You’ve likely seen the news, posted yesterday, that Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop are parting company in February next year. If not – here’s a link, but the article basically says how FFG have enjoyed working with GW for the last eight years, but the licensing agreement has come to an end.
It’s a fairly short article, and despite the rumours that had been swirling for a while, specifically around the Conquest LCG, I was still surprised to see it happen. I’d always had the impression that their partnership was just too lucrative to let go in this way, but since their acquisition by Asmodee, I guess FFG is looking in a different direction now. They have the Star Wars license, of course, which is likely much more lucrative than Warhammer, and some of their recent game announcements seem to indicate that they’re more interested in developing their own stuff.
The upcoming RuneWars miniatures game, for instance, is probably the biggest thing here, as it looks like they’re going in their own direction with miniatures games anyway. I like the idea of FFG developing Terrinoth properly through this medium (though I still wouldn’t say no to a RPG sometime soon!) and I guess thinning down their games will allow them to produce more of their original stuff.
The upcoming Arkham Horror LCG is also looking like it might be a worthy successor to Conquest, though I am of course saddened to see the latter go. I’m planning to take a more in-depth look at the Arkham Horror game in an upcoming game day blog, as I don’t really know that much about it yet, but it seems to be taking the internet by storm. I’m sad to see Conquest go, but I also saw Invasion go, and life goes on. I think I’ll finally get round to writing my blog on that card game soon, as a bit of a tribute to this occasion!
From reading the article, it looks very much like this is a decision by FFG not to renew their license agreement, rather than GW pulling it, though that is just my opinion of course. I’m sure there are plenty of conspiracy theorists out there who could easily say this is as much a result of the specialist games division bringing the more traditional board game back in-house. Though I have to say, unless they go for the pre-built minis that FFG have churned out, I don’t think they’ll ever conquer the same market in this way.
What I find most interesting about the idea of the specialist games division bringing Warhammer and 40k “back home” is whether they plan to make card games and RPGs as well, or if they’re going to produce Betrayal at Calth / Deathwatch: Overkill style games til the cows come home. Both of those games have served merely to get people more interested in the main hobby lines they produce, of course, and while I’ve read that they’ve sold really well, I suspect that was more due to people buying them who were already invested in the hobby, so the extent to which they can be seen to bring boardgamers in really is suspect. Of course, it’s also exciting to see the potential for GW to really become, well, a workshop of games, and produce all manner of things once again.
All of this is pretty useless speculation on my part, of course! We’ve been able to enjoy some truly amazing games from FFG the past few years, but I’m now finding myself really intrigued as to how this will allow both companies to really grow into different directions, and look forward to reaping the benefits as they both attempt to get a hold of my cash!