Rackham, Ex-illis, and D&D pre paints - rocky 6 months
Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Rackham, Ex-illis, and D&D pre paints - rocky 6 months

  1. #1

    Default Rackham, Ex-illis, and D&D pre paints - rocky 6 months

    If you read sites like TMP, TGN or BoLs you'd be aware that Rackham has gone into liquidation, Ex-illis is also limping on life support and WoTC has decided to discontinue their prepainted miniatures line.

    I am most sad to see Rackham go, but my favorite Confrontation non-prepainted line was killed years ago so it's not too much of a jar.

    Ex-illis is a loss, kudos to Bastion Studios for trying something radically different. Unfortunately the plastic miniatures when compared to GW's recent stuff just didn't hold up well. 10 years ago they'd have been really hot, but in 2008 they already looked a little dated. In addition, the combination of a computer game and a miniature game to me just begged the question, why aren't I just playing a computer game? Or a miniatures game?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np5Lya-F7eY

    Sega seems to have combined successfully the physical world and computers in a card game. I don't think a miniatures game would be impossible to do like this but the implementation would be a little more complex than what Bastion turned out with. Perhaps an Rfid chip in each base (like the Sega game) with proximity sensors to determine the location of each miniature, tied to the rules system with fancy sound effects for successful cannon hits etc would have done better, and would have justified the collectibility aspect of the game. Maybe next time.

    Now, D&D pre-paints going out the door, that's pretty surprising. I can understand why 4th edition was made miniature centric, kind of a table top combat oriented MMO rules focussed on balance. I'm guessing 3.5 sales hit a plateau and being part of publicly listed entity meant generating new growth, especially when compared against the success of Magic. If they released 4th edition in the vein of 3.5, they wouldn't see any growth because to play an RPG you basically need 3 rulebooks shared amongst 4 to 6 people ($100 / 6 = $16+ per participant for the product lifecycle, not so hot). So forcing miniatures play makes sense because then accessories would be required.

    Since TSR's revenues were about $30 million at their peak, it probably wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that Hasbro would expect that as a base to grow from. The only other model to emulate would be GW, which has revenues of $150 million mostly due to miniatures sales (with some royalties from game deals). They picked miniature gaming as a way to generate growth while still keeping their RPG identity.

    This is all sensible from Habro's point of view, a public company needs to constantly demonstrate growth to justify a large multiple in their share price. Unfortunately, it's not so great if you're a subsidiary in a market with demonstrated saturation and difficulty in opening new territorial markets (China, Japan etc may be good opportunities but with no history of table top gaming, let alone RPGs, a tough sell). In the end, the decision was made to give it a go with miniatures apparently.

    What's super surprising is that WotC has abandoned this strategy completely, which leaves gamers scratching their head and wondering what to do with 4th edition. Unfortunately, WotC can't go back to non-miniature style play since Paizo has gobbled up the market they left behind with Pathfinder. I suspect D&D may undergo a few more strange mutations as Hasbro insists on growth before either pigeon holing it as a stable product (unlikely, since it will require an R&D budget to compete with Pathfinder and other RPGs; Monopoly doesn't require R&D and sells just fine), or being jettisoned and sold off.

    This isn't that far fetched, it isn't simply about whether a subsidiary or division is profitable, but how profitable it is compared to other parts of the same company; a $6 billion company obviously has a lot of talented management. An hour spent managing D&D is an hour not spent on something that could be far more profitable. Any executive tasked to look after D&D will look like an underperforming tool compared to whoever is looking after Star Wars or Transformers toys, or even Magic the Gathering. Niche subdivisions in huge mass market companies tend not to last very long (Apple server division just got killed by Apple, for instance. And why not? If you can't make iPads and iPhones fast enough, being told to manage the XServe division must seem like career hell).
    Last edited by Chern Ann; 01-21-2011 at 04:57 AM.
    I like it firm and fruity!

  2. #2
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Bolton, Lancs, UK (A Geordie in Exile)
    Posts
    17,283
    Rep Power
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chern Ann View Post
    If you read sites like TMP, TGN or BoLs you'd be aware that Rackham has gone into liquidation, Ex-illis is also limping on life support and WoTC has decided to discontinue their prepainted miniatures line.

    I am most sad to see Rackham go, but my favorite Confrontation non-prepainted line was killed years ago so it's not too much of a jar.
    Totally agree with you there.

