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Games Workshop Group PLC (often abbreviated to GW) is a miniature wargaming company based in the United Kingdom and is the creator of both the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 universes and game product lines. Games Workshop is one of the largest wargaming companies in the world. The company is publicly-owned and is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol GAW.

HistoryEdit

Founded in 1975 by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (also known for their Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), Games Workshop was originally a manufacturer of wooden boards for games such as backgammon and chess which later became an importer of the U.S. roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons. Under the direction of Livingstone and Jackson, Games Workshop expanded from being a bedroom mail-order company to a successful gaming publisher and manufacturer. An early promotional magazine - Owl and Weasel - was superseded in June 1977, partially to advertise the opening of the first Games Workshop store, by the gaming magazine White Dwarf, which Livingstone also edited.

The Games Workshop publishing arm also created UK reprints of famous, but at the time too expensive to import, American RPGs such as Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Traveller and Middle-Earth Role Playing. In 1979, Games Workshop provided the funding to help found Citadel Miniatures, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK, a company that would produce the metal miniatures that are used in role-playing and table-top wargames. The Citadel name has become synonymous with Games Workshop Miniatures and continues to be a trademarked brand name used in association with them long after the Citadel company itself was fully absorbed into Games Workshop.

In 1984, Games Workshop ceased distributing its products in the United States through Hobby Games Distributors and opened its Games Workshop (US) office. Games Workshop (US), and Games Workshop in general, went through a large growth phase in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Issue 126 of White Dwarf (June, 1990) stated the company had over 250 employees.

Following a management buyout in December 1991, the company refocused their efforts on their most lucrative product lines, namely their miniature wargames Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) and Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K). The retail chain refocused its efforts and marketing on a younger, more family-oriented market. The change of direction was a great success with a rising share price and growing profits, in spite of the fact that it lost the company much of its old, loyal fan base. The complaints of these old customers led a breakaway group of GW employees to publish Fantasy Warlord in competition with GW, but this met with little success. Games Workshop expanded across Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, opening new branches of their retail stores and organising gaming events. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 1994. In October 1997, all UK-based operations were relocated to the company's current corporate headquarters in Lenton, Nottingham, England. This site now houses the corporate headquarters, the White Dwarf offices, the mail order operation, and the company's creative hub.

By the end of the decade, though, the company was having problems, with its falling profits being blamed on collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon.

In recent years, Games Workshop has been attempting to create a dual approach to its products that will appeal to both older, loyal customers while still attracting the younger audience. This has seen the creation of initiatives such as the "Fanatic" range that supports more marginal lines with a lower cost trading model (the Internet is used widely in this approach, to collect ideas and playtest reports). Games Workshop has also contributed to designing and making games and puzzles for the popular television series The Crystal Maze.

The release of Games Workshop's third core miniature wargame, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (LoTR SBG), in 2000 signaled Games Workshop's intention to capture the younger audience with a simple, yet effective and flexible, miniature combat system.

Other key innovations have been to harmonize their core products, and to branch out into new markets for growth. The acquisition of Sabretooth Games (collectible card games), the creation of the Black Library (literature and novels), and their work with THQ (computer games) have all enabled the company to diversify into new makets which have brought old gamers back into the fold; plus introduced the games to a whole new audience which is much wider than that for traditional miniature wargaming.

LicensingEdit

Alongside the UK publishing rights to several American role-playing games in the 1980s (including The Call of Cthulhu, Runequest and Middle-earth Role Playing) Games Workshop also secured the rights to produce miniatures and/or games for several classic British science fiction properties such as Doctor Who and several characters from 2000 AD including Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd. Alongside the rights to reprint Iron Crown Enterprises (ICE)'s Middle Earth Role Playing, Citadel Miniatures acquired the rights to produce 28mm miniatures based on Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

In conjunction with the promotion of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in 2001, Games Workshop acquired the rights to produce a skirmish wargame and miniatures using the movies production and publicity art, and also on the original novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Although it should be noted that the current line uses 25mm scale). The rights to produce a roleplaying game using the films art were sold to another firm, Decipher, Inc.. Games Workshop was also able to produce a Battle of Five Armies game based on The Hobbit, although this game was done in 10 mm scale for the normal warriors, and "heroic" scale for the named characters.

