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[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?
Author Message[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?
Admiral
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[WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Admiral 06-20-2018

The world of Warhammer is one hell of a generic fantasy smörgåsbord, rooted in Tolkien and history, with a dark twist and crafted by many talented hands and clever minds through three decades of development. Looking back on WHFB, what were some missed opportunities? Of products never released, of audiences not catered to, of artistic concepts not pursued further and so on? These are both missed business opportunities and artistic opportunities of every kind.

Now that WHFB have been replaced by Age of Sigmar in the miniature world (but keeps on steaming in PC games), it's rather interesting to look back at the golden treasure Games Workshop produced, yet also interesting for a number of reasons to see what they didn't do: The niches or popular stuff they didn't cover.

As a business opportunity, I don't consider the lack of Araby, Cathay, Ind and Nippon to be a major mistake by Games Workshop, but it sure was a missed artistic opportunity. Also, had Warhammer kept on as it did during the '80s with all manner of weird releases not bound by army book straightjacket format, we may well have seen more from fringe parts of the Warhammer World, including Chaos Dwarfs (but hey we got the outstanding Hellcannon).

Not releasing a single piece of plastic Elf terrain was a missed business opportunity. It's easy to see why GW went for generic skull temples and Empire houses when they started releasing terrain, but I'm certain that a quality Elf tower or the like would have sold well, especially since those can be hard to scratchbuild to a good standard (unlike Empire houses). It's not hard to imagine lots of people buying an affordable good-looking tower for their scenery collection.



I don't consider GW's and FW's treatment of Chaos Dwarfs to be a missed opportunity, neither artistically nor financially. The mystery of this lost army sparked the fires of Chaos Dwarfs Online, which carried the torch strongly into glorious blazing Legion of Azgorh territory. Had Warhammer Fantasy lasted longer, it's not inconceivable plastic Chaos Dwarfs could have come out and performed better financially than Beastmen (hindrance: CDs was FW's own fantasy resin army, and GW didn't even release plastic Death Korps of Krieg despite massive demand).

Brainstorming over on T9A has revealed that GW didn't have much going for the Southlands, even though their world was by and large based on historical cultures. See Kegiz Gavem brainstorming and compare with Karak Zorn. Missed artistic opportunities down south, but not business ones.

Also, it's such a brilliant artistic take on the setting that there are Daemons, but not angels duking it out. It's such a grimdark thing. And it's always funny thinking about a dominant British fantasy miniature company making Albion into a remote backwater. Cheers!


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This post was last modified: 06-20-2018 05:14 AM by Admiral.

06-20-2018 05:10 AM
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Dînadan
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Dînadan 06-20-2018

I think a missed opportunity was not advancing the ‘plot’ much.  For example, there were some BL books and some of the 2nd ed WHFRP books that touched on the post-SoC setting, but by and large GW left that alone (especially post Nemesis Crown), and the fluff in the Army Books rolled the timeline back to just before SoC (simarly with 40k they rolled back to pre-13th Black Crusade and stayed there until only recently).

What would have been nice is if they’d stayed post-NC and carried things on and explored the aftermath of SoC and NC.  I suppose you could say they’ve sorta done that with AoS by retconning what happened in SoC (and similarly 40k with the plot developments there), but it’d have been nice if they’d carried the setting on as it was.


Apart from the pandering to those that liked the old setting, I think this is a missed opportunity as it’d have allowed for a more organic way of introducing new units and characters to the game rather than the hamfisted ‘oh yeah, err, they were always there’ that we got.  I was actually thinking about this point last night coincidentally, about how if every so many years they moved the timeline along a bit, then instead of characters having their old minis retired and new versions brought out or entirely new characters appearing who have ‘always been there’ even though never mentioned of before, they could tie the retiring of the mini into the character retiring/dying/etc and a new character stepping up to fill their place in the army book being a new character in the fluff (explaining why they’ve never been mentioned before even if they have a major position within the faction - they either weren’t around before or were just a minor up and coming warrior on par with the generic heroes/lords until just recently).  Same for monsters/units/warmachines/etc - the new minis represent things which really are new in universe rather than things which have been around for centuries with no mention in the fluff.


Another missed opportunity I think is variant lists.  Iirc the 6th ed Army Books had apendicies with variant army lists (or at least the Empire one did).  These wouldn’t need to be anything fancy, simply reorganising which slots units belong to would be enough (eg in the aforementioned Empire book there was a Nuln list iirc which moved what slots warmachines belonged to around, and a Fanatics/Cult of Sigmar list which moved Fanatics from Rare to Core while moving other stuff to Rare from what I can recall).  We did see this to some degree with some special characters changing what slots things belonged to (eg iirc the Troll King moved Chaos Trolls from Special to Core), but compared to a proper variant list that feels halfhearted.


