[Archive] Response from Jervis Regarding Chaos Dwarfs


This response from Jervis and the letter that I sent predates my becoming a mod. I sent it to him via snail mail in early March. Jervis was nice enough to respond, and he and I have had a few email exchanges since then. EDIT here is the original letter I first sent:

Hi guys,

I am writing this note with the best of intentions and on behalf of a very under-appreciated, albeit, ahem�?� dedicated fan based, the Chaos Dwarfs.
Yes, yes, I know the groan, the dismissal, the urge to throw this letter in the garbage, the urge to hurl us all off a bridge, but please hear me out. You have one of the most dedicated fan bases around in Chaos Dwarf players, albeit not the largest; but ones that are willing to stay through thick and thin; to play an army that has received scant attention, the last being years ago.

Now with that out of the way, I understand GW�?Ts predicament to a large degree. I work for a large company myself, I understand the primary goal of any company is to make money, that�?Ts a given: to be successful and to keep the company in the black. However, I would postulate that it is unwise to upset any customers. Simple majority/minority is never a useful metric for the relative value of any customer. If that were simply the case GW would make 40k and nothing else, Warhammer would have been discontinued long ago. Sometimes your best customers are the ones in that minority and I�?Tm sure Games Workshop is well aware of the maxim: �?oThe best customer is the one you already have�?�.

All sectors of entertainment are under increased competition for consumer discretionary spending, I�?Tm sure GW is feeling this. It doesn�?Tt help that Games Workshop appears to be so set on a course of self-destruction. The gaming world isn�?Tt that large to begin with and its seems that continual antagonizing of the very community supports Games Workshop seems to be a long-term goal. Realizing that you can�?Tt please everyone, I would counter direct with: Can any company afford to lose any customers in today�?Ts economy, especially with a finite pool to draw from in the first place?

Before you dismiss this as the ramblings of a fanatic, know that I am no such thing. I�?Tve played Warhammer since 1990, and I have 7 armies the largest being High Elves of over 10,000 points, (ok well maybe that does make me a fanatic), but a rational one. �~� None of these other armies have captured my imagination the way the Chaos Dwarfs have. To be quite honest, Chaos Dwarfs are one of, if not the coolest thing that Games Workshop has ever done in my humble opinion.

And therein lies the problem: the continued indifference of Games Workshop on this matter for an option that GW appears to be neglected to the point of oblivion. Pushing it off a few more years isn�?Tt good enough answer anymore. They have existed in this state for almost a decade. Saying that: �?oWe can do an army, until we have the proper resources in place�?��?� (Paraphrasing statements in the past). Isn�?Tt good enough anymore. Respectfully�?� Games Workshop has been saying this same thing for 10 years.

I can understand the precedents that GW must be wary of setting, however the precedents have already been set for a revision: Ogre Kingdoms out of no-where in 6th, the revision to Dark Elves in 6th, Chaos Dwarfs once, long ago having an army book, now existing in a semi-official state for years. This isn�?Tt like suddenly creating an army for Nippon or Cathay in the official rules with an army book, where none existed before. Chaos Dwarfs do exists the do have a list albeit old and in a PDF. Chaos Dwarfs ARE a special case: the issues of the list are not glaring (in fact many of us players have noted things that should be fixed, even ones that are not in our favor). Many of us have looked it over; it�?Ts a great list, lots of potential, but with a few gray areas that are easily solvable. As is the contradictory stance by UK Games Workshop and US Games Workshop.

Chaos Dwarfs did not fail last time because of the rules�?� Chaos Dwarfs failed last time because of the models, plain and simple. Great models, plus a great list (its pretty much there already) equals sales. I expect better from a group that has my admiration, my willingness to support, and willingness to support through monetary spending on GW products. Any answers that ring of �?oPR twisting�?� and �?oCorporate Double Speak�?� I can do without.

Games Workshop has given some glimpses of hope here and there, but my sneaking suspicion is that Games Workshop is unlikely to officially announce the demise of Chaos Dwarfs; rather the goal is to slowly, but surely, remove them bit-by-bit. We�?Tve noticed: the removal from all Grand Tournaments, the removal of the list from the UK GW website. Games Workshop hasn�?Tt given us any reason to hope other that the army will ever see the light of day again.

Lastly, the situation leaves GW with a number of options each with pitfalls other then a list. It is unlikely that the Chaos Dwarf community is going to take the cancellation of a list a good thing, that�?Ts a given. However simply canceling Chaos Dwarfs will haunt GW for years; it will be dredged up time and time again. For my own part it will sadden me. However, its also likely to in two ways. 1) I�?Tm likely to be extremely wary of buying anything �?onew�?� from GW again as the ever-present specter of cancellation will not be far from my mind. 2) I�?Tm seriously considering steering my kids away from this aspect of gaming to something much safer. I�?Td hate to see them get stuck in the same boat of spending huge amounts of effort in terms of time and money only to have the rug pulled out from under them. The money isn�?Tt the issue for me; it�?Ts the time. I�?Tve poured sheer effort into what exactly?

In closing please reply back, however please do not reply with standard, canned, corporate speak. I work for a large corporation and can see through those easily based on first-hand experience. I look forward to GW�?Ts reply.


Mark T Harter

The Staff has been discussing this for about a month now and it seemed appropriate to discuss this now in light of the numerous threads going around about this topic.



