to fight them (tho some do still struggle).

          • Skathrex

            But lets be honest here, how many of the vocal “Haters” still activly play 40k. Many just hate on it, because they like the fluff, but not the rules and their 40k hobby became somewhat a “Hating 40k hobby”. I don’t think Xodis would deny that people aren’t having fun, but with success come the haters.

          • ZeeLobby

            There’s a fair amount, my gaming group included, of individuals who WANT to play 40K, but just don’t want to deal with the unbalanced mess it has become. The problem is people see our complaints and say “you’re just whining, or you’re a hater”. I reference WMH in 40K articles because I wish GW would take some pages from the PP book. Likewise, I really think they should re-address their faction-love focus, and their release schedule. The issue is that they used to be a much better contender then they are now. They went through a whole period of firing game designers and selling to model collectors. I think they deserve some hatred for that.

          • Skathrex

            Well that was excatly my point. Why are the people who blame WMH armchair commentaitors and their arguments can be dismissed and your group who are also armchair commentators (they used to play, or want, but don’t) is valid critique of GW.
            Or to put it diffrently how do you know the people criticizing WMH don’t see issues there that are valid?
            I heard of these complaints too, and I have nothing to do with WMH. I heard it has good rules and is fun to play, but I wouldn’t want GW to take to much from it, because its a Skirmish game (as far as I have seen and heard.

          • JJ

            Upgrading poor performers has been SOP for PP since MK1.
            It’s actually one of the traits that I wish GW would pick up on.

            Ex Winterguard, PP kept on adding attachemnt’s/solos till the unit was worth purchasing… Some say a OP but for someone who purchased a unit day one and suffered with them till they were good it was a boon to me!

            I wish GW would from time to time upgrade units, to make them worth playing!

            The problem is that GW Gives with one edition and takes away with another.. Generally PP has upward mobility for all of its units.

          • Xodis

            I think their main beef is the downgrading of last editions superstars. I only collect, dont play so my information is quite limited. The nerd rage on FB was cute though.

          • Xodis

            As for GW, I completely agree. I still use my Chaos Raptors, but it would be nice if they didn’t just statistically suck.

          • Jabberwokk

            I’m still using my Scytheans from Mk2. Arguably they got better.

          • Xodis

            I have a small Ret army….they look badass, but I honestly can’t tell you how effective they are lol

          • Jabberwokk

            Ret is pretty legit right now.

          • Hawt Dawg

            What? Yeah because all the changes to Mk3 kept good models good and just elevated the bad to good. Not.

          • Jabberwokk

            Cryx player?

          • Hawt Dawg

            Pfft! Never!

            Minions full blown and soon Cephalyx.

          • Aezeal

            Ok that is true, I still do not see the rlevance or me as a “gw player”.

          • Krizzab

            to be fair, Spartan and Hawk dont compete with GW, their bussiness are 10mm, and spaceship combat games. Games discarted by GW long ago. Corvus Belli and infinity in the other hand is hurting GW slowly.

          • mugginns

            They’re all wargames – plenty of folks are playing 10mm games that used to play 40k.

          • Aezeal

            I think last year gw’s direction and attitude are going the right way. Aos, new apps, 40k new army books are somewhat balanced, great models, tons of faqs, board games…. but to each his own I guess.

          • mugginns

            Yeah definitely to each his own – AoS is Doa, 40k is more unbalanced than ever, and I don’t need their board games.

          • Hawt Dawg

            True!

            You just need to waste your time in threads that contain GW.

          • Skathrex

            I think you are the minority then, quite vocal but a minority. Most people that post negative stuff are bitter from the past and not because of the course Gw is taking now.
            I see many people rejoicing, but 40k is a big ship it needs time turning.

          • Grafton Is Dust

            They’re still orders of magnitude more than the competition, though.

        • Jabberwokk

          This seemed to me a puff piece for GW confirmation bias. Something Bols Does seem to do from time to time. And the comments are nothing more than a fine display of zealotry.

    • Aezeal

      Why? What needs?

  • Ryan Crowley

    I assume AoS is the NXT of wargaming? Back to basics fun, and a testing ground where a bunch of the rules are getting ready to be called up to the main roster.

    • mugginns

      Did NXT have really bad ratings? If so, it could be Age of Sigmar

      get it

      nobody plays it

      • Ryan Crowley

        They did until the first Takeover special (General’s Handbook), things really took off from there.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Oh how your world will come tumbling down.

        • mugginns

          what does this mean

          • Hawt Dawg

            You. Are. Wrong.

          • mugginns

            You make a great point

          • Jabberwokk

            MY LIFE FOR AUIR!

        • Grafton Is Dust

          I seriously doubt Being Wrong On The Internet will cause his world to, “come tumbling down.”

          • Hawt Dawg

            Thank God for older Brothers!

          • Grafton Is Dust

            Eh

    • yorknecromancer

      That’s actually a really nice parallel, and one I hadn’t considered.

      But yeah, AoS pretty much fits the NXT parallel with incredible neatness. 🙂

    • Beefcake the mighty

      No I think AoS is Scooby Doo: Wrestlemania mystery.

      • nurglitch

        There’s bears in AoS?

      • Gunsheeplol

        And KoW is My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

        • Beefcake the mighty

          That isn’t wrestling related. You have missed the point of the exercise sir.

  • Anti-Gravity

    My primary vendor of wargaming models is indeed GW, but I do buy certain things other companies offer that GW doesn’t – namely Scibor miniatures, Anvil minis for accessories, and Mierce.

    GW is the juggernaut of the industry though, this is not debatable and anyone who denies it is coping hard.

  • CatachanCommissar

    This is how I felt about warhammer fantasy, until they changed it to age of sigmar. EVERYTHING in AOS’ aesthetic is gross to me, I hate it. I’ll play OOP editions of WHFB until I die. As such I relate to this article and hope what happened to my section of the hobby never happens to yours OP.

    • ChubToad

      And yet AoS uses the same models as WHFB….

      • ZeeLobby

        Let’s be honest here. There’s people who play and collect AoS, and then there’s people who collected Fantasy and play AoS now. That latter group is pretty small. I personally wouldn’t go out and buy a WHFB army to play AoS. I’d buy one of the new factions I know will be supported and updated in the future.

        • ChubToad

          “Honesty.. is such a lonely word..” :p
          But seriously, I agree with you, it’s only logical to go for the new shiny instead of the old ugly stuff. But it’s not like AoS has squatted all old faction models. you can still use them and play with them with new shiny rules. So you can still use those same gross WHFB models with grossy-gross AoS. The point is the same WHFB aesthetic is still there.

          • mugginns

            I wouldn’t really say its the same aesthetic, maybe i am misunderstanding – but its a hugely high-fantasy mythic-age godfighting fantasy vs Warhammer Fantasy Battle’s boots on the ground dark ages style everyone’s life sucks aesthetic. Sigmarines are nothing like, say, a reiksguard knight from WHFB. This is why most people don’t play AOS that played WHFB, combined with the rules and lack of formations etc.

          • CatachanCommissar

            You said it better than I just did, well said.

          • Aezeal

            The world(s) is way more high fantasy but the models aren’t really. Chaos already had superhuman knight and aos still has normalise humans (the basic khorne guys.. though skully are pretty normal men and free people’s will get some thing later I’d say).

            And fantasy was not only the empire and bretonnia it had much more fantastic stuff… but admittedly the world wasn’t nearly as fantastic as aos… no denying that.

          • Hawt Dawg

            To be honest, I would be more than happy if they scrapped their old fantasy range and just kept the mew style like the Stormcast, Ironjawz, Fyreslayers etc.

            That would make them arguably unique.

          • ZeeLobby

            To a degree. I feel like in an effort to take advantage of their newly freed skirmish bases, they tend to look a lot goofier then their older fantasy style. Some do it well, and some don’t, but there’s definitely a whole new flaily arm dilemma, haha.

          • ChubToad

            True story

          • Grafton Is Dust

            Actually they’ve squatted swathes of models. A lot of Empire and Tomb Kings, for example.

            Additionally, the scale has been increased, and there’s a large focus on big, bombastic miniatures now. I personally prefer the subtlety of something like GW’s Skeletons, but subtlety isn’t what AoS is about.

        • Hawt Dawg

          Not to mention they use the latest crisp tech.

          New all the way for me as well.

