Tag Archives: Sherriff

Games Workshop – Worth It Depending on Your Point of View


Now, I have to admit that there are few topics as likely to be as vociferous as the conversations around the Sherriff’s pricing strategy. Often lamented as going off the slots that particular units fill from a force organisation or army list point of view. At least that would go some way towards explaining why 10 White Lions cost you the same as a college education. This “myth” is debunked by the awesome Arachnarok that I think is well priced for the size of the kit.

However, what I don’t want is another rant against the Games Workshop massive and their inflation (and wallet) busting decision-making. What I actually want to say today is that perhaps I can start to understand the other side of the fence right now.

Way back when I first started getting into Warhammer Fantasy I looked through the armies and ended up with a load of stuff for the Tomb Kings. I’ve long been a fan of the Undead in the Warhammer universe and the Egyptian styling was an aesthetic that had great appeal to me. My enthusiasm for the army was only blunted after a brutal crushing at the hands of the floating citadel’s very own Wood Elf hippy-meister Gribblin. I sold the Nehekharans and my Beastmen in 2005 and never looked back, however they will always be my first army and now, as many of you will know, they are the next in line to be released.

Plenty of shiny new models are splashed across the Internet as every Tom, Dick and Ramses is linking and reposting the images. Now, I have to admit to being super-impressed with the new items. I loved the imagery before and they’ve done a really great job of updating things and adding in stuff that I like. The Sphinx are obviously the stand-out models for the new range and as it follows the same kind of pricing as the Arachnarok I would be happy to part with my cash for that.

The real reason for the post though is to talk about the Tomb Guard. These guys were one of my favourite units in the original book, OK the models weren’t all that hot really but I liked them. The new models look amazing and yet they are stuck in the new GW scheme of “elite unit requires you to sell your soul to afford them” or the £25 for 10 models bracket. I in no way agree with GW stinging people for that much money and as Warhammer is now a game of large infantry formations the marketing staff must be laughing all the way to the Ferryman as they no doubt have the funding for the bribe to take them to their infernal destination.

£50 for a starting unit of 20 (who uses normal infantry units in lower numbers than this really?) is the same as a battalion for most armies and you tend to get way more than 20 models in one of those (with the possible exception of the Beastmen one). Yet, now I see one of the armies I have always had a soft spot for get one of these plastic sets and I can honestly say that I would actually part with the cash for this unit. Now, I’d use a discount retailer to save as much as I could but if the only place I could get them charged the full amount I reckon I might pay it!

I’ve pre-ordered the book for Tomb Kings so I’m going to give them a look, I will more than likely look at the possibilities for making unit fillers if I choose to do an army but the Tomb Guard would need to be two boxes strong at least for any unit even with a filler anyway, 10 models on their own would not be enough to do this allowing for wounds to be taken without ruining the ranking of the unit. I like unit fillers for their opportunity to reduce the cost of a unit to purchase and they can look really good too, however, if I were to use fillers I’d expect my opponent to be able to tell how many were left in a unit by totting up the ranks and files from the movement tray without anything too abstract.

So here I am, annoyed by the prices GW want us to pay but then also looking at something that to me is a fantastic piece of design work and my heart overriding my head. Watch out Gribblin I may need to get some more sand, after all, how could I not want to field one of these?;

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Games Workshop – Punters Justifying the Spend


Recently on the Warhammer Forum I came across a topic that slightly echoes what I was talking about in my Voting with your Wallet discussion. For those of you with RSI or who are just too lazy to click on links let me do a bit of TL;DR for you. The poster is asking whether people are actually bothered by how much things cost now from our capitalist Sherriff.

What really did things for me was the recent Advance Orders for the Dark Eldar Beastmasters. This is a Fast Attack choice in the army and they were pretty popular under the old Codex and are still decent and destined to be popular with the new book. The problem is that GW has released these as metals, not even a metal boxed set mind you, but individual blisters. There is £8 for the Beastmaster himself and you can take 5 of these per unit. There are three different kinds of beasts that you can then take per Beastmaster, each of these beasts are sold individually at, you guessed it, £8 a pop. Bear in mind that you are going to want multiples of these in a squad the cost rises pretty rapidly. A full unit of these guys costs more than a 1500pts Imperial Guard army!!!

In the back of my mind I think I’ll be completing my already written Dark Eldar list and that’ll probably be from discount online retailers following stuff I sell on eBay so no money is actually spent. However, looking at the thread on the forum it is really interesting to see the different responses that people have. I kind of figured all this out myself already and was going to remark on it then this post came along and gave me an even better excuse to discuss things.

Going back to my childhood (again) Games Workshop was a great place you could go in and pick up a blister pack for a few quid. It was easy enough to start your collection with pocket-money, nowadays when your Hive Tyrant costs over £30 (the price of two metal tactical squads when I started) you can’t quite see things in the same light. Things are even worse in fantasy of course. With GWs ’10 men in a box’ philosophy you’re OK in 40k as 10 is a pretty standard number for a squad, in Warhammer though you are probably looking at 20-30+ models for one regiment and now you are paying £18 for those 10 men a unit of plastics now costs more than metals used to. It’s even worse if you have a unit like Stormvermin or Phoenix Guard, one benefits from large numbers in a unit the other costs more than making them out of solid gold.

So, we have a thread asking about people’s reactions to this and the vast majority of these people are more than happy to keep paying whatever the asking price is raised too. I have to qualify this that I know a lot of people buy stuff online and from discount outlets but a lot of the people in the thread above are talking about stuff from GW stores. Some will only buy from eBay second-hand to save costs, but there are still a good number of people who will walk into a store and spend their money on full price stuff. It is now impossible to start an army on our pocket-money, for many youngsters I can imagine that parents have to pay out the significant start-up fee for their games. I know you can argue that all you need is a character and some troops, but I ask you, dear Internet, have you really ever done that? I know I tend to plan an army and buy it, I may start at 1000pts for 40k but I’ll be working to a goal of the full army and the outlay for even this size of force is not insignificant even with a low model count army like the ubiquitous Space Marines (who little Johnny is probably going to be encouraged to pick up first anyway).

The justification that people use is that other hobbies are more expensive so they feel they are still getting a good deal. Well, my car costs less than a Ferrari too… While this seems to be a prevailing feeling among those that are still happy to part with vast sums of cash to fund their habit I can’t help but think they are missing the point. The point isn’t that this is a cheaper hobby than others we could choose, it is that it is now vastly more expensive than it used to be. I would imagine the only other market in which goods have increased by a similar amount is housing! My house cost almost twice as much as my parents when they bought it in the mid 80s. In the nineties I could get a unit of metal terminators in blister packs for £15, now they are plastic and nearer £30.

It doesn’t take long for a conversation regarding GW to turn to their aggressive price rising strategy and people say that their prices should come down and people would buy more. The problem here is that while there are enough people who are willing to part with their cash in spite of these rises then there is no incentive for the Sherriff to consider doing anything about it. I’m looking at the minimum I need to do to finish off my GW projects  and then focus on other games as needed. I’ll have my armies and play them but I can see my disposable income going to a lot of other places before GW gets a share. If you’re happy to keep paying through the nose for stuff then who am I to argue, but if you are one of the people who do keep spending it then please don’t come around here complaining about the next price increase, while you continue to make a demand GW can but continue to ensure a supply.

I fear that the longevity of this hobby may be hurt by the crippling costs involved with getting into it. New blood is always good for a hobby but with all the cheaper alternatives even the high street presence of GW may not be enough to maintain their age-old dominance. Something needs to change but it needs the customer base to do it and unfortunately a lot of these people seem to have money to burn!