GW Grognard: This is How We Get Dead Game Systems

Hey everyone! Adam, from TFG Radio, back again this week to illuminate the darkness that are your minds.

There has been a lot of excitement in the gaming world this past week. A number things happened at the London Grand Tournament, and Games Workshop has made a few announcements. The one I will discuss this week is Games Workshop’s announcement of Warhammer Adventures, a new line of books aimed at young adults 8-12 years old. Mainly to discuss the communities reaction to the announcement.

This is how all young Mechanicus boys start out, right?

So apparently there are a number of people that are upset about GW making books that cater to young kids. Its actually funny because it almost sounds the same whenever a new edition would come out and people would complain that the game was being “dumbed down” so it would be easier for kids to play.  There have been concern about exposing the grim dark to people this young, or even the, GASP, sanitation of the grim dark for this new audience. People are crying to the winds in anguish over this new direction that GW has taken. To all this concern I will tell you that you guys need to “pump the brakes”.

I really do hope the books play out like this.

I don’t understand the vitriol that is being spewed about the new series. Sure, they will have to sanitize a few things in order to reach as many readers as possible within the age group. Just like most people, I will be curious to see when, or even if, they introduce Dark Eldar or Slaanesh to the series, how they will handle that subject matter. How does affect you if a young person reads the book? In fact, you don’t have to read the books at all. No one is forcing you to read them. GW isn’t pointing a bolter to your head, are they? No, and if you think they are, you have other issues. Truth be told, we actually need something like this. We need an easy way to capture young minds into the game or we will die as a game system.

Let’s be honest, We’d all end up like this

Now, I’ve played a lot of different game systems, both historical and fantasy/scifi. Some are still around, but a lot have fallen by the wayside. Now there are a myriad of reasons why this happened. One of the reasons, especially for games that had been around for a while, was that the player base got too old and there were no young people to replace, or increase, the player base. As a result, sales began to go down, and they never recovered. The need for new blood is a constant struggle for any game, or even organizations, that rely on a base number of people for it to function. Recruiting and retaining these new people is always an issue , with those in charge always looking for different ways to accomplish this. The new book series is a way for GW to get new, young, people attracted to the game and kind of ease them into the setting. If they are really interested then they will look for the models and other books about the background. This, in turn, will help the game in the long run by providing new players to the game, and hopefully keep the game around for a long time.

You know who you are

Now with all that being said, I look forward to reading the new books, and I am actually curious how GW will treat certain aspects of their universes. When my nephew was asked about the books, he’s 9 years old, he said he would give it a read, especially since his brother plays Necrons. If, after reading the book, he gets excited for the game setting and wants to learn more about it, then it really does show me that there will be a future for the game. Hopefully he can play 40K better than his father.

That’s all for this week, I hope you enjoyed the read. Let me know when you started with the 40K stories and what you think of the announcement in the comments section. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook, Twitch, and Patreon pages to stay up to date on what we’re up to and when episodes drop!

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About Adam

Adam has been gaming since the early eighties and has played 40K since Rogue Trader (among a number of other games). He listens to more podcasts than any healthy person should and is currently a co-host for TFG Radio. He also is one of the head judges for LVO and other events.

28 Responses to “GW Grognard: This is How We Get Dead Game Systems”

  1. AngryPanda May 26, 2018 12:26 am #

    I just want European ratings-boards to take a look at the whole setting because of this, realise it is sold mostly to teens and then see the ensuing supernova. In the meantime, I watch with some amusement and a bit of embarrassment and people go bonkers over it. Because I would have been one of those vitriol spewing twats 10 or 15 years ago.
    If you don’t understand the vitriol I gotta wonder under which rock you were hiding though because the fans who hold up 40k as some sort of serious gold standard of a setting and don’t even realise it is an absurdist satire are everywhere. It’s like the screaming hordes raging against Stars Forces of Destiny or Freemaker Adventures.

