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The History of Games Workshop

By Edited Mar 20, 2014 3 1

Games Workshop

Games Workshop is not only the largest fantasy war games company in the world but also the most successful as far as table top war games are concerned. It is very hard to come across ardent game lovers who have never heard about the company as in one way or another, you could have played one of their games. The major brands promoted by the company include Warhammer and Warhammer 40K games. The company also holds the official license for Lord of the Rings table top battle game.


The company began its operations in UK in 1975 and since then has become the most successful table top games company worldwide. The company now has direct sales in the UK, Canada, the US, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, Spain and Italy and currently, over 70% of its games sales comes from customers outside the UK.

The company was founded by three game lovers, namely Ian Livingstone, Steve Jackson and John Peake in 1975. In the initial stages, the company was involved in the manufacture of wooden balls which were used in games such as backgammon, nine men's Morris and Mancala. The founders began by selling handmade wooden games from their apartments in London. They later went ahead and developed a chain of popular game stores across the United Kingdom.

In 1981, the company helped to establish Citadel Miniatures Limited, a manufacturer of metal miniatures that was based in Newark-on-Trent located in Nottinghamshire. It provided part of the funds that were used to set up the company. A couple of years later, the company relocated closer to Nottingham and started to develop and expand operations. They also began manufacturing war game systems under the brand name of Games Workshop.

The company was floated on the London stock exchange in October 1994 allowing members of the public to invest and own a piece of the company that had by then garnered a lot of achievements. The company's major operations in the United Kingdom were shifted to the current headquarters located at Lenton in Nottingham. This new shift not only helped Games Workshop to cement its position as the number one in the industry but also gave them enough space to create the first war gaming arena in the world known as Warhammer World. The space has also been used by the company to stage numerous war gaming competitions over the years.

Games Workshop has expanded since then into several companies some of which include Forge World which makes complementary miniatures and Black Library Publishing. Over the years, the company has produced numerous games.

The Games

1. Warhammer Fantasy Battle

Warhammer Fantasy
Production of this game first started in 1983 and is played by two or more people competing against each other each with a small army of miniatures between 25mm to 250mm tall . The game can be played on any surface that is appropriate, though the standard measurement is a 6ftX4ft table top which is dotted with model scenery. The rules of play are supplied along with the game in a special book. Some armies also have individual army books especially in the latest version, which is the 8th edition. The game also consists of numerous magical lores which are available for most armies, except the army of dwarfs.


There are several other games that have been derived from Warhammer Fantasy and that use the same rules. Some of them include:

Warhammer ancient battles
Blood Bowl
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay
War Master
Warhammer: Shadow of the Horned Rat etc.

2. Warhammer 40,000 (40k)

Warhammer 40k
Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer 40k. The game was created in 1987 as a companion to the earlier Warhammer Fantasy Battle game and features most of the same mechanics and game play rules. The game has three modes, namely the urban scene, large scale combat and planetary scene and is currently in its 6th edition. Players play by assembling and painting miniature soldiers measuring 28mm. These represent futuristic soldiers which the players can use to assemble armies and compete with other players. Some of the other games derived from Warhammer 40K include:

Battle fleet Gothic

3. Lord of the Rings Universe

Lord of the Rings
This game was created in 2001 and the game length depends on the battle size and rules can also be different for different armies. The game is based on the movie, Lord of the Rings and players collect and paint one or more armies of choice and look for opponents to compete against. Their opponents also collect and paint their own armies. Some of the popular game modes that have been derived from this game include:

Great Battles of the Middle Earth
Strategy battle games etc.

That's it!

Game workshop is without the number one name that comes to most people's minds when you talk of fantasy war games, and rightfully so because their games have created such an addiction among their customers. When someone buys a game for the first time from Games Workshop, they are not only buying and learning how to play a game, they are buying entrance to a vast community of Games Workshop fans and enthusiasts.



Jul 28, 2013 12:57pm
Games Workshop is one of the few gaming companies I remember from when I first started that hasn't gone bust, shut down or been bought up. (The other Steve Jackson) Steve Jackson games is the only other one I can think of.
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