Games Workshop Group PLCEdit

Games Workshop has expanded into several divisions/companies producing products related to the Warhammer universe.

  • Games Workshop produces the tabletop wargames, Citadel miniatures and the Specialist Games range.
  • Forge World make complementary specialist resin miniatures and conversion kits.
  • BL Publishing is the fiction, board game and roleplaying game publishing arm of Games Workshop. They comprise several separate imprints; The Black Library, Black Flame, Solaris Books, Black Industries and Warhammer Ancient Battles publisher Warhammer Historical. Warp Artefacts used to produce merchandise based on Games Workshop's intellectual property; they are now folded into BL Publishing as the subsidiary called BL Merchandise.
  • Sabertooth Games produces the CCGs and The Lord of the Rings Tradeable Miniatures Game.

The company reported sales of £136,650,000 sterling in 2005 and as of that date employed around 3200 people. Sales decreased for the fiscal year ending in May 2006. For the fiscal year ended 28 May 2006, Games Workshop plc's revenues decreased 16% to £115.2M. Net income decreased 78% to £2M. Revenues reflect a decrease in sales from Continental Europe, United Kingdom, Asia Pacific and the Americas geographic divisions


In 2007 the group showed a pre-tax loss of £2.9 million. After issuing profits warnings, the company closed non-profit-making retail stores, undertaking management restructuring and laying off staff in order to cut costs. In 2009 Games Workshop Group PLC posted a pre-tax profit of £7.5 Million. Games Workshop said the rise in revenue was due to an increase in the range and quality of its plastic miniatures.

Miniature gamesEdit

Games Workshop originally produced miniature figures via an associated, originally independent, company called Citadel Miniatures while the main company concentrated on retail. The distinction between the two blurred after Games Workshop stores ceased to sell retail products by other manufacturers, and Citadel was effectively merged back into Games Workshop.

Current Core Games Edit

The following games are in production and widely available.

  • Warhammer Fantasy Battle
  • Warhammer 40,000
  • The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game

Specialist Games Edit

These games are aimed at veteran gamers. These are gamers who are more experienced in the core games produced by Games Workshop. This is because the rules and the complexity of tactics inherent in the systems are often more in-depth than the core games.

Warhammer Fantasy universeEdit

  • Blood Bowl - an American football-style game using fantasy creatures like Orcs and Goblins.
  • Mordheim - a skirmish game. An expansion, Empire in Flames, was also released.
  • Warmaster - a game for fighting larger battles with smaller (10 mm) miniatures

Warhammer 40,000 universeEdit

  • Battlefleet Gothic - a game based around spacecraft combat.
  • Epic - a game for fighting larger battles with smaller (6 mm) miniatures.
  • Inquisitor - a skirmish game using larger (54 mm), more detailed miniatures
  • Necromunda - a skirmish game

The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game universeEdit

  • The Battle of Five Armies: The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game - a game for fighting larger battles with smaller (10 mm) miniatures. The game was named after the Battle of Five Armies, one of the events in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit.
  • The LotR Strategy Battle Game has now expanded and has recently added many new supplements to the list of its current games and scenarios.

Forge World Edit

Forge World has recently released its first in-house game:

  • Aeronautica Imperialis - a game based around aircraft combat

Warhammer Historical Edit

Out of Print Edit

Warhammer Fantasy UniverseEdit

  • Advanced HeroQuest
  • Kerrunch - a simplified version of Blood Bowl.
  • Man O'War - a game of naval combat in a fantasy world. Two expansions were also released, Sea of Blood and Plague Fleet.
  • Mighty Empires
  • Mighty Warriors
  • Warhammer Quest - a game of dungeon exploration and questing, effectively an updated version of Advanced HeroQuest.

