The Split Between Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop Means the End For Some Board Games

The Split Between Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop Means the End For Some Board Games

The end of the long-running partnership between Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop means some beloved board games will no longer be sold come February.

If you're a serious board gamer, you are probably at least passingly familiar with Fantasy Flight Games. Well known for making high quality games across a number of genres, Fantasy Flight has enjoyed a partnership with Games Workshop for the past eight years. In that time, they made a number of popular board and card games. Unfortunately, their partnership is coming to an end.

The announcement actually came a little over a week ago. In a post on their website, Fantasy Flight said,

"Games Workshop has been a fantastic partner for the past eight years, and we're thrilled that we had the opportunity to work together and bring so many new and exciting games into the world. As much as we have enjoyed creating these games, our current licensing term is coming to an end."

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The end of the licensing agreement means that effective February 28, 2017, Fantasy Flight will no longer be selling any of the games produced in conjunction with Games Workshop. There will be no announcements of any new products, and any products already announced will be released before that date. Furthermore, any existing product lines from the partnership will no longer be sold after Feb. 28. Those lines include:

  • Black Crusade
  • Blood Bowl: Team Manager
  • Chaos in the Old World
  • Chaos Marauders
  • Dark Heresy
  • Dark Heresy Second Edition
  • Deathwatch
  • Forbidden Stars
  • Fury of Dracula
  • Only War
  • Relic
  • Rogue Trader
  • Space Hulk: Death Angel
  • Talisman
  • Warhammer: Diskwars
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
  • Warhammer: Invasion The Card Game
  • Warhammer Quest: The Adventure Card Game
  • Warhammer 40,000: Conquest
  • All Fantasy Flight Supply products showing imagery licensed to Games Workshop

Fans are already snapping up copies of these titles, and you can bet that you'll be seeing them on eBay and similar sites soon for a substantial markup.

This is honestly the end of an era. Although Fantasy Flight will certainly continue to be successful - heck, Twilight Imperium took over The Escapist's offices for quite some time, and the company still has a deal to make Star Wars games - that's a huge list of games and products to lose. Hopefully, Games Workshop has plans to do something with them all.

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You should buy Chaos in the Old World. Yeah, you. It's by far the best board game I've ever played.

Well...shit.

I've been wanting to play Dark Heresy for a while now, but I couldn't find a copy at my local stores, and I didn't want to order it.

Now I have to, and I really can't afford it right now.

GW, why u do dis?

SlumlordThanatos:
GW, why u do dis?

It might have been a mutual issue, related to sales, or just a disagreement between the management over continuing forward.

FF may have been the one to opt to discontinue if the profit margins on their Warhammer properties were barely breaking even or even in the red. Game design isn't cheep and if they can't turn a profit, then they can't sustain their business.

All in all, we may never know what happened, whether that be due to management or to the accountants. We might get a leak, but expect radio silence for the foreseeable future.

None of the 40k RPGs will be available anymore? GOD! FUCKING! DAMN IT!

This is awful, I friggin' love FF's GW stuff. The baord games are fun and Rogue Trader is a blast!

It seems GW is shrinking more and more.

With such an amazing IP I can't understand how they can mismanage it so much!

erttheking:
None of the 40k RPGs will be available anymore? GOD! FUCKING! DAMN IT!

Czann:
It seems GW is shrinking more and more.

With such an amazing IP I can't understand how they can mismanage it so much!

SlumlordThanatos:
Well...shit.

I've been wanting to play Dark Heresy for a while now, but I couldn't find a copy at my local stores, and I didn't want to order it.

Now I have to, and I really can't afford it right now.

GW, why u do dis?

A couple weeks back, GW made an appearance at a licensing convention in Las Vegas. An expensive show to attend, and they were hawking licenses to everything in every concievable format, from tabletop games and toys to video games and clothes. http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2016/06/breaking-gw-licencing-in-vegas.html

Not only were they selling rights for the big brands, but they were also pushing back-bench stuff they haven't touched in forever like Dark Future (which they already plan to return via in-house Specialist Games), Talisman and Mordheim. Further, licensing is a huge cash cow for GW, you don't build 30+ years of brands and game lines to let them sit in the dark.

This isn't GW shrinking, this is them expanding away from FFG. It's not a bad business decision, because letting one external company hold the rights to all the most popular brands (and probably picked them up for a song back in the day) is not in GW's best interest. It also means we'll get new takes on it. Instead of FFG's "here's a thousand tiny pieces and special dice to keep track of, a generic system for 40K, and an absolute shitshow of WFRP 3e (and ruining WFRP 2e with crappy reprints)", we can see different designers take a crack at it. With the growth of indie RPG studios, it's the smart move for GW to shop around and see how much they can get out this seller's market.

Does this mean that stuff like the Talisman game on Steam will be removed at the same time, or was that just the same IP being liscensed out by GW to a third, unrelated company?

Isn't GW the company that says you can't play their games unless it's at their store?

RaikuFA:
Isn't GW the company that says you can't play their games unless it's at their store?