    • Rob Butcher May 27, 2018 9:06 am #

      AngryPanda … what are you talking about?

      Have you looked at what books are already sold for the 8-12 market in the UK ? Have you looked at the very rigid rules GW already has for the 12+ market (yes, those of us who can read and purchase the existing novels!)

      So there’s little controversy .. after all kids here can freely read Harry Potter, Twilight novels etc. When I was that age I was already reading James Bond and HG Wells, which can be much more violent than GW.

      As a teacher, I’ve used extracts of existing novels or White Dwarf articles in class. I’ve also had to listen to way too many “kid quality” fantasy or sci-fi novels being read by a bored reader. Hopefully, the GW team have taken all that on board and will release novels / comic books / themed model kits / fluffy toys etc.

  2. Visitor May 26, 2018 2:20 am #

    How to get a dead game system:
    Step 1) Design the rules in a way that you need 20 models to form a meaningful unit
    Step 2) Sell those models in boxes of 16

    R.I.P. WHFB

    • AbusePuppy May 26, 2018 6:08 am #

      Fantasy died because it was a bad game, not because of weird model counts. Fight me, nerds.

      • AngryPanda May 26, 2018 7:19 am #

        It was a bad game because the people who made it somehow could not manage to improve it into a good one over 8 editions and more than 20 years. And then decided that instead of doing that because it is hard they could just take a dump in their audience and invent a new one.

      • Visitor May 26, 2018 8:35 am #

        It might have been a bad game but didn’t die because of that (at least not for 3 decades…)

        • AbusePuppy May 26, 2018 10:51 pm #

          It had been going downhill and losing players for a long, long time before AoS ever happened. I think you could make an argument that earlier editions (maybe even as late as 5E?) were acceptable systems for their era of play- but as time marched on, Fantasy never really seemed to be able to fix its problems and so people eventually left it for other games that actually did what they were supposed to.

      • Lordofexcess May 26, 2018 11:15 am #

        I am a huge fan of old WHFB and as much as I hate to say it you are right. By the end it was a very venerable old system that had much coolness left … but it was big, hard to get into (both in learning the game and in affording the HUNDREDS of models you would need to play the average army). It died. It is still out there for anyone who has a gaming group and still wants to play though. The new iteration is far more accessible and sustainable than the old one. I lament the loss of the old world, but I fully get why GW did what they did. It was bold and it was the right move to keep them alive and thriving. Period.

    • WestRider May 27, 2018 1:19 pm #

      That was a big part of what killed 3rd Ed Epic. So many Units only usable in multiples of 3, and only sold in pairs or 5s.

  3. Blub Guggles Sput May 26, 2018 2:54 am #

    Well, I for one think that Warhammer Adventures could have a Hobbit/Lord of the Rings style relationship with real 40k. But that’s clearly the best case scenario, where the softer book contributes to the harder books, and is more or less a straight line. Unlike the Star wars young adult books that these two authors are coming from. Those books are to be forgotten latter on, and are replaced with the real deal. The worst case is ruining the whole series for kids, that’s not happening here.

    What the problem is, go with me for a second here, that the whole Warhammer Universe has been drifting to a more comic book ” punch em up” style and less a hard nose pulpy Ironic commentary on scifi kinda deal. Just look at the art, its cleaner, more heroic, less indicative of the worlds that generate your enemies and more bout how crazy awful the thing your are fighting is. Chaos is gribbly-er and Marines are Marine-y-er and whitesheilds with dirt faces and missing teeth are now conscripts that wash in between fights.

    If the darkest stuff is all the way right on the spectrum, then the worst comic book punch up is all the way left. with the introduction of kids books, the comic book punch up is now the middle ground in what GW makes. Not what war hammer is, mind you, that’s can still be separate, but actually makes as a product. Plenty of people are annoyed with crazy way GW keeps its canon so loosy-goosy and now we have another thing out there that is so far out of bounds of what has been that’s its straight up weird. We get an Eisenhorn mini but this too?

