TGN Editorial: The New 32

Games Workshop seems looks like they’re switching it on ’em (yeah, Flipmode. Flipmode’s the greatest) and coming out with 32mm bases for their minis. Ravage Magazine US Editor-in-Chief Jared Miller gives us his thoughts on the change in this editorial.

Jared: All Your Bases Belong to Games Workshop (For Now)

In what seems like another move to keep its most loyal of fans on their toes and in their pockets, Games Workshop looks like it will be changing base size from 25mm to 32mm with the release of the forthcoming Shield of Bhaal: Deathstorm. A look through the contents of the set reveals there’s not a single 25mm base to be found. A little more searching on the site uncovers 32mm bases available for pre-order. While the change doesn’t immediately invalidate the 25mm bases on other units in an army right now, players shouldn’t be surprised if, down the road, tournaments start requiring all bases meet the 32mm requirement. This is a huge headache for faithful players with large armies, so it begs the question: If the risk is alienating their consumer base, why would GW make the change?


It all comes down to making money, which Games Workshop is in need of doing. Right now, when a player needs a new base, they have tons of different options available. If they want official 25mm bases from GW, their store has them available now. However, if they want to save a little cash (or a lot in some cases), a thrifty gamer can easily score a wide array of 25mm bases, ranging from black plastic to metal bases to ones already based, with a quick look around different miniature supply companies. However, looking for 32mm bases, they’re not easily found, aside from GW’s shop.

To compare this to another business outside of gaming, Kuerig, the popular pod coffee company, released the 2.0 version of their coffee makers. While the build of the equipment and quality of product didn’t change, they did modify the coffee maker to only work with pods that had the official Kuerig seal. If you look at Amazon reviews, previous versions of the machines have ratings averaging around four to five stars. Meanwhile, the newer machines are averaging around 2.5 stars or lower. The main reason cited in bad reviews is the pod DRM. Other companies are already working on breaking the DRM code of the new pods, but many customers have made up their minds not to support the new system.


While it’s easy for a Warhammer fan to see this as very anti-consumer, we also need to see it from a business standpoint. These are the actions of a company trying to protect their profits and receive an infusion of profit. Fortunately for the consumer, unlike the Kuerig pod’s DRM, breaking the “DRM” of 32mm bases comes down to spinning up a new mold in manufacturing, so the turnaround time should be quicker. And the first company to get their competing bases to market will, most likely, see a nice profit.

In the end, the players dedicated to the game will rebase their armies and GW will continue with business as normal. However, at some point, even the most dedicated players will move on. The miniature gaming world is full of viable alternatives to Warhammer who would love to eat from the big dog’s bowl. Will this be it? We’ll see. Let us know what you think in the comments.

  • tchuck

    Not that I like what GW has been doing as a compagnie, but the description does say it comes with 9 x 25 mm bases.
    Bigger bases does let you be more creative in basing miniatures.

    • True. Though those appear to be for the Tyranids and not for the Space Marines.

      So even if GW’s only moving Space Marines to 32mm bases, that’s still a rather significant portion of the 40k gaming populace that will have their armies effected by the change.

      • It might just be for Jump Pack armed Space Marines. Those minis have been top heavy and easily toppled for a long time, in addition to taking up more space than a 25mm base allows.

  • Grim

    I’m not sure it is really about profits – unless GW is planning to release scenic basas in the future. AFAIK GW never had anything but plain bases in their portfolio and I cannot believe that selling those plain bases does net a big profit as allmost all miniatures you can buy from GW come already with bases.

    • mathieu

      Yeah I highly doubt 32mm plastic bases are going to be the next money-making scheme from the Lenton giant… They will be available everywhere for very cheap long before rebasing becomes a requirement. And so will extension rings that’ll neatly turn 25mm bases into 32mm.

      “At some point, even the most dedicated players will move on”. And there it is, for a second I thought this edito would skip the now customary “GW is doomed” fallacies. Of all the predictions that players would move on that didn’t reveal accurate, this has to be the least likely.

      • tuco

        This one is slightly different, though. Most of the “gamers will move on” predictions in the past have either been about the price creep of the game, or gameplay changes brought on by new rules/codex or army books. This change to the game seems to land squarely in the Pain In The Butt category. It does look like right now the 32mm bases are for space marines, but if it goes to all minis, I can imagine that some IG players will be put on suicide watch.

