GW: Why The "Boxed Game" Works (2023)

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GW: Why The "Boxed Game" Works (1) GW: Why The "Boxed Game" Works (2)


Games Workshop’s Boxed Games approach is working – let’s talk about why.

With Gangs of Commorragh on the horizon, we got to thinking about all the boxed games and just how many Games Workshop has put out the last two years. I think this is a great move for the company and the players so lets talk about why it works!

Good For The Players

The first big reason I think that this move to these “Boxed Games” is that is lowers the barrier to entry significantly. There was a time not so long ago that if you wanted to play a Games Workshop Game you had to make quite the investment, even for a small “Kill Team” style game. You would have needed to buy a box (or two) of miniatures (not counting glue/painting either), the rulebook, a codex, accessories and maybe even a gaming mat to play on. You’d have to make due with some starter terrain (books, boxes and maybe a soda can or two).

Eventually, you’d be able to get in a “real” game but that was probably a few months and a couple hundred dollars down the line.

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With these boxed games, you don’t need to do that any more! You get a box of miniatures (that you still need to glue together most of the time) and you get everything you need to actually PLAY the game. That’s a really great move to put the GAME back in Games Workshop.

These boxed games also have the added benefit for veterans in that it makes collecting these models cheaper. Think about the boxed set for Imperial Knights: Renegade. While that game was an interesting game, let’s be honest – lots of players skipped the game play and went straight for the discounted Imperial Knights. And who could blame them! Now, it did fulfill my boyhood fantasy of getting to basically play Battletech at the 40k scale, but it didn’t exactly take off as a sub-game.


But the veteran players recognized the value of the box and scooped it up just to get a “cheap” knight in their existing army/collection. That’s a win in my book!

Another good reason for these boxed sets is the way it exposes players to new mechanics and game styles. Looking at Gorechosen, I really liked the way it brought back “hex” combat. I’m betting there were quite a few younger gamers that got it and had never had the pleasure of playing a “hex” based game before. Getting exposed to different mechanics is a good thing because it stretches you think in different ways. Those lessons can be taken back to other games and you might think about things in a new light. You’d be surprised at the connections that your brain can make.

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Another example is Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower. I loved this one just because it was a new Warhammer Quest game. It’s a call back to those old school board games I grew up playing but it’s also a fantastic intro to RPG style mechanics. That’s a very different type of game than your typical game of 40k or AoS – and it’s a welcome change!

Speaking of change, the last big reason I like the move to these boxed games is that it helps keep things fresh! Playing the same game against the same players week after week gets old. Unless you’re constantly swapping armies or in a league of a couple dozen players it’s hard to keep those tabletop games feeling fun and fresh. That’s where these boxed games come in.


For a lot of them, like Lost Patrol, they are good distractions. I think of them like a palette cleanser. They are relatively cheap, easy to learn and they will keep you interested for a few sessions. Then you can pack them up and put them back on the shelf until you need another palette cleanse. You could easily fit in a game of Lost Patrol to setup a narrative to your game as well. Just another way to keep things fresh!

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I don’t think any of these games are going to take the place of your standard 40k/AoS night – but everyone knows that. While they are entertaining by themselves, they can’t compete with the depth that a game of 40k or AoS offer in terms of armies, variety or even rules complexity. But having them as an option and playing them as palette cleansers will make you appreciate your other tabletop games that much more!

Good For The Company

This may shock some folks but did you know Games Workshop is a business?! I know, crazy right! In order for them to keep making things they have sell those products and make a profit. Looking at their Half Year financials they seem to be doing (better than) alright in that department. I think a bit part of that increase is the return to these boxed games.

Every time they release a new boxed game they get a bump in sales due to it’s release. People buy their games – sometimes its to play the games, most of the time is because they want the models. Either way, Games Workshop gets that fiscal bump.