      • CatachanCommissar

        WHFB didn’t have giant world of warcraft looking magical armor suits with stupid faces, fighting over-stylized steroid kings. Realmgates are stupid, art direction is stupid, I hate the high fantasy hot garbage it became.

        • Hawt Dawg

          Yes let it fuel your anger.

        • ChubToad

          I would say hate is an understatement.

          • CatachanCommissar

            *hurls self off bridge in a rage*

  • Jonathan B.

    Personally, this is why I could never get into The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings games from GW. Every time I looked at the models in the GW store, I was concerned that I could never get the detail on the faces I wanted or that the weapons would snap off in a strong breeze. Yes, I’ve heard how great the rule set was, and no one can argue that the fluff isn’t good. Yet that true scale modeling used for the game just turned me off.

  • Raven Jax

    Thank you for writing this! GW certainly has big problems which I can easily point out, but people really do tend to forget the good that they do. My very, very first interaction with 40K ever was in college. For something unrelated, I was doing a Google Image search of futuristic tanks. Then I saw a picture of a Hammerhead. It immediately caught my eye like nothing else had. That Tau aesthetic stuck with me, and I thought it was much better than the other generic “future mech” stuff that other companies have done.

    I’m a casual gamer. I want models that are fun to paint, visually stunning, and a game that’s fun to stand around a table and play with my friends. 40K fits that bill to a tee.

    In one of our games, I had one last model on the board – a Space Marine sergeant. My opponent shot everything at him, but he went to ground and survived, captured the objective, and I won the game with that one point. That’s the kind of game I want to play.

    40K does have balancing issues. No one is denying that. But I think people play with ultra-competitors too much. Talk with your friends. Ban certain units. Play certain missions. It all balances out and you have fun.

  • Jice

    Oh great, they went and made this dumb post a dumb article. Guess they really are struggling for content now. Rolled my eyes at it then and still rolling my eyes at it now.

    Ahem.

    http://img.picturequotes.com/2/35/34601/just-because-you-are-unique-doesnt-mean-you-are-useful-quote-1.jpg

    Cartoony miniatures, outdated sci-fi concepts, terrible game, stagnant lore…all your $$$$….no thanks, I’ll stick with my ‘Inferior generic Sci-fi’ games.

    • zeno666

      +1
      Amen.

    • ZeeLobby

      Have to agree. Gates of Antares models look pretty legit, and the gameplay is awesome. Not to mention it’s much cheaper to play.

      • Jice

        For me it’s Deadzone. Other than the Space Dwarves, which aren’t bad models, I just hate Dwarves, I like all the armies. Even the Orks and I usually hate orcs. The orcs in Matic’s sci-fi world at least make sense to me in a sci-fi setting while GW’s still seem copy pasted from fantasy In Deadzone Goblins are operative snipers.

        And I even painted up one of those ‘Stupidly named’ Stage 1A’s, which apparently is far more stupid and generic of a name than ‘Space Wolves’ you know wolves in space, or ‘Blood Angles’ the guys with wings that drink blood…or or ‘Dark Eldar’ the slightly Darker version of something else…

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, names never really bother me, it’s the fluff that matters. The only names that ever just completely rubbed me the wrong way are GW’s AOS Bloodbound. They’re just so painful, and reading a story you’ll quickly get lost as everything has the blood or skull nomiker.

          I’ll have to look at deadzone. My warpath starter box is on it’s way as well!

          • euansmith

            Do you need some skull-blood for your blood-skull?

    • Hawt Dawg

      Going for 27th great is awesome!

  • krisbrowne42

    The design aesthetic of 40k and AoS is part of why I play them, and in the case of AoS it really is the play of the rules too…

    Malifaux is my 3rd game after those, partially because it does have an idea of it’s own style and substance, and the characters really feel like they’re unique… And partially because the system is one that actually tries to do something different, getting away from the pure random of the rolling and giving a way to potentially control for bad luck on a single draw.

  • Dantihero

    Have you tried Warzone resurrection? Its mainly humans but you get cyborgs, zombies, mutants, wold cavalry, samurai and those pointy WW1 german hats. Might be you thing.

    • zeno666

      Don’t bother with this one, he doesn’t want to be saved.

  • algnc

    Last I saw, X-wing was outselling 40k.

    http://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/33912/top-5-non-collectible-miniature-games-fall-2015

    Most of this article is just this author’s opinion of games he hasn’t played. He wants a sci fantasy game, not sci fi.

    • Horus84cmd

      You mean a game based on THE most lucrative franchise in history after the fricking Bible! Yeah I’m shocked

      • algnc

        It’s also a great game, but yes, it disproves the authors claim that GW is the premier wargaming company as a fact.

        • Horus84cmd

          It is a good game. Yet ONE top selling game does not make for a “premier wargaming” company.

          Heck X-Wing is based of another game (I can’t remember which) they distributed – notE they did not design the rules. It got rebranded with Star Wars and wham successful product – with rules they didn’t design and models made from designs that weren’t theirs either!

          FFG are primarily a distributor of games NOT a fully fledged wargaming company in the same sense as that of GW 30+ years in the industry.

          • algnc

            FFG definitely designed X-Wing.

          • Horus84cmd

            FFG Games don’t design anything, They are a manufacturing and distribution company.

            They purchase the rights to distribute someone else’s work. They don’t design anything! In the same why they had purchased the rights to various GW IP over the years!

            X-Wing is written by a chap call Jay Little an independent games designer (he’s written all sort of role play games etc..)

          • algnc

            Jay Little is an FFG employee. The two guys working on X-Wing currently are both FFG employees.

          • Skathrex

            Thats…just…plain wrong.
            Netrunner, Warhammer Conquest, Warhammer Invasion etc. All bought old TCG game redesigned them as LCGs and improved them…nothing wrong with them…but they don’t design new stuff, they improve old stuff.

        • Xodis

          The big test is the years coming up. They have already capitalized on all the nostalgic ships we remember, now the new movies have to sell the new ships well enough.

    • Xodis

      Yeah I dont think Xwing and 40K are the same type of game personally, but I have to parrot what has been said and what everyone is still saying…because its STAR WARS! lol It helps that its pre-painted, removing a large barrier to play, and the ruleset is tight. Honestly the biggest surprise is Star Trek beating out everything else below 5….I mean that game sucks!

      • DJ860

        I haven’t played it so my opinion might be pretty misjudged but from the outside looking in it seems to me like touting the success of X-Wing is a bit like saying Monopoly and Cluedo are better selling games than what GW make.

        • Xodis

          Thats also possible. It has a lot more going for it than just the Star Wars licence (which is a big deal). As I said being prepainted probably helps A LOT, then there are the pretty awesome rules, and the fact its everywhere. Seeing a game like that in Target or Walmart probably didn’t hurt their sales TBH.
          Then there are people like me that just want the ships and might play the game a little. I use them for SW FFG RPG lol. People that want to paint their own X-Wings and TIEs, and those that just want a fun game. Xwing is probably closer related to Magic the Gathering IMO.

    • Benandorf

      This is true, but as of the latest financial reports I could find, Asmodee (FFG’s parent company) as a whole has just recently overtaken GW in revenue. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say FFG probably has more game-selling revenue than GW at this point, but GW is still bigger within wargaming, since X-wing, for all its merits, is closer to the living card games that FFG makes than to 40k. The article also seemed like it was looking at original settings rather than licensed products, though it didn’t make that particularly clear, which would invalidate anything Star Wars from the discussion.

      Still, it’s a good counterpoint, and suggests that while GW is still leagues ahead of other companies trying to put together an entirely original product, their overall footprint in the “tabletop gaming” world is shrinking. Recent growth in board games probably hasn’t helped, either.

      • algnc

        X-Wing is a tactical minis wargame. It has almost nothing in common with a card game besides having cards with rulea on them.

        I wouldn’t use the word ‘original’ to describe such a derivative game as 40k, but I see what you’re saying.

    • ChubToad

      Token Wing if you please.

  • Horus84cmd

    1) Brilliant to see a article on BoLS that has actual words in it AND not the; one sentence anecdotes interspersed with pictures; the same piece rehashed by a different author; a copy and paste job from wikipedia or podcast plugging a internet store.

    2) Question. How is the, almost, first comment on here moaning about the length when half the grips about BoLS contents is that the articles don’t contain enough?

    3) I feel you hit a lot a really good reasons on why GW continues to roll on year after year and many poignant common themes that run through industry competitors.

