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Games Workshop

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Games Workshop Group plc
Type Public (LSEGAW)
Industry Miniature wargaming publisher
Founded 1975
Headquarters Nottingham, England
Key people Mark Wells (CEO)
Tom Kirby (Chairman)
Kevin Rountree (CFO)
Products Warhammer Fantasy Battle
Warhammer 40,000
The Lord of the Rings SBG
"Hasbro"
Website games-workshop.com

Games Workshop Group plc (often abbreviated to GW) is a British game production and retailing company. Games Workshop has published the tabletop wargames Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange with the symbol GAW.L.[1]

Contents

[edit] Overview/History

Games Workshop opening day at 1 Dalling Road, Hammersmith, London, in April 1978.[2]
Cover of White Dwarf Issue #1, June/July 1977.

Founded in 1975 at 15 Bolingbroke Road, London, by John Peake, Ian Livingstone, and Steve Jackson (later known for their Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), Games Workshop was originally a manufacturer of wooden boards for games such as backgammon, mancala, Nine Men's Morris, and Go[3] which later became an importer of the U.S. role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, and then a publisher of wargames and role-playing games in its own right, expanding from a bedroom mail-order company in the process.

In order to promote their business, postal games, create a games club, and provide an alternative source for games news, the newsletter, Owl and Weasel, was founded in February 1975. This was superseded in June 1977 by White Dwarf.

From the outset, there was a clear stated interest in print regarding "progressive games," including computer gaming[4] which led to the departure of traditionalist Peake in early 1976, and the loss of GW's main source of income.[5] However, having successfully obtained official distribution rights to Dungeons & Dragons and other TSR products in the UK, and maintaining a high profile by running games conventions, the business grew rapidly. It opened its first retail shop in April 1978.

In early 1979, Games Workshop provided the funding to found Citadel Miniatures in Newark-on-Trent. Citadel would produce the metal miniatures used in role-playing and table-top wargames. The Citadel name became synonymous with Games Workshop Miniatures, and continues to be a trademarked brand name used in association with them long after the Citadel company was absorbed into Games Workshop.[6][7] For a time, Gary Gygax promoted the idea of TSR, Inc. merging with Games Workshop, until Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone backed out.[8]

The company's publishing arm also released UK reprints of famous American RPGs such as Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Traveller, and Middle-Earth Role Playing, which were expensive to import, having previously done so for Dungeons & Dragons from 1977.[9]

In 1984, Games Workshop ceased distributing its products in the USA through Hobby Games Distributors and opened its Games Workshop (US) office. Games Workshop (US), and Games Workshop in general, went through a large growth phase in the late '80s, listing over 250 employees on the payroll by 1990.[10]

Following a management buyout in December 1991, the company refocused on their most lucrative lines, namely their miniature wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) and Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K). The retail chain refocused on a younger, more family-oriented market. The change of direction was a great success and the company enjoyed growing profits, but the move lost the company some of its old fan base. The complaints of old customers led a breakaway group of two GW employees to publish Fantasy Warlord in competition with GW, but this met with little success. Games Workshop expanded in Europe, the USA, Canada, and Australia, opening new branches and organizing events in each new commercial territory. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 1994. In October 1997, all UK-based operations were relocated to the current headquarters in Lenton, Nottingham. This site now houses the corporate HQ, the White Dwarf offices, mail order operations, production, and distribution facilities for Europe, and the creative teams behind the miniatures and games designs.[citation needed]

By the end of the decade, though, the company was having problems with falling profits, blamed on the growth in popularity of collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon.

