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Games Workshop Group PLC, often referred to simply as Games Workshop or abbreviated as GW, is a British company originally founded by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson as a reprinter for the British market of American role-playing games (RPGs) such as Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Traveller and Middle-Earth Role Playing that later itself became one of the leading manufacturers and publishers of pen-and-paper-roleplaying games, collectible miniatures and tabletop wargames in the world. Games Workshop is currently the largest and most successful company in the collectible miniatures and tabletop wargaming industries. Games Workshop is the creator of both the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 intellectual properties, the former of which was originally published in 1983 and which the massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) is based on.
Founded in 1975 by Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson, Games Workshop was originally a manufacturer of wooden boards for games such as backgammon and chess and later became an importer of the American roleplaying game Dungeons & Dragons for the British market. Under the direction of Livingstone and Jackson, Games Workshop expanded from being a bedroom mail-order company to a successful gaming publisher and manufacturer. An early promotional magazine - Owl and Weasel - was superseded in June 1977, partially to advertise the opening of the first Games Workshop retail store, by the gaming magazine White Dwarf, which Livingstone also edited.
Games Workshop's publishing arm also created British reprints of famous, but then expensive to import, American role-playing games (RPGs) such as Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest, Traveller and Middle-Earth Role Playing. In 1979, Games Workshop provided the funding to help found Citadel Miniatures, in Newark, Nottinghamshire, UK, a company that would produce the metal miniatures that were used in role-playing and table-top wargames. The Citadel name has now become synonymous with Games Workshop's brand of miniatures and continues to be a trademarked brand name used in association with them long after the Citadel Miniatures company was directly absorbed into Games Workshop's company structure.
In 1984, Games Workshop ceased distributing its products in the United States through Hobby Games Distributors and opened its own Games Workshop (US) office. Games Workshop (US), and Games Workshop in general, went through a large growth phase in the late 1980's and early 1990's as its intellectual properties became more popular outside of the British market, where they had long been dominant. Issue 126 of White Dwarf (June, 1990) stated the company had over 250 employees in that year.
Following a management buyout in December 1991, the company refocused its business on their most lucrative product lines, namely their miniature wargame Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) and Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) lines. The Games Workshop chain of retail stores across the globe refocused on a younger, more family-oriented market rather than on the older war game enthusiasts and hobbyists who had long dominated the market. The change of direction was a great success for the company, with a rising share price and growing profits, in spite of the fact that it lost the company much of its old, loyal fanbase. The complaints of these old customers led a breakaway group of GW employees to publish Fantasy Warlord in competition with GW, but this effort met with little success. Games Workshop expanded across Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia in subsequent years, opening new branches of their retail stores and organising gaming events. The company was floated on the London Stock Exchange in October 1994. In October 1997, all UK-based operations were relocated to the current Games Workshop headquarters in Lenton, Nottingham. This site now houses the corporate headquarters, the White Dwarf editorial offices, mail order operations, and the creative hub of the company that creates and updates the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes.
By the end of the 1990's, though, the company was having problems with falling profits being blamed on the growing popularity of collectible card games such as Wizards of the Coast's Magic: The Gathering and Pokémon.
In recent years, Games Workshop has been attempting to create a dual approach that will appeal to both its older, loyal customers while still attracting the younger audience that is crucial to the company's growth. This has seen the creation of initiatives such as the "Fanatic" range that supports more marginal game lines with a lower cost trading model (the Internet is used widely in this approach, to collect ideas and playtest reports). Games Workshop has also contributed to designing and making games and puzzles for the popular television series The Crystal Maze.
The release of Games Workshop's third core tabletop miniatures wargame, The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game (LoTR SBG), in 2000 signaled their intention to capture the younger audience with a simple, yet effective and flexible, combat system.Template:Fact
Other key innovations have been to harmonize the company's core products, and to branch out into new areas of growth. The acquisition of Sabretooth Games (collectible card games) to release Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000-related collectible card games, the creation of The Black Library (fiction), and their work with software publishers THQ (computer games like the bestwelling Dawn of War series) and EA Mythic (Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) have all enabled the company to diversify into new areas which have brought old gamers back into the fold as well as introduced their games and more importantly, their fictional universes, to a whole new audience across the globe. In the first decade of the twenty-first century, Games Workshop saw its revenues grow to over 100 million pounds sterling per year.
Alongside the UK publishing rights to several American role-playing games in the 1980's (including The Call of Cthulhu, RuneQuest and Middle-earth Role Playing) Games Workshop also secured the rights to produce miniatures and/or games for several classic British science fiction properties such as Doctor Who and several characters from 2000 AD including Rogue Trooper and Judge Dredd. Alongside the rights to reprint ICE's Middle Earth Role Playing for the British market, Citadel Miniatures acquired the rights to produce 28mm miniatures based on The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
In conjunction with the promotion of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in 2001, Games Workshop acquired the rights to produce a skirmish wargame and miniatures using the movies production and publicity art, and also on the original novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. (Although it should be noted that the current line uses 25mm scale). The rights to produce a roleplaying game using the films' art were sold to another firm, Decipher, Inc. Games Workshop was also able to produce a Battle of Five Armies game based on The Hobbit, although this game was done in 10 mm scale for the normal warriors, and "heroic" scale for the named characters.
