Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The Nagash Cat's out of the Bag: Writing on the wall for WHFB for me ?

Nagash, the writing on the wall for me?

Enter Herohammer! Monsterhammer. Take your pick: The shape of things to come ?
Or just a (costly) diversion? Disillusionment for me.

Undead rising. the beginning of the end of WHFB for me?

So pictures of Nagash are now flooding the net, and the new Manfred, or is it Vlad?, and Neferata? and new Spirit hosts, and, and...

So hot from Europe, shamelessly reposted off the Interweb:


Not Aghast, but Morghast!

Aghast is also my reaction on seeing the price in NZ. Lovely models. Beautiful, fragile, too expensive.
Anyhow, form your own opinion.

"Warhammer, The End Times is noted to contain new rules that change the way a game of Warhammer can be played. It is not a new edition."

(So read supplement or expansion?)

The Releases:

Warhammer: Nagash
2 hardback books in a slip case. ($165 NZ)

1. Book 1: 296 page fluff book detailing the return of Nagash and events that affect every Warhammer race
2. Book 2: 96 page book containing rules for Nagash, new miniatures, the Lore of Undeath, Undead Legion, fighting underground and more apparently.

3. Nagash - no mention of him being a dual kit, rules are included in the box. $175 NZ (Ouch) 65 pounds in UK, $105 US.

4. Magic Cards Lore of the Undead ($12)

5. Nagash Novel ($50)

Pew! Goes my excitement... Can anyone please explain to me how 50 Pounds becomes $160 (One pound = NZ$ 1.97 today) Even in China it is only 500 RMB (NZ$ 96) Why is GW screwing their fan base in NZ and Aus so badly? The US is getting the Limited Ed for the price of the standard in NZ. Come on GW!

"What the background in the WD tells us:

- I hope you didn't like Kislev, because there is no longer a Kislev.
<Ok, there goes another of my armies>

- Archaon advance have been stalled by Vlad under the order of Nagash (the Empire was in major trouble).
- Nagash goes fighting to unite the Tomb Kings and VC (one of the scenario pictured in WD translate into "the Fall of Settra").

Regarding miniatures/rules:
- Nagash is magnificent, and very very tall thanks to his flying posture (he is supported by a bunch of souls).
- But he's not that massive overall, I have no idea how he managed to reach the 85€ pricetag.
<Come live in NZ mate, and feeel the pain>
- Not a dual kit.
- No other models that week, but the ones serving under him are hinted at the end of WD for the week after (so I suppose Vlad and that Arkhan dude, note that I know the WFB lore very poorly).
- As people expected, the new magic lore appear to work like Demonology for 40k (except with undead).
- Rules are changing with that extension, 50% lords for example."

Quick Cost tally:

$175 model
$165 books
$12 Magic cards
$50 novel

So were talking $500 by the time we've bought glue, paint, etc. How about a few more miniatures?
I think not, sorry GW.
So maybe the End Times are Nigh for me too. 

Much as I love the Warhammer World and WHFB I fear that GW and their pricing structure in NZ has finlly succeeded in killing it for me. I have a gaming room full of miniatures that are becoming obsolete faster than I can build or paint them. You got me really excited about Nagash's return, but now shattered this with your pricing practices.

Oh yea, and you've shut down the online retailers in Aus. Not that this rant would make any ripples in Nottingham. "We don't listen to our customers. their opinion is otoise, serving no practical purpose or result, superfluous" Let me tell you something from my business: You cannot afford NOT to listen to your customers.

I suspect this rant heralds my exit from the game. If this is the shape of things to come, I'd rather not be part of your otoise customers.I  have had enough of the arms race you are creating. 

Rex, I think you were right in your post. GW does not care about its customers. Definitely not those in NZ and Aus.

I have just reread Tom Kirby's preamble to the annual report again:

The Future
"Next year, internally, there will be some disruption remaining from the big reorganisation we have just made and from the one man store programme. Nevertheless I, and all the rest of Games Workshop, still believe we should be growing by opening new stores; particularly in North America and Germany."

External events that may affect us are only those things that bother everyone: interest rates, tax rates, exchange rates, directives from Brussels, war, pestilence and disease. What will not change is the eternal desire for some always to want yet more of the small, jewel-like objects of magic and wonder that we call Citadel miniatures.

Beyond next year, the business ought to be able to increase sales (single digit growth, not more) for many years and to provide owners with a steady flow of dividends. I say ‘ought to’ because no plan survives contact with the enemy and we will not promise what we cannot deliver — in particular our policy of only returning surplus cash as dividends will remain. We will not borrow (nor engage in fancy financial engineering) to pay a coupon.