In recent years, Games Workshop has been attempting to create a dual approach that will appeal to both older customers while still attracting a younger audience. This has seen the creation of initiatives such as the "Fanatic" range that supports more marginal lines with a lower cost trading model (the Internet is used widely in this approach, to collect ideas and playtest reports). However the Fanatic line has been mostly dropped, leaving Games Workshop to concentrate more and more on the younger demographic.[citation needed] Games Workshop has also contributed to designing and making games and puzzles for the popular television series The Crystal Maze.[11]

The release of Games Workshop's third core miniature wargame, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (LoTR SBG), in 2000 signalled their intention to capture a new audience with a simple, yet effective and flexible combat system.[citation needed]

Other key innovations have been to harmonize their core products, and to branch out into new areas of growth. The acquisition of Sabretooth Games (card games), the creation of The Black Library (literature), and their work with THQ (computer games) have all enabled the company to diversify into new areas which have brought old gamers back into the fold; plus, it introduced the games to a whole new audience.[citation needed]

In the 25 years since the first edition of their flagship game Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the cost of some like-for-like game components have risen steeply. For example, a metal "Goblin Fanatic" miniature has increased from 40p[12] to £2.67,[13] an increase of 567.5%. In early 2008 Playthings magazine reported that retailers selling Games Workshop's products had seen a reduction in sales due to market saturation and price increases.[14] In addition, the current fuel crisis has meant it is more expensive to export miniatures, and prices recently increased for metal miniatures and books on 29 September 2008. At the same time, the cost of metal miniatures has increased, as new technology for the creation of molds for plastic models has led to a significant decrease (up to a 50% price drop in some cases) in the retail cost of plastic miniatures. For example, five metal-plastic hybrid Chaos Knights were priced at 45 US dollars previously; the new all-plastic models are priced at 22 US dollars for the same five Chaos Knights, a 51% decrease (49% of the original value).

In late 2009 Games Workshop issued a spate[15][16][17][18][19] of Cease and desist orders against various internet sites it accused of violating its Intellectual property. The reaction amongst the fan community was generally anger and disappointment[20] as many of the sites receiving orders were seen to be ones which had supported various Games Workshop games during periods where the company itself was not supporting or selling them.

[edit] Licensing

A miniature produced with rights acquired from The Lord of the Rings.

Alongside the UK publishing rights to several American role-playing games in the 1980s (including The Call of Cthulhu, Runequest[21] and Middle-earth Role Playing [22]) Games Workshop also secured the rights to produce miniatures and/or games for several classic British science fiction properties such as Doctor Who[23][24] and several characters from 2000 AD including Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd. Alongside the rights to reprint ICE's Middle Earth Role Playing Citadel Miniatures acquired the rights to produce 28mm miniatures based on Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

In conjunction with the promotion of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in 2001, Games Workshop acquired the rights to produce a skirmish wargame and miniatures, using the movies' production and publicity art, and information provided by the original novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Although it should be noted that the current line uses 25mm scale).[25] The rights to produce a role-playing game using the films' art and both the book and the movies' plots and characters were sold to another firm, Decipher, Inc.. Games Workshop was also able to produce a Battle of Five Armies game based on a culminating episode in The Hobbit, although this game was done in 10 mm scale.

On February 10, 2011, Warner Bros. Consumer Products announced that it extended its six-year agreement with Games Workshop, continuing its exclusive, worldwide rights to produce tabletop games based on "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings." Games Workshop announced plans to expand their offerings of battle-games and model soldiers, and to continue to develop and increase offerings based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy books.[26]

[edit] Games Workshop Group PLC

Games Workshop has expanded into several divisions/companies producing products related to the Warhammer universe.

The company is seen to have hard-to-reproduce, unique Intellectual Property, a good export record, although there are several new companies which have entered the market recently and offer similar products at a lower price.[28]

The group reported sales of £136,650,000 sterling in 2005 and employs around 3200.[29] Sales decreased for the fiscal year ending in May 2006. "For the fiscal year ended 28 May 2006, Games Workshop plc's revenues decreased 16% to £115.2M. Net income decreased 78% to £2M. Revenues reflect a decrease in sales from Continental Europe, United Kingdom, Asia Pacific, and The Americas geographic divisions"[30] [31] [32] [33] [34]

In 2009 Games Workshop Group plc posted a pre-tax profit of 7.5 Million pounds. Games workshop said the rise in revenue was due to an increase in the range and quality of its plastic miniatures.[35]

[edit] Miniature games

Games Workshop previously produced miniature figures via an associated, originally independent, company called Citadel Miniatures while the main company concentrated on retail. The distinction between the two blurred after Games Workshop stores ceased to sell retail products by other manufacturers, and Citadel was effectively merged back into Games Workshop.

