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  #1  
Old July 3rd, 2008, 12:40 PM
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A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

I think it's time for some reasoned and realistic consideration of what will happen to Heroscape in the not-too-distant future.

Here's what we know for sure:
  • Target will no longer be carrying HS.
  • Toys R Us will no longer be carrying HS.
  • K-Mart & Kay-bee have not been carrying HS for some time.
  • Wal-Mart is continuing to carry HS... but only certain products. Some, such as the large expansions, are only being carried on their website.
As a long-time toy collector, I've been told frequently that when your product is no longer carried by at least three of "the Big Five" (listed above), you're on the way to being discontinued very soon. If it's just two, you can survive for a while... but only one? You're doomed. Now... that's what I've been TOLD. There are, however, some mitigating factors here:
  • Heroscape is a game system, not a toy line.
  • Smaller game stores are now carrying HS and the newest stuff is apparently selling very well for that market.
So what does this mean? Will our game survive? And by "survive," I mean "continue to be developed, supported and expanded." I know that we as fans will continue to play the game forever, regardless of what happens. That's not at issue here.

First, I think it's safe to say that Heroscape is not going to become the massive success many of us imagined it would be a few years ago. In my area, at least, HS was insanely popular among junior high aged kids. This led me, and others, to foresee the possibility that HS would be the next Magic/Pokemon/Yu-gi-oh phenomena. Sadly, that is clearly not going to be the case.

Second, mass-market appeal of HS is most likely going to continue to decline. With only Wal-Mart remaining as a "big box" distributor and then only carrying parts of the line, this will no longer be an impulse purchase for Christmas gifts, etc. Those purchasing this game will quickly become only those who are already fans of it.

Third, the future of HS seems to be gravitating more toward gamers. The transfer to WotC was one marker on this journey, and it seems that we should look more at other gamer-focused miniature collections to make our forecasts. WotC already handles several miniature lines - D&D, A&A, and Star Wars, none of which are readily available at big box retailers (to my knowledge; I stand to be corrected). These are primarily available through local game stores and online. And they seem to be surviving, albeit nowhere near the levels of what HS once boasted.

The fact that Hasbro continues to support the miniature lines listed above seems to indicate a cautiously optimistic viewpoint that they will continue to support Heroscape, as well.

(As this transition occurs, I think we'll see less and less emphasis on HS as a "kids' game." What will this mean for future expansions? That remains to be determined.)

So, in conclusion: The future of Heroscape is not doom and gloom. Nor is the future of Heroscape all sunshine and roses.

The future of Heroscape is just... different.
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  #2  
Old July 3rd, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finrod View Post
Heroscape is a game system, not a toy line.
You answered your own concerns. How many WoTC or Fantasy Flight games are found on the shelves of the Big Five. I think Heroscape was delveloped as a toy and has progressed into a "board game" or "miniature game"

Only time will tell.

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  #3  
Old July 3rd, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Very well written post. I think Heroscape will survive as you said, in a different sense. With the elimination of big retailers (as well as other factors) I do expect our costs to go up.

Not that big of a concern, I have been paying $12.50 a blister from House Mouse anyway (I'll pay that for superior service). The $10.00 blister was really an artificially low number.

I just wish that Heroscape would get to a more regular release schedule so I can better budget and handle possible price increases.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 12:58 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

As a fellow long time toy collector I can certainly understand your perspective Finrod. And as disconcerting as it is to me I think those like us just have to accept on faith that our beloved HeroScape can and will exist away from the toy aisles.

Occasionally we've seen games come along that get placed on the toy aisles because of massive popularity. That popularity fades with time and some games can make the transition to specialty stores (or even the game aisle in the same store) and others can't. As an example what about stackable cups? That was a huge phenomenon a year ago and quickly every toy aisle had some silly stacking cups for sale. In five years the cups will be back in house wares and no one will give a damn about stacking them anymore. The game won't last because it's terrible and nothing more than a fad...think POGS.

Another example that would starkly constrast that is Dungeons & Dragons. During the late 70's and early 80's you could find D&D in every toy store in America. After the blush faded D&D transitioned to local game stores and comic shops and continues to flourish with a new set of rule books forthcoming even now. This franchise lasts because it is built around a great concept and game and it will always be around.

I think HeroScape will be somewhere in the middle of those two, but much closer to D&D than to cups. The game exists and will always exist because it is so versatile and interchangeable. The fact that a company that handles so many niche markets is now handling this one is a very good thing too. WotC is much more realistic about their expectations and knowledgeable about how to handle this game than Hasbro ever was (or will be).

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Old July 3rd, 2008, 01:50 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

The beauty of this game is that it can continue and expand even without WotC/Hasbro.

When I started playing D&D many moons ago they would sell Adventure Modules and did a pretty lucrative bit of business with them until people started realizing that it wasn't that hard to make your own adventure up if you played the game long enough and the adventure module as we knew it went away. Heroscape can live on in the same way with custom units and terrain. As long as companies make scale figures for other games you will have a never ending resource of figures and as long as the community survives it can spawn "official" units and heros that can become universally accepted. Then we just wait for CVNs patent on the hex design to expire and then we can make our own hexes.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 01:54 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Really great posts in here.

