GAMA: WizKids Dominates Gaming Convention
Focus On Fear Itself HeroClix And Star Trek: Attack Wing...
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The 2013 GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association) Trade Show in Las Vegas this week brought together many of the top game companies, and one of the major standouts throughout the event was WizKids. Coming hot off the announcement of their upcoming Star Trek: Attack Wing game, the gang from New Jersey was there to entertain and educate retailers with multiple seminars, a jam-packed booth on the exhibit hall floor, and tremendous demonstrations at Games Night.
As you probably know from our frequent reviews, HeroClix is one of the top miniature games today with great figures and lots of them! With a wide range of audience members in attendance, from stores with existing HeroClix player groups to those interested in starting one up, WizKids offered three different seminars including a New Store’s Guide and Dial Up Your Business with HeroClix. Beyond the basics, though, was the main event... Fear Itself! In 2011 the world of Marvel Comics was shaken by a massive crossover featuring the return of an ancient Asgardian threat and a wide array of heroes and villains empowered by magical and technological artifacts. While it made for an interesting storyline, it’s about to translate into an incredible HeroClix event.
At the Nothing to Fear from Fear Itself seminar, Marketing and Product Coordinator Jerome Gonyeau outlined the upcoming event, a tournament series similar to last year’s Infinity Gauntlet and the current No Man’s Land. Similar to the Batman event, Fear Itself will cover six months of tournaments with exclusive prizes, an overarching storyline, and bonus content depending on players’ choices. But new for Fear will be a full booster set of 40 figures exclusive to the tournament! Each prize kit will come with a case of 20 five-figure boosters; each player will use one Fear Itself booster and one booster from another HeroClix set to make his or her team. Stores can order kits based on a new format with the ratio of “2-7-12.” For Fear Itself months 1 and 2 (June and July), stores can purchase one kit if they bought an average of two cases of tentpole HeroClix sets (Batman and Amazing Spider-Man) from November 2012 - March 2013. If they bought an average of seven cases they can get two Fear Itself kits, and three if they averaged twelve cases. Likewise, months 3 and 4 require the same ratio for February 2013 - May 2013 (Amazing Spider-Man and Teen Titans), while months 5 and 6 key off of May 2013 - August 2013 (Teen Titans and Wolverine & The X-Men).
WizKids is also debuting a new product SKU for Fear Itself, the Scenario Pack. The first one will be Blitzkrieg U.S.A., starting out the event in May. This pack has two exclusive figures (Captain America and Skadi), the Skadi’s Hammer 3D object, a new double sided map featuring Washington D.C. and New York City, scenario rules, and unique Serpent logo dice! Halfway through the series in August WizKids will release The Mighty Scenario Pack with Iron Man (in Asgardian armor) and Splitlip figures, the Uru Forge 3D object, scenario rules, double sided map of Svartalfheim and the Holding Facility, and Avengers “A” logo dice!
Fear Itself starts in June with Book of the Skull and Kuurth’s Hammer participation prizes (21 of each so the judge AND all players get one), Loki on Hel-Wolf prize figures, a double sided map of the Book of the Skull Fortress and the Raft, Additional Team Ability cards, and for the store a “Battlefield Poster” and “Fear Tracker.” As they participate in the tournaments players will choose to side with the Mighty or the Worthy (from the comic storyline); wins for each side will be marked on the Battlefield Poster and swing the Tracker in one direction or the other. Month 2 brings Hela prize figures, Mokk’s Hammer participation prizes, and maps of Antarctica and Paris. Month 3 offers an incredible Thor (armored and wielding Odin’s sword) prize figure, Skirn’s Hammer participation prizes, and maps of New York City and South Africa. Month 4 ups the ante even more with Odin, Greithoth’s Hammer, and maps of China and Broxton, OH (temporary home of Asgard). The penultimate Month 5 sees evil grow ever stronger with Cul Borson prize figures, Nerkkod’s Hammer, and maps of the Pacific Ocean and Fallen Asgard. Finally, the epic Month 6 rewards the tournament winner with The Serpent colossal figure, faction winners with Nul, participants with both Nul’s and Angrir’s Hammers, and battlefields of Brazil and Dark Asgard.
Back at the booth attendees got an eyeful with Fear Itself booster set and prize figures on display! Filling three levels were dozens of figures revealed for the first time anywhere, and they did not disappoint. All of the prize figures were there in their glory, notably Thor, Cul, and of course the stunning Serpent! On hand from the Fear Itself booster set were everything from the lowly Asgardian Troll and Thule Society Priest to Asgardians, heroes and villains featured in the story, and more. Notably in attendance were the heroes and villains among the Mighty and Worthy like Wolverine, Spider-Man, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, etc., and the evil-empowered versions of Juggernaut, Hulk, Thing, and more. The resource dial Book of the Skull was also on hand, along with the various Hammers you can collect to equip on it. Also on display were the Fear Itself booster boxes (very cool and sleek in black), the Blitzkrieg U.S.A. Scenario Pack, Teen Titans boosters, gravity feed foil packs, Super Boosters, and Fast Forces, and so much more.
Beyond HeroClix, WizKids brought a variety of their other games and miniatures like Quarriors and Lord of the Rings dice building games, Pathfinder Battles miniatures, and HeroClix TabApp Elite. Demos were running of the Batman Gotham City Strategy Game, dice building games, and more. Of particular interest was the first appearance of the Star Trek: Attack Wing game featuring three familiar starships. A mock up of the packaging was also on display at the booth.
Speaking with Jerome at the booth, I learned a bit more about WizKids’ plans for the coming months. The other recently announced property, Yu-Gi-Oh!, will be arriving with both a HeroClix and dice building game with 1 on 1 options. Iron Maiden is still on the way as well, fully compatible with the PAC system.
Some small bits and pieces:
- Marvel’s colossal Shuma-Gorath will be available at this year’s GenCon... and possibly at San Diego Comic-Con before that. There may also be a DC exclusive item.
- When I asked if there might be more items for the Utility Belt, I learned that the design team has drawn up several more than are currently scheduled for release, so it’s a possibility.
- Lord of the Rings and Hobbit are going to be huge this year and into the next. There will be new Lord of the Rings sets specific to each film as well as for the Hobbit movies, along with OP kits (including new Horde tokens)! Coinciding with these WizKids will re-release the 2011 Lord of the Rings Epic Campaign Starter Set.
- The Holiday Figures are still on the way, and we can expect an announcement on this very soon. The original releases were disrupted by hurricane Sandy, and once WizKids had the power back on they had to take a back seat to getting major sets out the door.
- It’s confirmed that Wolverine & the X-Men will include team bases and SwitchClix.
Beyond the seminars and exhibit hall both, WizKids also had a major presence at GAMA’s “Games Night.” A highlight of the show, this six hour event after the closing of the exhibit hall brings the manufacturers and the retailers together in a relaxed space where the latter group can play full games and really try out the products (both current and upcoming). WizKids brought other games like the Gotham City Strategy Game and dice building games, but the star of the show was their super-sized Star Trek: Attack Wing demo. Normally played with two to three inch long miniatures, this game featured game pieces that incorporated the old Playmates Star Trek ships! Giant tokens, movement tracks, cards, and more decorated the arena, while players got to roll massive resin dice and WizKids members maneuvered the ships.
As always, talk to your local comic book or games shop to make sure they're getting the HeroClix and WizKids games that you want!
- Scott Rubin