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"Ex-GW Employee Answers Questions" Topic

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3,224 hits since 17 Feb 2012
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian17 Feb 2012 5:25 a.m. PST

I worked for Games Workshop for several years before returning to college, as a trade sales representative. Working within the industry gave me a lot of insight into both how these kinds of companies work, as well as the culture internal to the gaming industry. Ask me anything!


Sane Max Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 5:45 a.m. PST

Did you read it Bill? We already have two hundred threads hashing that one out right here on TMP. We need a link to another one on another site?

HornetsNestMinis Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 6:10 a.m. PST

The editor reads Reddit. Nice.

epturner Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 6:11 a.m. PST

Maybe we do. If only to show us there are other pedants in the world besides Nappys and WRG'ers.


Samulus Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 6:26 a.m. PST

Well that confirmed many of the dark suspicions I had about GW. I tried so hard not to be a GW hater but I'm afraid their 'golbin index' thing has pushed me over the edge, long live indie manufacturers I say.

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2012 6:44 a.m. PST

Thanks for the link. There's alot there, but skipping to the ex-GW's employees comments does provide a nice perspective on how GW operates. Also, a second GW employee joins in the conversation 2/3 of the way down.

Mithmee Supporting Member of TMP17 Feb 2012 8:08 a.m. PST

Well most of the individuals posting there should have got there stuff 20 years ago when it was dirt cheap.

I do not shop at GW any more and if I want something I head over to Ebay.

Plus it looks like he does not want to burn the bridges behind him since he is sticking up for GW.

lkmjbc317 Feb 2012 8:17 a.m. PST

Wow… imagine that… GW prices on what the market will tolerate. We need to hate them for it.

Other systems have been so much more successful.

Joe Collins

dandiggler17 Feb 2012 8:33 a.m. PST

With the many expansions and contractions of GW retail, there are many of us out there. I worked for them in '99-'00 and the whole experience left a sour taste in my mouth. I do still have a ton of stuff that I bought back then though. Couldn't beat the employee discount.

Parzival17 Feb 2012 9:43 a.m. PST

One thing that piqued my interest was the brief discussion of The Hobbit film license (about halfway down). I'm not certain if I had heard that GW had acquired it, but this confirms it, and that they are working on the models. I know they'll get me again with that series. (I'm hoping maybe it will spur a new release of the Bo5A 10mm line, or compatible minis…)

As to the rest, the "prestige" element makes sense as to explaining a lot of their business model, as does the "delayed gratification" concept (the typical purchaser can't complete an army all at once, so they're more likely to continue purchasing over time, beyond what they might have purchased up front had they been able to). It's an effective approach, though I'm not exactly enamored with it. Smart business psychology or manipulation? Hmmm. On the other hand, the job of a marketer (or advertiser) is to essentially make the potential customer unhappy— that is, to convince the customer that the route to happiness (or being more happy than they are now) in part includes purchasing the product or service being offered. It doesn't matter if the product is miniatures, movie tickets, marshmallows or malt whiskey— the message is the same: "You will be happier with our product than without." GW is just following that same path.

Dr Mathias Fezian17 Feb 2012 11:39 a.m. PST

Interesting, thanks for posting Bill.

Scott Kursk Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 7:15 p.m. PST

I love the first question. "How does GW attempt to justify it's unnecessary price jumps to you, it's employees?" Jeez, the last price rise my customers were the ones that told me about it. In fact, my customers usually were significantly more well informed about things.
This was especially true about the last release they (tried) to do while I was there and that was Dreadfleet. I'd ask my bosses straight out about the game and they did the whole stupid act with everyone and really made us feel extremely devalued.
Glad I am gone. I almost miss the 50% employee discount but as I don't play any GW games any more, it's not so bad.

HMGSMS Inactive Member17 Feb 2012 8:50 p.m. PST

He tries to make the argument that the GW is a models business, not a game company. I think of Foundry as a models company that sells rules on the side. GW definitely sells games that in turn usually sell figures. Compared to Foundry or Forgeworld they are clearly putting the majority of their effort into making games. I mean, how else do you explain the fluff?

