Yeah, I know, we’re flogging a dead horse again. You can tell from the title what is coming up and we may be recovering old ground but if people don’t speak out nothing changes. Not that it’s really all that likely that one small voice will make a difference but still, this is the Internet so why not give voice to my feelings, it is my blog after all.
First, some context. Before Christmas I got the new 6th Ed 40K box and have been slowly building a second army for it. I’ve also been building another army to go alongside my Ogres in Fantasy. I’ve got all the models I need for my Fantasy force and am a mere couple boxes off having all I need for my 40k army done too. However, I’ve not played a single game of Fantasy this year. Not at all, and even worse than that (maybe) I can count the number of GW games I played last year on one hand. They’re just not as popular with our group as a whole and it’s really only Gribblin and I that ever play each other.
So, why the volatile post title? Well, the clue, as the more eagle-eyed readers will have noticed, is in the image attached to this post. No-one that plays GW games is shocked by the constant price increases, we’re all well aware that they are not basing their prices off inflation in the UK, more like that of Zimbabwe. I am old and remember Codexes costing £10, they are now three times that price, yes they are full colour, yes they are hardback, I’ll concede that the presentation at least has improved. What I am not happy about is what I hope is not a new trend. The latest book out was Codex: Eldar, worth a mention in and of itself for the fact there’s a £70 model in their range now. I think someone took a look at what Privateer Press were doing and decided to hop on a bandwagon without realising that the entry cost to their competitor’s game is much lower. Thirty quid Codexes I’m not really happy about but can’t complain as I’ve bought a couple. What I really don’t like is the Direct Only Codex: Iyanden. I am not against supplements that allow you to change your army up and play to a theme, what I am against is that this book is only available from GW and costs the same as the original Codex! I know that there are going to be people who will not only buy this but will also defend it by virtue of the fact that you don’t HAVE to buy it. I know that, but the fact that there’s a company that thinks that what amounts to an addendum to a book, that is completely useless without the first book, should be the same price as that first book, well, that’s crazy to me.
I can show my displeasure by not buying it and choosing not to buy any more products from the company. Considering this latest decision by them I am really thinking about ditching all my GW stuff. It would make a lot of room available in my miniatures storage and would allow me much greater focus on the other games that I have. However, that’s not necessarily as easy as it seems. You see, GW’s real value is in the fact that, in the UK at least, they are everywhere. No matter where you go in this country you are going to be able to find people who play GW’s games. You’re less likely to find folks for other systems although I believe that WarmaHordes may be gaining a lot of traction these days. So, if I did get rid of it would I have to buy in again at a later date if I move house to somewhere that doesn’t have anyone to play X-wing or Dropzone Commander against. I do have some Warmachine but nowhere near a full armies worth.
So, rather than just rant at things here, let’s look objectively at some of the options we have for gaming and the various costs.
Budget GW entry: £65 for either Fantasy or 40k set, two basic armies that you could play through with the scenarios. Imbalanced in parts on either side. To play either properly add £60 for Codexes in 40K or £50 for Fantasy. So, budget entry just to play £115 or £120 if you’re not fussed about playing equal points games or how the game is balanced to play. Total: £120
Fantasy Entry: £45 main rules (yes I know you can get the mini rulebook off eBay for £20 but is someone new to the hobby necessarily going to be aware of that?) £30 army book, £70 battalion set and £12 for a character model. Depending on the battalion this might not be a valid army either, but should get you in the ball park of at least being able to play. Total: £162
40k Eldar Entry: Normal 40k should be pretty much the same as Fantasy, but if we take this as a measure of what GW might be doing for the future let’s put this together for the sake of completeness. £45 main rules again, £30 for the main Codex, another £30 for the Iyanden as that’s what we want to play. £70 Battleforce set and then £12 for a Farseer. Note that this may not actually include any of the units you really want for the Iyanden army, Wraithguard and a WraithKnight will set you back another £100. Total: £187
Dropzone Commander Entry: Rulebook £15, Starter Army £88, let’s even be generous and throw in a Cityscape so you have a complete battlefield to play on as well so £30. Total: £133
Warmachine Entry: Rulebook £20 for the Mk2 and a starter box for £35. Technically you don’t need the rulebook because of quick start rules in the boxes but for completeness against other options I think it’s fair. If you do want to really expand though you’re also going to be looking at another £20 for a softcover army book. Then the same again for the extra books to bring you up to date with everything, although technically these aren’t needed as cards are in with the models. But still, book purchases can get expensive as you add to stuff. Total: £55
Infinity Starter: Excellent game but has a huge learning curve. You’re also going to end up spending a lot on terrain for this one, but we’re not factoring that in to start-up costs. £30 for the rulebook and £30 for a non-sectorial starter set are all you are going to need. Total: £60
Malifaux Starter: Rulebook £20, starter set £26 and a deck of cards £5. Total: £51
I left Dropzone Commander in here as it is widely seen as a very expensive game to get into. To play at the same level as the GW entries though the cost is fairly comparable and I even added in a full tables worth of terrain for you too so it isn’t a bad deal by any stretch of the imagination. For the other games you can see that the entry cost is literally half of the GW cost. Yes, I know that these are skirmish games and not mass army games but then 40k plays pretty much like a skirmish unless you are play Orks, Guard or Nids. Most other armies have a few squads and some vehicles which is not all that dissimilar to PP with some Jacks/Beasts and troops rounding our your army. All of these games play differently and I’ve by no means put down an exhaustive list of all the options available. Yet, we can see now just how badly GW are trying to gouge their position as market leaders and ubiquitous presence on tables the world over. I do know that GW have been losing customers because of their rather aggressive pricing and from speaking to my FLGS this is only going to get worse. This is the company that got me into tabletop gaming so while it may seem that all I do is rag on them I’m actually upset that they are trying so hard to destroy their legacy. I’d love them to carry on, to be the same company as it was when I would happily spend every penny of pocket-money I had on their new releases. Sadly though, I find myself once more contemplating abandoning them completely as I do not feel I can support a company that does so little for its customers while expecting them to pay through the nose at ever-increasing values.