Template:Dablink Template:Infobox Company

Games Workshop Group PLC (often abbreviated to GW) is a British game production and retailing company. Games Workshop is one of the largest games companies in the world, and is the dominant company in the miniature wargaming hobby. The company is listed on the London Stock Exchange with the symbol GAW.



Founded in 1975 by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson (also known for their Fighting Fantasy gamebooks), Games Workshop was originally 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. In June 1977, partially to advertise the opening of the first Games Workshop store, Livingstone and Jackson launched the gaming magazine White Dwarf, which Livingstone also edited.

Their publishing arm also created UK reprints of famous, but then expensive to import, American RPGs such as Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Traveller and Middle-Earth Role-Play.

In 1979, Games Workshop provided the funding to help found Citadel Miniatures, in Newark, a company that would produce the metal minatures that were 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 was absorbed into Games Workshop.

In 1984, Games Workshop ceased distributing its products in the USA 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 80s and early 90s. Issue 126 of the White Dwarf (June, 1990) stated the company had over 250 employees and advertised for a number of senior management roles as well as trade, manufacturing and retail staff.

Following a management buyout in December 1991 the company refocused on their most lucrative lines, namely their miniature wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) and Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) lines. The retail chain refocussed 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 fanbase. 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 in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia opening new branches and organizing events. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 1994. In October 1997, all UK based operations were relocated to the current HQ in Lenton, Nottingham. This site now houses the corporate HQ, the White Dwarf offices, mail order, and the creative hub.

By the end of the decade, though, the company was having problems with falling profits being blamed on collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon. It was realised that the targeted 12 and under age group was not an appropriate market to be aiming towards, and the company's focus was redirected. Template:Fact

In recent years, Games Workshop has been attempting to create a dual approach 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 miniature wargames the company promotes are considered to be a welcome substitute to those young people mostly immersed in videogaming. Some view it as a learning experience that cultivates artistic talent as well as resource management skills, and that the hobby reminds people of more traditional mediums of entertainment, harking back to simple toy soldiers. The release of Games Workshop's third core miniature wargame, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (LoTR SBG), in 2000 signalled their intention to capture the younger audience with a simple, yet effective and flexible, combat system.Template:Cite-needed

Other key innovations have been to harmonise their core products, and to branch out into new areas of growth. The acquisition of Sabretooth Games (card games), the creation of The Black Library (literature), and their work with THQ (computer games) have all enabled the company to diversify into new areas which have brought old gamers back into the fold; plus introduced the games to a whole new audience.


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In conjunction with the production of cinematic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, Games Workshop acquired the rights to produce a skirmish wargame based on the films, and also on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. The rights to produce a roleplaying game version of the films were sold to another firm, Decipher, Inc.

Though they had the rights to produce a Battle of Five Armies game, the rights to the one-inch scale normally used by Games Workshop were already owned by another company. For this reason, the game was done in 10 mm scale for the normal warriors, and "heroic" scale for the named characters.

Games Workshop has not acquired the rights to The Silmarillion, which is currently the exclusive property of the Tolkien Estate. However, they were somehow permitted to use Eorl the Young and Khamûl the Easterling (from Unfinished Tales) in their recently-released The Two Towers and A Shadow in the East Supplements. [1]

Games Workshop Group PLCEdit

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

The group reported sales of £136,650,000 sterling in 2005 and employs around 3200 [2].

Sales have 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"[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]

Miniatures gamesEdit

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Current Core Games Edit

The following games are in production and widely available.

"Specialist" games Edit

The following games are considered "specialist" and are not necessarily available in Games Workshop stores. They are however available through mail order and are supported by the specialist games division of Games Workshop. Note also that some of these games (e.g. Necromunda) are available only as rules and miniatures, not in the "boxed set" form that they originally took. They are all set within one of the universes of the main games. The rules are also offered as a free download from the Specialist Games website. These games are aimed at the "veteran" gamers. These are gamers who are more experienced in the core games produced by Games Workshop. This is because the rules and the style of play are often more in-depth than the core games.

Warhammer Fantasy UniverseEdit

Warhammer 40,000 UniverseEdit

Lord Of The Rings UniverseEdit

  • Battle of Five Armies - a game for fighting larger battles with smaller (10 mm) miniatures. Imitates one of the later scenes in JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit.

