…Don’t say this too loudly on the internet but I think I actually like the direction that Games Workshop are taking their main two games systems in.
Remember that this view is coming from the point of view of a hobby-focused gamer. I am not a tournament player and am in no way ‘hardcore’ and nor do I have any experience of how these games played over the last several years. In many ways I am probably the kind of new(ish) customer that GW wants to attract…but with the baggage of having played as when all this was new and shiny.
The internet wargaming forums are full of rage and hate about GW and any changes that they look to make. The recent slew of new supplements and formats for both gaming systems and the demise of the monthly White Dwarf have intensified the anger and comments. Of course these comments only represent a vocal minority of the GW customers, the hardcore who believe that they own the IP and path of the product.
‘People’ are saying that these games are now broken, that they are unplayable, that they won’t play again. But these are supplements. They don’t have to be used. They are optional. Yes, there are decisions that tournament organisers must now make, but there are so many tournaments being played all over the world, so many that if you don’t like a rules pack that you don’t have to play it. The decision to attend is yours at the end of the day.
I think that these supplements help to extend the possibilities of the games for gamers either on their table at home or in their local gaming club. They extend the boundaries of the rule books and put imagination and story telling at the heart of the games. Why do armies and rules have to be balanced? Battles are fought with lopsided armies and different objectives for each force. Let’s play those games.
Given that these games are likely to be played outside of the tournament environment then there is more chance that proxies are used for some of the larger models now available just so that they can make the tabletop.
All in all I think that these changes are a good thing.
On to White Dwarf. Now nothing is confirmed, it is just on the rumour forums but the talk is that the January issue will be the last and that going forward there will be a new weekly magazine and then a larger monthly companion. We’ll wait and see how the content of each is divided but White Dwarf has not been a good publication for some time and despite a revamp it needs a new direction. If it allows GW to trickle releases out over the year, rather than once a month then I think that this can only be a good thing for players and the company.
Similarly if rules and addons can evolve over time and not be tied to new books every few years then I think this will benefit everyone. Even tournament players will benefit if rules can be fixed/corrected more frequently.
Let’s wait and see, but I for one don’t see doom and gloom. I see a company evolving and putting fun, collecting and narrative game play at the centre of the hobby.