    Now, D&D pre-paints going out the door, that's pretty surprising.
    Not too sure I understand why you find this surprising?
    Solely from my point of view the prepaints were a substandard product and without a merit for re-painting, let alone collection. I'm not sure if the market place 'state side was different to the UK but the Closed Box/Random Minatures I saw over here seriously struck me as a blatent marketing rip-off. (Of course I may have the wrong product in mind).
    With a long(!) history in the gaming hobby I have seen a drastic change in the quality of miniatures (specifically Napoleonics) since the late 60's to the ultra high quality that is being produced by the likes of Warlord, Victerinix and Perry Miniatures. Perhaps the perception of the customer that the quality differential between the 'Hobby's' large production runs and the prepaints has led to a disapointing response.
    I'm not aware of the reception over in the 'states, but the reponse to Pre-Paints over here what I've encountered pretty much puts them in the "Just For Kiddies" category.
    .
    ......................
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

  3. #3

    Default

    I've not been a purchaser of any of the miniatures mentioned. Rackham came & went before I got back into the hobby (drat), Ex-Illis I heard about in the Gen-Con coverage last year but that's it, D&D pre-paints I've seen in the shops but I plan my campaigns then proxy minis in from our group collection, so random packs of minis never appealed (could inspire an encounter I suppose).

    Just to comment on the D&D bit. CA mentioned Pathfinder & that's the route our group are about to go down. After a decade of 2nd Ed. we switched to 3.5 (was unaware of 3.0) 5ish years ago & have thoroughly enjoyed having rules that suit miniature play without it changing from an RPG into a skirmish wargame. A couple of players picked up Pathfinder at the back end of 2010 & our first game starts before Easter. It feels a bit strange, for the first time in 25 years I won't be playing a game called Dungeons & Dragons anymore!

    Small companies chugging along selling rulebooks & supplements, licensing out miniatures rights, seem to be a good fit for the size of the industry, as soon as a giant swallows them up & expects more, it seems inevitable that we'll lose the games.

    Is anyone aware of a magazine available that on a monthly basis would keep me up to date with new games, manufacturers, releases, industry gossip, news, reviews & interviews? White Dwarf introduced me to allsorts before it became a house mag, similarly with Dragon. The UK newstand had GamesMaster Illustrated for a couple of years (& a couple of others that I subscribed to that never went beyond the 3rd issue & then never returned my money) but I haven't noticed anything for years. I try to keep up online but there are simply too many disparate sites to visit with snippets of information but no overview (unless there is, in which case, link please). For those familiar with it I want a The Comics Journal (as was) for the wargaming/role-playing/miniatures hobby. I.E written for adults & not afraid to make me reach for a dictionary rather than a catalogue of press releases aimed at children/teens.

    Cheers, B.

    PS for the new sub-forum
    My CMON Gallery Rank...

  4. #4

    Default

    I found it surprising because the whole rationale for making 4th ed into a skirmish game must have been to sell miniatures in order to increase revenues for D&D. To then turn around and drop the miniatures after D&D was completely rewritten to push them means a serious change in their business plan. The cancellation of new products announced at the same time suggests a huge drop in their R&D budget with the inevitable death or sale of D&D not far behind.

    edit: Looks like only 3 new books scheduled to be released this year. That's not good. Either 5th edition is being prepped to get more sales, or the division is being structured for sale.
    Last edited by Chern Ann; 01-21-2011 at 12:03 PM.
    I like it firm and fruity!

  5. #5

    Default

    Chern, I bet you're right that 4th edition was designed to move miniatures but I believe there were a few bad assumptions that WotC made.

    1) Pre-painted miniatures would be preferable to unpainted miniatures

    Theoretically for pick-up games and new players this is true. But, most first time players don't see the value in buying that many models unless they plan on making this a long-term hobby. The books are pricey enough. Long-term players have already been exposed to less expensive, higher quality miniatures in packages that are not randomized. A large portion of them have also been exposed to the painting side of miniatures and may be finding it a more enjoyable alternative.

    2) Players would purchase miniatures from WotC

    In reality, there's just no need to. There were plenty of alternatives in the appropriate sizes already, and the current fanbase was comfortable enough in their story telling focus that the fanbase didn't need to make it a primarily miniature combat based game. Since 3.0/3.5 books were still owned they had no reason to move to the new 4.0 system if they found it too pricey or uncomfortable. Same issue that Microsoft ran into with their Vista product. There wasn't any incentive to switch.

    3) A Hybrid game could be made to attract Roleplayers and Tactic Gamers

    Again, theoretically possible if you have a VERY solid system that isn't prohibitively expensive. But there wasn't enough appeal on both sides of the spectrum to grab players from both camps. I suspect they anticipated a bell curve response where customers from both camps would converge. In reality it's an inverted bell curve. For them to make headway they should have branched out with two game systems. One specifically designed for pick-up miniature games, and one for long term storytelling that wasn't dependent on miniatures.

