Paizo and Wizkids to the rescue! Significant new minis line announcement!

Paizo Publishing and WizKids Games announce Pathfinder Battles, a new ongoing prepainted miniatures brand to debut in December with Heroes & Monsters, a blind-packed, randomized set of 40 miniatures based on the smash-hit Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Additional sets will follow throughout 2012 and beyond, including a 60-figure Rise of the Runelords set scheduled for June 2012. These sets join the already announced Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes pack of four high-quality nonrandom prepainted plastic miniatures, due in October 2011.

"Response to our initial Pathfinder Beginner Box Heroes set has been overwhelming," said Lax Chandra, President of WizKids Games, "A full line of Pathfinder Battles miniatures will enable us to provide gamers with a huge variety of figures based on the award-winning imagery of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game."

"WizKids continues to blow us away with their sculpts for the Beginner Box Heroes and Heroes & Monsters sets," said Paizo CEO Lisa Stevens. "Every day we've been getting amazing images from the WizKids sculptors, and we cannot wait until these figures hit gaming tables all around the world."

Pathfinder Battles prepainted fantasy miniatures will be available at and through WizKids distribution partners worldwide starting in December 2011.

Pathfinder Battles Q&A:

Q: How will Pathfinder Battles fantasy miniatures be packaged?
A: Pathfinder Battles fantasy miniatures will be available in a variety of formats. The first release, Heroes & Monsters, will come in a "brick" of 19 blind standard booster packs, with 16 packs including one Medium or 2 Small figures, and 3 large packs featuring 1 Large monster each. Duplication of figures within a sealed brick has been held to a minimum, so purchasers should get no to very few duplicate figures in a brick (as with any randomized product, collation is not guaranteed). Buyers who purchase factory-sealed cases (4 bricks) should get a nearly complete set of figures.

Heroes & Monsters is scheduled for a December release. Future Pathfinder Battles sets, including June's Rise of the Runelords, will use a multi-figure blind booster format.

Additionally, WizKids plans to release additional Pathfinder Battles Encounter Packs, which will feature visible non-random assortments of selected repainted or resculpted figures from the full sets. Product details for these later sets will be released shortly.

Q: Why prepainted plastic miniatures in randomized packs?
A: Prepainted plastic miniatures are expensive to make. Sculpting and painting are costly, and making molds for plastic figures is costlier still. To make all these costs work, you need to spread them out over a large number of miniatures. If these figures were released individually, some would sell better than others, and some--or even many--of them would lose money. Randomizing the miniatures ensures that you sell predictable quantities of each figure, and it also allows you to price them reasonably without losing your shirt. Another benefit of averaging out costs over a large number of figures is that it allows you to spend more money on some miniatures--you can make them larger or more detailed, or add more complicated (and thus more expensive) paint operations than you could otherwise justify. In short, selling more of the common minis allows you to spend more money on the rarer figures.

Randomized miniatures also allow you to provide more variety. Not only can you introduce more figures at once, but the fact that you make make some of them rarer than others means you can produce plenty of the figures that everyone needs, like goblins or skeletons, and fewer of the figures that have narrower appeal, like strange monsters or iconic figures.

Another factor to think about is the brick-and-mortar retailer. It's much easier for a retailer to stock single booster packs than individual packaged minis. Our first set, Heroes & Monsters, contains 40 miniatures. Selling them individually would require a lot of retailer effort to keep them all in stock--and it would also require a lot of space to display those miniatures. And if next year's 60-figure Rise of the Runelords set were released as individual minis, the retailer would then have to track and display 100 individual items. As the line continued, individual minis would soon become impossible for most retailers to keep up with. Because randomized miniatures are distributed to retailers by the case, there's usually only one item for them to order for each set, so it's easy to maintain stock. And since it doesn't take much space to display a handful of booster packs, retailers can easily continue to stock and display the entire line of miniatures as long as they're available.

Retailers who have a greater inclination toward managing more complicated inventories, or who have more space to display miniatures, will almost certainly break open random boxes to sell singles, groups of individual figures they can tailor to their customers' needs, and even complete sets.

A lot of thought has been done on the topic of the best way to produce prepainted plastic miniatures, and the random packaging method, supplemented with the occasional small boxed set of non-random figures, has proven to be the most successful. Paizo is committed to working with WizKids to ensure that customers will be able to purchase the miniatures they want at a fair price.

