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The Death of Heroscape?

Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 04:27 PM by truth
Updated November 3rd, 2010 at 04:45 PM by truth
Wizards of the Coast announced today that it will be discontinuing the Heroscape line.

They've sited a desire to focus on their core brands as the reason. I know, shocking right? Wizards doesn't want to branch out from Magic and D&D?! Since when? For those of you who aren't well-versed in the history of Wizards of the Coast and hobby game publishing, that was sarcasm. Wizards has had a notoriously difficult time branching out from their core brands of D&D and Magic the Gathering. Nowhere is that more evident than their handling of the Heroscape brand. Rather than allow Heroscape to grow based on the brand it had established for itself, they chose to re-brand the product line to fit into D&D. Many rock-solid, even fanatical, Heroscape fans saw that as a jumping off point. Is that why the brand didn't work at Wizards? Maybe, maybe not. It doesn't change anything for me to get overly speculative on the matter, but there it is. I've pointed out the Elephant in the room. But having done that, here is another real fact: Wizards would have killed the Hersocape brand 3 waves and a Master set ago had someone over there not had the highly-controversial idea to reuse D&D minis to lower the cost threshold of publishing new Heroscape products. They just couldn't seem to make the pricing structure of Heroscape work for them and seemed unwilling or unable to raise the retail price to match closer with the price of similar hobby game products. I suspect that this had something to do with the game's mass market roots. I don't think Walmart and others would have been too keen on the idea of a price hike. On top of all of that, in the realm of ongoing collectible lines, there is always a struggle against the law of diminishing returns. The fact is that people burn out on their hobbies and if you can't replace them fast enough with new players your product is in a death spiral. We can't point to many examples of Wizards out there fighting to get new Heroscape players on board, but doing so requires an advertising budget and it seems that it was already difficult to put the game in the black. If I had to guess I would say that the strategy over at Wizards was likely to find a way to continue producing Heroscape at a profit for as long as was still viable. I think we've reached that point.

Can we point the finger at a number of people, or entities, and proclaim in hindsight how they might have better handled our favorite game? Yes. Does it change anything? No. And you know what? Rather than point my finger at all the perceived mismanagement throughout the entire life of the brand and cry my self-entitled eyes out, I want to take this opportunity to highlight some of the amazing people who brought us many a fun game night over the last 6 years.

Craig Van Ness - Ultimately Heroscape was Craig's baby. Not only are many of the core ideas of the brand his, but he managed the game throughout its golden years. He's more than a great game designer, he is a man of true character. It was evident in the way he treated the fans of his game. Those who have made the annual trip out to GenCon found out how approachable he is. Many of us share fond memories of Craig, and a gang of Hasbro employees, showing up to parties hosted by heroscapers and playing Heroscape with everyone until 3 AM.

On a personal note, Heroscape was the game that made me fall in love with gaming and game designing, and it was Craig who not only gave me a shot at designing for Heroscape, he also took me under his wing and mentored me, became a friend to me, cheered me on when I started Plaid Hat Games. I simply can't shower enough praise and gratitude upon him.

Rob Daviau - Rob is a genius. I'm not just saying that, it's true. It was both he and Craig that spent the long hours crafting this game together. And these two guys didn't just do Heroscape, they've been real difference makers over at Hasbro for years. Check out this geeklist on Board Game Geek for details on a number of great games that these guys have worked on for Hasbro: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklis...ed-garbage-the

Stephen Baker - This is the most elusive of the original tri-fecta credited with designing Heroscape, but it was he who thought up one of Hersocape's most defining features - the 3-D modular terrain.

Hero - Hero was a mysterious figure that only some of you are going to remember. He established a website at heroscape.net that became a home for the first Heroscape adopters. I don't think anyone will deny the impact that the Heroscape community has had on the game, and it was Hero who first brought that community together.

Jerry Hawthorne (aka grungebob) - The man, the myth, the legend. He was the first fan to ever have a Heroscape figure named after him. He has been a PILLAR of the heroscape community from day friggin' ONE. He later became a designer for Heroscape and it has been my absolute HONOR to work with him. And this guy isn't done just because Heroscape is. Look for more game designs from him in the near future. This man is one of my truest friends in the world. And not just in a 'we visit the same internet websites' kinda way, but a true genuine friendship that I value dearly.

