Voormalig Warhammer-ontwerper noemt AoS een ‘gamble’

Warhammer 6e editie Tuomas Pirinen vindt het jammer dat het oude spel met de oude fantasy-achtergrond is verlaten door Games Workshop, maar snapt de ‘gok’ wel. AoS als duur spel voor een select publiek: een “Apple-tactiek’, bericht hij op Facebook.

Hij schreef op zijn facebook-pagina een genuanceerde review van AoS:

Key takeaways: Free, much streamlined rules with visually stunning (if 40K-ish) models that are very expensive speaks to me of a strategy: with these rules, many more new people can try the game and grasp the rules rapidly. Some of those will like the game, and a portion will be able to afford the cost associated with it, and without points limits on the armies, they can spend as little or as much as they wish on the game.

I see that the new miniature range will attract many collectors, and perhaps fewer die-hard gamers -possibly a valid approach, business-wise.

All in all this targets a very particular kind of consumer: Ideally affluent, social, and focused on collectability of very high-quality designs -very much the Apple tactic. It is a huge gamble to see if this is new direction works. It may also be that a completely new world will allow GW to target a new breed of gamers not exposed to Warhammer before.

To understand the shift in the game it is important to see that many things are in play here that your average hobbyist does not need to care about: the shelf space in the shops (Warhammer always took massive amount of space), the spiralling cost associated with making a physical product, the intense competition from both physical and digital games and the rise of 3D printing in the near future.

When it comes to miniature sculpting, in the past the rigid unit hierarchy of classic Warhammer limited their poses and dimensions, which was always problem when compared to 40K. Thus I am not surprised to see the round bases and much larger models with far more articulation. They are eye-catching and have been made with collectability in mind. They also are so complex that the immediate danger of 3D printing will have been averted at least for a while.(…) they do have that modern western mocvie/video game design vibe. As always, a matter of taste wheter you like this or not. It is certainly more mass-market.

The rules themselves have some very nifty ideas,(…) In general, the new rules are streamlined, short, easy-to-absorb and will lead into quite straightforward games. Without tactical maneuvering and flank/back bonuses, the games will most likely become immense killing grounds in the middle, with one side completely wiped out, and the result having a lot to do with luck. I also see some worrying opportunities for cheating, especially with customizing models for extra reach. But I honestly also see a lot of opportunity for fun and tense moments too, in a casual gaming sort of way.

And those dreaded dancing rules… I am personally not a designer that likes to enforce the players to dance, sing or shout (…) All in all, the rules are simplified, streamlined, and clearly aimed at getting as many new people as possible to try out the rules.

I am of course sad to see Warhammer world go, (…) But I do see some of the logic: the Warhammer world was complete, and a low-fantasy world. In order to bring more fantastical creatures and new armies (without making it impossible to fit all the new models into the Warhammer shops) a clean slate was the easy way forward. Personally hard for me to see, but if the gamble pays off it might well be worth it for GW.

I also hazard a guess that there will be a more advanced ruleset for more tactical and strategic players who have outgrown the 4-page rules. I especially think we will see supplements for magic. Without any further rules development, I am not sure about the longevity of the game. Easy-to-pick-up, difficult-to-master is the Holy Grail of the game design, and I am not quite sure these rules are there yet. To keep customers returning, games need long-term engagement, and that requires more depth to delve into. I think we will see this in the coming months.

I see Age of Sigmar as a huge gamble, and it will be interesting to see if it pays off. I also feel that it may have been a gamble they had to take in one form or another. We might see a smaller playerbase, but very lucrative one to emerge from these rules and miniatures.


Thoughtful critique and discussion wins over bitterness and fanboyism every time.

Interessant zijn nog verschillende reacties op zijn post, en Pirinens antwoorden.

Zo schrijft een ex-GW-er:

I have worked for GW recently enough, and keep in contact with the higher-ups in the UK. The target market is 12-14 year old boys from rich families. End of story. Has been for 10 years. GW expects to keep them in the hobby for approximately two years so products are based around that. 

Een ander geeft commentaar op de veranderde prijsstrategie van GW sinds 2010. Voor de prijsstijgingen liepen de winkels vol met 10-14-jarigen. Pirinen:

I see two forces at play here: the increasing cost of making physical product that can resist 3D printing, and the cost of selling it in retail. The second, and far more important reason is that we are seeing ever bigger divide between the rich and the rest of us: making product targeting the affluent specifically leads into a far smaller customer base, but far more lucrative. We are seeing this in all areas product development, not just games and entertainment.

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