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Bye-bye D&D Minis Bye-bye D&D Minis Hot

Bye-bye D&D Minis

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Wizards of the Coast Website

From the WIzards of the Coast Webstie:

"We have made the decision to depart from prepainted plastic miniatures sets. Lords of Madness stands as the final release under that model. We will continue to release special collector’s sets (such as the Beholder Collector’s Set we released last fall), as well as make use of plastic figures in other product offerings. Check out the Wrath of Ashardalon board game next month for the latest example of this. Moving forward, we will continue to explore more options for players to represent characters and monsters on the tabletop, including Monster Vault and other D&D products that feature monster and character tokens."

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Comments (27)
  • avatarmoofrank

    "We have worked out that people have a little trouble paying $2 per random painted plastic figure. We aren't making much money on the new minis sets becasue people aren't buying so many. However, we KNOW for SURE, that people will line up to spend $4 for 8 random cards. We'll make a mint."

  • Mr Skeletor

    Weird. I thought these were selling gangbusters due to using them in D&D.
    Between this and heroscape I guess pre-paints are dead.

  • avatartin0men

    Grrr. I've got quite a few ddm figs. But damn-nit, not enough! Sure, I'm not a fan of the blind-buy format. But I was still hoping the natural progression ahead through the line would see them release some new/cheap variants of old expensive out of prints. With the folding of Heroscape and it's re-releases of old ddm figs, this just further reduces options. Not to mention, this is just bound to further drive up the price on OOP figs. Grrr again. >:(

    Chits for monsters in D&D? mm-yea. There's such a thing as reducing the barriers to entry so low that your production values stop selling your product. Paper tokens with tiny pictures are not going to 'fire the imagination' of the video-game kids. Sure, sell them cheap tokens as a starting point of entry. But then be prepared to sell them some quality bits once they're hooked! Heck, I'm one of those OCD types that tried to track down aftermarket pre-paints where possible for even Ravenloft; Using the figs is good, but I want 'em painted.

    Tokens? May as well go back to drawing on graphpaper.

    I like CR a ton. But between the tiles in Betrayal at House on the Hill (still waiting for a requested replacement), the assassination of HS, and now this, I'm beginning to agree with the folks that think they're using dice to make business decisions over at WOTC. Pftftf!

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    The bloody things are expensive and the margins are slim. It's what killed Heroscape...the price to manufacture plus margin exceeds, as Moofrank noted, what most punters can palate.

    They'll make very expensive "collector's edition" (read: expensive OCD completist plasticrack) stuff prepainted, but from this day forth we can expect that the Ravenloft model is the future of D&D for Wizards.

    They just pissed a TON of people off. I wonder how long until they unload D&D to a new suitor? Seems to me that nobody's going to trust them to invest in a product line since they just torpedoed what was once considered their flagship product beneath Magic, and since they are always "new right way"-ing Dungeons and Dragons RPG every few hours...this does not fare well for the D&D brand.

    Bloody shame.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT
    Quote:
    From the WIzards of the Coast Webstie:


    Freudian slip, Shellie? ;)

  • avatarMr. White

    Chris Pramas' take:

    http://freeport-pirate.livejournal.com/136887.html

  • avatarehanuise

    That's CPSIA at work for you, too.
    Prepainted minis means a component lab test for _each_ color used on the mini, plus of course tests for the plastic used (or plastics if there are several, such as transparent elements) for the mini and the base, tests for the base sticker (or paints), etc.
    The only alternative being to market the games as 13+, which might be a problem here.

    Heroscape was first targetet at the mass market stores, so the high volumes made up for the costs. DD mini is more of a core game, so the niche* audience it caters to just ain't big enough.

    *thousands of gamers, yup, but still a niche in regard to massmarket products.

  • JJJJS
    Quote:
    They just pissed a TON of people off. I wonder how long until they unload D&D to a new suitor? Seems to me that nobody's going to trust them to invest in a product line since they just torpedoed what was once considered their flagship product beneath Magic, and since they are always "new right way"-ing Dungeons and Dragons RPG every few hours...this does not fare well for the D&D brand.


    I get your anger. I really do. However, I've heard the "Wizards has screwed it up for the last time" argument many times before. I heard it when 3e came out. I heard it again when 3.5 came out. I heard it when they sold off most of their campaign settings to 3rd party publishers and chose to focus on Forgotten Realms instead of Greyhawk. I heard it when they revamped the SRD and OGL rules. I heard it when 4e came out. I heard it when they started selling pdfs at book cover price, then withdrew access to pdfs completely (including from people who had paid for them). I heard it when they laid off some of their biggest talents, many who had orchestrated 3e. I've heard it and heard it and heard it, yet nothing's changed. Even after all those alleged crimes against gamers since WOTC bought the brand, Ravenloft: The Board Game comes out and people snatch it up like it's water on Athas.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I've heard it and heard it and heard it, yet nothing's changed.

    Depends who you game with. I bought every iteration of D&D from the red box (basic) set to 4th edition. That's it. My whole group gave it up and switched to Pathfinder.... let's get this straight, over 25 years of D&D and they all switch now. NONE of these people bought Ravenloft.

