Saturday, February 8, 2014

White Dwarf Thoughts



Games Workshop’s relaunch of its flagship title White Dwarf as a 32 page weekly, cutting the page count of the magazine to a third of its previous size.  I felt rather leery about this when Games Workshop announced it a month or so ago but we had a surprising number of people pre-order it, significantly more than pre-ordered the monthly version of the title so upped our order significantly, to the tune of over double our regular order for the monthly version. Most of those, alas, still sit on the shelf. After looking at the first issue I understand why. 

Granted, White Dwarf is a house organ and Games Workshop uses it to promote new releases and armies. The company wants to hype whatever it releases that month.  Fair enough.  I do have to wonder why, given all the products the company has and all the armies it could chose to release a new Codex for, why chooses to go with Warhammer Fantasy Battle and especially, why Dwarfs?

In the US, Warhammer 40,000 has outsold Warhammer Fantasy Battle for over a decade.  In fact, Warhammer 40,000 has vastly outsold Warhammer Fantasy Battle for over a decade.  Coupled with the fact that years have passed since I have heard anyone enthuse about building their WFB Dwarf army (actually I cannot remember anyone getting enthused about building their Dwarf army, but the mind does forget things). Therefore, given the potential market for Warhammer Fantasy Battle in the US, compared to that of Warhammer 40,000, why did the company choose to launch the radically redesigned weekly White Dwarf with Dwarfs?

Why not Tyrannids? Tyrannids are popular. People buy Tryannids. People bought lots of Tyrannids in January, when the highly anticipated new Tyrannid Codex came out. Why not release the new version of White Dwarf to tie in with the new Tyrannid figures, especially if you want to introduce them to a new version of the magazine? O else, hold off the launch of the magazine until a new 40K Codex launches to drive interest in and get people to sample it?  Games Workshop has some very strong brands it could leverage to launch the new White Dwarf, so why it chose Dwarfs is a puzzlement.