I've seen a bit of bashing of GW for having started up its series of birthday events for stores (at least in the UK, I'm not sure about the international stores), but then again, what decision of theirs doesn't receive some bashing from one corner of the web or another.
My local was amongst the first group of stores to have their parties and I'll admit now I came away distinctly better off than when I went in. Yes there was a lot of the usual kiddie pleasing nonsense, waaghs, cake, sillyness, but I'd still recommend you pop along to your local whenever they have theirs, for three main reasons.
- Raffle: I bought a couple of £'s tickets, and didn't win anything, but I was happy to have a go nonetheless considering there was a Baneblade, Shadowsword and Stormraven amongst the prizes, plus quite a few Warhammer and LotRs kits that I'm sure people would be very happy to receive.
- Auction: If you've ever seen the backroom of a GW, you'll know that it will most likely be stacked high with "store models", the contents of black boxes that the staff have painted up for all sorts of releases dating back years, as well as armies galore that they may have put together for events etc. A lot of these were being sold off to clear some space, the largest of which I saw was a huge ork army with over 20 bikes, 8 deffkoptas and a mob of about 50 boyz/nobs.
- Blister Dip: This was where I really won out. They had a box in which they'd dumped over 400 blister packs that either weren't for sale anymore, damaged, or just overstock. £1 a dip, and you just had to keep what you got. £6 and some swapping with everyone else who was doing the same saw me come away with:
- Skaven Doomflayer
- Witchking of Angmar on foot
- metal Cadian Standard Bearer and Medic
- some random LotRs goblins that I couldn't trade with anyone else
The top two are worth over £25 together, and the Doomflayer was something I definitely wanted in my Skaven army so even better. Ar-Ulric looks like he has conversion potential for a Rune Priest, and the others I'm highly likely to trade at some point. Not bad for £6 if you ask me. I even saw one fella with over 40 blisters who had some very very rare models in amongst his hall. If you hear your local is having its birthday party, I'd definitely say poke your head in on the day, as early as possible to see what you can nab.