It's not that, I'm pretty sure it's that you can't post -any- rule information for their games online (compare to D&D which normally allows individual monster/spell stats and the like to help out people looking up a specific thing, and just disallows large chunks of rules), so you're basically required to buy a few hundred bucks worth of resources from those stores to properly play the game, even if you're buying a $40 rulebook for a single unit's stats.

RaikuFA:
Isn't GW the company that says you can't play their games unless it's at their store?

No,they say you can't play other people's games in their store. How on earth would they stop people playing their games elsewhere?

OT: Mixed feelings on this one. While I was glad that FFG were making the games, none of them really appealed to me that much and I was never really a fan of the RPGs they developed. The change to 3rd ed WHFRP was a pile of shit. I get why they did it commercially, but fuck em all the same.

Anyway, as said above, time for someone else to have a go with it. Not that I trust GW to give it to anyone good, given their scattershot approach to video game licencing, but whatever.

Zykon TheLich:

No,they say you can't play other people's games in their store. How on earth would they stop people playing their games elsewhere?

I don't know. Hidden cameras in each figure?

Xorph:

RaikuFA:
Isn't GW the company that says you can't play their games unless it's at their store?

It's not that, I'm pretty sure it's that you can't post -any- rule information for their games online (compare to D&D which normally allows individual monster/spell stats and the like to help out people looking up a specific thing, and just disallows large chunks of rules), so you're basically required to buy a few hundred bucks worth of resources from those stores to properly play the game, even if you're buying a $40 rulebook for a single unit's stats.

Wow. Fuck them. At least I can play DnD by myself with online help. Good thing there's no GW near me. Closest one is in NY.

RaikuFA:

I don't know. Hidden cameras in each figure?

That would go a long way to explaining their prices.

They wont stay down for long. I can almost hear Focus Home Interactive mobilizing to snap up publishing rights to thier video game adaptations.

If anything, I suspect it's more something happened in the discussions between GW and Asmodee. Asmodee is the French board gaming company that bought FFG, and has taken control of all contract negotiations for them.

09philj:
You should buy Chaos in the Old World. Yeah, you. It's by far the best board game I've ever played.

Already got it and Forbidden Stars; though it's rare for either of them to be played as my game night has doubled in attendees so eight player games are what we need.

RaikuFA:
Isn't GW the company that says you can't play their games unless it's at their store?

No they don't allow people to play other companies' games in their stores; so no Star Wars Armada in a GW store.

Wow, i'm glad i got Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader when i did. I really hope it isnt the end of these games

Thunderous Cacophony:

A couple weeks back, GW made an appearance at a licensing convention in Las Vegas. An expensive show to attend, and they were hawking licenses to everything in every concievable format, from tabletop games and toys to video games and clothes. http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2016/06/breaking-gw-licencing-in-vegas.html

Not only were they selling rights for the big brands, but they were also pushing back-bench stuff they haven't touched in forever like Dark Future (which they already plan to return via in-house Specialist Games), Talisman and Mordheim. Further, licensing is a huge cash cow for GW, you don't build 30+ years of brands and game lines to let them sit in the dark.

This isn't GW shrinking, this is them expanding away from FFG. It's not a bad business decision, because letting one external company hold the rights to all the most popular brands (and probably picked them up for a song back in the day) is not in GW's best interest. It also means we'll get new takes on it. Instead of FFG's "here's a thousand tiny pieces and special dice to keep track of, a generic system for 40K, and an absolute shitshow of WFRP 3e (and ruining WFRP 2e with crappy reprints)", we can see different designers take a crack at it. With the growth of indie RPG studios, it's the smart move for GW to shop around and see how much they can get out this seller's market.

I mean the problem is tha FFG is Competent, even if you would like to see a different take. GW opening the flood gates sounds great on paper but look to their video game practices as of late. Huge selection of different titles, game play, and platforms. But God the quality suffers, it's all over the place. Very hit and miss on what is actually good.

And now it might happen with the tabletop sector. Companies too new to the IP, unpracticed in the style, or those just looking for a quick buck. And this could hurt GW more than the video games. A bad game is meh but the setting might interest people into looking into it. A bad tabletop game when their main focus is said sector however...

MerlinCross:
I mean the problem is tha FFG is Competent, even if you would like to see a different take. GW opening the flood gates sounds great on paper but look to their video game practices as of late. Huge selection of different titles, game play, and platforms. But God the quality suffers, it's all over the place. Very hit and miss on what is actually good.

And now it might happen with the tabletop sector. Companies too new to the IP, unpracticed in the style, or those just looking for a quick buck. And this could hurt GW more than the video games. A bad game is meh but the setting might interest people into looking into it. A bad tabletop game when their main focus is said sector however...

I'm a fan of GW content, I'm used to variable quality. :)

I'd much rather see some misses and bad games if we can get some truly great ones as well. 'Competent' is boring in an RPG- if I want workmanlike systems, I'll play GURPS. I never took to the fiddly bits of FFG board games, and their RPGs are workmanlike at best. Besides, unlike video games it's very easy for me to go play previous systems if I prefer them, and take only the best going forward.