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06-20-2018 07:17 AM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Fuggit Khan 06-21-2018

I would've loved to see GW do a Cathay army. Maybe even include Hobgoblins as green skins for the Cathay forces.
I also think GW had an interesting idea with the Dogs of War units, but executed the idea itself poorly. The box sets were expensive, the units were over the top gimmicky, and each units special rules made for a broken army with limited value as a fighting unit.
I would've liked to see more mercenary units, perhaps even mercenary units of night goblins or trolls. Something fun and that most armies could use as allied fodder.
More war machines would've been nice, generic machines that any army could use: such as wagons (increase deployment area) , spotter ladders or towers (better targeting for missile troops),  carts of hay or oil (to be lit on fire,  various reasons),  etc. Generic stuff all medieval armies used, perfect for all GW armies as well.
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06-21-2018 09:29 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Malorndk 06-27-2018

Plot wise
I don't consider them missed opportunities as such, but I have a beef with the frozen plot progression up until the End times, which (aside from ending the Old World and making some beloved characters gimmicky or dead) actually had a lot of plot progression that related through out the books.

I also found it hard to believe, that the entire Skaven race was somehow a myth in the Empire? Come on. Someone has seen something!

And lastly, the fan theory that 40K is the precourser to fantasy, and the Ancients being Eldars on the run from Chaos, who tried to start a new world hidden from Chaos is absolutely awesome, and could have made for a cool expansion/board game/Novel series/something


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06-27-2018 04:54 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Dînadan 06-27-2018

I don’t think the Skaven were treated as a myth per say, it was the organised secret society living under every major city that was treated as the myth.  The Skaven themselves were just written off as a sub race of beastmen (iirc one of the Nathan Long Gotrek&Felix books addresses this with the events of Skavenslayer brought up, but dismissed by other characters as an attack by beastmen/mutants and a character in a governmental position privately acknowledging to Felix that it was hushed up to preserve the maskerade).  And plenty of people have seen something, they just either wind up dead at the paw of the Skaven, or are written off as drunks/lunatics by the general population (in one of the Tales from the Ten-Tailed Cat comics a sewerjack tells a story about how he saw some Skaven, but laments that everyone thinks him a loon, and it’s revealed he’s unknowingly been telling the tale to a disguised Skaven, who reports back to his fellow Skaven that no one believes the story so the sewerjack is no threat).



Never heard of the theory that the Old Ones were Eldar; I’ve always assumed that they were the same as the 40k Old Ones/Slanni.


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06-27-2018 05:21 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Horace 08-07-2018

I would have been onboard with some progression which wasn't really very progressive.. a bit like a TV soap where things never really change that much. Dwarf holds could be fought over and change hands, Chaos could cause some damage, but the world should not end and races should not be fundamentally wiped out. even this amount of change would have allowed for various new narratives, models, characters and perhaps even publications like Tamurkhan, which is beautiful.

I think the scenery which @Admiral alluded too was a big missed opportunity. I think White Dwarf should have kept the hobby elements and showed people how to build custom terrain whilst GW could have sold their own fancy bits of kit alongside. Some Dwarf and Orc & Goblin Terrain would have been pretty easy to churn out. The spell markers they have just released are pretty cool, I always thought they should do these.

I think small expansion lists like Kislev or a Chaos Dwarf or any variant lists would have been decent sellers.

Really 8th just needed a bit of love and attention which GW weren't willing to give it at the time. And maybe some decent support from White Dwarf (which really is pointless these-days). The End Times demonstrated it was capable of garnering peoples interest it was just neglected for far far too long. The pricing was also (and still remains) a joke which also didn't help

This post was last modified: 08-07-2018 08:44 AM by Horace.

08-07-2018 08:43 AM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Gargolock 08-08-2018

