Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Comparing Games Workshop to Marmite

Hello Wargamers,

First things first when reading this title I'm sure you might be a little confused expect to say you will have an opinion on both of the focal points of this article, Marmite and Games Workshop (GW). So why have I used this as a comparison? Well with GW it's a love/hate relationship, much like with Marmite, supposedly.

Every wargamer will have their thoughts on GW, be it good or bad, and it would be fair to say they get a lot of negative feedback on sites like twitter and such. So I think it's fair to mention this is not another "I hate GW" rant from someone who still buys their products, I'm just exploring my likes and dislikes of their practices and other such things, while trying to keep it constructive.

I will start with the likes. I love their models, the model design is fantastic, the quality of the plastic and resin miniatures is unmatched in my eyes and this makes them a pleasure to build and to paint. The 40k narrative fluff is amazing too, very creative and intricate. It's extensive too being thorough for every race, this makes the game that much more fun to play. I like the vast majority of the actual gameplay. This is because the basic rules are pretty easy to follow, the other rules can be learnt too and with the little A5 rule book from starter boxes at least rules checks are easy to make. I like the codecies, the wide range of options and ways to field each army makes every game different and interesting. Finally I really like the fact that games in store are free, on nice tables and staff tend to be friendly when you ask for help/advice. So yes, there are lots of good points about GW that people tend to neglect when they get their pens out ready to write hate mail, but not everything is sunshine and roses.

I really dislike the store policies. Even if members of staff are polite about putting some things, and that's most of the time, the fact that I can't use a 1 week out of date codex, even if my opponent is totally fine with it is outrageous. I am a student, I'm not made of money and they are expecting me to be able to just cough up £35 for a book that has made a couple of changes, but nothing enough to make me really want to buy it right away? It just seems a bit silly, and, it's things like this that will make me no longer buy from in store or from their web store unless the item I wish to purchase is not available else where. Also the lack of allowances for custom modelling and stuff can be frustrating too, especially for people who love to model. With regards to spending this leads nicely into the next point, pricing. Now yes GW makes great mini's but prices are getting steep, yes people say "oh but inflation has gone up" well the prices for the new assault marines are £5/7 more expensive than 5 or so years ago, even with recent inflation rates they would be around £1.50 more expensive. Why the big mark up? Because once people are hooked GW are looking to take advantage of that by making them have to buy new books and new models and new releases in order to make the most out of their hobby. But surely these high costs can deter new gamers from playing no? My last dislike is their lack of social  media representation. It can get frustrating that there isn't an offical twitter page that is updated with new releases etc, surely they want to maximise their market size by involving more people, now I'm not studying business, just economics, and even I know how important using social media and getting yourself the largest possible market to sell in is very important.

So yeah I like everything to do with 40k, yes some rules can be unclear but I don't mind that too much, and I really like the store set up with tables etc however it's GW's policies that annoy me, to the point of me looking for other gaming venues to avoid their rather needlessly strict "rules" for in store gaming.

Anyway, semi-rant over and thanks for reading!



  1. Nice blog you've got going, here. Thanks for the follow on Twitter. I thought I'd come and see who you were.

    GW and I more-or-less parted company a couple of years ago, some time between 5th and 6th edition 40k. I just never felt motivated to but 6th, even though it was a definite improvement.

    It wasn't GW, though. It was me. GW was still doing pretty much what they'd always done throughout the decades of my devotion. But my needs from wargaming had changed. I wanted something less bombastic and silly. I wanted games I could enjoy with just a handful of minis as well as a few hundred. I wanted to be surprised and delighted by my gaming experiences.

    It was (I imagine) like being in a long-term relationship in which you've grown up and come to seek something different, but found yourself stuck with a partner who's still sing the same-old, same-old...

    We didn't split up exactly. It was an amicable separation. At the risk of extending the metaphor too far, we still meet occasionally. Sparks still fly. I'd even say it's been better since I've been seeing other games. OK, I'll stop now.

    The point I find myself making, time after time, to the dedicated GW crowd is that whilst GW is the big dog, commercially, it doesn't have a monopoly on quality. There are loads (*loads*) of companies out there doing amazing things with minis, rules and settings that are at least as good and often better than what GW does.

    I reckon I'll probably buy some Mechanicus stuff in due course. My 15-year-old self wouldn't forgive me if I didn't. But I've still got a bunch of 6mm armoured dinosaurs to paint. And these yakuza gangsters. And those 70s-style SAS commandos. And my Vaettir army for Relics, and my High Value Target for Infinity, and the Leviathan mech from Dreamforge Games, and...

    And as for games...

    GW is fine. They're OK. I can see why people want to play their games and collect their minis. I guess it's the exclusivity that I don't get. GW and me? We're not exclusive. We have an open relationship. And things are much better that way.

    1. Well first off, thanks for reading it ha, nice to hear from the people who do read it too! Secondly, funnily enough I had thought about looking into other games and mini's as a side project, I've heard infinity looks good so that's perhaps something for me to go with, still think 40k will be my main interest but there is no harm in expanding my reach.

    2. First, yes, Infinity is very, very good.

      Second, yeah, if you're going to write a blog called "*Tabletop* Banter", a more diverse background in games would be useful.