I've got your point devaluation right here

Von over at A Year of Frugal Gaming  posted an interesting article about, in addition to miniatures costing more, you're also getting fewer points in army lists than you used to.  He kicked around some numbers, but I thought I'd give you some flat-out examples.  I possess Collecting and Painting Wargames Armies, published by Games Workshop in 1998, thirteen years ago.  The book is nothing more than lists of various people's armies and a pic or two of each one.  The idea was to inspire you to build your own army, but the description also included point values.  For those checking, 1998 would make it fifth edition for Warhammer Fantasy (which came out in 1996) and right at the publishing of the third edition of Warhammer 40K, in fact I think that the army lists are really 2nd Edition.

So, example army number one: Space Marines, namely "The Dark Crusaders" on pp. 26-27.  The list contains the following figures:

  • Captain w/power fist, conversion field, master-crafted chain sword
  • Librarian Epistolary w/force sword and psychic hood
  • Tactical Squad of ten w/missile launcher and flamer
  • Tactical Squad of ten w/missile launcher, flamer, power-fist, and vortex grenade
  • Terminator Squad of five w/assault cannon and chain fist
  • Techmarine w/servo arm, haywire grenade, power axe
  • Dreadnought w/twin-linked lascannon, power fist, and auto-launchers
  • Landspeeder
  • Whirlwind
Interestingly enough, you couldn't even field this list now because of the odd outdated bit of hardware, but looking for some comparable choices, how many points do you have here?
1998: 1,991 points
2011: 1,265 points
Depreciation of 37%

Okay, let's look at the fantasy side.  We'll go with the "Beards, Beer, and Cannons" on pp. 4-5, obviously a dwarf army

  • Lord (called a "General") w/heavy armor, shield, Rune of Iron, helm with Master Rune of Spite, Master Rune of Swiftness
  • Runesmith w/heavy armor and shield, Rune of Fate, Rune of Cleaving, Rune of Resistance, ring with Rune of Spellbreaking
  • 23 Hammerers w/standard bearer and musician, Banner w/Rune of Courage
  • 12 Trollslayers w/standard bearer, musician
  • 12 Trollslayers w/standard bearer, musician
  • 17 Crossbowmen w/standard bearer, musician
  • 1 Flame Cannon
  • 1 Dwarf Cannon w/Rune of Forging
  • 1 Gyrocopter
I don't have the current edition of WHFB, but I'm pretty sure this list isn't street-legal with its conspicuous absence of Core troop choices and way too many points of runic items on the Runesmith, but how many points worth of miniatures have you bought?
1998: 1,928 points
2011: 1,606 points
Depreciation of 17%

I could probably donate more time to the fact that WHFB in particular had a shift away from tooled-up heroes to more bountiful troop choices, but there's the numbers.  Von makes a point of saying that the increase in the cost of miniatures and the depreciation of their value isn't a moral issue, it's just their business model.  Whether it works or not is obviously up to the market to decide.