I don't know if I'd believe this guy to be honest.

chang1701 Inactive Member18 Feb 2012 8:53 a.m. PST

Business have to survive, all companies do this, its that or close and die. they choose to live. GW has some of the best customer service I've ever seen. Period.

ordinarybass Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2012 12:11 p.m. PST

Reading further down the "conversation" I realized that this is the first time I'd seen a GW employee explain pricing-by-game-value as pricing not on the production costs but on "how much you value the model". It's a very interesting way of saying it.

I think he's saying GW is a model's business because the models are the focus of the players and the source of most of their income. The fluff is good to be sure, but the rules are not stellar, while in comparison the models have been getting steadily better and have become more intricate and customizable.

In truth, I would assess that GW sells a "packaged experience" where all parts are dependent and to be used exclusively with each other. Foundry, and other companies arent' even close in that respect.

sillypoint Supporting Member of TMP18 Feb 2012 9:55 p.m. PST

As wargamers, you must admire their knowledge and use of the rules ( for marketing), their conviction to win. Generally the kind of player, whom after a few games, you avoid.

SPQRatae19 Feb 2012 2:27 a.m. PST

GW has always seen itself as a models business first, and has always said so. They were making models before Warhammer existed, and long before 40k existed.

Jon Lead Slayer Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member19 Feb 2012 11:46 a.m. PST

Just cause they are big does not make them bad. They have a good product and with their games have a specialized market with customers who they have convinced to buy only their products for the games that they produce and there is no law that says that you have to play their game. I do have one gripe against them and it is the same gripe I have with the publishers of Dungeons & Dragons. I hate having to buy and re-buy all the books and other literature I need every time when they come out with a new addition. If it weren't for that I would still be playing both games.

Moqawama Inactive Member19 Feb 2012 12:32 p.m. PST

I live by a few simple rules, among them paramount is:

Greed is NOT good,

that's why I consider GW and all that it has done from 1994 until now as the devil's handiwork.

Parzival19 Feb 2012 2:10 p.m. PST

Right. Selling war-games and miniatures for profit is "the devil's handiwork." Up there with murder, rape, human trafficking, drug dealing, genocide and terrorism.
How about a little perspective, please?

No one ever has to buy anything GW makes.
No one *needs* anything GW makes. (As the fellow repeatedly states throughout his contributions to the linked thread.)
It is a luxury product, marketed and sold primarily to a market which can afford the luxury items in question. If someone cannot afford that product, the fault is not that of the manufacturer (is it Lamborghini's fault you can't afford one of their cars? Of course not). GW is doing nothing illegal, nor or they doing anything wrong. They are not "gouging" anyone. They charge a price for a product. If you can pay it and want the product, you pay it. If you don't want the product, you don't pay the price, and if you can't pay the price, you need to realize that in fact you do not need the product at all to begin with, but what you do need is to get some perspective on your wants. If you still want the product, then you need to set aside money from other non-necessary wants (such as soda, junk food, the latest music download, cable/digital TV, etc.) to save up towards the product you do want, or find a way of increasing your income. None of that is greed, nor does it imply greed on the part of those who are offering a product for sale.

In fact, greed is more indicated in the person who thinks "I want that. They should let me have it. It's not fair they won't let me have it. They must be greedy." No— it's not "they" who are the greedy ones in that equation at all.

Space Monkey Inactive Member19 Feb 2012 7:54 p.m. PST

It's not their pricing or their 'greed'… it's their attitude.

One guy can sell you something and you can tell that he thinks of you as a good customer and appreciates your business.

Another guy sells you something and you (eventually) realize he thinks you're a chump and and doesn't give a crap after a few initial sales because there is a long line of chumps waiting to take your place if you ever figure out what a jerk he is.

Meanwhile that first guy is plugging away selling stuff that you slowly realize is better than what the jerkwad guy is pushing.

Scott Kursk Inactive Member19 Feb 2012 7:58 p.m. PST

They may be a bunch of raging douchebags that don't have a clue but that doesn't mean they don't have a right to a profit. Sure, they could sell stuff cheaper but since people keep buying at their prices, they have no reason to lower them. Also, by having a distinctively higher price than the competition they set themselves apart as a premium brand.
Again, being jerks doesn't mean you don't have a right to be profitable and run your business the way you want to.

