back to article Total War: Warhammer, Blood Bowl and other Games Workshop table-to-screen delights

Who didn’t play at least one Games Workshop game growing up? I remember still being in my early twenties and having a full blown Space Marine versus Eldar battle playing out across the kitchen floor of my small apartment, above a cheese shop in Toronto. Battlefleet Gothic. Pic: Games Workshop Battlefleet Gothic: One of the …

  1. ratfox

    I had to stop playing Blood Bowl because I was getting too attached to my players. Still, I proudly remember my best catcher, who had attained the level of Legend. He had gained so much agility that he could easily intercept within the tackle zone of two enemy players, then just walk away and score a touch down.

    My last match, against a Chaos team, had me losing 1-0, the only goal just before the end of the game, and right after the KO by fouling of my last player still present on the field.

  2. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    A load of old bowls

    Ah the memories, although can't say I was that struck on Blood Bowl - the play area was a bit small and restricted for my taste after a little while, although some fun could also be had with the regenerating Skeleton Crew if you played it right, or of course the Chaos Dwarves.

    That said many a happy day was spent at the youth centre with a few mates and Dungeon Bowl (the spin-off from Blood Bowl), especially due to adding a few boxes of dungeon floor plans and having a playing area of several square meters of corridors, rooms, traps and treasure etc.

    Great fun, and sadly far too many years ago...

  3. Richard 81

    Particularly looking forward to Battlefleet Gothic. Looks to be a Warhammer 40K version of the tactical bits from Sword of the Stars.

  4. James 51

    The title is too long.

    "there have been rumours that they may have even changed the rules to benefit selling products rather than refine and improve the gameplay"

    Not rumoured, you only have to talk to the staff. Remember being surprised that they had been told to ignore the veterans and if possible drive them out of the shop to make way for the kids who would have to buy the rulebook and an army to start the game rather than just one unit or a pot of paint. That was many moons ago. Combination of kids and apthay mean haven't had a game in a few years but still keep tabs on the game.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: The title is too long.

      Perhaps the lawyers insisted on 'rumours'. To everyone else, it was obvious what was happening as soon as GW stopped being some nice general games shops and became a mechanism for only shifting overpriced figures and accessories.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: The title is too long.

        They probably got angry with ebay too. Plenty of games are played in our library, not up to date codex either, just friends having fun.

  5. Greg J Preece

    While I am stoked to see the more niche GW games get what appear to be decent video game adaptations (I adore the tabletops of Mordheim and Battlefleet Gothic), it's saddening that the main reason I'm excited for them is what an absolute set of shitbiscuits GW are being with their tabletop games these days. Pricing was always an issue with GW, but now units are priced according to points value, and every other box in a store is a special unit costing $100. The rules are being butchered left and right, any game less mainstream than the fscking Ultramarines is being thrown out of the pram, and the money-grubbing is at disgusting levels.

    I was in a store the other day seeing if I am rich enough to get back into some of my favourite games, and was told it would cost me $130 + tax to get just the rulebook and ONE codex. Holy shit.

    It's getting to the point where video games are going to be the only practical and affordable way to play the GW games, especially those smaller titles that really have character to them. GW are whoring the licence out to anyone who'll have it, and with Relic now gone that's getting really risky. We're doing well right now for adaptations being treated with care, but let's not forget that GW was lunatic enough just a year ago to whore 40k out to Eutechnyx, of all fucking people. Not sure who Eutechnyx are?

    Ride to Hell: Retribution.

    Oh yes, those guys. And what did they do with the venerated universe of Warhammer 40 000? They re-skinned one of their existing mobile lane-defence games with Space Marines and called it "Storm of Vengeance". We can do without titles like that...

    TL;DR - I still love the GW universes, especially WHF, but Games Workshop only seem to become bigger arseholes with each passing year.

    1. Grikath

      It's GW... dumped them 2 decades ago, never looked back.

