Showing posts with label Collectible Miniatures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Collectible Miniatures. Show all posts

Thursday, June 17, 2010

John August Writing Monsterpocalypse Movie

Among certain gaming circles, there is a narrative that the Monsterpocalypse collectible miniatures game isn't performing very well -- that it was dead out of the gate. I have always felt that these gamers were pure nay-sayers who had little to no real information regarding the success or failure of Privateer Press's intriguing little game.

For those who aren't familiar with the game, Monsterpocalypse is a collectible miniatures game which features battles between titanic sized monsters -- Kaiju, if you will. You have giant apes, giant lizards, giant blobs of goo, giant squidheaded monstrosities, and...aliens. In my opinion, the game is the perfect combination of all the things I love from the giant monster movies of the 60s through 00s.

What's not to love about the theme?

Heck, they even recently licensed Voltron which will be featured in a game this summer. The acquisition of this license was a sign to me that Privateer Press had a product that would bring in the revenue for years to come.

Since the miniatures are produced by Privateer Press (Iron Kingdoms), the figures are well sculpted and very high quality. I own quite a few, and I love them so much I spent hours using Dundjinni making a prettier version of the map for Creature that Ate Sheboygan just so I could use these figures with that game.

While my enthusiasm for the game knows few bounds, I was surprised to read that there was a movie in production (by DreamWorks no less) based on the product. There is just a part of my conscious that begins to spiral toward insanity when it thinks about a movie, based on a game, inspired by characters from movies. My metacognitive meter goes past eleven. It's really too much for me to comprehend. Imagine if you will a Villains and Vigilantes or Mutants and Masterminds movie. Either could be good, but still seems out of place in a world where studios can make a Justice League or Avengers movie instead. Besides, DreamWorks recently released Monsters vs. Aliens so they have kind of addressed the topic already.

Skepticism aside, the upcoming Monsterpocalypse movie will be scripted by John August. In addition to having tremendous amounts of "geek cred" -- just read his entries in Gameplaywright Press's Things We Think About Games to get some sense of how hard core a gamer John August is -- John is a very experienced Hollywood writer/director. His past credits include Titan A.E., Big Fish, Go, Corpse Bride, both Charlie's Angels movies, and Prince of Persia (as an Executive Producer).

This film could be very good if John mixes the right elements. I think that he should stop by my apartment in Glendale once a week for the next few months and play sessions of Monsterpocalypse, Monsters Menace America, and The Creature that Ate Sheboygan just to make sure.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

WizKids Announcing Star Trek Based Games

WizKids/NECA announced yesterday that they will be producing games based on Star Trek intellectual properties. Their license includes television shows and movies and the WizKids products will be available in "digital" as well as physical formats.

WizKids will be adding the Star Trek characters to their existing line of Heroclix collectible miniatures games, which makes this both good news and bad news.

The good news is that there will be some cool minis, hopefully including the space ships, for Star Trek characters. The bad news is that they will have those clunky 1.5" miniatures bases that are slightly too big for the standard 1" format of most role playing games.

Hey WizKids! I want to buy your figures, but I want to use them in my Savage Worlds and Traveller games. I don't care for your collectible miniature game rules sets, but I do like the figures. How about hooking a gamer up?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

J. Eric Holmes on Miniatures

James over at Grognardia has been discussing references to miniatures use in Old School RPGs in a couple of recent posts -- one on Basic Roleplaying and one on Traveller -- and I thought it would be nice to offer a couple of thoughts on the topic by the author of the first D&D Basic Set.  He wrote the following comments in his invaluable book Fantasy role playing games (Hippocrene Books 1981):

When role-playing grew out of fantasy war gaming, many of the players were used to playing games with armies of toy soldiers. The first Gygax rules, Chainmail, were intended for just such games, and allowed for the fantasy element...

Dr. Holmes clearly articulates the rpgs have their origins in miniatures wargames, or at least their rules do.

The metal miniatures are not a necessary ingredient of the fantasy game, which runs perfectly well without them.

He also posits that they are not necessary for play of the modern -- in 1981 -- roleplaying game. This comment fits within the context of the book as an example of where Dr. Holmes is attempting to remove any intimidation a reader might have regarding RPGs if miniatures are required. Given that all the pictures of Dr. Holmes playing -- in the book -- include the extensive use of miniatures, I think this is the case.

The fantasy gamer is usually concerned with a few figures representing the player characters and their opponents, and for these encounters the 25mm scale is ideal. There are an almost unlimited supply of figure possibilities.

To use figures or not to use figures, that is the question for the fantasy role-player. Minifigs's Steve Carpenter says that if your eyes don't light up when you first see the tiny armies on the table top, you will never get the bug or understand someone who has.

These quotes exhibit that while Dr. Holmes has an appreciation for the use of miniatures in the game, he is ecumenical about who plays the game. Some people don't understand the appeal of miniatures in the game, that is perfectly understandable. But for those who are merely intimidated by the prospect, he has the following advice:

Another way to get started is to begin playing one of the role-playing games without figures. After the game has been going for a while and has gained a regular group of players (a few will always drop out or join up after the initial games), introduce the first use of figures. There should be figures of the regular characters in the game and one or two monsters. Other monsters can then be represented by small chesspieces, or unpainted figures, or even blobs of plasticene clay.

These sentences add to my earlier assertion that Dr. Holmes' comments that "miniatures are unnecessary" were partly to assuage any fear of financial bankruptcy that may be caused by joining the hobby. Here he adds an economical way to incorporate minis.

