When Fantasy Flight and Games Workshop split, if someone had asked me which company, if any, would cozy up to Games Workshop to produce licensed games in the future, I would have had to give it some thought. After careful consideration, I may have offered several possibilities, not least of which would have been “no one.” I would have wagered a pretty penny on that guess since Games Workshop, as part of an ongoing restructuring and recovery effort, is still in the process of revamping their company. It wouldn’t seem too crazy that they may prefer to exclusively control their IPs for a while. Beyond that, several other big tabletop names may have come to mind. I think my last guess in the world would have been WizKids.
I suppose I shouldn’t become an analyst for the tabletop market anytime soon, because a partnership between WizKids and Games Workshop is precisely what was announced earlier today. According to the announcement, WizKids has been granted the use of the Warhammer 40,000 license for various new products, and the deal carries with it a multi-year commitment.
While the announcement initially shocked me, I suppose it makes sense. While I still think almost exclusively of HeroClix and its ilk when I hear the company name, WizKids has been slowly but surely carving out a, shall we say, more “serious” space in the hobbyist board gaming market. They’ve been putting out some solid releases over the past three years, and arguably their best offerings have come recently through high quality licensed releases such as Assault of the Giants. Given their history, WizKids has proven that they can take a license and turn it into a successful tabletop product, and given their current trajectory, they’re proving that they can achieve success with a more “serious” license like D&D. If one were to speculate further, WizKids may be very eager to gain an edge to spearhead further growth into the board game market – perhaps eager enough to outbid other, more established, board game publishers for the portfolio of IP licenses which Games Workshop offers.
While there are sure to be some folks to decry this union, there are some undeniable positives to be acknowledged here. WizKids seems to have a competent roster of board game developers, if most recent accounts are to be believed, which means more releases of well designed board games, and that can only be a good thing. Additionally, the announcement states that there are “additional plans to republish classic board games Fury of Dracula and Relic,” the former editions of which were speculated to be lost forever to the Fantasy Flight schism. If more people get the chance to play Fury of Dracula, that’s a win for humanity.
WizKids, is it too late to request an expansion to Forbidden Stars?