The High Cost of Grim Darkness
Blog deal in outrage. It’s what they were made for really. As hard as we try to stick to stories about awesome news stories or amazing Kickstarter project’s we always seem to come back to the things that piss us off. Earlier this week Chris touched on the outrageous business practices of Games Workshop, and I admit that it is easy to hate them. It’s also easy to love them. I for one cannot decide if the appropriate metaphor is that of an abusive spouse, or drug dealer, but try as I might to quit them, I keep coming back for more.
Passion is the common thread though, and though I sometimes hate the company, I am certainly passionate about the world that they have woven.
Last week I burned through all 3600 pages of the Gaunt’s Ghost series, and traveled with them across the vastness of space from First and Only to Salvation’s Reach. I’ve mentioned before that I am a voracious reader, so the speed at which I devoured them shouldn’t be taken as a sign of adoration; I enjoyed the trip, but all-in-all, it was a mixed bag. The main take away’s I had were:
- That it is apparently okay to describe horrific deaths and maimings in graphic detail, but not use actual curse words
- Each planet of the Imperium gets only a single curse word, and they are all different (even though the rest of the vocabulary stays the same between planets)
- If you write dozens of novels, you will eventually get pretty damn good. This isn’t to say that I disliked all of the first few books, as the first one was pretty good, but the writing of the last couple books of the series is certainly much stronger than the first few.
It took Mr Abnett 12 years to write those words, and it took me less than 12 days to read them, so I suppose now I will have to find something else to fill my time. Fortunately, as I read the series because I was thinking about getting back into the most expensive hobby around: Warhammer 40,000, I’ll soon be able to while away dozens of hours painting.
Like Chris, I find the price of Games Workshop’s digital wares to be abhorrent, but unlike him I only find the prices of their real products (printed game books and miniatures) to be annoying. Though the price of a GW rule book or boxed set is significantly higher than their competitors, it is still in the realm of reasonability, and I would imagine is due (at least in part) to import duties and exchange rates. Further – even though GW tries to monopolize the sales spaces of the internet with their own store (you cannot list a price for a GW product on your website,) a savvy buyer can easily find reputable dealers willing to sell new products for 25% off with a little digging.
Let’s look at the main book for instance. The 452 full color pages that make up the 6th edition rule book is no great bargain at the cover price of $74.25, but when purchased online at $55.69 it starts to become slightly more reasonable. The book, is as beautiful a gaming book as was ever created, and worth the price for the serious miniature connoisseur or admirer of grim dark futures. Roughly half the page count is devoted to the rules, and roughly half of it is devoted to fluff. All of it though, is filled to the brim with amazing art, snippets of fiction and tiny little Easter eggs. It’s a real beauty, putting even the illustrious (and equally expensive) tomes of Fantasy Flight’s RPG in the same universe to shame.
The mini’s will come in time, though anyone who has read the aforementioned Gaunt books, should be able to guess that I am seriously considering the Imperial guard. When I work out an army list, as well as it’s style and theme, I imagine I’ll have more to say on this topic, but for now you should save yourself, before you too are infected by the grimdark.
Anyone want to try to talk me out of it? Before I get in to deep?