Reported sales fell by 8.2% to £123.5 million for the year. On a constant currency basis, sales were down by 6.5% from £134.6 million to £125.9 million; progress was achieved in Other sales businesses (+20.9%) and Export (+2.7%) while sales in UK (-7.1%), Continental Europe (-10.6%), North America (-7.5%), Australia (-9.4%) and Asia (-3.3%) were in decline.

Sales fell by 9% in the year, partially due to the continental european reorganisation and a disappointing year in North America.
Mail order
Our new online shop was launched this year and our online sales are broadly in line with the prior year.
We are vertically integrated. We design, manufacture and distribute ourselves; we have our own stores and web store. With the sole, and rapidly declining, exception of products from Tolkien's books we use only our own imaginary worlds. They are rich enough and deep enough to accommodate anything we may want to make, and they remain our property.

Risks and uncertainties
That we are ex-growth is a big risk seen by some. As I said above I do not believe it. But if it is true we have built a wonderfully efficient cash-generating machine. The bigger risk is the same one I repeat each year, and that is management. So long as we have great people we will be fine. Problems will arise if the board allows egos and private agendas to rule.We also need a constant flow of great managers for our stores. In the end that is still the most important thing of all.

Our market is a niche market made up of people who want to collect our miniatures. They tend to be male, middle-class, discerning teenagers and adults. We do no demographic research, we have no focus groups, we do not ask the market what it wants. These things are otiose in a niche.

Opinion: Very little mention of us, the consumer, it is all about management and the personnel being the key to profits, no explanation for why profits are down across the board, except it must be all be related to management reorganization. This report is designed to reassure investors that GW will continue to print dividend checks no matter how many employee sackings and price increases it takes. And it cares not how many long-time fans and customers in NZ and Aus they loose.

- See more at: Blood of Kittens


  1. I'm not sure how you can equate 1 model release (the most powerful individual in warhammer) to equal herohammer.
    8th edition is riddled with powerful special characters, and Nagash is no exception. A large target, for 1000 points, with T7, W7 and a 4+ ward. Dead by turn 3! How is it any different to a K'daai which is a 3rd of the price? And its not the first time a Level 5 has appeared. I can think of several other casters that equal or exceed him.

    As for pricing, there is a dozen ways to pay UK retail, and ship it here, and no need to pay NZ retail.

    As for obsolete models, I've been collecting for over 20 years, and none of my models are obsolete.

    1. Hi Joss. I too have been collecting since the 1990s. By obsolete I mean that they are unplayable in 2400 games, either because their stats have been nerfed or the meta has changed so much that I would be a fool to play them. I have probably (like you) spent the equivalent of a small luxury car on this hobby. I dearly love my miniatures, the lore and the fluff around it. I played Warhammer Age of Reckoning Online to the bitter end. I devour the books. I have every army with the exception of Tomb Kings, High Elves, Wood Elves and Brettonians. The smallest army is/was Kislev at around 2000 points, my Empire Armies number around 12 500 -15 000 points. (Without buffs and fluffs) When last did I field Valten, Zaccharias, any of my Kislev miniatures, my Black Orcs, Dark Elf swordsmen, Gotrek and Felix, my 2 Dwarf Flame Throwers? ...I can carry on the whole day. My Mordheim collection, Oops, we don't support that anymore. The reality of my gaming is that I have limited time (Read professional career with after hours work and a family) I game when I can, more often than not against competitive gamers that play the tournament circuit. For me to have any chance of winning I am forced to buy into the arms race. I am just throwing the Herohammer thing out there for comment, based to the 50% lords comment in the post. The concept is good. The pricing in NZ sucks. I probably have more disposable income now than I have ever had, but I cannot justify to continually having to work around the system because the maker of my shiny toys does not value my custom! Middle class discerning teenagers and adults. No longer in NZ and Aus. GW is pricing themselves out of their niece down under. But then, I suppose they don't factor in that many of the thousands of dollars that reflect in Europe actually came from here, if we all went to the work-around. I have a contact in the EU that can ship any model to me for 5 Euro, if I'm prepared to wait 3-4 weeks. All I want is to be able to walk into a GW shop and buy that shiny jewel of a creation I crave at a reasonable price, and walk out with it in hand. Is that not what is known as a (jaded term) win-win? The only power I have is where I spend my dollar. Looks like GW no longer wants it.

