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Dr.Bedlam

About Collectible Figures...

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I like to kitbash figures. That's one of the reasons I love Bones; they're easy to cut up and customize. And for that reason, I still sometimes buy collectible plastic figures, when they clearance out; three or four bucks each for a blind packed figure, or fifteen for five blind packed in a box, is too rich for my blood these days.

Recently, this local joint clearanced out their HeroClix single packs from Thor: The Dark World and The Hobbit: Battle Of Five Armies. And I got to thinkin' "What are the odds that some of these figures might be suitable for Frostgrave or something?" And for fifteen bucks, I bought all they had left.

Y'know what? It's disturbing when you buy ten packs of a product marked THOR, and not one of them contains Thor.

Friend of mine had a similar experience, buying Man Of Steel single packs at Target. Out of ten, he wound up with two General Zods and no Supermen.

 

Today, I ran across a clearanced dispenser of LOTR: Return Of The King single figure packs, at a very attractive price. Again, I thought: "What are the odds that I'll find some useful bits for fantasy gaming?" And I bought the whole box. It was nearly full. And out of 24 packs, we get one Gandalf, one Aragorn, two Pippins, one Sam, one Faramir, and a whole buncha no name orcs and otherwise that no one cares about.

I did not feel cheated; the price was good enough that it was all spare parts to me. But I definitely thought "If that had been full price, that'd be over a hundred bucks for a large booster with two rares, a few uncommons, and a whole lotta dreck*." It definitely did not tempt me to go back into collectible miniatures games...

*Oh, and one junk rare. Denethor. Denethor, of all people. Whose idea was it to stick DENETHOR in there? A character who, in both movie and book, does ZERO aside from sit in a chair, rant and rave, diss his son, go insane, and attempt suicide. And for some reason, the HeroClix people thought he needed a figure?

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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Yeah, that's why I've stayed away from them..well, in blind boxes.  I tend to go to Evilbay and pick the models I want, I don't care about rarity.  Sometimes I've gotten a group (Lot) of them, but there's usually pictures, so I can see if what's there is worth the asking price.  I did luck out once and picked up about 80 or so fantasy ones for about $5 at a garage sale several years ago.  I agree, they make for wonderful spare parts.

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 It's just like the D&D minis - they're completely ridiculous because the rares are sometimes things you'd need ten of and the commons are things that nobody will ever use unless they're doing an entire campaign in the land of the hippopotamus-men, lol...

 

Unfortunately, the only place around here that has a lot of clix never does any kind of clearance sales. They do however, have a bunch of commons sitting in a box for 94 cents each (Why 94? Who knows? Probably think they'll sell more than if they charged 95 cents for them, lol.)

Sometimes I dig through them for interesting parts (particularly the translucent energy effects/gear and stuff with almost no detail on it to use as pre-made sculpting armatures).

 

At least with the LotR and Hobbit stuff a lot of them can be repainted and used as mooks.

Edited by Mad Jack
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And big figures being in a set always makes it worse, because those are usually one per pack so any that are rare are usually 1 per case or 2 per case.

 

And any set that has scenery elements or non monstrous animals, just forget it. They always make the rarity stupid because "who wants a cauldron, or a goat?". Nope no goat, but there's a real need for 8 mutant bugbears per case.

 

The answer is of course the gm does, probably like six of them.

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When Mage Knight came out, I was delighted. I liked the idea of a fantasy miniatures game skewed for the mass market. Regrettably, the first edition sculpts were... uneven. Still remember the gang at my FLGS referring to the old Nightblades as "Olive Oyls."

This was corrected in the second edition; all the sculpts were rather fetching, although the paint jobs were not so much. And I really thought HeroClix would be huge... until I bought a starter set and two boosters, and the most well known characters I got were Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and the Wasp... and an absolute passel of c-list bad guys. They corrected this quickly -- nobody wants to do superhero gaming with "some of the Avengers, one X-Man nobody's heard of, and a repurposed Captain Boomerang" -- but it was a bad stumble, right out of the gate.

...and they managed to anger the fanbase with both Mage Knight AND HeroClix by suddenly revising the rules and nerfing a lot of good stuff.

...but at fifty cents a pop, they're great for mooks, spare parts, and fantasy figures I'm not too worried about hanging on to. And I have to admit, their molding and paint has gotten a LOT better in recent years

 

I'm still trying to figure out why they thought Denethor belonged in the LOTR: ROTK set. Jeez, at least Professor X had Mind Control...

Edited by Dr.Bedlam
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 It's just like the D&D minis - they're completely ridiculous because the rares are sometimes things you'd need ten of and the commons are things that nobody will ever use unless they're doing an entire campaign in the land of the hippopotamus-men, lol...

 

Unfortunately, the only place around here that has a lot of clix never does any kind of clearance sales. They do however, have a bunch of commons sitting in a box for 94 cents each (Why 94? Who knows? Probably think they'll sell more than if they charged 95 cents for them, lol.)

Sometimes I dig through them for interesting parts (particularly the translucent energy effects/gear and stuff with almost no detail on it to use as pre-made sculpting armatures).

 

At least with the LotR and Hobbit stuff a lot of them can be repainted and used as mooks.