Warhammer 40,000 UniverseEdit

  • Adeptus Titanicus (original game in the Epic series, which concerned combat betweens Titans.)
    • Codex Titanicus - expansion rules for same
  • Advanced Space Crusade
  • Epic 40,000 (precursor to Epic Armageddon, although some people still use the terms interchangeably, alongside Epic.)
  • Gorkamorka (a skirmish game detailing gangs of Orks)
    • Digganob (an expansion for Gorkamorka)
  • Lost Patrol
  • Space Fleet (Simple spaceship combat game from before Battlefleet Gothic)
  • Space Hulk (Three editions were published, the third one being a special limited edition)
    • Deathwing (1st Edition expansion boxed set)
    • Genestealer (1st Edition expansion boxed set)
    • Space Hulk Campaigns (1st Edition expansion book in both soft and hardcover)
  • Space Marine (original Epic-scale game concerning troops and infantry, 1st edition is a pair with Adeptus Titanicus, 2nd with Titan Legions)
  • Titan Legions (effectively an expansion of Space Marine, though it extended the game system)
  • Tyranid Attack
  • Ultra Marines - introductory game in same series as Space Fleet

Licensed Games Edit

These games were not created by Games Workshop but used similar-style models, artwork and concepts that were licensed from the company by outside vendors. These games were made by mainstream toy companies like Hasbro and are available in standard toy and department stores rather than just in Games Workshop and speciality gaming retail stores.

  • Battlemasters (published by Milton Bradley)
  • HeroQuest (published by Milton Bradley)
    • Kellar's Keep (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • Return of the Witch Lord (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • Against the Ogre Horde (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • Wizards of Morcar (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • The Frozen Horror (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • The Magic of the Mirror (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • The Dark Company (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • HeroQuest Adventure Design Kit (Expansion for Hero Quest)
    • Adventure Design Booklet (Expansion for Hero Quest)
  • Space Crusade (published by Milton Bradley)
    • Operation Dreadnought (Expansion for Space Crusade)
    • Eldar Attack (Expansion for Space Crusade)

Role Playing Games (RPGs)Edit

Several of the miniatures war games (e.g. Inquisitor) involve a role playing element, however Games Workshop has in the past published role-playing games set within the Warhammer universe. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay was first published in 1986 and returned to print with a new, 3rd Edition in 2009. It is being published by Fantasy Flight Games under license from Games Workshop's Black Library. BI has also announced a brand new game, Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, to be published in several parts starting with Dark Heresy, an Imperial Inquisitors RPG, in early February 2008. This license too was obtained by Fantasy Flight Games and was quickly followed by the Rogue Trader RPG in 2009 and the Deathwatch Space Marines RPG in 2010.

Out of Print Edit

  • Golden Heroes - a superhero roleplaying game, published in 1984 after initially being published on an amateur basis.
  • Judge Dredd: The Role-Playing Game - published under license in 1985.
  • Stormbringer - the third edition of the game, published jointly with the RPG company Chaosium in 1987.

Board gamesEdit

Games Workshop had a strong history in boardgames development, alongside the miniatures and RPGs. Confusingly, several may have had roleplaying elements, or for that matter had miniatures included or produced. Currently one board game is set for release via the Black Industries arm of the company, the 4th Edition of Games Workshop's classic game Talisman.

Out of Print Edit

  • Apocalypse
  • Battlecars
  • Battle for Armageddon
    • Chaos Attack (Expansion for Battle for Armageddon)
  • Chaos Marauders - A boardgame of "Orcish mayhem."
  • Block Mania - 2000 AD Judge Dredd setting
  • Blood Royale (multiplayer, battle and resource game of medieval Europe)
  • Calamity
  • Chainsaw Warrior (solo play game)
  • Cosmic Encounter (under license)
  • Curse of the Mummy's Tomb
  • Dark Future (similar to Car Wars)
  • Doctor Who - The Game of Time and Space (1980)
  • Doom of the Eldar
  • Dungeonquest (and expansion pack)
  • Fury of Dracula (New edition available from Fantasy Flight Games)
  • Gobbo's Banquet
  • Horus Heresy
  • Hungry Troll and the Gobbos
  • Judge Dredd (see 2000 AD character Judge Dredd for background)
  • Kings and Things (under license)
  • Quirks
  • Railway Rivals
  • Rogue Trooper (another 2000 AD related game)
  • Super Power
  • Valley of the Four Winds
  • Warlock
  • The Warlock of Firetop Mountain (based on the Fighting Fantasy game book)
  • Warrior Knights

