A Positive Games Workshop Story


     You know, I realized that some recent cracks on Game Workshop could lead one to believe I have an ax to grind with them.  And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: lower those prices!  Just like “if you build it, they will come,” I sincerely believe an across the board price decrease would go a long way to create some good will with hobbyists and gamers who love GW products.

     But that being said, I thought I’d relate a story from a few years ago that demonstrates GW does have a heart.

     Back in 2005, GW released a tabletop wargame entitled The Battle of Five Armies. The game is based upon the climactic final battle of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.  I am a HUGE Tolkien junkie so as soon as I saw the announcement of the game in White Dwarf, I motored down to my friendly, neighborhood game store with the intent of pre-ordering a copy.  Did I mention that the game was “limited-edition?”

      Yeah, I don’t get it either.  We always hear how expensive it is to make injection molds for plastic models.  Common sense dictates a company making that kind of investment would want to sell as many copies of a game or model as possible in order to recoup their money.  As it turns out, “limited-edition” was a bit of an overstatement since the game is still available on the GW website.

     But I didn’t know that in 2005.  I roll into my friendly, neighborhood game store and approach the owner with a smile on my face, eager to spend my money.  Did I also mention that I was (and still do) getting my monthly copy of White Dwarf from Westfield Comics with my monthly comic book order?  That means I get it a few weeks to a month after subscribers & stores receive it. That’s turned out to be an important point because my smile quickly turned upside down when the owner informed me that GW was “sold-out” of the game.  In other words, he couldn’t get one for me.

     Okayyyyyy.  I motor home and call GW’s 800 number.  Perhaps the owner of my FNGS was misinformed.  Nope.  I spoke to a really nice guy who advised me the run of games had sold out within a few days.  He didn’t know if more games would be manufactured.

     So I sat there kinda pissed. In a fit of creativity and uppityness, I got online and found out the name and mailing address of the head of Games Workshop’s USA operation.  Unfortunately, the computer that contained that letter went bye-bye in our fire so I can’t quote myself to you.  I remember it being about a page and a half of well-reasoned & even-toned argument for why my not being able to obtain the game made no business sense for GW.  I think my basic premise was “here’s me trying REALLY hard to give ya’ll my money and nobody will take it.”

     I dropped my missive in the mail and expected to be ignored.  But I figured at least I was stickin it to The Man in my own little way.

     About a week and a half later, my wife called me to let me know she was home from work and give me my daily “what’s in the mail” rundown.  She casually mentioned that I’d received a big box from Games Workshop.  I get a few boxes so she didn’t think much of it except that I usually get stuff sent to my work address so some tweaked out meth-head doesn’t snatch a box from my doorstep.

     I had no idea what she was talking about it so I asked her to open it for me while I listened.   Enclosed in the box was a copy of The Battle of Five Armies as well as every single white metal expansion miniature that they’d released along with the boxed game.  There was an invoice with all the price amounts zero’d out.  There was no note explaining the obvious gift so I didn’t know whether to take it as a “thanks for your patronage” type thing or a “here’s your game, now SHUT IT!” gesture.  Of course I’d like to believe it was the former as companies don’t generally hand out $200.00 or so worth of product for free on a regular basis.

     I still have the game.  Luckily, I had the box on the bottom shelf in my bedroom and while the box was totally roached, the contents were untouched. Though I had taken out the rule book and kept it on a shelf with the rest of my GW Lord of the Rings game books…D’oh.

    So there it is.  GW does sometimes have our backs.  Now just don’t ya’ll start writing letters looking for freebies.  I kinda have a feeling that ship has sailed…

Copyright 2012 It Came From The Nerd Cave