Jack, the reason that Sarge's charges 94 cents for them is because, with tax, they come out to a buck a piece.  And I've been buying a bunch of them to use as monsters/NPCs.  If I was Still playing Shadowrun, there are about 20 more I would pick up.  Street Samurai, thugs, gangers and scientists.

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I've only picked up one Heroclix mini. It was a Cap mini with the old-style shield for a Pin-Up Cap conversion, when I get my Bombshell Babes 2 pledge.

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*Oh, and one junk rare. Denethor. Denethor, of all people. Whose idea was it to stick DENETHOR in there? A character who, in both movie and book, does ZERO aside from sit in a chair, rant and rave, diss his son, go insane, and attempt suicide. And for some reason, the HeroClix people thought he needed a figure?

 

Maybe you can burn it :;): .

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It's just like the D&D minis - they're completely ridiculous because the rares are sometimes things you'd need ten of and the commons are things that nobody will ever use unless they're doing an entire campaign in the land of the hippopotamus-men, lol...

 

Unfortunately, the only place around here that has a lot of clix never does any kind of clearance sales. They do however, have a bunch of commons sitting in a box for 94 cents each (Why 94? Who knows? Probably think they'll sell more than if they charged 95 cents for them, lol.)

Sometimes I dig through them for interesting parts (particularly the translucent energy effects/gear and stuff with almost no detail on it to use as pre-made sculpting armatures).

 

At least with the LotR and Hobbit stuff a lot of them can be repainted and used as mooks.

Do you have a 6% sales tax? Because in Michigan when we had a 6% sales tax, a lot of things were 94 cents, so at the register they would be a dollar even.

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This is why I never played Axis and Allies miniatures. Also why I like Flames of War. They're both about the same scale, they're both WW2 miniature games, the overall cost is roughly equivalent, but ONE of them isn't going to force me to dig through a bunch of junk to field SS Kampfgruppe Peiper.

 

There's a lot to be said for phoning your FLGS and simply ordering all the King Tigers you need. Or all the King Tigers, whether you need them or not.

 

Ha, as if somebody doesn't need King Tigers. KING TIGERS FOR EVERYONE!

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The idea of blind collectible figures must have looked like it was going to be such a cash cow ...

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The idea of blind collectible figures must have looked like it was going to be such a cash cow ...

Considering the numbers of Shopkins plastic figures of my daughter's strewn about the house, I'd say they are.
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The idea of blind collectible figures must have looked like it was going to be such a cash cow ...

I guess in theory the translation of collectible cards to collectible figures is more or less sound. Even for casual play possibly the A&A miniature sets might not have really bugged me. But I'm not a casual WW2 kind of player. I am 110% grognard. I know what these things are, and if I want an italian Mediterranean naval group I don't want to have to expend needless effort getting a Pola, or Belgrano, or Andrea Doria. I don't want my Tirpitz to be a randomly-inserted rare I have to dig for, and then have to hunt down a Lutzow and Hipper for its playmates. I want to exchange a reasonable amount of money to acquire specific items with a minimum of waste.

 

I am a poor market for random collectible minis. Whether that makes me representative or not I can't say, but I pledged to never spend a dime on that market model and, to date, I have been true to my word. Not even on sale or from the secondary market.

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MtG worked, but dozens of fantasy CCGs didn't.

MtG was first out the gate, plays really well, has some nice, novel interactions that make tactile use of the cards, and came out, off the bat, with fairly playable stuff with oodles of totally amazing artwork. I can't see a CMG doing all that. Mostly they've hardly even tried.

But most importantly, there is a reason to play MtG instead of something else. It's fun, and the format interacts with the game in fun ways, and to work like it does it really needs to be what it is (leaving aside the problem of buying the cards for high level play). Also, it fits a lot of value into a small box; its much more compact for shipping and retailing than miniatures.

By contrast, why would you play with blind-collectible DnD miniatures? What do you get from that that you can't get, often better, from elsewhere? There are miniatures that are better, games that are more novel and original, miniatures that are more collectible, and so on; many competitors tick every box EXCEPT "blind random package" AND are already well-known in the marketplace.

You can monetize a good idea, but it's very hard to good-idea a monetization plan.

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I would say that the D&D minis were quite successful whether you used them for the battle game or not. As was the star wars collectible game. MTG is the exception not the rule in the average lifespan of most games whether they are collectible or not. They figured out how to make it work and keep it working and that's a rare thing these days. Part of that success though seems to be the planned obsolescence of their cards though its almost GW in format when you think about it. So in effect MTG re-invents itself with a new theme every year it keeps the interest high and there is always something new.

 

Mage Knight could have remained quite successful as well if they hadn't made such sweeping changes in the second edition and essentially obsoleting all the first edition minis. Someone made a really good baseball card game to that was extremely popular until a rule change that affected how you could use your pitchers made all the metagamers give it up. All the real baseball fans loved it because it forced you to use starting pitchers like starting pitchers and not relievers. Rule change can make or break a collectible game.

 

As far as the miniatures both my boys were heavy into them one used them for D&D and the other actually used them for the battle game. I probably have boxes with 100s of them laying around the house at this point. Oh yes and Denethor didn't attempt suicide, he succeeded!

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