[edit] Current Core Games

The following games are in production and widely available.

All of these games systems have had expansion rules and supplements for them, including Mighty Empires for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Battlehosts for The Lord of the Rings War Of The Ring and the hugely successful Cities of Death, Apocalypse, Planetstrike and Planetary Empires for Warhammer 40,000.

[edit] Specialist Games

Link to the dedicated page for the Specialist Games division.

These games are aimed at the "veteran" gamers. These are gamers who are more experienced in the core games produced by Games Workshop. This is because the rules and the complexity of tactics inherent in the systems are often more in-depth than the core games.

[edit] Warhammer Fantasy universe

[edit] Warhammer 40,000 universe

[edit] The Lord Of The Rings Strategy Battle Game universe

[edit] Forge World

Forge World has recently released its first in-house game:

[edit] Out of print

[edit] Warhammer Fantasy universe

[edit] Warhammer 40,000 universe

[edit] Licensed games

These games were not made by Games Workshop but used similar-style models, artwork and concepts. These games were made by mainstream toy companies and available in standard toy and department stores rather than just in Games Workshop and speciality gaming stores.

[edit] Role-playing games

Several of the miniatures games (e.g. Inquisitor) involve a role-playing element, however Games Workshop has in the past published role-playing games set within the Warhammer universe. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was first published in 1986; a second edition appeared in 2005 published by Black Industries[2], part of GW's fiction imprint BL Publishing.

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Heresy, the first of three proposed role-playing games set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe was released in late January 2008 and sold out almost immediately.

Immediately following the release of Dark Heresy, Black Industries announced that they would cease producing role-playing supplements in September 2008, in order to focus on the more profitable Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 novels. A later announcement indicated that the game would continue to be produced, however; production had simply been turned over to a third-party publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, instead.[36]

As well as republishing and expanding the Dark Heresy game, Fantasy Flight Games have subsequently published two other roleplaying games, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch, set in the same Warhammer 40,000 universe and employing different systems. Fantasy Flight have also released a new edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, along with a number expansions to that game also.

[edit] Out of print

[edit] Out of print, Republished

The following games are technically out of print in their original editions, but have had new versions (in some cases heavily revised and in some cases with additional game expansions) published by Fantasy Flight Games, and these new editions are still in print.

[edit] Board games

Games Workshop had a strong history in boardgames development, alongside the miniatures and RPGs. Confusingly, several may have had roleplaying elements, or for that matter had miniatures included or produced.

Licensing for an undisclosed proportion of Games Workshop's back catalogue of board games was transferred to Fantasy Flight Games as part of the same transaction which included Black Library's Role Playing Games. Fantasy Flight had already republished revised editions of a number of these games. At the time of the announcement, Black Library had only one boardgame in print, the 4th Edition of "Talisman". Fantasy Flight have subsequently released revised editions of Talisman and of other former Games Workshop boardgames.

[edit] Out of print

[edit] Out of print, Republished

The following games are technically out of print in their original editions, but have had new versions (in all cases heavily revised and in some cases with additional game expansions) published by Fantasy Flight Games, and these new editions are still in print.

[edit] Computer games

Games Workshop licensed or produced several ZX Spectrum games in the early years, none of which were based in the usual Warhammer settings:

Many computer games have been produced by third parties based on the Warhammer universes owned by the firm. These include (miniature game they are based on is included in parentheses after the game name):

[edit] Events

There are yearly Games Day events held by Games Workshop which feature the Golden Demon painting competition, news stands for upcoming models, sale stands as well as tables to play on.

