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What should a 200-300 page hardback rulebook ideally cost (in US dollars)?  [RSS] Share on facebook Share on Twitter Submit to Reddit
What should a 200-300 page hardback rulebook ideally cost (in US dollars)?
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Made in gb
Ultramarine Land Raider Pilot on Cruise Control

Silver Spring, MD

The big rule book is essentially a coffee table book; those who think otherwise are delusional. The vast majority of it is flavor text and licensed images (and even then they reduce costs by recycling fluff and using in-house photographs of models), i.e. the same content as a coffee table book on pictures of horses or what have you, printed and bound in the same quality.

The only difference is inclusion of rules and diagrams. Condensed down I doubt the rules run to more than 50 pages or less once you remove flavor text and images that aren't diagrams. And again this is largely recycled and poorly play-tested to boot. This is not remotely comparable to a 300 page college textbook, where the research and editing costs are quite large (and the target market is very small) and even then I believe those are overpriced.

Given all that, GW could probably be selling their hardback rulebooks for $40 and still profit. If they were smart, they would reduce prices, and offer a free condensed rules PDF like virtually every other wargaming company. It's a loss-leader that brings in players to buy your models, and in practice probably doesn't even result in losses. $40 is likely still profitable, and as with D&D, the free pdf rules probably wouldn't keep people from buying the physical book if the quality and usefulness are high.

Battlefleet Gothic ships and markers at my store, GrimDarkBits:
Made in us

Eugene, OR

Rage, Whine, Cry, or moan, players will still buy it.


Made in us
Cog in the Machine


$20 maximum, which is the reason why I haven't even thought about taking up a second army yet.

~Appear strong when you are weak and weak when you are strong~ 
Made in us
Spawn of Chaos

Dreaming of Electric Sheep

IMO a Codex shouldn't even be hardback in the first place. $20 for a softback, or less for a digital version.

Get Some.
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut

Derbyshire, England

Well ideally I'm sure we'd all want it to cost nothing. But we don't live in an ideal world.
Made in us
Focused Fire Warrior


I wouldn't mind to pay more for a good rule book. But I have other problem. Are the updates in the new books worth of the money we pay for the whole book?

If we look into other game systems that are printed in hard book, 200-300 pages style, like D&D for example. The basic set is is three books, clocking around $100. And there are tons more to supplement your game. But three basic books give you everything and pretty much last until next generation. Fair Enough. Next generation brings new stuff, redefined artwork etc.

The way I see it now, in 40K you need at least three books (Rule book, Codex, IA or some Supplement book) in order to field your first army, clocking around $160. Any additional army after would be around $100. Keep playing for few generations and that you will end up with $800 spent just to keep your minis 'in game'. Thru the generations, the amount of updates may not be tremendous, and there may not be new artwork and without possibility to recycle your books it ends up being an pure expense.

6th Skylight Patrol Contingent (8/3/9)
StarForge P&M blog
Assassinorum / Shadow War  
Made in ca
Best bush pilot in the Outer Rim

Bathing in elitist French expats fumes

How about... instead of making books with bloated page counts, you just make a lean rule book, and make non-essential art books and fluff books separate purchase. In the end, charge a bit more for those. You'll make more money, but the game aspect of it will lighten up a great deal. And you might even want to think about indexing your books smartly, to make using them a nicer experience.

 GamesWorkshop wrote:
And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/0/503887.page (My humble P&M thread that I'll sometimes update, here on Dakka.) 
Made in us
Hungry Little Ripper

New Orleans, LA

If GW truly views themselves as a company that primarily makes models, then they should try to get their biggest product catalogue (ie. the rulebook) into as many hands as possible. There should be a soft-cover version of the rulebook that contains the rules and a brief description of each army, followed by pictures of each army's models. GW should sell this version of the rulebook at cost.

On top of this, GW should offer a premium, hard-cover edition of the rulebook that includes fluff, painting guides, and perhaps even bundled extras like limited edition dice, templates, mission cards, objective markers (something that you can't get by torrenting a pdf scan of the book)
Made in us
Painlord Titan Princeps of Slaanesh

omg, GW please stop making $100 hard cover 300pg rule books. I would like a $15 version with the fluff and picture galleries cut out for a 50 page soft cover booklet of just rules and charts.
Made in us
Fresh-Faced New User

I know a lot of work goes into them and they really are top notch quality physically and visually. If you are an active gamer, it is also something you will get a lot of use out of, so $50-60 seems fair to me. I know we'd all LIKE them to be $30...I guess even the 400-500 page novels which also took a ton of work are only about $12 though...I suppose it's mostly the cost of high quality color printing and such.

