Wednesday, May 18, 2011

GW Price increase - Long-term perspective, 2001-2011

By now you've likely heard of the latest round of GW price increases and seen a lot of complaining about them.  I'm not thrilled myself, and certainly complain when things cost me more.  And the stuff with Australia, etc. is just crazy.

But I wondered how bad the increases were when looked at in the long term.  Seeing a 25% bump at once is painful, but I was curious as to how much prices have gone up on some things since I got back into 40K a decade ago.  (See The Back 40K for a % based breakdown of the recent price increase)

So I dug out a number of old 2001 White Dwarf issues, from back when they actually included prices in the magazine.  Let's see what we find:

WD 255 (April) (all prices USD, issue numbers for US WD)

Cover price for WD itself by the way: $4.99.  It's now what, $9.00?  So that's a fairly large jump over time.

Warhammer Regiment sets like Dwarf Warriors, Zombies, Goblin Wolf Riders: $24.99.  Now $35.00.  Under 50% increase over ten years, not too bad.

Grave Guard:  2 metal figs for $5.99.  Now 10 plastic for $33.00 (soon to be $41.25).  I think you used to be able to get a box of ten for the metal guys, but don't know how much that ran.  From the blister cost, not counting if command figs cost extra, increase from about $30.00 to $41.25 not too bad.  If you preferred the metal ones, a different story of course.

Lahmian Vampire, foot and mounted: $14.99.  Now $20.00.  Though may soon be more with "Finecast".

5 plastic Chaos Space Marines, with bolters: $12.50.  Now $37.25 for ten, with lots more options.  So about a 50% increase over the ten years, with better models.

Chaos Terminators: 5 metal termies for $39.99.  Now five plastic for $50.00.

Chaos Land Raider: $44.99.  Going up to $66.00.  Again, under 50%.

Chaos Rhino (old version): $24.99.  New price for newer version - $33.00.

Space Marine Tactical Squad: $24.99.  Now $37.25.

Space Marine Assault Squad: $24.99.  Going up to $33.00.

Space Marine plastic Dreadnought (new release!): $34.99, now $44.50, plus other versions (Venerable, Ironclad, Furioso) available.  About 27% or so?

WD 256 (May)

Space Marine Land Speeder: $24.99 for basic, $29.99 for either typhoon or tornado (with metal extra bits).  Now $30.00 for a kit that can do all three, in all plastic. 

Space Marine Bike: $12.50.  Now $15.00. (Bike squadron was $39.99, now $45.00).

WD 257 (June)

3rd Ed Starter box: $74.99.  AoBR box going up to $99.00.  Old set had full multipart kits (10 SM, land speeder, 20 dark eldar) plus a little terrain and full sized book.  New set has tons more figures though simpler and mini-book.  Individual ratings of value will vary, but if assume equivalent starter set price up like 32% over ten years.

Space Wolf Battleforce (20 marines, three bikes, old rhino, terrain): $89.99.  Going up to $100.00 with 20 marines, five scouts, drop pod, no terrain.

Space Wolf terminators: $8.99 to $9.99 each (metal), now $50.00 for five plastic.

WD 261 (October)

Ork Killer Kan (metal): $19.99.  Now $44.50 for set of 3 plastic kans.

Ork meganob: $8.99, now $19.75.  Ouch.

WD 262 (November)

Tau new releases!

Broadside battlesuit: $29.99, now $35.00.

Fire Warriors or Kroot: $24.99, now $35.00.

Devilfish: $29.99, now $35.00.

Tau Battleforce (12 FW, 12 Kroot, 3 crisis suits, 10 drones, jungle trees): $89.99.  Going up to $110.00 with Devilfish + drones, one crisis suit plus two drones, three stealth suits plus markerlight drone, 12 FW, 12 Kroot.

Dark Eldar Raider: $29.99, new version $33.00.

Eldar Falcon: $34.99, going up to $49.50, a little over 40% over ten years.

A lot of these don't seem too bad over time.  Some like the meganobs jump out, and I know that this doesn't tell the whole story, like with the IG repackaging from like twenty for $30.00 to ten for $25.00.  But I think that it's interesting to look at it over the long term instead of just choking on the immediate effect of something like a 25% increase for a few things. 


  1. I think we do this every year because we don't realize that even though they reaise prices every year around the same time, it is not always on the same items.

    If you are going to start certain armies, yeah, you're boned, but for the most part, over time, it's not that much, seemingly. People look at those lists and go "OMG everything got marked up!" but there are really 526 (ish) items that are unchanged.

  2. Thanks for an interesting perspective. Over 10 years that doesn't seem half bad for most of them.

    I wish my income could have risen along the lines of a Meganob!

  3. I think the problem is that the prices were relatively flat in the first half of the decade when GW was riding the LoTR wave and have gone up more in the second half when at least part of the time inflation was low.

    I started playing in late 2005 and for example the assualt marine box was still 25 dollars so in the 6 years it has gone up about 33% which is higher than the 27% percent inflation over the whole decade. The starter box is a bigger change. I think it was 45 for the 4th ed then 60 for the 5th and is now up to 99 so a 66% jump in 3 years.

    It would probably be better just to see a constant few percent rise across the board than the random 20% on different items each year.

  4. Great perspective. It seems that many models have moved to plastic, and kept the cost from jumping out of control. I wonder how much conversation this kind of topic generates within the confines of Games Workshop.

    I also am curious since I am kind of a news junkie, how this correlates to the two things people care most about, the cost of food, the cost of fuel, and wage increases.

  5. @CounterFett - Exactly. When we see individual jumps we get upset, but forget that it was at the old price unchanged for four years.

    @Mike Howell - You and me both!

    @eriochrome - I agree that a small increase each year would be easier to stomach for many.

    @Natfka - For some things I do wonder if the plastic kits are higher than they should "really" be, like is there that much more stuff in a $50 terminator box than a $33 sanguinary guard box? I don't know, but I doubt it's significantly more, rather prices tagged to where the metal versions were.

  6. My mantra has always been if you don't like the price, don't buy the product. That being said, I don't know of very many other consumer goods that have increased in cost as significantly as Game Workshop's swag. In addition, getting more on the sprue does not equate to more value.

    A box of 10 marines still only makes 10 marines. Doesn't matter that it has some extra bobs and doodads that end up getting thrown into a bin for all eternity, IMO.

  7. @Jonathan - I dunno, I like all the bobs and doodads, but then I tend to have multiple projects in mind or particular designs or configurations I want to make - one size fits all isn't my favorite. I don't mind paying for a little extra versatility.

  8. Most boxed models in Australia vary between $41 for stuff like Skeletons, Dark Eldar, Orks, etc. $62 for Chaos Marines, Space Marines, etc and $69 for stuff like Thousand Sons and Ironhands.

    Our US friends pay $37.25 ($35.50AU) for the same box of Space Marines that I pay $62 for.

    Ahh well. Everyone knows (including GW) that us Aussies live in gold palaces, with platinum crocodile enclosures in our diamond encrusted backyards :)

    It has come to a point where I am forced to buy alternative "proxy" models from places like Reaper Miniatures. I'm actually working on a virtual non-GW Vampire Counts army at the moment.


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