Chris Dupuis (aka theguru) - And a guru he really is. This guy started out as a Hasbro customer service representative. When Heroscape came down the pipes at Hasbro he made it his personal duty to help untangle all of the rules intricacies that come along with this kind of game. He too became a designer on the Heroscape line working next to Jerry and myself, and toward the end it was really him taking the lead to the point of doing Wizard's job for them in many respects and seeing to it that this last year or so worth of products made it through all of the phases involved with as much quality as we could directly control or impress upon Wizards to do it with.

The Heroscapers - Is it possible that there has ever been a group of fans so creative, so enthusiastic, so friendly as this one? I really don't think so. We've accomplished a lot as a group and via individual efforts. With examples like the C3G's custom super hero units project, Dave Richards (aka hextr1p) gifting his valuable time doing graphic design to make the website better, Xotli staying up all night making the switch from the old software to the new website software, Aldin being a spokesman and a friendly greeting for the website, Mr. Bistro making us laugh, the Books of Heroscape project, Zzzzz's Virtualscape, The HS Codex, the hundreds of fan created battlefields, scenarios, units, tournaments, software, in-depth articles, and the list really goes on and on and on, too much to possibly name. It has, and continues to be, and absolute honor to be among your ranks.

What does all of this means for Heroscapers.com? Well just because Wizards is no longer putting out new product doesn't mean we have to burn the piles of Heroscape stuff we already own and enjoy. We are going to keep on playing. We are going to keep on organizing tournaments and National Heroscape days. I encourage the fans to keep putting stuff out for the game. There has never been any shortage of that, but my thoughts are cast back to the days when Heroscape was new, our appetite for new Heroscape stuff was ravenous and the amount of Heroscape product out there was minimal. That was a time when custom unit creation was at its highest to my mind. And that is probably in ratio to the number of fans on board at the time, but the fact is that we didn't just wait for Hasbro to feed us. We've always been motivated to go and to do. And that spirit lives on here.

So is Heroscape dead? No. Heroscape and Heroscapers lives on for as long as you the fan are here keeping it alive.

Heroscape and Heroscapers have shaped the path of my life forever. Those aren't just fluffy words, that is a fact. So my sincerest thank you to Craig and Rob, to Grungebob, to Bistro, to Guru, Aldin, Infinity Max, Hero, Hextr1p, Hex_Enduction_Hour, Skyknight, Tom Vasel, Bunjee, LordRaidor, Malechi, Oogie_Da_Bruce, Garylasq, Netherspirit, IAMBatman, Ninthdoc, R˙chean, Doc Savage, The Reverend David Dyer, Funrun, Rym, Cavalier, Elstree, JustJohn, Zzzzz, LilNewbie, Darkspade, Annerios, Atmospro, UPC, markwars, the Wisingers, Bad_Calvin, Count Blah, Turtleboy, lonewolf, spider_posion, Jexik, Jim, Fezzikthedoor, CornPuff, Hahn, Hendal, Cbs42, Jormi_Boced, Onacara, Allskulls, Bloody Baroness, NwoJedi, even Reapersarus... and for each of these many I've named there are at least 10 more I'm foolishly leaving out. To all of you, who have come and gone through the years, THANK YOU!!

Onward and upward. Peace, love, and Heroscape.

Spread word of this post to anyone you know who has ever been part of the community and no longer visits. Even if it has been awhile since you've posted around here, make your voice heard in the comments.

-Colby 'Truth' Dauch

Oh yeah... seems kind of anti-climatic, but Wizards sent us this Q and A that may answer a couple of remaining questions you might have:

Q: Why are you canceling the Heroscape line?
A: We have chosen to focus our business efforts on our core brands.
Q: How long will Heroscape products remain available in stores?
A: There is no specific limitation on this. They will remain available as long as supplies last.
Q: Will Wizards be releasing any more Heroscape products before the line is canceled?
A: Yes! The final expansion set, named Moltenclaw’s Invasion, will be released on November 16, 2010.
Q: Will you continue to support product replacement for damaged or defective Heroscape game pieces?
A: Yes, we will continue to do so as per our normal product replacement schedule.