Stil, $100 seems ridiculous.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/12/03 11:52:19

Made in us
Spawn of Chaos

Topsham, Maine, USA

Most companies are getting with the times and giving free rules as it should be, having to buy a big book and flip threw it is on its way out.
(Except for the few like me who still enjoy having the book)

In my opinion it should be a standard practice of any gaming company to...

1) Give access to all rules / codex for free via website
- This would lure more customers to try or get into the game.
- This would also allow more $ to be spent on models that said company produces (since most gaming companies are focused on model production)
- Also updates or FAQ could easily be fixed into the rules / codex allowing access to all players
- Having a system, or "living" rule set that can be updated would drive less players away as changes would be slow and would hopefully change for the better
- Having an easily updateable rule set could allow a community of players to better interact with the gaming company, the game would be a living play test with feedback from players

2) Still Sell hardback Books People will buy them.
- Gamers like myself love the fluff, love tabbing pages, or just flipping threw the book
- Art books, or painting guilds, and fluff should be paid for, its extra for the die hard fans

This is just my opinion and im sure a lot of people agree. I have had some silly games showing up at a store with...
- A 200pg rule book
- Codex Astra Militarum
- Codex Militarum Tempestus
- Expansion codex StrongHold Assualt
- FAQ print off for Astra Militarum codex
- FAQ for Core Rules
- FAQ for Stronghold Assault
- FAQ for Militarum Tempestus codex
- Army List

And just let me say, its really annoying when half the rules you need are in one book, but not included in another book causing flipping back and forth...
Or my personal favorite when the book that should have the rule (ie Space Marines) says read rules in main rule book?

(In GW defense, I think the current Space Marine Codex fixed that issue of profiles not included)

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/12/03 15:57:41

"There's a sucker born every minute" - P.T.Barnum 
Made in us
Never-Miss Nightwing Pilot

GW rulebooks and army books are priced EXACTLY where they should be priced: whatever the consumer sheep will pay. Since you all buy these books every time they print them, regardless of the prices, they will keep raising the prices to fleece you all over and over and over. They will never listen with their ears, but they WILL listen with their bottom line.

Made in us
Growlin' Guntrukk Driver with Killacannon

$20 for 200 pages of RULES ..They can keep the fluffy bullcrap I can download tons of fluffy pictures of kittens for free..those have no place in my basic rule books...

'\' ~7000pts
'' ~1000
"" ~3000
Made in us
Elite Tyranid Warrior


I voted 30-40, but that's so dependent. I paid for the last Tyranid codex and felt COMPLETELT ripped off just because of how little new content there was in it. If they're going to do 80% copy/paste, then it's not worth money to me.

As a side note, I still say that, for a game that requires so much money in equipment to play, the rulebooks should be smaller and much, much cheaper. As a comparison, I play a lot of RPGs, with the big one for my group now being Pathfinder. The corebook for PF is 50.00 retail and the Bestiary is 40.00 and that's all the buy-in you need to play that game. Now, compare that to 40K, where you need a 50.00 Codex and to either buy an $80 rulebook, or you buy a starter set for a mini rulebook and then have to lay out x hundreds of dollars in models to play (x being dependent on the army your playing).

Made in ca
Snotty Snotling

I don't want a 200 to 300 page rule book. Present the rules in an organized and terse manner. Why use 250 pages when in can be done in 50!
Made in us
Growlin' Guntrukk Driver with Killacannon

I'd pay a lot more for a 200-300 page rule book than I do for my lousy 108 page one.
Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

