D&D Miniatures08/16/2008

Friday's Gen Con Highlights!
D&D Miniatures at the Best Four Days in Gaming

The big event of the day for DDM was the second qualifier for the Constructed Championship. I had a chance to catch up with a couple more players for Player Profiles. Last but not least was the D&D Minis Seminar.

Rank Player Pts OMW
1 Mcgill, Clint 15 69.4444
2 Becker, David 15 63.3333
3 Destephen, Dan 15 58.3333
4 Stupack, Darien 15 52.7778

Second Grinder (Championship Qualifier)

The Grinder started at 10 a.m. with 29 people. Final standings of just the top four players are below. The numbers in the second column are number of points scored, with three points per win, so all four players won five of their matches and lost one. No two-loss players made the top 4.

Player Profiles

Jason Lioi (aka Fenris)

Jason Lioi

When did you start Skirmish/Battle?
Beginning of Harbinger

What are your big DDM wins?
Top 8 Constructed Championship 2004 Top 8 Limited Championship 2004 First Place Constructed Championship 2005

Where do you play?
Dear Mr. Fantasy in Los Angeles, CA

What are you doing to build community?
Judging championship events, including Gencon Indy 2008

What other games do you play?
D&D 4th Edition, Ticket to Ride and other board games.

What do you do in the real world?
Corporate Website Developer

What's your dream job?
Development position at Wizards of the Coast, chiefly because of the reputation they have for a strong collaborative environment in which the design and development teams work together.

What do you want to see in the game?
The more diverse meta that is available now. DDM Oracle provides a single point of reference for rules interpretations we can all use. Detailed breakdown of turns and rounds allow players from all over to play the same way even in the details.

Pat Ellis (aka PatEllis15)

Pat Ellis

When did you start Skirmish/Battle?

What are your big DDM wins?
First Championship Grinder 2005 Various Pre-release wins

Where do you play?
Crossroads Games in Standish, ME, and Myriad Games in Salem, NH.

What are you doing to build community?
Acting as Wizards Delegate, ran many demos and organized local stores and players for events. Community Draft organizer with multiple elements such as map creation and voting for favorite map, bring-a-prize (custom and repaint minis), and the draft event itself (which had 116 participants last year.)

What other games do you play?
DM D&D 4th Edition and play lots of boardgames, play M:TG casually

What do you do in the real world?
Business development at Organics Recycling Company

What's your dream job?
Owning a game store

Why should your opponents fear you?
Extremely skilled at remote engagement and continuing disengagement.

Sean Banks (aka stryderlotr)

Sean Banks

When did you start Skirmish/Battle?
Picked up Chainmail but really started with Harbinger

What are your big DDM wins?
A couple Pre-Releases

Where do you play?
Dragon's Den in Poughkeepsie, NY

What are you doing to build community?
Helping the store run events, usually once a month. Ran many demos as former Delegate. Helped organize and run Community Draft with emphasis on linking people who know each other online but have not yet met to play in a non-sanctioned, fun environment. Prizes for Community Draft are some of the best, except maybe the top prizes at a championship.

What other games do you play?
D&D 4th Edition RPG, M:TG casually, boardgames, Saga MMO RTS.

What do you do in the real world?
Work at a game store and as a teacher's teacher.

What's your dream job?
Training teachers at a university level.

DDM Minis Seminar

Spoiler Alert: Some of the information below reveals previously unannounced details about unreleased sets.

Panelists: Stephen Schubert, Peter Lee, Rob Heinsoo, Andy Collins, Scott Larabee

Onsite minis: The panelists were proudly showing off the Demonweb miniatures pictured below.

Iron Dragon Prowler (54 points)

Ogre Pulverizer (27 points)

Thoon Hulk

Kruthik Adult

Kruthik Hive Lord

Caveat: Some of these answers may not accurately capture the actual answers provided. I tried to do the best I could, but I am not an official spokesman for Wizards of the Coast, and I could have misunderstood or misinterpreted some of the information being discussed. Therefore, assume that at least some of what follows is incorrect.

Stephen introduced some of the Wizards internal contributors who worked on the design and development of the recent sets for the DDM Battle Rules. He also announced the mini designed by the 2007 Constructed Champion, Eddie Wehrenberg, Jr. The miniature is named Farris Nightbringer, Elf Ranger. In the illustration shown at the seminar, Farris has a pet hawk on his shoulder.

The presentation included an illustration of a Stirge, on a slide about the Demonweb set. Other previews for 2009 included a Rust Monster, Beholder, Aboleth, and Troll with something different about his eye and a scar. Peter said that all of those minis would be in Set 18, Feywild.

