First, I apologize for not having posted in a while. I recently moved and that has taken the bulk of my attentions.
I have noticed a trend of late with GW’s increased focus on stand-alone games. If we look at the timeline of recent releases (forgive my memory if any were omitted), we have seen an increase in quantity and quality from 2015 onwards.
If we return to 2011, this saw the release of Dreadfleet. I have a copy that has never been assembled or played with. The models look fantastic and the concept different enough. I remember hoping this would be a harbinger for a return of Battlefleet Gothic, but this release quickly fell into obscurity.
2014 saw the re-release of Space Hulk. Having missed the 2009 release this was another must have. This is despite the models having sat perpetually primed for over a year. Nothing ground-breaking was added to the release and in fact it appears to be largely the same as the 2009 release.
2015 saw the release of Assassinorum: Execution Force. This appeared to be the foreshadowing of the return of nostalgia. This release was a mixed bag of contents. It introduced a beautiful new assortment of Assassin miniatures; miniatures that had not seen revision since I was a child. In fact, the first ‘character’ model I ever painted was the original Vindicare Assassin. Aside from the beautiful Assassins, the Chaos models were off the shelf, and the game itself was briefly entertaining but I am reasonably certain few play it regularly. It was such a modest release of an entire game that I did in fact complete all models and even played a few rounds. As a devout GW fanboy, even to me it seemed like a vehicle to move models before they released individually later on. However, money was spent, Assassins were built and despite the dust accumulating on the stand-alone game, the models were an absolute pleasure to build and paint.
Late 2015 saw the advent of The Horus Heresy: Betrayal At Calth. This was a mixture of nostalgia, harking back to the good old days of GW always speaking of the dark times of the Horus Heresy and also a major introduction of what has historically been the exclusive realm of the Forge World brand. They are Beautiful models, from a brand typically limited to Forge World, cross merchandised with Forge World’s premium models; a perfect introduction for anyone unfamiliar with the premium books and model designs with such limited typical availability.
2016 saw the return of two gone, yet not forgotten factions in the 40K world. The Deathwatch, which seems to have been omitted from many later editions of Inquisition books, and the Genestealer Cult, which has been omitted since the Second Edition (I believe) in the 90s! Again, beautiful models.
Now around the corner we have the return and major update to another classic long gone, yet unforgotten game; Warhammer Quest. With the release of The Silver Tower quickly approaching, I think I am safe in making a declaration: Regardless of whether the long defunct banner of GW’s Specialist Games division ever officially returns, spiritually, I suspect 2015 saw its rebirth. I would even go so far as to suggest Betrayal At Calth was its inaugural release.
What this could possibly mean is GW has identified that they can effectively supplement their core banners of 40K and Age of Sigmar with these (yes I’m saying it) “Specialist Games”. Are we seeing GW round a corner and heading towards recovery? While always optimistic of the worlds of Warhammer, this to me represents an epiphany that perhaps I can be optimistic of the business world of Games Workshop. With a massive wealth of intellectual properties and histories, nostalgia-seeking fans, and a new generation that has or has not heard the legends of the good old days, this is a combination of business acumen, product development and marketing that we have not seen from GW in years.
Will I continue to buy these games? Yes. Will I ever get around to assembling and painting and playing them? Perhaps! Do I think the success of these games will impact future stand-alone games and even the greater 40K/AoS product lines? Absolutely.
What do you think? Is this the first step of recovery towards a better time for GW, and us as their fans and participants? Do you agree, official or not that Specialist Games is back?
Questions, concerns and conundrums are welcome as always.