    4) Players wouldn't want to use half-ass substitution models instead of buying randomized.

    Can't tell you how many D&D players I know that grab an unpainted goblin from the GW line instead of paying for individual goblins. If you're going to have a goblin encounter you'll need more than 2 goblins. With a GW goblin box you get how many? They're not perfect, but they are plentiful.

    The thing is, I'm not scratching my head over what to do with 4th edition. None of the groups I'm in contact with are puzzled. They already know where to get the models. And WotC was kind enough to blitz us with books over the last two years. We have enough source material to work with for a good long while. I think they've already saturated the market for 4th edition as far as source material is concerned, and they have very little chance of wresting the miniature market away from the competitors. It's smart of them to chalk up 4th edition as a learning experience and instead of letting it limp along at a loss they should take the time to plan out their next edition. Or sell the franchise to an up and comer.
    Nosus decipio - We Cheat

  6. #6
    Superfreak!!! Dragonsreach's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    Bolton, Lancs, UK (A Geordie in Exile)
    Posts
    17,283
    Rep Power
    38

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chern Ann View Post
    I found it surprising because the whole rationale for making 4th ed into a skirmish game must have been to sell miniatures in order to increase revenues for D&D. To then turn around and drop the miniatures after D&D was completely rewritten to push them means a serious change in their business plan. The cancellation of new products announced at the same time suggests a huge drop in their R&D budget with the inevitable death or sale of D&D not far behind.
    Thanks for that. With your business acumen I appreciate the insight.

    .... Either 5th edition is being prepped to get more sales, or the division is being structured for sale.
    Quote Originally Posted by IdofEntity View Post
    I think they've already saturated the market for 4th edition as far as source material is concerned, and they have very little chance of wresting the miniature market away from the competitors.
    Excellent point about studying market opportunities.
    It's smart of them to chalk up 4th edition as a learning experience and instead of letting it limp along at a loss they should take the time to plan out their next edition. Or sell the franchise to an up and comer.
    Now if it did go up for sale how cool would it be it Coolminiornot bought it up?
    But OH what a headache for Chern Ann.
    I believe in Karma, what you give, is what you get returned. Affirmation; Savage Garden
    Oh look my IQ results came in:-
    , and proud of it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonsreach View Post
    Now if it did go up for sale how cool would it be it Coolminiornot bought it up?
    But OH what a headache for Chern Ann.
    It's an interesting thought. I have no idea what kind of capital CMON has to work with, but I can't imagine the D&D franchise being cheap. When publishing rule books you'd have to renew or initiate new artist contracts. You'd need a staff capable of drafting rules. You'd end up paying for editing services. You'd have to come up with a line of miniatures to satisfy the players. Distribution and shipping would probably be business as usual for CMON, or maybe a touch different. Advertising and Web development would have to be accounted for.

    I would still publish two different systems. A miniature based game that is completely independent of Dungeons & Dragons, and not prohibitively expensive to start, along with your more traditional Role-play experience. A tactical game and a role-play game, if you will.

    Hell, if it makes the miniature market try harder to publish varied material I'd be thrilled. Alas, there are already numerous great options in the RPG market. I think I understood why WotC attempted what they did. Sales were probably stagnating a bit in the RPG market from the derth of options present in a somewhat limited market. Whoever buys the D&D franchise is buying into the same dilemma, but it can be overcome with a solid and revisioned system. 4.0 was definitely a valiant attempt, but not prescient enough.
    Nosus decipio - We Cheat

  8. #8

    Default

    Hasbro is going to sell, unless someone in upper management there is a total geek or high. 4.0 has no push, nothing really going for it. It lost me with the 50hp goblins and 600 hp demons. It's like they just raised everything up by a factor of 10 to make it more "epic".

    Now if they sell to someone, who then gets Monte Cook involved and does a "reboot", starting over again with the basic and advanced editions maybe that could work. Or not, I just know I would be interested.

  9. #9

    Default

    RE: D&D minis...
    We have more boxes of these in our apartment then we will ever need. Ever. Why? My boyfriend runs the games. We also have a ton of folded paper buildings and dungeons he has made. Since he can't paint that is his side of the hobby

    He bought a bunch initially, then started buying ones he really wanted/needed off ebay. Even when the new ones that showed you what you got came out he didn't get them as he already had enough (give or take a random ebay purchase). Our current campaign party is mixed, 2 of us play with painted minis, the other 4 play with prepainted WoTC.

    Some of the minis are so oddly posed and painted we come up with nicknames for them. We had a TPK by "Jazzhands" a few weeks ago (seriously odd way to be standing with arms out), but we managed to kill the "cookie" (bug swarm).