Der Krieg Geist Supporting Member of TMP19 Feb 2012 8:23 p.m. PST

They just sell toys. Just toys that I want but can no longer afford. Not good or bad or anyones fault. I think Parzival has it right. Can't say I am happy with it but…. it is what it is and in the great scheme of things I already have more toys then I know what to do with.
They make really nice toys :)

daburton63 Inactive Member20 Feb 2012 11:46 a.m. PST

Im not sure anyone would argue GW's right to run the company the way they choose to run it. But I think any manufacturer needs to realize that the higher you price an object (vs the actual cost) the more attractive that object becomes to counterfeiters, bootleggers, whatever you want to call them. GW has reached that threshhold (as they had in the past but not the scale that Im seeing it now).

I've seen Finecast knockoffs that are done as well as their line of Finecast figures (better, really since they're done on a smaller scale). In the past I've seen metals being reproed (some good, some bad) but this was always a more costly enterprise for people to get into. I think resin has opened up a whole different world for GW counterfeiters though. I wont get into the ethical debate of right or wrong for bootlegging the figures, but my point is that the margins that GW charges vs the cost to actually manufacture the items are at such a premium that its apparently very cost effective for this enterprise to be more abundant.

Funny thing is I really dont see this with many other figure lines. I don't think its because they figures are less desirable, just that the expense/profit ratio is so low on other lines that it isnt cost effective for most people to bother with knockoffs.

Parzival20 Feb 2012 12:12 p.m. PST

Ah. Now we have someone suggesting that he "knows" what GW's "attitude" is towards their customers. Based on what, I'm not certain— new game editions? Changing to other materials? Raising prices? (As if costs of doing business have never gone up for anyone over the last thirty-some odd years GW has been in business, and certainly haven't gone up significantly in the last three and half years because we all know the price of tin, plastic, labor, and shipping cost (oil) have remained completely static over that time. Pffft.)
If those are the standards, then the makers of cars, computers, stereos, vacuum cleaners, home appliances, etc., etc., are all equally jerks because they too have raised prices and produced new "editions" of their products which aren't "compatible" with the products we've already purchased, and simply won't give them to us, the evil meanies.
What is it, time to Occupy Nottingham? (OBJECTION! POLITICAL! Withdrawn, your Honor.)
How, exactly, has GW treated *you* like a "chump"?

Making new products?
Well, don't buy them.

Releasing a new codex with changes you don't like?
Well, play with the old codex. You still have it, I presume.

Not re-releasing Squats, 1st Ed. Space Hulk, Man O' War, Gorka Morka (etc.)?
Buy from Hasslefree (etc.), get an egg timer, go eBay or suck it up on the others. Stuff goes out of print/production. Sad, but true. Sometimes products that start off selling well fall off in sales (despite seeming popularity) beyond the point where continued production makes profitable sense. You aren't privy to the numbers, so don't pretend you know better.

Charging premium prices?
Like I said before, whine to Lamborghini, or reevaluate your priorities.

Not stroking your tournament ego? (This came up in the linked forum, but applies here— I'm not suggesting it is anyone on this forum's attitude.)
Get over yourself and realize that's a pretty pathetic way to seek approval and praise. Your personal sense of self worth should not be in the fact that you can win a gaming tournament. If you think it is, you need to reevaluate some things.

Hourly wage employees hardselling you on the latest big ticket items?
Welcome to the retail world (especially the commission sales world). Look, I don't like that sales approach either, and I think in the long run it's counterproductive, but it really isn't a belief that you are a "chump." It's just a sales model. Politely cut it off and be on your way.

I'm still waiting to hear a logical explanation of the grand egregious harm that GW performs on its customers. I think I'll be waiting a loooong time.

KenofYork20 Feb 2012 12:17 p.m. PST

GW has done one thing I find quite interesting. They have really made a lot of people hate them. Not sure if this is a good strategy long term, but it seems to work very well now with profits way up. I personally know many gamers who were very enthusiastic customers, and almost all of them have turned to hating the company. Some guys went this way years ago, and others quite recently.

Odd thing.

