Miniatures games were our department that went the least according to plan in Year One, but definitely in a good way. Before we get into it, a lot of people have asked what constitutes a miniatures game. A miniatures game, minis for short, is usually going to be any game where players build an army, fleet, squad, legion, etc. of scaled miniature figures which are used to play the game against other players. There are a lot of board games that use minis that we don’t consider “minis” games.
One of the scary things about opening a new store is how much guesswork has to be done. The minis department was one of the most daunting areas to get started. Stocking minis games is not a minimal investment, and stocking games that don’t sell can be backbreaking for a new store. On the other hand, not stocking games that people want to buy is also missing a lot of opportunity as well.
To compound this issue, we can’t just buy a few Space Marines boxes and say we stock Warhammer 40K. To make a minis game worth stocking, you have to commit to it.
When we opened, we carried 6 minis lines: Warhammer Fantasy, Warhammer 40k, Warmachine/Hordes, HeroClix, X-Wing, and Star Trek Attack Wing. We fully expected at least one if not more of these games to fall flat. Once we had enough data, we would determine which ones were worth keeping and clear out the rest. It was how that went down that was shocking to us.
The only game I fully expected to do well was 40K. As it turns out, it was the only game (along with its Fantasy cousin) that didn’t do well enough to warrant keeping around.
Today, we still stock and support 6 minis lines. You have to drive 100 miles to find another store with our depth and variety of minis, both in what we stock and what we host events for. We currently fully stock and support: Warmachine/Hordes, X-Wing, Star Trek Attack Wing, HeroClix, Krosmaster Arena, and Golem Arcana. We host events for all of these games with growing excitement and support for them all.
Over the coming months, we will also add Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing (October 21), Star Wars Armada, and Star Wars Imperial Assault. Minis games are doing so well, there are also a few other existing games we’re looking at bringing in as well, though those plans are still being determined.
The rest of this post, I’m going to break down by specific game:
X-Wing has had a great year. We’ve seen more and more new players getting into the game. We’ve run some really cool events (the 2014 Store Championship and Assault on Imdaar Alpha events). We’re now running at least one X-Wing tournament per month and seeing more players turning out.
The future is bright for X-Wing as well. We’ll continue hosting at least one tournament per month for the game. We’re also really excited to see the third faction, Scum and Villainy, introduced in November.
Looking forward to next year, we’ll be running a Store Championship once again, likely in March. X-Wing will also continue to be one of our showcased games at future Game Expos.
Warmachine/Hordes (WarmaHordes) has been our number one selling minis game since we opened and honestly our biggest surprise product. It has filled the role I expected Warhammer to fill as our minis line leader. It has replaced Warhammer though, based on several factors.
Its Battleboxes and Journeyman Leagues are much more new player friendly so getting into the game to start with is much less intimidating. Everything I’ve heard from players about their customer service has been amazing as well.
After a strong influx of players just after we opened, we’ve continued to see a steady stream of new players continue to get into the game. We just had our largest event to date at the recent WF Game Expo and hope to keep building on the momentum from that event.
In November, we’ll be hosting a Colossal tournament, where the winner will receive a Battle Engine or Colossal for their faction based on attendance. The yearly Scars of Caen league will be running its last segment in November as well.
January will see us launch a new Journeyman League, so if you’re looking to get into the game, that will be a perfect time. Starting next year, our tournaments for the game will switch over to 2 armies required instead of a second army being optional as well to keep the game fresh.
HeroClix has had an up and down year. We initially had decided to drop HeroClix, but picked up a few bricks of Deadpool on request. When those sold out immediately, we bought some more. Which also sold out. Since then, HeroClix has really taken off. We’re running tournaments for the game now and just started the wildly popular War of Light Storyline Event.
We’ll be running War of Light monthly until our run ends in February. That will bring us close to the start of the next storyline event next Spring, Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The next set is The Flash, for which we’ll have a release weekend sealed event the Sunday of release. This will be a great chance to play some sealed with the brand new set and pick up some exclusive figures and maps.
Star Trek Attack Wing
We continue to have a solid Star Trek base of players with a fresh infusion of new blood recently. Another WizKids game, Star Trek has seen some exciting Storyline Tournament events as well. The first was the Deep Space Nine event, where the winner over the course of six events won a very cool Deep Space Nine model.
The Borg event, The Collective has just wrapped up and another event Resistance is Futile is set to kick off this month. We’ll continue to run support for Star Trek into next year as well as continue to stock the entire line of ships.
Golem Arcana launched in August to much fanfare. A merger of minis and technology, all the rules are digital in an app that connects to the game board and all the figures.
This game is, in my opinion, the best gateway to minis games. If you’ve been on the fence about checking one out, but aren’t sure about all the rules and terms to remember, this is perfect for you. All the minis are pre-built and pre-painted. The app knows all the rules, so while you do need to learn them, you also don’t have to remember them all on your own.
Another very cool aspect of the digital portion of this game is how they are going to handle storyline leagues. Players will have missions to complete based on their factions. Since all league games will be recorded in the app, all the results are uploaded to the company’s servers where our games will affect the world. We will be hosting these Fiction Leagues as well as tournaments as soon as their infrastructure is in place.
Dungeons and Dragons Attack Wing is coming out later this month. The game uses the FlightPath system, but is set in the world of D&D. In introduces elevations to the system and provides a slightly deeper version of FlightPath to the 2 space games that currently use the system (X-Wing and Star Trek)
Star Wars Armada will finally give everyone what they’ve been asking for: Star Destroyers. Fantasy Flight’s next foray into Star Wars minis will bring us capital ship combat in the Star Wars universe. This game is expected to release in early 2015.
Finally, Star Wars Imperial Assault will add troop based combat to Fantasy Flight’s stable of Star Wars minis games. Send your legion of stormtroopers after Luke and Han, or have your mercenary bounty hunters tackle the biggest target around, Darth Vader himself. This game is also slated for an early 2015 release.
We will be fully stocking all three of these games as well as running events as well. The next year looks to be a very exciting one for minis players.