Tag Archives: Books

Physical Books: the Modern Problem with Wargames

The internet is a wonderful thing ain’t it? But it has created a problem for modern wargames companies and their customers.

I got into this hobby back in 1993 with 2nd edition 40k (that probably gives you an idea of how ancient I am). Back then (like now) all the rules etc were included in the boxed set. Then periodically GW began to release Codices for the armies.

Once you had a codex, you had all the rules that you would need for the next few years (back then editions came every 6 years), and you wouldn’t need to refer to anything else. All you needed was in the rule book, your codex, and any campaign supplements you may have bought.

Fast forward 30 years (urgh!), and we still have the same system in place for most wargame systems. The need of a rulebook, an army book of some type, and perhaps some campaign supplements. Nearly all modern miniature and wargames companies follow this system. Warlord Games with Black Powder, Hail Caesar etc, GW with AoS and 40k and other lesser known companies like Saga by Firestorm Games.


Only the internet has now put a spanner in these works!

Let’s say I’m a new player, looking to get into competitive Age of Sigmar by Games Workshop. I trawl through different sites and reviews looking at which faction will suit me best and decide that Orruks are for me (I know, I know, but bear with me).

You go out and you buy the Battletome and enough minis that you have a 2,000 point army ready to go. You’ve joined a local club, you’ve found someone to play against and off you go, down the club to have your game.

You and your opponent talk through the armies you have and you go through all that jazz, only your opponent keeps saying that you’ve got certain faction rules wrong. You don’t understand, you’ve got the book, and it’s written down their in black and white in front of you.

Only your opponent says ‘Nah mate, there was an FAQ that changed the wording on that schizz!”.

You’ve just spent upwards of £30 on army book which can be described as little more than a paperweight. I’m being a little harsh here, but you get my point.

With the rise of the internet and our beloved wargames attempting to keep up, Games Workshop now track the progress of armies at competitive events and adjust the rules for each faction every three months (quite right too!). That beautiful book you bought, which, although it is the 3rd edition battletome, is now 2 years out of date. Along with the warscroll or data cards you purchased to go with them.

Ok, you have the special code thingy that allows you to get all the up to date rules on the app (if you pay for the subscription) but otherwise, your books a pretty piece of writing that tells you more about the lore of your faction than it does their rules.

But none of these wargame companies (that I know of at least) update the physical books you can buy off the shelves in your local store. So why bother? I understand that there’s an issue with being able to purchase PDF copies of the book and the ease of piracy that runs alongside that, but at least this way, it would be easier to update the books, right?

What’s the answer? I haven’t the foggiest. But I certainly don’t think it’s selling physical books to people who are unaware their army rules evolve as the months progress.Wh

What do you think?