There is an awful lot of web space and angst currently being devoted to the latest offering from Games Workshop, the Age of Sigmar. Well, although it’s not really any of my business ( or thank goodness, any part of my business), I thought that I would add my two pennyworth for the entertainment of my two readers….
I’m not going down the road of the ‘Games Workshop Corp.’ is terrible rant. Nor do I fall into the ‘we owe our hobby to Games workshop’ groove either. That, to my mind, is the nonsensical equivalent of thanking the current management and personnel of EMI for finding the Beatles and inventing popular music.
I do understand the anguish of some gamers though. To use another metaphor, the current situation with Sigmar seems to be the equivalent of a Football club being bought up by a new owner. And the new owner wants to change the club name, or shirt colour or just seems intent on evicting the lifelong supporters that can no longer afford the new season ticket prices ( safe in the knowledge that there are plenty that can…)
The problem for the supporters is that they have invested a lot of time and money in ‘their’ club and even more importantly to them, emotional ownership and support of the ‘brand’. Which of course, is what marketing is all about. What the fans haven’t always grasped, is that their real love is for the game itself and there are plenty of other teams out there that you can enjoy watching. Even better, the smaller the team, the more appreciated your support will be.
And so it goes with gaming. If you are disenchanted with the latest Fantasy offering from GW, don’t waste energy wishing it would change back to the ‘old days’. Find the bit of the hobby that you love and move on. It may surprise some gamers that Games Workshop don’t own the Fantasy World. They were just very good at taking what was already out there and developing it into a game and to be fair, a very good one at that. Times have changed again though and there are plenty of games systems out there with more being published all of the time. No doubt this is part of the reason that Games Workshop have had to change. But if Games Workshop need to change, then may be it’s ‘Fans’ or ‘Supporters’ should as well.
It’s a process that I have been through myself. I used to be a fanatical supporter of Games Workshop from the launch of the first Space Marines plastic boxed set through to about the Black Reach edition of 40K. In fact it was back in 1982 that I first saw some Citadel miniatures that were painted to a standard that I’d not seem in model soldiers before that brought me back into the hobby. Note that I said, brought ‘me back into the hobby’.
I became disappointed with the constant changes to the rules, codex creep and even worse Games Workshops cavalier attitude to the older gamer and long standing customers. The light bulb moment for me was watching some guys at War Hammer World playing a Napoleonic Game and realising that they were having more fun than me. The rest, as they say, is history and for me that is now my hobby!
I still have my old GW 40K armies in the cabinet. I enjoy looking at them and I’m pleased with the armies that I created and the fun that I had. Who knows, I may dust them down and get out my old rule books and play again, but I doubt it. There’s far too much fun to be had with my latest obsession, Napoleonics. No one company ‘owns’ or even pretends to ‘own’ the hobby in the Historical world. Actually, one Company did try ( I wont name them to save their blushes). The response from the hobby was ‘get lost’ or words to that effect and that was the last we heard of that piece of nonsense.
So if you are not happy with Games Workshop in general and the Age of Sigmar in particular, my advice is don’t even bother to spend energy trying to hold onto something that has gone. Try something new. There’s a couple of new games out there right now that I would recommend. In fantasy, there’s Frostgrave, developed by Osprey publishing and North Star Miniatures. The rule book is just £15 and a box of Figures £20. A character pack is £6. For less than £50 you will have a whole new game to play. If Science Fiction is your thing, then take a look at the new ‘Gates of Antares’ from Warlord Games. If you order the figures, you’ll get a free rule book and can join the game at the start of it’s development.
Of course, if you would really like to break away, then move on into Historical gaming. You might just find that it’s a lot more fun than you think. There’s certainly plenty of background, a massive choice of periods and rules sets, superb miniatures and resources, a huge choice of manufactures and suppliers and a lot of players that would welcome you into the game.
Well, enough of my rambling, I’ve got figures to paint! To sum up, I think that the most important thing is to remember is that you are a fan of the hobby and a customer of Games Workshop.
Confusing the two will just end in tears.