Rolling for Initiative — Miniatures Week (A Week Later)

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Rolling for Initiative is a weekly column by Scott Thorne, PhD, owner of Castle Perilous Games & Books in Carbondale, Illinois and instructor in marketing at Southeast Missouri State University.  This week, Thorne talks about the upcoming Heroscape release by Renegade Game Studios.

I missed out on last week’s Miniatures Week but did want to reiterate my concerns about the new edition of Heroscape from Renegade Game Studios which releases this summer (see “Riding Off into Modern Horizons 3“).  The selling point for most purchasers of the original set was the miniatures, not the game.  Unfortunately, Renegade plans to produce two versions of the game: one set with painted miniatures available DTC, and a second unpainted and cheaper set (by $100).  The unpainted version is the one that will release through distribution (see “Heroscape 2024 Product Release Calendar“).

As I commented a couple of weeks ago, the reason the original Heroscape line sold so well was the inclusion of the painted miniatures and terrain tile.  Most customers bought the sets and used the painted miniatures in their own games.  It was a very cost-effective way to get a lot of miniatures that the buyer did not have to paint and that worked well with Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy games.  Today, there are dozens of companies producing high quality miniatures for various games, almost all of which come unpainted.

The competitive advantage Heroscape had 20 years ago was the large quantity of painted miniatures available.  If I remember correctly, the game was pretty expensive to produce (and targeted a small market), so Hasbro turned it over to Wizards of the Coast to produce since it would fit in better with the company’s product mix of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.  Unfortunately, D&D and Magic took WotC management attention away from Heroscape, as prime revenue drivers do.  As a result, WotC chose to shut down Heroscape after a six-year run.  The game had a devoted but small fan base, which was not large enough to sustain continued production.

Heroscape has maintained that same fan base for years, with expansion sets becoming collectors’ items on the secondary market.  Attempts to re-launch the game with a Magic skin on it failed fairly quickly (see “’Magic’ Board Game Mass Release Set“).  Within several months after the launch, buyers could find copies of Magic: Arena of the Planeswalkers for sale in outlet stores for $5 a copy.  Another attempt by Hasbro to bring the game back in 2022 via crowdfunding on Hasbro Pulse failed to attract sufficient backers, with only about 4,300 opting to support the re-launch, with 8,000 needed (see “Heroscape: Vanguard Edition Age of Annihilation”).  The 2022 version, which is the one Renegade Game Studios will launch this summer, came with the unpainted miniatures that will come with the Standard retail version of the game with an MSRP of $249.99.  The Premium edition of Renegade’s version comes with pre-painted miniatures for $25 less than the unpainted version Hasbro offered, and I expect that version to sell; the unpainted version, nearly not so well.

For more from ICv2 Miniatures Week, see “ICv2 Miniatures Week.”

Comments. Send them to castleperilousgames@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.

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