Editorial- GW Phasing Out Battleforces?

Did anyone else notice the second straight release from Games Workshop has lacked the possibly essential staple product of a Battleforce / Battalion?

Battleforce’s were in the past a fast and easy way for new players to get into the hobby at a natural discount over buying the individual kits themselves. They took up less space on the shelf, and from a business standpoint could allow GW to package slow moving kits in one big package deal to keep inventory moving.

Unfortunately they also became a go to purchase for Bits sellers looking to load up on stock quick in one convenient package, which could have possibly incensed GW into perhaps looking for an alternative to balance the overselling of product (from their standpoint) and the need to keep entry level prices attractive to new players.

For the second release in a row, the battleforce / battalion  has been phased out in favor of new more expensive combo kits.  The Space Marines now have the new 2013 Strike Force, and the Dark Elves have the Warhost of Naggaroth, for $225 and $170 retail respectively, both well over the normal battleforce price point.

So what does this all mean?

We’ve been hearing a “big announcement” is coming in 2014 about some “new program” maybe this is one explanation?

Is it just natural to assume that the hobby is getting even more expensive for beginners, or is something more nefarious afoot? -MBG

Be sure to checkout our other fun and exciting Editorials about our love/hate hobby back on Spikey Bits’ blog!

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Christmas in July? Sixth Edition Wants!

If Christmas was in July, all I would want, would be Sixth Edition.

After seeing the way the Flyer rules were thoroughly written, I have a ton of hope for this rules set.

As a player, I think I was rather successful (competitively speaking), during the reign of 5th Edition.  So to that end I’ve come up with a a few possible tweeks that would definitely make tournaments more engaging and hopefully less stressful on players.

First off is cover saves. WTF happened there. I guarantee EVERY tournament game I played had a cover save dispute. Not only that but the ability to get a 3+ cover save in cover put some armies over the top, and leaves others scratching their power armored heads.

Take for instance Kenny from Next Level Painting’s example: An Ork boy which costs one third less than a Space Marine, becomes essentially the same (save wise) when going to ground in cover… oh and they out number marines in games sometimes 4 to 1.  Well that doesn’t seem right…

Plus don’t even get me started about vehicle saves. No one sees line of sight the same at all, and  on top of that even seem to realize that tank turrets do indeed see over the same size chassis in front of them.

How about we just make cover saves 5+ regardless?  Less arguing, more time playing, and armies go back to being semi balanced, IMHO. (not to mention the concept of True LOS is upheld).

Independent Characters- There is a way, in the current rules, to keep your IC’s completely out of becoming engaged in combat, when attached to a sqaud. While from a competitive standpoint it can be advantageous to do, to say keep your leader from getting power fisted, the Grey Knights have broke the concept all together.

Being able to protect a Grenade caddys, just makes GK lists nigh invincible and really breaks the game for me. Will I do it, in a tournament, sure. But it’s not friendly, not even a little bit….

So lets lock down these so call “Heroes” into some fisticuffs for sixth please.

Those are my two biggest pet peeves (besides moving rectangular tanks sideways to get “free” movement), and the lack of universal Psychic defense, and Night sighting.

Want more musings on Sixth Edition? Check out my previous posts

What do you think, when will we see the new book? -MBG  

Credit for the artist’s rendition the new book to Mike Brandt.
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Games Workshop Release 2012 Schedule Part 3

MBG back again with the last, for now at least, of my Games Workshop 2012 Release Schedule musings.

Last time I talked a lot about the all the rumored upcoming releases, but what about post 6th edition?

What do we have to look forward to this fall?

So today’s rant will be about late year releases. Standard caveats apply-  I have no concrete facts to back any of these predictions on (or where I heard the facts that I do have, I can not say).

April 2012

Let them eat paint….

It is confirmed now that the reboot of the Citadel paint line will headline April’s new releases with 145+ new products!

According to GW’s site they will launch April 6th, and the new White Dwarf will have a comparison chart for you to use to match up all the new colors to the old ones!!

Best of all they are the same price as the old paint, so not too bad there.

It’s also breaking right now, that Empire will be the next release with White Dwarf pictures leaking all over the Internets.

Looks like my last article (that was written middle of the month) was spot on, before any confirmations about any new releases! Although I did guess that Empire would be first, followed by the paints- but hey we’ll take all the new stuff at once!

