Is your wallet feeling the heat from all the new GW releases this summer? Is there a bubble that is about to burst? Let’s take a look!
Games Workshop has oversaturated us. Their stocks are skyrocketing. Their business is on the up and up. The product release train just won’t stop.
But if they are not careful, they will become Icarus, and fly too close to the sun, and I think a few games will suffer for it.
“What are you talking about Gothmog? This is a great time. So much cool stuff!”
Yes. But can you afford it? Most of us probably can’t. And that’s fine for a lot of people. But not for GW. And not for the business model they are pushing.
Let’s break it down
This “Summer” we have seen:
- Idoneth Deepkin (really back in spring, but it was a rather large release I feel)
- Age of Sigmar 2.0 and a new General’s Handbook
- Malign Sorcery
- New Storm Cast Subfaction
- Essentially a new Nighthaunt faction
- Imperial Knights codex
- Dominus Knights
- Armiger Knights
- Rerealease of Renegade
- Kill team and all its releases
- New Terrain for 40k
- Chaos BB team, a new SPIKE supplement, and more accessories
- Dark Elf BB team, a new SPIKE supplement, and more accessories
- Cawdor Gang, a new Gang War supplement, upgrade kits and more accessories
Announced and Yet to be Released
- Titanicus (a whole new game, releasing this weekend)
- LotR Relaunch w/ the Pellenor Feilds box set (might as well be a new game)
- Space Wolves Codex / Tooth & Claw
- Orks Codex
- Genestealer Cults Codex
- Kill Team Rogue Trader
- Canis Rex / Knight Preceptor
- Speed Freeks
- Wrath & Glory RPG System
That’s a lot. And I’m not convinced I didn’t miss anything. I am sure I did and someone will say something in the comments.
That’s 4 or 5 “new games” (I’ll explain), an expansion, 3 supplements, 9 new factions/sub-factions and several box sets costing over $100 USD (and a few near or over $200!)
Can Your Wallet Handle It?
So while some of these are small, they sell to usual fanatics of their chosen game and sell well. Necro and BB have tight but hardcore followings and a lot of those players collect numerous teams/gangs. There are people that actually try (and accomplish!) to do all 24 teams in 24 tournaments for BB. Crazy right?!
Now for the Factions. New factions mean new armies. Full, big, expensive, time-intensive armies. And gone are the days of plain SM or simple skeletons. These things are gorgeous and full of detail. Which means they typically take longer to paint IMO. But the effort is beside the point.
A new army just costs a lot. Especially when one of those armies is IMPERIAL KNIGHTS. These things are sweeping the meta in 40k. And they are available to more than just dedicated knight players. And with that release came 2 MAJORLY EXPENSIVE kits- the Dominus and Renegade. Now while Renegade is quite a savings if you are going to buy 2 knights (plus an awesome piece of terrain), it is still $195 USD MSRP.
That’s a pretty penny, even if you get it 20% off someplace. These are all large and expensive models and are going to put a dent in anyone’s wallet who wants one (or 5).
New to You, Old to Me
Let’s discuss. In this, I see a few “new games”. So really they aren’t all “new”. What I mean by this is a core release for a system designed to essentially build a player base from the ground up, or at least massively expand it. AoS 2.0, Kill Team, Titanicus, Pellenor Feilds and possibly Rogue Trader are ALL designed and intended to do this.
Let’s start with a GW flagship. AOS 2.0, especially when combined with Malign Sorcery, really has seemed to energize a lot of new players and was designed and timed to bring A LOT of new blood into the game. Particularly hobbyists that just hadn’t dipped their toe in yet (I know I have an army planned now and am just waiting for NOVA to browse the amazing Toledo game room for conversion fuel). So you have a lot of people starting new Armies, and along with that, there are 3 fresh factions that even veteran AoS players are grabbing. Even more so with Stormcast players who really just expand with a whole new chamber. And on top of that everyone was/is picking up an $80 kit of badass spells (those jaws are so sweet).
