Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"in the quiet words of the virgin mary... come again?"

when someone told me the cost of the new warhammer fantasy eighth edition rulebook, my first reaction was the quote above.  

my next reaction was that $74.25 must be the cost for the uber-cool collectors edition.  eventually i realized that games workshop truly intended to sell it's basic warhammer rulebook for $75.   

i felt that if gw were going to attempt to separate me from my hard earned cash, it would only be fair if i blogged about the event and what i thought about it.  

so here are my initial thoughts: heavy (literally and figuratively), nice quality (amazing color throughout and great paper), monolithic, good rule updates, and speeds up the game.

i read through the rules and gained an appreciation for the changes throughout, but the question “is this worth $75?" remained.

as a conscientious  consumer and hobbyist, i have to consider my budget; especially in this economy. 

to be fair, contemplating the worth of games workshop products can be a effort in futility.  after all, the company seems to price its product according to the unit’s worth in the game as opposed to the actual cost of the product produced. 

is there any other way to explain how a 10 model bestigor herd ($41.25 and 92 pieces in the box)...

...costs 60% more than a 10 model gor herd ($24.75 and 74 pieces in the box)?  

need more evidence?  fine.  the bestigor box costs 60% more than the 10 model ungor herd that costs $24.75 and contains 98 pieces.  

some readers may feel the compunction to defend gw’s pricing practices and this is your right.  i've heard it all.  it's a luxury hobby, i can play other games, i don't have to play with the new rules, etc.  

but before you blindly and blithely ride to the defense of gw's pricing consider the following:

the typical vendor discount on gw product is about 40% of the retail price; meaning that you pay $74.25 (plus tax) for the rulebook while your friendly local game store pays about $45.  this pricing structure is one that  gw has had in place for a long time, and ensures that the company can realize a profit while selling the rulebook at $45 each. 

food for thought.

the other problem i have with the rulebook is that out of the 512 pages i only need about 150 of them.  meaning that i'd be using only about $23 of my rulebook's worth

so i’ve come to the conclusion that the warhammer fantasy rulebook is not worth $75.  you’ll be better served by shopping the internet and finding a better deal for it. 

all images property of games workshop


  1. I love that this is a review with no actual discussion of the content, That my friend is brilliant

  2. I hear you on the long term value of a book like that. The 120 odd pages are the important ones, that you will use regularly as you need to refer to the rules. The fluff, ect is either stuff we all already know, or will not need to refer to regularly. Here comes the flip side...

    There is a better than average chance that the box set that is hopefully going to drop in the early fall will have a compressed version of the rules... which may be that very 120-odd pages. People who need to refer to the rules during a game, or don't want to throw their back out may be waiting for this version of the rules.

    The point that I am trying to make here is that imagine if the rule tome for 8th came out in a much more minimal form, less production value, and with all the window-dressing cut out. People would pitch such a fit, and would seriously question GWs commitment to WHFB as the also ran to WH40k. They have dropped games in the past, and I doubt that WHFB would become a specialist game... I do recall saying something similar about WH Fantasy Roleplay in the late 90s however.

    I think that this is a big launch for WHFB, its one of the biggest changes to the core rules in decades, so I have some tolerance for the rather extravagant WHFB BRB. I will say that it is dead-sexy, and I was more impressed with it than the last two versions... each of which was in the $50 range if I recall.

    It is weird to me to come to GWs defense. I feel kind of dirty, but I am pretty happy with the changes in 8th, and the nutty-ass tome that they come in. I suppose the good thing about talking about this is that people will have some information to determine whether they need the uber-tome or not. When I played WH40k, I never owned the basic rule book for example.

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  4. @ xenite: to quote someone that knows a lot better than me about gw, its pricing practices, and large books versus small books:

    "Books', they've always said, 'have a tighter profit margin' but don't believe them.

    "Tighter" just means 2 or 3%, and with their economy of scale it really wouldn't matter.

    The books in the games are a loss leader and just add weight (and freight costs) to the product (which is why we've seen smaller books in their sets as opposed to full rule books).

    The break even point for GW for their books is probably around 3,000-units; certainly it isn't over 5,000-units.

    Considering the sales in the US when I was there, GW breaks even on their books after 2-weeks of sales in the US alone (that's new book releases) with the rest of the world just adding gravy to the take."

    thanks to another nameless former gw employee for a look behind the curtain.

  5. @ doc red: pretty sure that nowhere in the blog post did i claim it was a review.

    merely that "i felt that if gw were going to attempt to separate me from my hard earned cash, it would only be fair if i blogged about the event and what i thought about it."

    long story short? i think $75 is too much for a rulebook. any rulebook. it's the same reason i don't own aeronautica imperialis though i think it's an awesome game.

    with regard to the changes to wfb? movement is easier to manage. shooting is more deadly with the addition of second rank shooting for everyone, and don't get me started with templates and partial hits (love it!)

    close combat plays out faster and more furious than, ever yet doesn't seemed dumbed down. and i've already started planning 10 frontage units of ungors...

    army building and percentages i'm still a bit squiffy on, but i love the allies rules (as i have a bunch of ogres to integrate into a beastman army), and the changes to magic make it a legitimate phase in the game that can make or break a player turn (and possibly the game) for everyone.

    long review short? i like the new rules.

    final call? i like the new rules, but not enough to pay $75 for 'em.

  6. So far I am into the new rules. I liked 7th a lot, but that game was starting to get fairly predictable... mostly thanks to imbalance between army books. Ive only played 8th a hand full of times now, but I appreciate a lot of what I am seeing.

  7. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about the new fantasy rulebook, cliff. While the book is very well done, I too feel like it is excessive. The book is so large and unwieldy that it seems to me impractical as a reference for use during actual gaming. Although the book is worth its cost for me as I do really enjoy all of the artwork and fluff, I'm sure plenty of people will decide to read a friend's copy for now and then buy either the boxed set when it comes out, or else just get the mini-rulebook itself off eBay.

  8. @ papa jj: thanks for your kind words, and i think that you're absolutely right.

    a lot of folks that feel the way i do will be buying the isle of blood mini-rulebook off of ebay or via the warstore. which makes me wonder about the effect this will have on gw's perception of the hobby (i.e. will they assume that the run on the starter sets just for the mini-book is a massive influx of new hobbyist that never materialize).

    regardless, it'll be interesting to see what happens to the gw hobby over the next few years...

    btw which island off the coast of south carolina? i grew up in georgia and adore that part of the country. pretty much from north carolina's outer bank down to savannah is an amazing part of the country.

    oh, and great blog! keep up the good work!

  9. I decided back in 2006 that I will no longer support GW. There pricing is ridiculous. If there games were really that great then why the need for continuous new volumes. Why not use a system where you look at any model you want to use, asses that models equipment in terms of the game use that to determine point value assemble your army and play
    Two Hour Wargames; Warriors Heroes Armies and adventures comes to mind and for SCI-FI 5150, which has some new add ons coming up this year. the pricing is far more appropriate for my Wallet and IMHO the rules are BETTER. If you want to check out in general how THW works you can download free rules...Chain Reaction3