[edit] Worldwide campaigns

Games Workshop has run numerous Worldwide Campaigns for its three core game systems. In each campaign, players are invited to submit the results of games played within a certain time period.[37] The collation of these results provides a result to the campaign's scenario, and in the case of Warhammer, often goes on to impact the fictional and gameplay development of the fictional universe. Although in the past, campaign results had to be posted to the United Kingdom to be counted, the more recent campaigns have allowed result submission via the Internet.

Each Warhammer campaign has had a new codex published with the rules for special characters or "incomplete" army lists. Below are listed the Games Workshop Worldwide Campaigns (with the campaign's fictional universe setting in parentheses):

These Campaigns were run to promote its miniature wargames, and attracted interest in the hobby, particularly at gaming clubs, Hobby Centres and independent stockists.[37] Forums for the community were created for each campaign (in addition to those on the main site), as a place to "swap tactics, plan where to post your results, or just chat about how the campaign is going."[37] In some cases special miniatures were released to coincide with the campaigns; the promotional "Gimli on Dead Uruk-hai" miniature, for example, was available only through the campaign roadshows or ordering online.[45] As a whole these events have been successful; one, for example, was deemed "a fantastic rollercoaster", with thousands of registered participants.[46]

[edit] Magazines

Games Workshop's best known magazine is White Dwarf, which in the UK has now passed over 370 issues. Nine different international editions of White Dwarf are currently published, with different material, in five languages. Originally a more general roleplaying magazine, since around issue 100 White Dwarf has been devoted exclusively to the support of Games Workshop productions.

Games Workshop also published Fanatic Magazine in support of their Specialist Games range, but this was discontinued in print form after issue 10. Fanatic was preceded by a number of newsletters, devoted to the particular games. After the cancellation of Fanatic Magazine, an electronic form, known as "Fanatic Online" was published from Games Workshop's Specialist Games website. With the re-launch in 2008 of Games Workshop's global web store, starting with a revamped US site, it was announced that the Specialist Games site would no longer be updated and that Specialist Games content would be published within the Games Workshop website proper; this has also meant the end of Fanatic Online.

There was also the Citadel Journal, intended as a "deeper" magazine for modelling enthusiasts and more experienced gamers. It often featured unusual rules and armies, and was occasionally used as an outlet for test rules. Under some editors, they also published fan fiction and fan art. This is no longer published.

For a brief period in the mid-1980s GW took over publication of the Fighting Fantasy magazine Warlock from Puffin Books. The magazine turned into a general introductory gaming magazine but was discontinued after issue 13.

There was also a fortnightly series called "Battle Games in Middle Earth", which came with a single or several free Lord of the Rings SBG miniatures. Though the miniatures were made by Games Workshop, the magazine itself was written by SGS (part of Games Workshop) and published by De Agostini. It was published in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland. The magazine became more popular than the publishers had anticipated, and the deadline was extended several times and ended on Pack 91. Battle Games in Middle Earth was reported as being the biggest selling partwork magazine in De Agostini's history.

[edit] Other media

Many novels, and comics have also been produced based on the Warhammer universes, published by the Black Library. In late 2009, Codex Pictures announced that they would be making a 70-minute animated movie based on Warhammer 40,000 called Ultramarines:The Movie

Games Workshop illustrators also published artbooks covering parts of their commissioned work for the company. Amongst them, one can find Adrian Smith and John Blanche.

