TaKtiX: Warhammer

News, reviews, events, tactics and reports for Games Workshop's Warhammer & Warhammer 40K series of games and related lines.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Full Thrust vs Games Workshop

One of the things that has always annoyed me about the gaming industry is the cliques and bitchiness. I like to play what I like, I respect others like different things, and when I take the piss out of certain things (like D&D and YGO), people know it's because I don't take many things too seriously. Unfortunately...
Before giving the colour ideas, though, I must stress that these are ONLY IDEAS - they are suggestions as to how we see the various fleets, and you are still free to paint your own ships any colours you like. If we ever get to the G*m*s W*rksh*p state of saying "you can't play our games unless your figures are the right colours" then I think it'll be time for us to hang up the ol' laser for good.....
Y'see, I like Full Thrust. As a starship combat game, it's very good for mid-level small fleet actions. It's completely different to Battlefleet Gothic, which excels at large fleet actions and has a distinctly Napoleonic/Nelson era feel in tactics. FT is about high-tech ships chasing each other around. Grasshopper is currently organising a new campaign for the Chuckadice group I play with, and I'm looking forward to it, even if I am the FSE (Franco-Spanish).

But I worked for GW for nearly 11 years. The "anti-GW" rhetoric of GZG, creators of Full Thrust and related ranges, always got to me. Why? It's mostly based on outdated prejudice and mis-informed ranting. No big company is perfect. GW itself has made many many mistakes in its history, and gone through a number of management changes. They are, effectively, a monopolisitc cartel, and the stranglehold they have over the UK gaming industry, especially its retail outlets, is damaging tot he hobby. But Tuffley doesn't criticise this. Tuffley attacks GW because of their supposed approach to the hobby itself.

He attacks myths and creates half-truths

you can't play our games unless your figures are the right colours? Excuse me? GW, in my view quite rightly, publishes a lot of painting guides and colour scheme assistance. Why? Because there is strong demand for it. People reasonably new to the hobby (ie their core market) need assistance and help. They don't know what to do, have no idea about colour balance (which, let's face it, isn't taught very well anyway) and seek some method of making the models they've spent their hard-earned on to look good.

People want to make their models look good. They want their models to look 'right'. However, GW doesn't restrict people. They regularly run "design a Chapter" competitions. Their literature makes it clear that there are over a thousand Marine Chapters, millions of Guard regiments, hundreds of Craftworlds. Even the T'au, a new race with few planets, have a different colour scheme for each Sept; want a different colour scheme? Fine, create it, paint it, justify it. Same applies in Warhammer, etc.

Indeed, the rules themselves say this; if you want to use the rules for, for example, the Black Templars, you can, regardless of colour scheme. The restriction is that, for matter of game balance, you can't mix and match different special rules in official settings.

To my mind, kids that want to slavishly follow the 'official' colour scheme are dull as ditchwater. I paint my models as I wish to. I sometimes use a Chapter colour scheme, I sometimes create my own. Thie difference is that, if I choose to paint up Ultramarines, they are Ultramarines. Not BigBlueSpaceMarines with silly squad markings and completely wrong unit insignia. The whole point of having a military unit is that, well, the appearance is UNIFORM. The number of times I've seen Ultramarines that aren't, Dark Angel Terminators painted Dark Green, etc is annoying. Have I, as a games organiser, ever banned someone for having Howling Banshees in green?

Have I bollocks. Mr Tuffley? You've created one of the better starship combat games out there. The new models your company is releasing to support it are truly exceptional. The background is well thought through and realised. Well done. Unfortunately, you've both no idea of the workings of a Market, nor any real understanding of what a new young hobbyist needs to get started. Games Workshop, having made many errors, have learnt from their mistakes. Isn't it about time you buried the hatchet and stopped the perpetual sniping?

Grow Up John Tuffley

Laurence/Tim, you're both commenting a lot, if you want to write the occasional piece, you'd be welcome, let me know?


At Monday, April 24, 2006 1:08:00 am, Anonymous Tim said...

Yeah, I might like to write the odd thing, and I'll try not to just rant about WH40k all the time. :p I rarely actually play, but I've been following GW for over a decade, so I have picked up some things...

As for the thing about GW forcing people to use colour schemes, it just looks like either straight slander or spiteful exaggeration. I mean a look at the colour section of any codex will show how keen GW are on encouraging people to try different schemes. (The 2nd ed Guard codex comes to mind in particular, because that had about a dozen schemes for each regiment. Some of which were pretty stupid...) The only exception to this are chapter specific codices and, well, duh.
And GW trades on its setting and background more than pretty much anyone else, so it is important that Dark Angels are green, Alaitoc eldar are blue and yellow and so-on, because it all goes into making a consistent setting. But they explicitly say you don't have to do this if you don't want to.

Anyway, counter-rant over, I think you're right about what you touch on as good and bad about GW. Bad, the fact that they're pretty much a monopoly (depending on how specifically you define the sector they're in) and as a result use the usual monopoly tactics. Good, they have a really excellent setting and they concentrate on making gaming and the hobby in general accessible, particularly to younger players. Even if this means their products are a little less suited to more experienced gamers, there are some worthwhile things there, and it's a steady influx of people into gaming. As much as GW will try to hold onto them as exclusive customers some will always filter on through to a broader variety of gaming.

At Tuesday, April 25, 2006 2:58:00 pm, Blogger Grasshopper said...

For some reason GW brings out the worst in some people. I personally think they have done more to develop wargaming than anybody else. I started with Citadel miniatures and Warhammer 1st edition, so they got me into the hobby.

On the majority of forums, websites and even at clubs the level of anti-GW feeling is quite often amazing to behold. You saw it yourself Mat, back in the old Torquay club. I seem to remember several of the older members saying things about not letting in fantasy gamers.

Anyway, Jon Tuffley is entitled to his opinion, even if it is completely inaccurate and a load of old.....tosh! Just so long as he keeps making decent spaceship models. :-)

Yes, they sell figures at high price, but nobody else has the high street outlets they do and these have to be supported somehow. The quality of the figures is usually very high and the customer service is, in my experience, excellent. Knock them as much as you, the wargaming hobby would be much worse off if GW had not come into being.

At Thursday, May 11, 2006 5:08:00 pm, Anonymous The_Beast said...

Agreed that GW incites passions out of balance with their actual actions, but,

1) I don't think I've ever seen more than a direct comment or two on GW by Mr. Tuffley, maybe a few more indirect, and it's flat wrong to focus on those by fan boys' as his.

2) Working in the industry, I'd have to say GW's attempted restrictive practices, the colour thing is only a metaphor, are not all-in-the-past, inspite of VDR crumbs.

3) It's spelled Jon Tuffley.

At Thursday, May 11, 2006 7:46:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, did a bit of digging, and have to retract my words a bit. At least concerning my 2). As far as colour, in the quote, was strictly a metaphor. It's mostly used as a metaphor.

On the other hand, the statement "It's mostly based on outdated prejudice" suggests that it may have not been outdated at one time, and the quote of the inestimable Mr. Tuffley (yes, I betray bias) is from July of 1997.

We are to forgive GW's sins of the past, but not criticisms made IN that past?

At Monday, November 12, 2007 10:17:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail on the head.

There are a lot of people in the gaming industry (of all places !!!) that take their games far, far, far too seriously.

They're supposed to be for fun !

Good post.


At Monday, November 12, 2007 10:19:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


check these out if you prefer the lighter side of gaming...

Video Battle Reports - for a laugh


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