Column by Scott Thorne
Posted by Scott Thorne on October 23, 2017 @ 3:01 am CT
Well the big news in the gaming industry this past week was a restock of the Dark Souls board game finally arriving. No, I kid. The really big news was the announcement of the new partnership between WizKids and Games Workshop. WizKids is moving even further from its collectable miniature clicky roots, with plans announced for two new boardgames set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe to release in 2018, as well as releases of older games such as Relic and Fury of Dracula. Since DiceBuilding Games are mentioned in the press release, it is quite likely we will see some form of DiceMasters set in the world of the Imperium as well.
Games Workshop has already announced that it will retain publishing control of the Talisman board game and related expansions, and since the press release specifically mentioned the Warhammer 40,000 universe, we’ll have to wait and see what happens to games set in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. So, what does this mean for the game industry and the consumer?
1. Suppliers — If anything, this will make the Games Workshop line of games more readily available through distribution, since when Fantasy Flight Games had the rights to the GW line of games, they were first limited to Alliance, then expanded to more distributors and now back only to Alliance. If Fantasy Flight still maintained the rights to the GW board game line, as things stand now, stores would have to have an account with Alliance Distribution to carry them. However, under the current system, there is much broader…
2. Distribution — Although the HeroClix and DiceMasters lines are only available through Alliance Distribution, WizKids has a much broader channel of distribution for its unpainted miniatures lines and boardgames, so broad that it appears almost any distributor that wants to carry the WizKids/Games Workshop line of board games can do so. Not sure about the hinted at DiceBuilding Games, since DiceMasters remains an Alliance Distribution exclusive, so if there is a DiceMasters 40,000 set, it would likely be available only through Alliance. So, what does this mean for…
3. Retailers — Availability of the new partnership product lines will be as broadly available as WizKids D&D Miniatures and unpainted miniature lines and I have not heard any stores complaining about not having access to them due to any distribution restrictions. If anything, stores may see some long out-of-print games for which customers have asked come back into print. WizKids has already indicated a reprint of Fury of Dracula looms on the horizon, along with a reprint of Relic, so we might see a reprint of other boardgames from the extensive Games Workshop catalog, maybe even a reissue of 1989’s Oi, Dat’s My Leg. But, how does this help…
4. Customers — Well, it means a significant price drop for customers on the secondary market for out-of-print Games Workshop games. Case in point, copies of Fury of Dracula are going for over $100 on eBay as of this writing, so a reprint will cause a drop in the price (supply and demand, after all). No idea how big a demand among customers for the rest of the Games Workshop board game catalog, though I imagine we would see interest in Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb.
Overall, I see nothing but positive results coming out of this, so congratulations to both Games Workshop and WizKids.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.