Another big reason these boxed games are good for Games Workshop is that it helps them move stagnate inventory. Before Gangs of Commorragh I’m pretty sure you could have found Reavers and Helions in the discount bin at most stores. But now? Well folks will have a reason to actually buy those. Look at Blood Bowl – they are actively promoting conversions for teams they haven’t released models for. Do you think that’s a coincidence? I don’t – it’s smart marketing. Giving folks a reason to buy those kits will, shockingly, help sell those kits! #mindblown

If you’re a veteran, you’ve probably got all the models you need so the thought of buying one of these boxed games might not appeal to you – even for the cheap models. Guess what, you’re not the primary target of these sets – new players are. It’s a much easier sell to position one of these starting boxes to younger players and their parents than it is to sell them on an entire army.

“You get everything you need” and “it’s plenty to get started with” or “it’s a game for two players” are all things I’ve heard said to parents when talking about these games. Get the buy-in with a boxed game and you’ve got them. Those new players will want to try the bigger games eventually, and hey look at that – you’ve got a starter army on your hands. You just need a few more things…


Not all of the games have been hits – but that’s okay. Why? Because these boxed games allow the Design Team to experiment! I can’t imagine working on a tabletop game being all that pleasant after awhile. How many times can you re-write the same ruleset? The incremental changes are there but the heart of the games is done. That’s got to get old for them, too.

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Messing around with these boxed sets stretches the Design team to try new things and test out new mechanics. If it works, great! You’ve got a hit on your hands. If it flops, well hopefully people buy it for the models and it’s slowly goes away.

Boxed Games are a win-win for both the Company and the Players. But what do you think? Are there negative impacts along the way? What’s the downside to these boxed games?

GW: Why The "Boxed Game" Works (13)

Author: Adam Harrison

Writer, Editor, Texas Native, and Austinite for 15+ years, Adam covers all things Tabletop Gaming. Which includes Warhammer 40,000, Age of Sigmar, D&D, Board Games and everything else that involves dice, boards, cards and a table.A hobbyist, player, and collector of miniatures and games, Adam's current obsession are his Death Armies for Age of Sigmar, his Blood Angels and Tyranids for 40k, and his ever growing Arkham Horror: The Card Game Collection.


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  • FAQs

    How does the Warhammer board game work? ›

    Warhammer is a tabletop battle game which puts players in command of armies of valiant humans, noble elves, savage orcs or a variety of twisted and monstrous creatures. Players collect forces of miniature plastic models, all with different stats and abilities, and use them to play out clashes on a tabletop battlefield.

    What is the easiest Warhammer game? ›

    Space Marines

    Hands down, this is the best starter army for anyone to learn and play the game with. It shouldn't surprise folks that Space Marines are the most popular army – and with good reason. First starters they are the literal posterboys for Warhammer 40,000.

    What is the most complex board game in the world? ›

    “So Go is probably the most complex game ever devised by man. It has 10^170 possible board configurations, which is more than the numbers of atoms in the universe,” said study author and AlphaGo co-developer Demis Hassabis of Google DeepMind.

    Why did Warhammer MMO fail? ›

    The game was lacking endgame content at launch, and the developers moved too slowly to fix game-breaking bugs and class balance problems." Zarbix lays the ultimate blame for Age of Reckoning's failure on its attempt to be a WoW killer.

    Which Warhammer army is cheapest? ›

    By and large, the Adeptus Custodes are the most affordable army to play. While they have limited variations, each Adeptus Custodes model carries a high point total, especially compared to other factions. The quality of these resplendent soldiers allows players to field a whole army with fewer models.

    What is the strongest Warhammer army? ›

    The Orks can also be considered to be the most successful and powerful in Warhammer 40K due to their partial immunity to chaos, ability to reproduce quickly, and ever-growing strength when facing powerful threats.

    What is the most played Warhammer game? ›

    Warhammer 40,000: Darktide

    Is there a 1% board game? ›

    1% is a deckbuilding game where not only are you building your deck collecting point and/or useful card while also trying to take over sites that give you powerful abilities.

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    1“Juden Raus!” (Jews Out!)

    But the most notorious of these games is probably “Juden Raus,” published in Dresden in 1938 approximately one month after “Kristallnacht”(the Night of Broken Glass).

