Many of you already know that our gaming club used to eat, drink, breathe, and bathe in GW fandom. It's true. Most of our members are well versed in the ancient lore of the 40K and Fantasy settings. Also included were the Lord of the Rings, Necromunda, and Mordheim. We even did the role-play, Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, and Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. We read all the articles published, bought the magazines, followed the games through many editions, and bought almost every model we could get our hands on.
We loved us some GW. Man o' man, it was a glorious time. We never had to want for battle. We had many great campaigns and traversed the universes created by ol' GW. They had treated us well, gave us many different options from which to choose; along with solid story lines to follow and to partake. There was support to the gaming stores we frequented and the worldwide campaigns were epic. Somewhere along the way though, the company lost it's soul (or sold it).
For a long time we were blinded to the diminished importance of the rules that governed these games. We made sure to stay relevant and buy the new editions, which were increasing in price. Along with the main rule books we had to buy new army books. We didn't mind. We loved the feeling of new. Then the editions would change again before there was a complete set of books per edition. Still we played on using the older armies books until the new one could be bought. We still played and had some good times and all seemed well. Surely GW would finally put out a complete set.
Sometime before the release of the sixth edition of 40K the care that went into the game seemed to disappear entirely. I remember playing it against one of the members of the Wargate, him with his Chaos Space Marines and I with my Imperial Guard. I had scads of guardsmen with troop transports and tanks galore. He had three troops of space marines and three squads of heavy support called obliterators. The obliterators weren't new to the game but the rules for them had changed just a bit. Normally you could only carry one squad of up to three, but that rule was no more. So, it was my entire army against his three squads of three. Those nine obliterators destroyed everything I had while his troops of space marines hid in bunkers.
I know not everyone reading this will understand why that change in the rules matters, so I'll just say that the obliterators are extremely hard to remove from play. Not only that, they carry all the heavy weapons. I had what amounted to thirteen tanks and over one hundred soldiers demolished in almost every game I played against him while he would lose maybe one or two obliterators.
I tell that story to say that we here at the Wargate love balanced rules and balanced game design. It's kind of our thing. What in points was supposed to be equal clearly didn't show through in the game play. It became a challenge to all of us to defeat this perfectly legal by the rules army. We only accomplished the feat a few times out of all the times that particular army was on the table and that was by the technicality of the scenario. Never by annihilation.
What it basically boiled down to was the fact that the designers of these games were told to push priority towards new expensive units. These new units ended up getting special rules to help move product from the warehouse and to hell with the fairness of the rules. A pay to win system was developed under the guise of a new rule set. Moneyhammer was born.
That fact alone was enough for some in our group to not want to play GW games anymore. We were loyal customers that followed them for years because of the games they produced not just the spiffy models. We had always looked for an excuse to buy something new from them and most of the time didn't even need an excuse. We loved their products. We loved them because of the games and the stories we created using them. If they no longer cared how could we?
It became a betrayal to their own fan base. A betrayal to us. We chose to wait a while and see if they would come to their senses. We waited and waited. It became clear that the only thing changing was the story line with Warhammer Fantasy Battles. They ended the world in the setting we played in for so long. Yet another stab into our already bleeding backs. Now we feel alienated from the games we used to love.
When they stopped caring about the players around countless tables across the world playing their game, they cheated themselves and us. Never again will they have the opportunity they had. They have become a joke. There are those that will say, "It's just a game." For a lot of people though it is a time of coming together and enjoyment with close friends and family where stories are told through the constant struggles in a grim universe. It's a shame that they don't concern themselves with the community of gamers anymore.
The only concern for them now is the bottom line. How much money can they bilk out of those still loyal to the "stories" being told? How much can they charge for fewer and fewer models per box? How long can they honestly keep the hype up? How can they justify not play-testing the games they sell enough to work out the kinks? Where does the community of gamers fit into Games Workshops future? Only time will tell.
They took something away from us. Something greater than the games we played. A sense of community. That is what was lost. We were part of that community, but no more. No longer do we play in their universes. No longer do we buy their products (luckily, they got even more expensive). No longer do we paint their models. We no longer feel welcome to Games Workshops table. We no longer support the machinations of Games Workshop.
Yeah sure it was a tough break up for the Wargate, but it was a healthy one. Sometimes you just have to leave an abusive partner. Now we only invest ourselves in games that have complete rules and competent writers. We prefer game companies that want to foster community with those that play their games.
So, here we are. Looking to the future. Which is actually pretty bright. We look forward to the years to come with a sigh of relief and a much clearer focus than ever before. More news on that coming soon. Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed the post (or hated it) give it a Bone Up and leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.