Games Workshop is a company that has cornered a niche market in tactical wargaming and stealing 10 year olds money while sending them high on super glue. The company owns 95% of the wargaming market, the remaining five percent being comprised by enterprising six year olds who pretend their airfix fighter planes fire real bullets.
To play a Games Workshop game such as Warhammer in the officially approved GW manner you must first purchase their expensive rulebook (£45), then purchase another rulebook specific to the army you want to collect (£20), then buy their over-priced gaming table (£155) and some model trees and buildings to decorate it (c.£60 for a decent amount), then finally you get to purchase the actual models (an army big enough to play a proper game could set you back about £200 plus paints and glue). So there you go, all it takes to get into this game is an initial investment of £500 and giving up all hope of ever owning your own home. It is reputed that Warhammer is the favoured pastime of Pentagon tacticians, who often seek inspiration from sources other than Rome: Total War and are the only ones with the funds available to play it any more.
The days of Games Workshops dominance are thankfully numbered. Companies such as Mantic Games, Privateer Press and Gripping Beast are producing better game systems and much better/cheaper/more original products which are growing in popularity at GWs expense. And it's about damn time! GW have abused their loyal customer base for years, seeing them as a license to print money and everyone is getting well and truly p*ssed off with it! Therefore, don't be surprised if in the next few years you see your local Games Workshop store close down to be replaced with a branch of Poundland or Oxfam.
Many people sadly cannot perceive the attraction of wargaming because they want a life and disagree with the exorbitant prices of Games workshop products. What they fail to realise is that the concept was developed by people who think painting small lumps of plastic and rolling dice is entertainment.
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Employee and Customer policy
It is a company policy that all in-store employees must be overweight twenty-something year old university dropouts and have a body odour with equivalent lethality to Sarin nerve gas. Employees in the design concept studio must have an in-depth knowledge of Tolkien and established sci-fi authors, from which their ideas will be stolen.
Customers either meet the above description of in-store employees, or be ten years old with rich parents. If they do not meet this criteria, they are most likely in the store to intimidate and physically abuse the employees and real customers on account of being nerds, and therefore shall be ignored or exposed to the in-store employee with the foulest body odour.
All Games Workshop stores are fitted with air conditioning, but this is never turned on. Instead they turn up the heating even in the middle of summer so all the nerds will sweat and thus smell even more. Annually GW runs an inter-store tournament to see who can produce the most repugnant body odour. The 2011 champions were Sheffield Meadowhall, who produced a stench so foul it caused an evacuation of a full three quarters of the Meadowhall centre and caused several restaurants in the food court to fail food hygiene inspections.
Employees will also badger you none stop until you either leave from annoyance or you buy something. Some even go to the realms of sarcasm if they realise you haven't got a clue what you're looking at. It's a great way to alienate your customers so they never venture into your stores again.
To sell these overpriced pieces of crap the games workshop employees must wash themselves with a Games workshop shower gel which smells like a mixture of sweat and heroin, added with the natural sweat of the employee and the smell of a games workshop interior (heated superglue and paint) will send the rich parent high and will agree to buying another ton weight book of incomprehensible rules and another box of woeful plastic pieces. All for the "reasonable price" of $149.99.
White Dwarf Magazine
White Dwarf (otherwise known as 'How To Buy Space Marines') used to be a hobby and gaming magazine which had articles on stuff which interested hobbyists and gamers, such as how to make model hills out of polystyrene. However, some time in the early to mid 2000s Games Workship decided that this approach was not profitable enough and so White Dwarf became an monthly advert for GW products (e.g. model hills, now available as a plastic kit from GW for £15) with articles aimed solely at making ten year old boys pester their decadent middle class parents to buy them the latest overpriced releases.
Games Workshop builds many weapons and tanks not only for Warhammer 40k, but for the US military; see this list of Games Workshop products.
For a brief summary of Games Workshops' world of Warhammer Fantasy, take a trip to your local bookstore, purchase both every major work of fantasy literature written in the past thirty years and an atlas of the world during the 16th century (this in itself will be cheaper than actually purchasing the game), then place them in an industrial-sized blender. Just add water, connect the blender to a mains outlet and press the on button. Voila! The mush you have produced is Warhammer.
Armies and Gameplay
The original game, currently in its 98th edition, the improvement from the 97th edition being a minor rules alteration on how you must use Games Workshop sanctioned dice or forfeight all your minatures to the nearest Games workshop employee. Warhammer is, believe it or not, a wargame inventively titled "Warhammer" after a device used to bludgeon people to death, a practice profusely used by the Games Workshop pricing team. The whole point is to collect small figures, pretend they're alive and battle each other.
Armies you MUST collect in order to ultimately win the game are:
- Humans: Come in two forms;
- Empire: Renaissance Germans...with Griffons, magic swords and magicians!
- Bretonians: Medieval French knights who worship some tart who lives in a lake. And magical swords and Hippogriffs!