He finishes the chapter with this:

There are advantages to having figures on the table to represent the characters in a game...

The placing of figures facilitates [a] kind of dialogue with the referee and vastly increases the ease of visualization. Since many game melees are just that, a melee of characters and monsters running about and in and out, the poor referee finds it a lot easier to keep track of them all when they are represented by tiny metal sculptures. And, finally, the whole thing makes an exciting and pleasing spectacle!

Miniatures use isn't a new part of the hobby. Nor is there a greater financial focus on miniatures than in the past. TSR created their own miniatures company in the 80s under Gygax/Blumes, and lobbied to put others out of business to reduce their competition. They hired Duke Siefried to assist them in the financial endeavor. Miniatures and D&D as an industry have always gone hand in hand, even though D&D in home games hasn't been ubiquitous.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Gale Force 9 Official D&D Maps and Token Sets Look Nice

Gale Force 9 has some very nice looking products coming down the pipeline in support of the 4th Edition D&D game. Their Character Tokens, Dungeon Master Tokens, and Game Mats all look like great additions to a D&D player's collection.

Monday, June 01, 2009

New Collectible Miniatures Game to Debut at Origins Game Fair

A number of gaming titles are premiering at Origins Game Fair this year and among that list of titles is one potentially exciting new game. Game designers who worked on the very successful HeroClix, Pirates of the Spanish Main, and Mechwarrior skirmish based miniatures game are set to release a collectible unit level miniatures war game entitled Arcane Legions.

The game will include armies based on alternate history versions of the Roman Empire, Egyptian Imperium, and Han Dynasty. In addition to the standard historical units one might expect in a traditional historical miniatures line, Arcane Legions will include figures based upon creatures of legend that each faction can use in battle.

Wells Expeditions, the company manufacturing the game, promises retailers and gamers that the game will be less expensive to collect than your typical collectible miniatures/war game. If their press release is to be believed, it certainly will be. According to the release:

Arcane Legions was designed to keep the number of products that need to be stocked and purchased to a minimum by making figures available by faction and offering a two-player Starter Game with more than 110 figures, plus rules, dice, bases and unit cards. Common figures have been removed from randomized Booster Packs and placed into fixed Cavalry and Infantry Army Packs, and sets have been made intentionally small to make collecting even easier. In fact, a player can buy a "Legion Bundle," eight faction-specific Boosters, and get every collectable figure in that faction - guaranteed! Keeping a player's investment low and their enjoyment level high makes Arcane Legions the ideal miniatures game.

As someone who has had to fork out untold dollars buying sets of D&D miniatures from retailers who are willing to break open packs and assemble them, I am very grateful to hear that a collectible game manufacturer is making an effort to satisfy me as a consumer. Based on the pictures posted on the Wells Expeditions update blog (one of those images is included below), the figures look to be within the industry standard for the market. Given the inclusion of some previously underrepresented eras, these figures will have applications beyond use in Arcane Legions games. My D&D game can always use some Egyptian or Han styled figures.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Monsterpocalypse is Coming!

Are you one of those gamers who started playing Battletech in an attempt to mimic the battles between giant robots and giant lizard monsters? Have you been waiting for years for appropriately sized monster figures, pre-painted of course, for your Giant Monster Rampage or Escape from Monster Island games?

If you are a Kaiju gamer, or an gamer interested in becoming one, Privateer Press, Inc., publisher of the hit tabletop miniatures games WARMACHINE® and HORDES™, might just be making the game for you.

Privateer Press, Inc., recently announced its plans to produce a pre-painted collectible miniatures game (CMG) named Monsterpocalypse. Monsterpocalypse brings the kaiju (loosely translated from Japanese as ‘giant monster’) genre – a pop culture favorite – to the tabletop in the form of a fast-paced, action-packed CMG. Designed by Matt Wilson, the award winning creator of WARMACHINE and HORDES, Monsterpocalypse leverages the critically acclaimed abilities of Privateer Press as a leading miniatures manufacturer to enter a new category of product with a property that will appeal to a world-wide fan base of all ages.

Given the production quality, and quality of play, of their past products, as well as their recent foray into the Non-Collectible Card Game field Infernal Contraption, gamers of all stripes should give Monsterpocalypse at least a glance. With Infernal Contraption the company began their expansion into new aspects of the gaming hobby, and with Monsterpocalypse the company has an opportunity to not merely tap into the existing Collectible Miniatures Game market, but to expand it as well.

“We’ve had great success in the hobby miniatures category, and we will continue to support and expand our offerings there. We are excited to grow the company in this new direction. Creating a property about giant monsters is a natural fit for us and something I’ve always wanted to do.” said Wilson.

The Monsterpocalypse CMG will launch with over 80 figures in the initial set and will include large-scale monsters, destroyable city structures, and vehicles.

The giant lizard looks like he comes straight from Monster Island. I can't wait to see it painted.

One of their giant robot prototypes gives me hopes that I will be able to enact all of my Gundam and Vultron fantasies.

As for their demo UFO, a necessary addition to any Kaiju offering, let me say that I thought it was a giant mushroom at first glance. Let's hope the paint job changes that perception.

It is planned for release at retail in 2008. Figures will be sold in randomized booster packs and non-randomized starter games, and special figures will be available at events throughout 2008. Visit for photos of prototype models and updates about the game.

I can't wait to show these to my Geekerati co-host Bill Cunningham.