Admiral Wrote:
Now that WHFB have been replaced by Age of Sigmar  


I think one of the reason GW put a bullet in WHFB's head was because it wasn’t gaining new players. Most people who weren’t already fans don’t care about lore they care about miniature support for the rules, price and simplicity. Pretty much all of GW was declining near 8th edition they had been going downhill since the early 2000s for so many reasons but all of them lead to the fact the had an overeliance on citadel miniatures being top of the line and high end and only having three huge games that were hard to get in to (WHFB, WH40K and LOTR SBG) they weren’t caring about their easy to get into games. (Boodbowl, WH quest, Necromunda, Space Hulk, Heroquest etc etc) their  boxed games or smaller games that you could pick up and just have to put the minis in there slotted bases and boom playable! The 90’s were there golden age and due to bad management it ended. Now in AoS they have new management and you can pick up easy to build cheaper models if you are new. There is a new warhammer quest, necromunda, kill team, shadespire and they seem to have given a few more glances at blood bowl. They have brought back (partially) what they had in the 90’s a missed opportunity for WHFB was it didn’t do this you didn’t have the option to just play with a box 20 savage orc you just bought or 4 sigmarines from an easy to build kit (you needed a army to play with certain sized units, a general, a 35 dollar rulebook for you army then another for the core rules etc etc) in WHFB it was impossible to just dip your toe in, you had to jump knee deep inside and hope you like it and most people wouldn’t take the risk. (Also the rulebooks were extremely expensive for beginners now the rules are free online) in 90’s kids my age could have built a small low detail plastic army over time off pocket money. They could pick up a cheap small boxes slowly which leads to my next point.


Game workshop were and are still to high end of a miniature company to market to the majority of potential players.
To back up this point you can ask just some random person on the street if they would ever consider playing any Games workshop game. Most people’s answers are they either do not know what GW are or say they are to expensive.
It’s good to have a spectrum of quality of the items you are selling you need cheap stuff and expensive stuff to maximize profits (people buy cheap stuff as its low risk then get hooked and slowly take the higher quality stuff) basically make cheap low detail minis that require little to no assembly. The type of minis you could get of box of 10 of for under 20$ (A tiny miniature company called EM4 minis is still making very old plastic miniature mounds from the 90’s they bought grenadiers old moods for some orcs and dwarves and they are like 70 cents a miniature if not less) but they are low detail (whether this is telling sculptors to settle down or just re useing 90’s plastic moulds) the miniature company reaper has a very popular series of miniature called reaper bone they are cheap but made out of a finicky material that is problematic I say it’s better to have a bunch of minis of the same sculpt low detail made out of sturdy, brittle plastic. Also so many people have nostalgic or fond memories of 90’s minis that they would love to buy them. They have improved with AoS in the cas elf getting new people and making it easier to get in. It’s no longer as much of a investment of. Time to do the minimum amount required to play a war game but it’s still to pricey to market to the majority of people they need something cheap that don’t make the average joe wonder "who would spend 60$ on 20 pieces of plastic?" They need Miniatures that seem acceptable to most people (not just nerds or special snowflakes). Most people already don’t appreciate the small intricate details so most people wouldn’t care if GW was making the moulds as cheap as they can it would help lower prices and expand their audience. Also most people who they would want to start playing wouldn’t care about detail or quality.

It’s a shame it took them destroying WHFB to learn that they need to get new players not milk old ones until they quit.


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This post was last modified: 08-08-2018 10:44 PM by Gargolock.

08-08-2018 09:11 PM
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Willmark
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Willmark 08-09-2018

GW's making is entirely their own fault and I have zero sympathy for them.

Thats said now that summer is winding down I tend to pick up my paint brush more. And speaking of Cathay? Well I am close to finishing a unit of 25 common/ronin type samuari for my Nippon army. The hobby is what you make of it.




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08-09-2018 06:48 PM
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?tjub 08-10-2018

Games Workshop is doing better than ever, and so is AoS. Atleast for GW as a company and the AoS scene here in Sweden which seen several bigger tournaments last year and a thriving scene. And the setting in AoS is full of endless opportunities.

But for those who A are not a fan of the game or B think its too expensive there are several options. Im not aware of the state of 9th Age, but for Kings of War its going well with a new 3rd edition expected next year and sever lore building novels on the way at the moment. If you are not into mass combat in 28mm still there are other scales to try out and loads of other games which still allow a "Chaos-/Abyssal-/Evil- Dwarf" narrative.

Hope this isn't too far OT. But let the past go and live in the present!


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This post was last modified: 08-10-2018 12:11 AM by tjub.

08-10-2018 12:07 AM
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Willmark
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RE: [WHFB] Missed Opportunities of Warhammer?Willmark 08-10-2018

tjub Wrote:
But for those who A are not a fan of the game or B think its too expensive there are several options. Im not aware of the state of 9th Age, but for Kings of War its going well with a new 3rd edition expected next year and sever lore building novels on the way at the moment. If you are not into mass combat in 28mm still there are other scales to try out and loads of other games which still allow a "Chaos-/Abyssal-/Evil- Dwarf" narrative.

Hope this isn't too far OT. But let the past go and live in the present!


Not sure who this is directed at, but if me, I got over GW in 2007 right around the time I joined this site. For at least 11 years GW has not wanted me as a customer and I have adjusted accordingly with my purchases.




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08-10-2018 09:06 AM
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