Thunderous Cacophony:

MerlinCross:
I mean the problem is tha FFG is Competent, even if you would like to see a different take. GW opening the flood gates sounds great on paper but look to their video game practices as of late. Huge selection of different titles, game play, and platforms. But God the quality suffers, it's all over the place. Very hit and miss on what is actually good.

And now it might happen with the tabletop sector. Companies too new to the IP, unpracticed in the style, or those just looking for a quick buck. And this could hurt GW more than the video games. A bad game is meh but the setting might interest people into looking into it. A bad tabletop game when their main focus is said sector however...

I'm a fan of GW content, I'm used to variable quality. :)

I'd much rather see some misses and bad games if we can get some truly great ones as well. 'Competent' is boring in an RPG- if I want workmanlike systems, I'll play GURPS. I never took to the fiddly bits of FFG board games, and their RPGs are workmanlike at best. Besides, unlike video games it's very easy for me to go play previous systems if I prefer them, and take only the best going forward.

I'll admit, I've only played;
-Chaos of the Old World
-Bloodbowl; Team Manager
-Talisman
-Dark Hersey(With Errata)

And of those I only felt like Talisman was a miss. While we're on Talisman, is it the WH40K one or Talisman in general?

I'm not sure I understand the "Workmanlike" systems. Where you build your own character? Don't you do that in like, every tabletop? You probably mean something else and I'm not getting good google results so I'm not actually going to hold it for/against. I also don't recall the board games being that fiddly but I've only played a small selection as you can see.

The point I'm trying to make is with the license thrown around now like it seems to be, we'll get a rush of probably crap games. Sure there might be some good ones, even great, but hope you like doing research and combing over the ones that are actually good. And if there's too many bad/flop games, again, I feel it could hurt GW's actual main lines since this realm is closer to home.

FFG... meeh. They destroy Warhammer. They Destroy Legend of the Five rings. What's next?

MerlinCross:

I'll admit, I've only played;
-Chaos of the Old World
-Bloodbowl; Team Manager
-Talisman
-Dark Hersey(With Errata)

And of those I only felt like Talisman was a miss. While we're on Talisman, is it the WH40K one or Talisman in general?

I'm not sure I understand the "Workmanlike" systems. Where you build your own character? Don't you do that in like, every tabletop? You probably mean something else and I'm not getting good google results so I'm not actually going to hold it for/against. I also don't recall the board games being that fiddly but I've only played a small selection as you can see.

The point I'm trying to make is with the license thrown around now like it seems to be, we'll get a rush of probably crap games. Sure there might be some good ones, even great, but hope you like doing research and combing over the ones that are actually good. And if there's too many bad/flop games, again, I feel it could hurt GW's actual main lines since this realm is closer to home.

For 'workmanlike' I mean 'not a bad system, but also nothing special.' If you like Warhammer Fantasy, I strongly encourage you to read Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying, 2nd Edition, by Black Industries and Green Ronin. That book oozed flavour, from skills like Consume Alcohol and Talents like Flee!, to careers like Roadwarden and the ever-popular Rat Catcher, to the rules for magic use and consequence, to the general text wrapping it all and giving it that dark British humour that is WH at it's best.

FFG aped the style of WFRP for their 40k line (after trying and failing to make WFRP 3e good with their own system), but it lost a lot of the charm. WFRP 1e and 2e are systems designed for Warhammer, and trust me when I say trying to take the system out of the Old World is a disaster. The FFG 40k line (which to be fair started with Black Industries making Dark Heresy, even if the studio was shut literally as soon as the core book went out) can easily have the numbers filed off and used for a non-Warhammer sci-fi game, because the core system was genericized so they could pump out 5 different lines without needing to think too hard.

As for the general point about crap games, definitely a possibility. Personally I think that there's enough hungry talent out there, and that GW has gotten better and understanding how to license properly, that the bad games will be a minority rather than a majority. As for hurting their main lines, they've already cut off one leg by axing WFB and replacing it with Age of Sigmar, which is underselling, and the 40k miniatures game itself has not been the most profitable use of the 40k license in several years now. All the lousy 40k books aren't killing them, some bad RPGs won't either, especially as part of a larger mix of good RPGs and board games, more video games (which despite their quality are bringing in money for GW up to this point), and other merchandising like toys and clothes.

InsanityRequiem:
If anything, I suspect it?s more something happened in the discussions between GW and Asmodee. Asmodee is the French board gaming company that bought FFG, and has taken control of all contract negotiations for them.

Yeah, this is a case of corporate restructuring and transferring of licence holders. Asmodee has basically become the ridiculous monolith of the board gaming world, and chances are GW will want to deal with them in order to expand future product lines and further stand out once more with all-aspects gaming universe representations (which is why they went to FFG to begin with, to bring Warhammer into all gaming spheres) ...

Doesn't bother me too much. The only things I regularly buy into with FFG is Netrunner.

 

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