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Farcaster
12-20-2006, 11:17 AM
Is it just me or is this whole thing with randomized packs of miniatures just a tad bit on the rediculous side? I like the fact that Wizards of the Coast is putting out minis, but I could not possibly care less about playing their "miniatures" game. As a DM, there are very specific miniatures I would like to pick up, but I'm thwarted by the cost prohibitive nature of their "collectable" miniatures.

For instance, I'm interested in getting a couple of the Ice Devil minis for my Invasion Hell campaign, but that particular mini is considered rare, so actually getting one in a booster pack would probably take several purchases. At around $16 a box, that's just way too much. On eBay, to buy just "Ice Devil" miniature is $14+shipping! We're talking about a peice of mass-produced PLASTIC here, for god's sake. How can I justify thowing down that kind of cash for something that probably intrisicly worth 50 cents? And if you want to pickup a Pit Fiend, god help you, by the way, because those run as high as $30.

And am I off base on this? What do you think?

For me, it's just a tough pill to swallow, and I find myself wondering about the alternatives. Does anyone know any good online stores that offer a good variety of fantasy miniatures that are NOT made by WotC but would be reasonably close facimilies of D&D core monsters like the Gelugorgon?

Ed Zachary
12-20-2006, 12:06 PM
Is it just me or is this whole thing with randomized packs of miniatures just a tad bit on the rediculous side? I like the fact that Wizards of the Coast is putting out minis, but I could not possibly care less about playing their "miniatures" game.

To me, it seems like they are trying to turn D&D into a board game.

I prefer the role playing aspect of it.

CAD
12-21-2006, 01:00 AM
If you want mini's on the table that match the creatures in the adventure exactly you're either going to have to put up the cash, or buy a pack and write a module that uses the mini's therein.

The most reasonable approach though is to give up on the idea that the minitures need to be too scale (25mm - 28mm who cares?) or that they need to appear exactly as they do in the books. The game and TSR used to be referred to as Products of Your Imagination! Throw a demon, ogre, etc. on the table and call it an ice devil. Painted or unpainted there are a lot of manufacturers out there, and maybe if everyone stops buying into the collectable farce Wizards/HASBRO will give up on the pot-luck/grab-bag marketing approach.

fmitchell
12-21-2006, 06:05 AM
Another alternative is paper miniatures. The Cardboard Heroes Fantasy line is no more, but Steve Jackson sells an omnibus modern set, two sets of tiles (Dungeon and Cavern), and two sets of castle walls.

If you have a color printer, Arion Games sells their paper minis on RPGNow. As long as you don't look too closely at the generic digital faces, most of their minis are fairly good. There's also Fiery Dragon's flat counters, and a bunch of others on RPGNow.

For black and white minis, S. John Ross's Sparks (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/sparks.htm) "fonts" allow you to create custom mini sets using only his font files and the text editor of your choice.

There's also the do-it-yourself approach, if you have the time:


Take WotC's images of the minis you like, print them on cardstock, and create paper miniatures ... fronts only, alas.

Or, if you have a modicum of drawing ability, you could create silhouettes of creatures on cardstock in the same front-and-back format as other minis. Chaosium did this way back when for Call of Cthulhu (albeit with a professional artist).

Skunkape
12-21-2006, 08:46 AM
I'm not to happy about the way they are putting out the minis, but there are trading sites and people who are selling the minis on the internet. Only problem with buying from someone else is they charge more than I think some minis are worth. It's all part of the supply and demand thing, but a mini should be worth an amount according to how much plastic and skill it takes to make it, not because they decided to make fewer of one kind.

But if you look long enough, you can find someone who will trade one or sell one you want without trying to bleed you to death.

Farcaster
12-21-2006, 08:50 AM
At the moment, I do a kind of do-it-your-self method. I go out to WotC's gallery and download their Monster Manual images. I then resize the image to be to scale in inches (1x1 for medium, 2x2 for large, 3x3 for huge, and so on). I slap a border on it, and add it to a Word document. Once I've added all the images I need for to game to the document, I print them all out. Alas, they are flat, but they work. Often times for hoards of smaller monsters, I just use my dice. I'll put out ten ten-siders for instance and set each with its own number facing up.

For the most part, we're just trying to represent the bad guys out on the board, so it doesn't matter too muich what they look like, but every once in a while, I want the BBEG to look special. I kinda like the way the Ice Devil looks mini looks by WotC, which is why I want one. Bad enough to pay $16+shipping for a piece of painted plastic? Maybe not.

