Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The real audience for Warhammer: Age of Sigmar #AoS #WFB #Warhammer

Since the announcement and release of Warhammer: Age of Sigmar there have been a lot of posts about dumbing down of the old rules, the ridiculous new unit specific rules (see image below) and the removal side-lining of the, frankly pervy, Slaanesh Chaos deity. The culprit responsible for these heinous crimes is apparently children, a.k.a kids. That's bollocks.
It should be absolutely clear simply from the cost  of the new scenery pieces from Games Workshop that they are not trying to appeal to a younger audience. Even the most profligate parent would balk at those prices. GW themselves have talked at length about becoming a company that produces miniatures, not games, and that "Warhammer" is more about collecting, painting and modelling. Again, the audience isn't kids. So who is it?

It should also be obvious to anyone with some sort of social life that the changes in Age of Sigmar actually make it a much better game to play with your mates (plural - it's no longer two player) while you have a few beers. This perfectly explains the need to a) make the rules simpler and b) the addition of the stupid rules, which, quite frankly, you need to be drunk to appreciate.

It's as simple as that. The audience for Age of Sigmar is the well paid, bearded, craft beer-sucking hipster that "got back into board games a while ago". Board gaming is experiencing a resurgence of social acceptability and, generally, being a dickhead's is now actually cool. GW is simply trying to piggy-back on this revival. It also explains the Slaanesh thing.

The whole concept of Slaanesh is based in some weird succubus-related wish fulfillment, spawned from a generation of men that really didn't understand women. I don't mean role-playing/table-top nerds, I mean the 70s. And, quite frankly, the whole "daemons with tits" thing is embarrassing. Thematically, I love the idea of how Slaanesh fit into the original Chaos pantheon, the Dark Eldar (this short story is amazing), etc but I'm not sure it really has a place in a modern, mainstream gaming product. It's a niche and basically sexist anachronism and we're in an age where even a whiff of sexism is bad.

So, again, the down-grade of Slaanesh has got absolutely nothing to do with children and damaging their young sensibilities. Want to know what adds even more weight to that argument? Well, I've read "The Gates of Azyr", the novella that accompanied the launch of Age of Sigmar, and that ain't no kids book! It's bleak, violent and horrific. On reflection I actually really enjoyed it.

Oh, I almost forgot. A few weeks ago I passed (what turns out to be) the Warhammer Flagship store on Tottenham Court Road. I knew GW planned to rebrand all their stores (and I guess themselves eventually) as simply "Warhammer" but until then I had no idea how that brand looked.

This is the current/old logo:
This is the new one:

One of these is a modern, minimalist brand designed to appeal to a sophisticated demographic. The other one looks like something you'd see in a toy shop.

Get the picture?

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