I’m not particularly good about keeping up with the latest from gaming companies. So my first interaction with the announcement that Wizards of the Coast has discontinued its miniatures collections came primarily from angry tweets. So I went to WotC’s page, I read the announcement, I thought about it for a bit, and here’s my opinion: It’s not surprising.
For as long as there have been official D&D miniatures there have been issues. Wizards launched its collection of minis along with a game, aptly named “The Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game” in 2003. The idea being that people could get that double bang for their buck. They could use their miniatures for their D&D sessions, but also have a self contained game they could play just with the minis. It Sounded like a good idea, but the game never caught on the way that WotC wanted.
There were two major rules changes to the game, the biggest being in 2008, coinciding with the launch of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition. Wizards even went so far as to update all the stats cards of previous miniatures to make them playable in the new version of the game. This revamp must not have been very successful though, because the ensuing years saw the cancellation of the miniatures game. Not only that but each new set had a different policy regarding the packaging of the minis. Which leads us to last week when the whole thing came to an end.
Here’s the interesting thing though. By most accounts the miniatures line was successful. Back when the game was around, it regularly ranked in the top five collectible games by a several surveys. And even after the cancellation of the game the miniatures appear to have sold well. So what’s the problem? My guess is pressure from Hasbro. I think that when compared, even to WotC’s other properties like Magic: The Gathering, and the actual D&D role-playing game books, the Minis game must have seemed like a flop. So rather than keep hearing it from dad, WotC folded the program. That’s my take anyway.
So what can you do if you’re just getting into D&D and were hoping to purchase some official D&D minis? For now you can still find them around. On Amazon, on Ebay and on specific gaming websites. You can also find miniatures from other companies that will still fit the 1″ square standard, but those tend to be pewter and even more expensive that the D&D ones (which I always found to be overpriced). There is also the option of buying minis that have not been pre-painted, but then you’ll have to paint them yourself or have a lot of gray elves wearing gray clothes.