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Encounter Killer
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Encounter KillerDefender of the Faith:  DM

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PostSubject: DDM, it is over!   Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:12 pm

As many of you know, we announced some big changes to the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures line on Tuesday. If you missed it, the announcement is

I want to follow up on the announcement that was made and take the time to shed some light on why we made these changes. I’ll start by giving you some background and then follow with some Q&A that I’ve pulled directly from the message board threads that we have been following.

I really need to step back a few years to give you the big picture. 2006 was a successful year for the entire D&D gaming line and D&D Minis played an important role in that success. In 2006 we released War Drums, a new minis starter, the War of the Dragon Queen Huge set, Blood War, and two D&D Icons Dragons. Although fans were embracing the new minis lines, 2006 was also a year when we started to see the D&D Minis line strain under the increasing costs of manufacturing. Labor, shipping, materials, tooling, and production costs were all creeping up so that in late 2006, after much analysis and many meetings, we made a decision to increase the price per pack to insure quality and profitability were maintained within the line. When we did the price increase our goal was that it would sustain the D&D Minis for at least two to three years. Unfortunately, we could not predict the sharp increases that we’ve seen in manufacturing costs over the last 12 months.

That same year we started to see a decline in sanctioned skirmish play. Typically sanctioned play will wax and wane monthly, so over the long haul we want to see general stability or growth. Even prior to the 4th Edition announcement in August 2007, we were seeing steady declines in sanctioned play.

With increasing costs and decreasing play we began to consider how we could turn the ship around. We explored many options from both the production side and the consumer side. On the production side we began to model minis in CAD (computer aided design). In the beginning, CAD is more expensive than modeling in clay but over time it will save us money as we can re-shape and re-skin models much the way they do with action figures. On the consumer side, 4th Edition was a big shot in the arm for the whole D&D line. In many ways both these efforts worked, but the "wolf of increasing costs" was still lurking at the door and the minis line continued to suffer. It became increasingly difficult to maintain the high standards of quality with the increasing costs. Every set was an exercise in fiddling with the deco-ops (the paint steps on the minis), sculpts, and tooling in an effort to maintain the quality.

Earlier this year senior management began looking at the issue. They spent months looking at the business from the bottom up, examining a multitude of options, from a fixed SKU non-randomized business model similar to that used by producers of metal minis, to changes to the randomized model including price increases and/or reduction of minis per pack.

Where all this netted out was that there was no silver bullet answer that would slay the wolf at the door, so we were faced with two options: continue with the current model and eventually succumb to the wolf, or charge the wolf head on and score a critical hit. In the end we chose the later and here we are today.

As we announced on Tuesday, we are launching a new line of miniatures products with roleplayers in mind. We believe that this is the best way to sustain our miniatures product line.

That is an in-depth explanation that I hope adds some context to the news. So now onto the questions.


Default Re: DDM: Player's Handbook Heroes

I'm just a little concerned that the price point is the same for the 5 fig semi-randomized boosters as it is for our current 8 fig randomized boosters (14.99 US). Maybe they'll be making the minis better quality? Better sculpts and paint jobs? I hope so, because I already miss those 3 extra minis.

Why the change from 8 miniatures to 5 miniatures per booster?

When we set out to re-imagine the Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures line, our goals included increasing the quality of the product, dealing with the rising costs associated with producing the line, and optimizing the product as a D&D Roleplaying Game accessory. To that end, we are providing fewer figures per Monster Manual-themed booster, but these figures are of a higher quality. In effect, each booster contains two rare-quality figures (the visible Large figure and the randomized rare figure). In general, we’re providing nearly a 50% increase in paint steps per figure, which makes even the common and uncommon figures in the set look better, adding more vibrancy and detail. We have also decreased the overall set sizes to make collecting all of the miniatures in a set easier to accomplish. With a visible Large figure in each box, you also get some choice as to the figures you are purchasing, and each miniature is a monster miniature—making each booster perfect for a Dungeon Master seeking monsters to fill encounters with. Finally, the stat cards included in each booster have been redesigned to use the friendlier Monster Manual-style RPG statistics layout so that Dungeon Masters can use the cards for in-game reference.

Volunteer Community Lead

Default Re: DDM: Player's Handbook Heroes

Originally Posted by Zaukrie View Post
do I have this correct?

1 box of heroes – 3 minis, $11?
1 box of monsters – 5 minis, $15?

So, $26 for what I used to get for $15?

