What Good to Gain the World but Lose Your Soul?

After much speculation, it now looks like Games Workshop will not be applying an across the board price increase on models this year.

And there was much rejoicing.

Or was there?

Because this month we have seen Eldar Dire Avengers repackaged into a five model box for the same price as the previous box of ten. So the price might technically have gone up, but the cost certainly has, to the tune of 100%.

This sparked a furious debate among Phil and the rest of the gang on the Of Dice and Men podcast. There was a lot of speculation about whether we might see other sets like Space Marine Tactical Squads similarly repackaged. Sadly this possibility seems all too plausible to me.

I try not to be too irrational about GW prices. I try not to be like the people who feel entitled to protest when a publicly traded company with responsibilities to its shareholders acts like one. But this latest move really is bullshit. It’s a nasty, sneaky, petty little move, and it’s been carried out so blatantly and crassly that you can’t help but feel your intelligence has been insulted that they would do this right under our noses.

As I’ve said in previous posts, the cost has always been the biggest barrier to me getting back into GW games. I had been lured back into their orbit by the shiny Tau Empire, High Elves and Eldar releases, but this has been an important reminder, not just of the cost issue, but also of the all important cock-factor that helps us determine who we want to give our money too.

Prices go up. Inflation applies to pretty much everything, from crayons to laptops, from brushes to Forgeworld titans. But gratuitous price hikes like this really do piss off the consumer. Sure other companies raise their model prices too, but never to the same degree and they are still generally cheaper pound for pound. The few who are really expensive are generally producing minis for games you only need a handful of models for like MERCS, where once you have parted with your platinum and rubies for a faction box, you never really need spend a penny on it again.

The problem with GW has always been the amount of stuff you have to buy compared to other companies to have a viable force, especially the amount of ‘boring’ stuff you have to buy before you can try to squeeze in the cool shiny stuff with loads of dakka. And if you want lots of the cool stuff, you need to get more of the dull stuff too. It is unfortunate also that a lot of the really cool stuff is the most expensive, simply because of basic economies of scale and the fact that GW can’t sell as much of them so have to make their cost back with higher prices. This is why Greatswords cost so much more than State Troops and the Ball Predator is more than a normal one.

Collecting a GW army is increasingly looking like a long, tortuous and above all expensive road to follow. I think I will try another path.

In other news, my Warzone stuff is being sent out on the 24th, so hopefully I will have something new play with – and to review for The Shell Case – soon. Plus, I’m minded to check out Sedition Wars. [Because it’s the tits. Ed]

Any skirmish games my fellow Warmongers would suggest I check out? Leave a comment below.

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9 thoughts on “What Good to Gain the World but Lose Your Soul?

  1. Well I just got hold of a game called PMC 2640. The rules are pretty solid and though it is a squad based 28mm game, it seems to work just as well at 15mm scale too. Possibly better.

    1. It’s designed as 15mm “default scale” with single mounted miniatures (or squad based using optiona rule).

  2. I understand how you feel- I’ve been holding out for the Eldar release for ages, but when it finally hit all I could muster was ‘meh, probably pass’. GW really needs to use smaller scale battles/ actual skirmishes to act as gateways for the hobby. Yes, the new edition starter sets are great, but not everyone will want to play High Elves, Skaven, Spiky power armour or green emo power armour.

    As for the box switch, it’s been going on forever.
    20 Cadians/Catachans @ $50AUD ->10 @ $48
    19 Orc boys @ $50 -> 10 @$48

    Give me the days when all regiment/squad boxes were 16-20 guys for $50 and each battalion/battleforce was a nice $150. for $200-$250, you’d have at least 1000 points and a decently fleshed out army, not to mention the cost for starting each army is the same ($190 for IG when Eldar [were] $160)

    1. The Eldar release was just a bit disappointing.

      It is now so hard to get started (or re-started in my case) in the GW hobby. Anyone sticking to a budget of any kind could spend many months just trying to build up a usable force. It’s a shame that GW were never able to make their skirmish games cost-effective, but they did severely limit the scope of them.

  3. I remember a time when you got 4 metal models per blister pack and it cost less that 8 $. In the good old days… Granted the models weren’t as well sculpted, but they had character and we got by just fine.

    Today’s models are much better from a purely technical point of view, but in many cases they range from overly ornate to downright idiotic depending on your personal taste. As mentioned many times there are rational reasons for the gradual price increases from all companies in the business, but GW holds the top spot for prices.I agree their plastic kits are arguably the best quality on the market, but the numbers of said models that you need to play the game does make it pretty hard to justify such an expense.

    Locally all the veteran GW gamers (the generation that started toward the end of the 90s) rage-quit at one of the many extravagant price hikes and/or related PR disasters from GW management (calling your customers Leeches isn’t exactly a smart move…) and jumped to other manufacturers.

    I currently play Warmachine and Malifaux, since I prefer the game systems and they are both cheaper to sustain than GW (even though I am a compulsory faction completeist and own several factions/crews for both). I would suggest trying those out, but judging from past articles on this blog and the ODAM podcast, you should be already familiar with those games, so I’ll be interested to hear more about other skirmish games we don’t play locally…

    Anyway, keep up the good work and cheers:)

    1. I rather feel that after a certain point, the ever increasing of GW models gets a bit redundant. I often feel like we’re paying for them to push the envelope for its own sake rather than because people are crying out for better models.

      A lots of models – especially Fantasy ones are so stylised and ornate as the be ridiculous – eg the Vampire Coven Throne, which looks like what you get when you run a heavy metal album cover through a 3d printer.

      Plus, these days, a lot of the price of a box of toys is going on spare bits we will never use. There are so many optional bits, presumably to help break up the vast numbers of toys you need now.

      GW do have a problem with customer relations don’t they.

      I’m not familiar with Malifaux. I had a trial game of Warmachine one and thought it was a good system, but I’m not sure there’s a faction I really want to collect. Maybe I should take another look.

      I’m waiting for my stuff from the Warzone Resurrection kickstarter to be sent out. Excited about that.

      I also think Dystopian Wars and Firestorm Armada are pretty good.

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