Computer GamesEdit

Games Workshop produced and published several ZX Spectrum games in the early years, not all of which were based on the Warhammer settings. These include:

  • Apocalypse (1983) based on the original boardgame
  • Argent Warrior (1984) Illustrated adventure
  • Battlecars (1984) 2 player racing game written in BASIC
  • Chaos (1985) multiplayer turn based "board" game, written by Julian Gollop
  • D-Day (1985) based on the Normandy Landings
  • HeroQuest (1991) based on the MB board game
  • Journey's End (1985) text adventure
  • Key of Hope, The (1985) text adventure
  • Ringworld (1984) text adventure
  • Runestone (1986) text adventure
  • Talisman (1985) multiplayer turn based "board" game
  • Tower of Despair (1985) text adventure

Many computer games have been produced by third parties based on the Warhammer universes owned by the firm. These include:

  • Space Crusade (Space Crusade) and 1 sequel for the now-defunct Amiga personal computer.
  • Dark Omen (real-time tactical game based on Warhammer Fantasy Battles)
  • Shadow of the Horned Rat (real-time tactical game based on Warhammer Fantasy Battles)
  • Space Hulk - a computerised version of the Space Hulk board game
  • Space Hulk - Vengeance of the Blood Angels - An expansion for the Space Hulk PC game
  • Final Liberation (Epic 40,000 - Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks)
  • Fire Warrior (First Person Shooter)(Warhammer 40,000 - Tau)
  • Dawn of War (Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marines (New Chapter: Blood Ravens), Orks, Eldar, Forces of Chaos)
  • Dawn of War II (Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marines, Orks, Eldar, Tyranids)
  • Chaos Gate (Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marines, Forces of Chaos)
  • Rites of War (Warhammer 40,000 - Eldar, Space Marines, Tyranid)
  • GorkaMorka (Warhammer 40,000 - Orks, cancelled)
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos - A real-time strategy game set om the Warhammer World of Warhammer Fantasy
  • Warhammer Online is a Warhammer Fantasy -based, massively multiplayer online role-playing game produced and administered by Mythic Entertainment, a subsidiary of BioWare and Electronic Arts.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Squad Command is a turn-based strategy game for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP focused on squads of Ultramarines fighting Chaos Space Marines.
  • Space Marine - A third person action-RPG being developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC by Relic Entertainment.

In DevelopmentEdit

As of May 2010, there are also some future video games in development for Games Workshop intellectual properties, including:

  • Blood Bowl - A fantasy American football-style game played by Orks being developed by Cyanide. Cyanide developed the Chaos League series of games, similar in format to Blood Bowl.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online - A massively multiplayer online (MMO) role-playing game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe being developed by THQ with an initial release date of Q1 2013. Since the bankruptcy of THQ, the future of Dark Millennium Online has been uncertain, if not doubtful as to whether the game will be completed.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Eternal Crusade - This is an upcoming science fiction Massive Multiplayer Online RPG game based on Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 setting. It is seen as the spiritual successor to Dark Millennium, but built from the ground-up by Behaviour Interactive, published by Square-Enix. The Release date has been estimated at Q4 2015.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Chess - Regicide - This chess-style game is currently in development by Hammerfall Publishing.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Deathwing - A Space Hulk-style game, set to be a first person shooter (rumors tell us), but possible that it may be a reboot/remake of one of the original Space Hulk video games, if not a sequel/or stand-alone story of some sorts. Most of the information at this point is purely conjecture, as of 07/2014 and will be replaced as details are delivered.

