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The Long Fangs Can't Make Time
When I was in college, I never thought twice about taking 5-6 hours out of my Monday to play 40k. Leaving school at 4:15 PM for a 5:00 PM game wasn't unthinkable; neither was sitting in a diner afterwards talking about Necrons past midnight. Not so much once I started an 8:30-5:30 office job, and definitely not since I've gotten married. I've got less time now, it's the downside of being an adult.
Scheduling a match wouldn't feel so insurmountable, except that 40k keeps taking longer to play. Individual 40k games have more units these days. Lower points values per unit. More models per game. Apocalypse formations and flyers. I suspect GW wanted to create a contrast between 40k and smaller-scale skirmish games like Warmachine - or coax players into buying more plastic.
Either way, that has a consequence in terms of time. Play a troop-heavy army like infantry-based Guard or swarming Tyranids and it's not unthinkable to take a 45-minute turn. Finishing a game in four hours feels like an accomplishment.. Add in painting time and you've got a rules set that's untenable for many adults - i.e. the people able to afford premium-priced miniatures. This is anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but among my old gaming group, everyone who used to play 40k has moved onto quick-playing skirmish games like Malifaux and Warmachine. Not to mention the folks that transitioned to video games instead, since they're easier to play thirty minutes at a time.
What's sad about this is that Games Workshop has published several excellent skirmish games in the past - Necromunda and Mordheim in particular - that provided a lower-cost, faster-playing alternative that also served as an entry point to the hobby. If they wanted to walk that road again, it wouldn't fix things in the long term, but it'd be a start.
The Terrifying Necron Menace of 3D Printing
One day soon, 3D printing is going to wipe Games Workshop off the map. In that golden future, we'll print ready-made miniatures at home, copy Space Marines ad infinitum, babies will weep only diamonds and no one will ever fail an armor save.
At least that's what some disgruntled fans say.
I don't buy it. Look guys, GW execs don't have cotton balls stuffed in their ears. They know all about 3D printing and the Hero Forge Kickstarter. They realize 3D printing could be a business threat. But here's the thing - they could easily launch their own web UI that lets you design and print a custom Space Marine Captain. It wouldn't surprise me if GW's experimenting with it right now, and because they're GW, they'll buy the best printers and find out how to make the best 3D printed models in the business. Say what you will about their policies, but GW has been making high-quality miniatures for three decades and has continually improved their methods and technology. There's no way they'll let a cheaper, more versatile production method undercut their product.