Games Workshop was originally an importer of American board games and RPGs. When they became publishers of the UK based role-playing magazine White Dwarf, Games Workshop created a national chain of gaming stores in the 1980s. Their publishing arm also created UK reprints of famous but expensive-to-import American RPGs.
During the 90s, following a management buyout in December 1991, the company refocussed on their most lucrative lines, namely their miniature wargame lines. The retail chain refocussed on a younger, more family-oriented market. The change of direction was a great success with a rising share price and growing profits, in spite of the fact that it lost the company much of its old, loyal fanbase. Games Workshop expanded in Europe and the USA, opening new branches and organising events. In October 1997, all UK-based operations were relocated to the current HQ in Lenton, Nottingham.
By the end of the decade, though, the company was having problems with falling profits being blamed on collectible card games.
Recently the company has been attempting to create a dual approach that will appeal to both older, loyal customers while still attracting the younger audience. This has seen the creation of initiatives such as the "Fanatic" range that supports more marginal lines with a lower cost trading model.
Games Workshop originally produced miniature figures via an associated, originally independent, company called Citadel Miniatures (of which Marauder Miniatures was an imprint) while the main company concentrated on retail. The distinction between the two blurred after Games Workshop stores ceased to sell retail products by other manufacturers, and Citadel was effectively merged back into Games Workshop.
The following games are the main production lines of Games Workshop.
- Warhammer 40,000
- Warhammer Fantasy, replaced officially by Age of Sigmar
- The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game and The Hobbit
The following games are official spin-offs games that are intertwined with the main production lines.
- The Horus Heresy: Betrayal at Calth
- Assassinorum: Execution Force (Game)
- Battlefleet Gothic - focuses on space combat
- Epic Armageddon - uses smaller versions of models to fight larger battles
- Inquisitor - a classic miniature RPG game
- Necromunda - based on gang warfare in the hives of Necromunda
- Blood Bowl - an American football style game (Warhammer Fantasy)
- Mordheim - gang warfare in the Mordheim city (Warhammer Fantasy)
- Warmaster - uses smaller versions of models to fight larger battles (Warhammer Fantasy)
- Battle of Five Armies - uses smaller versions of models to fight larger battles (Lord of the Rings). Replaced by The Hobbit after the release of the The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Out of print
The following are older, out of print spin-offs of Warhammer 40,000:
- Adeptus Titanicus: predecessor to Epic
- Space Marine: an expansion to Adeptus Titanicus introducing troops
- Advanced Space Crusade
- Gorkamorka: Ork vehicle warfare game
- Digganob:an expansion for Gorkamorka)
- Space Fleet: predecessor to Battlefleet Gothic
- Space Hulk
- Deathwing: expansion boxed set
- Genestealer: expansion boxed set
- Space Hulk Campaigns: expansion book
- Tyranid Attack
- Ultra Marines
These games were not made by Games Workshop but made by other toy companies and available in stores other than Games Workshop and specialist gaming stores.
- Space Crusade
- Operation Dreadnought: an expansion for Space Crusade
- Eldar Attack: an expansion for Space Crusade
Many computer games have been produced by third parties based on the Warhammer universes owned by the firm. These include: (Miniature game they are based on is included in parentheses after the game name)
- Space Crusade
- Space Hulk
- Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels
- Final Liberation (Epic 40,000 - Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Orks)
- Fire Warrior (Tau)
- Dawn of War (Space Marines)
- Chaos Gate (Space Marines)
- Rites of War (Eldar)
- Gorkamorka (Orks)
Many comics and novels have also been produced based on the Warhammer universes, published by the BL Publishing.
Games Workshop's best known magazine is White Dwarf, which in the UK has reached 354 issues. Seven different international editions of White Dwarf are currently published, with different material, in five languages. Originally a more general role playing magazine, since around issue 100 White Dwarf has been devoted exclusively to the support of Games Workshop properties.
Games Workshop also published Fanatic Magazine in support of their Specialist Games range, but it was discontinued after issue 10, though it lives on in electronic form. Fanatic was preceded by a number of newsletters, devoted to the particular games.
There was also the Citadel Journal, intended as a "deeper" magazine for modelling enthusiasts and more experienced gamers. It often featured unusual rules and armies, and was occasionally used as an outlet for test rules. Under some editors, they also published fan fiction and fan art. It was taken over by BL Publishing.
Games Workshop has expanded into several divisions/companies producing products related to the Warhammer universe:
- Official Games Workshop website produce the tabletop wargames, Citadel miniatures and the Specialist Games range.
- Sabertooth Games produce the Horus Heresy and Dark Millennium.
- BL Publishing is the publishing arm of Games Workshop.
- Warp Artefacts produce merchandise based on Games Workshop's intellectual property.
- Forge World make complementary specialist resin miniatures and conversion kits.