Central California

I know I am a bit late...but I have been an author on two separate college textbooks, and several that were never published. So I have some experience.
Please stop using that comparison. The reason college textbooks cost so much more is the number of authors and contributors who get royalties, as well as the royalties paid out to dozens of sources for material used in the textbook. I worked on two History 101 textbooks, and in each case, the publisher was paying royalties to more than 30 people!! This included picture credits, charts, research, theories produced and protected, etc. For example, if you are not aware, some of the ridiculous copyright in the US (for which you pay a fee to include) At one time included the word Nazi (yes, some lawyer did that) Joseph Stalin's name, etc. So, my royalties per book (and I was on the low end as a grad student, and no, the majority of contributors are NOT listed on the cover or even in the book, publishers are only required to keep an official list for each book), ran at around .25 cents American, I would guess that the book (which sold for 101$ in the 90's) paid almost 40$ in royalties. In comparison, an author E publishing can earn 30-70% on a paperback. The big six publishers pay less although it is far more complicated. Now, I am not claiming to be an expert, only someone with some inside information trying to give a few more facts for people to make their choices with.

The comparison to art books, or historical picture books like time life or readers digest is more accurate.

So...do not compare a 150$ textbook (and trust me I am the first to say they are way overpriced...but the old captive audience applies) to a mass produced work of fiction.

All that said, I believe a rulebook for a game, should range in the 35-50$ range when it is of the quality GW produces. Now, as to an electronic version...it is ridiculous to charge the same price.

Edward Myst
Long time gamer and creater of the free web comic

Check my older stuff out at:

Hey all, I'm a social media clutz...any nice people who like Pawns of Fate spread the word! 
Made in us
Tunneling Trygon

The DnD Players handbook is about twice as thick as most core army codexes (Space Marines would be the one exception), costs $35, is made from better materials/has a better binding for sitting open on a table, isn't 1/2 ads showing off pictures of models to get you to go buy more models, and is all you need to play the game with your entire group of friends.

If DnD is doing that for 35 then the codexes should be no more then $20 USD.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2016/10/13 14:27:13

Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

South Dakota

If it's over $40 USD, I'm likely just going to look for a .PDF

"people most likely to cry "troll" are those who can't fathom holding a position for reasons unrelated to how they want to be perceived."

"If you use their table space and attend their events, then you better damn well be supporting your local gaming store instead of Amazon"

1500 Stormcast Eternals
2000 Aelfs
2500 Ultramarines 2nd Company 
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut

50p per page of useful rules capped at £20 more than that and the books to bloated.

With a £1 reduction for each page of annoying fluff/pictures you have to wade through to get the rules you want.
Made in gb
Sneaky Kommando

Books are relatively cheap to make GW sticks a huge price tag on them because they are vital

Made in us
Regular Dakkanaut

PolecatEZ wrote:
Considering the rulebook should be what those in the hustlin' business refer to as the "free taste", anything over $40 for the hardcover nice version is too much generally. The little rulebooks that come with the starter kits should be free and handed out like candy.

I agree.

I want the little rule book.

In the Grimdark future of DerpHammer40k, there are only dank memes! 
Made in us
Veteran Knight Baron in a Crusader

Don't sell huge expensive hard covers that are going to be obsolete in 2 years or less.
Made in kr
Ork-Hunting Inquisitorial Xenokiller

your mind

Cladmir wrote:
Essentials of Precalculus with Calculus Previews, Fifth Edition (Publisher: Jones and Bartlett Learning / Authors: Zill and Dewar), a 400-page hardcover textbook is listed as $162.95 according to the publisher's website (http://www.jblearning.com/).

Be very happy that GW rulebooks are not priced like textbooks.

Textbook pricing is an infamous scam.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 HunterEste wrote:
If it's over $40 USD, I'm likely just going to look for a .PDF

And deservedly so...

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 Lance845 wrote:
The DnD Players handbook is about twice as thick as most core army codexes (Space Marines would be the one exception), costs $35, is made from better materials/has a better binding for sitting open on a table, isn't 1/2 ads showing off pictures of models to get you to go buy more models, and is all you need to play the game with your entire group of friends.

If DnD is doing that for 35 then the codexes should be no more then $20 USD.

I miss me some D&D.

Automatically Appended Next Post:
 dpal666 wrote:
Rage, Whine, Cry, or moan, players will still buy it.

I won't.

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2017/09/24 12:28:22

Made in us
Stubborn White Lion

West Lafayette, IN

$45 US


For 4-6th WFB, 2-5th 40k, and similar timeframe gaming 
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