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Historical Collectibles at last!

August 24, 2005 2:18 PM - Posted by Phil - Category: On the Net

After the success of various collectible miniature games (see Wizkids), Hasbro/Avalon Hill is now producing a miniature game based on WW2:

Click here

Apparantly, the figures are prepainted, and come in boosters, so you never really know what you will get.

The game was released at Gencon, and apparantly, was a huge hit there.

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Ok, I’m weak. I passed by the local gamestore yesterday (it doesn’t help when it’s located around the corner from where I live), and picked up the last starter pack of Axis and Allies miniatures.

Compared to more traditional historic miniatures, the game is rather expensive. I paid 27 EUR for a starter pack, which includes rulebook, 4 hex-based maps, 7 infantry figures, 2 guns, and 3 tanks (although the box said 2 tanks). The miniatures are made in hard plastic, and the tanks have moveable turrets. They come pre-painted. The scale is 15mm.

I didn’t have a chance to read the rules yet or actually play a little game — probably this weekend — but I must say I think this game will continue to be a success.

Although many more traditional wargamers do not like the collectible aspect (“I have to buy 200 packs to get a Tiger”), it’s exactly this aspect that will turn this game into a success. Don’t forget that’s it not really targeted at estblished wargamers. It’s marketed towards the younger SF/F crowd, who already are familiar with collectible card (MtG) and miniature games (Mageknight, HeroClix, ..).

Making the game collectible ensures that the typical gamer will buy much more than he actually needs, which was the premise for a big company such has HASBRO to market this game in the first place. It’s a very clever way of making sure producing a whole range of different miniatures can be made profitable. The mix of miniatures is determined beforehand, and it’s HASBRO that decides how many rare TIGERS will be produced. Quite different from the more classic approach, in which a manufacturer is assumed to be able to deliver any miniature from a vast range. Now its “If you want your treasured TIGER, that’s possible, but you’ll buy a lot of other stuff as well”. Although you might say this is deplorable, it is very addictive, and thus it makes the game profitable.

As a consequence, I think many more young gamers will be exposed to historic miniatures than ever before. Granted, it will not be Blitzkrieg Commander, but it is through a strong brand (Axis and Allies), and it is clever marketed. I think the more classic wargaming industry should e supportive and try to make sure they can offer their products as “advanced versions”, or even “compatible with A&A miniatures”.

So, yes, I’m enthusiastic. The first expansions are already scheduled, and if this really takes off, you can easily imagine to broaden it to other popular periods as well.

August 31, 2005 5:53 PM - Posted by Phil

This sounds interesting. Perhaps you can take the figures along to Crusade on Saturday, so I can have a look :)

Wrg to the ‘introduction to historic miniatures’ bit, I’m not so sure that this will have an appreciable effect. I think that, if successful, this will become a hobby on to its own, with little if any spillover into mainstream (now that’s an interesting word to apply to historical miniature wargaming) historical wargaming. For example, I would think a Tiger is rare because there weren’t that many of them compared to the workhorse armour, but to a CM gamer (collectable miniatures), a Tiger will be rare because it’s so powerful, not because of any historical scarcity. There’s a subtle difference there.

Nevertheless, the release of this by a big name company can only be a good thing.

September 1, 2005 9:26 AM - Posted by Robartes