    2. Jedit Silver badge

      "video games are going to be the only practical and affordable way to play the GW games"

      Yeah, GW have been getting terrible for years and everyone in the trad gaming hobby knows it. However, for a few years now Fantasy Flight Games have had the license to publish non-miniatures based games in the GW universe and they are not terrible (except in the rulebook department). They've reprinted the classic Chaos Marauders, and they have a range of other releases including variants on Blood Bowl and Space Hulk.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...ah, brings back happy memories of Blood Bowl weekends at University. I fielded a team of Skaven with moderate success. Of course they tended to get the crap stomped out of them by my mates ogres, when eventually they could catch one...

    Actually fielding the players was only part of the fun. I had them magnificently painted eventually which whiled away many a peaceful hour, and of course there is the beer drinking involved in a good Blood Bowl session, which I suspect will be sadly lacking from the online version. Drinking on your own in front of a computer is definitely not in the same league of entertainment as being round someones house with half a dozen mates with a good helping of competitive spirit going !

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: Skaven

      I'm a Skaven WHF player, and I love that they work best when played like a lunatic. Have absolutely no heed for your own survival, hurl yourself at the enemy, and a decent portion of the time the sheer resulting chaos will win you the day. I recall a 4th edition match where my doomwheel's steering broke, and it rolled over the rat regiment next to it. My opponent was greatly amused until he realised that the wheel was also headed right for - and indeed over - his general.

      I can't remember grinning that hard in any other match.

      1. Bongwater

        Re: Skaven

        At first I had thought the Skaven dumb guy cliche would annoy me, they are riot however.

        Lurch Snitchtongue = Greatest Skaven ever! Most pontentate of potentates! Hopefully I did not butcher that line too much.

  7. Stevie


    GW killed my interest when they deep sixed the Bits business.

    I used to call up every so often and have my next order of Praetorians cast to order. One day I was told "We don't do that any more. Use E-bay".

    So I took a long hard look at what the game had become, 70 bux for a rulebook, another 50 for the army codex du jour and the already mentioned cost per unit for the army itself and decided enough was enough.

    Now if I get invited to a game I start the conversation with "which edition would you like to play?" and we use materials from versions we actually enjoyed.

  8. TheFiddler

    One of the best games they ever made...

    ... was Confrontation, and they gave the rules away in a few copies of White Dwarf back in the day. Once my friends and I discovered that it lead us to drop the rest of the GW titles thanks to it's fast gameplay and developing your gangs. We tried Necromunda when that came out, but it felt too dumbed down from the original, but at least it's release meant we could get proper models for the game rather than adapting models from other things to play it.

  9. H.I.T.S

    By the holy

    toe nail clippings of Robert E. Howard, you shall pay for this hell spawn!

    I have seen the future and it is dark, then I took me shades off...

    Long Live Thrud!

  10. GrumpyKiwi

    WFB Balanced

    I disagree with this bit: "Warhammer Fantasy Battle, the miniatures game, isn’t known for its balance".

    The meta for the 8th edition is that it was the best balanced of all Warhammer versions with no one army being better than the others. However due to its (not surprising for GW) emphasis on fielding ever larger blocks of infantry, it was also the most expensive.

    Fire because them fire wizards in Altdorf are scary.

  11. jason 7

    Was more a Dark Future...

    ...kind of guy.

  12. Bob Dole (tm)
    IT Angle


    Not sure of the IT angle, I'm guessing they must have paid a pretty penny for the adicle?

    "Like any Evilcorp, there have been rumours that they may have even changed the rules to benefit selling products rather than refine and improve the gameplay."

    I played 40k for about 8 years. During that time I spent several thousand dollars (US) on their products. At the end, I found that every single game I played started off with going through an ever growing list of rules with my opponent to see if we agreed on what they meant. It's not fun when the rules are so convoluted that it's impossible to work out how the game is supposed to be played.

    So, I found better games. Ones whose producers actually listened to the community about, ones who actively tried to make the gaming environment fun instead of a chore.

