Monday, December 19, 2016

2016 Year in Review: Games Workshop

My dissatisfaction (and indeed, many gamers') with Games Workshop over the last few years has been pretty well voiced. They raised prices all the time, killed the Old World, and continued to offer players a sub-standard product with their rules. With so many new options on the market, it seemed hard to be a fan.

2016 has been a better year for them - they had a new CEO in 2015 and he has definitely moved toward new ideas and more consumer-focused options. While the prices of things certainly haven't gone down (and won't), at least they're not overtly treating customers like they were.

This year they reached out to more people via social media - they actually have Facebook pages now! This is pretty cool, as like other companies, fans can interact, and they even used it to reach out to the community to get FAQ questions. Unfortunately, the FAQ ended up being something like 60 pages long, which is longer than most modern rulesets, but they made the effort. They also created the 'Warhammer Community' - which is not a forum page - but some sort of blog. I can't really figure out the intention for this one with stuff like Reddit on the web, but perhaps its just not for me.

GW followed up last year's well-liked Betrayal at Calth boxed set with Burning of Prospero, a box set that matches up Space Wolves, Sisters of Silence, and Custodes vs Thousand Sons. While I didn't really need anything from this set, the models are amazing, as always. I worry about the further snowflake-ication of Horus Heresy by adding Sisters of Silence and Custodes, but hopefully they won't become forces on their own with a ton of special rules.

Once again I think the extra stuff - the board game stuff - won't be used by anybody, and likely sold on eBay, but the model value here was pretty great - 47 models coming in at $150, for $3.20 a model, which is good for GW. Its also easy to split with a friend and get a good start on a HH force.

I think almost every Warhammer fan has lamented the state of White Dwarf over the past few years, and its great to see it back closer to the publication we all enjoyed. There are a lot of great wargaming magazines on the market - from No Quarter to Wargames, Soldiers, and Strategy - and its great to see GW trying to get back to hobby articles and rules, as opposed to weekly sales pamphlets.

Forge World also came out with an updated red book for the Legions, housing most of their special rules in one place. I was a bit miffed that some of the new special rules from the latest campaign book were not included - it seemed a bit cheap to make you also buy that huge book when they both came out at around the same time.

They also came out with some really sweet underslung heavy weapons for the plastic marines from Calth. I really liked the look of these dudes, so I painted a full ten man squad of them for my Emperor's Children. The EC fielded these squads known as 'Sun Killers' in the HH stories.

They were really fun to paint, and I think they came out really well. In-game they're something like 500 points, so not much use before they inevitably get blown up by a thousand blast templates. But they look really cool.

The last thing I really liked this year from GW is the release of the Genestealer Cult models and codex. GW really does know sometimes when they can hit their fans with a wave of nostalgia - and it worked. Genestealer cult models have been sold out all over. It led to a lot of painful "back in my day the limos and the metal guys huhuhuhuh" but I'll deal with it to get some really sweet Tyranid guys.
The Overkill box set itself was a pretty good value, however I didn't get it because I didn't feel like I'd be able to resell the Deathwatch models. Instead I picked up some of the Overkill models on eBay then picked up more of the individual boxes when they came out at my FLGS. The snap-fit models from Overkill are pretty nice and I was even able to add some hand flamers and talons from the box sets themselves.
I am not really sure how much value these guys prove to be in the actual game; I don't have a great handle of the 'meta' of 40k anymore. They are one wound, toughness three models, without huge AP or rending guns so I suspect they aren't much better than other Tyranids, but I love the models and I'm excited to give them a try.

If nothing else, I love the variety of the models that will make a Tyranid force more interesting. Now I have more ranged weapons and even ranged heavy weapons with some hitting power - even with some human-like guys on the board!

The characters are pretty great, however I am not a huge fan of the one-pose plastic models they've been releasing. It takes a way a lot of the convertability and makes everyone's Iconward or Magus look the same. I definitely understand you can chop off and repose but sometimes I don't want to have to do that. Its one thing if it is a $2 metal WW2 model, but this is a $30 plastic.

Perhaps the star of the show is the plastic trucks that were released. Again, these are adding variety to a mostly 'flesh and blood' force and giving Tyranids actual transports. I've yet to see if they're effective on the board, but they look great! So much better than the Taurox truck released for IG.

I definitely didn't name everything GW did this year, just the stuff that I actually was interested in - what were some of your favorite things?


  1. I was deeply cheered to see the return of varied lists and a 'chapter tactics' equivalent for the Traitor Legions; I have also been very impressed by the Thousand Sons models.

  2. The Thousand Sons models are rad as hell! I have to admit I haven't really followed so much the new chaos book.

  3. Agree on the "wave on nostalgia" thing. I bought a ton of hybrids in plastic, both from the boardgame and from the regular boxes. I found that the plastic arms fit the old metal hybrids with a small effort (mostly filing or filling) and make them look very cool and blend in with the new bunch better... I always thought the old plastic arms were a bit iffy.