End of an Era: FFG and GW

Greetings all, Magos Geologis here with some sad news and a look at how this will affect the gaming experience of many Warhammer and Warhammer 40 000 fans. On Sept 9th, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) announced that they will no longer possess the license to Games Workshop’s (GW) properties, effective February 28th, 2017. What this means from a retail standpoint is that all products currently scheduled for release, notably more expansions for the Conquest living card game, will see release, but there will be no new material and after February all GW material will no longer be sold by FFG. Here is the link to the official article by FFG along with a list of which games are affected: https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/news/2016/9/9/a-new-path-forward/

Now what does that mean for those of us who play and enjoy the games FFG produces? Well first and foremost there will be no new products or support for existing games. This will hit ongoing games such as Conquest hardest, but also will impact the new Warhammer Quest game which may have continued to receive expansions had the license continued. The roleplaying lines of Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, and Only War are fortunately complete and so those systems will not suffer from having unreleased pieces. But that leads to the greatest impact this event will have; after February the games and books will no longer be available. First, let us look at the effect on the RPG lines.

As mentioned, all the RPG lines are in a good state for completeness. There are no obvious gaps in coverage in the books available. However, already these books are no longer available at DriveThruRPG and so the only way to complete a collection is to track down what physical copies are left. For myself, I have most of the Deathwatch line and can likely complete it before the February deadline, but it will be very difficult now to expand into the other lines. Existing groups playing the 40k rpg games will be able to continue but recruiting new players, or starting a whole new group is now much more difficult.

FFG also makes some excellent board games with the GW license. Notable games I have played myself are Chaos in the Old World and Forbidden Stars. Both are great games and if you ever have the chance to play you will very much enjoy them. Both games benefit from repeat plays, as you learn the mechanics they become more interesting and fun. The end of the licence deal means these games, and the other games in the line, will become more difficult to obtain.

This is a disappointing turn of events. FFG has made some excellent games using the GW license and I will be sad to see that stop. But rather than dwell on what might have been let us now turn to the possibilities this opens.

First: sales! As the deadline draws closer FFG will likely be looking to sell of their existing stock of these games. I would expect that their winter sale will feature many of these products and would encourage anyone interested to jump on and pick some of the games up. They are fun and challenging games, and do an excellent job of capturing the feel of the source material. FFG games are great value for their price points and become real bargains whenever you can find them on sale.

Second: The loss of this license will allow FFG to turn the attention given to these games to their other properties. Whether that is Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, their new RuneWars Miniatures Game, or Android. They have excellent ongoing support for these games and I am excited to see where they go with RuneWars. Some very creative people have developed excellent material for the GW licenses, it will be interesting to see them able to devote that creativity to other products.

Third: GW has recently been very keen to license their intellectual property to others. The end of this license might mean that we will see board games and rpgs set in GW universes from either GW prime or other companies in the future. FFG is a great company and I have yet to find a game of theirs I do not enjoy but there are other excellent companies out there and new ideas could lead to some incredible games.

I will continue to follow the efforts of both companies, and while I am sad to see them part way I am also happy to have enjoyed the fruits of their eight year partnership. I wish both companies well! Now, I must go and acquire as many of these games as I can before February arrives and the great Bell of Lost Souls on Terra tolls for another fallen hero; FFG’s Games Workshop license.

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Eamon Duffy

Eamon Duffy

Eamon hails from the Great White North, specifically Southwestern Ontario, and is an avid gamer. He was first introduced to gaming when he received The Two Towers starter set for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game for Christmas. Since then miniature wargaming has always been his first love but he has expanded to board games and roleplaying games as well. Usually found in the GM’s chair, he enjoys FFG’s Star Wars RPGs, Deathwatch, and Dungeons and Dragons. He works as an electrical engineer, is married, and recently became the father to a beautiful baby girl.
Eamon Duffy

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