EventsEdit

There are yearly Games Day events held by Games Workshop which feature the Golden Demon painting competition for miniatures and various gaming tournaments.

Worldwide CampaignsEdit

Games Workshop has run numerous Worldwide Campaigns for its three core game systems. In each campaign, players are invited to submit the results of games played within a certain time period. The collation of these results provides a result to the campaign's scenario, and in the case of Warhammer, often goes on to impact the fictional and gameplay development of the fictional universe. Although in the past, campaign results had to be posted to the United Kingdom to be counted, the more recent campaigns have allowed result submission via the Internet.

Each Warhammer Campaign has had a new Codex or Army Book published with the rules for special characters or "incomplete" army lists. Below are listed the Games Workshop Worldwide Campaigns (with the campaign's fictional universe setting in parentheses):

  • 1995 - The Battle of Ichar IV (Warhammer 40,000)
  • 2000 - Third War for Armageddon (Warhammer 40,000)
  • 2001 - Dark Shadows (Warhammer)
  • 2003 - Eye of Terror (Warhammer 40,000)
  • 2004 - Storm of Chaos (Warhammer)
  • 2005 - The War of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game)
  • 2006 - The Fall of Medusa V (Warhammer 40,000)
  • 2007 - The Nemesis Crown (Warhammer)
  • 2011 - Scourge of the Storm (Warhammer)

These Campaigns were run to promote its miniature wargames, and attracted interest in the hobby, particularly at gaming clubs, Hobby Centres and independent stockists. Forums for the community were created for each campaign (in addition to those on the main site), as a place to "swap tactics, plan where to post your results, or just chat about how the campaign is going." In some cases special miniatures were released to coincide with the campaigns; the promotional "Gimli on Dead Uruk-hai" miniature, for example, was available only through the campaign roadshows or ordering online. As a whole these events have been successful; one, for example, was deemed "a fantastic rollercoaster", with thousands of registered participants. However, Games Workshop ended the practice when the costs of the campaigns to the company began to far outweigh the profits or new business they brought in.

MagazinesEdit

Games Workshop's best known magazine is White Dwarf, which in the UK has now passed over 330 issues. Nine different international editions of White Dwarf are currently published, with different material, in five languages. Originally a more general roleplaying magazine, since around issue 100 White Dwarf has been devoted exclusively to the support of Games Workshop properties.

Games Workshop also published Fanatic Magazine in support of their Specialist Games range, but it was discontinued after issue 10, though it lives on in electronic form. The electronic form, known as "Fanatic Online" was originally released weekly, and contained 3 downloadable articles, but around November 2006 it changed to a monthly schedule. The first monthly edition, December 2006 still only contained 3 articles, though it is hoped that more articles will be in forthcoming issues. Fanatic was preceded by a number of newsletters, devoted to the particular games.

There was also the Citadel Journal, intended as a "deeper" magazine for modelling enthusiasts and more experienced gamers. It often featured unusual rules and armies, and was occasionally used as an outlet for test rules. Under some editors, they also published fan fiction and fan art. This is no longer published.

For a brief period in the mid-1980s GW took over publication of the Fighting Fantasy magazine Warlock from Puffin Books. The magazine turned into a general introductory gaming magazine but was discontinued after issue 13.

There was also a fortnightly series called "Battle Games in Middle Earth", which came with a free Lord of the Rings SBG miniature. Though the miniatures were made by Games Workshop, the magazine itself was written by SGS (part of Games Workshop) and published by De Agostini. It was published in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland. The magazine became more popular than the publishers had anticipated, and the deadline was extended several times and ended on Pack 91. Battle Games in Middle Earth was reported as being the biggest selling part works magazine in De Agostini's history.

Other mediaEdit

Many novels and comics have also been produced based on the twin Warhammer universes, published by the Games Workshop Black Library subsidiary. Games Workshop illustrators also publish artbooks covering parts of their commissioned work for the company. Among them, one can find the works of Adrian Smith and John Blanche.

External linksEdit

SourcesEdit

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