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HeroScape General Discussion General discussions of packaging, terrain, components, etc. If it doesn't fit in any other official category, put it here.


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Old January 10th, 2013, 11:41 PM
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Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail? (as a retail product)

Update: I adjusted the title of the thread to better reflect the intent of this thread.

In the interest of bringing back some relevant discussion to this forum, I thought it would be a good idea to start a fun topic.

Heroscape as a retail product is dead. While the spirit of Heroscape continues in the custom community, Heroscape as we use to know it has died.

I wanted to pose the question of "why did this happen" as well as talk about how it could have been avoided (since the two thoughts are similiar in nature).

Why Heroscape failed and how it could have survived:

1. Collecting without a roadmap. From the first day I laid eyes on Heroscape, I knew I was in trouble. I almost didn't even want to buy the game because I knew what I was getting into. Sure the base game looked like a lot of fun, but I saw at the corner of my eye those dreaded expansions. I knew what this meant. I was going to have to CATCH EM ALL!!!.

Like Pokemon, Transformers, and any other Catch em all franchise, Heroscape was the type of product that only got better the more you had of it. Unfortunately, while the characters and figures were really cool, it was hard to tell them apart. What were their personalities like? Why should I buy this booster set over the other? These Ninjas are cool, is their a comic with them in it? What is the tension between the characters? Without a roadmap, casual users didn't have a reason to get excited beyond the theme of the characters. With Transformers, who didn't want to collect all the Constructions so they could be build Devastator?

2. Cartoons. Unlike Pokemon and Transformers, Heroscape didn't have a hit Saturday morning cartoon. Heroscape has fantastic characters that screamed for a network television show. Part of the reason why we bought Transformers or any other action figure was because we saw them on TV. We wanted to reenact the battles and continue the adventure once the show was over. Heroscape needed some form of multimedia presentation to help stimulate excitement for each new wave that was released. We needed a story that would help spur the creation of our own maps. We needed battlefields on the show that we could then recreate at home. A strong narrative would have gone a long way.

3. Videogames. While Pokemon was a successful card game, it was even better as a videogame. Those who did not enjoy collecting cards or those who didn't want to shell out the money for cardboard could have the same experience of Pokemon in a videogame. It is a real shame that Hasbro didn't branch out into a Web based game or a console game. With some creative ideas, Hasbro could have had a digital version of the game that you got access to once you bought the Master set, and then each time you bought an expansion set you would receive a digital code that allowed you to unlock those figures in the digital world. This would have allowed those who did not want to go through the trouble of setting up Heroscape every time they wanted to play to quickly get a game in (more on this later). Besides, seeing these characters animate on the screen would have been a lot of fun. Just look at how much work our custom community has put in to make a digital version of this game? The audience was there.

4. Ease of use. Heroscape is a LOT of work to setup properly. While some people may enjoy the building aspect of the game, no one can deny that if you want to build a large map you are going to need some time. If you want to draft an army with 3 or more people, expect to spend about an hour doing that. All told, it was not uncommon for me to spend close to two hours setting up the board and drafting my army. Heroscape needed a quick start system to get a quick game in. Perhaps blind drafting rules would have worked out to help speed the process. Getting a group to sit down for such a long process was hard work.

5. Single player experience. Like I said earlier, it is a lot of work setting up and entertaining your non gaming friends during the process. Hasbro needed a stronger single player experience. Perhaps some boss campaigns? Maybe a computer device could have been developed that attached to the board that would simulate AI (remember The Omega Virus)? However you wanted to do it, this is the type of game that needed a single player experience. As of right now, my core group of Heroscapers are not around anymore so I am left with a wonderful product that I cannot enjoy. It would have been great if their was an official Single player campaign.

6. Smarter pricing/packaging. This game is expensive if you want to play right. While common squads are really cool, having to buy multiple packs just to build up your common squad was a cheap trick. The few packs that actually had two packs of a common squad in one package did it right. How many times do you think a casual Heroscape user actually bought more than one pack of commons? And yet, for the longest time, it was agreed upon that Common Squads were the way to play Heroscape. Consider this, in order to double your common squad, you would have needed to purchase two packs at 10-12 a piece. Thats 20-24 for figures when probably half of them you don't even want! Way too expensive and most likely few did this which is why Heroscape went under. All common squads should have been sold in double packs which would have been better to teach the game to casual users. Besides, 3-4 sets of common squads is the way to go anyway. One has to wonder how many Heroscape players never experienced the right way to player Heroscape.