I even wrote that article based on concrete facts, and the evidence of years of sales data, whilst ignoring the popular rumors of the day.

But I digress, more on the new stuff later,  let’s keep going with the new stuff.

Word on the Street

Well if you have been listening to the rumormongers out there, it seems that Dark Angels and Chaos will be the predominate releases of 2012. 
I hate to be a dream-crusher, but that clashes with pretty much all trending data from the past 13 years of actual “business model” Games Workshop releases.  There has never been a double astartes release, and I doubt there will ever be.  There have however been multiple Astartes splash releases, but not full lines.
Why, well Astartes releases are a cash cow for GW, and there is no way they would endanger that revenue stream with dilution.  I imagine that if the rumored Dark Angels / Chaos Marine Starter box does come out, that the Dark Angels “release” will be contained just to the starter box themselves.
Chaos however I’m sure will be a full release, with a rumored four waves of miniatures planned.  Chaos, is GW’s truly unique IP, as there is nothing else like it out here. The fluff, ideas, names… everything pretty much belongs to them. 
Well almost…. Abaddon, is Greek for destroyer and Hebrew for place of destruction, plus some other terms are “borrowed” as well (Prospero is actually a moon of Uranus- jokes aside).   Mostly however the majority of the Chaos fluff is truly unique and therefore wholly proprietary to Games Workshop.
So we’re all pretty much on board that there will be a new rule-set sometime this summer. Perhaps the middle of July, but I still hold firm that it will be May, or early June.  Followed by the starter box release sometime in August / September.
All of these assumptions track with traditional sales data from releases back to 2005.
Fall of the Xenos
But what about the Tau?

Yes…. what about the Tau/ Eldar?  Most of those rumors have been debunked since February, but lets stop and think for a second.

What has the last several fall releases been for 40k?

Yup that’s right Xenos, with Tyranids in Dec/Jan of 2009/10, Dark Eldar in November 2010, and Necrons in November of 2011. Heck Orks were the main, and splash release for the two years preceding that. So Fall / Winter truly belongs to the Xenos as far as releases go, at least according to the last five years of sales history.

So what does that mean for this years big fall release? Well, if I was a betting man, I would say it will be Xenos based!

But which one you ask?

That’s where conventional wisdom goes out the door. There are more Tau rumors out here than anything, but forgive me for saying it, they really don’t need a new book (unless they get hosed by 6th).

Eldar however, do.  Sales wise Eldar blow. We barely sell any Eldar at all (which probably translates the same to GW sales figures as well).

Why? Well form a play standpoint, they are terrible. They don’t stand up well to any current book, and it really seems to take a veteran player to even tread water with them at the competitive level. They are definitely not a starter army, but they do have a HUGE following.

So from a purely sales standpoint Eldar need to be next, less they fall into the abyss that swallowed the Dark Eldar for so many years.

Tau will be great to come out, don’t get me wrong, but they will sell regardless of a new book or not. This is an article about a business, and sales drive businesses so we gotta keep it in that perspective.

Will it be Tau or Eldar? Only time will tell. But as a businessman, I’m sure you can see what side I am on. Plus I play both too, so it’s win/win!

Fool me Twice….

Flyers you say? Well yeah we have heard that before, but let’s discuss shall we? Will Games Workshop release a new big Flyer expansion right after a main rules release?

The answer, at least from me is a resounding “NO!”

Why? Well first off it’s unprecedented, they have never done a full rules set, and then an expansion in the same year…. But that does not mean they won’t?

Heck just a few years ago they released two new books at once Daemons / Daemons anyone?

My guess is that if they do release a splash of flyers it will be because you will need them in 6th edition. It wont be an expansion of sorts, just a quick catch every army up type thing.

Looking back over the last several years the only real releases besides usually one 40k and one Fantasy release in the fall, were splash releases. Last year was sporadic Finecast re-sculpts, and the year before that was splash daemons.

So who knows. I am not opposed to yummy flyers and maybe a Hyrda Flak tank, no sir. But Santa please bring me Eldar for Christmas!

Hope you enjoyed my two cents. Join me next time for more spare change, that you can believe in! -MBG

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Spikey Bits is a blog about the hobby of Warhammer 40k and Fantasy Battles, both tabletop wargames.