I second the greed post. Took me a long time to get to the point of sounding like occupy wall street, but it seems to be a problem in a lot of areas.

alien BLOODY HELL surfer21 Feb 2012 3:47 a.m. PST

'If someone cannot afford that product, the fault is not that of the manufacturer (is it Lamborghini's fault you can't afford one of their cars? Of course not). GW is doing nothing illegal, nor or they doing anything wrong.'

yes they are, they used to have a product that was good, very good, and well priced. then they became greedy, change everything every few years, make some stuff obsolete and unusable (without lots of effort to workaround / find people happy to do that), have put up prices way beyond what they should be (greed again), have come up with Turdcast, charge £12.00 GBP for a single PLASTIC mini, the list is endless. Even taking the price issue aside, they've ruined the games, chopped and changed the fluff, and make their minis more and more fugly as time goes by.
A shame as I'd happily play the games again if they were any good, and if GW were even close to being value for money. Until then, I can play RT or WHFB 3rd with older (and much nicer figures without stupid SKULZZ or other additional crap on them) models and or proxies. Hell 40K used to be fun, it was even created as a set of rules to play sc-fi games with, and they included their own game fluff as an example. Then it just went from bad to worse trying to make a battle game out of a skirmish game.

Thomas Thomas22 Feb 2012 1:55 p.m. PST

If you are unhappy with their products or games, do not purchase them.

Try Hordes of the Things with Perry Brother figures. Same qualtiy, better price, better game.

Your problems are solved.

Now go forth and paint and game and spend no more time worrying about GW.


Space Monkey Inactive Member22 Feb 2012 10:01 p.m. PST

Best to by better stuff from better companies… I agree.

theKOS23 Feb 2012 1:54 p.m. PST

Seriously, I had to respond as an ex-GW gamer. For me it's the 'prestige/premium' attitude that rankles me. Like a lot of us I'm part of the generation that GW games played a large part of getting into gaming. Frankly the 'ooh-la-la prestige' pricing thing was just kind of insulting, I've never played any other game that basically one day told me I'm to much of a 'pleb/whatever' to be one of the chosen that gets to play their game. I mean it's like if Gary Gygax came over to your house and told you you just weren't cool enough to play D&D anymore, nope sorry you supported/played/lived the game but 'you're a poor looser and you can push off'. Forget disposable income or luxury purchase arguments; who sticks around for that kind of high-hatting? I know all the defenses of GW (eg. I can not buy their stuff…ect.) , though who knows why people feel they need to defend them in such a manner as I took that advice long ago. I don't play their games or buy their stuff anymore, frankly GW games are about the only stuff that I won't even consider playing, and nobody I used to play with plays them anymore anyway. I'll play Battletech/Song of Blades and Heroes/C&C/DBA/HOTT/ect. with the 'plebs' thank you very much. Frankly though I don't think about GW much anymore they nonetheless left a bad taste. It lingers as an early experience with crass commercialism ruining something I loved when I was young, a 'this is a rip-off' moment, part of growing up.

Andy Skinner Supporting Member of TMP24 Feb 2012 1:55 p.m. PST

I think greed is when I charge a lot of money to sell you water, food, or shelter, when you can't get it anywhere else.

Their high prices might make someone decide not to buy from them anymore, and that might be a "wrong" marketing approach. But I don't think it is wrong in the sense some imply.

I've got some LotR elves, and was hoping they would put out some more figures for them. Now with finecast and higher prices, I'm not sure I care whether they do. I think it would cost a lot to get Thunderbolt Mountain instead, as nice as they are. Vaguely disappointed, but I still can't say that GW is doing "wrong".


BugStomper Inactive Member27 Feb 2012 4:30 a.m. PST


Gorkamorka is a free download on their website. Buy some Ork's on ebay and get scratchbuilding! :)

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP28 Feb 2012 6:38 a.m. PST

What is it, time to Occupy Nottingham?

Hilarious Parzival!

It does you little good to come between a self righteous GW-hater and his 2-minute Hate. Substitute Goldstein and Eurasia for GW and you're not far off the mark.

YouTube link

It's a toy company for crying out loud. Save your indignation for those things that matter.

evilmike Inactive Member28 Feb 2012 7:20 a.m. PST

I don't like GW.

I don't buy their stuff.

Problem solved.

Other folks like GW (or their games, anyway) and buy their stuff. Their problem, not mine.

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