Q: I have other questions, not answered by this FAQ. Where can I go to ask those?
A: Feel free to email in any additional questions to customer service.
Posted in Heroscape News
Comments 420
Total Comments 420


Grishnakh's Avatar
Well I for one do not plan to throw Heroscape out in the trash just because WotC did. I'm really looking forward to the next evolution of our game as the group of extremely creative fans on this message board now take over it's stewardship.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:18 PM by Grishnakh Grishnakh is offline
skyknight's Avatar
So here we are....this game is responsible for some of the greatest bunch of guys I have ever known. I am so gonna miss working on this line....it was truly an honor to be allowed to be around such creative people. I am going to miss a whole lot of things after the dust settles. Buuutttt...never give up hope boys and girls, who knows what tomorrow will bring....
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:20 PM by skyknight skyknight is offline
Chardris1287's Avatar
ack, NO! :'(
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:21 PM by Chardris1287 Chardris1287 is offline
LilNewbie's Avatar
"Never give up! Never surrender!!"

Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:22 PM by LilNewbie LilNewbie is offline
Chardris's Avatar

Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:22 PM by Chardris Chardris is offline
Jaz1597's Avatar
Well...I can't say I'm not surprised.

I haven't been seriously excited about any release since Wave 9, but that has hardly dampened my enthusiasm for this great game.

I may still pick up D2 and D3...we'll see. I'll certainly still be checking the boards daily!
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:22 PM by Jaz1597 Jaz1597 is offline
Annerios's Avatar
I think most of us knew this was coming. I'm surprised Wizards kept it alive as long as they did.

Creative custom figures/cards will keep this game alive longer than most other games. HS has always been a solid game engine and always will be.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:23 PM by Annerios Annerios is offline
Cavalier's Avatar
Just to echo what Truth said, with this community, 'Scape is not dead. In fact, in the lulls between official releases, I have seen the most creativity and development by the community, so I am looking forward to many, many more years!

Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:23 PM by Cavalier Cavalier is offline
markwars's Avatar
It's been awhile since I've posted - I have been lurking of late though. With this announcement I have to come out of the shadows. It's a bittersweet day for me that's for sure. The emotions of my time here - so far - are overwhelming and I just don't want to really come to terms with them.

I'm thankful for the game. I'm thankful for the designers. I'm thankful for the various folks from Hero to Truth that took the time to host our online community. I'm thankful for the entire DFW community that has become a large group of friends for the last 5 or 6 years.

This game has brought my son and I closer together. It has given me much joy in terms of a simple love for little plastic minis. It has opened my mind to many other games. It has opened my horizons to many other people.

In short Heroscape changed me. Fundamentally. And it will not end here for me. I must simply learn to paint and print my own cards to get new units now. I must simply get around to playing all the units I never had time for in the meantime.

The game has not died...it's merely moved on to Valhalla.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:23 PM by markwars markwars is offline
tcglkn's Avatar
I am looking forward to some of the greats like Grungebob and theGuru opening up customs threads now.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:25 PM by tcglkn tcglkn is offline
robbdaman's Avatar
WotC's track record with this is pathetic really. They've created and killed more games than they've had any success at. If it isn't Magic or D&D they can't do **** with it.

Feh the past couple years have been rather lackluster anyway. Forcing Heroscape into D&D specific designs because they are too short sighted to do it right. I expect some great "official" customs to come out now that will take the game back to where the majority of players want it to be.

WotC killed D&D Miniatures and it is still going reasonably strong without them, this will be no different. Viva la Heroscape!!!
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:25 PM by robbdaman robbdaman is offline
killergoat72's Avatar

god help us all...
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:27 PM by killergoat72 killergoat72 is offline
squid's Avatar

I'm new to the game and quickly realized the value of having as many different types of units as possible to keep things interesting. I've been collecting some stuff, mostly the master sets and new waves. It's been fun so far. But I'm unsure how long my collection will keep me interested as I've barely scratched the surface of the game.

Oh well.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:29 PM by squid squid is offline
Uprising's Avatar
WOTC, where good games go to die. WOTC couldn't dream of making a game as brilliant as Heroscape on their best day.

Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:30 PM by Uprising Uprising is offline
Updated November 3rd, 2010 at 05:48 PM by Uprising
davidlhsl's Avatar
Sad news indeed. I think the long, painful speculations over the arrival of this moment have torn this forum apart, and I hope the community will look within and tap into the enormous talent that exists here.

My deepest respect to truth, Grungebob, the Guru, and the others who have worked to maintain the integrity of the game.
Posted November 3rd, 2010 at 05:33 PM by davidlhsl davidlhsl is offline
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