Thursday, March 19, 2009

The New Face of WAB

Not being one to follow the chat forums, I am always the last to know everything, so It was with concern that I found out last night that Rob Broom had been axed by GW. After years of dedication to the Warhammer Historical scene, he has been fired and replaced by Forge World, a Sub-company of GW who make resin models. So there you go....slightly worrying news to my mind about the future of WAB there.
I suppose It's fair to say that with all the recent competition in the market lately, the pressure has been on to get results. The Osprey backed 'Fields of Glory' must have sent shock waves through the ranks at GW with its glossy photos and Angus McBride illustrations. Even I, a great WAB supporter have wondered at their recent out put of Pirates, Cowboys and now Tall ships from Warhammer Historical in favour of the much needed support for the existing game. Maybe this was the early warning signs of the Gw take over, who have an M.O of rewriting their supplements and rules every four years. Pushing new titles and forgetting old ones.
Another reason I am a little concerned with the news, is that Rob did give his supplements out to enthusiasts of the periods concerned and although they may of taken a little longer to produce, the end result was usually one of quality. Now that GW have taken WAB back and given it to a sculpting sub-company, what will be the end result. I dare say we will see a lot more publications to rival the dreaded wolf at the door, 'Fields of Glory', but will they be all glossy photos and no substance? To quote a friend " They may know their Space marine from their Squat, but know squat about their history!!!"
I just hope that this doesn't effect the supplements that are in production at the moment like the Successor's and the new long awaited Roman supplements. I guess we will have and wait and see.
In the mean time, Good luck to you Rob and thank you for all your hard work, don't let the B@%tards grind you down!

(Above picture) 'Ugzod the Axeman' is now available from Games Workshop for £8.95.


BigRedBat said...

FoG = Wolf at the door? I wouldn't lose any sleep worrying about FoG. Dull as ditchwater.

Often when people leave GW they go on to greater and better things, I expect he'll turn up with an even better set of rules.

Anyhow, there's always C&C! ;-)


slobberblood said...

Your site rocks my site! Keep up the great work! -James

Sire Godefroy said...

Don't worry too much. Stripping WAB off its "garage production" image isn't necessarily a bad thing - you've brought up the continued delay of new releases for the core system.

At least, apart from that we still don't know if Forgeworld takes over the whole production of WAB: They have shown their value in releasing very fine books for the Warhammer 40k universe.

Also, I didn't got the impression that you and your friends are tournament players at all. So, for you is there really a need to follow every new edition to come? For example, I've stopped buying new books for the GW systems, because I'm much happier with the older volumes. Personally I don't need WAB 2.0 either.

Give it a try, you don't need to be up-to-date, solely because it's there. ;)


Scutatus said...

I have always been a great admirer of Rob Broom and all he has done for WAB and Warhammer Historical. Indeed, he IS Warhammer Historical. I'll never forget that he gave WAB over to us, the enthusiasts, enabling us to make it our own. Rob himself has ever been a humble modest guy, always accessible and ready to answer questions and just chat. Usually to be found at this fair and that show, playing the game he makes and clearly loves, always accessible. This approachable down to earth manner has been much appreciated. He has been known to have certain...quirks, but then he is only human. Who hasn't got a dark side? Who doesn't have off days? When someone lays himself as open to public scrutiny and criticism as ROb did, warts and all - and is under as much pressure as he sometimes could be - the devil is bound to make an appearance from time to time. ;) But that "transparency" - to employ a much over used word at the moment - was to his merit.

For me the appeal and charm of WAB has always been that it is written, not by in-house hacks with lots of imagination but little knowledge, but by the truly knowledgeable and passionate enthusiasts amongst us, the gamers.

For me, WAB has always been a love affair. Magically coupled with fantastic supplements providing a wealth of information and inspiration, those wonderful books written by the more learned amongst us, WAB is a gem in the wargaming world. No slim flimsy floppies with dozen of empty stats and lists, but true volumes of text, packed with a wealth of historical information. And we have Rob to thank. The Supplement writers - the Curtis, Jonas and Baekkelunds - have given us true treasures; but none could have given us those treasures without Rob behind the helm, inviting them to write in the first place. The Historical information - and the clear passion behind it - has always been the selling point for me. This was a historical game for historical gamers written BY historical gamers. Rob made it that.

For years Rob has kept WAB going, a reassuring constant in our lives. You always knew where you stood with WAB. Even when a supplement would introduce new ideas, the core game itself always remained largely the same. WAB was a familiar friend who you could turn to time and again. It never let you down. You could put it down for a while, then pick it up and it would be as if you had never left. In battle, even the most apparently simplistic of set ups never failed to cause surprise and excitement. And the Supplements, the supplements; although admitededly we have sometimes had to wait a lONG time for them, they have always been well worth the wait.

Now it will be Codex of the month, accompanied by two rules rewrites every decade. Supplements with a life span of just a few years. Twenty pages of glossy photos, another ten of 'eavy metal, with perhaps three pages of some shallow dumbed down text. Information? History? What's that? GW won't turn to out of house writers, it won't use knowledgeable enthusiasts. It will keep it in house, give it to writers more used to Dark Eldar and Orks. Sure, GW will no doubt knock the supplements out like never before, but the passion and enthusiasm - the charm and appeal of the product, will vanish. it will become style over substance, quantity over quality. A glossy coffee table mag instead of a small history book.

I have always dreaded the day when WAB would return into the complete control of GW. As far as I am concerned it is the worst thing that could happen for WAB. Everything that makes WAB the unique gem that it is would simply end. It appears my greatest dread, my worst nightmare, is finally coming to pass.

Rob will be sadly missed. This will mark the end of an era and mark the beginning of the end of WAB as we know and love it. Even if WAB continues I fear that its best days are now behind it.

I, like others, can only hope that those presently writing supplements get to finish their work before GW begin to introduce WAAAAAAGH WAB. Or worse still, before they simply kill WAB altogether - which judged on their M.O is just as likely.

Good luck Rob, best wishes in what ever you turn your hand to. Thank you for all your years and efforts at the helm. WAB won't be the same without you.

Andrew said...

This GW/WAB situation reminds me of my college experience. I went to the Tyler School of Art, which is a part of Temple University in Philadelphia. We had our own campus on a historic estate just outside the city. The art school was a tight-knit community, very conducive to making art. Then the president of the university thought, "What are those free-thinking artists doing out there? Let's dismantle their unique structure, dissolve their campus, and move them down here to our campus." Now the art campus is gone, the classes are all held in a single art building, and the more expansive downtown dorms can admit more students—an increase in revenue at the expensive of quality.

Just as with Temple U., GW's corporate leaders feel they need to pull in their odd little department, not fully understanding that its unique situation was what made it so great. I fear for the integrity of both Tyler and Warhammer Historical!

Almost Anonymous said...

Ave, Scutatus!

Keir said...

I agree with Scutatus. It seems a real shame that Rob is gone. And it is clear from the comments on the WABList that there are definately disturbances in the warp over this move by Lenton. Who knows what really happened, and I'm not speculating, but really, to speak of it with anything more then the perplexity of an outsider is beyond me. Rob's a nice bloke (who I met at Britcon in 2003), he's got new born twins, he appears to have given his all, and a very competent all for many years to this job and now he, and his position, and WHW, are all gone. It's just bizarre.

Adelaide Gamer said...

Welcome (back) to the machine, sounds like.

Bluewillow said...

I was dismayed when Rob was fired also, but I do hold hope that they may listen.

However from the stop start and the laughable "four emperors" start, and the semi professional Warhammer historical site with broken links already, I am not holding my breath or much hope for the new Wab 2.0.