Q: How often will Pathfinder Battles sets release?
A: The first set, Heroes & Monsters, will release in December 2011. The second set, Rise of the Runelords, will release in June 2012 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the very first Pathfinder Adventure Path. Additional Pathfinder Battles Encounter Packs will appear between these two large releases. More full sets and Encounter Packs will follow throughout 2012 and beyond.

Q: How many figures will be in each Pathfinder Battles release?
A: The first set, Heroes & Monsters, contains 40 miniatures. Retailers who order one case (four "bricks") will have the opportunity to purchase the mighty Black Dragon, a special promotional miniature that towers over other figures in the set and sits on a 3-inch base. The Rise of the Runelords set, scheduled for a June 2012 release, contains 60 figures in the standard set, with promotional figures to be announced in the future. Pathfinder Battles Encounter Packs generally will include 6 figures each.

Q: Will Pathfinder Battles fantasy miniatures be available as part of a Paizo subscription?
A: Pathfinder Battles fantasy miniatures are produced by WizKids under license from Paizo, and are not currently part of any Paizo subscription. That said, Paizo understands that many of its customers would appreciate a way to subscribe to these miniatures, and is currently exploring options to offer a subscription or similar service.

Q: How does this affect the Pathfinder Miniatures line from Reaper Miniatures?
A: Reaper Miniatures has been producing unpainted metal Pathfinder Miniatures since Fall 2009, and they will continue to do so. Paizo is committed to producing the finest-quality miniatures for gamers of all tastes, whether they prefer prepainted plastic or unpainted metal.

Q: Do these miniatures use Reaper's sculpts?
A: These miniatures use all-new sculpts by WizKids.

Paizo picks up where WoTC has dropped the ball, it's great to see someone is interested in keeping this hobby on a decent quality of play. I'm glad to see their putting out some minis that will be usable for rpgs as well as seeming to come out with their own game. I think it'll be remarkably successful.

Nice to see more minis coming around, but the cost is really, really high.  $4 to $6 per mini?  I wonder if that is going to be possible to maintain.  I'll buy some, but I'm not going to buy much.

However, if the DDM guild starts to support using these boosters for SEALED events.... well, that would catch my interest.  

D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
These sculpts look pretty cool.
I Am A: Neutral Good Human Druid (5th Level)

Ability Scores:

Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Humans are the most adaptable of the common races. Short generations and a penchant for migration and conquest have made them physically diverse as well. Humans are often unorthodox in their dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, and the like.

Druids gain power not by ruling nature but by being at one with it. They hate the unnatural, including aberrations or undead, and destroy them where possible. Druids receive divine spells from nature, not the gods, and can gain an array of powers as they gain experience, including the ability to take the shapes of animals. The weapons and armor of a druid are restricted by their traditional oaths, not simply training. A druid's Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Nice to see more minis coming around, but the cost is really, really high.  $4 to $6 per mini?

Perhaps. Here's what Paizo seems to be offering:

In October, for $13 (retail)
Miniatures include:
  • Kyra, Female Human Cleric

  • Valeros, Male Human Fighter

  • Merisiel, Female Elf Rogue

  • Ezren, Male Human Wizard

    Later, you can get (retail)

  • Heroes & Monsters Standard Boosters contain 1 Medium or 2 Small miniatures. $4

  • Heroes & Monsters Large Boosters contain 1 Large miniature. $6

  • Heroes & Monsters Bricks contain 16 Standard Boosters and 3 Large Boosters. $75

  • Heroes & Monsters Cases contain 4 Bricks (64 Standard Boosters and 12 Large Boosters). $275

  • I think they'll sell plenty of the first set in October, largely based on the somewhat Apple-like devotion of their loyal fans. Once the randomized stuff rolls around, we'll see enough people buying bricks and cases to keep momentum for a while.
    I wonder if that is going to be possible to maintain.  I'll buy some, but I'm not going to buy much.

    I'm with ya. If the economy doesn't recover, if there's a double-dip in the recession, or something equally troublesome, then it won't succeed because it can't. Otherwise, it might.
    However, if the DDM guild starts to support using these boosters for SEALED events.... well, that would catch my interest.  

    I rather doubt that Wizards would permit their own minis to be used with Paizo's minis. In something like this. Perhaps the DDM Guild will find itself forced to either abandon Wizards or reject Paizo. Or, perhaps if Paizo doesn't create a skirmish game for its miniatures, someone else will, and that someone else will do for Paizo's minis line what the DDM Guild has done for the Wizards' minis line.

    The 6 Heroes & Monsters previews I saw have the same name than WotC figs/cards !!!
    Not sure that's totally by hazard ...
    Seems pricey.  Hope they're worth the price.
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