  • Simon

    So, you want an entirely new concept but with Mass Effect aesthetics and CthulhuTech?

    …seems like those are competing concepts.

    And which game did you say Malifaux copied its aesthetic from?

  • I had to skip all the wrestling stuff but I found this to be a rather insightful article about what GW does right, and putting into words exactly why I myself only buy GW products (I’ve never quite been able to explain why before, but you hit the nail on the head). Thanks.

  • blackbloodshaman

    Lucha underground would be malifaux.

    • yorknecromancer

      Possibly.

      But Malifaux still falls prey to the tiny weapon syndrome. Don’t get me wrong – I f**king love almost every single Malifaux sculpt, but again, the truescaling lets it down.

      Again, that’s just for me and my personal tastes.

      • blackbloodshaman

        I f**king love almost every single Malifaux sculpt….seems quite incongrous with But Malifaux still falls prey to the tiny weapon syndrome and but again, the truescaling lets it down. So basically what you are saying is: “I want something different from GW’s lame tripe”, but, “I don’t like anything to be different from GW’s lame trip”, I think I get it now.

        • yorknecromancer

          Well, I don’t feel GW’s stuff is ‘lame tripe’, so I’ll thank you not to put words in my mouth. You hate their stuff, fair enough. I don’t. I’d just like more options that were closer to GW’s offerings, and while the miniatures industry is in a genuine golden age right now, too many companies are producing stuff that I’m just not interested in for the reasons I outlined above.

          Now, to elaborate further on the topic we’re discussing here – Malifaux’s design aesthetic is lovely. I like the uber-Gothic thing they’ve got going on. A lot.

          And the attention to detail in their work is excellent, as is the dynamism of the posing. They’re doing their own thing, not imitating anyone, and that’s great. There’s real skill and artistry on display with their products, and that’s just excellent.

          But: truescale is the enemy. As I’ve already stated, it just means everything looks weeny and unimpressive, and I’m not sure the gains in terms of ‘realism’ are worth it. I just hate truescale as an aesthetic choice and always will.

          If Malifaux was in heroic-scale, they’d be my top contender to GW’s crown, but they’re not, so they aren’t.

          And heroic-scale is not a uniquely GW choice; they’re just the ones who use it most often. I understand how this might seem like from a distance that I just want more GW stuff, but ultimately that’s a simplistic reading of what I hope is my nuanced personal view/ tastes.

          Personally, I don’t like truescale, and, as with all entirely subjective aesthetic choices, I am allowed to hold that opinion.

          • Mira Bella

            You crown GW king because you like it most. Ok now I got it.

  • Phillip Taylorleathley

    So let me see if i get this right because GW has its own shops and it only sells its products its the best in its field. 1) quality of the plastic we will forget the disaster that was fine cast for all those who know about these things Tamiya is considered to be the world leader. 2) They sell 2 products one fantasy one scifi one rule set would cover both. 3) The paints they sell anyone any idea who makes them ( as i would suspect that its a cheap emulsion or acrylic ).

  • Lucha Underground is easily my favorite.
    I really enjoy all the characters.
    Also I’ve seen wraaastilin and 40K as almost the same thing for years. It’s all about the ride and I more enjoy a close finish.
    More proof that Orks are the best!
    http://static.wixstatic.com/media/1bfbfe_ea36cd7958744708bb0120d2c0b7e474.gif

  • Robert Meade

    Can’t go wrong arguing on the strength of GW’s IP and brand recognition. Like WWE, it will always be with us in some form.

    I kind of feel like it’s easy to pick on Mantic, though. I don’t feel like Mantic is the first stop for people considering an alternative. Maybe i just don’t see it catching on or nobody getting excited about it in my area.

    What about the star wars franchise games? Star wars does not need to pretend to be anything else than star wars, either… and now we have great alternative games within that IP.

    I think Infinity and Malifaux for models, and warmachine/xwing ruleswise, are really your number one competitors to 40k.

    • ChubToad

      The thing with star wars is, we have SW everywhere. Even in the bathroom. With the new franchise and the spin off coming at the end of the year, we’ll have more of it until we die. I personally had enough of the fanfare and Darth Vader’s breath everywhere I look.

  • Not to toot my own horn, but…

    Sounds like you’d really like Exiles.

    We strive very hard to do our own thing our own way.

    Feel free to check it out:

    https://www.facebook.com/mindwormgames/

    https://mindwormgames.com/

    • To be a little more on-topic, setting model design aside, GW today is riding on the tails of amazing work that was done in the 80s and early 90s.

      The core of Warhammer and 40K is still alive and well, but GW is continually chipping away at it. It’s steadily growing more mainstream and homogenized; much less ‘punk’ than it originally was. It’s that punk spirit that I think captures the imagination so well. GW today is hideously risk-adverse, which has caused its properties to be continually watered down.

      Now, the core is so awesome that the products still stand up. Who doesn’t love Warhammer: Total War?

      With respect to Mantic, again, setting model design aside, I don’t think Mantic is trying to ape GW. I think Mantic, at its core, is about trying to do things the way GW used to.

      Mantic started out by making more affordable models for large scale fantasy wargames because there was a market need for that, and it was a foundation you could build a company around. But products like Dreadball, Deadzone, and Dungeon Saga are, I think, what Mantic is about: small, quirky games built on a solid core of customer engagement, games that try to put the story forward and still give you a tight ruleset to play with.

      I think Ronnie is doing with Mantic what he wanted to be doing at GW, but wasn’t allowed to.

      It’s not always great, but let’s be honest, neither was lots of crap GW put out back in the day, either. I like to see companies like Mantic in the market, although I’d rather see more unique games and stories than licensed properties, but that’s also where a lot of the money is right now, and Mantic is big enough to have mouths to feed.

      • mugginns

        What a great post.

        • Thanks man!

          Unless you’re being sarcastic. I dunno. Hard to tell sometimes. I’m gonna be optimistic and take it positively.

          But if you’re being sarcastic, let me know and I will absolutely make sure to cry myself to sleep tonight on your behalf.

          • mugginns

            Totally serious – a great post and perspective.

          • euansmith

            I’ll second mugginns’ comment.

            Ronny “Lets Play With ALL The Models” Renton, has certainly got a long way with his dream of creating the massed battle 28mm game he wanted 40K Apocalypse to be. More power to him.

            The Warpath/Deadzone Universe might be as generic as heck, but I don’t see that as being a necessarily terrible thing. The players are free to make up their own stories with some factions that are fairly well balanced and game rules that are fast and fun.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. This is one of those people who says they might play something else, but really don’t even want to try. Anyone whose open to new games has already diversified their game systems.

      • Skathrex

        Thats a bit…arrogant isn’t it?
        I may be exactly what you mean, but the way you say it, paints me as an Idiot who doesn’t know whats good.
        I like 40k, the world, the models, and to some extend even the rules.
        I have friends I trust with Tabletop gamint try to introduce me to diffrent system.
        But 1) I am a burned child when it comes to starting small systems. I played Mage knight and a few TCGs wich all died out and left me in the air.
        2.) What I see doesn’t drive me to invest time in it.
        Star Wars looks cool and I am a fan so I might try it, but Gw just released the sweet Harli deals which I also really like, so I am going with the System I already play.
        Warmahordes was pitched as a real great game but the minis are just a bit meh for me. So I didn’t feel compeled to invest time in the Rules or Fluff.
        Infinite fell victim to the Burned Child Syndrome. Group startet playing it and dropped it 6 Month later in favour of 40k again.

        Maybe I am just lazy, but the Games I saw never got me interested enough. 40k does

        • ZeeLobby

          Sorry if that seemed arrogant. it really wasn’t meant to be. I’ve just ran into a good set of GW diehards who will simply write something off as stupid or dumb because GW didn’t create it. Likewise they’ll praise the same thing later when GW adds it. I don’t think you fall into that category. There are those who are comfortable with GW, and play little else, but they’re usually able to admit areas where GW could definitely improve the game. They would never say “GW does everything better than everyone else”. Those are the people I was referencing. The kind who say a system’s fluff sucks, but has never read any of it beyond a paragraph here or there.

