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Scoop from Comic-Con: Part Three

Posted July 27th, 2006 at 04:53 PM by truth
Updated April 14th, 2008 at 04:40 PM by truth
Oogie is back with his final installment from Comic-Con. He's got an interview with lead heroscape designer Craig VanNess. Oogie writes:

I was very fortunate to meet one of the Game Designers for Heroscape, Craig Van Ness. Craig is an extremely friendly guy and was very giving of his time. This is an account of the time I spent with Craig in the HS booth at Comic-Con (to the best of my recollections - and notes).



When I got to the booth, I didn't say anything. I just wandered around looked at the large castle setup, glazed over the glass cases, sat down at the single castles setup, and picked up the castle rulebook. Just like in those corny detective movies, I was surveying the people and the setup, as I held the castle rules just below eye level.

Con attendees came in and out of the booth. Many marveled at the large castle setup. Many commented with curiosity about the Heroscape system and Marvelscape. Some sat down and tried out the game; most that did liked it. The Heroscape booth team mingled around, interacting with the crowd. I tried not to make eye contact.

About 5 minutes went by I causally took out my tripod and camera and began to set it up. This drew the attention of a few of the team members (especially the marketing rep), they clustered around Craig and I could hear, "Craig, He's taking pictures of the rules! Is he allowed to do that?" Craig looked over at me and I decided to break my silence. "This IS public information, right? You don't mind me taking pictures do you?" Craig replied with a nod and, "Yeah, that's fine." The rest of the team called off their high alert and went back to mingling (keeping a watchful eye on me).

After I was finished taking pictures, I decided to have a little more fun with the team and took out my laptop and began upload the pics from my camera. I don't think Craig could resist anymore. He walked over and said, "So can I answer any questions for you?"

I couldn't resist anymore either. I broke out with a boisterous, "Craig!!! How ya' doin'!?!"

He seemed a little taken aback like, "Who is this guy and why is he talking to me like he knows me?!?"

"Name's Tony, from Heroscapers.com."

Instantly, I saw the light bulb go on and a grin form. He was pleased to meet me and a bit relieved to find out that it was Scaper' who was taking the pics of the castle rules. He commented, "Ok, yeah I know some of those guys... Truth, Oogie Da Bruce"

"HEY THAT'S ME!" I gestured to my badge which had my avatar on it, still in disbelief that he actually knew who I was (I think he knew I was coming... just shows they do read the boards)!

"Good to meet you.", he said.

"Good to meet you too, man!", I replied. "So... you mind if I do a little interview?", I asked as I gestured to my camera.

"No, sorry we can't do video interviews."

"Well, can I ask you a few questions?"

"Yeah, sure, of course."

So I put away my gear and brought out my papers and began the interview.

ODB: Well first off, thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us.

CVN: No problem. Happy to.

ODB: So the biggest news released here is Marvelscape. Can you tell us a little about it.

CVN: Yeah. Marvelscape is a separate system from the original Heroscape system. It is a one game stand alone set. It will have its own terrain and characters. It'll be larger than a castle, but smaller than a Heroscape Master Set.

ODB: Will they be compatible?

CVN: They CAN be used together, but it is not recommended.

ODB: Not recommended?

CVN: We tried to keep the units balanced with Heroscape, but it really IS a stand alone game.

ODB: Will there be any squads in Marvelscape?

CVN: No squads.

ODB: So are you trying to pick up some of the HeroClix's money?

CVN: Well, there is definitely some opportunity in that market.

ODB: Will taking on this new project take anything away from Heroscape?

CVN: No. The Marvel universe will be fun to take on, but the cost we pay for licensing is very high. Heroscape is all our own intellectual property. We don't have to pay for that. So that is a brand that we would like to continue to build on.

ODB: Is that why the Marvelscape set will be smaller?

CVN: Exactly.

ODB: Will there be an official tournament structure? Rules? Supported by Hasbro or otherwise?

CVN: We're looking into it.

ODB: Now what distribution problems? The only place we have seen Raknar's Vision and Thaelank Tundra is online. We used to see things maybe 2 weeks after the first online sighting, but now it's been months and still virtually no sightings.