7. Fantasy theme. Unfortunately, the fantasy theme is just not that popular anymore with this generation of kids and adults. Most kids want SCI-Fi or modern war. Fantasy is just not as exciting at the moment. It would have been nice if Heroscape took the game in a SCI-FI direction with new terrain tiles. Imagine fighting in a space port with special gravity rules! Heroscape didn't have to abandon Fantasy, but their is no reason why it couldn't have explored other themes and worlds.

8. Strange Synergy with Marvel. Seriously, what happened here? The Marvel partnership came out of nowhere and stuck out sharply against the standard Heroscape. The Marvel Playset should have been fleshed out much more and it REALLY needed more terrain. This is perhaps the biggest mistake Hasbro made. If the Marvel Playset had as much Terrain as the original Heroscape, that could have meant much more exciting maps. Instead, the Marvel maps were rather boring and didn't really allow the player to use his/her imagination. Thats the best part of Heroscape and yet many users who were introduced to Heroscape through Marvel never got to experience that. It needed 4x as much Terrain!

9. Marvel Booster Packs. How can you expect the new Marvel base game to survive if you didn't have a healthy dose of Marvel Booster packs? What a missed opportunity! Just look at how successful C3G has been. Hasbro just did not do what was necessary to make this segment of Heroscape a success

10. Loss of direction. D&D Heroscape wasn't horrible, but at that point the game had lost its direction and what little storyline it had. What a shame too because Hasbro should have treated Heroscape like how Sony and Microsoft treated their home consoles. Before the Xbox or Playstation became profitable, there were years of loses. Once a few years had passed and the core base was established, then you would start raking in the profits. It seems like right when Heroscape started gaining momentum, the rug was pulled out from under it.

11. Sales and promotion. Did Heroscape ever go on sale outside of Clearances? Also, where were the promotions? The buy 2 get 1 free? Heroscape was expensive and Hasbro should have offered more promotions.

12. Tournaments. Hasbro should have set up a national tournament scene like every other company does with their competitive game. The fighting game community has EVO, the strategy gaming community has MLG, Heroscape needed a national tournament presence with prizes sponsored by Hasbro. Community tournaments are great, but Heroscape deserved officially sponsored tournaments.


I could go on but my fingers are tired. What do you guys think? Have I missed anything? How could Heroscape have been successful?

I'm interested in hearing your thoughts.

Last edited by SuperSamyon; January 23rd, 2013 at 07:48 PM.
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  #2  
Old January 11th, 2013, 12:21 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

I'm almost positive many of these threads already exist, if you would but search them out.

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Old January 11th, 2013, 12:30 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

"Fun" topic?


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Old January 11th, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

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Originally Posted by ibechief View Post
I'm almost positive many of these threads already exist, if you would but search them out.
I'm sure every topic in the Heroscape universe has already been discussed. However, since we still have a forum for discussion, we might as well discuss them again since many people are new to the forum and are just now joining the party. Otherwise we might as well archive everything and close up shop since there really isn't anything new to talk about.

Besides, it gives the new players a chance to chime in rather than necro an old thread which is also taboo.

And yes, this is a fun topic

Last edited by SuperSamyon; January 11th, 2013 at 12:40 AM.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 12:35 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

The thing that sticks out most here is, in my opinion, number nine. There were supposed to be Marvel boosters, and in fact we SAW the figures at Gencon. Where did they go? That was a goldmine waiting to be dug up, and it never got past the preliminary stages.

Its such a shame because there is SO MUCH that could have been done for it. As you said, C3G is massively successful. Hell, we even got Grishnakh making terrain for it! And really, they could have just reused Heroclix minis (that is Hasbro-owned, right?), it wouldn't have mattered; the source material was there, and it would've been infinitely more marketable than regular scape, which, if you think about it, is pretty damn marketable itself.

And just think of the mental exhaustion it saves the designers. I mean, try designing a truly original unit from scratch, and then come up with a way to have Wolverine running around the board tearing faces off; one will take you a much shorter time (and I don't mean, in any way, to diminish the efforts of C3G; they're raving geniuses, all of them). Here's a recognizable character, a pre-fab well of marketability that was left completely untapped; its not simply a waste, its tragic, and its really a surprisingly naive move on the part of a company so unnervingly genre-savvy that they've built themselves into the Sauron of the toy industry.