          • Skathrex

            Well, than we may be 2 Sides of the same Coin, because for one I don’t think the author remotly deserves to be put in that category of DieHards that never tried anything else.
            And I have run into a good portion of GW Haters who seemingly don’t play the game, just “looked” at a Rulebook and now are hating everything GW does. I know the articles of Bols are Pro-GW, but at the samt time a huge portion of its comments is Anti-GW.
            As said before GW has Issues, but without GW Tabletop Gaming would be a LOT smaller. Their policie and stores is one of the things (imo) that made Tabletop Gaming so “popular”. And there are not many who credit them for that.
            For me its a simple don’t like it, don’t buy it. I never comment on anythin not GW related, because I simply don’t care what others do. If something great comes along, maybe I will, but I would never go to a WMH topic just to hate on the Game or point out the flaws.

  • ChubToad

    Great article. Lucha is also great!

  • Andrew Thomas

    York, have you ever tried Burn Legend?

    • yorknecromancer

      I have not, although I was never into Exalted, mostly because I’m not a huge fan of epic storytelling myself. The moment I hear the words ‘the fate of the world hangs in the balance’ I mentally check out almost immediately.

      Why, is Burn Legend good?

      • Andrew Thomas

        Yes. Very fast, simple game. Lean mechanics for a straight combat game, with all the flash of pro-wrestling and wuxia film. Very beer ‘n’ pretzels.

        • yorknecromancer

          Sounds pretty cool. I’ll look into that.

          Cheers! 🙂

          • Andrew Thomas

            The book you’d want is “Shards of the Exalted Dream.”

          • yorknecromancer

            Cheers!

  • Hawt Dawg

    What I find most hilarious in the comments section is that every other gaming company is a competitor to GW only. You do realise that they are also stealing customers from each other and this super boom of games will probably become spmewhat saturated in a few years (3D printing, kickstarters, nerd culture on the rise, simple phone gaming etc.), or at least make a few of the companies go bust.

    I am 100% sure PP released MK3 because a sales drop or that they want to grow faster (take out a little bit of that complexity… Streamline the game…). There is a limit to how many ex GW gamers will buy Warmahordes models. New blood is needed and sending them to Kickstarters or other hobbies is not what they need.

    And yes I am a Warmahorde player.

    Great article BTW!

    • The market is also aggressively expanding. It’s an exciting time to be into table top games.

      I think a lot of what we are seeing is a slow confluence of gaming genres. Board Games, Wargames, RPGs, LCGs, etc. are growing together. Customers are exploring new genres.

      Table top games are also surging in popularity. One nice indicator is the proliferation of licensed properties.

      I also think ‘stealing customers’ is something of a misnomer. In my humble view of the world, the more games that are out there, and the better those games are, the better it is for everybody, players and publishers alike.

      There’s more competition, sure, but more customers, and more mainstream attention and acceptance.

      It’s certainly true that these days you can make a game with an idea, a laptop, and some money, which is freaking amazing! It means there’s going to be plenty of crap out there for sure, but it also means more diversity, more options, and hopefully higher standards and higher quality.

      Ultimately, table top gaming is a small, niche market, and wargaming much more so. I think we all stand to benefit from viewing the market in a cooperative sense, rather than a competitive one. Having better games around makes it easier to get new people into table top gaming, or to get them to cross genres once they are in.

      We are so far away from saturation that I don’t think it should be a concern of anyone’s. What we should all be concerned about is how to keep the market alive and healthy. GW does a lot of good work there, bringing in new blood, or at least it has done so in the past.

      Again, the more games there are, and the better those games are, the more chances we have collectively, to introduce a new player to table top gaming. And that’s good for everyone.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Misnomer yes, but the core of my post remains.

        Competition is not just something GW struggle with, all do, especially those with costs outweighing those garage companies that has none (or very little).

        • What’cha tryin’ ta say, Hawt Dawg?

          I resemble that remark ;).

          As the proud owner of a garage company, I can say that we face plenty of costs, many of them very steep, which can make continued operation rather perilous. It’s one reason why lots of little companies opt to release via Kickstarter even if they are what one might consider ‘established’.

          It can be incredibly tough to push enough volume to keep margins manageable, and to bring in enough revenue to keep up a sustainable pace of new releases.

          But in the grand scheme of things, even GW is a very small company.

          Competition certainly is real, but I think an ultra competitive frame of mind, one in which competitors are viewed as threats and sales a zero sum game, is distinctly unhealthy in a niche market like table top games.

          For example, I make a Wild West minis game. This means I LOVE other Wild West minis games. Dead Man’s Hand, Desperado, Legends of the Wild West, Gutshot!, Blackwater Gulch, Wild West Exodus, heck, even Malifaux!

          I LOVE them. I love it when they make sales. I love it when other people love those products. I even love it when people buy those products instead of mine. Awesome!

          I love it because it’s easier to sell a Wild West game to someone who already loves Wild West games. It’s easier to sell a minis game to someone who already has a compatible terrain collection. It’s easier for my game to be visible and attractive when it is surrounded by a bunch of awesome games in the same genre.

          It’s why I also love new Wild West movies and books and TV shows and board games and RPGs.

          For the same reason, I LOVE it when someone buys something from GW. That means they bought a minis game! How awesome is that!?! How great is that for me!?! It’s FREAKING awesome!!

          You know how few people in the world play minis games? Compared to, oh, say, play Golf or XBox or Quilt or do anything else with their money?

          Now, I love it even MORE when people play GOOD games. Good games means people will have fun playing those games. People who have fun playing games will likely want to play more games. They will tell their friends about playing games. People will see them having fun playing games.

          Enough people start having fun playing games, enough different people, and you start having what we are seeing now, a BOOM in table top gaming. We see a niche, nerdy hobby becoming more mainstream, less stigmatized.

          The more games there are, and the better those games are, the better it is for everybody. Even if I lose the sale.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Your optimism is refreshing.

            I run my own company with a handful of business partners plus several dozens people working for us, and in the big world we are a small business. That does not mean we feel the competition from smaller companies with less accessibility, abmyssal service, low cost, and even shady practice, but at lower costs.

            I am not happy loosing money to those guys.

            And no, I do not mean you are a shady character.

            But you do like the wild west. 🙂

          • I feel you man, I really do.

            In my day job as a trial consultant I deal with problems like this all the time.

            I have a top market practice. So top market that if we get asked to do a competitive bid, we often decline, because we won’t get it. We’re expensive, partly because we don’t shirk on quality.

            My business is hella niche. You probably hadn’t even heard of trial consulting. It’s also got a crappy reputation because there’s plenty of shady characters around. There’s plenty of people who don’t know what they are doing but call themselves consultants.

            That can make it really tough for me. I often have to deal with skeptical clients who think trial consultants are all cheap charlatans because they’ve gotten screwed, or gotten crappy service, or hired someone who wasn’t helpful.

            The solution to that problem isn’t to crap on other consultants. The solution is to elevate the profession. Work to establish professional standards. Help others in the business, who we will absolutely be competing against. When their services are better, the profession has a better reputation.

            The more consultants there are, and the better those consultants are, the easier it is for me to get work. And the easier it is for me to do my job well and serve my clients well.

            When a client trusts me, they are easier to work with. I give advice for a living, and that requires trust. It’s easier to work with people who trust the research, who believe it is valuable, even if they learned that working with someone else.

            And I don’t worry about competition because I do a damn good job. I do it better than most, and I have good clients because they trust my work, understand its value, and are happy to pay for it.

            I dearly wish there were more consultants who provide the level of service my firm does. It would mean more competition, sure, but it would mean a healthier niche market. It would be better for everybody.

          • Hawt Dawg

            Friends and allies are stretching it if you ask me, but healthy competition is something else. Also, you have that as a second business so I suspect it isn’t the one thing that puts food on your table.

            Healthy competition is good for everyone, but lots of people here thinks that it is everyone vs GW. It is not. It’s everyone vs everyone and those who creates what people want will survive or thrive.

            GW is just the biggest fish in the pond (I do not count X-Wing in the same genre because you skip the hobby aspect), which I can relate to. We are the biggest company in our market, more than twice as large as nr two, but with about eighty employed we are a tiny company indeed in a niche market.

      • SeekingOne

        There’s one thing about “expanding market” that is distinctly bad – and that is the playerbase being split into increasingly smaller groups. Looking purely from the community standpoint – the ideal situation is when everyone plays one and the same game. That’s because in such case all players have some common ground, and finding opponents for playing actual games is easy. As a 40k player, what common ground do I have with Infinity or Warmachine players? None. For me as a player it’s definitely preferable that all 200 wargamers in my town would play the same 40k, rather than those 200 wargamers being split into 10 groups of ~20 people playing 10 different games.