    2. I hear your pain Herman, and can of course sympethise... I got out of the 40k and WFB for the same reasons many moons ago; pricing, power creep, units and indeed whole armies going defunct at the drop of a hat... I have stuck with their LOTR/Hobbit for a love of the setting/movies/books etc... pricing is indeed still crazy but I am fortunate to have UK contacts I can source from... and frankly you dont need a million models to play the game... and there is little power creep. Our 600pts game the other night had about 30 models a side and played to a satisfactory conclusion in about 2.5hrs and thats playing slow. Plus you can pick up the core troops cheap-as on trademe/ebay if you look... Fancy coming over to the dark side ? ;-)

    3. @ Joss... obsolete models?

      Squats... a whole army made defunct with the next rules incarnation...
      40k Orks - Snakebite boar riders - got them half painted , next rules edition they're gone...
      Dwarfs - man portable flame thowers... gone... etc etc...
      The list goes on and on...

  2. I can't argue with your frustration about pricing and GW's treatment of its customers, particularly in our part of the world. I'm not sure how much I'd be reading into the Nagash release and any rule twists. The model itself is presumably pretty big, given it appears to be on an Arachnarok base (yay, another thing on a stupid base).

    So you don't have anyone to play who isn't focused on competitive play? Nobody would want to play games where you both intentionally shelve some of the better stuff in order to blow the dust off the old and unloved models?

    1. I suppose you've hit the nail on the head. The Wellington area has become extremely competitive, and the gaming community is small. I have had some great fun games when everybody is not preparing for one tournament or another. My regular social gaming partner moved away 2 years ago, and I've struggled to find fun games, continually coming up against someones proven tournament killer list or testing-a-wanna-be-winner-because-I'm-going-to-tournament list takes a great deal of fun out of the game for me. Knee-jerk is to invest in models that make my army more competitive. Finding it hard to find an even playing field. I have found SAGA provides better balance, at less cost. But I do lover Warhammer. I agree we should not read too much into a single character or expansion release, just trying to stimulate conversation/speculation.

  3. Herman, you sound like my kind of player. Maybe I do need to move up to Kapiti, to play themed scenarios beyond the standard 2,400 tournament prep.

    As for what Nagash means, whether he's the end of Warhammer as you know it, it's too early to tell I think. Let the dust settle first and we'll see how it goes.

    My take is that if Warhammer becomes a game I don't like, I'll be buying a copy of Kings of War and trying that out.

    1. Tane, the door's open. I know a good estate agent! You're welcome at any of our games days or any weekend games. I'd love to play Nagash as he's been created (or against him for that matter) in any format. Great to have him back. was really exited about this. I like Pete's take on it: Sticker Shock. I just can't justify Spending $400 to take part in this. What worries me is that this may be the direction 9th ed may be taking - massive character models that each cost $150-$200, and Monsterous Cavalry at $120-150 per box.

  4. Herman what struck me the most about this post was not the stuff on Nagash and GW but your comments about the lack of fun games. Really got me thinking about why I/we play at our local club.

    I like the Nagash thing as it advances the fluff of the game which to me was the biggest omission from the new 8th rules - they could have advanced the timeline of the whole WHFB world forward a few hundred years and really changed things up, but they didn't. I will probably buy the new book just because it looks cool, just as I'll eventually get the new Space Marine codex even though I'll never play Space Marines or 40k.

    But you are correct in that the shift to competitive tournament play and the increasing number of regular tournament goers has changed the nature of club gaming and the decision making of those players when it comes to the hobby. Many of us are, as you aptly put it, forced to join the arms race a race that does at times suck the fun out of the game.

    Its a topic I'd actually like to explore some more - hope you don't mind me posting a link to that discussion here.

    1. Hi John, not at all. Glad to share, and thanks for taking notice of my rantings. I'm really glad this has opened a debate. I find myself retracting into garagehammer, and modelling rather than gaming more and more. I don't have the time to get involved in the tournament circuit big time, and I've honestly actively started looking at alternatives. Maybe I should not be ranting at GW quite as much as I should be ranting at the tournament meta, and what it has done to the social aspects of the game. The difficult thing is that the tournament scene has kept WHFB alive in NZ, despite the obvious pricing and obsolescence issues. The tournament scene is also the reason that you and I, and many others are having this discourse. It is due to the tournament scene bringing us together! Truly a twin-edged sword. I'll follow your post with interest, and possibly follow with a post on the subject myself