- Tolkien-esque force #1: Orcs: Based on the "Chav"; a particularly aggressive and uneducated variant of Homo Sapiens found commonly in England and popular tourist destinations.
- Tolkien-esque force #2: High Elves: exactly the same as Tolkien High Elves.
- Tolkien-esque force #3: Dwarves: Pretty much the same as Tolkien Dwarves, but with guns.
- Skaven: Speech-impaired machievellian Rat men, vaguely original of the "The Secret of Nimh".
- Tomb Kings: A rip-off of the mummy series. No, not the shitty dragon one. The egypt ones.
- Vampire Counts: Not the gay twilight vampires, but when they were cool and had cool clothes and ghosts. OoOoOoOoOoOoO!! is their battle cry.
- The Bad Guys, aka Chaos: The scary bad boys of the Warhammer world. Include Demons (spelt "Daemons" because thats how the cool kids spell it).
- Lizardmen: The highly original name gives it all away really.
Take a gothic-styled Imperial Roman Empire. Throw it 38,000 years into the future. Add enemies by taking every major sci-fi film nemesis and ripping them off, or by simply giving the Warhammer Fantasy races guns and floating tanks. Add half a cup of Dune backstory, make it so unbelievably dark and edgy that a GPS is powered by human sacrifices, throw away all that nonsense about physics, and add salt to taste. You now have Warhammer 40,000. Although the game is set 38,000 years into the future, the preferred way to defeat an enemy is to expend their ammunition with useless cannon fodder and eventually kill them by bashing them over the head with an over-anticipated power fist that you need 20,000 10 sided dice for. It is rumoured these tactics have been adopted by the U.S Westpoint Military Academy.
Space Marines: Imagine a whole army of monastic Rambos, with rapid-firing rocket launchers and encased in space armour. With tanks. And some with jetpacks. The staple of Games Workshop, and thus have been made invincible through the "And they shall know no fear" rule- this effectively means that should any player play against Space Marines with a non-Space Marine army, they automatically lose on the basis that no sentient lifeform would ever consider shooting at Humanity's Finest. Understandably favored by new comers to the game. It should be noted that a Space Marine Chapter, the Salamanders, are all black. Their successor chapters include Peckerwood Eliminator's and the Tokens. They are the only black people in all of 40K. When asked for advice on painting black and Asian skin onto models by an Imperial Guard player, an employee of a Games Workshop in the north of England was heard to say "but the Imperium is all white...". NO JOKE
Chaos Marines: See above. Includes Daemons (cos they're better than standard demons).
Eldar: Space Elves. With guns. And floating tanks.
Dark Eldar: See above, look like Cradle of Filth after a show.
Tau: Space Minotaur Commies. With bigger guns. And floating tanks.
Orks: Space Orcs. With backfiring guns. And power armored Nobs and Big Choppers. No joke.
Imperial Guard: Standard humans with piss-poor armour and laser pens. There to make everyone else look good, unless you include tanks, in which case your men are replaced with between 5 and ten tanks which will proceed to kick everyone's ass, which is why the Imperial Guard is the favorite army of Erwin Rommel.
Necrons: See original two Terminator films. The third was shit, apart from the bird with the nice rack.
Tyranids: Reference Starship Troopers and Alien.
Bitch Hunters: Space Nuns, which is exactly as exciting as it sounds. More commonly referred to as Battle Bitches or Slapper of Battle. Latent arsonist tendencies.
Spin-off games (officially called 'Specialist Games' for some reason) were big in the 90s. Many of them had a good fan base and were a lot of fun to play but some time in the early 2000s GW decided to sack them off and concentrate on ruining their two main games instead. On the plus side you can download all the resources needed to play these games from GWs website for free (yeah, I couldn't believe they were giving something away either).
- Lord of the Rings: - Oh the irony. Games Waorkshop spends 25 years ripping off Tolkien, only to eventually produce a boardgame of his universe. Which, funnily enough, was shit. This cynical cash-in was officially licensed by New Line Cinema and is supposed to be Games Workshop's 'third core game', but nobody plays it so it doesn't count.
- Battlefleet Gothic: A war game with spaceships. Need I say more?
- Necromunda: Skirmish game set in Warhammer 40,000. Was canned after GW realised that people would spend more money on minatures if it didn't exist to distract players from the main two games. Or give them a game which only required them to buy a maximum of 20 minitures. I miss the old days...
- Mordheim: See above, but in the Warhammer Fantasy world.
- Inquisitor: Set in the 40K universe. Was the result of GW's miniature factory accidentally producing a larger scale set of models, which was then botched quickly into a new game so these models could be flogged off.
- Blood Bowl: Warhammer Fantasy world aproach to American Football, including a realistic attention to the unlimited addenda, rules changes and updates of the real world passtime leading to it being re-titled "Blood Boil"