  • Talos2

    There’s multiple companies that do stuff that fit perfectly with the gw aesthetic, my old armies are littered with proxies. There’s companies that do add on bits that fill voids left by gw fluff and their lack of actual model/bit and none look out of place. Gws aesthetic isn’t completely unique

    • ZeeLobby

      I’d argue that some other companies dwarf models are simply better as well.

      • MPSwift

        Avatars of War do some stunning dwarves

  • shiwan

    Yeah…buy GW when they do something right. Otherwise avoid them.

    • ZeeLobby

      The problem is some people just can’t buy anything else, because they’ve defended it for so long at this point, haha.

      • shiwan

        Past the point of no return? 😂

        • ZeeLobby

          Haha. No doubt.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Luckily for the competition, you are there to defend them.

        At ease soldier!

    • yorknecromancer

      That’s pretty much what I’ve always done. 🙂

  • crimzzen

    I played GW games (fantasy and 40k) for a good solid 10 years and up until 5 years ago I probably would have agreed with you. The sad fact is GW really hasn’t produced any breathtaking models within the last 5 years (and least not to the scale their competitors are). The current staple has models who are really really showing their age (space marines, guard, tyranids to name a few) and I don’t think I’ve seen an original idea out of them in the last 3 years. You can call mantic bad (I would too) but GW is just as guilty imo. They either stick with old, laughable designs (Harlequin anyone?) or copy whatever’s hot out there by other companies. I mean they’re basically following the WoW model – It worked for the first half of the games popularity so lets just ride it to the grave (maybe WoW copied them).

    I play a mix of games – Infinity, Malifaux, X wing, etc and while they all have their flaws, they’re at least willing to realize poor design and fix it. (see infinity and malifaux complete re-sculpts).

    Also, I believe X-Wing surpassed 40k this year in most popular/played game. I’m not sure how that translates into sales but I suspect GW’s ‘lead’ (if any) is on a very small precipice.

    I’ve got no ill will to any game system, play what you enjoy. But I do need to point out miss-information and obvious untruths when they rear their head.

    • SeekingOne

      >>(Harlequin anyone?)<<

      What do you mean?! Harlequins are great designs.

  • Sonic tooth

    i would normally say “each to they’re own” but …….wrestling? cmon. wrestling is the lamest thing ever.

    • ZeeLobby

      I sometimes can’t help but feel like GW products in general have just had a massive influx of bros…

  • Sabrina Pichon

    I know nothing about wrestling, but it was a fine example to make your point. Great article, i would like to see more of that.

  • Stonewall

    I am surprised no mention of Wyrd and their game Maliaux. It has quickly become my favorite game to play after collecting GW stuff for over 25 years. Most factions are much different then each other although some models are duel faction so there is cross over. The fluff is amazing and there is a lot of it that continues to stream out. They also seem to be a company that listens to their player base and doesn’t treat them like they don’t exist like GW has for so many years. As for the game itself it is nice to get away from dice and they play style is fluid and easy to learn yet full of different tactics from game to game.

    • yorknecromancer

      Malifaux is awesome.

      No mention because they’re basically doing everything right, and they *could* be the next contender…

      If the game could be upscaled, and if there was more customisation possible. The characters are fun, but they’re someone else’s characters. To my mind, a truly fun wargame should always let me create my own.

      And yes, I am aware of Malifaux’s generic ‘female’ and ‘male’ character builder kits for their RPG. They’re not bad, but because of the limitations of the models, everything you build kind of looks the same.

      With spindly, spindly, oh-so-breakable limbs and weapons.

      • Stonewall

        I can agree with you on some points. They are very breakable but after so many years of GW I almost like it. Gives a more realistic vibe to the models. The way their sprews stack without touching each other (when the sprews are the same size!) is pretty cool also. They have been releasing lots of models a month but I agree more generic boxes would be nice to customize them a bit more. Using only green stuff and paint can get a bit boring to customize and some alternative parts would be nice. All in all though it has been a breath of fresh air coming out of the GW cloud. They sold me as a company when they recently nurfed a popular master but did a full lengthy explanation on why they did and explained why they thought it was best for the game.

  • Drcox83

    GW has some great fluff after 20+ years, but so many others are getting there, infinity, dropzone GoA – 40K is getting stale, thankfully so many better ones are out there

  • Alexander Lucard

    So who is NJPW? fantasy flight or Reaper? Knight Models as Dragongate? Uncle Mike’s as chakara?

  • Patrick Stuart

    Kingdom Death has the sharpest, most original and most powerful aesthetic that isn’t Games Workshop, just not Sci Fi and not a Wargame.

  • Andrew

    Yeah, Malifaux is everything you’re describing for a game to do something really really well, and be totally different from the big dog. I mean, the only thing that’s kind of similar to GW are the Gremlins, and even they’re pretty different, beyond the “goofy greenskin comic relief” angle. Everything else, from lore to models to gameplay is exceptionally well done and highly unique.

    Infinity does actually have a pretty rich background, and I’m gonna disagree, the models do have a unique aesthetic from faction to faction.

    I like the 40k universe, but this article reads like pure fanboy.

    • yorknecromancer

      Well… I am a fanboy. So I don’t know what to tell you there.

      And as I said, I don’t want to be a fanboy of just GW. I want to like the other companies. I want them to win me over; to step up their game, and it is my personal opinion that they haven’t yet. Not to the degree than any of them can feasibly challenge GW’s product line.

      Now, obviously, this is a personal opinion, and people are free to disagree with me. This article was written in the hope that that might change. Complacency never benefits anyone, businesses least of all.

      • Andrew

        I don’t know what exactly you’re looking for a company to do, I mean, for fan interaction, they all beat GW hands down. That of course comes from them being smaller companies, as GW once was. As far as model range goes, and this is coming from a (mostly former, unfortunately) Emperor’s Children player; most all of those games have complete model ranges, something that 40k still does not. (My massively converted EC army just to get them to look something like the art attests to this) Wyrd and Corvus Belli (really the only two I’ve dabbled hard in, although I’ve noticed Warlord doing this as well) are always showing previews of what’s coming down the pipe, with Wyrd even giving a pretty detailed schedule of what new models are going to be released and when, which makes budgeting for a new purchase(es) much easier. You can argue that it kills anticipation, but I much prefer it over the “total secrecy” of GW. I mean, none of them are going to get as big as GW, it just can’t happen.

        This is just my opinion, but I really think the future of wargaming isn’t with one company having a specific model range and aesthetic, but rather a “miniatures neutral” approach that you’ve seen moreso on the fantasy front with Kings of War and 9th Age, as well as stuff like Frostgrave, This is Not a Test, and Horizon Wars. That way you can have any kind of aesthetic, miniatures, or lore you want. It frees up model manufacturers to make whatever they like, and fans to just enjoy themselves more. Which is really what gaming is all about right?

        • yorknecromancer

          I think you’re right, and that ‘miniatures neutral’ is absolutely where things are going, and I also think it’s a key problem in the industry. As I discussed in my article, look how strong GW’s aesthetic sensibility is, then compare it to literally everything else.

          ‘Miniatures neutral’ sounds like a good idea; like you can use models for any system.

          But there ain’t nothin’ in the middle of the road ‘cept a dead skunk. A weak aesthetic is a weak aesthetic.

          Think about it in musical terms. Which would you prefer: a band with a strong personal identity and its own powerful, unique sound, like say, early Metallica? Or a band that sounds like everyone else, like say literally any of those millions of indistinguishable nu-metal bands that all wanted to be the next Linkin Park?

          Weak art is weak art regardless of the medium, and miniatures are no different.

          • Andrew

            Yeah man, no disrespect, but I don’t think you’re going to find any setting you like aside from GW, and that’s OK, but your whole position on other games in the article comes off as really closed-minded and somewhat derogatory. I mean, art is subjective. That band analogy doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s like saying you can only enjoy one band, and every other band is garbage, or trying to copy that one band you like.

          • Mira Bella

            Thank you. 🙂

      • Andrew

        Also, have you checked out Konflikt ’47? You mentioned DUST as being something that interested you, this is a similar aesthetic, but with a much better company helming it. (Actually 3 companies, Warlord and Osprey both being very well respected players, and Clockwork Goblin designing some great models to go along with Warlord’s excellent and reasonably priced Bolt Action range)

        • yorknecromancer

          Yeah, I did. As a fan of Warlord Games’ Pike and Shotte models, I was really ready to love Konflikt ’47.

