lodessa: bitches can walk (t:scc)
As some of you may or may not know, I have been collecting/playing Warhammer 40K for about four years. Some of you may even know what Warhammer 40K is. Many of you probably don't. Warhammer is a stupidly expensive tabletop miniature game that requires you to buy, paint, and build many many models before you even start playing. My now-husband has been playing the 40K (aka sci-fi) version of this game since long long before we met (the company, Games Workshop, makes three versions. The other two are the original fantasy version and a Lord of the Ring one). So being the nerdy significant other I am, I started out deciding I was just going to paint a box of models that looked cool, it would help us bond right? Well since then I have been painting and playing (he does the super gluing because I generally just end up attaching the models to my hands instead of themselves) and I now have over $500 worth of Chaos Daemon models. They look pretty good and I do decently playing against my husband and our friends with them. However, every time I buy more models I sort of feel conflicted because there is a lot I hate about Games Workshop as a company.

There are a lot of reasons that Games Workshop is sort of a shitty company. One is that they keep raising their already overpriced models, despite having just posted RECORD PROFIT NUMBERS. When I started playing in spring of 2008, a regular box with ten little plastic troop models was $22. It is now $29 and I expect it will continue to rise every six months to a year as it has over the last four years. People like to justify that the profit comes from their quickly expanding videogame ip... money they make for simply licensing existing ip concepts. But let us admit that there is no way that their costs to make the models have gone up that much, especially since they are now making more and model of the models in plastic instead of metal. And, like any person who has ever taken econ as a senior in high school knows, when prices rise demand goes down. If they dropped their prices even 15% they would probably double the amount they could sell. And the more people get into the miniatures, the more of a built in audience there is for the videogames and the more money they make for free off that. No, its just an elitist and greedy model.

But honestly, this isn't why I feel like a traitor plunking down my money to buy their product. The reason that I feel like that is because they are pretty much the worst kind of nerd culture misogynists. Almost all of their models are male models targeted at a male audience ( Dudes, LOVE Space Marines... seriously HALF of the forces you can play in 40K fall into this exclusively male category) , with a few bikini clad babes thrown into select forces (These are the IMPROVED version). There are a select few exceptions (The Eldar [Spaces Elves] have one elite choice that is female and clothed!) and one time they put out one crappy version of a force called Sisters of Battle, which turned into a mostly male force and now no longer exists pretty much. I play the Chaos Daemon force.. which has one female unit (which is skantily clad but in a somewhat grotesque demonic looking way?) and some that are androgynous. There is also the the Tyranid force, which is insectoid and therefore don't present as male or female. There are a LOT of completely male presented forces including alien races and the "human" force which is called the Imperial Guard, which has a couple of female stand alone models but none in their regular troops nevermind, they discontinued the female model.

Cue the "women just don't buy our stuff" (oh really, maybe that is because you don't seem to want them as customers) or "It would break the lore" (add better lore!) or "it would be too expensive" (Somehow, I can't see how when you make a new model for something not making it exclusively male would be more money). Or you know, how women are oppressing them with their desire to be represented or acknowledged as a customer base, etc.

The local nerd store we go to (not the jerk one in town, the one close by) is probably the most friendly (both in general and towards women gamers) that I have ever been in. The employees and owner always say hi and chat with you. However, the owner has repeatedly responded to my choice of army by commenting on how women seem to always play Daemons or Eldar (wow the two viable armies that have more than one or two female models!) and clearly does not connect those dots whatsoever. And I feel like that is pretty indicative of the problem... in the best case scenarios. Obviously there are worse "stop your whiny bitching/stop girlifying our game/ruining everything forever!!!!" responses.

I am not totally sure what I am going to do. I probably am going to still buy the products to finish my army (SO CLOSE!). However, I do have plans to make an all female army using their Imperial guard rules (and none of their models!) if I can actually find appropriate models from ANY company that aren't super expensive because they are intended to be one model out of a hundred (because Games Workshop is in no way alone in this).

PS. In the Relic made MMO based off their fantasy version, on the Chaos side you could only play a female character if you were a caster or a skanky rogue. Seriously, in 2008/2009 I thought we were past restricting classes/roles based on gender in MMOs!

In conclusion, we love you Bioware?

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Ariel

March 2016

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