Recently, we have seen a new rash of Games Workshop hate, which is funny because it always seems to coincide with amazing releases (End Times). It is almost like these people cannot stand people having fun with the hobby and have to vent. Whatever the reason, we have video bloggers taking too much time to tear down GW, even going in with hidden cameras to GW stores?!? Then finally, we have a petition asking GW nicely if they would behave themselves.

It all reminds me of people complaining when band they love changes their sound over a long career. If only U2 could always sound like Joshua Tree all the time. If you love something or a fan of something you don't stop being a fan because things change, or at least I thought.

I look at GW as my favorite sports team, some years they suck and other years they are good, but through it all I love them and support them when I can. It doesn't mean their can't be moments of no return, but last time I checked Mat Ward isn't Ray Rice.

Anyway, let us focus on this Petition, because it seems like the classic litany of GW complaints...

As competition from outside organizations grow and GW revenues and profits fall, your company seemingly continues to pursue a business model not in alignment with your customer base's desires and expectations.

Your business model states "We make the best fantasy miniatures in the world and sell them globally at a profit and we intend to do this forever". What it should say is "We make the best wargame in the world accompanied by the highest quality and best fantasy miniatures in the world." Realize that you produce a game, and that the models are playing pieces in that game, not the end product themselves. Without the game, there is no need to purchase Games Workshop models. They are not collectible in the same sense as scale military tanks and aircraft, nor are they as utilitarian as historical wargames miniatures, applicable to multiple game systems and supported by real world events. GW models are only useable in the context of GW games, the primary of these being Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer Fantasy Battles.

I and many others collect your models to play the game. Only a fraction of the community do so purely for the experience of owning, building and painting Citadel miniatures. This is why when armies are timely updated and released, model sales for those armies jump. It is not because of marketing through White Dwarf and Online Stores. It is because people want to play with the newest "Toy". Collectors continue with these factions to keep playing the game, not just own miniatures.

Your fanbase and the dedicated gaming and hobby community ask that you adopt the following policies

1- Support gamers, conventions, and tournaments, primarily through well-developed rules and supporting competitive play. Despite GW's desire for Warhammer to be a "Beer and Pretzels" game that is simply a reason to buy and collect GW miniatures, gamers want a system that can be used for competitive play as well. Just because this is supported does not mean that fun, narrative driven relaxed play is not possible. Appeal to both sides of the gaming community, not just the one you want to more. Tournament play alone should not be the only option, but it should still be a viable option. As far as supporting organizers, tournaments and conventions goes, your company cannot interface directly with the small group playing a campaign in their homes. It can with the 100+ players at a tournament or independent retailer event. Doing so will improve your corporate image, impassioned your playerbase and ultimately encourage the playing or your game which directly correlates to the sale of your miniatures. All of this means sponsoring/participating in independent events, releasing fairly balanced, well play tested rule sets, and timely FAQs which address the issues players are encountering. The relaxed narrative players will appreciate these clearer and improved rules just as much as the cut-throat tournament gamer. Develop new rules with both styles of play in mind, and if they can not agree, decide on a case by case basis if that particular rule should be more subject to fair play or the proverbial "rule of cool". And if you wish to encourage a relaxed form of play alongside tournament play while still reaching out to players, the old global campaigns and campaign supplements can foster this and provide gaming groups with a fun alternative to tournaments and competitions.

2- Reduce the number of "Direct exclusive models" and support the FLGS/independent retailers. Game Stores are where your community exists. It is not in their home, alone, painting. Most of the hobby may occur there, but it with the objective in mind that on the weekend they will travel down to their local friendly game store and set up across the table from someone and play a game. That is why they put all the hours into building and painting their army. Sure it may be fun to build and paint it, but it is a means to an end, not the end itself. Since the objective of collecting is to play a game, game store owners are going to promote games they can sell in their store. If majority of your product is exclusively available from your webstore, game store owners will not push your product as they lose potential sales. Without that push or those sales, their gaming community abandons GW games, and without the game they abandon GW/Citadel models. Additionally, there are far more independent retailers than GW stores, and they are more accessible to many players. Increasing presence there will not only promote your game, but it will actively compete against other wargames available at these retailers, and potentially increase your market share while reducing your competitors.

