Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

Winning back a customer: Games Workshop in 2016

I thought I was out… but they pulled me back in. I should have known – you can never leave the game.


Back in 2010 now I pulled the pin on my consumer interactions with games Workshop, a company whose products I have been buying in a steady stream since the 1980s. I’d had enough, and the ‘embargo’ was the final straw. I was out, and quietly got about the task of finding new tabletop games to play. Frankly I was happier for doing so, and did not imagine coming back to Games Workshop again.

Between 2010 and 2016 my direct purchases from GW amount to the Edge Paints set. I was gifted an imperial knight, a nice piece of nostalgia, but had (and have) no intention of using it as a gaming piece.

2016 is not generally regarded as a ‘good’ year. However for my individual relationship with Games Workshop, it was. I have only bought miniatures from Games Workshop this year, a fact that astounded me when I stopped to consider it.


What changed?

I like to think it was Games Workshop, but ‘change on both sides’ is probably more accurate. GW have amended their myopic focus on Age of Sigmar and Warhammer 40,000 and branched out, especially over the past 12 months. My first purchase of the year was the new version of Warhammer Quest, admittedly a nostalgic purchase but a deliberate one for all that. Then the 2016 version of Blood Bowl was announced and I became genuinely excited. I picked that up too, to bring my miniatures purchased in 2016 to a grand total of 87, all from Games Workshop. This includes the Storm of Sigmar box models.

Also in 2016 a rejuvenated White Dwarf magazine has given me something to look foward to reading each month. The Economist has been quite depressing by contrast. 

Games Workshops’s excellent series of painting videos has brought me back to that line of products, and I’ve picked up a few, though Reaper Master Series range remains my first choice for now.


The answer to what brought me back is simple in its way: they released products that I wanted to buy. This has come about by a rapid and major shift in company focus driven by the new CEO, and based on this year I remain optimistic for the future.

For 2017 I anticipate purchasing one or two more teams for Blood Bowl. We’ll see if anything else comes by that I decide to pick up.

2 comments on “Winning back a customer: Games Workshop in 2016

  1. Jon
    December 19, 2016

    I don’t think they’ve put every foot right, but I certainly respect this “chuck stuff out, see what works” approach they’ve taken on. If they can bring the drift in their most successful product line under control – not for its own sake, but because it’s intimidating, confusing and expensive for people who’ve already bought in, never mind anyone else – I think they might even start doing WELL.


    • davekay
      December 22, 2016

      Agreed. You’ll notice that I have avoided any mention of their ‘core’ games – these have not tempted me at all. Rebuilding the eco system around the core games is important, but represents the beginning of the task, not its end.

      Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on December 18, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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