Kinda a new game, kinda just 40k lite, we have Kill Team. And while you can just use your 40k models, what always sells with kill team is TERRAIN. LOTS OF IT. Beautiful BUT EXPENSIVE. And a lot of people always seems to start a new hobby project of a cool converted kill team (as they should).
Rogue Trader & Pelennor Fields
I am unsure as of yet what Rogue Trader really is. Is it part of kill team? Is it its own thing? I DONT KNOW. (thus 4 or 5 games) Is it just a board game with models to port into other games, like Execution Force, Burning for Prospero, Battle of Calth, Gorechosen, Space Hulk etc. etc. If so not too concerning for long-term support, but still that’s probably going to be a $150 USD game with a new faction for some other game (be it Kill Team or 40k or both).
Another new game that isn’t new but might as well be: LotR/Pellenor fields. It is a really cool-looking relaunch of the game and really seems aimed at getting a lot of people back into it. That core set is bait to get us to get MORE NEW FACTIONS, and I have seen a lot of hype for it. What is most exciting is it consolidates the plethora of source material for the game out there and makes that weird distinction between LotR and Hobbit go away. Its all just “Middle Earth” now, and that is great.
Titanicus Box Set
Last but not least, Titanicus. At a whopping $290 for the Grandmaster Edition starter, this is a LARGE investment. A Titanic one if you mind the pun. And it’s a whole new game, at a whole new scale, so there will only be MORE releases to come AND it requires its own, uniquely scaled terrain.
So as you can see, that’s a lot. And really, its a lot of $$$. A LOT.
The problem as I see it is 3 fold
GW has crammed too many flashy new releases too close together, giving us little time to get past the hype of one and into the hype of the next. Ideally, you would wait for the hype of a new flashy release to start dying off and then BAM hit us with a new one. But if people are still playing and excited by the new Kill Team, why are they going to bother with Titanicus or Pelennor Fields?
Too Expensive Too Fast
Too many EXPENSIVE releases too close together. Some of these kits are MASSIVELY expensive. You may get great savings in them, but still, a new Start Collecting box, malign sorcery, Renegade and a Dominus knight, kill team and some new terrain and now you are already over $500+ dollars. And that is BEFORE Titanicus and Pellenor fields even release. 2 new games intended to draw in ENTIRELY NEW PLAYER BASES.
AND THEY DID IT ALL DURING THE SUMMER! Summer is already super expensive. I have to pay for increased electricity bills (AC ain’t cheap), activities for the kids, vacation, and buying back to school supplies for the kids. There is just a lot of REAL WORLD demands on people’s finances this time of year. In the end, if people can’t afford to dive into what GW’s peddling while the hype is still there, people probably won’t play it.
My ultimate point here- If there is too much to buy, something won’t be bought. And that means a release will FAIL. And you do not want new GAMES to fail. Their business model is centered around games being SUSTAINABLE.
It’s Hurting the Other Releases
To me, this hurts Titanicus the most, and to a lesser extent LotR. The advantage LotR has is 90% of the catalog of models for the game ALREADY EXISTS. There is already a player base (small yes, but enthusiastic for sure). And it has a hook for people NOT already in the hobby that can share terrain with other games (AoS, historicals, other fantasy games, and even sci-fi games like 40k). However, it is following EVERYTHING and people are going to be stretched thin and may just not have the money to buy it. If it has a poor launch, that ultimately hurts longevity.