This letter doesn�?Tt change much and doesn�?Tt do much other reiterate GW�?Ts stance about Chaos Dwarfs at the current time. It is important to read as to what is not being said. Chaos Dwarfs in the HoC list is going to be unlikely other then the purported reappearance of the Hellcannon. It seems that CDs are on their radar but a few years away, which could be argued: they always are…

So take it all as it is: GW is most likely not going to be releasing anything Chaos Dwarf anytime soon and any inclusion other then the Hellcannon is going to be surprising indeed.

That�?Ts not to say it can�?Tt happen, it just will be surprising.

Thommy H:

I think that’s fair enough. It’s obvious what their corporate policy is regarding updating armies and ranges and how that conflicts with updating an army that hasn’t seen the inside of a games development playtest room in ten years.


Wow, That was well put and really does make me feel better about the army.


As I mentionned in the staff area, I received a rumoured list of books to be updated for a few years, and as things stand at the moment the Chaos Dwarfs are pencilled in for early-mid 2011. :~

The books due before them may change around (as I believe they will a little), but then again they may move CD back.

I think its useful for all of us that Jervis has given a fairly conclusive statement on it (that its not any time soon i.e. 2010 at the soonest), and by willmark posting it here we can all use it to make informed decisions.


Kind of what we all knew and expected but with a slightly longer explanation that I’m entirely happy with as far as I can be.

Of course I would like to see them sooner but wouldn’t be happy if they were rushed. The fact they been removed from tourneys is something that doesn’t flow well with me! I mean, atleast we were able to wield them before. Now hundreds of people have armies lying around that they can’t use in GTs. Good thing we still use them in our home games!

But thanks for sharing Mark!:hat off

Kera foehunter:

thanks for your letter willmark

hip hip heray!!!


thats all well and dandy but why dont they just put a new list for the chaos dwarfs in the wd or make them fully tourny legal, at the moment its a sort of limbo whether you can or not depending in the event

so another 3 years, then, thats what 8th edition time whent they will go and re-do the armies again - “oh im sorry whe have to update the current ones before we get round to you”


As the ravening hordes list is gone from GW’s website, does this mean that the CD won’t have an official list for a couple of years?

Thommy H:

why dont they just put a new list for the chaos dwarfs in the wd or make them fully tourny legal
Because they don't have a miniatures range to support those rules. It would be pretty irresponsible to print rules for an army they don't actually sell, wouldn't it?

And, before someone says they could just start making the figures again, bear in mind that "a range" as far as GW is concerned these days means multi-part plastic kits. They're committed to making all the armies comparable in terms of what unit boxes you can buy and what options that gives you: Chaos Dwarfs wouldn't have that, so, in the eyes of GW, they're not up to scratch.

It sucks (a bit) for us, but I can see why this is their policy. They want everything they make to be equally good and not market something from over a decade ago as "new". It would be disingenuous of them to try and sell people Chaos Dwarfs when all they have is metal figures and single-pose plastics.

Ishkur Cinderhat:

I find it quite impressive that Jervis responds with such a lengthy letter. I can imagine he receives something like a hundred letters and emails every week, so this is a very thorough answer from him.

As Willmark already said this comes as no surprise. And it also has a good sideeffect: we will have a lot of time having fun with our armies, so all the work we put into our miniatures at the moment won’t be outdated by nifty new Citadel miniatures within the next year or so. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Willmark, can you also include a copy of your letter to Jervis? Would be interesting to see which points he replied to and which ones were left out.


Good to see that GW hasn’t left us, but its a shame it will take so long


I am very impressed. This is quite a compassionate letter and it makes me glad to be part of the CD community. I took the majority of Jervis explanation about the “Catch 22” to refer to the current state of business reorganization that GW is going through - reducing costs through adapting old kits into leaner, meaner (if not hard to put together) unit kits like the Skeletons, etc. and once business is more stable look to expand the range of armies currently available.

Thanks for sharing this with us Willmark.


As the ravening hordes list is gone from GW's website,
Still there.
Because they don't have a miniatures range to support those rules. It would be pretty irresponsible to print rules for an army they don't actually sell, wouldn't it?
*cough* most of the units in Storm of Chaos *cough*

Thommy H:

Yeah, that was irresponsible of them. Apparently they learned from that mistake.


Updated with my original letter see post #1


Great letter Mark!

I especially like the little ‘threaths’ in there. :wink:



I think 8th ed warhammer will be 2012, I thought I read somewhere it will be 5 years as standard now.

From our point of view as hobbyists (and especially as CD fans), it seems AGES for us to get new books for whatever armies we collect, but for games development I could see their schedules being planned out for the next 6 years at least.  Sure some things might be moved around, but from their perspective I’m sure they think 2011 is nothing at all.  Especially as it will probably take at least 2 years to complete the project.

I think its 18 months for a regular update of a book start to finish, so what with ours being a new book; 2 years+ seems reasonable.


yeah, it takes ages to make a new book, when I worked there they where halfway through daemons, and that was a year ago now…

Just working on an unnoficial book, including ballancing, re-rights and playtesting takes ages (I’ve done it a couple of tmes), so one wich you have to reference artists, fluffwritwers and need to be much more balanced is goign to take ages

in games dev time, 6 years is nothing…my CD book has already taken two years…and if they don’t do it by then, well…I can easily arange an accident for them…

zorn sabretooth:

it is totaaly unfair. they should re release cd instead of adding new races hint ogres,demons


Daemons arent exactly new but yeah… A letdown but what can we do? I think it feels great to know we got this official word that CD indeed are a core army and arent being cut off. Then again, thats been said for awhile now.

Still, it is something and indeed, thanks for the the effort and for sharing your reply with us.