    What is the oldest board game still played? ›

    The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest playable boardgame in the world, originating around 4,600 years ago in ancient Mesopotamia.

    Did Warhammer rip off Warcraft? ›

    Is it true that Warcraft started out as a Warhammer ripoff? - Quora. No, it started out as a pitch to win the Warhammer licence from Games Workshop. They couldn't agree, and it was developed as their own Warcraft IP. Later they made Starcraft, their own 40K-style spinoff too.

    Is Warhammer inspired by LOTR? ›

    The Warhammer world drew inspiration from Tolkien's Middle-earth, but also from Robert E Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Michael Moorcock, as well as history, particularly European history.

    Is Warhammer big in China? ›

    Despite not having an official release in China, the Total War series is very popular in the country. Total War: Three Kingdoms became the fastest selling game in the series thanks to sales in China. Warhammer III was anticipated due to one of the factions being based on China.

    How does Warhammer 40K tabletop work? ›

    Dice. Warhammer 40K uses six-sided dice to resolve anything from advancing to shooting, fighting and casting psychic powers, and you need a lot of them to play. You can get by with 20-30 of them if you don't have an army with a high model count, but having around 100 of them around won't hurt.

    How does 40K tabletop work? ›

    The playing area is a tabletop model of a battlefield, comprising models of buildings, hills, trees, and other terrain features. Each player takes turns moving their model warriors around the battlefield and fighting their opponent's warriors. These fights are resolved using dice and simple arithmetic.

    Is Warhammer 40K like D&D? ›

    Warhammer is a wargame miniatures confrontation that pits two player's armies against each other in old-fashioned warfare. You can use wargames like Warhammer 40k miniature in D&D or Pathfinder, but the games are not the same. So to decide which is the best roleplaying game - We will rule out Warhammer.

    Is Warhammer good for beginners? ›

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    Warhammer 40,000 is a complicated game. Even before you get on the table there are thousands of units, infinite combinations of terrain, and tons of pre-game rules to address. Once on the table, there are pretty much infinite choices to make, with units have amazing freedom of movement.

    How long do Warhammer games last? ›

    When focusing on the main objectives, Total War: Warhammer is about 34½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 166 Hours to obtain 100% completion.

    Is Warhammer still popular? ›

    Far from being the preserve of socially awkward teenage boys, the game still has a large following among adults. Warhammer 40k fan Andrew Ruddick, 32, spoke to BBC News about why he was still playing the game after almost 20 years.

    What is the most popular tabletop wargame? ›

    Some of the most popular games include Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, and Battletech. There are also many other games that players can try, and the possibilities are endless. Aliens versus humans, a classic sci-fi movie trope, plays itself out in a tabletop game of Warhammer 40k.

    Is Warhammer worth the price? ›

    In a word, yes! Warhammer+ is worth it. For all the current and future content we expect, we are getting amazing value from this Games Workshop service.

    Does God exist in DND? ›

    Core D&D-pantheons

    Boccob, god of magic, arcane knowledge, balance and foresight. Corellon Larethian, god of elves, magic, music, and arts (also a demihuman power). Garl Glittergold, god of gnomes, humor, and gemcutting (also a demihuman power). Gruumsh, god of orcs (also a monster power).

    Why is DND good for mental health? ›

    D&D is good for mental health.

    D&D provides an opportunity for players to develop social-emotional skills, build confidence, and learn to express themselves. As kids learn and grow, they need safe spaces to try new things. They need to know it's okay that you won't always succeed the first time—or even at all.

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    Warhammer 40000 is a gaming franchise which has borrowed heavily from Dune. Both Warhammer and Dune have a massive galaxy/imperium which are ruled by the Emperor of Mankind and Padishah Emperor respectively.

    What is the coolest Warhammer army? ›

    Goatboy's Warhammer 40K: The Best of the Best Armies
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    Is Age of Sigmar easier than 40K? ›

    If you are looking for something fresh with new factions cropping up all the time, then Age of Sigmar is a great place to start. There's an exciting backdrop, accessible rules and games tend to be shorter and more fast-paced compared to Warhammer 40,000.


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