If I'm right about heroes being of higher quality, then no - you're getting less lower quality minis for more cost. I mean, let's be honest, you can get commons for a quarter each, so if we're doing the equivalent of trading 2 commons for 2 rares, then that's a big difference.

Though it's difficult to compare by rarity in non-randomizes heroes packs.

I actually wonder if it'll be a lot more about using the monsters packs than the heroes ones. Though the heroes ones would be great for commander, letting you guarantee a certain core of your band then using the monsters for the rest. Hmm.


Why is the price per miniature higher for the player character figures?

With the Player’s Handbook Heroes Series One figures, we’re providing miniatures of rare or better quality in visible, fixed packaging. In addition to the increased quality per figure—equivalent to three rare figures per pack!—you get to buy exactly the figures you need to match your player character concept (or villain concept, if you’re a DM). Add to that the brand new, unique, nonrandom character class power cards available in these packs, and you get an unparalleled value for players.


Default Re: DDM: Player's Handbook Heroes

My question is this: Do these new boosters include DDM Skirmish stat cards?

It didn't sound like it from the announcement, unless "D&D Dungeon Delve" means skirmish game stat card in some twisted way. I took the term to mean "can be used with the organized play Delve games easily."

What does this mean for the skirmish game?

Wizards of the Coast has chosen to concentrate its D&D miniatures-creation efforts on an accessory line optimized for D&D Roleplaying Game use. November’s release of Demonweb will be the last new set that includes skirmish statistics. We will continue to update all miniatures stats from previous sets to the current D&D Miniatures ruleset as promised, with the conclusion of that process scheduled for mid-2009.

In addition, official sanctioning of D&D Miniatures skirmish events will cease right after D&D Experience in February. We hope to see skirmish play continue at the grassroots level, using the hundreds of miniatures produced for the game over the past six years and encouraged by the passionate fan sites that exist for the D&D Miniatures skirmish game.

The skirmish game has many dedicated fans, and we appreciate the years of enthusiastic support that these players have shown to the line. Unfortunately, despite this enthusiasm, the number of skirmish players has been dropping steadily over the past couple of years. We had hoped that improvements implemented during 2007 and 2008 would change that trend, but they have not accomplished enough toward that end. At this point, we can no longer justify the design, development, and production resources required to support the skirmish game.


Default Re: DDM: Player's Handbook Heroes

Does this imply that the Feywild and the huge set for next year will have their minies moved into the new sets? Of course, only medium and large minies are in the Dangerous Delves line. No small minies for you! Is another set planned to incorporate the huges?

What does this mean for the Feywild set?

The Feywild set will not be released. We needed to make room for this new approach, and early 2009 is the best time for that to begin. However, many of the sculpts that were in the process of being created for Feywild will find homes in the new D&D Miniatures products, as appropriate, and with the increased quality levels we’ve established for the new line. Each set will include Small, Medium, and Large figures, as has been the practice since the inception of D&D pre-painted plastic miniatures.

As for Huges, yes we have a set planned for the Summer of 2009. The Huges in that set will be the visible minis, including a Hive Mother Beholder and some Dragons. More details to come!


Default Re: Its offical WOTC will put out non random minis.

You guys are focusing on the wrong thing. Yes, visible minis are great. But look deeper.


That means, you have to buy these boxes of minis to get new rules for creating characters.

I am praying that these cards actually match the minis rather than being randomized. Because... if they're randomized... you can actually call it D&D: The Gathering without being a troll.

Will the unique power cards in the Player’s Handbook Heroes packs be available anywhere else?


As I mentioned above, the power cards in the packs will match to the minis in the pack so the distribution is not random. These brand-new character class powers will be added to the D&D Compendium and D&D Character Builder databases on D&D Insider. Eventually, they may see inclusion in a D&D game book.

We know that this is a bittersweet announcement and for many of you it downright stinks. All of us at Wizards are thankful for the great years of D&D miniatures play that we’ve had and we are excited about the possibility the future offers.

We hope this helped to answer your questions and we thank you for your continued support.


Scott Rouse
Senior Brand Manger
D&D Games

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The Drumming Drunkin' DM
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PostSubject: Re: DDM, it is over!   Mon Oct 27, 2008 8:58 am

This does not effect me and i laways hated sorting cards. But I'm sorry to see the game leave as it had some great players and it sucks to come to this.
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PostSubject: Re: DDM, it is over!   Mon Oct 27, 2008 11:07 am

ya the cards were a pain!
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