Sunday, February 28, 2021

Blackstone Fortress

Blackstone Fortress by Games Workshop

Warhammer Quest was my first Games Workshop boxed game, back however many decades ago.  I was coming in from Heroquest and Battlemasters, both Milton-Bradley games that were widely available in the states.  When it was announced a few years back, I was immediately interested in the Warhammer 40,000 version of the classic game.

I wasn't interested in Silver Tower AT ALL.  Pass on Age of Sigmar - I just can't.  I won't.  Not ever.  Not to mention that the game appeared to have little in common with it's predecessor, so from the outset there was little to entice me.

Of course, this is the second 'new' Warhammer Quest game - the first 40k version of Warhammer Quest.  It's a few years old...and it's production cycle is pretty much over.  The game is super cool and came with a lot of cool models.  Like the Rogue Trader set, all these models have lots of potential in Kill-Team and Warhammer 40,000 as well as the game they were packaged in.

Which is just as well, since GW's marketing makes it impossible for anyone to get the correct sets they need to play the 'actual' game of Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress.

All these games have limited production cycles.  It's a given that for many companies in the industry that most items are created in 'print runs'.  The problem is when marketing and design create, for lack of a better term, functional dependencies.

For example, Blackstone Fortress: Escalation is required for many of the smaller expansions to function, such as the Deadly Alliance box (the Zoat!).  The problem is that Escalation has been out of print for a while already, and after COVID there's little hope of a reprint.  Ebay scalpers have already seized on this functional dependency to ask ASTRONOMICAL prices for Escalation, making it a real problem for any reasonable gamer to actually collect this line. 

I really don't care if you're a collector and that makes you feel bad.  I just don't feel like the manufacturer should let critical pieces of a line go out of print while they are still creating additions to that line.  It gives the false impression that the line is 'alive' - i.e. at least some plan for producing critical components.

I suppose the ploy from Games Workshop is to create FOMO around every release.  Scalpers run many of the online communities, and these grifters love it when they can get their hands on something like this - a sort of false scarcity.  Blackstone Fortresses' last expansion went on sale late last year, just a few months ago - and yet this functional dependency continues to persist in Games Workshop design.

So here's some advice for all future investments:  It is quite apparent that all Specialty Games from Games Workshop will continue like this.  If you are interested in a line, get everything immediately on release and don't wait.  Don't trust designers not to sell you something you can't use.  If that's going to be a stretch in commitment, perhaps choose just one line and collect it until they declare it dead.

It's not a total loss - I like the basic game, and at least I can use my Blackstone Fortress Zoat (and ALL my other Blackstone Fortress miniatures) in all the other 40k games.

Just not in Blackstone Fortress.

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