D&D General Why Isn't There a D&D Table Top Miniatures War Game?

MGibster

Legend
I'm a big fan of painting miniatures and using them not just for role playing games but also for table top miniatures war games. Over the years, I've bought and played a lot of them including Clan War (for Legend of the Five Rings), Warzone, Battletech, and some lesser known games you haven't heard of like Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k. But it suddenly struck me today, why isn't there a D&D table top war game?

I am vaguely aware that D&D has made some attempts at producing some miniatures games.

Chainmail: This was kind of the precursor to D&D itself, but I was surprised to learn that TSR continued publishing it until 1985.

Battlesystem: This was produced for both 1st and 2nd edition AD&D. I remember seeing this on the shelf of my local game store, but I had zero interest in this type of game back then. I don't have any direct knowledge of it, but I hear good things about the 2nd edition version.

Chainmail: Back in 2001, WotC released another version of Chainmail. I remember buying a few miniatures, but never playing this one. At the time, I wasn't really in the market for miniatures games. Other than sharing a name, I don't think this has anything to do with the original game.

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game: This came out in 2003 after they stopped producing Chainmail. Unlike most miniatures war games, you bought pre-painted miniatures and used those. I never played this game because I don't but pre-painted miniatures, but it was popular enough to last until 2011.

Despite being present in one form or another for decades, D&D doesn't seem to have a lot of luck on the fantasy war game front. And I'm wondering why? The recipe for a successful game is there. You've got years of intellectual property and a wide variety of factions which means plenty of options for interesting individual models and units. If you had a game from the Forgotten Realms you've got armies from Thay, the Sword Coast, and other regions and it could be just as compelling as Warhammer from Games Workshop. I'm a little surprised TSR/WotC hasn't done better in this area.
 

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MNblockhead

A Title Much Cooler Than Anything on the Old Site
I'm guessing they've done their market research and just don't believe their is enough of a market to hit the numbers expected at WotC/Hasbro, but that's only a guess, I have no cites to back up my hunch and am too lazy to go looking. The Dragonlance board came is the closest 5e has had to large-battle simulation AFAIK.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm a big fan of painting miniatures and using them not just for role playing games but also for table top miniatures war games. Over the years, I've bought and played a lot of them including Clan War (for Legend of the Five Rings), Warzone, Battletech, and some lesser known games you haven't heard of like Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40k. But it suddenly struck me today, why isn't there a D&D table top war game?

I am vaguely aware that D&D has made some attempts at producing some miniatures games.

Chainmail: This was kind of the precursor to D&D itself, but I was surprised to learn that TSR continued publishing it until 1985.

Battlesystem: This was produced for both 1st and 2nd edition AD&D. I remember seeing this on the shelf of my local game store, but I had zero interest in this type of game back then. I don't have any direct knowledge of it, but I hear good things about the 2nd edition version.

Chainmail: Back in 2001, WotC released another version of Chainmail. I remember buying a few miniatures, but never playing this one. At the time, I wasn't really in the market for miniatures games. Other than sharing a name, I don't think this has anything to do with the original game.

Dungeons & Dragons Miniatures Game: This came out in 2003 after they stopped producing Chainmail. Unlike most miniatures war games, you bought pre-painted miniatures and used those. I never played this game because I don't but pre-painted miniatures, but it was popular enough to last until 2011.

Despite being present in one form or another for decades, D&D doesn't seem to have a lot of luck on the fantasy war game front. And I'm wondering why? The recipe for a successful game is there. You've got years of intellectual property and a wide variety of factions which means plenty of options for interesting individual models and units. If you had a game from the Forgotten Realms you've got armies from Thay, the Sword Coast, and other regions and it could be just as compelling as Warhammer from Games Workshop. I'm a little surprised TSR/WotC hasn't done better in this area.
D&D minis 3.5e was a great game and I believe did well. When 4e came out they discontinued it and the old unopened boxes skyrocketed in price. The new 4e version wasn't as good and it quickly died out and was discontinued by WotC. There hasn't been one since. Maybe they are hesitant to put out another stinker.
 

Just spitballing, but maybe they feel it's too much of a risk to try to break back into that market for whatever return on investment they can expect.

Even a third party license arrangement might be too much of a risk; wouldn't want a product that flops to damage the brand. Especially since they're already taking a big risk with the VTT.
 


pukunui

Legend
Wizkids’ Onslaught game is probably the closest thing there is now.

 

MGibster

Legend
Just spitballing, but maybe they feel it's too much of a risk to try to break back into that market for whatever return on investment they can expect.
If I were to hazard a guess, this would be it. Between TSR and WotC, over the last 40 years they've tried to make a go at a miniatures game multiple times with limited success. Given Hasbro's experience making toys for the last 80+ years, I really thought they'd start churning out D&D miniatures after they purchased WotC. I think WotC actually produced Chainmail themselves in 2001, but most D&D miniatuers have always been licensed by companies like Ral Partha and now WizKids. I guess it's just not a market they feel confident in.
 

MGibster

Legend
Wizkids’ Onslaught game is probably the closest thing there is now.
I don't know anyone that plays it and I've never seen anyone playing it at the local game store. That doesn't mean it's a bad game or that it's not selling. It's likely the type of person who is into Onslaught isn't the same type of person who is into Warhammer or other games that require you to paint your miniatures.
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
IMO the pre-painted miniatures version suffered because of the use of randomized packs, and because of fairly horrid miniatures. A few were OK. Many were quite bad. For a while it seemed to capture some players, but it didn’t last.

Nowadays, there are a couple of skirmish games. The ones that I hear about most lately are several from Games Workshop and Warmachine, and I see Malafeux in the gaming stores. Sadly, Confrontation seems long gone.

TomB
 


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