Warhammer Historical Edit

Out of print Edit

Warhammer Fantasy UniverseEdit

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 two terms interchangably.)
  • 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 (two editions were published, expansions below were for 1st edition)
    • Deathwing (expansion boxed set)
    • Genestealer (expansion boxed set)
    • Space Hulk Campaigns (expansion book in both soft and hard-cover)
  • 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 made by Games Workshop but used similar-style models, artwork and concepts. These games were made by mainstream toy companies and available in standard toy and department stores rather than just in Games Workshop and speciality gaming stores.

Role playing gamesEdit

Several of the miniatures 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 edition on March 29 2005. It is being published by Black Industries[9], part of GW's fiction imprint BL Publishing. BI has also announced a brand new game, Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, to be published in several parts starting Fall 2007.

Out of print Edit

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.

Out of print Edit

Computer GamesEdit

Games Workshop produced and published several ZX Spectrum games in the early years, not all of which were based in the usual Warhammer settings

  • 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) text adventure
  • Tower Of Despair, The (1985) text adventure

Many computer games have been produced by third parties based on the Warhammer universes owned by the firm. These include: (Miniature game they are based on is included in parentheses after the game name)

  • Space Crusade (Space Crusade) and 1 sequel for the Amiga.
  • Dark Omen (RTT game based on Warhammer Fantasy Battles)
  • Shadow of the Horned Rat (RTT game based on Warhammer Fantasy Battles)
  • Space Hulk (Space Hulk)
  • Space Hulk - Vengeance of the Blood Angels (Space Hulk)
  • 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)
    • Winter Assault (PC Only/Add-on)(Warhammer 40,000: Armies same as Dawn of War, also: Imperial Guard (Cadian)
    • Dark Crusade (PC Only/Stand-Alone)(Warhammer 40,000: Same as Winter Assault, also: Necrons and Tau)
  • Chaos Gate (Warhammer 40,000 - Space Marines, Forces of Chaos)
  • Rites of War (Warhammer 40,000 - Eldar, Tyranid)
  • GorkaMorka (Warhammer 40K - Orks)
  • Warhammer: Mark of Chaos (Warhammer - Orcs, Goblins, Dwarfs, Vampires, The Empire, Chaos, Skaven, High Elves,)

In developmentEdit

As of January 2006, there are also some future games in development:

Worldwide CampaignsEdit

Template:Main article Games Workshop has run numerous 'Worldwide Campaigns' for its three core game sysyems. 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 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 UK to be counted, the more recent campaigns have allowed result submission via the Internet.

Each Warhammer campaign has had a new codex published with the rules for special characters or "incomplete" army lists. Below are listed the Games Workshop Worldwide Campaigns (the fictional universe the Campaign was set in follows in brackets):


There are yearly Games Day events held by Games Workshop which feature the Golden Demon painting competition

Other mediaEdit

Many novels, artbooks and comics have also been produced based on the Warhammer universes, published by the Black Library.


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.



Games Workshop's best known magazine is White Dwarf, which in the UK has now passed over 320 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 is also a fortnightly series called "Battle Games in Middle Earth", which comes with a free Lord of the Rings SBG miniature. Though the miniatures were made by Games Workshop, the magazine itself was written and published by De Agostini. It is published in Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, and Poland. The magazine became more popular than the publishers had anticipated, and the deadline has been 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 Agostinis history.

Comments and criticismsEdit

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Games Workshop receive some criticism over various aspects of their games and business practices, some such criticisms are that the rules systems currently in production are increasingly being simplified and aimed at younger gamers with an eye to their disposable income, while offering less to more experienced players. As evidence, long-term gamers point to the first edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rules which functioned much like a role playing game by using a 3rd player to act as a game master. In 2003, Michael Sherwin, the company's finance director, stated that "A hobby game takes a whole day to play... is less about instant gratification" [1]. Current third and fourth edition rules allow you to play a tournament sized 1500 point game (an average size) in under 2 hours.

