By Jesse Decker
Manager Bryan Kinsella
Kinsella began working at Wizards of the Coast in December of 1999. Throughout
the last change-filled year and a half, Bryan has served as a project
manager, business analyst, and most recently as brand manager for Wizards
of the Coast's miniatures department. Like everyone involved in the miniatures
team at Wizards, Bryan is totally focused on D&D Chainmail.
This month, Bryan took some time out of his busy Gen Con preparations
to talk with us about some of the goals he has for the upcoming skirmish
of the Coast: Fans who've been around the website have seen the title
"brand manager" before, but most don't really know what it means.
What's your role on the miniatures team?
Kinsella: I love what I do day-to-day, but most fans just want to
hear about the game, so I'll keep it short. At Wizards of the Coast, brand
managers are in charge of monitoring and ensuring that a brand is meeting
its goals. That often means making sure that a line is profitable, of
course, but there are other goals, too. It's my job to make sure that
each product the miniatures group puts out fills a need and has a clearly
targeted audience. Those familiar with marketing terminology will understand
what I mean when I say that brand managers are responsible for the "4
P's." Simply put, that's Product, Price, Placement, and Promotions.
In short, I work with nearly everyone involved with the miniatures line.
I know the miniatures group is focused on D&D Chainmail, but
what about other projects?
Right now, it's all D&D Chainmail. All of the figures we make
for Chainmail work for roleplaying too, so we don't feel the need
to have separate offerings at this time.
The Chainmail figures I've seen all have round bases. Does
this make them harder to use on a gridded battlemat?
Do those round bases fit inside the squares?
Folks who have read earlier interviews know that D&D Chainmail is
a skirmish game. Why go with a skirmish game instead of a larger format?
We want to fill an unmet need, not try to reinvent the wheel. We wanted,
above all to have a fast, balanced game that felt like D&D.
The game releases in October; what's the miniatures team doing right now?
Most of us are about to take a short break from our day-to-day stuff to
demonstrate the game at Gen Con. I'm looking at opportunities for
terrain, special boxed sets, and other cool stuff to flush out the 2002
production schedule. R&D is way ahead, of course; they've already
got the design work done for the first part of next year. Key teams within
the company are working on our organized play program and promotions for
the releases for the last part of this year.
What does the release schedule like?
The game hits store shelves in October, as you already mentioned. The
box set includes figures from two of the game's six factions, the rules,
some terrain, and stat cards for each of the figures in the set. It will
include eight metal figures in all.
the key elements will be the statistics cards. Each figure we sell will
include a cardstock stat card with the figure's picture and stats on it
for easy reference -- less time spent flipping through the rulebook.
there, we plan to release at least one figure from each faction every
month. We've got special products in the works, too. I'm really excited
about the potential to expand the game with supplements and special boxed
What kind of organized play programs will there be for D&D
I'm not the organized play expert - that's Kierin Chase. Here's what he
has to say:
are very excited about the new league for D&D Chainmail
because it gives players an opportunity to compete on the world stage.
Games played in local stores will allow players to earn worldwide ratings
that can earn them invitations to Chainmail championships. The
league is also exciting, with its combination of league and tournament
play that take place in different scenarios, giving a challenge to even
the most expert players. Players will have to build armies balanced enough
to handle not only their opponent but the scenario itself.
a great league needs great prizes, and the D&D Chainmail league
delivers with Alternate Pose models for some of the hottest minis as well
as new exclusive champion bases. You'll know if you're playing a tough
opponent if you look at his bases and see Chainmail League, Regional,
and World Championship bases. The league launches in November at hobby
and game shops everywhere; look for Championship events next year."
Do you have a specific kind of gamer in mind as Chainmail's audience?
Well, we really have three. The first is the customer who already
plays miniatures games and d20 roleplaying games. This one's a slam dunk
for us, because our game's concepts are familiar and its play is really
smooth. An experienced miniatures player can jump right into exploring
the game's advanced tactics without being slowed down by complex new mechanics
-- if you can play D&D, you're 90% done learning how to play
D&D Chainmail. Customers interested in both aspects of the
hobby will have little trouble introducing Chainmail into an existing
D&D campaign for supplemental battles and will experience similar
ease using the game's miniatures for roleplaying.
group of customers are those roleplayers who don't play miniatures games.
Tactics and the precise movement that miniatures gaming requires is already
built into the feel of the new edition of D&D. Our only challenge
with these players is getting the game into their hands. If a gamer enjoys
combat during a roleplaying session, he or she is almost guaranteed to
enjoy D&D Chainmail.
is the miniatures gamer who doesn't play roleplaying games. Like the other
two types of customers, these folks get a game with ease of play and fast,
tactical combats. Just because Chainmail is easy to integrate with
a roleplaying campaign doesn't mean that it's mandatory to do so.
You've been a roleplayer for years. What makes a good gaming session in
Lots of laughs. If every player hasn't had at least one good gut laugh
in the session, I'm a little disappointed.
to the D&D Chainmail
main news page for more articles and news about the new D&D
Chainmail Skirmish Game, coming in October 2001! Or check out the
for a lively
discussion of the D&D Chainmail game.