I think we are very lucky to have WotC take over HeroScape, as the "toy line" would have died a certain death at the hands of Hasbro. Having said that, I am more than a little concerned with remarks from WotC that our FLGS will not be able to carry Master Sets (due to cost). I cannot see a FLGS sell a game system where half of the game has to be bought at Wal*Mart (considering that same Wal*Mart probably has their name on the board: "stores we have not yet gotten out of business yet").

If the FLGS'es are unable to sell the entire game and make a decent profit (and they need to be able to order it through Alliance and make a decent profit, not just straight from WotC, as many small FLGSes do not have the resources to order from multiple suppliers and they are tied to Alliance for other product (read WizKids)), I predict they will sell none of it. I fear that without the FLGSes supporting HeroScape, there will not be enough of an influx of new players to offset the leaving of old players, and that will be the slow demise of HeroScape.

Changes need to made to the business model, and they need to be made now, to avoid this from happening. In a way, Target and TRU leaving the HS scene imight just be a blessing in disguise, as that is probably just the kick WotC needed to implement those changes.

They are done! Version 1.00 is out: Books of HeroScape in pdf format
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  #7  
Old July 3rd, 2008, 02:00 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

When the toy soldier/action figure line "Ultimate Soldier" was released, it was a TRU exclusive line. It did not perform up to TRU expectations so they dropped it (I heard that this basically forced the company 21st century toys to file chapter 11). Then it showed up at Target, and was sold almost exclusively through Target for some time, but the shelf space alotted to it shrank down to almost nothing... Then it grew and now has a nice well stocked section. Then Walmart started carrying limited amounts. The product has been on and off the shelves for years! Easily twice as long as Heroscape.

My point? You cannot predict what is going to be in store for Heroscape. I say that it will remain a buy-able and produced product for many years to come. The shelf space and availability will always be an issue with our beloved game though I am afraid.


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Last edited by Grungebob; July 3rd, 2008 at 02:58 PM.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 02:24 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

I'm almost completely fine with it leaving 'The Big Five.' Target and Wally World is the only place I've ever bought from, because TRU has always been out. Target always had the 9.98 booster prices, and Wally World had more variety for 10.25 or so. I'll pay the extra quarter, sure! But, if Wally World stops carrying, I'll only get new stuff once a year, maybe. The nearest LGS is half an hour's drive, and they don't carry Heroscape. The first LGS I come across that carries Heroscape, is an hour and a half. Unless Rochester has some unknown Game Stores, I'm screwed if Wally World stops. Please don't. Great article.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 02:40 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

I just am glad that it hasn't suffered the fate Xevoz did (another well designed Hasbro product that stopped being produced as Heroscape came out.) We almost did, as we saw designs for the new expansion sets then had the year of nothing, but then they caught the ball and kept it going. Let's hope this is the beginning of a long line of product.

"Come with me in the twilight of a summer night for a while, tell me of a story never ever told in the past. Take me back to the land where my yearnings were born, the key to open the door is in your heart, now take me there... to the land of twilight." ~"Key of the Twilight"
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 02:42 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grungebob View Post
When the toy soldier/action figure line "Ultimate Soldier" was released, it was a TRU exclusive line. It did not perform up to TRU expectations so they dropped it (I heard that this basically forced the company 21st century toys to file chapter 11). Then it showed up at Target, and was sold almost exclusively through Target for some time, but the shelf space alotted to it shrank down to almost nothing... Then it grew and now has a nice well stocked section. Then Walmart started carrying limited amounts. The product has been on and off the shelves for years! Easily twice as long as Heroscape.
Very interesting comparison, Gbob. I'm aware of 21st's story, but had not considered it as a viable model for comparison. I think the biggest difference is that with 21st, you have a relatively small company that is completely dedicated to its sole product line. With Heroscape, however, you're dealing with a massive corporation, Hasbro, which is much less forgiving of slow sales and giving a product time to find an audience.

As I said, it's not gloom or sunshine. Just... uncertainty, I suppose.

Dragonranger: Yes, Xevoz is one line that I would hope is NOT a model for what will happen to Heroscape, and its fate does make me worry.

Last edited by Finrod; July 3rd, 2008 at 02:43 PM. Reason: Xevoz rocked.
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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:01 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

And with 150 units to choose from, it's not like we're hurting on variety for some time to come.

let's just be thankful for what we do have, appreciate the new releases (jungle, wave 8, Alliance) for adding new elements to the game, and recognize that even if HS does fade from the shelves, it'll not soon fade from our tables!

SW8K

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Old July 3rd, 2008, 03:05 PM
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Re: A Realistic Look at the Future of Heroscape

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snotwalker 8000 View Post
Enjoy the ride while it lasts.

And with 150 units to choose from, it's not like we're hurting on variety for some time to come.

let's just be thankful for what we do have, appreciate the new releases (jungle, wave 8, Alliance) for adding new elements to the game, and recognize that even if HS does fade from the shelves, it'll not soon fade from our tables!

SW8K
Well, eventually you might ask "how much is enough?" I mean at what point do we start buying Heroscape Official Car Covers to put on our cars because we have to park them outside since our garages are too filled with Heroscape products?


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