    They are losing many long time customers, will it pan out for them. Who knows? I wish them well but don't think I'll be buying anything from them anytime soon and indeed the 4th edition garbage I bought was the last time I supported them.

    I hope they manage to snag some younger customers from the video game market to replace the older fella's they're losing but I know a ton of people who have given up on them for now.

  • avatarNot Sure

    Hell, I haven't bought a D&D product since a second edition PHB, but I might buy Castle Ravenloft. Probably not, though. The people I'd usually play it with already have it.

    Oh, I don't really give a shit about pre-painted minis. Perhaps if I drop a hobby or two I might take up painting them. Otherwise I don't care. My avatar is still made of cheap two-color cardboard.

  • avatarChapel

    I bought a few for my D&D 4E campaign, but truthfully, I would rather have a nice collection of monster tokens over mini's in my games. Just easier to store and deal with. I like the characters to have a mini, but they usually buy after market pewter mini's as they are much nicer.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    JJJS, I am not one of those who has anger. I'm just an observer. I've not bought anything from Wizards, aside from Ravenloft, in many, many moons. I bought 4 DDM figures to pair with my D&D Fantasy Boardgame Adventure, and that's the extent of what I own of their products.

    I was simply pointing out that you can't continually "reinvent" yourself before you lose all credibility. At least they got Ravenloft right, although it took me a while to realize it.

  • avatarVonTush

    Sure they'll lose old existing customers. Don't see that as a problem though - Case in point: Games Workshop. Existing customers buy less and less as the years move on...New customers are excited to try something new, buy a boat load and then their purchases dwindle as they move on. To be replaced with new customers who buy a boat load and the cycle repeats.

  • JJJJS
    Quote:
    JJJS, I am not one of those who has anger. I'm just an observer. I've not bought anything from Wizards, aside from Ravenloft, in many, many moons. I bought 4 DDM figures to pair with my D&D Fantasy Boardgame Adventure, and that's the extent of what I own of their products.

    I was simply pointing out that you can't continually "reinvent" yourself before you lose all credibility. At least they got Ravenloft right, although it took me a while to realize it.


    Sorry for my bad assumption. I came from table top RPGs to board games only a couple years ago. To be honest, while I understand the DND RPG has to evolve to stay viable, I thought the radical direction of 4e was going to kill DND for WOTC, so I'm not completely innocent of making the same observation as you. WOTC reinvents itself, I agree, but they have not lost credibility yet, despite how extreme some of their changes have been. Though I've migrated away from RPGs (for now) and haven't bought a DND product of any kind since 2006 or 2007 or so, I'm blown away by how resilient the DND brand has been under WOTC. Maybe some would say 'despite' WOTC, but there you go.

    JonJacob, I think we have a lot in common. I too didn't buy Ravenloft, as I own a copy of the 1e original as well as the 3.5e revamp, and if I'm gonna play Ravenloft I'm gonna do it right and play that. I'm also a Monte Cook cult member and I had a brief flirtation with Pathfinder before deciding pen and paper RPGs took up too much time I didn't have. However, I don't see Mike Mearls and others crying into a hot fudge sundae over people like us leaving the fold. I thought they would, but they just keep pressing on.

  • avatarMr. White
    Quote:
    JJJS, I am not one of those who has anger. I'm just an observer. I've not bought anything from Wizards, aside from Ravenloft, in many, many moons. I bought 4 DDM figures to pair with my D&D Fantasy Boardgame Adventure, and that's the extent of what I own of their products.

    I've had you pegged as one having anger at Wizards. Didn't you write some scathing article not too long ago about their treatment of Heroscape?

  • avatartin0men

    Chris Pramas' take:

    http://freeport-pirate.livejournal.com/136887.html

    Interesting read. He commented that they may plan to migrate mini play in D&D to "...the virtual tabletop online with the rest of the game. There may even be a business model there, selling packs of virtual creatures and characters.".

    Sounds a little odd to me, considering that much of 4e is about the minis they just shit-canned. Then again, there's a lot of money to be made in the virtual economy. Just like there's always been more money in selling used motor oil as blacktop sealer, than there is in selling real products.

    I guess I'm wrong. I guess the reason most folks for the last 35 years have played D&D around a table, and the reason most of us play board games around a table as well, instead of on VASSAL or even XBoxLive, is becuase we're actually longing to become unwashed, parents-basement-dwelling, closet cases.

    Ok, "electronically-social closet cases" :D

    But then again, from their moves in recent months, none of us are really WOTC's target market anymore. What do we know?

  • avatarAlmalik

    As someone who has ton of these minis, strictly for the skirmish game, I've got mixed feelings about this. I'll miss getting new minis, but there aren't many D&D creatures but there that WotC haven't done. Part of that is going onto the mini sites and discussing the new figure stats and working on new warbands. As with Heroscape, it would have been tough to get off the collecting train even though I don't need any more figs (and someone else in the house would have you believe I already have too many), so it's a weird sort of relief that it's over.