Grimwell
12-21-2006, 09:39 AM
Printing paper dolls for representation is a great way to go as noted above. Another thing I use for mobs of things to cleave is plastic bingo chips. They are small enough to work and I have multiple colors -- for bonus points I found some with steel outer rings so I can sweep them up with a magnet.

That said, if you really want the miniature, buy it individually. So what if you are paying as much for the one guy as the box? If it makes you happy its no different than a $30 source book that you read once and never use again.

I'm not a collector, but I don't mind the collectible nature of the WotC mini's. They are just getting in on a market that WizKids defined and taking their share of funds. If it keeps them profitable and making the core D&D books, I'm sated. I do have a few of the D&D mini's, but don't put the value in them that others do. From what I understand, if you do buy a pack and get a rare that you don't want, you can go to a trade session and exchange him for a squad of commons that you do want. I have a shambling mound. I don't hate them but I've only used them 1 time in 25 years, I'm willing to trade him for a squad of goblins that I'd use a few times a year. :)

When I want a specific miniature, the first place I look is Reaper Miniatures (http://www.reapermini.com/). They are consistently well sculpted by good artists. Sadly I couldn't find any Ice Devils' there. Just a Crystal Golem which probably looks wrong.

rabkala
02-06-2007, 11:29 PM
The game is a dumbed down boardgame with little to offer. I could care less about the game. I have spent hundreds of dollars on these miniatures. Despite the fact that I have over three hundred minis, I never have the right ones in the appropriate number. The pain of looking through the mess of them isn't even worth it anymore. After the players take out one they like, we end up using dice for the enemy 90% of the time. I have given up on them...:mad:

vic_kidd
02-07-2007, 01:06 AM
That is why when I game....I use what I have and tell my players what the minis represent. Which makes them picture it in their heads. I use the cardboard cutouts for tiles, a few minis and we are good with that, when I can afford more minis (and I'm stingy) then I just get a "grabbag" and use what I get in that pack.

bigtony
02-07-2007, 09:09 AM
you know if you go into a toy store or walmart and look at the kids board games they some times have games with min's in them there plastic with bases and there is a ton of them in a boxed board game. and they cost about $10.00
i also like the flat cardboard min's

Skunkape
02-07-2007, 09:20 AM
I used to get metal minis and then paint them myself. Course, I don't have time for that anymore, so I do what you do vic_kidd. The players have a mini representing them that they picked out, and if I can't find a mini that is what they're fighting, then we just wing it!

Farcaster
02-07-2007, 11:00 AM
I used to get metal minis and then paint them myself.

If I had any skill at all at painting miniatures, I'd own a slew of pewter minis. Unfortunately, my Craft (Paint Miniatures) is quite low.

vic_kidd
02-07-2007, 03:33 PM
I've helped a friend do the painting thing....I didn't think I could do that as I shake a bit....I found a way to steady my hands and now I can paint the pewter ones. Once you figure out how the rest is a piece of cake

Shadowfire757
02-07-2007, 09:19 PM
Heroscape. That is the board game being referred to I believe they do have a few miniatures that would work with D&D. I know there is a squad or orcs and an orc riding a dinosaur out there. THe orc on the dinosaur though is only with the starter set. But as a bonus you get a stackable buildable board to play on. My collection of minatures consists of randomly purchased Mage Knights and Heroscape figures. Heroscape "boosters" cost about 10 dollars each but they come with more terrain tiles as well and are grouped into nice little bands for you. SO instead of buying a bunch of singles you get a whole squad of the same critters to use. THe starter set I mentioned costs you 30 but it comes with 20 miniatures for starters, part of them aren't fantasy related but that is just to show the scope of the heroscape game. So you dont have to buy anymore of the modern or scifi style critters if you dont want to. And most of the "boosters" are grouped by styles (ie Fantasy, Modern, SciFi) there are also terrain tile boosters that you can purchase as well, I know of one set that is actually a castle wall with defensive peripats and everything to ad more visuals to the board.

vic_kidd
02-07-2007, 10:29 PM
I also used the punchouts from the old battle systems as well....or made my own as I needed them......if I'm really in a bind I use what ever is at hand.....

gdmcbride
02-08-2007, 01:37 AM
Ah, miniatures... This is a topic near and dear to my heart.

I am a huge enthusiast of the roleplaying miniatures hobby. I have many thousands. Whatever number you think would be the maximum that a human being could reasonably own, I have more than that.

I've been collecting for decades and have no plans to stop ... well, ever. My wife has told me periodically that this particular hobby has gotten out of control. I merely smile and assure her that I could stop if I wanted to.