3- Competitively price your products. You have some room to charge a slight premium because of the quality of your miniatures. But since the ultimate objective is to play a game at the end of the week, players are going to financially invest in what they can better afford to accomplish this objective. All wargaming is a luxury market. If a player can get the same amount of game time for less with another game and have just as much, if not more fun, then that is where they will invest their dollars. This is a big factor as to why so much competition now exists whereas very little did before. A potential aide to this point would be to allow sales of bits, aftermarket 3rd party add-ons, and discount online retailers. This all encourages throughput of your products, and for players to gather larger or more forces for their games. Sales for GW have only become worse with the policies that eliminate these possibilities.

4- Change your website to be hobby and gaming driven with a webstore section as a single component of the whole. This used to be the way it was. Your website should not just be an online marketplace. Your site should be the one stop shop for painting, tactics, gaming communities, upcoming tournaments, etc. etc. The webstore should then be a feature that a player can access after reading a tactica article or a painting guide. Performance,  not just appearance, drives sales of models, so discussing the performance and ways to use particularly models in game can only benefit you by swaying consumers to purchase it. Beautiful photos and well painted models help, but a vast majority of your playerbase knows is cannot paint as well as your webstore and White Dwarf images, so they fail to be lured in by that trap.

5- Conduct market research and increase player involvement. With the advent of social media this is easier than ever. Rather than just having youtube videos for new releases, have discussions of in progress design concepts to allow hype to be generated and discussion to occur, then systematically feed this back into your development process. Release trial rules again and gather important commentary from the players to fine tune them. Furthermore understand your consumer base and what they need and want to continue collecting, converting, painting Citadel miniatures and playing GW games rather than just assuming another huge kit or wacky limited edition gaming aide is what they need to be fed. With a generation thriving off constant connectivity and insight into early product development in virtually every market, particularly the growing tech and video games industries which manage to steal potential hobbyists daily, a policy of secrecy and blind assumption only will accomplish an alienation of the consumer.

In short, rededicate your company to supporting the selling of a game. This is your main product. Your models are the key playing pieces of this game, and will make you the most money. Without the game though, they are worth nothing.

As you can see, all these points have been repeated ad nauseam across numerous channels. GW is pretty aware of them, but have they done anything to change it?

Not really, but what they have done is tried really hard to release content for their games at a record pace, which people have been crying about for years, but now that it has happened, the same people cannot stand it. They got rid of the most polarizing game designer Mat Ward, and made many positive rule changes to the game to appease complainers.

Now this doesn't mean GW can't do better, I would like them to support tournaments too. I would like them to open up rule testing. The only thing the petition gets right, comes down to is GW is pricing themselves out of the grasp of their customer base. Hobbyists put up with a lot of things, but until GW stops acting like Apple (who can get away with it) and more like what they really are, a toy maker, they might find a real way to appeal both the budget gamer and collector at the same time. GW has made their choice, believing they are premium brand, selling collectable products to a rabid fan base. They have consciously decided to focus on catering to the hobbyist side of things and less to the game side, believing that is where the most revenue can be generated. At the moment this isn't working out so well, by ostracizing large portions of the community they could easily have. Just like GW this petition focuses too much on one group (competitive gamer), the group GW seems to actively despise, so expecting GW to take this seriously, is a bit of stretch.

Change is slow. Change might start with a new CEO and/or when Tom Kirby actually parachutes out. Getting jealous because people still enjoy the game or whatever isn't going to help your cause. I am sorry, if all the other games you have tried since "leaving" GW have either just as crappy rules, terrible models, no community, or dies in six months. I get it you, want so badly to hold on to some ancient dream of what GW once was. I can still remember those dreams myself, like when 2nd edition was a masterpiece of rules, oh wait that shit never happened. How about when everything was balanced in 3rd edition? Oh, wait once again didn't happen. 

Sometimes you just grow out of thing and that is OK, but not learning to let go is only going to make you angrier, and getting angry at a war game is pretty lame when there is move pressing 1st world problems. If you want to affect to change just stop buying anything from GW; attacking a businesses bottom-line is the most effective way to get change going. 

You won't get sympathy from me every time I hear the same complaints from GW lifers who says one thing, but still keep on buying, because when you do that it kinda proves Kirby right about who he believes the GW customer really is.

Maybe, what is really missing is AA for GW quitters, some support group to keep these folks from sliding back and buying models...


Meat for Meta is rated editorial nonsense. These articles are meant to complain about some group, somewhere, that is playing the game for all the wrong reasons or simply to just make fun of 40k nerd rage.