Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Have we seen the last of Axis & Allies miniatures?

I made a rare visit to the WotC website today and scanned through the brands...Magic: the Gathering, Heroscape, Dungeons and Dragons, Duel Masters, Axis & Allies, Star Wars. It got me to thinking. With the Star Wars license gone, has the streamlining stopped or are there other product lines on the chopping block. Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons have to be considered core brands and pretty well untouchable. Heroscape is the only one of the brands commonly seen in mainstream toy stores like Toys-R-Us, which likely makes the Hasbro overfiends happy. Duel Masters is a CCG based on an anime property, pretty much an obligatory product line for a card company. So, that leaves Axis & Allies. Hasbro owned Avalon Hill and rolled it into WotC when it bought the company. It already owned Milton Bradley (man, Hasbro is the Evil Empire of gaming) which developed the original Axis & Allies boardgame, and promptly switched that product line to Avalon Hill. At this point, the various versions of the boardgame, a few other boardgames such as Diplomacy and the miniatures lines are the only Avalon Hill properties actively being produced. Of these, the minis lines are clearly the most neglected, with only two sets being released in 2009. Pre-painted plastic minis are apparently quite expensive to produce, certainly more so than the unpainted play pieces of a typical boardgame and while the Axis & Allies brand is well-known, it's mostly because of the venerable boardgame, not the minis. So, I think all signs point to A&AM being the next property to face the firing squad.


Further note: Hasbro also owns Parker Brothers, the makers of Monopoly and Risk. In other words, they bloody well own everything. I add Hasbro to my list of other companies and organizations I hate; Microsoft, Disney, the New York Yankees...


Jay said...

Yeah, A&A hasn't had much love in recent years. I do recall seeing a new set come out around the holidays at my FLGS, but with no fanfare. If they made sets you could collect (like a set of tanks, a set of infantry, etc.) rather than always randoms, it might be more fun to build an army. Owing to what they did with Star Wars, it wouldn't surprise me that A&A might be next.

/Sankees Yuck!!!

Rognar said...

Yeah, that set was Early War 1939-1941. D-bane and I are avid collectors and between the two of us, we bought 5 cases (that's 60 booster packs). Last year, they released two sets, the Early War set and a naval set. We don't collect the naval minis, so that meant one set for the whole of 2009, definitely not enough to feed our addiction.

Derobane-bane said...

You got that right.

I have had a sneaking suspicion that A&A minis would dissapear in the near future.

Just compare how much product support and how many sets used to come out. The forums used to be a hopping place for mud slinging and general nerdery... its like a ghost town now.

Quality hit the bottom of the barrel in 2008. Cards no longer have art, there are lots of terrible moulds, lots of repeat minis and crapola paint jobs.

The writting has been on the wall for the last year, thats for sure.