[edit] References

  1. ^ "GAW GAMES WORKSHOP GROUP PLC ORD 5P". London Stock Exchange. 2007-09-14. Archived from the original on 2007-11-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20071112081003/http://www.londonstockexchange.com/en-gb/pricesnews/prices/system/detailedprices.htm?sym=GB0003718474GBGBXSEQ10371847GAW. Retrieved 2007-09-14. 
  2. ^ "A new dungeon for Games Workshop". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (7): 23. June/July 1978. 
  3. ^ Livingstone, Ian (April 1975). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (3): 2. 
  4. ^ Jackson, Steve (February 1975). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (1): 1. 
  5. ^ Livingstone, Ian (Jan 1976). "Editorial". Owl and Weasel (Games Workshop) (12): 2. 
  6. ^ "News". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (11): 10. Feb/Mar 1979. 
  7. ^ Baxter, Stephen (2006). "Freedom in an Owned World: Warhammer Fiction and the Interzone Generation". Vector Magazine - The Critical Journal of the British Science Fiction Association (British Science Fiction Association) (229). http://www.vectormagazine.co.uk/article.asp?articleID=42. Retrieved 2007-02-07. 
  8. ^ Sacco, Ciro Alessandro. "The Ultimate Interview with Gary Gygax". thekyngdoms.com. http://www.thekyngdoms.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=37. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  9. ^ "News". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (4). Dec/Jan 1977/78. 
  10. ^ "White Dwarf". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (126). June 1990. 
  11. ^ www.youtube.com Upload of Series Credits, 29 Seconds in
  12. ^ Citadel Compendium 1, 1983 page 28
  13. ^ Games Workshop website retrieved 15/03/08
  14. ^ Playthings magazine
  15. ^ GW legal threats close Talkbloodbowl.com
  16. ^ Blood-Bowl.net closed
  17. ^ GW Cease and Desist on Chilling Effects
  18. ^ GW send Cease & Desist to BoardGameGeek
  19. ^ The end of Dark Reign? (Or: Games Workshop's Legal Crusade)
  20. ^ http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/264704.page
  21. ^ Haley, Guy (Jan 2005). "The History of White Dwarf". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (300). 
  22. ^ "Newsboard". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (58). October 1984. 
  23. ^ Livingstone, Ian (March 1985). "Editorial". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (63). 
  24. ^ Haley, Guy (May 2005). "Thirty Years of Games Workshop". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (304). 
  25. ^ "Note that these figures are 25 mm and not the 28 mm figures that are more popular today"; ("Painting the Lord of the Rings Mines of Moria Game". 2005-11-23. http://www.io.com/~beckerdo/minis/mini28/LotRMoria/. Retrieved 2007-07-17. )
  26. ^ http://www.licensemag.com/licensemag/Brands/Warner-Bros-Continues-Hobbit-Games/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/707126?contextCategoryId=9989
  27. ^ warpartefacts.com
  28. ^ Paton, Maynard Are Small Companies Suitable For Long-Term Portfolios 22,11 2001 [1]
  29. ^ Wright Reports
  30. ^ investing reuters.co.uk
  31. ^ icv2.com
  32. ^ Gaming report
  33. ^ PDF
  34. ^ advfn.com news
  35. ^ "UPDATE 1-Games Workshop FY pretax profit up". Reuters. 2009-07-28. http://www.reuters.com/article/rbssRetailSpecialty/idUSBNG47846420090728. 
  36. ^ Press release on Games Workshops properties from Fantasy Flight Games website
  37. ^ a b c Battle Games in Middle-earth, Issue 56
  38. ^ "Third War for Armageddon Campaign Site". Games Workshop. http://www.armageddon3.com/English/40KIntro/40Kintro.html. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  39. ^ "Eye of Terror Campaign Site". Games Workshop. http://www.eyeofterror.com/. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  40. ^ "Storm of Chaos Campaign Site". Games Workshop. http://stormofchaos.uk.games-workshop.com/default.htm. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  41. ^ "The War of the Ring Campaign Site (United Kingdom)". Games Workshop. http://thewarofthering.uk.games-workshop.com/warnews/. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  42. ^ "The War of the Ring Campaign Site (Canada)". Games Workshop. http://thewarofthering.ca.games-workshop.com/warnews/. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  43. ^ "The Fall of Medusa V Campaign Site". Games Workshop. http://medusav.games-workshop.com/. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  44. ^ "Nemesis Crown Campaign Site". Games Workshop. http://nemesis.games-workshop.com/. Retrieved 2007-06-30. 
  45. ^ "The Wrath of Umbar"
  46. ^ Cavatore, Alessio (Jan 2006). "Victory for the Free Peoples". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (312). 

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