    Yes it makes good business sense to sell everything across the board, kids included, but SHOULD they? This just stinks of non-artistic reasoning to me. Ive been using this analogy alot, you know how Ewoks are seen as stupid kid stuff by some people but have a decent in universe explanation that fits in with everything else? Im ok with ewoks, ewoks can exist, that’s fine, they are kinda silly but what ever. But the Ewok Movies? do we really need them? yes the two Ewok movies so bad that they aren’t in print anywhere at all and most people have no idea that they even exist. do we need to defend those movies because they are for kids? or can we just not like the idea of pandering to kids because they want more toys sold.

    I suspect that GW corporate is pushing production the the max with all the old ideas that have been lingering around, but never in mainstream game form. we got admech, genestealers, Knights, adeptus custode, Reboots of bloodbowl, necrominida, titanitcus and crazy new ideas like killing Fantasy and bringing back primarchs to move the stroy forward to introduce new ‘top selling’ factions.

    If GW squeezes out every last drop of old ‘new’ ideas, then they will have to come up with a fantastic new way to get [people to start a new army. Right now its plastic Sisters of battle, because I suspect that they bet everyone is so hyped that the grognards from the old days will gobble them up. so whats the next big boon? I think it just comes down to GW seeing an unexploited revenue stream.

    I say its there own fault for this constant high octane release demands. going public was a huge mistake, they can never just cool things down and be quirky and weird and old again and play test for six months and balance out books perfectly the first time and make rules and support armies with out new books to sell, they are forced to push hard for sales 24/7. Necromunda is making great money, but the rules are all over the place. I don’t like how things are going. GW getting into pushing kids books? is that what we need or is that what GW needs? more money.

    • AngryPanda May 26, 2018 8:24 am #

      It does feel like some good ideas and a drunk driver racing full speed in the execution with most things right now yeah.

    • Lordofexcess May 26, 2018 11:19 am #

      While I agree with some of your points. Your desire for GW to do whatever … is just that .. it is your desire. I too would like certain things to stay forever, certain things to be brought to the forefront. But GW is just going to do what it does. What I do like about the GW of today vs say five years ago is they are a dynamic company again, they are not static, they are moving forward in many ways. They are changing with the times. I am getting older, that is uncomfortable a bit, but to me I am really hopeful that 25 years from now I can still engage in the GW hobby. If they stay stuck in the past that is unlikely to happen. So into the future we go … like it or not.

      • AngryPanda May 26, 2018 12:46 pm #

        Well yeah. As customers we have expectations. Like hoping that steak place will still serve steaks next week. They might not because it is only our desire. This sounds like the most extreme case of confusing company loyalty with being a fan of a game. If GW decides to only produce trading card games in 20 years then yeah good for them. But I don’t gotta go along for the ride.

  4. Reecius
    Reecius May 26, 2018 7:40 am #

    Great OpEd, Adam. And I agree, it is extremely important to continue to recruit new hobbyists at all times. If we don’t, the game will die eventually. It’s on all of us, too, not just GW. Be nice to the kids in the hobby shop, make them feel welcome, help teach them, etc.

    • Lordofexcess May 26, 2018 11:12 am #

      The creation of some little one off kids books does nothing but provide an early access point to this wonderful universe, it is not going to change the cannon, it is not going to creep into the game. Star Wars has done this forever, they’ve done kids books in the Tolkien setting, they’ve done kids toys for every manner of seemingly unrelated/adult themed IPs in the past … most have not been well received but some have. The success of this product line will come down to how well they do them, and more importantly if there is a market for it. As a father of five children I see the potential for this and the value of it.