An Review as early as 1998 felt that the third edition movement rules, in which all units of a given type move at exactly the same speed, were a tad boring and the close combat rules were confusing and unrealistic, if a lot faster. The same review called the army selection lists severely incomplete and simplified, and referred to "a lot of confusion and silliness" with what it felt were unnecessarily simplified lumping-together of weapon types. This was typified with the release of the current Codex: Space Marines, which prompted outrage from many veteran gamers on the now defunct internet forums.Template:Cite-needed

In contrast to criticism of the two Warhammers' game system, Games Workshop's newest system, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, has achieved acclaim as being the most realistic and flexible of the three core games. [10] Unlike Warhammer, time taken to play the game can be done much shorter as a result of the more flexible scale of battles (Warhammer 40,000 has an average of 1,500 points per game, while Warhammer Fantasy has 2000 points per game, but The Lord of the Rings is usually played with either 500 or 600 points per game). It lacks some of the more complicated rules of the other two systems (for example, the miniatures are not necessarily locked in formation)[2], making, according to White Dwarf magazine, the game the easiest to learn, but "the hardest to master". [3]

However, in 2002, White Dwarf magazine itself reported the Games Workshop's surprise at gamers' lukewarm reaction to the Lord of the Rings game system, in particular the amount of column space the LoTR game was starting to take up - detracting from the amount of coverage received by the more popular 40K and Warhammer. In the same article, editor Guy Haley stated that despite the views and requirements of White Dwarf readers, the magazine would continue to feature the LoTR game system and in fact would probably increase the amount of coverage. Around that time the magazine was printed as if it were two different publications joined together, one for LoTR and another for 40K and WH. They were joined in such a way as to require the reader to turn the magazine upside-down to read the different sections. This format was dropped after about 6 to 8 issues. Template:Cite-needed

In 2005 Games Workshop massively cut down support for the entire 'Specialist Games' ranges to concentrate on the core games for 40k, Fantasy and Lord of the Rings. Template:Cite-needed The dedicated specialist games magazine called Fanatic was cancelled after only 10 issues and now updates to these systems are managed by the specialist games website. However, the rules to most of these games are available for free as living rulebooks on the site and Fanatic magazine has continued, first as a weekly online magazine, then from November 2006, as a monthly online magzine.

Also, the Games Workshop's own publishing house, the Black Library, no longer produces its bi-monthly Inferno! magazine, which was a short story anthology set in the 40K and Warhammer universes. Inferno! offered new writers a chance to have their work published and often led to more work for the published writer including more stories and even novels. The Black Library continues to run twice-yearly short story competitions through its website, offering half a dozen winners a place in a published anthology alongside established writers.

Some GW fans consider the price of GW products excessive. The 'Space Marine Tactical Squad' boxed set, a staple of the game system, was released in 1998 at £10 but in early 2006 sold for £18, a price rise well in advance of inflation. Large tank models and large monsters have also seen their prices rise from £25 to £35.

Non-miniature products that Games Workshop sell can often be bought elsewhere at much lower prices - particularly paints (which cost £2.00 for 12 ml) and other craft items. As early as 2001, the Qualiport educational share portfolio felt that Games Workshop has A distinct lack of worthwhile industry competitors; given the requirement to find not only products but also opponents, anyone interested in wargaming as a hobby has no practical choice but to buy Games Workshop products.

Discussion of Games Workshop's business practices and prices is notably banned from their forums (the forums are intended purely for the discussion of the game and hobby, rather than the economic aspect), as is linking to any other commercial websites. In June 2006, the company also closed down the forum dedicated to discussion of White Dwarf magazine, unsatisfied with the overall tone. Template:Cite-needed As of November 15th, all of Games Workshop's core game forums were closed down, with no replacement announced as of yet.


  1. * Quoted from The Guardian (January 29 2003)
  2. *Many of the special or detailed rules only apply in rarefied situations… [but] Although the basic game system might seem beguilingly simple, you will find it requires considerable skill to employ it effectively. (The Two Towers Strategy Battle Game Rulebook, page 5, 2002).
  3. * Quoted from UK White Dwarf 311 (2006)

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Warhammer Fantasy Template:The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game Template:Warhammer 40,000de:Games Workshop fr:Games Workshop it:Games Workshop nl:Games Workshop no:Games Workshop pl:Games Workshop fi:Games Workshop sv:Games Workshop

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