CVN: Well you see. Things are a little different when dealing with Large Retail Chains, than dealing with local hobby stores or online retailers. Normally smaller retailers put their new stuff out right away, but with large chains, they take their order and store in a large warehouse. Then it is up to the individual stores to order from the warehouses. Then after they receive the product, the local stores put it in their back room and sit on it till they feel it's time to put it on the floor. We don't really have control over that.

ODB: Then what about packaging. 2 Heroes to 1 terrain? Heroes are unique and people buy multiple terrain packs. Why is it packaged that way.

Marketing Rep: When it comes to sales and marketing, our demographic is 8-12 years (IIRC) and most kids when they are asking their parents to buy a product, they want heroes and dragons, not more trees.

CVN: Good news is, that Wal-Mart has requested a 3 terrain only SKU from us. So for Wal-Mart we will be packaging 3 Thaelank Tundra in a box. Since they asked for it, we were more than happy to make a new assortment for them.

ODB: Great! Now, what is your favorite hero or squad?

CVN: Raelin.

ODB: Why?

CVN: Because she is so versatile. She is in almost every one of my armies. She can fit with anyone.

ODB: Favorite terrain expansion?

CVN: Isn't out yet!

ODB: Will there be big news at GenCon?

CVN: YES!

ODB: Care to share?

CVN: No.

ODB: Damn! OK, what about Einar? Will he ever get a dragon, or perhaps a War Elephant?

CVN: Well I won't comment on that specifically, but I will say that we are looking to grow certain armies.

ODB: Certain Armies?

CVN: Yes, for example, some of the army types that are currently out will get more troops added to them.

ODB: Do you think we'll see a 3rd edition rulebook?

CVN: We're looking into that.

ODB: What about a new master set?

CVN: We're looking into that... Can you tell that is the standard answer we give when we can't say what we want to.

ODB: Yeah, I kinda picked up on that. So is there any chance that we might see you on the Heroscapers.com forums? We used to see you back in the day, but you guys haven't be online since like forever.

CVN: Yeah... I'm not really sure about that one.

ODB: Well, one of the things we used to love is that you would come in and make rulings for us, right there, on the spot.

CVN: Well I do have a stack of questions sitting on my desk. That's my fault. Everything you send to Chris...

ODB: The Customer Service Guy?

CVN: Yeah, he's part of my team. Everything you send him gets forwarded on to me. And I still need to get to those questions. Then we will be updating the FAQ's on our site. So just keep sending Chris those questions and I'll get them.

ODB: Ok, I got one word for you... UltraDoug. Does that mean anything to you?

CVN: Ultra... Doug???

ODB: Yes.

CVN: I'm not sure.

ODB: He makes EPIC Videos.

CVN: Oh, I think I know who your talking about now. Funny guy.

ODB: Will we see Pirates vs. Ninjas?

CVN: Well you already got Ninjas.

ODB: Pirates?

CVN: No comment.

ODB: Dwarves?

CVN: No comment.

ODB: Dwarf Pirates?

CVN: LOL. No comment.

ODB: What about Sales and Support in the UK?

CVN: We are definitely looking to increase our presence in the UK... Especially with Marvelscape.

ODB: Great! I'm sure that will make our friends across the pond happy. Now... about Kee-Mo-Shi... Will we see her soon?

CVN: Yes.

ODB: Now did you have a hand in picking her out?

CVN: Yes.

ODB: And why did you pick her? What did you feel made her so special? What does she have that is special that will add to the Heroscape universe.

CVN: Well we had a lot of crazy submissions. And when we saw her it just seemed like she would be an excellent addition to the Marro's. She complements them so well.

ODB: Wow... that's all the question I have. Thank you for taking the time to sit and answer all my questions.

CVN: No, thank you guys. You guys are the best advertisement I could ask for. For every one of you guys that is passionate about the game, you go out and turn other players on to the game. I really appreciate that kind of support.

Craig is a great guy! He really does care about this game and all of it's fans. He does keep an eye on the boards and wants us to keep on playing. He did say there is lots in store for HS and to be ready for it.

Craig also met and answered questions from Allskulls and Doc Savage. He even played a game against Allskulls! Both of those guys said the same thing. That Craig is a great guy.

Here's to you Craig!!! Keep making new stuff and we'll keep playing!

Oogie Da Bruce
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