Still, I can understand why the hobby doesn't appeal to everyone. Miniatures are tricky to store and difficult to move. Painting is a time consuming and oft frustrating art that some have no talent for. Miniatures attract dust worse even than computers. And frankly, collecting a set of miniatures large enough to be versatile enough to simulate most fantasy adventures is both frustrating and expensive. Even I still have a number of very irksome holes in my collection (I want a goddamn aboleth!).

Difficulties aside, I love my miniature collection and would never get rid of it.
I consider miniature collecting a very rewarding hobby and whenever I feel life's pressures reaching a fever pitch there is always the zen-like state achieved painting miniatures to even out the day.

Then again, I suppose whiskey also works.

Gary

RealmsDM
02-09-2007, 01:49 PM
i've come to hate the term "collectible" since it does nothing but cost everyone more money. Anyone know of good plastic minis (prepainted would be nice) that i can pick up? I mean, does WotC actually think someone will go out & buy their mini expansion packs trying to gather enough orc minis to run a encounter?:confused:

gdmcbride
02-10-2007, 06:21 AM
i've come to hate the term "collectible" since it does nothing but cost everyone more money. Anyone know of good plastic minis (prepainted would be nice) that i can pick up? I mean, does WotC actually think someone will go out & buy their mini expansion packs trying to gather enough orc minis to run a encounter?:confused:

I actually own very few WOTC plastic minis. I am mostly tied to metal. When I say collect ... I mean accumulate furiously.

I would say, no insult intended, that you are simply wrong that collectablity does nothing.

To quote Merric's Law of Miniatures:
"Non-Random Packaging, Cheap Prices, and a Large Range of Figures: Choose two."

WOTC has chosen cheap prices and a large range of figures. Reaper, for example, has chosen Non-Random Packaging and a large range.

Collectability, love it or hate it, makes releases faster and keeps prices lower. It also means less SKUs which makes ordering easier for retailers.

Gary

RealmsDM
02-10-2007, 09:11 AM
totally disagree. my point is that certain minis labeled "rare" are hard to find, and sell for way to much on sites like Ebay. It would costs me way to much time & money to put together a band of orc minis for a encounter, or to find that one "rare" lich mini cuz people who have one sell it for $25- and i ain't paying that much for a plastic mini that i'll used a few times at best.
if people wanna put their minis on shelves & admire them, thats cool. but remember there are some of us out there that just wanna use them the old fashioned way- as gaming tools.

rabkala
02-10-2007, 04:41 PM
Several of my players are big on painting miniatures. They bring their own minis to our games wrapped in bubble wrap or huge cases padded with foam. They get cranky when the pieces get knocked over or hit with dice. Two of them have large displays in their homes to showcase the 'Best'. They also spend many hours painting them. They sell on ebay for a large profit and use the money to buy even more that will collect dust at their home. I guess, to each his own. I also lack the many ranks in the needed skills.

Moritz
02-20-2007, 02:25 PM
I had an inside source for all of my miniatures. A guy out in Cali that would find Wizards of the Coast products and sell the miniatures individually for like .25 cents to 2.00 dollars each. I have around 200 of them. (the same applied to all of my star wars mini's)

Finding is a loose word, mainly he would learn a comic or gaming shop that was closing down, buy out their product and sell it online. He also had a friend that worked in the WotC warehouse that would get him product.

It was a sweet deal. I bought most of my books (new, not used) from him at wholesale or less. So I also have most of the D&D books.

I would suggest that if you want specific mini's, go to e-bay.

Farcaster
02-20-2007, 02:33 PM
I would suggest that if you want specific mini's, go to e-bay.

The question is, though, whether a minature like this Pit Fiend mini (http://cgi.ebay.com/D-D-Blood-War-mini-Pit-Fiend-42-60_W0QQitemZ270090654856QQihZ017QQcategoryZ2537QQr dZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem), made of PLASTIC for God's sake, is worth $24+shipping? I think not.

Moritz
02-20-2007, 03:29 PM
The question is, though, whether a minature like this Pit Fiend mini (http://cgi.ebay.com/D-D-Blood-War-mini-Pit-Fiend-42-60_W0QQitemZ270090654856QQihZ017QQcategoryZ2537QQr dZ1QQssPageNameZWD1VQQcmdZViewItem), made of PLASTIC for God's sake, is worth $24+shipping? I think not.

Yeah, something sounds a little over priced to me.

Farcaster
02-20-2007, 04:10 PM
Yeah, something sounds a little over priced to me.

And can you believe that it actually gets worse? Paizo actually asks $60 for the same miniature (http://paizo.com/store/games/miniatures/tradableMiniaturesGames/dnd/singles/bloodWar/v5748btpy7umf)! It's outrageous. I know that there are other options through other manufacturers, but considering WotC holds exclusive rights to many of their core monsters, they have a choke hold on the industry if you want miniatures that match the monsters you are using in your game.