        • Cergorach

          The problem with this attitude regarding GW in this particular case is that GW’s policy is actually to use the bases the minis came with (see page 9 of the rulebook). And an official response from GW regarding the 32mm bases comes down to “It’s an artistic decision.” and you can use either the older 25mm bases or the newer 32mm bases, whichever you prefer.

          No the real problem is the tournament scene that makes their own rulespacks and their own rules for 40k, those are the folks that are going to make life difficult for the Space Marine players (and to a lesser extend the Tyranid players).

          • As far as I know, GW never ‘requires’ that people update their minis to play in their tournaments, events or stores.

            I know of a guy who used the cardboard stand-up ork dreadnought that you got with the 2nd edition release of 40k, and the tournament organizer looked up the rules, and said that he had to allow it.

            But you are talking about the unofficial tournament scene, right? I have heard that the unofficial tournament scene for 40k has been moving on to using rules and restrictions that GW does not admonish (banning certain things from certain codexes due to balance issues).

      • n815e

        But a large number of players have moved on and have not been replaced by newer players. For years we’ve seen GW’s profit reports showing consistently declining sales and revenue getting boosted by price increases, licensing, new editions, one-off game releases, etc.

  • KelRiever

    Yes, I wholeheartedly agree with that this is a move to keep more money in GW’s pocket, and also less in outside companies that thrive on GW’s business.

    For example, it is only $5 for 10 new 32mm bases…but that cost cents to make. And will be likely purchased first by GW fans without options out there. Sure, it won’t take long for someone else to do the same, but GW has them first.

    Second, every pre-made base company will likely feel the need to now have to produce 32 mm bases for each of their ‘base ranges’. Sure, you could slap a 25mm pre-made base onto a 32mm base, but that’s not what people are getting the pre-made bases for…they’re getting them to not have to do work on their own.

    That’s time and productions. Sure, it also is a potential money maker down the line, but it still will take time to get to market.

    None of this supports a player who may (and probably will) be compelled to rebase their army if (and I predict it will) be a move to have 32mm base size universal. Then expect an inflation in figure size, so your 25mm base marines look tiny next to them. And, of course, expect a price inflation to go with it.

    Sure, it’s for ‘artistic’ reasons. And sure, ‘bigger figures look cooler’ and ‘are easier to pain.’ That’s a bunch of after the fact smokescreen marketing. The real reason is to get you to buy more GW stuff, and less of someone else’s.

    If you haven’t given up on chasing 40k by now, I think it is a good time. Pick any edition right up to the current one, and play with your friends. Really, I’m giving my opinion here, but setting up a table in someone’s house and playing with people you like is way more fun. I know this flies in the face of support your LGS, but not really. Support your LGS by buying other, better, games.

    • mathieu

      For example, it is only $5 for 10 new 32mm bases…but that cost cents to make. And will be likely purchased first by GW fans without options out there. Sure, it won’t take long for someone else to do the same, but GW has them first.
      Well sure, but it’s not like $20+ mass-produced HIPS models cost them a whole lot per model either.
      And as for GW having their 32mm bases first I would honestly be surprised. Scenic base manufacturers were offering 55mm Infinity bases before Corvus Belli had theirs available. Sure CB maintains friendlier relationships with 3rd party manufacturers, but they also have much fewer of them, and the market is not nearly as large as for 40k. I’m sure people have started working on 32mm bases the second the rumors hit the mill.

      Your concluding remark (which I don’t disagree with) is exactly what that entire edito is about. GW does something – yada yada – buy something else. It feels like the obligatory anti-GW template you can find on just about every board online at any given time rather than what I’d expect from the Editor-in-Chief of a gaming magazine. I suppose I shouldn’t have such high expectations from a magazine where game reviews are written by the game’s designers (it was already the case in the French version).

  • n815e

    100 32mm round bases for $25.00.

  • Sisyphus

    Renedra has 32 of 30mm flat plastic bases for US$5. For me that’s close enough.

    Personally I like the idea of the 30/32mm bases because there is more space to work with on the bases and some minis are too dynamic to balance well. But that all said, I’m just starting with getting my 40K army going so it doesn’t bother me since it’s not based at all.

    But if I were one who had an all-based army I’d say no thanks. But then again, it doesn’t SEEM like GW is pulling a forced rebase. In the world of Ancients gaming, it happens more frequently and I can assure you whole rules sets get axed in some peoples’ eyes.

  • 32mm bases don’t fit as well on my Space Hulk or Space Crusade boards, so I’ll be keeping them smaller.