          🙁

          But damn those are some horrible models. 🙁 I was so ready to love them, because dieselpunk is one of my favourite aesthetics, but they just come off as a poor man’s DUST. Especially the horrible spidertank and ugly, ugly mechs. Just such a disappointment.

  • Matthew Pomeroy

    the only game GW makes that I still love is lotr/hobbit, the rest I am trading off for games I love, not that I hate rage quit, just with noone around here tolerating AoS I see no need to maintain of improve armies that will never see use, and I do not enjoy what 40k became.

    • Hawt Dawg

      LotR… One of those games I would have loved to play but none around me wanted to invest in.

      • Matthew Pomeroy

        they are also great for use with the 1 ring or merp rpg 😀

        • Hawt Dawg

          Even worse… RPGs, oh how I miss thee and thy ability to play at any given hour in my youth.

          • Matthew Pomeroy

            If you are ever in Denver, we’ll leave a place at the table for yah.

  • Beefcake the mighty

    That was just a concept sketch. The dreadball cyborgs are awesome .

  • Beefcake the mighty

    GW is like WWE. A money hungry shell of what it was.

  • Bryan Ruhe

    Mantic had one thing that I was interested in: the Veer-Myn. But they even ruined that. The new models, in my opinion, are terrible. I’d love to see some “Space Skaven” in a 40K style, but as you’ve stated (and I agree), no one can do the 40K-style like GW.

  • Macfeegle

    @yorknecromancer:disqus I’ll be honest…wasn’t sure where you were going at the start, but you totally sold me on this.
    GW do things damn well in comparison to their competition for all the reasons you stated. Funny how I had never seen it before.
    (You also sold me on Lucha Underground and I’ve never had an interest in Wrestling..)

  • Zethnar

    Man, I came in ready to hate this article, but you’ve basically laid out every issue I have with all the GW alternatives out there.

    Personally I want to love Gates of Antares, but as you point out, their models and fluff are kind of generic. The only game I can even remember that had an interesting universe was Vor, with its space mummies (before necron tomb lords were a thing), primitive brutes, and space russians. It’s a shame it’s dead.

  • Malthrak

    It should be stated more prominently that while GW is the biggest name in the industry, GW is not the large monolithic beast it once was. Ten years ago, 95% of the tabletop gaming universe was GW. Yes other stuff existed, but it was relatively small. Today, GW is less the “800lb gorilla” and increasingly merely “first among equals”.

    GW, for the first time in probably 20 years or more, no longer has the best selling tabletop miniatures game, which is now X-Wing, not Warhammer 40,000.

    The market is changing, other IP’s are developing to be as strong and iconic (or in some cases, equally iconic IP’s are entering the market such as the aforementioned X-wing), and GW’s revenue drops every year.

    As for this article, it really just comes off as “well, everybody else just copies GW, and don’t do it as well, or it’s all just tired re-hash stuff”. Well, that’s been GW’s schtick for 30 years, GW’s IP and visuals take enormous amounts of “inspiration” from other IP’s (from Tolkien’s works to Judge Dredd and Alien and Dune and dozens of others) and real world events, sometimes to the point where GW has had to go out if its way to change certain things at some points more than once either to move away from a “too close” design or to try and subtly copy something else (the history of the Tyranid line is a particularly great example of both).

    Mostly the article just comes off as a thinly veiled pro-GW hit piece.

    • yorknecromancer

      Well… I *am* pro-GW. So, you know, that’s probably why it comes off as pro-GW.

      However, as I believe I made clear, I am very enthusiastic about supporting other companies. For the reasons I outlined above, no company has yet created a product that I personally feel any resonance with – certainly not to the extent that 40K engages my attention – and that this is, in my very personal opinion, A Bad Thing, especially when games like Mantic’s ‘Deadzone’ have such a superb ruleset. Great games deserve great miniatures, and I don’t personally feel other companies provide those yet.

      So my hope was to essentially elucidate my opinions regarding what I, a wargamer who likes the GW aesthetic best of all, would need from a rival company if they are genuinely after my money. After all, I generally feel like companies would prefer more information about what their customers like. And it’s not like they have to listen to me. I am, after all, just one very small and unimportant man.

      So yeah. I don’t even know that the piece is ‘thinly veiled’. I’m quite openly a GW fan.

      I was also, I hope, quite open about the fact I’d like to be a fan of other companies too. I don’t see why being a fan of one wargame means I can’t be a fan of another. I’m capable of holding more than one idea in my head at a time.

      • Hawt Dawg

        Well said!

      • Malthrak

        Ultimately you just makes the case that other stuff looks “tedious” or “does what everyone else does”, and then bemoan that they basically just don’t copy GW’s schtick, You bemoan other companies for not being original…basically because they don’t do what GW does. When they do try something different, you just dismiss it out of hand, like BTGOA’s rock people with mechanized cyborg rock-creature cavalry. You extoll how GW’s models have big distinct clean silhouettes and big flat painting spaces, despite other companies often having very distinct stylines and strong silhouettes in many instances and that GW’s models are increasingly stylistically busy and painfully overburdened with extraneous detail (look at the current Chaos Raptors vs the old metal Raptors, or the starter set Chosen that have gobs of fancy detail that does little to change the overall shape and silhouette and is unnoticable from a tabletop distance).

        You want a game with a solid scifi setting and a unique look, and claim none other exists but GW? That’s kind of silly, there’s dozens of companies out there doing stuff that all have great and hugely varied products.

        You want Mass Effect style Reaper type things? Interesting background? Horrifying cyber-zombie type stuff? Giant Robo-Spiders? Cyber-Cthulu’s? you seem to have missed Dropzone Commander for the last 4 years then, they’ve got literally exactly all those things. From the “harbinger” looking Scourge Desolator & Overseer, to the Giant Spider Robot Nemesis and Hades, and the entire Scourge faction composed of cthulu-esque creatures and concepts, and they’ve even got Aztec-theme Hedghog aliens with giant tri-legged walkers and big hovertanks.

    • Grafton Is Dust

      It has to be noted though that GW is still far and away ahead of the competition in terms of production capacity, their capabilities and no-one else in the industry comes close in terms of plastic model production capability, especially not in-house.

      More and more it’s obvious that GW are a miniatures company using the games to sell said miniatures. The rulesets simultaneously atrophy and bloat, while the models go from strength-to-strength.

      • Malthrak

        Right, they’re far ahead in terms of plastics, I don’t think anyone will argue that, but that’s also only relevant in certain areas. If you’re into big toy scale models, things like Knights or Trygons or Bloodthirsters, then it’s great. If you’re into non-28mm stuff, skirmish games, etc then plastic is generally either a downside (due to being unable to portray certain kinds of detail and shapes well) or at best simply holds no advantage over other materials from a customer perspective.

        But yeah, they very much are a model company that really sucks at making games. The big problem is that they specialize in doing plastic but aren’t priced any lower than resin or metal equivalents in most cases (save for the big monster kits) and plastic forces a certain visual style and imposes limits on certain kinds of detail.

        • Grafton Is Dust

          I’ve seen a lot of people complain about lack of plastic minis in other games. GW have managed to force the zeitgeist into thinking that plastic is the future and nothing else compares.

          It’s unsurprising that their plastics are so expensive given the initial cost, though.

  • Andrew

    Antares is not really similar to Infinity in any way except some of the ranges are kind of “high” sci-fi in appearance. Even then you’re reaaaallly stretching to say the two look identical. One is quite obviously Anime/Manga/Cyberpunk and the other is more Star Wars/Dune. The models are also way different in style, Infinity’s being very realistically proportioned truescale 28mm and GoA’s are much more of the “old-school” chunky heroic scale.

    • Xodis

      I disagree, aesthetically they appear very similar and on the table could be played against each other with no one but those invested knowing any different. Other than a few “hero” versions of infinity that stand out, the regular models all blend together.

      • Andrew

        If you say so.

        • mugginns

          Lol, infinity == Gates of Antares definitely shows the average intelligence of a Bols poster.