The next slide was the much-rumored gargantuan Orcus. Stephen said they are examining ways to bring that product to the market but made no guarantees.

Peter Lee talked about how Keith Tatroe, Michael Derry, and Dwayne Stupack helped out with the Bloodwar re-stats. Those initial design efforts are complete, and now some other members of the community are helping. Bloodwar will be the next re-stat rolled out, and it is scheduled for October 2008. Subsequent updates will work backward through the sets (from Blood War to Harbinger) and occur at one- to two-month intervals, skipping those months that have a new set release. Jesse Dean, Keith Tatroe, and Kevin Tatroe worked on the re-stats of War of the Dragon Queen.

Peter, who does some of the master painting for sets, mentioned that there's been talk of issuing two paint schemes for the same Common figure as a way to provide more variety among the figures that case-buyers get lots of.

Wizards Play Network was talked about very briefly as a way for interested players to be Tournament Organizers for DDM and connect directly to Wizards. If you are interested, send an email to dci@wizards.com.


Will we have gargantuan dragons in Red, Green, etc?
No plans at this time for those.

What's in the works big picture-wise?
Feywild is a starter and could be a vehicle for delivering new maps. The rulebook will be updated at that time. Starters could be released on a yearly basis. The next Huge set is tentatively scheduled for 2009 (summer?).

Will we see printed stat cards for the re-statted sets?
Printed card decks were given out to Championship players for the currently-released older sets, but there are no plans to make such printed sets available as for-sale products.

What's the current thinking on banning creatures?
Scott Larabee said he is not afraid of banning if it preserves balance and fun in the larger environment. He looks to Peter Lee and Stephen Schubert for guidance on potential bannings. Maps may rotate out of the Standard format, meaning a short list of maps seems probable for standard play. Scott talked about having a Level 3 judge assisting DDM Judges this year at Gencon Indy. He also talked about making all maps available online using new starter sets for distributing new maps. Another option is to include one map per case. Classic format competition still has many elements up in the air: venue, whether to make it invitational, and so on.

Will the Icons be re-statted?
Peter said that Epic and larger creatures are low priorities for re-statting.

What faction definitions will evolve as we go forward?
Peter said he plans to drive a more refined definition of each faction. Eight Uncommons in Demonweb are solo faction to achieve a better definition and limit to the factions.

How will future RPG products and monsters impact the minis in future sets?
Andy Collins answered that his instructions are that designers and developers pick the best of the monsters and characters from future products. Rob Heinsoo mentioned that monster manuals will have more significant representations than before. For example, Monster Manual 2 will be well-represented in future sets. In the near term, CAD as part of the workflow has not yet significantly changed the challenge of syncing simultaneous releases of miniatures and RPG rulebooks. More dragonborn PCs are planned for upcoming sets at Uncommon rarities to make them easier to get.

Will more Chainmail equivalencies become legal?
Developers are looking into this.

How does DDI relate to DDM?
There are lots of plans but not much that can be announced or discussed right now.

How has the current economic situation affected DDM?
The cost of materials and shipping, which are closely related right now, have a big impact on minis production costs. Like anything, DDM can be impacted by general economic downturns.

Are qualifiers impacted by the economic downturn?
Andy Collins answered that WotC pays a lot of attention to attendance at events and all factors that provide indicators of the popularity of DDM.

What about the perceived quality drop of some recent figures?
Andy pointed out that it is a continuing challenge to maintain quality talent at production facilities, but they work quite hard at it. Peter brings a lot to the table in managing the production process and expects that Demonweb will make collectors very happy.

Are any Legendary characters coming out or being re-released?
Yes, but not many per year.

What are the plans to expand the player base?
Starter set with better quick start rules and non-random packaging is a plan to help make the game more accessible.

Are particular minis designed specifically for 200 and 100 point formats?
Since Dungeons of Dread, development has focused primarily on 200-point play. If a figure turns out to be incompatible with 100-point format, banning it from that format is possible. Team format experiments show that there are opportunities for other formats, but the goal is to limit the number of formats until the fan base solidifies more. 100-point formats will be explored more.

Will large qualifiers such as Montreal be given more invitation slots? Will the number of invitations adjust dynamically to correspond with the number of people who show up?
Scott said they plan to look at options, but nothing can be settled until the 2009 budgets are worked out.

What's Up for Saturday?

The 2008 Constructed Championship is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. on Saturday. I will be conducting more player interviews at that time.

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