Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sometimes I HATE Games Workshop

The Dark Angels up for advance order on the Games Workshop page and with it the realization that I will probably no longer support the company that produces them with the same gusto as I have before.  Now I won't go out and say that I won't buy any of their overpriced goods (those Deathwing models are too awesome looking to not buy at least one box, just not sure when) but their prices have really driven me to consider where I spend my hobby money a lot more carefully.

When I was in high school my mom always said that my money was spent long before I actually earn it (and back in those days any money I made was hobby money) and even now after being married for almost a decade my wife says the same thing (and even though I make more money now than in high school, my disposable hobby money is about the same if not slightly higher due to other expenses).  One of the worst parts of being older is that my hobby time is a lot more valuable and as such my hobby money too.  I can't just spend it willy-nilly on a $70 box set of 5 figures when I could put that money to good use elsewhere for a lot more value.

To put it another way, I've been wanting to start a new Fantasy army for a while now.  My Bretonnians, while nice looking models, were boring to play in the game.  Their magic phase was un-interesting, they had shooting but it was kinda bad and the new rules made their units very unwieldy (12+ units of knights are a pain to move around in lance formation).  So I decided I wanted to build a Dogs of War/Empire army but the Warhammer Empire models are really expensive ($20-50 for a box of 10 figures).  However, there are comparable figures from other companies which are much more affordable (see my posts about the plastic Samurai and Mantic Games).  I think the average is around $25 for 20-25 figures so I can feasibly build a decently sized and fairly competitive army for around $100-150 (when combined with the other figures I have, if I built an army from scratch it would cost around $200)

When I build a similar army using just Games Workshop models, the total comes to something ridiculous like $1000 or so.  That's just unacceptable as I could buy so many more other hobby things for that price.  God forbid I start an army like Goblins or Skaven where a $50 box only gets you something like 100 points out of a 2000 point army.

Now with the new Dark Angels I'm kind of in a different boat.  I don't need to start a new army as I already have around 5000 points of Dark Angels (half of it Deathwing, and the other half Ravenwing and regular marines).  I'd love to add new models as the Ravenwing Flyer and Deathwing Knights are awesome, but their price is prohibitive.  The other thing is, it seems very few people are playing 40k in the area nowadays so those models would end up being paper weights, dust collectors or tea party guests for my daughter.  I don't know whether it's because the cost is too expensive or the rules suck or other games (I'm looking at you Warmahordes) are just getting more popular (again maybe due to the cost or rules).

Most of my gaming friends haven't bought anything GW in years or if they have they are just small purchases.  One of my gaming friends from high school has been wanting to get into the GW hobby for years now but the cost has just been too prohibitive for him.  Despite him knowing a lot about the game and the background, the cost of building a decent sized and competitive army is way too much for him to sink his time and money into.

Some might argue that the cost of getting into the hobby is a lot but once you're in, you won't have to buy much new stuff.  I can agree with that as I don't actually spend much on GW things.  The last thing I bought was the Dark Vengeance box set and before that I think was stuff from the Black Reach box set via eBay.  So my purchases are usually a few years apart.  If GW prices were more reasonable I would probably start a new army (especially one for Fantasy) or at least add/replace things in my existing army on a more regular basis.  As it stands if I want to get into a new wargame I will probably look at Warmahordes or one of the many from Spartan Games and if I am going to start a Fantasy army it won't be with GW models (see Mantic Games and Wargames Factory).

Orktoberfest 2013 might not even be a Games Workshop game system if this keeps up (mostly due to lack of players in the area).  Mind you with all the Warmahordes players out there if I make it a Warmahordes event it might even get more players than previous.

On the plus side, less Warhammer means more Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering which more of my friends can enjoy as it's a lot cheaper to play (D&D is practically free with their DNDnext playtest and MTG can be as cheap or as expensive as you want especially with the awesome cube format).

To be clear, I'm not giving up on wargaming at all (or playing Warhammer 40k and Fantasy), just what companies I choose to support with my precious hobby money.


  1. I have to agree with most of your points. My participation in GW has been steadily dwindling, mostly to lack of opponents but also cause it is so damn expensive to buy anything new. A unit of 20 Blackguards for my Dark Elves is going to cost $200? I can buy a full flames of war army using Plastic Soldier Company for the same amount.

  2. You illustrate my point well in that wargamers can spend their money on other companies and get a lot more bang for their buck.

    I am glad that in the past few years that other companies have come around that produce comparable models at reasonabe prices or game systems that don't require you to spend a lot for a competitive army.

    A lot more choice than when I first started wargaming almost 20 years ago.

  3. I wish more people would stand up and do the same. Unfortunately, there seem to be no end to the fanboi's that continue to buy GW even though the prices keep going up. $75 for the new flyer even though the marine flyer is only $45?