          • Andrew

            Yeah, its that mentality that anything that isn’t grimdark all “looks like Tau/Eldar” as if 40k was the first sci fi setting and wasn’t just cribbing any and every trope from just about every other setting. Hell, in Infinity alone there’s so much variation in the designs, the combi rifles of my Bakunin look totally different than those of the Corregidor, and they both belong to the Nomads faction. Yeah the differences are subtle, but they’re there for sure.

  • Ursarkar Creed

    I dunno, maelstrom’s edge has me pumped, and it’s in heroic with an aesthetic somewhere between the near-future stuff and warhammer. The fluff is interesting, and very, unique, and set in the far far future. Also the rules seem good, but I haven’t managed to play it yet, so I can’t really pass judgement.

  • I don’t even know what to say to this person.

    Other than you are completely useless. GW is over, they are NOT top dog and YOU are delusional.

    Go suck some more GW plastic into your anus. Better yet, shove all the rules you can in there and send us a picture.

    It would be worth more than this drivel.

    • Hawt Dawg

      You need to get some.

      Bad.

  • Hawt Dawg

    Expensive? Check!
    Genetalia a plenty? Check!
    Hyper sexual women? Check!

    I need to get me this non PC game pronto!

  • Balazra

    GW sculpts grim dark “anime” – “heroic” styled miniatures.
    At 28mm realistic scales are not pleasing on the eye, an exaggerated style is generally more appealing.
    Look at models from cool minis or not “relic Knights” they are have some very different styles that all fit well in the universe. They stand apart from other games and factions are easily characterised as unique.
    The game play is fast paced and highly tactical, with relatively simple rules.
    It didn’t take off but is still going and the release of 2nd edition is inbound.
    I’ll be retrying it with some friends.

    • SeekingOne

      >>GW sculpts grim dark “anime” – “heroic” styled miniatures.<<

      Not sure what you mean. Imho, one of the things that is great about GW sculpts is that they DON'T look like anime. Infinity models – now those do have that distinct anime style in them, and I'd say that is the biggest difference in styles between them and GW.

  • shiwan

    Now that I read the whole thing, what a bunch of baseless whining and baseless praising. Mantic does what GW should, produce reasonably priced models for the mass armies. GW somehow thinks that it’s the smart play to ask some armies to pay 2-3 times the money for playable army from the fans of some factions compared to poster boys. Thus they create a matket for Mantic and others who offer alternative solutions.

    • SeekingOne

      This article really made me go and look up Mantic models. And good Lord do they s*ck. The author was supremely polite about them.

      • shiwan

        Compared to what?

        • SeekingOne

          Well, first of all – not ‘compared’ but by themselves. Or compared to my own inner feeling of what is aesthetic and attractive and what isn’t, if you wish. I mean, the first time I saw GW models, they instantly got me hooked. Mantic models in their current state would’ve never got me hooked, ever.
          To be fair, I saw GW stuff for the first time circa 1998, and by that time GW model range already has evolved quite a bit. And when I look at the old pictures of the very first models of space marines and eldar, I find them quite ugly. Those would’ve never got me hooked either. So, theoretically, it’s not impossible that Mantic model range would eventually evolve into something good. Right now though they still have a loooong way to go.

          IMO, the only two wargames that have their model ranges on a quality level comparable to that of GW are Infinity and Malifaux. Infinity however is really kind of bland – as I always say, even just the Imperium-aligned factions of 40k have more variety than the whole of Infinity. And Malifaux is not sci-fi…

          • shiwan

            So, you did not like them. Roger that. I personally like their undead more than GW’s. I’ve not compared much of the other products Mantic offers to GW so I can not say for sure what my opinion on them is.

            Infinity is blandish because the actual variance in almost exclusively human range of miniatures pretty automatically does that…unless you make them cartoonish like GW did. Malifaux is just another kind of cartoonish thing.

  • PsychoticStorm

    It is rare an article makes me join discussion, it must be really good or really bad.

    First of all I must disclose that for me CB and Infinity are dear close to the hart, now moving on to the article.

    I find odd the wrestling intro, because a big part of the readers will be unaware of it, but it sets the tone right and the mood, it also sets in the authors misconceptions and this s the biggest flaw of the entire article.

    As wrestling is a part of the wider “martial arts” so are different wargames, many of the wargames you compare are from different genders similar in feel and scope only because they are wargames, as Wrestling and Muay Thai are part of the wide martial arts but are different genders, one been entertainment and the other been striking.

    To clarify a few things, Yes, no other company has as many shops as GW, most of them have no shops, if you can except an online store to service areas where their product is not locally available or the really rare shop at the companies building, GW has their own shops because they want to be the manufacturer and the retailer, most companies are sane enouph to leave the expensive retailer part to the local game stores who are experts in the field, yes, they have to compete with other lines but one must be at least that confident in their product right?

    Your main argument can be summarised in I like the GW spectacle and there are no others who do it the same way GW does and you might be right, most companies do their own thing and are in their own gender, that is not GWs gender, you cannot throw Infinity and 40k together, they are different genders and this leads to different background and aesthetics, Infinity is as diverse in the aesthetic of their factions and as excellent with model silhouettes as is every top tier models manufacturer GW included, the fact they achieve that with most factions been human without resorting to the level of exaggeration GW does is even more commendable, I am sorry your “they all look similar” falls flat, for an outsider GW lines all look similar (talking from experience) they are tiny models, if one does not care they will not see the “diverse and easily recognisable” factions.

    Likewise all other companies that are not just making models without rules or background to fit for the GW consumer base, head to their now direction and their own niche in the market, Dust, bolt action, conflict 47, aim for the accuracy of the era with or without the odd thing in, if they were heroic they would fall flat at the present era, warmahordes is closer to superheroic gender and high fantasy that the GW epic fantasy (space added at your discretion) even gates of Antares that is n the same gender of 40k (been a re-imagination of 40k as admitted by the creator of both) does not go in the direction GW has gone 40k maybe because the creator (of both) thought it was a bit silly.

    I feel what you want is a better version of the epic space opera GW does because GW’s product does not completely satisfy you any more, I am afraid no other company, for good reasons will go the direction, new people in the hobby who do not have the baggage of GW dominating most of their hobby career do not find the GW ecosystem intriguing and those that do have GW dominating that gender, it is far better for other companies to simply let GW do their own thing and just farm the vast fields left untouched by GW.

    Even Mantic a company frequently criticised as making a cheaper version of GW stuff has diversified themselves in aesthetically and background in a more modern science fiction space opera (even though they aim for the same mass battles wargame space).

    To go to your introduction and use the same analogy you wish for more Wrestling when the other companies provide other martial arts, many not in the entertainment category.

  • NagaBaboon

    Malifaux is 32mm but it is also true scale, if you think their faces look like unrefined dough you really have not spent enough time marvelling at the detail on Wyrd’s minis.

  • euansmith

    Dark Age has a pretty original look, especially since they’ve moved away from trying to make minis of Brom’s artwork.

    The hi-tech aesthetic appeals to many people. Not everyone wants gothitech and daemons in their sci-fi.

  • NagaBaboon

    I actually think there’s a lot of very original studios, though they tend to produce smaller skirmish games because highly original and inventive takes time. Remember GWs been doing this for the best bart of 3 decades.

    You also have to understand part of our ability to distinguish the different factions is because the imagery is so ingrained in our psyches, my GF for example probably wouldn’t be able to pick up a load of different types of unpainted models from different factions and seperate them into their given factions. Of course she could put a tac marine and a dev marine together but other than the weapon they are roughly the same model.

    I don’t strictly disagree with anything you really said, GWs aesthetic is truly their own but they do have time on their sides and they are not as far from there inspirations as you seem to think. I think if you asked a ‘Tolkeinite’ who’d never seen 40k to imagine a space elf then showed them an Eldar model they’d say that wasn’t far of what they imagined.

  • euansmith

    I think that, having 30 years to mulch down the original materials, is a big advantage. A combination of an accretion of detail, and people no longer remembering the sources of many of the ideas.

  • Patrick Stuart

    Then you weren’t paying attention.

    • DeadlyYellow

      How exorbitantly enlightening! Why, this singular rote statement sure clarifies the depth and complexity of the Kingdom Death world!

      Sully me, for trivializing such a rich fantasy environment that inspires such fervent defense and adulation!

  • Heinz Fiction

    While GW used to have a good sense for aesthetics they seem to have lost it in AoS. And compared to Infinity even their nicest sculpts look kind of clunky. Actually there are very few I’d buy just for the looks.

