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.
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.