    I'd guess the sales were probably tapering off as a lot of buyers didn't need more figures (especially people using them for the RPG). This is probably why WotC made a few attempts at shaking things up to try and boost sales (ie. including visible minis).

  • avatarMattLoter

    Mostly I'm just wondering about how this is going to effect market prices for resellers. Should I buy a bunch now cause they will get more expensive or should I wait cause they are gonna get way cheap...

    Unfortunately for my wallet, I suspect they will only get more expensive.

  • avatarMr. White

    I'd say cheap.
    It seems that all of the collectible games that have ended so far end up in cheapo bins.

  • avatarAlmalik

    I dunno, I'd guess some of the harder to get rares will creep up in price because the RPGers will still want them. I would never have guessed that a clear plastic square would go for $40+ on the secondary market just because it is the official version of some creature.

  • avatarAlmalik

    Interesting little bit of news posted by Peter Lee on ddmspoilers in regards to the shut down of the line

    "A bit more seriously: just because we're no longer producing a randomized prepainted miniature line, it doesn't mean I'm not working on miniatures: see Castle Ravenloft, Ashardalon, and other future unannounced products.

    There are more than 250 minis in Conquest of Nerath, for instance, but they are closer to 15mm scale."

    Holeee fuck, I am pre-ordering Conquest of Nerath as soon as I fucking can. I am dying to know what sort of system they've designed for it.

  • avatarJacobMartin

    Maybe I WAS right in keeping my Magic cards... damn.

    For some reason everything that isn't Magic goes wrong for Wizards. I won't call this a "raping" of D&D because of this, very insightful insightful webcomic:

    http://www.agreeablecomics.com/therack/?p=1251

    Yeah. It's more akin to the Stormtroopers in Star Wars razing Luke's farm. "There's nothing here for me now..." or something like that.

  • avatarMattLoter

    I'd say cheap.
    It seems that all of the collectible games that have ended so far end up in cheapo bins.

    It's been non-collectible (well sorta) and not really a game itself for a while now and prices have remained constant. The issue here isn't that D&D minis the game is stopping, but that D&D minis the little plastic dudes you use for RPG D&D aren't going to be made anymore. When D&D minis died as a game itself, prices didn't really drop much at all, if anything they got more expensive since now the market was no longer full of dudes that would buy cases and dump the figures they didn't want for their warbands cheaply. If you play D&D, there is no reason to really get rid of any mini you buy short of a few weird circumstances.

    So in short, D&D minis isn't a game that is dying, it's a popular accessory that is no longer going to be produced for D&D RPG play.

  • avatarMattLoter

    Oh also, I don't think this is anything "going wrong" for Wizards, I think it's a function of rising production costs making it such that to make the profit they want/need, they would have to charge more than the market would generally bear for little plastic dudes of the desired quality. Hence they still will make the marquee "collector" editions of stuff that they can justify charging a premium for, just not the cheaper "bulk" line.

  • avatarDogmatix

    Regarding migrating D&D to a "digital environment"--isn't that what Neverwinter Nights did?

  • avatarMattLoter

    I think they mean more of a digital table top, rather than a full 3d adventure sort of experience.

  • avatartin0men

    Is the 'digital table' the same item from the below?...

    Cnet's Matt Hickey reports that a group of students with Carnegie Mellon's SurfaceScapes team had been developing D&D for the Surface and went along to let's-show-Microsoft-what-we-made event.

    Hickey writes:

    "The figurines--optional in regular D&D but great tools here--are "tagged" with dot codes on the bottom. The Surface is able to use its tiny cameras to view these unique codes and determine which character is where on the game grid. This means the game can automatically determine line-of-fire angles and keep track of enemy health."

    The Carnegie Mellon team is working with D&D owner Wizards of the Coast in an attempt to commercialize their product. Microsoft Surface rep Eric Havir says if things work out, he hopes to see Surface devices running the completed software in gaming centers and shops across the country.
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/AD-D-Dungeons-Dragons-Microsoft- Surface,9642.html
    (March2010)

    Anyone heard any other movements on this front? I don't see anything out there since July 2010.
    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/29100/ Interview_Creating_Dungeons__Dragons_For_Microsoft_Surface.php

    Of course, in light of the recent announcement, the funny part of both pieces is that they are both built around use of character miniatures...
    "Players put their characters' miniatures on the Surface table..."

    The 'gap' seems to be that there will be no more miniatures coming. :P At least I don't recall seeing any commitment to preserve the Players Handbook character figure sales, while killing only the monster lines. *shrug*

    The again, I guess maybe they may plan to edit the above to read: "Players put their characters' amazingly lifelike and exciting tiny cardboard chit on the Surface table".

    Hey! Perhaps there's a new revenue opportunity there: Sell folks SuperDelux(tm) character 'coins' to upgrade their cardboard tokens - of course they'd only be sold for a purely nominal fee. And, naturally they'd be sold in blind sets of 6-8 CharacterCoins(tm)... :P

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