I've gone a bit mad over the past few weeks with the 50% off sale at warhammer-historical.com, picking up copies of Trafalgar, Warmaster Ancients, Warmaster Ancient Battles and two supplements for Legends of the Old West.
I'm glad that I did.
I wrote to the people at Warhammer-Historical when they shifted to telephone only sales on the core rulebook for legends of the old west asking if I could still obtain a copy. They wrote back three days later to tell me that it was now out of print and unavailable for order. I replied with a question as to whether there was any likelihood of it being reprinted in the future, to which question I got the answer "sadly this is highly unlikely".
I surmise, then, that this sale was probably designed for the purpose of clearing out all remaining stock in anticipation for warhammer historical shutting its doors. This is only guess work on my part, mind you. It could be that they're discontinuing their support for earlier rulesets, or as I have seen suggested on various blogs and forums around the internet, as a precursor to a pdf only business model. These latter two options seem strange when you consider that warhammer historical have only recently published a number of titles. Why else would they be liquidating their stock if not in anticipation of closure? I confess that I don't know enough about publishing or retail to answer this question. Perhaps one of you might.
If this is indeed the end of warhammer historical, I'm sad. It's been around a long time; it was certainly around back when I first started wargaming back in the late 1990s to early 2000s. To me it represents a part of the company that still gets pleasure out of making games for gamers. Without warhammer historical and the specialist games, all we're left with are the cash cow core games and abominations such as dreadfleet. As far as I'm concerned, no thanks.
I do wonder what possessed GW not to make a go of their warhammer historical line. The books are quality products which they could have sold to gamers of their core games looking for something new (who would likely still consume their hobby products lines if not their miniatures), or anyone else who happened to see a book on the shelf of their FLGS and pick it up, having been sold on the impressive production values. It must have been able to make money for them. They effectively just choked the products off by only making them available on their website. I think the problem is likely to be that the products do not fit within the business model of GW's retail arm (if you'd like to pursue this discussion further, please see an excellent article on the topic on the frontline gamer blog, see my blogroll).
I also feel for the talented folk who have poured their time and energy into these products. They're clearly passionate about what they were doing, and equally clearly they wanted to share that passion with us. A pity they didn't work with another publisher willing to give their products support.
I hope that I'm wrong; if I'm right, it's a shame. In the meantime, Garth did manage to pick up a copy of LotOW! Phew!
(p.s. sorry for any formatting issues, I'm blogging from my phone in bed and it's possible that the paragraphing won't pull through.