Regular readers know I am a huge fan of HeroClix, the Super Hero miniatures game put out by WizKids, a subsidiary of NECA. In a nutshell, HeroClix is Chess with super powers and if you want to build your team with no knights and 4 bishops, we expect that. Hulk, the Joker and Cosmic Boy is a valid team. But the latest round of suggested events has me troubled.
HeroClix has been running big events once a month for the past year or so, each series of events running 6 months or so. Infinity Gauntlet (IG) gave us the Infinity Gauntlet and Gems. No Man’s Land (NML) gave us Batman’s Utility Belt and items to go in it. Right now we are finishing Fear Itself (FI), which gave us the the Book of the Skull and the various hammers given to the Worthy. The next big HeroClix event is Avengers vs X-Men (AvX), which will bring us the Phoenix Force and the shards, representing the sections of the Phoenix Force given to five members of the X-Men during the comic story.
So, why am I, who has enjoyed most of these events against this latest one? Probably a number of reasons, but the biggest one is the way I see how we have to buy in to the event. To play in the 4 month series, so 4 events, you must purchase product, a new Starter Set featuring either the Avengers or the X-Men. For those of you not familiar with the game, a starter set usually consists of 6 pieces, various items to facilitate playing the game, a quick glance rule card and a full set of rules. Normally these go for 20$ to 25$.
1. That is the issue. These new AvX sets have been rumored and now confirmed by my local gaming shop as costing 40$. That is 100% more that I paid for the Superman: Man of Steel starter set, which I bought this past summer. What I object to most is the inflated cost and being required to buy one of them in order to play in the events.
2. I feel like I just bought a starter and have no need for another. I really only bought the Man of Steel starter to get an up to date version of the rules. By the way, the rules can also be printed down from WK’s website, www.HeroClix.com for free. Why should I buy another until they change the rules?
3. I buy HeroClix as a collector and a player. As a collector, I am always looking at what new characters can I add to make more diverse teams or armies. To me, we just got all of these characters. Sure, the latest versions of the Avengers came out in the Chaos War set which hit about the time the Avengers movie cam out, but it still feels like last month. OK, since then we’ve had sets based on Batman, Spiderman, Teen Titans and X-Men, but it still feels recent. Many of them were also featured in the Marvel 10th Anniversary set and were also in the small Fear Itself set as well. Five of the six characters in the X-Men starter were just released in August in the Wolverine and the X-Men set. I just don’t feel a need to add either product to my collection.
Let’s be 100% honest here. I am a DC fan first. Yes, I know and enjoy reading the Avengers and the X-Men in comics and watching the related movies, but I am more of a DC fan. I’d be more interested in the event if it was DC based. However, the last DC set we got was Teen Titans which included the classic 60’s, popular 80’s, and nu52 versions of the Teen Titans and the nu52 Justice League. I would not be interested in a JLvTT starter at this point either. I just don’t need additional versions of the main character at this point.
And while we are admitting things, lets look at the actual cost. Many of the prior events have been sealed, which means you pay for 2 boxes of pieces and make your team from the pieces you just bought. The buy in for those is usually 20$ to 25$. For Fear Itself, every event for all 6 months was sealed. One payment of 40$ is certainly less. The participation prizes for AvX are better as participants are being given a figure in addition to the normal resource piece for 2 of the 4 months. Also, in month 4, participants are given a team base. The team base is a relatively new concept where you put a bunch of figures on a big base and play the base instead of the individual pieces. I’ve over simplified it, but that is the main idea. In retail terms, a team base costs 25$ and you get 3 figures with it. If you compare that to the AvX starter, you would need an extra booster to get the same number of pieces. So 40$ vs 25 + 12 = 37 is pretty right on the money. So, what is the real issue?
40$ is not an impulse purchase. Anyone in retail knows the magic point is 19.99. That sweet spot where the consumer can buy something for a 20$ bill. Laying out 40$ all at once hurts my buying psyche. A month or so ago, the local store had a buy 4 get 1 free sale. I was going to buy 2. I could not resist. The moment I handed over the 50$ to get the 4 boosters, I knew I had spent too much at once and it made me feel bad, even though I knew I was getting a good deal.
Finally, I am not convinced that 40$ is all I would have to pay. Nowhere does it say that the stores will not run sealed or partially sealed events along this campaign, ramping the participation cost up to who knows where.
In conclusion, I’m really wishing WK had not presented us with this product and event at this point in time. I wish the player group at my store was bigger. Then I would not have to figure out a way to tell the local store I did not want to play and not feel guilty about skipping this. Right now, skipping AvX is what I want to do.
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