Games Workshop are winding down Specialist Games, along with Forge World's tie in models, and the metal models in the Fantasy and 40K Collectors ranges. This post focuses on the Specialist Games, but many of the points transfer over.
I'll let that sink in, on the chance you're unaware of this. Not that there's a reason you'd be aware of this unless you have your eyes on the online community. Certainly GW have not put out any official word that this is happening. The main source of information is people ringing Customer Service and being told that model aren't being replaced.
The mechanics are brutally simple, in that as regional stock is run down models aren't being replaced. Instead you get this on the product page:
Things are pretty much up in the air as to what's happen with rules or boxed sets. The rules are available in PDF format online through GW, and hopefully they'll stay like that officially, so the games don't wholly die out.
I wonder how much this is a perfect storm of declining sales and the replacement of metal models with Finecast. Although there doesn't seem to be the big push that the was to move the main ranges over to Finecast.
Different games are going to be affected to different degrees. Necromunda, Mordhiem, and Gorkamorka are all going to see players either simply using models from the big two systems, or moving to other suppliers.
Blood Bowl is probably the game with the most specific non GW models available, so it's very dependent on how much you like GW's models vs those made by others
Inquisitor is a special case as that has already got a following using models outside the 54mm scale models specifically provided by GW, as part of INQ28.
Epic seemed to have its hayday before I got into the hobby, but it's always been outside my interest, so I can't really comment with any certainty on that. Likewise Battlefleet Gothic, which is facing stiff competition from Spartan Games and X-Wing I imagine.
Warmaster has always been an odd thing, and I never got the impression it was doing well even shortly after release.
Battle of Five Armies has had its card marked since the Hobbit really, and I couldn't tell you when it was pulled.
There's a whole issue of how none standard games (well, none 28mm) require different terrain etc, and the extra hoops they create for themselves, but that's a whole other post.
There is a lot of noise on the internet about this at the moment, although stocks don't seem to be vanishing as fast as might be expected.
Putting aside the damage done to the gaming community there's an issue of transparency. We only know that the SG range is winding down because it was actively chased up. How is that a good way to run things? You'd think there'd be a warning, and something like a few weeks to let people get the models they want. This seems especially bad in the week Feait 212 goes dark (I'll be posting about that shortly).
GW abandoned the Specialist Games range a long while ago. Somewhere I have a White Dwarf that charts the studio Necromunda campaign that was run in an effort to raise interest. I don't know the issue number off the top of my head, but it was many years back now. Certainly there's been no active promotion, online, in White Dwarf, or in stores, leaving the games to live and die on their own merits, and the power of the various communities off and on online to keep things going.
I wonder if we'll see White Dwarf rules for skirmish games under the two big systems of if GW is moving to just selling big armies? Or are we going to see an expensive plastic revival in the form of Limited Edition box sets.
There is going to be a lot of fall out from this. Here are my thoughts in a very vague order.
- Run on popular models on GW, be it for personal use, or for resale at a layer date.
- eBay prices are going to really ramp up, as people hold on to model rather than sell them, and we'll see big bidding wars over SG models, and probably books.
- Increase in fakes, as people try and take advantage of the situation by casting copies of the OOP models.
- Increase in non GW models - there are already firms producing models that can be used in Blood Bowl, Necromunda, etc (although not for other systems (Inquisitor springs to mind first, then Gorkamorka), each for different reasons I imagine), and this is only going to rise to fill the vacuum.
- The above is also going to lead to people moving away from GW as they are exposed to other companies, be it for models, or simply because of moving to a totally new/different system.
- Turning players away. This is going to be the last straw for some, as GW turns its back on their game. I can't help feeling they'd be somewhat justified.
- Increase in plastic set sales. This is going to depend on a lot of things, especially the situation with the sale of bits, but people are going to want more conversion bits to make model x that they can't get otherwise. This is going to be limited to the 28mm games obviously, and may not be noticeable in the grand scheme of things.
So, to finish up, get what you want, while you can, and we'll all hold or breath to see what happens next.