    I can't see that D&D is making that much $$ for Hasbro when they have Magic being the big pull for them. I don't think my boyfriend buying almost everything they release will keep them sustained D&D side He has been playing for over 15 years, we are going to run out of room for all this stuff! A long as Magic makes a bunch they will keep D&D if it makes a profit I would think.

    Something else I thought of- they are also trying to release D&D board game style stuff. We have the Ravenloft game and it is super fun for a quick game that no one has to run. They are supposed to be making a Forgotten Realms that will go with it. The game comes with everything you need to play. Unpainted minis, character cards, the game tiles...
    Last edited by Ravenhex; 02-01-2011 at 10:27 AM. Reason: Spelling!

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenhex View Post
    Some of the minis are so oddly posed and painted we come up with nicknames for them. We had a TPK by "Jazzhands" a few weeks ago (seriously odd way to be standing with arms out), but we managed to kill the "cookie" (bug swarm).
    Sorry to go off topic, but IDK how WotC got away with giving Dr. Doom a crossbow and calling him a "Warforged," green cloak and everything. Everybody, even my stepmom, saw Dr. Doom in that stupid plastic pre-painted mini. We have a few others, but that was key one that comes to mind. Lets see if I can hotlink it real quick...

    I don't have access to the actual mini for a better pic.

    If D&D does get sold off, I hope the new company dumps that complete POS Character Builder and redoes it from scratch in anything other than Silverlight. And takes the developers of the current one out back and shoots them. Repeatedly.

    I was kind of sad that Rackham dumped their non-painted line, since they had some cool minis I never got to buy.

  11. #11

    Default

    It would be sweet if D&D could go back to the way it was in the TSR days...

    I also agree with BPI, I would like to see another mag like" White Dwarf introduced me to allsorts before it became a house mag, similarly with Dragon. " Also the Art work on the Dragon cover was wonderful!!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member roninjr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Spring Branch, TX. U.S.A.
    Posts
    319
    Rep Power
    13

    Default

    Chern Ann,
    I find your logic very insightful and your predictions I think, will come to pass. I couldn't agree with you more about the the current state of D&D and that's rather discouraging for me. I have a masive collection of D&D per-painted minis about 11K of them. Some sets were awesome, for D&D purposes but some were just crap. Never the less I collected them. I'm not a fan of 4.0 but Pathfinder is really cool. It sort of reminds me of the early '80s and the feeling of excitement for the battle with the story telling of the DM. I may dive into that game as well as their pre-painted minis but there's not that many mature folks to play with around here. I do wonder who would buy the D&D franchise from Hasbro? Would it be good or would it be a slow death?

    Stay frosty!
    “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf”.
    George Orwell

  13. #13

    Default

    1 year on, it turns out that 5th edition really is on its way, with what looks like another proposed complete rewrite.

    This about sums up my thoughts as well:

    On the other hand, the introduction of 4E caused a major schism in the D&D player base and publishing world alike, one that ultimately lead to the rise of the Pathfinder RPG and a fragmentation of D&D’s player base. Go to any game store or basement table playing D&D and you will likely discover groups playing a D&D retroclone, D&D 3.5, the Pathfinder RPG or 4E. While you will find some groups that overlap, for the most part these groups are mutually exclusive.

    So what was once one relatively small player base, at least compared to
    Magic: the Gathering‘s or World of Warcraft ‘s, has now split into four groups who (as a quick look at most forums or blogs will reveal) do not get along. The disagreements, rooted in both philosophical and economic differences, have spawned the term “edition wars.”

    It’s hard not to predict that the announcement of 5th Edition D&D is going to have the same effect, only this time splitting an already reduced 4E player base into 4E and 5E camps — especially considering that the current edition, which was released in June of 2008, has had such a short life. It is also difficult for me to expect much of a change when it comes to a new edition because most of my issues with the current edition are not due to the system itself but the lack of support and consistent vision from Wizards of the Coast about the game.
    -
    http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2012/01...s-and-dragons/

    In my opinion, WOTC is doing incredible damage to the D&D brand due to this market fragmentation. They abandoned 3.5 in a failed grab for the miniatures market, and I suspect they'll find that 5th edition will have an uphill struggle versus Pathfinder, which does not appear to be sitting still either. I don't think there's really a way to put the genie back in the bottle; the best thing for D&D at this point would probably be for Paizo to buy it out if they can afford it. They appear to be trusted and appreciated by the player base, at least more so than WOTC, which would make any changes Paizo proposes much easier for players to accept.
    I like it firm and fruity!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Privacy Policy  |   Terms and Conditions  |   Contact Us  |   The Legion


Copyright © 2001-2018 CMON Inc.

-->