    This Lucha show however sounds rad.

  • Jordan Holt

    A great article; I never ‘got’ wrestilng, although the analogy you made with wargaming came across great.

    I can also relate to what you’re saying immensely too; I have tried to pick up other games from other also, but just keep coming back to GW…

    More of this please BOLS, it went great with my cuppa.

  • SeekingOne

    The wrestling thing is lost on me – but the rest of the article is 100% spot on. Thank you sir, couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Skathrex

    Quick feedback.
    Interesting Article, enjoyed the read, even when it was a bit…drawn out…had to take a pause, get some coffee, read a novel or 2…contiuned to read (not used to that here).
    For me it hits home, because I feel somewhat the same.
    And I don’t think its too “pro”-GW. The extreme reactions of some haters will always happen, but nowaday there is the Hobby “40k” and the Hobby “Hating on GW”.
    I came to GW for the Game and stayed for the Fluff and Miniatures.

  • Gridloc

    So you love chicken and eat it everyday, but would love to try Steak if it tasted more like chicken?

    I grew up with GW models, i love the look and as said the distinct feel of each army. But wargaming is more than just the models, its the fluff, the rules, and most of all the community. I branched into other games not hoping to find the same thing that draws me to GW but to find something new. Going into any other game with a hope to find that GW connection is not going to allow you to really experience those games. Say’n ‘Personal taste’ is pretty much saying, i’m closed minded and won’t be swayed.

    When i first heard of GOA i though same thing, goofy rock people this game is going to be awful. I gave it a shot (as i do with all games) the game play was amazing, the fluff is good, but the models still didn’t do it for me. As i played more games, i started to move out of the GW ‘super scifi’ view and see it more like a futuristic bolt action. The rules and game play really stood out each time and as such i let the experience start to suppress years of ‘GW is the best’ mentality that many of us have because its what we grew up with. Once i let go looking for GW connection or similarities, i started to see the models in their universe and in doing so saw them grow into interesting and pleasing models.

    I enjoyed your article (my brothers were wrestling fans too so enjoyed some old references). But find it hard to understand how you can want to find a game that is like GW but not GW. Doing so will make you feel its a copy of GW and in that its hard to get past the idea of ‘why play a copy and not the original’.

    Continue playing 40k/AoS; the games are great, along with models and fluff. But if trying another game, don’t bring GW baggage along, otherwise you will never see the true side of these other games.

  • Jabberwokk

    Glorious confirmation bias puff piece you got there.

    So if GW is the WWE then I guess PP is MMA.

    GW looks good. PP IS good.

    *hoists the jolly roger*

    Avast Bols Trolls!

  • Richard Mitchell

    I thought the reason why people will ONLY buy GW products is because once you since 5k worth of real world dollars into a game its becomes an investment not a game. My 40k armies had to set on the shelf for two years before I decided it was time to sell them off. and I had been collecting for 10 years.

    The reason I play other game systems is because there are companies that make models that are equal and sometimes better than GW, its cheaper so my wallet is not devoted to GW, the lower model count makes it easier to field painted armies with devoting my life to painting GW stuff, and there are just so many innovative and great rules out there.

    After playing X-Wing (which is now the top game btw), Malifaux, Warmahordes, and Dark Age, I was really turned off when I tried 40k and AoS again at the pleading of some game store denizens. I couldn’t understand that after so much innovation they stuck with the tired formula of phases for heroes, moving, shooting, and assault. While AoS uses the one roll of X< Wild West Exodus did it first. Heck even BT has moved to using cards for reference and fast play.

    Its like when I saw some guy playing AoS and rolling off hits and wounds with swarms of infantry and huge base models. The entire time I was like, "Why doesn't that Wyvren trample over that swarming infantry and get into the back line?" (I was in Warmachine mode of course) and then it hit me. Placement doesn't matter while in the new games it does.

    I agree with the wrestling analogy to a point. AoS and the new 40k will be about fielding pretty models and smashing them together with shooting foreplay and rolling it out. No dynamic placement, alternate or out of activation movement/actions, no high stakes assassinations or desperate grabs for the scenario, no hidden objectives or end games, no influence mechanics or soulstones to cheat fate.

    This is not a bad thing, some people don't want deep game systems, they literally want to buy expensive show pieces, brag about them, and roll out a battle. For people who want Chess++ and great looking models there are cheaper alternatives that keep us hooked and allow us to experience many different great games from many different companies. They also carry compelling lore and community support tools for tournaments and campaigns.

    The real reason why GW was so dominate is because it was the only game in town. The reason why they are losing it is because there is competition and innovation (free market capitalism) and GW is not adapting or borrowing from anyone. The game design community in Nottingham is insular and this probably explains why so many companies (Warlord and Mantic) appear as copying GW, while American systems are so diverse.

    Star Wars Dark Age, Warmahordes, Malifaux, and Wild West Exodus run off of divergent core mechanics such as template and maneuver dial poker, stackable effects to make combat short and brutal with a I go or force you to go alternating activation, resource and risk management, cards (no dice whatsoever), and influence to cheat the dice.

    So the real reason why people who only play GW products only play GW products? They being held hostage by an enormous monetary investment they can't sell off for equal or greater value so they cling to the product (this goes with the stock reports that most of their customers are veteran players rather than new ones) and it keeps people who are interested in models first and rules second.

    How is it working? Well lets put it this way I have seen Warmahordes tournaments, Dark Age groups, Flames of War, Malfuax, and X-Wing. I can't even remember the last time I saw a game of 40k (6 months or less?) played and I saw three games of AoS played in a year.

    • Mira Bella

      Thank you.

  • Ghool

    That read like I was eating too much fast food.

  • Grasshopper

    Dear Sir,

    I stand up and slow-clap for this enjoyable read.

  • Donaldosaurus

    Great article. And yes, Lucha Underground is the absolute bollocks.

  • Andy Wise

    You’ve got Jez Goodwin to thank for your love of the aesthetic. He’s behind Marines, Eldar, Tyranids and Tau, at least their inception and overriding look. Not only does the man nail a silhouette but he’s also got a keen eye for the point of the design. He’s one of my favourite artists of all time across any medium.

  • Ted

    lot of professional blog editors in here today

  • Azerole

    You might find the Cyber Arachnid or the biological Arachnids of Puppetswar of interest, but probably not. As for bio-engineered creatures check out the board game Endure The Stars, or for scary bio-zombies, or Nano-Zombies as I call them the Sedition Wars boardgame.

    I share your critique regarding Mantic copying GW, but that’s about it. I don’t think their factions lack a unique look, and as their Dreadball factions suggest there’s plenty of unique potential factions they could go into. I don’t like the gothic GW look or their plain sculpts. Prefer the realistic, more detailed stuff out there. And while I share your view on the rock people, the rest Gates of Antares is great. The Isorians have quit a unique look, and the alien Tsan-Ra are something different.

  • TenDM

    Interesting points of view. I think one factor that’s less tangible is that there is a shared history. Not like the lore but the actual history of the product. So many people played in high school, or even just remember wanting to play in high school. I can tell stories and have other players relate to them. We all have our editions. We all have our armies. We may not be on exactly the same page but we’re all speaking a common language. There’s a huge range of players but we’re all bonded by our past.
    You simply can’t capture that by copying Games Workshop. It’s like trying to make New Football. You can make a fun game but you can’t take any shortcuts to get into people’s hearts the way their game already is. Not everyone here spent their Thursdays getting drunk and playing 40k when they were in high school, but most of us have strong memories in a similar vein. Converted pool tables, foam scenery, sharing rulebooks, Games Night at GW stores.
    Stuff like that elevates a poorly written set of rules to a community. More often than not it’s a community at odds with itself but 40k players are in a lot of ways my people. I wish I could get into one of the technically superior games but they just don’t feel like home the way 40k does.

  • Drew

    While I like some of the other games out there (WM/H cartoonishness appeals to me, for some reason, and I think the Guild Ball models are beautiful), I think this is really well reasoned and said, if people are willing to actually invest time to read it.

    Then again, I like long articles but won’t watch a two minute podcast. To each their own, I suppose!

  • Jay

    #makewrestlingrealagain

  • Psyfer

    What’s your opinion of Corvus Belli?

    I’m a huge fan of their’s, the minis are spectacular, not GrimDark(TM) and the game’s innovative and exciting.