[Archive] GW and partworks

Dînadan:

As I’m sure you’re aware, the new monthly White Dwarf released on the 2nd of September will be coming with a free plastic mini.  There’s also a rumour going around that the first four issues will come with minis.  Was discussing this with a mat on FB speculating over what minis they might be and he suggested one of them might be the Thousand Sons Sorcerer that’s been leaked recently.

This got me thinking, now that GW have started producing HH plastics, would a partworks magazine with HH minis be feasible?  I’m thinking something along the lines of the BGiMe partworks that ran about ten years ago.

The problem until now with a 40k or Fantasy partworks has been what army would you do as a bit of everything wouldn’t really be feasible.  But the HH was largely fought between the Legions, so having an all marine offering is reasonable (maybe with a few mags for Imperial Army and Mechanicus down the line to do allied complements).

I’m thinking the mag could have a fluff section which focuses on a different part of the Great Crusade or Heresy each issue (maybe each issue could also have a bio on an important character aswell), a rules section which teaches new players the rules bit by bit each issue (like BGiMe did for LotRSBG), a painting section which teaches increasingly advanced techniques (again like BGiMe) and maybe focusing on a specific colour scheme or technique tied into that issue’s fluff section and a hobby section with terrain making guides and conversion guides (again like BGiMe and again maybe tied into that issues fluff section).

What do people think?

Abecedar:

So far, I’m the ignorant majority of one.

Dînadan:

So far, I'm the ignorant majority of one.

Abecedar
A partworks is a magazine that's released fortnightly/monthly and comes with an item that forms part of a collection, eg DVDs, chess pieces, graphic novels, etc or that is part of a model that needs to be assembled (eg a kids one could come with parts of a skeleton/human body and the mag teaches them about anatomy).

Around ten years ago GW teamed up with a partworks company to publish a fortnightly series called 'Battle Games in Middle-earth'. Each issue came with a different sprue or blister for LotRSBG. The mag gradually introduced the rules to teach readers the game, had painting articles based on the mini it came with, gradually introducing more advanced painting techniques and a terrain tutorial.

The problem with a HH, 40k or AoS themed partworks compared to BGiMe is that they are comparatively niche properties whereas BGiMe was released at the height of the LotR boom and had the fact it was based on the then recent successful film franchise to draw non-gamers in. This was also when minis were a lot cheaper than they are now (and LotR minis were generally cheaper than 40k/WH minis at the time plus BGiMe generally gave you a bargain iirc), so cost could be an issue (if you were to spread the contents of B@C over ten issues it'd cost just under £10 an issue to break even with the box set). Then there's the fact that at the time the LotR range was quite extensive whereas HH plastics are restricted to two characters, a dreadnought, terminators and tactical marines currently (possibly also scouts if you wanted to add them in).

So ultimately, while it would sell like hotcakes to people who already collect minis, it'd probably fare worse among the regular public.

Admiral:

Speaking from ignorance, I have no insight whatsoever whether a partworks apporach would be feasible for GW (the Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine was as you say an affordable youngblood crowd-puller at the height of the Lotr movie interest - after which GW has made no considerable attempt to recruit youngsters), but from my own little point of view I know it works to draw in customers that are already hobbyists. If reasonably priced, I’d buy even a lousy White Dwarf, at least for a time.

I liked very much to receive a BFSP Dwarf and Night Gobbo, and a Terminator, though a very special and well crafted character like Aenur the sword of twilight which came out for the 2000 Mordheim release shouldn’t stay a WD-exclusive character. It was a couple of years before our entry into the hobby, and if we then or now were to hunt that miniature down we wouldn’t be throwing our money at GW. Limited edition runs of complete new (quality) sculpts should be frowned upon, while limited edition conversions of existing character miniatures on the other hand is fine.

Personally I think a Horus Heresy partworks White Dwarf would be a sound way to revive the magazine and sell it. If price is on the level and if it is sold in non-GW stores, it could even draw in a little new blood because Space Marines have always been GW’s cash cow due to its wide appeal. Myself, I would have preferred a wild butterfly approach with minis from new ranges and factions in every other magazine or so. One wouldn’t attempt to collect an army through White Dwarf subscription in any case, so better showcase the whole spectrum of GW models, including AoS, WHFB (if it were be to be revived), Blood Bowl, Lotr and possible specialist games. As such Ad Mech, Eldar and the whole shebang could get more limelight. At best, it could supply readers with minis from factions they do not collect and win over some to collect a force of that army, too.

Regular partworks and actual good content would be a surefire way to make me put in my first subscription.

Dînadan:

Just to clarify Admiral, the partworks wouldn’t be WD but a seperate magazine, probably distributed via one of the established partworks publishers (eg BGiMe was a De Agostini publication).

Admiral:

Well, but how about WD as a partworks magazine, through such an established producer? I was completely hooked when I read my first White Dwarf, and it had not even anything on Dwarfs in it, so assuming GW would wish to act confidently and promote their own magazine this way with some confidence in that the content could ensnare new customers/hobbyists, would such a thing be feasible?

cornixt:

Partworks as magazines are typically poor value for money all round. $50 of stuff spread over 60 issues at $5 per issue.

GW seem to be going the right way of attracting younger players with their simple build and paint kits that should be coming out soon. A page of game rules in there and you’ve got someone eager to buy more.

Dînadan:

Partworks as magazines are typically poor value for money all round. $50 of stuff spread over 60 issues at $5 per issue.

GW seem to be going the right way of attracting younger players with their simple build and paint kits that should be coming out soon. A page of game rules in there and you've got someone eager to buy more.

cornixt
I'd think £5 for say five marines or a plastic character would be good value for money ;). Going off BGiMe, irrc quite often what it came with was on par or even cheaper than getting the same minis direct from GW at the time.

Edit: googled the price and the regular price for an issue was £3.99. Each issue came with a sprue of twelve plastic minis or a metal character and at the time LotR minis were sold by GW at £12 for a box of two sprues or ~£8-9 for two metal characters/three rank and file.

Carcearion:

Assuming the magazine itself was any good at those prices I would probably happily subscribe even if it was all stuff I did’'nt collect (Even my least favorite factions like Tau or SM), if just for bits or one off’s to paint.

cornixt:

3.99 was good value for that much stuff even back then. The partworks that I was more familiar with were the “build a model boat” where the only good thing you got was with issue 1.

Are magazines in general selling well enough to support this kind of thing though? It gets GW stuff into a lot more stores than they would otherwise, to a wider audience, and people don’t even need to buy every issue to use the stuff. But print media has been on the decline so much since then, would people even stumble across it as much as they used to?

Bloodbeard:

Danish magaines ain’t doing good enough for this. They still do something like this “partwork”, for old Danish TV series for example. Impossible to get otherwise.

But all magazines have started selling the part on the side for cash, buy 1 magazine and pick as many dvds as you like on the side.

I don’t part in WD needs to be really good in order for people to pick it up every months.

Dînadan:

3.99 was good value for that much stuff even back then. The partworks that I was more familiar with were the "build a model boat" where the only good thing you got was with issue 1.

Are magazines in general selling well enough to support this kind of thing though? It gets GW stuff into a lot more stores than they would otherwise, to a wider audience, and people don't even need to buy every issue to use the stuff. But print media has been on the decline so much since then, would people even stumble across it as much as they used to?

cornixt
Think it would depend on how aggressive the marketing campaign is. Partworks do get advertised on TV, but the ads would need to be distinctive to stand out and even then youre banking on people not skipping the ads while watching (not to mention how many people watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other online streaming services instead of tv).