Imperial players might want to check out this t-shirt on cafepress. I liked it. Have a look.

A lot of gamers seem to expect GW to behave like the governing body of a sport – the FIFA of Warhammer and 40k – issuing statements on the Official way to play, and deciding what is Legal to use on your table-top.  “Dear Jervis/Alessio/Mat/Mail Order Troll, my opponent won’t let me play with Forge World rules/a variant army list from an old White Dwarf/rules I made up for my scratch-built Possessed Ogryn jump-packers/Chaos Dwarfs. Please tell him he’s wrong.”

Now of course any tournament will have to make a ruling on this kind of thing. GW stores may also impose restrictions for customers playing on their gaming tables, but that’s more because they want up-to-date models on display. But in the comfort of your own battlefield, you really should be able to reach an amicable agreement without running to daddy to adjudicate the argument. If you can’t even sort this out yourselves, what hope is there for the rest of the game? As long as you both enjoy the battle, who cares what pieces of plastic/metal/resin/meccano you are pushing around? The hobby police aren’t going to come abseiling through the window, slap you in aquila-adorned handcuffs and confiscate all your models.

I’ve heard and read a lot of comment about the extortionate prices of Games Workshop products, about how GW is nothing but an Evil Empire trying to take as much of our money as possible. Well I’ve got news for you. It’s all true (except possibly the bit about them being evil).

The fact is, Games Workshop is a business, and the sole purpose of a business is to turn a profit, making money for its shareholders. Of course they are after your cash. Why would you think otherwise? Is it a surprise that Heinz want your money for their baked beans, or that Nike want your money for their trainers? Just because you don’t eat or run in your Citadel Miniatures (I hope – there are some strange individuals out there), can you really expect their motives to be any different? 

But here’s the thing: you should really be thankful that the Evil Empire is taking all your spare change. Because of course they’re not just pocketing it and cackling with super-villain laughter. They’re giving you something rather amazing in exchange. Space Hulk. The Screaming Bell. The Baneblade. The new Warhammer book. The Sanguinor. The list goes on, and even the lowliest Grot or Guardsman has had love and exquisite detail lavished on it. And while at times it may seem that Games Workshop is the only miniatures company around (they do dwarf all the others put together), they’re not. A rummage round on the web will turn up plenty, and you’ll realise that GW’s level of quality shouldn’t be taken for granted. Nobody else is as good, particularly for plastics. All this time, you’ve been gaming with luxury miniatures. It’s just that the average ones and the ropey old ones weren’t really on view.

If I buy Heinz beans, I don’t object to the extra few pence over the cheapo versions, because I think they taste nicer. At the very least they taste a bit different, and that’s good enough for me. If I buy a pair of Nikes, I understand that I’m paying extra for the privilege. If I buy a Lexus (okay, we’re in fantasy land now), I won’t moan about the price. It being expensive is the whole point, and I’ll be jolly pleased with my (imaginary) new wheels.

So rejoice in your pricey miniatures. They’re reassuringly expensive, because you’re worth it. And thank the Evil Empire for making them so well.

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