Warhammer players have been facing a new foe in the past year that can’t be countered with any combination of tactics, army values or understanding of the miniatures wargame - recent boxed sets selling out during the first hours of pre-order weekends. Publisher Games Workshop has promised to curtail the issue, beginning with the upcoming Kill Team: Octarius.
The UK-based company took a conversational tone in an August 9th post to the Warhammer Community page where it assured the days of setting alarms and clearing schedules to buy their products were over. “Running out of stock sucks. We know we’ve let you down in the past – so we’re going to do something about it, right now,” the post reads. “This weekend, Games Workshop is making a promise to everyone who orders Kill Team: Octarius during the pre-order weekend – we guarantee you’ll get a copy. Simple!”
Pre-order weekends have been somewhat hectic affairs for those looking to secure a box of the latest miniatures, either for Warhammer: 40k’s rebooted skirmish mode, Age of Sigmar’s Dominion big box - using the fresh third edition rules - or the Warhammer Quest: Cursed City board game. Games Workshop tends to withhold the dates for pre-order weekends - along with prices - until days before it goes live, if that.
The instantaneous queue that forms on the payment submission page has historically been plagued with scalpers. Games Workshop even lists the opportunistic resellers as one of a pithy list of reasons why the average player can’t grab a box - along with the cat spilling coffee and an inopportune visitor at the door. Those who can’t afford to spend the weekend refreshing the page are left purchasing from a limited supply shipped to local game stores or paying exorbitant upcharges from those same scalpers.
Under this new arrangement, the company claims everyone who places a pre-order during that box’s specified weekend is guaranteed to receive a copy, eventually. Shipping will reportedly be handled on a “first come, first served” basis that still benefits the early risers, with others needing to wait “potentially several months longer” for the game piece to arrive. How much of that discrepancy can be pinned on the continued global freight shipping strain is unknown - the company admits in the post that it has miscalculated demand before.
Games Workshop said it is investigating other methods of relieving the strain of pre-ordering future boxed sets but did not offer any concrete details. It did, however, provide the added benefit of a limited-stock “premium metal combat gauge” to those who continue to hit pre-order pages at the first possible moment, which comes off more than a little gauche in the face of the rest of the post.
Kill Team: Octarius will remain a limited-run launch box and thus not be available once existing stock sells out. This practice has caused consternation with players in the past, specifically around the Cursed City board game, which was supposed to be the foundation for numerous expansions and future add-ons - Wargamer wrote an excellent breakdown of the problem in June. Local stores and retailers had trouble fulfilling pre-orders, and Games Workshop abruptly killed future plans with a single tweet. In such light, assuaging players with the promise of months-delayed fulfillment on boxes likely not available anywhere else is cold comfort, indeed.
Dicebreaker has reached out for more information regarding the company’s future plans. Keep checking back for more information as it becomes available.