Titanicus DOES NOT have ANY of those advantages that LotR has though. It is 100% new. New scale, terrain, models, and player base. On top of that, it has kind of ticked off some hardcore vets by being a new scale set solely in Horus Heresy. (No Xenos in the foreseeable future) and thereby incompatible with old Epic players or people not interested in Imperial Pattern God Machines. As a 40k/30k port, it really doesn’t hold the attraction to people outside the hobby that Lord of the Rings has. So it is banking off an existing base of enthusiastic hobbyists diving in…
At a $290 Price Point
GW… as I pointed out, people have already spent over $500 this summer on your stuff. Where do you think $300 FOR A STARTER is coming from? Its an instant turn off for A LOT OF PEOPLE. Especially when they know they will need MORE UPGRADES (as there is only 1 weapons loadout) and MORE TITANS (Warhounds haven’t even been previewed). This means even FEWER players. Oh, and there is the fact I need MORE TERRAIN and can’t cross it with anything else really (maybe some obscure games like polyversal. Maybe dropzone. But overall, nothing really. Not nearly the utility of all the other games).
Lastly, people are just DYING for the last of the 40k Codices at this point. There are indicators that we will see the first of them (Orks? Fingers crossed) by the end of the month. There are people that are just going to hold off COMPLETELY on current purchases hoping that their faction will release soon.
What Should Have Been Done Differently OVERALL
The AoS 2.0 release is fine. It started the summer with a bang. Good Deal.
Imperial Knights should have been followed up with CODEX ORKS and GSC. Give the XENOS players something to celebrate about too. Invigorate the whole 40k community/meta. Plus give us 2 more Codices closer to completion.
There are a lot of rumors involving Leman Russ returning surrounding the release of the SW codex. If that’s true, that should have been lined up to be the end of summer release.
Release Kill Team in the wake of ALL the 40k Codices. All the factions would be out and people would be interested in doing one for their faction. They would also be looking for terrain for their now COMPLETE EDITION OF THE GAME.
Releases Stacked on Top of Each Other
Chaos BB was fine. I would have waited a little longer for Dark Elves myself.
Why was Cawdor and Gand WarIV released RIGHT ON THE BACK OF KILL TEAM? Doesn’t make a lick of sense. They are competing skirmish games. If GW was hoping to snag more Necromunda players with a new Gang, they were all distracted by Kill Team and adding onto factions they already own. The two should have been distanced by at least a month in my opinion. I would have done Cawdor and Gang War first personally. Snag more Necromunda players, get them pumped about Skirmish, then hit them with Kill Team.
As much as it’s been hyped, Titanicus and LotR should have been saved for the Fall. I would have done LotR first, sometime Mid-fall (early Oct-ish) after everyone has recouped from the summer and all the hype of all that new stuff from AoS and 40k has trailed off.
Titanicus should have been the BIG Christmas Item. Ride that excessive materialism time of year. People would be willing to spend $290 on it for a Christmas gift. You would get players who wouldn’t buy it themselves but would at least ask for it. Furthermore, the Horus Heresy novel that is tied in with it called “Titandeath” releases in December! And the game has apparently had some production issues which is why there is no Warhound yet.
It would have been nice to see a Warhound and more weapons options at release, which delaying could have allowed for.
There should be 2 editions of the game. The Grandmaster with 2 Warlords. But, there should have been a second set with all the same stuff, except instead of 2 Warlords, 2 Reavers! What this would have done is set a lower price point for game entry. $290 is tough, no matter how good of a deal the box is over buying it individually.
It is just too expensive. A $180-$210 starter with Reavers would have just been easier for people to manage, even if it is technically a lesser amount. Furthermore, people that want to go full on into the game would have bought BOTH EDITIONS and have a full maniple RIGHT OFF THE BAT with enough terrain for a full game. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
GW should have made it MUCH CLEARER that the average game is only 3-4 Titans (as I’ve read in WD). I really don’t see Titanicus being that big of an investment overall. You don’t need a lot to play. Just a really high start-up cost. And a lot of people seemed to have missed that.
I really hope Titanicus and LotR do well in the long run. I would like to do both (but Forge World Dwarves are expensive too!) Titanicus can be a great game for Cons or events.
If you are worried about new players, get enough for you to always provide for 2 players. (about 10 titans overall from what I’ve read). Just go to cons and play there. It will all be okay. BUT I think it is not as great as it COULD have been and it is all due to just too much stuff too close together at too high of a cost.