Games Workshop has several subsidiaries:
- BL Publishing publishes all literature and gaming material based on Games Workshop's universes. It consists of the following imprints:
- The Black Library - publishes novels, art books, background books and graphic novels set in the Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 universes.
- Black Flame - publishes science fiction and horror novels based on licensed third party intellectual property.
- Solaris Books - An imprint of BL Publishing with a mandate to deliver original works of science fiction and fantasy.
- Black Industries - Games Workshop's role-playing game imprint. They marketed the second edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay and (for a short time) Dark Heresy, a role-playing game based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Warhammer Historical - publisher of Warhammer Ancient Battles and related history-themed war games.
- Warp Artefacts - sold merchandise based on Games Workshop's Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 intellectual properties; it has now been folded into the larger BL Publishing subsidiary as BL Merchandise.
- Citadel Miniatures - the modeling arm of Games Workshop which produces high-quality collectible miniatures for hobbyists and wargamers.
- Forge World - produces more expensive, high-quality resin models from the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes.
- Sabertooth Games - produces all collectible card games that are related to the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes.
Games Workshop produces several role-playing, war game and miniature lines, as well as other products.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WHFB) is the most popular game based in the Warhammer universe and focuses on large armies of fantasy-themed miniatures doing battle on the table top.
- Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (WHFRP) is a pen and paper RPG set in the Warhammer world. This was the first Games Workshop game to conceive the shape and fictional content of the Warhammer world as it is known today. It is currently in its third edition and has been licensed for production by Fantasy Flight Games.
- Mordheim blends RPG elements with traditional wargaming and is set in the ruined Old World city of Mordheim.
- Blood Bowl is a violent, darkly comic table top ball game played with Warhammer fantasy characters.
- Warmaster focuses on epic table top battles, using smaller scale miniatures than those used in WHFB.
- Warhammer 40,000 (WH40K) is based in the dystopian future of the Warhammer 40,000 science fantasy setting and bears many similarities to the Warhammer fantasy universe, but is focused on large science fantasy armies doing battle on the table top rather than the pseudo-medieval setting favoured by WHFB.
- Inquisitor is a game that combines miniature war gaming and RPG elements. It focuses on human Imperial Inquisitors from the Warhammer 40,000 universe who are attempting to root out the insidious servants of Chaos and uses larger and more detailed miniatures than normal (54 mm scale).
- Epic or Epic 40k is similar to the standard Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game but is based on much larger battles, using smaller scale miniatures.
- Necromunda, a skirmish game of gang warfare set on the dank and crime-ridden hive cities on the planet Necromunda.
- Battlefleet Gothic, a miniatures war game based around space battles using models of spacecraft from the different factions of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Aeronautica Imperialis, a game using miniatures produced by Games Workshop's Forge World subsidiary which focuses on aerial combat.
The Lord of the RingsEdit
- The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game is based on the Lord of the Rings movies, novels and fictional background and is a table top miniatures war game on a similar scale to Warhammer Fantasy Battle but set in the universe created by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- The Battle of Five Armies: The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game is a miniatures war game on a similar scale to Warmaster and Epic for large battles in the Lord of the Rings universe.
White Dwarf is a monthly magazine published by Games Workshop that contains articles and product information for all current Game Workshop games.
Warhammer Historical includes a series of miniatures war games based on the tabletop rules for Warhammer Fantasy Battle but set in real world historical situations.
- Warhammer Ancient Battles
- Warmaster Ancients
- English Civil War
- Legends of the Old West
Notable Out-of-Print ProductsEdit
These games are no longer produced by Games Workshop, but played their part in adding to the background of the wider Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes.
- Man O'War - a game of naval combat in the Warhammer fantasy world.
- Mighty Empires - a realm versus realm strategy board game, now adopted as a campaign system for Warmaster.
- Warhammer Quest - a game of dungeon exploration and questing, effectively an updated version of Advanced HeroQuest.
- Adeptus Titanicus - original miniatures war game in the Epic series, which concerned combat between the gigantic Titan warmachines of the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Space Marine - original Epic-scale miniatures war game concerning troops and infantry; first edition is a pair with Adeptus Titanicus, the second edition was paired with Titan Legions.
- Titan Legions - effectively an expansion of Space Marine, though it extended the game system.
- Epic 40,000 - the precursor game to Epic Armageddon, although some people still use the terms interchangeably, alongside Epic.
- Gorkamorka - a skirmish vehicle game involving gangs of warring space Orks.
- Space Hulk - squad-based combat in the corridors of an abandoned, massive spacecraft called a Space Hulk. This introduced the Tyranid Genestealers to the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
- Games Worksop international website
- Black Library Publishing official website
- Citadel miniatures homepage
- Forge World homepage
- Games Workshop on Wikipedia
- Warhammer UK homepage
- Warhammer 40,000 UK homepage
- The Lord of the Rings UK homepage
- White Dwarf UK homepage
- White Dwarf Magazine on Wikipedia
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