Moritz
02-20-2007, 04:20 PM
And can you believe that it actually gets worse? Paizo actually asks $60 for the same miniature (http://paizo.com/store/games/miniatures/tradableMiniaturesGames/dnd/singles/bloodWar/v5748btpy7umf)! It's outrageous. I know that there are other options through other manufacturers, but considering WotC holds exclusive rights to many of their core monsters, they have a choke hold on the industry if you want miniatures that match the monsters you are using in your game.

Sounds like we need to find a truck that just happened to dump his cargo all over the back alley.

RealmsDM
02-20-2007, 11:33 PM
Sounds like we need to find a truck that just happened to dump his cargo all over the back alley.

or go to the west coast & beat the snot outta WotC marketing dept. for labeling minis as "rare" & using the term "collectible"

gdmcbride
02-21-2007, 03:12 AM
And can you believe that it actually gets worse? Paizo actually asks $60 for the same miniature (http://paizo.com/store/games/miniatures/tradableMiniaturesGames/dnd/singles/bloodWar/v5748btpy7umf)! It's outrageous. I know that there are other options through other manufacturers, but considering WotC holds exclusive rights to many of their core monsters, they have a choke hold on the industry if you want miniatures that match the monsters you are using in your game.

No, the real tragedy is that they charge $60 and they can't keep it in stock even at that price. The pit fiend is currently unavailable. That would tell me that they probably could charge more. Additionally, I just bought two plastic pit fiends off of Ebay for less than seventeen bucks apiece including shipping. So what it also tells me is how hapless many online shoppers are.

By the way, you can buy a fabulously sculpted metal mini from Reaper --Agramon, the pit fiend (http://www.reapermini.com/store/customer/product.php?productid=2523&cat=0&page=1). It sells for a mere $17.99 retail. I own it myself and it is truly a beautiful piece, far more textured and detailed than any plastic miniature ever could be.

Of course, its unpainted and comes in six pieces. It will require a modicum of modelling skills to fully assemble, space with putty and paint up to even WOTC's plastic minis standard. It will also require paint, brushes, epoxy and so forth. I also believe that to make the miniature game-worthy, you should use a dremel tool (or something similar), drill holls and use brass pins to reinforce the joints. Then it will hold up to repeated use in games and any abuse that the tabletop might throw at it.

Gary

Skunkape
02-21-2007, 10:10 AM
By the way, you can buy a fabulously sculpted metal mini from Reaper --Agramon, the pit fiend (http://www.reapermini.com/store/customer/product.php?productid=2523&cat=0&page=1).

But it is truly an amazing looking mini!

Farcaster
02-21-2007, 10:50 AM
But it is truly an amazing looking mini!

I must agree. Very nice looking. If only I had a modicum of painting skills, it'd be perfect.

Grimwell
02-25-2007, 12:53 PM
I enjoy the ability to go out and pick up specific metal mini's when I have a need for my game, but also don't mind using them unpainted. I gave up on painting a few years ago when I realized that I wasn't going to get any better. :)

One way to get around the costs of the D&D mini's that are 'rare' and overinflated is to buy the random packs and sell off the rares that you don't have a need for. Shambling Mound... yeah I don't need that let's sell it at market prices and use the proceeds to get something I can.

Depending on the stores around you, you can also go to a hobby store on "D&D Mini Night" and get some serious trading in. You have a rare you don't ever intend to use, and there are people there willing to give you a pound or two of the common mini's that they have hundreds of because they want that rare...

IT's playing the market, but it also works. :)

Moritz
02-25-2007, 09:24 PM
Still, I can understand why the hobby doesn't appeal to everyone. Miniatures are tricky to store and difficult to move.

Gary

Difficult to store? Bah, I keep mine in a Target bag.

Skunkape
02-26-2007, 09:22 AM
I have a large tackle box that I keep mine in. It's a big canvas bag, with lots of zippered pockets that you put plastic trays into. The plastic trays are where the tackle normally goes, so they're divided into seperate sections so that I can sort the minis. Only problem is the large and bigger figures don't fit!:(

Talmek
03-04-2007, 11:30 PM
Farcaster,

Let me first raise my fist in salute to your issue with fifteen-dollar pieces of painted plastic. PREACH ON!

I cannot stand having to buy a randomized set of miniatures only to open the box...and realize that the one I really wanted is not in there. For a man who has his own D&D display bookcase (my fiance' designed it, how cool is that?!) there could be no greater frustration.

It seems like a money-grab on WoTC's part, but I guess if you have people that play nothing but the D&D mini's game then those few would pay up?