      The troll-haters will continue to troll-hate, that comes from within them, from their dissatisfaction with their own existence. The internet gives them the forum to bully, rant, bitch and attempt to tear down. This is just the latest thing for them to go off on, don’t worry it will pass, and they’ll be on to whatever is next. Meanwhile I plan to do what is most important to the success or failure of this, and that is to give GW money for it … which at the end of the day is the only thing that will matter one way or another … if it doesn’t sell they won’t keep producing it, if it does they’ll produce more.

  5. Tomguycot May 26, 2018 11:23 am #

    I would agree that the game absolutely needs new players. But this could just as easily be an April fools joke. It reads like some sort of “trying way too hard” self parody.

    Why not go after tweens/teens? At least they might actually be into gaming and at the age where they could start having income to devote to a hobby.

    What about rebooting something like hero quest, Battle Masters or even a 40k version of one of those to get kids into table top gaming and the Lore.

    If ever there were an IP wholly unsuited to children’s books it is surely warhammer 40k. I seriously don’t think they can pull it off. Star Wars this is not and nor should it be.

    • AngryPanda May 26, 2018 12:43 pm #

      I suspect shareholders neither know nor care. They want it to be Star Wars. I wasn’t really kidding above. I think this might backfire badly if actually authorities responsible for checking out children’s media get a closer look at 40k.

    • WestRider May 26, 2018 4:03 pm #

      These are targeted at tweens-teens. That’s what YA is. It’s not just an alternate term for kids’ books.

      I also kind of think that most of the “trying too hard” vibe is coming from the graphic design. I got a lot of the same vibe at first glance, but the more I looked into them, the more reasonable the whole project seemed.

      • Tomguycot May 27, 2018 5:49 am #

        Ha! If this really is targeted at tweens/teens that’s even more hilarious because this is a complete swing and a miss. It looks kiddy as hell and I just don’t see teenagers thinking this is something they want to get into or that appeals to them.

        • Rob Butcher May 27, 2018 9:09 am #

          The existing novels are already targetted at 12+ and are widely read by school children IF they have a local GW store.

  6. Jimbusiness May 26, 2018 2:43 pm #

    Can someone tell me where all the people loosing their minds about this book series are? I see way more people whining about these alleged trolls than I see actual trolls.

    As for the books. I’m buying the 40k one. It will either be good and I can give it to my kid. Or it will be bad enough that it will be amusing to laugh at.

    • WestRider May 27, 2018 1:21 pm #

      I’ve seen some in various places on Twitter, but the epicenter seems to be the /tg board on 4chan.

      • abusepuppy May 27, 2018 6:34 pm #

        Channers are angry for no good reason about a hobby not being 100% dedicated to their demographic group? SAY IT AIN’T SO.

      • Jimbusiness May 28, 2018 5:06 pm #

        Ah. Well if the author is that ignorant of the internet that they feel arguing against the chans is useful I can happily ignore this one.

        Frankly, the only thing I have seen involving these books are some hilarious memes and a bunch of people crying about some mean shadowy group of trolls that hate…books? Or kids? Women in gaming? I’m not really sure what the trolls are supposed to hate.

  7. agent x May 26, 2018 4:33 pm #

    FLG has used the term “ambassador for the game” and i think it nails the issue dead on.

    If you want tbis hobby to last it has to grow and reach new generations

    WAAC meathead stomping all comers at a tourney but pissing off everyone involved is not good for the hobby

  8. Anggul May 27, 2018 6:31 pm #

    I don’t understand getting mad about it, but I don’t see much point either.

    Young people already enjoy Warhammer. I doubt they’ll care about the watered-down version. Kids love this stuff already.

  9. Commodore May 28, 2018 12:54 pm #

    I’m sure that we need children’s books to grow the fan base, that’s how 40k got to be top dog. Oh wait, no, it didn’t. The existence of this game and the size of its fanbase is itself proof that none of this is what makes a game the biggest world wide.

    It’s fine if you want this, but the argument that it’s necessary or is any part of how and why we’re even here to talk about it is wrong on the face of it.

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