    For the environment's sake, I hope these computer game companies can make something of the property that GW put together. It is a huge universe with a lot of nooks and crannies to explore. Just, don't count on me to be amongst those that try it. I already feel pretty burned by GW.

    1. Greg J Preece

      Re: IT?

      There are some good, even superb GW based video games already, stretching back to the Dark Omen and Chaos Gate games I played in the 90s. I think people fairly universally agree that the games made by Relic were the best in recent years. I have never seen any adaptation in any medium absolutely nail the aesthetic and feel of WH40K like Space Marine did.

      The gothic architecture and lighting were perfect, the fact that three Space Marines were taken seriously as reinforcement to an entire forge world, the way the world shook slightly with every step you took... You really do feel like an 8 foot genetically engineered ruiner of worlds.

    2. Stevie

      [before we played we had to see] if we agreed on what [ the rules] meant

      And what a culture of fucktardism that pantomime produced. My jaw-dropping moment of clarity came while observing two second year science and engineering college undergrads arguing range over a game of Wonkhammer 401K. The thorny issue that had them fighting? Whether 4" was greater than 4".

      I'm not making that up.

      The rule was clear that such-and-such happened differently at more than 4" range. The models were exactly 4" apart.

      Neither young chap was amenable to the argument It's math, lads: 4" ! > 4".

      I realized that the vague and useless rules GW repeatedly put out then break with add-ons and "clarifications" induce brain cells to spontaneously die off when you try and make sense of them.

      Amusingly, a few days later one of those young men came across me and another senior playing a game of Star Soldier (call it a futuristic Squad Leader), and when he saw the 25 page rulebook for it he was appalled we'd play such a game.

      We pointed out that the players were not expected to learn each rule before playing, that the rules were internally "hyperlinked" for fast look up so you could have open-book games, and that the rules worked mostly like real physics would so there were few surprises in store.

      We also added that there were almost no contingencies that could arise in-game for which there was no unambiguous rule, because the people who designed it had the playability front and center and eschewed such nonsense as "play to the spirit, not the rules as written", and they knew how to properly play test their stuff. Way to go SPI.

      The young guy couldn't hear us. All he could hear was "need to read".

  13. khisanth

    I enjoyed the first blood bowl, but didnt enjoy the constant releases of new versions adding just one race, it wasnt even DLC to add to your existing game.

    Dawn of War 1&2 were damn good, Space Marine was okay, Armageddon was pretty good and the newest Space Hulk game was not bad I thought.

    I cant wait for the Total War game, looks stunning and exactly what I have been waiting for since childhood!

    What I really want is a decent Titans or Epic scale game :)

  14. Madeye

    Blast from the past

    Regicide looks somewhat reminiscent of Electronic Arts' last good game, Archon

  15. People's Poet

    No one above this post has ever been laid! ;)

    1. Stevie

      No one above this post has ever been laid!

      Well, not during a game, no.

  16. Purple-Stater

    Games Fit For a King

    Good games, and good memories, but for now I'll just wait for Total War: Kings of War instead. I won't be holding my breath for it though. Games Workshop has made it perfectly clear that they are not a games company, and as a gamer I'll put my money into the IP of companies that are.

  17. Graham Bartlett


    A friend of my brother-in-law is working on an adaptation of the Eisenhorn books. I picked up the compendium at an airport when I needed something that'd keep me amused for a few hours on holiday (I read *fast*) but was still disposable if it sucked, and I was seriously surprised by it. All the original John Blanche aesthetic which GW had long since thrown out, decent plotting, and competently written too. No idea what the game is going to be, but I guess wait and see.

  18. Jagged

    Games Workshop: great at miniatures, shit at rules*, and everything is overpriced.

    I've played their games, off and on, from the start and I just don't believe they are capable of doing the slightest bit rule balancing.

    My favourite game is still Space Hulk, despite its replayability issues.

    * Their rule books are very pretty though.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022