Honestly, I didn't get my family into this game by showing them Kaemon Awa or Q9; I showed my little brothers Iron Man and they were hooked. They were also, funny story, around seven. And now they regularly kick my ass. What does that say about the marketing/sales power of Marvel-based toys?

And while I'm on the subject, holy GOD was the Marvel master set lazy. And I really do mean lazy. The heroes alone are not the selling point; regular scape proved that several times over. Remember how HouseMouseGames started stocking terrain separate from figures waaaaay back when? Imagine that with Marvel, sci-fi, really ANYTHING you could do with scape terrain.

And then you have other terrain-based issues. Auggie's is currently doing this thing with foam boards, like the lexan mats Mouse used to have (and hasn't Auggie's also done that?); its absolutely brilliant. It cuts down on setup time, it provides an unparallelled convenience factor, its really just fantastic. Hasbro could have done that.

One thing I love you for mentioning; drafting drama. I play games with five-players. YEAH. Drafting takes about a half-hour. Eventually, I started making lists of armies. Before each game, we'd roll a 20sider, and whatever number you got was your army. Of course, I rolled a 15 four games straight (Shurrak and I don't talk anymore...), but the point stands; any system that cuts drafting time would've been appreciated. For example, who made that program that takes an input of available figures and balances out armies? That was wonderful. It could've been expanded on, improved, but damn that program was sexy.

Of course, I like the game in the hands of the fans; imaginations running wild, that's the whole POINT behind the game itself anyway. But I would've liked to see Quahon on a shelf in my local game shop.

EDIT: Imagine what Dr. Weirdscaper could have done with sci-fi terrain.

Last edited by Porkachu; January 11th, 2013 at 12:40 AM. Reason: more ranting
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Old January 11th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

Your OP is very well thought out, and some of it new to me from the perspective of younger players who are more game savvy about newer stuff than I am. Thanks for the thoughts.

I think many older players are just traumatized and burned out on the topic! Also, I'm afraid that the game mostly "failed" because of bad corporate decisions, and we couldn't do much about that. We tried, believe me.

The positive way to move on for most of us still here is to support and enjoy FANSCAPE, whatever that means to you. But many of us would support any new corporate initiative with the marvelous game system, or even part of it, should that occur in the future. There was plenty of speculation and hope about that even after the actual cancellation.

As someone once said: Chess hasn't had any expansions for a while, but its still being played...

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Old January 11th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

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Originally Posted by SuperSamyon View Post
5. Single player experience. Like I said earlier, it is a lot of work setting up and entertaining your non gaming friends during the process. Hasbro needed a stronger single player experience. Perhaps some boss campaigns? Maybe a computer device could have been developed that attached to the board that would simulate AI (remember The Omega Virus)? However you wanted to do it, this is the type of game that needed a single player experience. As of right now, my core group of Heroscapers are not around anymore so I am left with a wonderful product that I cannot enjoy. It would have been great if their was an official Single player campaign.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 08:13 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

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Holy cow, those are interesting.

Going to have to sit down and read them in more depth. But skimming, the order system looks fantastic.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

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Originally Posted by chas View Post
Also, I'm afraid that the game mostly "failed" because of bad corporate decisions, and we couldn't do much about that. We tried, believe me.
Ironically, I think it may have been handled better if it started out with Wizards of the Coast.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 09:12 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

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Originally Posted by SuperSamyon View Post
Besides, it gives the new players a chance to chime in rather than necro an old thread which is also taboo.
Necroing old threads is fine, as long as someone has something interesting and substantial to add, which you obviously did.

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Originally Posted by Porkachu View Post
And really, they could have just reused Heroclix minis (that is Hasbro-owned, right?)
No, Heroclix is owned by Wizkids, which is owned by NECA.
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Old January 11th, 2013, 09:33 AM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

I may be in the minority, but I was actually hooked on scape by the commercials on Cartoon Network.

One thing that I've wondered is how much is the Heroscape brand worth? I have no clue how much a name like that would be worth but it seems like an interesting topic.

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Old January 11th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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Re: Discussion: Why Did Heroscape Fail?

I remember the net worth of heroscape being discussed previously, specifically from the angle of it would be possible to buy it as a community. I'd guess somewhere in the couple dozen million, but like you said, I really have no idea either.

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